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Winter Testing – Raising POI

I am looking for advice on the PROCESS of raising my POI. I have Neil’s documents on the subject (a great resource by the way). My main question is” When will I know it is at the right height and how to identify it: 6” high at 13 yards, 20” high at 33 yards, 80/20, 100%????

Right handed, two eyed shooter, soft focus above the rib. I shoot singles and 21 yard handicap. Predominantly shot low POI shotguns (e.g. Remington 1100 Trap, Remington 870 Trap, old style BT99 and BT100 – yes they were all low POI shooters).

I hold low (on trap house roof) and outside 1 foot on Post 1 and 2 feet high on the corner of the house on Post 5. Other posts I hold on the track from Post 1 to Post 5. Most misses are from lifting my head or after a long vertical tracking to the birds from my hold positions. The head lifting I can work on with concentration. The other is my area of concern.

Last season I acquired a TM1 with an adjustable comb and immediately set it to its lowest position. I shot okay but not great. Several 50 straights a couple of 97s but mostly hit and miss.

Several sources have convinced me that vertical movement is not so good. A higher hold may help. Higher POI helps to eliminate excessive vertical barrel travel and potential over-travel and lost birds.

Winter is the season to test around here. I want to explore the concept of getting the most out of my TM1, raising my POI, holding a higher gun and improving my average at singles and handicap. I up for major changes so suggestions are welcome.

Thanks, Dusty
 

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The only way you'll know if you get it high enough is shoot targets. Watch Phil Kiners video on setting up poi and reading target breaks
 

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If you shot several 50 straights there is very little wrong with your POI, probably nothing wrong with it. What needs to be fine tuned, is your brain. HMB
 

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I all depends on high you want to float the bird over your barrel. Some like the target right on the barrel, some like to cover, and some like to see a gap between the target and barrel.

Wayne
 

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Don't forget that winter targets are harder to break, due to the cold temps. Targets left in the traphouse overnight don't warm up very fast, so even if the day temps are mild, the overnight temps become a factor.
 

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Just an old way of doing things but set the trap on straight-aways and stand on #3. Don't be in a hurry, but shoot at least a whole box of shells from this position with a knowledgeable buddy helping to tell you how centred the hits are. If you seem low or high after 5 or 10 shots, make a SMALL comb adjustment up or down accordingly. Don't get adjustment happy...fire enough shots after each adjustment to be sure of where your gun is shooting (high or low). Forget the damned bead picture other than to be sure your not canting the gun, and let the gun show you where it's shooting as far as high or low. Your looking for smoke. The above of course is predicated upon your having enough experience to be capable of making a consistent mount and preferably in being consistent as to where in the arc you are taking the bird. This should help you at least get the gun set-up properly but the rest is up to you. Good luck and I hope you are on your way to your first hundred straight.....BUD
 

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Dusty, here are my suggestions. Hopefully they will get you started, but it is likely you will have to tinker some.

Set your rib so that the bead is in the highest position. Stand in front of a good mirror, mount the gun and move closer so that the end of the barrel is almost touching the mirror. Make sure the ribs are aligned, then look at where the receiver cuts into your eye. If at the pupil, your comb is too low. Adjust it upwards until it just barely cuts into the bottom of your iris. A little lower is okay, and much better than higher. This may help your head lifting, because your shooting eye will have a better view of the bird. You will have a flat shooting gun.

Next go to the pattern board. Put a couple of spaced vertical lines on the paper. Standing 13 to 15 yards away, mount the gun just as you would on the line, trace one of the lines from the bottom and fire whenever. You should only be paying attention to the bead and tracing the line. Fire several more shots. If they are bisecting the line, good. If not adjust your comb right or left until they are. Make sure not to change the comb height yet, just right/left.

Now go to the range and set the trap for straights. Using your current hold, you should have no trouble smoking the birds.

Now comes your experiment. You want to hold higher to eliminate some of the vertical barrel movement when you shoot. Your low hold builds in lead when you swing up to shoot. The lower the hold and the faster you shoot, the more lead you build in. A higher hold robs you of that speed and distance, so you have to accommodate by raising your POI. This is easy to do by trial and error. If you lower the front of the rib by one notch and put 2mm additional spacers under your comb you will raise your POI by about 4" @ 40 yards. Try that. It will probably not be enough, so lower one more notch in the front and add 2mm more spacers under the comb. You should be in the ball park for a higher hold.

You should now go to posts 1 and 5 and shoot. If I were you I'd reset the trap to throw hard rights and shoot from 5. The higher you set your POI the lower you swing under an angle bird. It may take some time to adjust, because you are probably used to swinging right through the bird. 8" high @ 40 is not a lot, so you might end up chipping instead of missing. Just remember you have to swing under the bird, not through it.
 

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zzt, there is no adjustment on a TM 1 rib. Dusty wants to shoot his TM 1. Dusty, your 50 x 50s, were the targets flat? High? when you shot poorly, what were the targets like? I agree with setting the trap for straights, shooting with an observer, shoot and adjust, if needed, after 10 or more shots from post 3 to get ink spots. After you consistently are ink spotting targets from post 3, do the same from posts 1 and 5. You may be spot shooting straights. When doing any experiment, always have 1 variable. Never make 2 changes at once! ie. hold point and comb height.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all of the replies. It will all go into the mix of ideas.

On the 50 straights ... I had them with the 870 and 1100 as well. Targets were varied. I included them to note that I can shoot okay at times. I am looking for more times and more consistency. I realize we all have idiosyncrasies that allows us to do well at times. I have had years of that. Now I am looking to change the status quo and pursue changes that may be more meaningful and lasting.

If the changes to a higher POI work out to more comfortable for me then perhaps I can concentrate on other aspects of my shooting.

There is a whole lot of knowledge here and I am grateful for all of your comments.

Cheers, Dusty
 

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JT27, thanks. I read TMX. ???? However, to accomplish what he wants he has to change at least two things at once. If he holds higher (change 1) he has to either increase his swing speed so as to build in the same vertical lead, OR increase his POI for the same swing speed (change 2).
 

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Why do you think gun speed necessarily changes vertical lead, zzt? I may agree, but I can't come up with a reason.

I personally think that Dusty's posts are some of the best advice-seeking ones I've ever read. He gives us enough information to actually understand what he's likely doing now and where he wants to go and why. And this has been matched by the quality of the replies.

But I have two ways to shoot, aiming and not aiming. I think I've found that the best POI is lower for the non-aiming condition, but when I try to test both at once - that is, change both at once - I can't make it work. I have to commit to one for a while and then slowly fade the right POI in, otherwise I find things jumping back and forth and the resultant losses.

So I find that changing one thing is the only way to get where I want to go, and that change requires another to fully exploit the change. But I have to do them step-wise or I find myself doing two things I'm not used to and that's way worse than just one.

Neil
 

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Dusty; if you want to see if a higher point of impact will improve your scores, you should only change one thing at a time. That includes where you hold the gun over the house, where you look, and how you see the target over the front of the gun when you pull the trigger.

You probably have a shooting style that has evolved over a period of time; and as such, you shoot when you see the sight picture you are comfortable with. The problem occurs when the target is not in the middle of the pattern, but rather in the top third, or worse yet in the top ten or fifteen percent of the pattern. To raise the poi and then have to think about floating the target over the barrel is a set up for failure. My gun shoots a full pattern high (at least) and I touch the target with the front sight when I pull the trigger. The difference now, is that I hit more targets and shoot under fewer of them.

So I would suggest raising the comb a little (1/16") at a time and shoot at least 100 targets at that setting. Repeat this until you are shooting over the targets and then remove shims until you are smoking targets again.(use a full choke) It may also be beneficial to do this experiment at handicap distances rather than 16 yards. It could very well be that your current poi is perfect for you at the end of the day, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

The very last thing that you do is pattern your gun on a piece of paper for height (it is critical that your gun shoot neither left nor right). Once you have determined that your gun is shooting where you want it, then shoot paper to determine where it actually shoots. You do this so you can make a new gun shoot to the same poi as the old one, if and when you replace it.

After having gone through all the effort to find what poi is best for you, you may find that your shooting style continues to evolve so don't be afraid to add or subtract stock shims in your quest for perfection.

Rob L
 

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Neil.I find it interesting that a vetran shooter like yourself would admit to aiming....I think I aim also..not sure that aiming is a bad thing as long as you don't bead check during the swing...Smokit
 

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Dusty is now considering doing exactly what I went through when I transitioned my shooting style. Background: I don't have a dominant eye; however, my left eye tends to take over if my right (shooting) eye does not have a clear view of the target. When I shot a high POI (22" high @ 40) this was not as big a problem. I shot singles and handicap very well. BUT, I could not hit the second bird of doubles to save my life. I could with my field gun, but not with the trap O/U. I could not convince my brain that it had to hold WAY under that flat or dropping bird to hit it. So I started experimenting with a lower POI. I started flat, then gradually increased POI. This is where Dusty is now.

I set my Perazzi to shoot flat. I'm talking flat down the rib, buried beads flat. I had a hard time with that, because my left eye insisted on taking over. I went to the mirror and adjusted the comb so that the back of the receiver was flush with the bottom of my pupil. It had been bisecting the iris. Now the gun shot higher by about 4" @ 40, but still flat. I found my left eye taking over fewer times than before, but still happening.

I essentially went back to basics. I held right on the top of the house, waited until I had a clear view of the bird, made a move to target and fired. I was having problems, mostly on three, some on 2 and 4 and almost none on 1 and 5. Shooting a gun this flat meant you had to go through the bird on your swing. This was no problem for me on 1 and 5, because it was a "field" shot and I always had a good view of the bird.

Straights on 3 were the big problem, actually two problems. First, because I had to cover the bird to point the gun where the bird would be when it broke, my brain rebelled and my left eye tended to take over. I could always tell when this happened because there would be a sudden barrel jerk and I would miss. The second problem was blowing past straights when my left eye didn't take over.

When you hold on the house, or lower as I was told to do when I was having problems, your barrel has to traverse a considerable distance to reach the target. Dusty describes this as "...a long vertical tracking to the birds from my hold position". To get to the bird while it is still close requires a swing with considerable speed. That speed builds in vertical lead, so if you fire when you have a bead bird relationship similar to what you see for angles, you will shoot over the bird. My brain wants to see a similar relationship, so I had a problem.

Holding low for straights from 3 makes you swing fast. Holding lower makes you swing faster and exacerbates the problem. I decided to hold higher on 3. Higher as in barrel just below parallel to the ground. The over shooting disappeared. However, that hold did not work for 1 and 5. I found that holding just over the corner of the house for 1 and 5, a little higher for 2 and 4 and just below parallel for 3 worked the best. The shorter move to target on 3 meant the barrel moved less and could not build up as much speed as when it had to traverse a much greater distance. As such, it didn't build in as much vertical lead.

So having different vertical hold points for each station solved one of my problems, but not the other. I still had to cover straights from 3 and my left eye still occasionally took over. I solved that by raising POI. I did it in increments and adjusted my hold points (vertical) to suit. I found that at 8" high @ 40, the bead or barrel almost never occluded the target and my left eye didn't take over as much. With that POI I could usually hit the second bird of doubles, especially if I remembered to show a little daylight between the bead and the bird.

My current POI (for the unsingle) is 12" high @ 40. I'm finding that if my hold point on 3 is parallel or slightly higher, I'm not blowing past straights. I also find the track to the hard angles on 1 and 5 is not much different that the flight path. Also, that POI is high enough that i always "float" the bird by a little and the left eye has no reason to take over. I did have a problem with doubles in that there had to be space between the bead and the second bird. I found that if I quit aiming at the second bird and just see it and shoot it, I'm doing better with the 12" POI.

Regarding aiming vs. autopilot. When I shot a high POI there was no such thing as aiming. I shot on autopilot. If a bird surprised me, as in a straight on 5 when I was expecting a hard angle, there was no recovery. The bird was way out there and having to judge whether to hold 12" or 16" under it just didn't happen in time. I am finding that with my lower POI, it is possible to "aim" at a surprise target and hit it.

So, although I went through this process for a completely different reason than Dusty, I believe he will find the same things apply to him.

He has one real problem and a second potential problem. He lifts his head. The only reason to do that is you do not have a clear view of the bird. Raising his comb will give him a clearer view automatically, because his eye will be a greater distance above the receiver. The more he raises the comb, the better his view will be. A consequence of this is raising the comb also raises POI, and he will have to adjust to that. So that is two things he is going to have to adjust to. Whether you consider them to be simultaneous, or a slow evolution really doesn't matter. There are two things he will have to accommodate at the same time.

With the benefit of hindsight, here is what I would do if I were Dusty. I'd immediately put 1/4" worth of spacers under the comb. I'd go to the pattern board as I described in my first post and make sure I was centering the vertical lines. Then I would lock the trap on straights and shoot from Post 3. With his current hold point he will be blowing past the bird and shooting high. By gradually raising his hold point, he will begin hitting the bird with his "normal" speed swing. He won't have to move as far, it will happen in a shorter time frame and will build in less vertical lead. As he raises his hold point he will reach a point where he is smoking birds. Next, he should set the trap for hard rights and shoot from Post 5. There he will also experiment with hold points until he gets what he wants. More than likely it will be different than for 3, because gun movement is much more lateral than vertical.

I find that holding just outside the house on 5 and a little higher than the top of the house puts the bead right on the flight angle for a hard right target and I simply track the target and fire. Holding parallel or slightly higher is what I need on Post 3. 2 and 4 are in between.

Good luck Dusty. It is a tedious process, but worth it.
 

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My thanks to ZZT for an excellent analysis. I am reminded of a previous brief post by Randy Ross when he said he watches vertical gun movement of students on their clinics very closely. Randy noted that people like himself can shoot a high POI because they have little vertical movement where shooters like Nora can shoot a lower POI because they come through the target. I myself have the left eye takeover problem similar to ZZT and I have to hold my gun like the D. Lee Braun, Jim Forsbach methods of favoring the right angle birds so my barrel does not obscure my right eye's view of the target. When I run over the top of a target it still looks just great to my left eye and I literally could not say if my bird/bead picture was just under or way over. I have the additional problem of using a Release trigger and find that I always keep moving the barrel vertically when I let go of the release trigger. Years ago when I shot with a Pull trigger I'm pretty sure that I stopped the vertical move for just a millisecond before pulling the trigger. I think my life is too short to ever learn to hit the 2nd bird in Doubles with that Double Release trigger.
 

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Pay attention guys. Two ways of shooting, aiming and not aiming? WRONG!!! Here is the true story. All shots are aimed. And there are two ways to do it, aimed using the conscious mind or aimed using the subconscious mind.

You are much better off letting the subconscious mind take over and do the job. Why you ask, because it is flawless, never makes a mistake. It is when the conscious mind takes over that mistakes are made and targets are lost. HMB
 

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Discussion Starter #20
WOW! What great responses. You all are so generous with your thoughtful and helpful insight - Thanks!

I have verified that my TM1 shoots straight. No left or right variance at all ... dead center. I will gather several spacers (1/16, 1/8, 1/4 etc.) see where they take me.

I feel much better knowing I can experiment and come back here for some verification of my attempts!

Cheers, Dusty
 
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