March 16, 2017

What is the Correct Way to Shoulder a Shotgun? A Skill You Never Knew

what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun

Are you a hunting enthusiast or just a novice? Whichever the answer to this question, the truth is that whether beginners or professionals, we are all in love with the game. If you have not yet taken the game up, you must have heard how relaxing this sport can be and also how much calmness it can bring to the players.

Personally, I will spend entire weekends chasing geese, ducks, deer, elk and rabbits. What tastes better than a wild grown duck? We will discuss that on another day; let’s keep to the point for now.

Before shooting your first goose or duck, you have to master the techniques required to make accurate shots. Amongst these skills, learning the correct way to shoulder a shotgun is the most important. You might be already be asking, what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun and why should you even bother learning?

Well, the reason you should learn the correct way to shoulder a shotgun is to increase your accuracy. I mean, you can’t be a good hunter if you can’t accurately shoot your targets. If your gun is placed in a strong position, the higher the chances of taking that elk or deer home. Doesn’t that sound like a perfect day out in the fields? Of course, it does, but you have to learn first.

So, what do you need to know?


First Things First: Basic Guidelines

If you are not aware, the sight of most shotguns is a bead which is usually located in the front part of the gun. This sight is imperative when it comes to positioning your head correctly on the stock. In addition to this, you should bear in mind that you have to align the barrel of the gun with your eyes.

If you already own a shotgun, you are well aware that aiming at targets is usually very rare. As hunters, we are always shooting on moving targets. For this reason, we must know how to handle our guns and make a kill even when that duck is flying.​

People who use rifles are always shooting at targets. For a hunter like you and me, we will constantly be shooting on moving objects. At one moment, that deer is in your sight, the next few seconds, it is running, and finally you have lost sight of it. That’s why we need shotguns. Due to the nature of this sport, shotguns have a pointed design.​

Closing in the Stock

When time to point a shotgun comes, your face should be close to it as much as possible. Precisely, your cheek should be close to the stock. If it is possible, let the gun fit snugly in this position. Like I said before, your eyes should also be aligned to the centerline of the gun This is the best way of positioning your shotgun on the face.

By doing so, you increase the control and accuracy of the gun. If you find this hard, there is no reason to give up. Just keep on practicing, and you will soon be perfect. If you can do this, then you can proceed to the next step on the correct way to shoulder a shotgun.​


What is the Correct Way to Shoulder a Shotgun?

If you want to shoulder a shotgun in the correct way, then you have no choice but learn the right way to close in the stock on your cheeks. This is where most shotgun owners fail. Many learners will just lower their head all the way to the stock.

This is a mistake you should never commit at all if you are interested in shouldering your shotgun the right way. The secret here is to ensure you do not adjust your head. Only the gun should be adjusted. The stock should also be placed close the cheek and not you placing the cheek close to the stock.

Once you have achieved that, you can safely take the back of the stock to your shoulder for stability. You should develop a habit of doing this every time you are handling your shotgun because it is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun​

Nonetheless, there are other ways you can shoulder your shotgun correctly. I have made a list of a few of them.​

  • Lower your head then bring the stock near your cheek. After you are in this position, bring the back of the close to your shoulder for stability.
  • Lower the head, however, this time push the back of the stock to your shoulder before bringing it near the cheek
  • Without having to lower your head, push the stock near your cheek then directly push the back of the stock near the cheek. There is no need to lower your head when on this position.

What is the Best Way to Shoulder a Shotgun?

Now that we have already talked about the correct way to shoulder a shotgun, you might be wondering, which of these is the best? Well, the answer to this is subject to debate. Every other shotgun owner like you and me has their preferences. It all depends on your preferences and the position where your body is comfortable.

Some of the things you should take into consideration are the hunting conditions and the shooting position. Otherwise, you do not have to compromise your favorite shooting position and style.

What is The Correct Way to Pull the Trigger And Deal with the Swing?

Learning how to correctly shoulder a shotgun won't necessarily guarantee you a kill. You need to know how to pull the trigger and deal with the swing. Shotguns and rifles don’t work the same way. When firing a shotgun, you have to do it as fast as possible so that you can’t compromise on the shot of the accuracy of the shot. If you don’t deal with the swing, the bullet is going to fall behind your target

Let’s wrap it up, folks!

There is nothing bad as watching a hunter miss all of his/her targets. And do you know why? Well, because this can be fully avoided. You just need to learn how to shoulder your shotgun correctly!

Let me hope that you learned something and also enjoyed reading this article. Come back for more tips on hunting. But until then, it is good bye from me. Have fun and shoot as many deer as you can. I might pass by and ask for some ribs.

Alex Ramsey

Work hard & live to hunt! Countryman Hunter , Archery, shooter, Freelance outdoor writer and Love USA. founder of thebigdeer.com where I share my hunt experiences with all. showcase real gear & real reviews to help you become more prepared. Knowledge will save you, but great gear will help! Let Get Out & Go Hunting

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