I'm going to be serious here and share with you what has REALLY helped my handicap shooting. I've been a 27 yard shooter for many years. Not a solid, really competitive, 27 yard shooter, but, I manage to keep an average that prevents a yardage reduction, so I'm not sure that is good or bad. The past 5-6 years, I have been struggling at handicap. Shooting MX-15's, DB-81's, and not improving. About the middle of last year, I returned to a low ribbed gun for the first time in many years. Bought a beautiful MX-3 Special from "too fast", on this site. I had the gun for about 1 month and attended the Calif. State Shoot, in Kingsburg. Shot it in the preliminary days and felt pretty good with it, and my scores were somewhat higher than they had been for some time. About 4 days into the shoot, I shot a 97 from the 27 and won the Vet. class outright. It was a little breezy shooting over the Kern River that morning, but, I stayed in the gun and had a great day. My scores are steadily going up, and my handicap scores are really showing improvement. My MX-3 Special feels better in my hands than any other gun I have owned since I sold my MX-3 Combo about 7 years ago. Needless to say, my confidence level has risen accordingly. In my case, I know it was the change in guns from a high ribbed gun back to a low ribbed gun that is making the difference. Why? Because I changed nothing during this time except the gun. I discovered that, for my style of shooting, I needed to be closer to the barrel to really get the sight picture I need to shoot my best. I also just discovered a few very valuable tidbits from Leo Harrison's new DVD's that pertain directly to me and my shooting. I have taken several clinics over the years, and have ALL the trapshooting DVD's available. Even with all these tools available, the change in guns was the single, most obvious thing that has made a difference..... Just my experience..... Dan Thome (Trap2)
If you are a "club" shooter and do so with your buds, likely handicap scores will suffer. get off by yourself and shoot weekly practice handicap at your yardage. Shoot as many as you can staying focused will allow. When you shoot an ATA round on a squad, usually it takes 12-15 minutes. If you are shooting practice handicap by yourself, take that same amount of time. Tempo and rest between shots are very important puzzle pieces.
Trap2 - Thanks for the serious response and insight regarding the low rib gun. I have a follow up question for you and any others who have experienced this improvement with the low rib gun. When you mention your sight picture, what is yours? Are you pretty much putting the bead on the bird from the 27? I am not really talking about hard angle birds as much as the elevation. Do you float the bird at all? Does your lead have to increase over the high rib gun, etc. Thanks again for the excellent response to this question. Jack Farrow
See, I disagree with only shooting handicap targets. Shooting singles targets will reinforce the fundamentals, and build good habits. These fundamentals like making smooth moves to the target, and not moving to the target until you see it are key to shooting good handicap. Singles should also give you confidence that will translate over to handicap.
Handicap compounds every little mistake you make and it generally results in a miss. If you are struggling with handicap, rather than beat your head against the wall, it may be a good idea to go shoot some singles, gain confidence, and practice the good habits that you know you have to do.
When I WAS shooting well, I was involved in a competitive shoot 6 days a week and the best competition was a league that had 4 very good shooters on my squad. IF you didn't break 22 from the 27, you were hounded, humiliated, and otherwise chided for your lack of scoring. I had the 2nd high average on the squad and in the league.
All that has passed and so have my scores.
I will agree with trap 2, that a low-rib seems to work better for me than a high rib. .....merlyn.
The more I pratice the luckier I get, I need a lot of practice right now ... I didn't miss a handicap target in over 6 months and then I went back and started shooting again ... I find that when I lay off shooting for awhile I usually have timing issues, that combined with the other issues makes it tough to get back in the groove ... I have done it before and I will do it again ... WPT ... (YAC) ...