A major problem that many shooters seem to have when shooting afield is poor timing. This can be a result of virtually anything from having the gun out of position to get it on the shoulder properly, to an inconsistent gun pace relative to the pace of the target or an overzealous trigger hand racing to mount the gun.
Poor timing can be a reason for missing that might occur at any time, and can be most easily cured by proper target focus, a good gun mount and solid technique. The problems with a shooter’s timing are most often caused by a lack of concentration and an inconsistent gun swing relative to the speed, angle and distance of his target. When a shooter fails to recognize and react to these target characteristics, chances are that a miss is imminent.
Timing is based on how a shooter moves relative to the movement of his target. Chances are if he overreacts to a flushing or passing bird, for instance, he will rush the gun past it before the trigger can be pulled. On the other hand, if he is slow to swing the gun when a bird presents itself, he will invariably wind up behind his target.
Let’s not forget that the most accomplished wingshooters you will ever see look to be in slow motion. They only react to the speed of the bird they are attempting to harvest, and they can change their speed to compensate for the speed of the target. They do this by making sure that step one in the shot process is visual focus on a chosen target. When the birds are fast, they move fast. When they are slow, they move slow. Once a shooter’s eyes have focused on a bird, the most important part of the shot sequence is to move as the bird moves, and then a bit more to execute a chosen shooting style and complete the shot.
By matching up his initial pace with that of the bird, the shooter will always be able to comfortably get his gun in position to make a clean kill, and he will find that keeping his target in view with the gun mounted will be much easier. This will be the case regardless of which shooting style is used, since the speed of the gun for pull away and swing through don’t increase until the insertion point is made.