Mountain Lines


by Nelson Haas



Every year I hear numerous stories of missing a spring gobbler …with a shotgun. How can that happen with a cartridge that puts 296 missiles  in the air in a 40-inch circle?

My theory is: today we are over-choking our shotguns, producing an exceptionally narrow shot pattern allowing no room for error in our shooting abilities.

When I first carried a shotgun as a young boy, there  were only three chokes: Full, Modified and Improved (cylinder). Today the list consists of:

Cylinder (Bore), Skeet, Improved Cylinder. Light Modified, Modified,

Improved Modified, Light Full, Full, Extra Full and Super Full (Turkey).

With superior shot shell powders, wads, buffers, sleeves and shot technology, exceptionally small shot patterns are possible today in Full Choke only. Further choke restrictions such as Extra and Super Full produce a very small pattern and if you are not a good shooter, you’re going to miss.

What helped me become a proficient shotgunner was taking up skeet shooting and patterning my shotgun and shells.

The most important thing skeet shooting taught me was to keep my head on the stock and swing-the-gun. Before every match, expert skeet shooter, Gary Hnath of St. Marys would tell me: “Keep your head down and swing-the-gun.” That simple reminder improved my skeet scores immensely.


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