A Shotgunning How-To
Marty Fischer’s new tome, The Gun Digest Book of Shotgunning, is a worthwhile read for the wingshooter. The paperback’s 240 pages run about 50 percent photographs. The rest is topical advice and comment from a seasoned wingshooter, coach, shooting columnist, shotgunning videographer and cable TV personality.
Generally, my favorite “how to wingshoot” book has been the slim Orvis Wingshooting Handbook, by Bruce Bowlen. Fischer’s book, with its 18 chapters, goes a little further, especially in the area of gun gear, fitting and shooting styles. He also gets into specific techniques for certain birds.
Fischer’s chapter on “Shooting Styles and How They Apply” is a case in point. He goes into swing-through, with a good differentiation of the Churchill and Stanbury methods on driven birds, and then gets into pull-away and maintained lead. There is a particularly interesting bit on styles appropriate to harvesting multiple birds from a single flock of waterfowl, doves or quail. I’m going to have to re-read that one.
The writing level is basic and forthright. The book is perhaps aimed more at the advanced beginner rather than the seasoned pro. But there is something in there for everyone. And even the advanced shooter will benefit from revisiting the basics and the reasons behind those building blocks. I tended to skim certain parts, feeling that I already knew the subject, only to slam on the brakes when some new little tidbit surfaced.
Of course, I didn’t agree with everything. That wouldn’t be any fun. There were some things I’d have liked more detail on and some less. But by and large the book was worthwhile.
Unfortunately, the book does not have an index, glossary or list of chapters. So here are the chapters, just so you can get a feel for things:
“The Basics of Wingshooting”
“Selecting the Right Gun”
“Fitting a Gun for the Field”
“Ammo Selection and Performance”
“Barrels, Chokes and Patterning for Optimum Performance”
“The Principles of Gun Mount”
“Understanding Proper Foot and Body Position”
“Vision and Its Inherent Problems”
“Shooting Styles and How They Apply”
“Mastering the Common Mistakes for Misses”
“Doves and Such”
“The Wonders of Waterfowling”
“Hunting the Uplands”
“Mastering the Mental Game”
“Shotgun Maintenance for the Field”
“Practicing with a Purpose”
“Putting It All Together”
Time to sit down and read some more. There is a lot there to learn.
Until next time, boots off, beer open.