I’ve been having trouble figuring out a low, incoming, quartering target, the type that is on edge and starts dropping and going right or left before it hits the ground about 30 yards out. Because it is coming mostly straight at me until it loses speed, it feels like I am aiming when acquiring the target. What technique do you suggest?
Cutoff and collapse is the technique I find the most effective on the presentation you describe. The most common reasons for a miss on this type of target are: a lack of commitment to the break point; too much lateral movement at the break point; starting with the muzzle angle too high, causing the shooter to move down to the break point; occluding the target with the barrel as the target loses its line; and allowing the target to beat the muzzle to the break point.
If this were an incoming quartering target that was NOT transitioning, you would establish your hold point about a third of the way back from your planned break point, toward the trap, with your muzzle angle on or barely under the target line, and your move would be synchronized with the target. In this case, however, the target is transitioning just prior to and through the break point.
A cutoff and collapse move is used on transitioning targets and involves the following: Start with your hold point closer to the break point than you would normally, orient your muzzle angle slightly downward below the break point, approach the break point at a slightly upward angle as you start your move, arrive at the break point before the target, let the target do the work at the end of the “stroke” and commit to the break point as the target “collapses” on the break point. You should start your move early enough to beat the target to the break point. If you feel as though you arrive at the break point too early and wait for the target at the break point, then you have executed the move correctly. Think of it as catching a fly ball in the outfield.
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.