Are there any general rules or adjustments for shooting battue targets?
Battues can be thrown in many different ways and are vulnerable to wind and light conditions, so it’s difficult to provide one “silver bullet” for breaking them. A battue differs dramatically from a standard target in one significant way: It lacks mass at the edges. As a result, it tends to turn over (or not) at a certain point in the target’s flight, depending on the wind and the way in which the target setter sets the trap. The target setter usually presents the battue’s belly or face just prior to and through the natural break point. In some cases, the target setter will force you to engage the battue while it is still opening up or even as an on-edge target. Let’s address the two most common battue profiles you might encounter and what tactics to employ to yield more broken targets.
1) Crossing, arcing battue that opens up just before reaching the apex: The technique for breaking this classic presentation is very similar to the preferred technique for breaking a crossing chandelle (see next question).
2) On-edge battue: Shooting at an edgy battue is more of an eye test than a shooting test, so I’m not a big fan of this presentation — but you will encounter one every now and then. This target is best engaged at or just below the apex of the arc using a collapse technique. Your hold point should be very close to the break point, with minimal gun movement from hold point to break point. Initiate movement early, just before or just as the target leaves the trap. The muzzle should arrive at the break point well in advance of the target, letting the target do most of the work at the end of the stroke. Execute decisively. For videos, go to www.shotkam.com/videos (use discount code “DC50” for a discount on ShotKam).
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.