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How to lead a target when shotgun shooting

G’day, I’m Rod Pascoe and welcome again
to SSAA TV, coming to you today from the Cecil Park Clay Target Club. Today’s topic is all about lead. Now lead
is the technique we use to place a string of shot in front of a moving target so that
the shot and the target come together at the same place at the same time. I’m joined by Paul Miller, who most of you
will know as a shotgun writer for the Australian Shooter magazine. G’day, Paul. G’day, Rod. Good to be here. Now explain to us, what are the factors that
affect lead? There’s probably three things that influence
lead: the speed of the target, distance of the target, and the speed of the shotgun shell. And when you’re out in the field hunting
you don’t have a lot of time to work out the lead. But here on the Skeet field we can
practice and calculate the lead that’s required. That’s right, they’re very constant targets,
Skeet. You’ve got a high house and the low house and those targets are thrown the same
way every time. So depending where you’re standing on the
Skeet layout, you could be looking at targets that are crossing you, or coming towards you,
or going away from you. Now if you think of the widest targets you’re
looking at about a metre or so of lead. So calculating the lead is something that
you learn by trial and error. But ultimately it’s a technique you learn and can practice over and over. But the way you apply the lead, fire the shot and follow-through is a very much tried and proven technique. Absolutely it is, and the Skeet layout is
the perfect place to practice it. So of the three methods we’re going to look
at today, the first one is swing-through. The idea here is that you start with the gun
behind the target, you sweep through the target, pull the trigger, follow through and hopefully
you break it. It’s essential that you follow through. Let’s have a look at that. Pull. Now let’s have a look at that again, slowed down. Pull. Pull. The next method to talk about is pull-away.
The idea here is we match the gun to the target and we pull away in front of the target to
establish the lead, fire the shot and follow through. Let’s have a look at that. Pull. Now let’s look at that in slow motion. Pull. So the last method we’re going to talk about
today is sustained or maintained lead. The idea here is you bring the gun in front of
the target, maintain a lead, pull the trigger and follow through. Let’s have a look at that. Pull. Now let’s look at that again slowed down. The other time to use sustained lead is on
long crossing shots at Sporting Clays and 5-Stand. The difference here is that these targets
are thrown in an incredible number of different ways and angles, so a lot more mental pictures
of lead need to be developed, which won’t happen overnight. The other advantage of sustained lead is that
it’s easy for a beginner to understand when we say ‘Mount the gun, stay in front of
the target, pull the trigger’. Target shooting is great practice for shooting
in the field. In fact, field shooters always find themselves shooting better when they’re
after ducks, foxes or rabbits after practising on clay targets. Some crossing targets require really long leads with any of the three methods we’ve talked about. One thing is for sure, you must understand and master the concept of lead, otherwise you’re going to miss. Wonderful. Thanks very much. My pleasure. Thanks, Paul. Well, I hope that’s given you a bit of an idea of what’s involved with lead. The SSAA 5-Stand discipline is a really good way of practising your shotgun skills. We hope to bring you more tips in future episodes. But for now, from the Cecil Park Clay Target Club, thanks for watching SSAA TV and we’ll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “How to lead a target when shotgun shooting

  1. Great video, just starting with a shoty. Great to see it in slow motion for clear instruction. Hope to be ok, mainly for feild work with foxes

  2. I just naturally(never taught) use the always lead method I feel it gives me longer to adjust how far in front I am

  3. Why is it so important to follow through once you have pulled the trigger? surely once you've pulled the trigger the shot leaves the gun almost instantly so what difference does it make if the gun is still moving once the shot is already on the way to the target?

  4. i really hope this video pays off when i get my .410 or when i go skeetin with my cousin
     (skeet-in) aka skeeting aka shooting skeet lol anyways

  5. I'm going skeet shooting tomorrow, last time I was lost. I think I'll do better after watching this. Thank you!

  6. Thanks. I am a great rifle and pistol shooter. Never used a shotgun much. Last year I bought a Browning Cynergy Sporting and headed out for dove season. after 2 boxes of shells and zero birds, I packed it in. I was shooting in front of my target but it wasnt in a swing motion. It was stationary like a rifle. I am going to put these tips to practice.

    update! Finally went out and shot this morning. Started my usual way by missing everything. Then, I just kept extending the lead. at about 4 ft in front (way more than ehat i had been doing), I got a hit. Then i got another. I didn't get a kot of them but it was a huge increase over zero. watching these videos on a phone screen didnt really make me appreciate how much lead is needed. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Why the emphasis on follow through? once the shot has left the barrel, does it really matter what you do after the shot is fired? does anyone have an explanation for the importance of follow through? – Thanks for the video on different ways of leading the target, great info.

  8. I recently purchased a shotgun, and I am learning that it is a challenge to shoot a moving clay target. I'm pleased and a little surprised Australians are still able to participate in shooting sport, after your government's infamous gun grab. Anyway I will apply what I learn here. Thank you!

  9. When i went Skeet Shooting it was hard as hell….looks easy but at first it felt weird shooting at blank space infront of the target because we have habit aiming directly at target

  10. Well..i personally feel..there isnt much science around…all u need is years of practice… over n over..helpful video though

  11. Awesome thanks! This year I’m going to be joining my high school trap team this year and this was some great advice!

  12. The techniques are correct, but this isn't a very good representation of the correct sight picture. I think some illustrations that show the correct sight picture, as well as instructions on how far to lead your target at different distances, along with this video would be much more beneficial to those who are new to this sport.

  13. Idk why but I have a lot of trouble putting this into practice on doves in the field 😧 but only on doves (which are the only birds I hunt with a shotgun) skeet, trap, small and large game I'm damn near perfect but doves elude me I've probly made a handful of shots on flying ones in the last year and missed dozens (still ones are the only way I bag a limit) idk what's wrong

  14. Very good video mate. great explanation of target acquisition. execution and registration with a follow through like an aussie

  15. mark r Scranton Pennsylvania usa thx so much been shooting 4 yrs took crossing crows at 100yds no4 shot 4 ft over and 9 yds lead

  16. I've watched quite a few videos on this question, and mostly what I see is a lot of talk, and they don't really explain well. Your video was simple, and to the point. I learned what I wanted to know. Thank you for a great, and informative video, sir.

  17. Good instructional video and not so lengthy. Thk u. My question, when you are swinging your shotgun to match the speed then get the lead, are you looking down tbe barrel at the sight? Or just looking at the clay pigeon?
    Seems to me, i want to watch my sight as i swing past the target, establish the lead, then squeeze the trigger?

  18. Good ole Australia – sound sensible advice. I'm in GB and this will really help me to shoot clays better. Cheers Chaps !

  19. Main question. What kind of choke are you guys using and what kind of shell for this sport ?
    Thanks , great vid and explanation!

  20. My father and grandfather always taught me to get ahead of the target by one shotgun length when shooting ducks and that piece of advice has never failed.

  21. You must find out which method feels most natural to you, but I am glad to see an instructor of this caliber define the different ways to get ahead of the bird. Well done.

  22. The speed of the target makes very little to no real world difference in sporting or DTL. I applaud the effort but guys, you've gotta get this stuff right. The only time the target velocity makes a discernable difference is ISSF trap or skeet, then the shooter must make allowance. Otherwise, I totally agree with everything that was stated & shown.
    Cecil Park CTC is an excellent club & I encourage would be shooters to go there.

  23. What i don't know is how much the clay will travel before the charge gets there. In other words, I don't know the how far to lead the c. pigeon. In trap, I suppose a Target travelling sideways might travel about a foot before the shot would reach it – less lateral travel if it is moving away (but farther away). …Maybe I need some stationary target practice to learn more but you don't know which side you've missed the target on. …
    It doesn't help that the local range requires single-shot loading only when my TriStar semi is hard to load. (A very stiff release button). Thanks anyone out there.

  24. I consider myself a pretty good shot. Issued my 410 and 22 at birth from the state of West Virginia. Never been so humbled than the first time I tried shooting clay. .

  25. This was helpful! I only shoot my shotgun once a year, but I can't wait to try this the next time we are tossing clays.

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