Here it is 90 degrees plus all over the civilized world, that’s Texas, and I am writing about getting out in the hot sun and shooting at some clay pigeons. It must make some folks question my sanity. However, we only have a few short weeks before dove season opens here in this great state of ours, and I already have my first hunt planned and have begun checking out my equipment.
If you haven’t cleaned up your shotguns lately, and checked out their ability to function properly, it is not too early. I took out one of my favorites, a double barrel 20 gauge and one I plan to take with me on my first hunt, and found it did not feel right when I pulled the triggers.
I put the trigger pull gauge on it and found the right barrel had a pull weight of 4 pounds and the left barrel had a pull of 3 pounds. That made me stop and wonder, but not for long. I took it apart and found the sear on the left side was worn badly, and would not seat properly on the firing pin. I could see the possibility soon evolving that could cause the left barrel to fire after loading, when the action was closed.
I sat down and examined the sear, and decided I could make one in a day or so. I then picked up a gun parts book and found I could purchase one for $9.95, plus shipping. I made the phone call, and had the new one in my hand 5 days later.
While I had the shotgun apart I soaked it for a week in some good solvent, then checked out the rest of the parts for wear. It is now clean as can be, and ready for that September dove hunt.
I tell you that only to bring to your attention the importance of checking out your equipment and making absolutely sure it is clean and functioning properly. If you don’t have the time or the inclination, take it to a gunsmith and have him do it. It is well worth the money to know your gun is safe and functioning properly before your first hunt.
As I sit here writing about guns functioning properly a thought came to mind. Remington Model 1100 semiautomatic shotguns have been one of the most popular shotguns for decades and Remington have sold millions of them. Yet, if you have an 1100 think about when you last changed the O ring in the gas system. If you are like any of the people of whom I have asked that question when the guns stops functioning and they say “What O ring?” read the instructions and you really don't have to pay a gunsmith to change the $10 O ring available at just about any gun shop.
I have also gone out to the trap range and done some shooting and plan to do so every week until opening day. I started early this year because I decided it was time I stopped scaring the doves by just punching holes in the air, and actually try to bag some. The only way I know to get that accomplished is to get out and shoot my shotgun regularly, and if possible have someone there who knows what they are doing to critique my shooting. It is easy to unconsciously slip into bad habits.
One of the folks shooting that first day was a friend of mine who has been a competitive shotgunner for many years and I asked him what I was doing wrong? He told me I was trying to aim my shotgun like a rifle and if I just get the shotgun into position and concentrate on the target, the gun would follow.
He was right about the aiming. The next time up I hit the first 15; 5 from each of the 3 first positions. When I got to the 4th position the targets started flying off to the right, and I missed the next 3 targets. I stopped and asked him what was the problem? He said I was not keeping my cheek welded to the stock and that was causing me to shoot behind the targets when it flew to the right. I then tried to keep my cheek on the stock and did fairly well.
I intend to keep working on my swing and keeping my cheek on the stock as I should do all of the time and I know it is time I got serious about it and do what is necessary to correct the problem.
Now that I have related my story of trying to get ready for dove season, I hope it will jog you into action. Nothing I have related here is unique to me or my situation. The same thing, or something else just as disruptive can occur to you. So don’t wait until the last minute to get ready for dove season. Get out the equipment, clean it, check it over, and by all means get to the range and do some shooting. Maybe you too can start the season by actually bagging a few birds.