Driven Shooting

Driven Pheasant Shooting, Gun Mount

Pheasant_shootingTo be a really good shot at driven pheasant shooting requires your gun mount and stance to be up to scratch. No matter what method you are using (swing through; pull away or maintained lead) you will never get it right unless you have got the gun mount and stance right in the first place. A smooth mount and solid stance are the trademark of a good shot.

Game bird shooting requires you to move your feet into position as you start to mount the gun and begin to swing, this will steady your body into a good shooting stance enabling you to get off much better shots. Once you have spotted your bird you need to place your feet in the right place to steady yourself before the shot.

treat the high and overhead birds as if they are very high crossing targets; so, standing square to the target in the Stanbury stance and tracking it as it passes

I personally like to place one foot (my left) positively forward towards the bird, with my weight placed 2/3 onto this foot and with the knee slightly bent lifting the heel of my other foot just clear of the ground. This is referred to as the ‘Stanbury method’ or ‘Stanbury stance’; though I must admit my own personal technique is a bit less formal than most who use it.

shooting_pheasantsThis method enables you to take birds to your left and right of your front foot whilst remaining well balanced.
When birds that are flying way over head I tend to transfer my weight back to my right foot (now placed flat on the ground) and lift my left foot onto my toes somewhat akin to the much maligned ‘Churchill stance’ I find both shooting stances helpful in different situations.

The other suggested technique for is to treat the high and overhead birds as if they are very high crossing targets; so, standing square to the target in the Stanbury stance and tracking it as it passes from the direction of one shoulder over your head towards the other shoulder.

                

 

Once you have the gun mount and stance right your motor skills will do this action smoothly without any thought required from you thus enabling you to concentrate on your quarry.

Both hands are used equally during the mount from the resting position, with the butt just tucked under your arm and the muzzles pointing straight up towards the pheasant. This is by far the safest resting position on a driven pheasant shooting day, as it is not pointed towards the beaters but way overhead. If the gun were to fire accidentally there would be no danger to those on the ground.

Your front hand pushes the gun out in front of you with the muzzles towards the bird with the tip of the gun pointing at the bird all the way through this process. While doing this the other hand raises the butt of the gun into the shoulder in one smooth action keeping you nicely balanced until your eye is looking directly down the rib; do not bend your neck to bring your eye down to the rib this will strain your neck eventually! Moving your head will also make you to ‘lose’ the target momentarily as your brain multi-tasks.

Once you have the gun mount and stance right your motor skills will do this action smoothly without any thought required from you thus enabling you to concentrate on your quarry.

In the event a bird appears suddenly overhead it is very unlikely you will be able to mount the gun and get a line on it.

Shooting_PartyThe mount and swing should come in a smooth balanced single movement. All the parts of it ought to come together to produce a delicate and subtle motion. Counting to three in your head can help with getting the pace right, a slow methodical: One. Two. Three. Fire; is all that is required.

If you rush it, or dawdle your opportunity will have gone. Do not be tempted to lift your head while the shot is taken or try to look ‘around the barrels’ if the bird is high and above you this too will produce ‘missing’. The smoothness of the swing will be lost while your eyes are no longer in line the barrels of the gun.

the gun mount and stance is the beginning of every shot

What’s the best way to hold a gun when standing at your peg? Resting the gun just over the arm with barrels pointing at the ground; or with muzzles up and the barrels resting on your shoulder are the most common methods used. When the drive begins hold the gun by the grip of the stock with the barrels pointing towards the sky and keep the butt of the gun resting against your hip and your finger off the trigger. This resting position keeps the gun’s weight distributed and means your arms do not get tired.

           

 

If you rest during the pheasant shooting drive with the gun’s action broken over your forearm (which is a good carrying position), when a bird does launch skywards the barrel muzzles have to move quite a long way and the action closed to be mounted towards the bird. This will ruin your swing and mean you are unlikely to hit many birds.

In the event a bird appears suddenly overhead it is very unlikely you will be able to mount the gun and get a line on it before it passes over you and disappears. It is very difficult to shoot a bird high and flying quickly away.However, with the barrels pointing skyward, it will take just a moment to direct the muzzles onto an in-coming pheasant. This quick and simple movement can be effected without you taking your eyes off the pheasant.

Following these shooting tips will also enable you to look professional during your driven pheasant shooting day, and help to enjoy the most of your sport. To reiterate the gun mount and stance is the beginning of every shot and getting these two things right will help you on your way to making a great shot.

Read our article on the swing through method to complete the technique into the perfect shot.

Watch shooting instructor Mike Yardley’s excellent training video