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Discussion Starter #1
We started to hijack the "bead alignment" thread with this question, but it deserves its own thread. Here is the question:
Do you visually check your bead alignment prior to "pull", OR so you shoulder your shotgun without looking at the bead (s)and keep your focus "down range", out in the trap field?
No right or wrong answer but 2 distinctive approaches.
Thanks;
dju
 

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I shoot a variety of guns with different dimensions, so part of my preshot routine to check my mount, by checking the beads, then focusing downrange for the target. Mark
 

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I have a little mid bead as a front sight and a gun that fits. I mount and immediately soft focus past the gun. I never look at the rib/front bead. This has only happened recently as I now have a gun that truly fits and comes up the same every time.

Bryce
 

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I do it but for a different reason. I bead check to lock my right eye dominate. Eye dominance is not absolute, it can change from left to right.

I close my left eye, bead check with my right eye then open both eyes and focus down range, call pull. This method keeps my right eye dominate.

It may be strange but it works for me. ~ Mich
 

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If your gun fits you properly, you will always see the bead and rib.Just don't hard focus on the bead or rib..It only takes a split second to check alignment.
 

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I did at first. With 20 years of sporting clays, FITASC and stockmaking under my belt, my preferences (including flat shooting) were firmly ingrained. Also, from that background I knew that bead-checking spelled miss. But I knew enough to know I didn't know anything about trap except that higher shooting guns predominate. So I started with an open mind and a secondhand BT99 with 2 beads and an adjustable comb; the first I'd ever owned. After a year or so and a few thousand rounds the settings were right.

So I bought a Perazzi TM1 from Smokin Joe, restocked it with English walnut to fit me, without adjustments, and started shooting. I still checked bead alignment but MADE VERY SURE that my focus was beyond the trap house before calling. Watch any shooter who mounts the gun, wiggles and squiggles, stops moving for a millisecond and calls...then bet against them. For sure, sooner or later, they will be surprised by a target.

I removed the center bead and virtually never bring the front bead into focus. I don't even look at my gun. Once the gun fits with the perfect amount of cast the center bead has served its purpose and is now useless clutter to me. Worse than useless since, being even closer to the eye, it's tougher to ignore. Of course I "see" the muzzle and bead when approaching the target. But I start by keeping my focus some distance out in front of the trap house and don't allow myself to ever focus on the roof, not even for an instant. For 10 seconds the most vital thing in the world is to SEE THE TARGET. If I can see it, I can kill it. After the shot, I go back to looking for 4-leaf clovers. Of course, it happens on rare occasions....my focus goes to the wrong place...and when it does I do a total reset. Drop the gun, focus out, mount, settle and call.

If you can focus on the beads, wiggle and squiggle and then ALWAYS shift your focus before calling, by all means do it. Knowing your mount is correct is hugely important to your confidence. And confidence is a huge factor in shooting well. But having to check beads is a potential pitfall that can be eliminated altogether with a gun that fits.
 

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Due to changes in weather conditions here in a month's time you may need to wear clothing suitable for everything you might imagine. Anything from a t shirt and light shooting vest to a heavy shirt with a padded shooting coat. I always check alignment first, soft focus with both eyes open, call for the bird. Larry
 

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Yes
 

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Yes I do.

I mount the gun to my face, check the alignment very quickly ( a millisecond ) and then look below the gun with a WIDE soft focus. Then call for the target. Don't let yourself tunnel vision, meaning only looking right under (or over) the gun. You must let your vision widen so the target is seen instantly. If you only look near the gun barrel, there will be some targets that get a jump on you, which can lead to bad things happening.

I hold somewhere around 3 feet over the house for singles and first shot of doubles. I lower my hold slightly around 18 inches to 24 inches over the house for handicap. I also hold inside the front lip of the house approx. 24 inch on post one and 12 inches on post 5. I play the percentages, most targets are not sharp rights or lefts.

These hold points will vary with visibility and weather. My guns have a normal white bead in front and a small silver bead in the middle. I hardly ever see my beads again after mounting, however I know that my sub conscious does.



Tom Strunk --
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I ONLY look at the beads during mounting for alignment. As far as I'm concerned thereafter, you can take the beads off.

blade819
 

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I shoot best when I don't check the beads, if i do i tend to revert back to them as I go to the target. Mine are blacked out and the center one is filed down to a small bump and yes I do fine at night. I do check how the stock feels on my cheek and that the gun is pulled tight into my shoulder. now my buddy he has a whole set up routine, and it works well for him. My friends that shoot sporting and fistac do not premount their guns so i know they don't check for bead alignment. different things work for different people: i tell myself to absolutely trust this: the gun WILL shoot where I'm looking. Mike
 

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Unless you close your eyes before you mount your gun and keep 'em closed until you call "PULL" you are at least subconciously making a pre-shot bead check whether you think you are or not.
 

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Oh great. More about the mysterious little man inside who does all this stuff we can't do!

John, since, by definition you can't track what "the unconscious" is up to, how can you know that it's "making a pre-shot bead check whether you think you are or not?" And doesn't it have better things to do, like calculate leads or whatever magical powers it's credited with? When the real answer is "We don't know" and there's no point in making up mythical entities to "explain" it.

Neil
 

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no cowboy i don't. I have my eye (I am a one eyed shooter) off the rib projected out as I mount. but what works for one may not work for some one else. I find what is very important for me is my head must be on the stock with my eye on the target before, during and after the shot is delivered. Much like the follow thru with a golf swing or tennis stroke or hitting a baseball. Now if there is some unconscious activity occurring ok as long as I don't know that it's happening for if I become conscious about it then I will miss. I'm not trying to profess that there is one correct way: what works for me when I'm doing well may not work for some one else. In a year or two I may be doing it differently as I evolve. mike
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If we have learned nothing else, it appears that some very good, knowledgable and accomplished shooters do things quite differently, all with good results. Maybe we need to remember that in other aspects of the sport (and life), when people tell us that we are doing things all wrong.
Myself, I've probably done it all different ways, but am training myself to keep my eye out in the field, load by feel, shoulder the gun low and bring it up, but again keep my eye focused "out there".
My guns fit and anyway, my short vision is just bad enough that unless I physically adjusted by glasses up, I probably couldn't tell you if the 2 beads are properly aligned. So I trust the cheek weld, gaze over the front (and only) bead, and use its outline, or peripheral image, so that I shoot where I want to.
And I was ready to start "converting" our very accomplished girls high school team, but now I'm having second thoughts.
dju
 
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