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Trigger Control for Shotgunners: Don’t Think about It!

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Trigger Control for Shotgunners: Don’t Think about It!

I take some heat from readers and colleagues because I still call what I do to make a shotgun fire “pulling” the trigger. They’ve informed me that the correct word, these days, is to “press” the trigger rather than “squeeze” or “pull” it, especially when it comes to handguns and rifles.

In shotgunning, this has reinforced my belief that the greatest detriment to shooting a good score or achieving a laudable shell-to-limit ratio is thinking too much. If a shotgun’s trigger is so heavy or so creepy (or so light, for that matter) that it draws your attention to it as you shoot, you’re going to miss—guaranteed. The optimal trigger in a shotgun for wingshooting is one that’s so vanilla, so middle-of-the-road, so ordinary that you never think twice about it.

As this column has covered previously, drills for wingshooting are much more about consistency and smoothness in mounting the gun than about precision trigger control. While dry-firing drills are important, the purpose for the wingshooting shotgunner is to promote continued swing and follow-through during the trigger pull. Think rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time.

Another more important drill somewhat related to trigger pull is really an anti-flinch drill. Go to the line at your favorite clay target range with a partner. Let him or her load your gun for you while you look away. About 75 to 80 percent of the time, the partner should load the gun as normal, but the other 20 to 25 percent, they should drop a snap cap into the chamber. Repeating this drill will both reveal any developing flinch problems and help you smooth things out if you do.

The best advice on your wingshooting shotgun’s trigger? If you have one you like—just don’t think about it!

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