I notice that some top shots don’t have their head on the gun when they shoot. They “soft mount” the gun and don’t bring their head to the gun. I’m guessing the shooter’s eye is well over the rib, yet I saw in your gun-fitting video that you recommend that the shooter’s eyeball be perched on the rib like a marble on a table. Can you explain?
Let’s start with the premise that a shooter must be able to see targets over the shotgun and that the shotgun should shoot where the shooter is looking. When I am performing a gun fitting and checking the fit of a particular gun on a shooter, I will ask the shooter to mount the shotgun to a distant object as if he were shooting a going-away/trap target. I then position myself at the end of the gun, looking back down the rib at the shooter’s eye. (Caution! Double and triple check that you have a safe gun.) If I can see the entire iris (the colored part of the eye) over the rib, and there is little or no gap between the bottom edge of the iris and the top of the rib, the gun fits. If, on the other hand, the shooter’s iris “floats” well above the rib when the shooter mounts the gun, I do not necessarily conclude that the gun is ill-fitting or that the shooter has a mount problem. I must first see the shooter shoot at a patterning board or at targets to make this determination.
Some shooters shoot exceptionally well with the eye positioned far over the rib using a soft mount. This is not a bad thing, as the shooter will have better visibility of targets over the gun. On the other hand, some shooters will tend to shoot over the top of targets (and too high on the patterning board) if the eye floats too far over the rib when the shot is executed. How much “float” should a shooter have and how much is too much? It depends on how the shooter points the shotgun and how his or her brain sees the targets. The proper “float” for you is best determined on the patterning board and by shooting some flat trap-like targets under the watchful eye of an experienced coach or gun fitter.
Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at www.doncurrie.com.