Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Orvis Sandanona Chronicles Part V

This lesson orignally appeared in the Shotgun free weekly e-letter. To subscribe, please visit http://www.shotgunlife.com.

With Part V we close out our Sandanona Chronicles. This installment will include tips from Joe Wassi -- an affable and capable instructor.

As the Sandona Chronicles worked its way through instructors such as John Higgins, Chris Batha and others, the one topic that kept coming up was the English Churchill Instinctive Shooting Method. They either talked about it as a pure form of instruction or more often used the Churchill Method as a foundation to embellish it with their own skills -- giving rise to something called the Modified Churchill Method.

The Orvis Shooting Schools are based on the English Churchill method. To begin, it advocates the basics of proper fit and mount. The shooter prepares the gun in a proper ready position for the line of flight of the game. Watching the target with both eyes, you move your hands and body with the target as dictated by the target speed. You raise the gun with a solid mount to shoulder and cheek. The trigger is pulled the instant the gun is mounted.

In other words, although you maintain a lead you insert the gun where your instincts tell you the target will be

With the Churchill Method, it seems that you’re shooting directly at the target. But as Chris Batha writes in his excellent book, Breaking Clays, “The lapse between the time the trigger is pulled and the time that the shot leaves the barrel ensures that the muzzles are in front of the target when the shot leaves the barrel, though, if asked, the shooter would swear he shot directly at the target.”

The Churchill Method was developed in the 1930s for game and wingshooting. Over the years, it has been successfully applied to clays shooting. And now that brings us to Joe Wassi.

Along with the other instructors, he was on hand at the luxurious Orvis Sandanona Shooting Grounds in Millbrook, New York. On September 13th and 14th when Orvis Sandanona hosted the 4th Annual Shotgun Classic and the 2008 Orvis Cup.

Shotgun Life was invited to attend the instruction areas of the Shotgun Classic. The event focused on the teaching skills of wingshooting by top instructors from around the world.

Now, here are Joe’s shooting tips…

* You look a little to the right of the barrel to pick up quartering, crossing targets.
* In shooting true pairs, people often miss the second bird because the first one was an “Oh gosh” bird -- meaning the shooter was so elated that breaking the first one, they lost track of the second bird.
* When you go back to get the second target, don’t move your feet to help with your swing.
* Generate gun speed while you’re in the swing.
* Don’t lock up on the gun.

Well, we hope you enjoyed the Orvis Sandanona Chronicles. We have more great shooting tips coming your way from world-class instructors.

In the mean time, you can arrange a private lesson at the Orvis Wingshooting School by calling 1-800-235-9763.

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