National Skeet Shooting Association
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Don’t Be Afraid to Shoot the .410

Skeet shooting is a game enjoyed by sportsmen in practically every part of the world. No matter what range you visit, you’ll see groups of people talking and joking and generally just having a good time.

If you could examine what gauges they’re shooting, you’d find most are using a 12 gauge, while some brave the 20 and 28 gauges. Rarely do you see a .410.

Why?

Because next to a bear market, an ulcer, or diarrhea, nothing is anywhere near as frustrating or painful as a round of skeet using the .410.

Skeet is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, and it is with this one exception. I’ve witnessed grown men nearly brought to tears because they couldn’t hit a target at stations 3, 4, or 5, no matter how hard they tried. I’ve seen big, burly, ex-service men humbled and humiliated by this tiny shell, stumbling their way to station eight, thankful that the round was almost over. I’ve witnessed shooters so frustrated at missing so many “easy” targets, they swear never to return to the skeet fields again.

I compare most shooters’ reactions to the .410 as similar to someone suffering with a phobia. If you try to ignore it, maybe it will disappear. But, if you’re a tournament shooter, this is one nightmare that’s just not going away. You have only one choice, and that’s to deal with it.

Here are a few suggestions that might help:

  • BE CONFIDENT. if you’re shooting well with the other gauges, there’s no reason you won’t do well with the .410.
  • DON’T LISTEN TO OTHER SHOOTERS’ SOB STORIES. The more you listen, the more you’ll believe.
  • DON’T OVER PRACTICE. 3 or 4 rounds are enough.
  • DON’T CHANGE YOUR SHOOTING PROGRAM. Shoot the .410 the same as any other gauge.
  • CONCENTRATE ON EVERY SHOT. Don’t let your mind wander. Stay focused and call for the target only if you are ready.
  • SHOOT IT ON A REGULAR BASIS. Use it or you’ll lose it.

The ultimate thrill as a skeet shooter is to break 100 straight with the .410. Very few have ever been able to accomplish this.
By Barry Greenberg