Thoughts on double rifle training and muscle memory

Backyardsniper

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Any body that has read anything I have posted by now knows I have a new to me double rifle that I am working to get proficient with. I had an interesting lesson today. I have purchased a CZ bobwhite 20 gauge SxS as a trainer. I took it to a friend of mines today to shoot some sporting clays. He has 10 promatic throwers set up for a pretty nice little sporting clay range. Today's training was going to be centered around working the double triggers while in a dynamic engagement, not just standing in front of a target board taking slow fire aimed shots. On a side note, that little $650 CZ is nice. It is a clay busting machine and it will probably be my go to hunting gun for a little while.
So back to the moral of the story, I have probably 150 rounds through the double rifle so far. All of them, except that one time, going according to plan. Right-left or Left-right. No problem.
We start shooting clays and I pull out ahead of a low left to right crossing shot and I squeeze off the front trigger, just behind it, damn, pull the lead out a touch farther and squeeze off the front trigger again. There it was, muscle memory, standing in front of a target board firing off well thought through shots, no problem. Put your body in a situation where it has to react through training and muscle memory though and it will do what you have trained it to do. I have always shot an automatic or an O/U with a single trigger.
Related story, I hunted pheasants in S.D. several years ago and you could take the plug out of your gun there. So I did and loaded her to the gills. Every time I would fire 3 shots then stop, then remember " oh shit I got two more shells". Too late. Much as I assume it would be too late with a (fill in the blank) bearing down on you in a charge and you lite off one barrel and then in a panic give the same trigger a tug again.
So if you are gonna shoot a double gun you better practice with a double gun until you can run it without even thinking about it. I believe the SxS shotgun is one of the best training tools you can have to become proficient with the functions of a DR.
After the sporting clay shooting we took some clays and hung them on some waist high limbs in my buddies woods along a trail. We then made a little stalk and took some 25-30 yard off hand shots at the stationary clays with the 470. While not everyone has access to an area where you can safely do that, I highly recommend it if you do. The clays give you a very binary system. Its either a kill or a miss, unlike paper targets where you can be close or say, well that would have been in the kill zone. This is a kill or a miss. My goal is proficiency out to 35yd offhand on clay size targets and 60-70 off sticks. Maybe more, we will see how it goes, but I think that is a good starting point. However far I can consistently hit a 3.5-4" clay target should be a good measure of how far of a shot I can confidently take on an animal.
 

chashardy

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Sounds like good practice. I was surprised at how many different shots were presented to me on my trips to Africa. Standing off sticks, standing off hand, kneeling, sitting in a chair and leaning back and shooting off hand, kneeling and resting the rifle on the PH's shoulder, etc. etc. with my double and my bolt rifles. Practice as many different situations as you can think of. First shot off the sticks is most common, but the others are needed as well.
One other thing to practice: If you have access to a ranch, take your double with you on a two or three mile hike. You need to get used to walking around while carrying that 10 pound rifle.
 

small bore

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Your practice range sounded familiar so I looked around on the book shelves and found a similar layout recommended by Terry Wieland in his book "Dangerous-Game Rifles", in a short chapter on practice with a heavy rifle. He recommends use of reduced velocity practice loads and further suggests instruction at one of the specialized shooting schools like **NOT**PERMITTED** in Arizona.

Your field layout and approach seems ideal to simulate walking up game.
Any plans to rig something up to simulate a charge?

Sounds to me like good times in Kentucky.
 

Backyardsniper

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Your practice range sounded familiar so I looked around on the book shelves and found a similar layout recommended by Terry Wieland in his book "Dangerous-Game Rifles", in a short chapter on practice with a heavy rifle. He recommends use of reduced velocity practice loads and further suggests instruction at one of the specialized shooting schools like **NOT**PERMITTED** in Arizona.

Your field layout and approach seems ideal to simulate walking up game.
Any plans to rig something up to simulate a charge?

Sounds to me like good times in Kentucky.
Yeah me and my buddy were talking about it. He has torches, welders and all that, we are probably gonna rig up a cable and pulley ot just a cable and sled powered via ATV. I hope to get some video of some of our training to post on here.
 

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Sounds like good practice. I was surprised at how many different shots were presented to me on my trips to Africa. Standing off sticks, standing off hand, kneeling, sitting in a chair and leaning back and shooting off hand, kneeling and resting the rifle on the PH's shoulder, etc. etc. with my double and my bolt rifles. Practice as many different situations as you can think of. First shot off the sticks is most common, but the others are needed as well.
One other thing to practice: If you have access to a ranch, take your double with you on a two or three mile hike. You need to get used to walking around while carrying that 10 pound rifle.
Forgotten Weapons had an interview last year with the gentleman who was the first head of the GIGN. He stated that live shooting drills were always carried out late in the day, when the team members were tired, so as to replicate real world conditions and provide a genuine test of individual proficiency.
 

John the Electrician

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I used to have enough time to shoot USPSA pretty regular and still have a bunch of the stuff for that sport. You should get a shot timer and set up some scenarios or situations to see how long it takes to make two controlled shots on a target.

the timer and competition between folks adds a bit of real stress to the training and the timer will show if and how much you are improving your times, the targets will show if you are improving your accuracy.

lots of ways to work on what you think you need to practice. You can start with the gun in a low ready position or from a sling or shouldered as if making the insurance shot. The timer has a button to press and within a portion of a second, at random it will beep and start timing. It measures from the beep to the first shot and also the rest of the shot string. In your case, that would only be two shotyin your string.
 

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I used to have enough time to shoot USPSA pretty regular and still have a bunch of the stuff for that sport. You should get a shot timer and set up some scenarios or situations to see how long it takes to make two controlled shots on a target.

the timer and competition between folks adds a bit of real stress to the training and the timer will show if and how much you are improving your times, the targets will show if you are improving your accuracy.

lots of ways to work on what you think you need to practice. You can start with the gun in a low ready position or from a sling or shouldered as if making the insurance shot. The timer has a button to press and within a portion of a second, at random it will beep and start timing. It measures from the beep to the first shot and also the rest of the shot string. In your case, that would only be two shotyin your string.
I have a timer and I will definitely be employing it in the training. I will probably run it as a 4 shot string. Pair- reload- pair
 

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You can set up steel targets to fall and trigger clay target poppers, shootsteel has a version, it'll throw a clay high in the air, but it may throw, say, a self-healing shooting ball only a few feet...
You could rig it so it threw the clay target your direction to a degree as well.
MGM Targets has a really neat version called the "pigeon toaster" that keeps them thrown at reasonable height so you aren't sending rifle bullets into space.

You can also rig them so when they fall they pull the cord to a clay target thrower that could throw a rabbit your direction or near.

With all of those you initially shoot a steel "Pepper Popper" type target, it falls and triggers the clay target.

You could also use a baseball/softball throwing machine, even toy ones can throw the balls decently fast, like 20-30mph depending upon the balls you use.

Then there's the still inexpensive, but can really get going, like this. *lite baseballs to 80mph... And those solid foam/rubber yellow version balls would likely take several hits before needing to be replaced.

You could also run slugs through that side by side shotgun to practice cheaper.

1664172930272.png
 

Hunter4752001

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I have thought about using steel pepper popper type targets, but wondered about what type and thickness of steel would survive repeated hits from dangerous game calibre rifles. Pistol calibres and defensive rifle calibres are pretty mild compared to , 375 H&H, 458 Lott et al. Also consider potential ricochet issues. Appreciate comments from those who have made such a setup.
 

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Any body that has read anything I have posted by now knows I have a new to me double rifle that I am working to get proficient with. I had an interesting lesson today. I have purchased a CZ bobwhite 20 gauge SxS as a trainer. I took it to a friend of mines today to shoot some sporting clays. He has 10 promatic throwers set up for a pretty nice little sporting clay range. Today's training was going to be centered around working the double triggers while in a dynamic engagement, not just standing in front of a target board taking slow fire aimed shots. On a side note, that little $650 CZ is nice. It is a clay busting machine and it will probably be my go to hunting gun for a little while.
So back to the moral of the story, I have probably 150 rounds through the double rifle so far. All of them, except that one time, going according to plan. Right-left or Left-right. No problem.
We start shooting clays and I pull out ahead of a low left to right crossing shot and I squeeze off the front trigger, just behind it, damn, pull the lead out a touch farther and squeeze off the front trigger again. There it was, muscle memory, standing in front of a target board firing off well thought through shots, no problem. Put your body in a situation where it has to react through training and muscle memory though and it will do what you have trained it to do. I have always shot an automatic or an O/U with a single trigger.
Related story, I hunted pheasants in S.D. several years ago and you could take the plug out of your gun there. So I did and loaded her to the gills. Every time I would fire 3 shots then stop, then remember " oh shit I got two more shells". Too late. Much as I assume it would be too late with a (fill in the blank) bearing down on you in a charge and you lite off one barrel and then in a panic give the same trigger a tug again.
So if you are gonna shoot a double gun you better practice with a double gun until you can run it without even thinking about it. I believe the SxS shotgun is one of the best training tools you can have to become proficient with the functions of a DR.
After the sporting clay shooting we took some clays and hung them on some waist high limbs in my buddies woods along a trail. We then made a little stalk and took some 25-30 yard off hand shots at the stationary clays with the 470. While not everyone has access to an area where you can safely do that, I highly recommend it if you do. The clays give you a very binary system. Its either a kill or a miss, unlike paper targets where you can be close or say, well that would have been in the kill zone. This is a kill or a miss. My goal is proficiency out to 35yd offhand on clay size targets and 60-70 off sticks. Maybe more, we will see how it goes, but I think that is a good starting point. However far I can consistently hit a 3.5-4" clay target should be a good measure of how far of a shot I can confidently take on an animal.

Shoot a lot of "Rabbits" on the clays course with that gun. See if you can shoot instinctively very quickly, even if you miss more than waiting for the apex of the shot on clays. Spend the dough to buy a vintage copy of Robert Churchill's Wingshooting and pay attention to his footwork chapter and in general, instinctive shooting.

Don't let a clays course guru teach you sustained lead or butt-beak-bang. Those work for clays competitors but you better know the Churchill method of shotgun if you want to actually gain some skills you can apply to stopping a buffalo or leopard coming at you.
 

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Shoot a lot of "Rabbits" on the clays course with that gun. See if you can shoot instinctively very quickly, even if you miss more than waiting for the apex of the shot on clays. Spend the dough to buy a vintage copy of Robert Churchill's Wingshooting and pay attention to his footwork chapter and in general, instinctive shooting.

Don't let a clays course guru teach you sustained lead or butt-beak-bang. Those work for clays competitors but you better know the Churchill method of shotgun if you want to actually gain some skills you can apply to stopping a buffalo or leopard coming at you.
Hello @rookhawk,

Robert Churchill's Wing Shooting is not the same as the below book?

1664267762499.png
 

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Shoot a lot of "Rabbits" on the clays course with that gun. See if you can shoot instinctively very quickly, even if you miss more than waiting for the apex of the shot on clays. Spend the dough to buy a vintage copy of Robert Churchill's Wingshooting and pay attention to his footwork chapter and in general, instinctive shooting.

Don't let a clays course guru teach you sustained lead or butt-beak-bang. Those work for clays competitors but you better know the Churchill method of shotgun if you want to actually gain some skills you can apply to stopping a buffalo or leopard coming at you.
Luckily that is the way I usually shoot. I shoot quite a bit of clays with that same buddy, he actual shoots in larger tournaments, I think he won his division at the US open a few years ago. I have always just looked at clays as practice gor hunting though, so I do usually just practice from the low ready and then point-bang. I have used some of the methods you describe, and I'm familiar with them
I had not thought about concentrating on the rabbits mostly, that is really an excellent idea and i will definitely do that.
 

Backyardsniper

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Forgotten Weapons had an interview last year with the gentleman who was the first head of the GIGN. He stated that live shooting drills were always carried out late in the day, when the team members were tired, so as to replicate real world conditions and provide a genuine test of individual proficiency.
That is likely true, those tier one guys go to great lengths to be absolute masters of thier craft. You never rise to the occasion, you always fall to the level of your training.
 

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Just as a side note:
I'm using an old Simson/Suhl sxs for shooting clays and hunting. It"s got an english stock and double triggers. So far so good! Got a nice Wingmaster for a very good price, too good to pass.
Went to the range, clay shooting.
Got all of the clays I did hit with the first shot!:giggle:
Couldn't get used to move the front stock after the first shot. A wonderful classic and absolutely functional shotgun was nearly useless as I didn't got used to the mechanism. Repeating a rifle automatically after shot with the rifle still at the shoulder is no problem.
A friend got the fine old Remington due to my lack of competence. Well...
 

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Hello @rookhawk,

Robert Churchill's Wing Shooting is not the same as the below book?

View attachment 491950



That's the one.

It's incredibly important to understand instinctive shooting and the corresponding foot work for instinctive shooting. Foot placement is something the world's leading clay shooters do not understand very well.

Most clays instructors are telling you how to position your feet in readiness to address known targets and known vectors. If the target was to come from another direction, a clays expert would miss or potentially fall over.

Churchill emphasized two really important things relevant to wild bird shooting and also double rifle shooting. 1.) You never know where the shot will present so you must have your barrel ready, between your two feet, with the muzzle roughly in the same plane as the inside of your left foot, your right foot when preparing to shoot should be off the ground at the heel, both for ability to manage recoil and also to swing your stance to address a target at a different location. 2.) If you instinctively shoot you do not need to lead the animal whatsoever. All the lead you need is to acquire and shoot when the barrel comes to the target as the comb comes to the face IF you are in motion. Churchill believed that your body in motion will ultimately create the lead and follow-through without having to calculate for it in your head.

But what did Churchill know anyway? Well, he invented a 25" shotgun barrel when the world championships in Monaco were shooting exclusively 32" barreled guns because you HAD TO in order to have the right lead. Yeah, he won the world championship with a gun that was deemed wholly wrong and he shot with a technique that everyone said wouldn't work.
 

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