provided by John E. Phillips
“I’ve been on the Mossy Oak National ProStaff ever since the company has had a ProStaff,” said Marty Fischer, one of the nation’s top shotgun-shooting instructors and clay-target course designers. Fischer has multiple gold medals from several World Skeet Championships and Sporting Clays. For many years, Fischer competed in shotgun shooting events worldwide. Now he helps design clay-target courses and teaches shotgun shooting (the past 30 years) at wing-shooting schools and to national competitors. After seeing Fischer shoot in the dove field, I’m convinced that he shoots fewer shells to take more doves than anyone with whom I’ve ever hunted. Fischer has shot birds on four continents and in 11 countries.
You’ll know if your shotgun is properly fitted when you’re able to look straight down at the rib of the gun without making a correction (moving the gun left, right, up or down) after you bring the shotgun up to your face and into the pocket of your shoulder. A properly fitted gun will shoot right where you’re looking, without your having to aim it.
To test how the gun is fitting you, we do what’s called an impact pattern. During this test, you’ll stand 15-18 yards away from a pattern plate or a large target. The gun will be off your shoulder or under your armpit, and the muzzle of the gun will be below the center of the target. You’ll then push the gun toward the center of the target, and the stock will hit your face at the same time, signaling that it’s time to squeeze the trigger. The mechanics of the gun mount are extremely critical to shooting the shotgun accurately. After you shoot the shot, look at the target, and see what kind of pattern your gun is shooting - left, right, up or down. That will tell you if your gun fits properly.
One of the best ways to choose a shotgun is to go into a gun shop where perhaps 20 different shotguns are for sale. If you mount each of those guns properly like we’ve described, one of those guns will feel better to you than all of the other guns do. You’ll be thinking, “Man, I can shoot that gun.”
All guns are made differently by various gun manufacturers. Each one will have various drops and casts. Major gun manufacturers build guns for “every man” who is 5’9” to 5’10”, has a medium build and has 33-34 inch arms. When you go out into a dove field, you may see a few people that fit that size, but most of them won’t. Trying to find the right gun is like going into a shoe store and saying, “I want to buy a pair of black shoes,” and the salesman says, “All of the racks up front have black shoes on them,” but they’re all size 9-1/2, which may not be your size.
Remember, do not buy a gun because you want the same kind that your granddaddy has shot. That gun may not fit you, be unbalanced and has been designed probably for the “every man.” The American hunter tries to fit himself to a gun, instead of fitting the gun to himself. To shoot the best you can in a dove field, get with someone who knows shotguns, and ask them to help you find the gun that fits you best.
Learn more about Marty Fisher: