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Ask The Instructor: Blue Skies

Question: I’ve committed to my kill points, finally, and it has taken my shooting to another level! Thank you! One question: How do I address target kill points with no background reference?

Answer: The short answer is, you need to “vector,” or triangulate, off of known reference points. You should always “plot” your kill points and hold points using available terrain features behind each target’s flight line. Trees, branches, bushes, rocks, trap machines or other identifiable terrain features will provide potential landmarks you can use to plot your kill points and hold points. Once these key points are identified and committed to memory, your gun movement on any given pair should be straight lines between these points. For most pairs, this results in three straight-line movements between four points; in other words, a Z. You call pull with your muzzle at the hold point of the first target. As the target launches, you move to the kill point of the first target, then to the hold point of the second target and finally to the kill point of the second target. Occasionally, you may encounter a pair that calls for two straight lines between three points if the break point of the first target is in the same spot as the hold point of the second target. Using landmarks on the background helps you consistently return to specific hold points and break points at a station.

If you encounter a scenario in which one or both targets of a pair are against a featureless background, like blue or gray skies, you must vector or triangulate off of a known point. If, for example, your planned hold point is about 45 degrees above the horizon, identify a terrain feature along the horizon to establish the windage (horizontal axis) and an angle (in this case 45°) to establish your elevation (vertical axis). Vectoring off known points is a good technique to use when landmarking hold points and break points against a featureless background.

Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at FacebookTwitterShare

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