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Holdpoint for Crossers

Question:

Is the recommended hold point for crossing targets of 2/3 back from the break point towards the visual pick up point equally suitable for both maintained lead and pull away styles or is an adjustment needed?

Answer:

Great question! The short answer is, as with the hold point for any sporting clays target, it depends.

For planning purposes, a hold point that is 2/3 back from the breakpoint toward the trap is a good start for a flat-trajectory crossing target regardless of your engagement technique. The speed, distance and engagement window of a target and pair may, however, require that you adjust your holdpoint closer to the breakpoint. Use your outstretched front hand to test your plan prior to shooting for score. It will help you determine whether a holdpoint adjustment is necessary.

With that said, and very generally speaking, you will need a bit less “runway” to execute a sustained lead move on a crossing target, and thus can usually move your holdpoint closer to the breakpoint. When using pull-away on a crossing target, the two-thirds rule is still applicable, however, you may find that a holdpoint that is halfway back from the breakpoint is adequate when using sustained lead. With sustained lead, you are inserting to the lead and executing the shot whereas with pull-away, you must first insert to the target then separate from the target prior to executing the shot.

It is my observation that shooters tend to ignore a target’s transition point when selecting the breakpoint and engagement technique. Almost all targets will transition, or change speed and direction, at some point along its flight path as it succumbs to the forces of gravity. If the target is transitioning at the chosen breakpoint, it is much more likely that you will occlude the target with the barrel and miss high and in front, particularly if using pull-away. This is why I advocate that a shooter possess a handful of techniques on which to draw from and select the technique and holdpoint that is appropriate for the unique character of each target.

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