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Game shooting instruction

Twenty top tips for partridge shooting

Author: Simon Ward

Invaluable tips that could transform your partridge shooting success.

Over tall hedges and shelter belts 1: Guns and ammunition Either side-by-side or over-under, calibre 28, 20, 16 or 12-bore. Barrel length: 25”-30”. Choke: Open chokes between improved and half. Ammunition: Felt wads - 28 gauge, 21gram-28gram, number 6 shot; 20 gauge, 21gram-28gram number 6-7 shot; 12 gauge, 24gram-30gram, number 6-7 shot. 2: Keep the noise down Try to be quiet as you walk to your peg, i.e. shooting position in the line. Refrain from slamming car doors...

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How to shoot clays to improve your game shooting

Top game shooting instructor Simon Ward offers his advice for making the most of your visits to the shooting ground.

How you approach your trips to your local clay ground will depend entirely on where you want to take your game shooting. There is nothing to stop you from having fun while you are there, but the key is to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and a structured plan. And rather than thinking of it as practice, think of it as training; if you want to make the most of it, you need to take it seriously. Any shooting you do, whether it is at clays, pigeons or game, will ultimately...

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Which gun for high pheasants?

Author: Chris Batha

When it comes to tackling extreme range pheasants, bigger does not always mean better

In my years as a sporting agent, shooting instructor, gunmaker and gun fitter, I have often been amazed, both in the field and at shooting grounds, at a client's choice of gun when, often, their choice is actually handicapping their efforts to achieve consistent, straight shooting. This mismatching of gun to bird has been exacerbated by the current fashion for uber-high pheasant shoots where birds in excess of 60 yards are considered fair game. When looking for a suitable shotgun to...

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External factors that can effect shooting performance

Author: Simon Ward

Gunfit, gunmount, footwork, timing and follow through are all paramount to good shooting, but if due attention is not paid to the other variables on a shoot day, you might find yourself walking back to the gunbus feeling nonplussed.

Just as with any sport, preparation is key to consistently good performance when game shooting. In this issue, however, rather than focus on the minutiae of technique, we shall consider those variables which really should be quite obvious but so often catch game Shots out. Gunfit, gunmount, footwork, timing and follow through are all paramount to good shooting, but disregard the variables below, and you’ll be kicking yourself. Wind speed and direction Being aware of the wind speed...

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Five wildfowling tips

Father and son Jeremy and Guy Westmoreland share their top tips for improving success at wild fowling. Plus, they identify exactly what kit you need to take along with you.

1. SAFETY COMES FIRST As with all forms of shooting, safety should be your number one priority. If you are an inexperienced wildfowler, or do not know the marsh you are heading to like the back of your hand, you must go with someone who does. Remember, you will be out there in a tidal zone, an inherently dangerous place, in the dark. You can easily find yourself in the wrong place on an incoming tide and, before you know it, you are stranded with no way of getting back to dry land. And each...

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Gun fitting with Simon Ward

Simon Ward on the simple route to better shooting – getting your gun fitted. Here he explains the benefits of having a gun that fits you properly and what to look out for.

The Greats always knew it, but increasingly more and more shooters are discovering that gunfit holds an important key to good shooting. That said, having a gun professionally fitted will only be of real benefit if you have learnt to consistently mount your gun smoothly and accurately onto a moving object. Physiologically, we are all different, so, in an ideal world, we would all shoot with bespoke gunstocks, built to fit our own unique shape and dimensions. However, this option isn't...

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Shot strings explained

Author: Simon Ward

There's more to a pattern of shotgun pellets than you might think.

It is a fair assumption that most people who shoot rarely consider shot string. Yes, they may think of the pattern and the speed at which it travels. But the pattern to most mind's eyes is a plate-shaped circle, with hopefully not too many holes in it. This is precisely what you see when you test a gun on a pattern plate. You get a pretty good idea of how your gun and cartridge combination are performing. But not entirely. For as the pellets fly through the air, they not only do so in...

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The ten most common game shooting faults

As a professional game shooting instructor and vastly experienced game Shot, Simon Ward has seen every conceivable game shooting fault in the book. But over the years, he has identified 10 that seem to crop up more often than others.

1. Bird selection The fault: Something I see a lot, particularly with less experienced Guns, is poor bird selection – i.e. picking the first bird that comes into sight and then sticking with it, so that by the time it is in-range, it is often over a neighbouring peg or out of range. As a consequence, when you take the shot, your feet are in the wrong place and you end up in an unnatural, contorted position, resulting in a miss, more often than not behind or off-line. The fix: The key is...

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Twenty top tips for pheasant shooting

Author: Simon Ward

Master driven pheasants with these 20 top tips from Simon Ward.

1. Gun, choke and load Either a side-by-side or over-under in 12, 16 or 20 bore is preferable, although I have seen some experienced Shots put a 28 bore to very good use. I would recommend 28–32" barrels choked ½ to ¾, depending on the type of shooting you will be doing and your build. In terms of cartridges, for average to high driven pheasants (but not extreme), I would recommend the following loads of either no. 5s or 4s: 28 bore: 25-28g 20 bore: 25-30g 16 bore: 28-30g 12 bore:...

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Side-by-side or over-under shotgun

Author: Simon Ward

Top game shooting instructor Simon Ward shares some tips on how to make the most of both shotgun configurations.

Although I have now shot with a Perazzi over-under for more than 15 years, I shot both clays and game for 10 years with a Holland & Holland Royal side-by-side. There is no doubt that both configurations deserve their place in the game shooting field, but there is no getting away from the fact that they are fundamentally different in design. Therefore, in order to get the most out of them respectively, one’s technique must be adjusted accordingly. If we compare a typical 28" side-by-side...

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High pheasants made easy

Author: Simon Ward

How to come to terms with high flying pheasants.

There are many different theories on how to become a consistent high pheasant Shot. This article looks at what I feel are the important elements which hold the key to enjoying more success at those soaring birds which tempt, tease and frustrate us. And keep us coming back for more. Footwork You can never over-emphasise the importance of footwork in all forms of shooting. The higher the bird, the more I would recommend a slightly narrower stance. This aids agility and helps keep your gun...

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How to prepare for your first driven day's shooting

Author: George Padley

The world of driven shooting can be intimidating and confusing to the newcomer – a minefield of alien traditions, customs and etiquette. But with a bit of homework and prior preparation, your first day on the peg can be both enjoyable and rewarding.

Driven shooting is now accessible to people of all backgrounds and from all walks of life. Thanks largely to the commercialisation of the sport, pretty much anyone can book a day's shooting, simply by clicking a ‘Book now' button. But there is a glitch in the system – there is no requirement for you to prove that you are a proficient Shot, have an understanding of the ways of the countryside, the etiquette and the ethics that go hand in glove with shooting and, most importantly,...

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