Kim Rhode’s Shotgun Advice
Russ Chastain 08.28.20
Everyone has heroes or role models, and if I had to pick a shotgun hero, it would most certainly be Kim Rhode. She began winning Olympic shotgun events in 1996 and hasn’t stopped yet, earning medals at six consecutive Olympic games — including three gold medals.
My affection for her is slightly greater than admiration for her superb shooting skills; after all she did draw my name as a winner of some RE Ranger shooting glasses at the 2007 SHOT Show and a few years later I got her autograph on a photo and a box of Winchester shotgun shells which bears her photo.
Oh, and she let me fondle her medals.
If you are going to take shotgun advice from anyone, Kim Rhode qualifies. So when I saw a recent post at the Winchester ammo blog titled, “Shooting Tips from Kim Rhode,” I knew I needed to share it with y’all.
I’ll just sum up her advice and let you read the full post for more details.
Practice Your Hardest Shot
Chances are, there’s one station in your skeet or trap routine that gives you more trouble than any other. Kim did, and she says you need to figure out which one it is and shoot that station until you can break the clay 10 times in a row — then 25 times in a row. When your hardest station becomes your easiest station, you can maybe start to think you’re a little bit like Kim.
Remember when your mom scolded you to stand up straight? Well, she was only trying to help your shotgun skills. Kim says it’s more tiring to stand with squatting knees & bent waist — so just bend the knees slightly (not locked) and stand tall — like a champion. That way you can swing more smoothly and you won’t get as tired.
Like every other shotgunner who ever lived, I’ve been guilty of stopping my swing as I fire at flying objects — and like all the rest, I learned that is not the way to break clays. You need to keep the gun moving throughout the process.
Kim’s trick to encourage follow-through during practice is to bust the clay, then fire again at a piece of the clay. This practice forces a shooter to keep his or her head down and keep swinging that gun.
If you’re going to compete, you can’t let others (or their scores) get into your head. Kim says to ignore everyone else, set small attainable goals for yourself, and concentrate on doing what you came to do. Don’t worry about beating someone; just concentrate on everything you’ve practiced.
As Kim says: “Most importantly enjoy the competitions, the places, and people.”
And that, my friends, is sound advice. I hope to take it with me to the dove field in a few weeks.
TRYING SOME DOVE SEASON PREPARATION:
Russ Chastain 08.27.20
(Photo © Russ Chastain)
Most of the time, dove season sneaks up on me and finds me unprepared. I’ll shoot a round or two of skeet at the property the morning before the hunt, usually do poorly, and do about as well on the dove field that afternoon. But this year I decided to give myself a little bit of a chance by getting in some practice ahead of time.
I dug out the old manually-operated spring-powered clay target slinger and gave it some love. It hadn’t been used in years, so it needed some oil and some welding. I’d repaired the old steel frame before, and it was due for it again, along with a little reinforcement.
Then I headed off to a nice clearing in the woods and set up shop. All I really did was park the UTV, drop the tailgate, and stomp the target launcher’s frame into the dirt. Then I tied a loop in a line & attached it to the slinger’s trigger. Dug out some shells and some clays, and got ready to rock.
The biggest aggravation with this system is having to manually cock the target thrower before every shot. It’s not that difficult, but you have to bend over and fight a stiff spring to get it cocked. (I’m considering a modification to help out with that, though… if that happens you can expect more on that in a later post.)
After cocking, I’d back off a little ways with the trigger line around my left foot. Pull line with foot, clay pigeon goes flying, try to hit it. Easy, right?
After you do it 50 times in Florida’s muggy morning heat, it’s time to call it a day.
I keep my bird vest at the hunt camp, so there’s not a lot of gear prep for me to do until I get there a day or so before the hunt. Mainly it’s me I need to get into shooting shape!
I didn’t do very well this time, even though the shooting should’ve been pretty easy as the targets were flying more or less straight away from me… some days, you’re just not in the groove.
Looks like the doves are safe from me so far — but I’m gonna keep trying.
What preps are you making for dove season?
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