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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you properly sight a shotgun? I took a pistol course and did okay, but, really need advice on the shotgun since it only has the front sight. I searched here and didn't find a topic.

Keeping it pressed tightly against my shoulder, cheek against the stock, I was able to keep everything fairly well grouped together to 25 feet. I can see why people say the bird shot is not so good, it spreads like sand. Not that I would want to be shot anywhere with it. The 00 buckshot was tougher because it really destroys the paper target and is hard to tell exactly where it hit after 2 shots.

I am using a Remington 870 Express with the tube extension (8 shot) and it only has the front (peeper?) sight. Am I right you mostly sight along the barrel and use the dot where you want to hit?

My shoulder was pretty bruised after 20 rounds (2 3/4 bird and 3" 00 buckshot Remington), is this normal or am I not holding the gun correctly?

Barrel was pretty hot, normal or should I only stick to 10 or so at a time?

I got a year's sub. at the range ($200) to help stimulate the economy so I plan on putting thousands of rounds through the shotgun and whatever pistol I buy. I just do not want to nuke the shotgun from misuse.

Thanks in advance :)
 

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Short version is you don't aim a shotgun, you "point" it. Keep both eyes open and focused on the spot you want to hit. That little bead on the muzzle is just a quick indicator, not a rifle sight. Spend some time at the range and get some advice from more experienced shooters. Another thing, I would practice using mostly trap loads, much cheaper than the buckshot and a lot easier on the shoulder. Here endeth the lesson. Goatwhiskers the Elder
 

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Yep

Yep. Point not "aim".
The traditional method to find out where the gun shoots when you point it (and whether the stock fit is appropriate), is to set up a patterning board at 16 yards. A large piece of paper works well (36X36). Mark the center for reference. Load the gun. Without using the bead, bring the gun up smoothly, as if that mark on the paper were a bird or a clay, and fire at the mark.
If the gun fits you properly, the pattern will be right where you are looking. Do that a few times.
If the gun is shooting to another point, then its fit should be adjusted.
I'll leave how to do that to someone else.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, all that info will help ! Glad I asked :)

I will be taking more lessons once I sign my wife up for some and buy a smaller shotgun gun for her.
 

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Yep. A shotgun is for pointing, and the best accuracy practice you can gain is to mount that gun to your shoulder several thousand times, working as hard as you can to be consistent every time. You want that bead on your target and the gun mounted exactly the same way it was the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time...
 

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Thought I might take a stab at your question.

Yup, you point shotguns. You don't aim them. That front sight is called a "bead", and you really shouldn't be looking at it.

(Won't get into eye dominance or how to get ahead of moving targets--some other important stuff--I'll try to keep this simple)

Given the gun you're describing, I'm guessing you want it mostly for home defense.

If the fit is reasonably close, here's a practice tip that should help (and save some ammo and a sore shoulder):

You didn't say what gauge it is, but if it's a twelve, get a mini-maglight. A wrap or two of masking tape fore and aft should keep it snugly centered in the bore if it's a little loose. Turn it on. Focus it on the corner where two walls and the ceiling meet in a room where you can practice mounting it (or you can tape up a piece of paper with a black circle somewhere like the garage or basement).

Practice bringing the gun up from being held with the stock under your armpit with the muzzle pointed at the spot--the light should be on that spot. Hold your head still. Mount the gun. Keep the light on the spot throughout the mount. Hopefully, when the gun is snug in your shoulder pocket and firm against your cheek, the light will be shining on the spot where you're looking. If it takes a minor adjustment of your head to get the light on the spot where your eyes are looking, make the adjustment (head tilted down a bit, up a bit, forward, whatever) just be sure the gun is snug in your shoulder pocket, tight against your cheek with your head down on the stock. Remember how that feels.

Hold your head still. Put the stock back under your armpit, then bring it up again--you should still be looking at the spot where the light is shining, and it should be shining on what you want to hit throughout the mount.

Do it over, and over, until you can repeat it smoothly and quickly without thinking about it. Both eyes always open and looking at the the spot you want to hit.

What you will have done is adjust your position slightly to match the gun's dimensions. You will have fit your stance and hold to the gun. After you've been shooting shotguns for a while, you'll know how to buy guns that fit you, and know what they should feel like when they do, but this will get you shooting this gun where you are looking.

As long as the factory dimensions were reasonably close, you will have taught yourself to shoot with that gun where you're looking.

No serious trap shooter or clay target shooter would do this--they'd make sure they were in the most effective, efficient position, shoot the gun, and work on the fit until the shot went where they want it--but for most gunners with a build close to "normal", using shotguns for home defense, and even for hunting and some clay targets, this approach works.

Even a perfectionist shotgunner/writer like Bob Brister has written that an experienced gunner can shoot shotguns with dimensions that don't fit them perfectly. They adjust their head and hand positions slightly until they are hitting where they want to--and this is also why many shooters manage to kiil their share of birds and break their share of clays with guns that were never perfectly fitted to them.

Practice smooth, repeatable mounts--and you'll likely end up hitting what you're looking at unless your build is very different from "average" or you have a serious eye dominance problem.

When you practice with live ammo, use light loads so you don't develop a flinch.

Hope that helps.
Have fun !
 

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Shotgun is totally opposite pistol shooting. Pistol shooting focus on front sight, target is fuzzy. Shotgun is where you focus on the target and don't see the shotgun. The shotgun should be sort of like playing baseball where you don't look at the bat. Google Sunnydell Shooting Grounds and read what Chuck Dryke has to say. Then call and order the video. The man knows of what he speaks.
 

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Mostly agree with the other posters. I think is more like shooting a bow or a sling-shot or throwing a snowball. Eyes follow the target. Firearm becomes an extention of your body.

Cheezywan
 

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Vent rib/single bead sight systems.

The popularity of vent ribs with a front bead in skeet and sporting clays seems to contradict the idea of pointing without sight reference. In my own experience, I think of a vent rib/bead sight as a fast "rail" sight system.

As the shotgun is mounted, the shooters focus is on the target. The eye picks up the bead/rib combo as it is interposed between the target and shooter. As the shooters face meets the comb of the stock, the eye naturally centers the bead on the flat top of the rib. While the bead and rib are not necessarily the subject of "hard focus", they are nonetheless seen in relation to the target.

The speed at which accomplished shotgunners pull all these elements together tends to make the use of this "sight system" seem unneccessary.
However, I think we do a major disservice to new shotgunners in telling them to virtually ignore the bead/vent rib and just focus on the target.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to the target and new shotgunners will naturally begin to relegate the sight system to a secondary or "soft" focus as experience and confidence grow.

My advice: Use the sights, that is why the shotgun has them!

Ralph
 

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I think we do a major disservice to new shotgunners in telling them to virtually ignore the bead/vent rib and just focus on the target.
I can and do understand that point of view. The rationale concerning the bead is, of course, obvious.
You know that there's a "but" coming....but there is a school of thought that is pretty much in line with many of the posts here. Go to an Orvis Shooting Center. If you were to take instruction in wingshooting, you would be taught the Churchill method which places gun fit in a position of paramount importance. The gun should fit so that it shoots where you look. Point, don't aim. I did this. The lesson was exactly as expressed here - "point don't aim. Look at the target not the bead". I was a real beginner, had never shot at a moving target before. Hit the first time I tried pointing not aiming (and the second and third).
There are, doubtlessly, other schools that teach differently.
Pete
 

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I understand - but.....

I can and do understand that point of view. The rationale concerning the bead is, of course, obvious.
You know that there's a "but" coming....but there is a school of thought that is pretty much in line with many of the posts here. Go to an Orvis Shooting Center. If you were to take instruction in wingshooting, you would be taught the Churchill method which places gun fit in a position of paramount importance. The gun should fit so that it shoots where you look. Point, don't aim. I did this. The lesson was exactly as expressed here - "point don't aim. Look at the target not the bead". I was a real beginner, had never shot at a moving target before. Hit the first time I tried pointing not aiming (and the second and third).
There are, doubtlessly, other schools that teach differently.
Pete
Pete:

Given the emphasis placed on "Point, don't aim" in your post and others, would it not stand to reason that shotguns should not have beads or vent ribs? Wouldn't top competition shotgunners do better with out the distraction of sight beads or vent ribs?

These question are not presented to denigrate the "Point, don't aim" school of thought, but rather to point out the divergence between the theory as explained and the fact that shotguns inevitably have some form of sight system.

Ralph
 

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You know there are some shooters & instructors who claim you can shoot better that way, with no sights on the gun. Seems like there are classes every summer around here and I've been thinking of going.

Heck it's not going to hurt my wingshooting!
 

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I've considered taking a course on how to properly shoot a shotgun, but then I wouldn't have as much to repent of on Sunday, after spending a day or two in the duck blind...that's when I do the vast majority of my annual cussin'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
> Given the gun you're describing, I'm guessing you want it mostly for home defense.

For now, yes, Katrina/NO was in my mind when I bought it. I just wanted something cheap, simple, and reliable.

BTW: Thanks Durangogun, I am going to print that out and read it off line.
 

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I am going to disagree with the bead being useless. I used to dove hunt quite a bit and used the bead to reference my lead on the delicious little critters.

I have taken a course in shotgun carry and house clearing. No sights needed there. Mostly shooting from the hip, so to speak.
 
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