After a frustrating practise where I couldn't hit a barn door, on Wednesday afternoon I met up with one of the Thimbleby instructors for a much-needed lesson.
Adrian's theory was I had either picked up some bad habits or had gun fit issues (or both). He wanted to go right back to the beginning & take me through a CPSA first lesson plan. This involves several steps before going near the clay stands. Most points were thankfully not new to me but a refresher on gun safety is never going to be a waste of time. We moved on to mounting the gun into my shoulder and the problems began to appear:
Firstly, my gun stock (the wooden end) was too low meaning I couldn't see any of the rib (the top edge of the barrel), just the bead at the end. A 5mm comb raiser pad on the stock solved this quickly (if not exactly elegantly).
The next issue? A tilted gun. On mounting, I wasn't putting my head over the gun enough so the barrels were slanted over to the left. (They should be an upright figure of eight). It's made me realise I've been lazy up to now. I haven't really done any practise dry mounting and I need to start.
Finally, we got to the clay stand but without the gun. Adrian apologised he was about to waste a few of my clays. I pointed out that if I didn't get sorted out I was just going to waste a lot more and cartridges on top! Adrian started me on the "Pull Away" technique for shooting - get onto the target, track it for a beat then pull ahead and fire. It was here that my next bad habit was picked up on. Instead of looking at the clay, I've been looking at the bead on the end of the gun and trying to line it up with the target. I am therefore not giving myself enough time to see the clay as it comes into view.
Putting all three together, I then managed some success on the training ground clays. After the last few weeks of patchy results on the faster targets, it felt fantastic to be consistently smashing some! But then all too soon it was time to get back to the real world and the school run.
Back that night to Thimbleby for a league night in the rain (hence no pictures as too busy trying not to get my gun too wet!). With this added complication & trying to remember to follow my new techniques, the shots I did hit, I felt I'd "got" them rather than just being lucky. So, while no immediate improvement in my score (9/25), I feel a lot more confident in what I'm doing. Time to get practising!
Bye for now Lucy x
NB: I do realise what I've had is not a "professional gun fitting" which I will consider once I've got some further practise under my belt