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View Full Version : Longer barrels in sporting guns and "sight radius"..


Dannicus
05-09-2012, 8:10 AM
I've been reading threads about barrel lengths from other forums and I
keep seeing reference to sight radius. This is a bit confusing because shotgunners are usually eager and quick to point out that you don't aim a shotgun.

Am I missing something there?

It seems that another major reason people like shooting longer barrels is to smooth out their swing with the added weight. It would seem to me that simply adding wall thickness to the barrels or bulking up the mid-rib would do the same thing without making the gun so ungainly. Any more to this?

Thefeeder
05-09-2012, 9:11 AM
Best way I can explain it is......place your finger 6" from your face and try to point to something....now point at something with your finger 2 feet from your face. Also note, when you point your finger at something....do you aim it or use the sights on your finger?

Balance is what makes a shotgun swing better, not weight

Dannicus
05-09-2012, 9:57 AM
I understand the concept of sight radius, but I've been told over and over that you don't aim a shotgun. Sight radius shouldnt matter if your not aiming, correct?

I'm not even convinced that you don't at least subconsciously aim, tho. I'd be interested in seeing if someone could successfully shoot targets without visual reference of the barrel.

Khanan
05-09-2012, 10:25 AM
I'd be interested in seeing if someone could successfully shoot targets without visual reference of the barrel.

You have a visual reference of the barrel when pointing your gun. If you are looking at the bird as you should, the barrel is in your peripheral vision. It is the same as driving a car, do you actually look at the lines in the road or are they in your peripheral vision? To shoot a bird without visual reference to the barrel, you would need to have your eyes closed. You can point at something in your peripheral vision while still focusing on something else. This is exactly what you are doing when shooting a shotgun. Look at the bird, point your barrel so far in front of it.

I have no input on this sight radius thing. I have no idea what you are trying to say by this.

Dannicus
05-09-2012, 4:48 PM
You have a visual reference of the barrel when pointing your gun. If you are looking at the bird as you should, the barrel is in your peripheral vision. It is the same as driving a car, do you actually look at the lines in the road or are they in your peripheral vision? To shoot a bird without visual reference to the barrel, you would need to have your eyes closed. You can point at something in your peripheral vision while still focusing on something else. This is exactly what you are doing when shooting a shotgun. Look at the bird, point your barrel so far in front of it.

I don't think you got what i meant by by statement, but you do reinforce my idea that you do aim a shotgun in a way. If you are aligning the barrel with the target by aligning the image of the barrel and the bird, then that's essentially aiming. Right?


I have no input on this sight radius thing. I have no idea what you are trying to say by this.

If you are in fact aiming, then lengthening the distance between the rear sight(eyeball) and the front sight(barrel tip) should make for more precision.

milotrain
05-09-2012, 5:00 PM
I think the claim "you don't aim a shotgun" is to instruct new shooters on the fundamental difference between shotgunning a moving target and shooting at a stationary target with a sighting tool that has twin reference points. Of course you aim a shotgun, although it's more thought of as pointing a shotgun. If you didn't aim then cheek weld to the stock wouldn't matter.

Rifle shooting you AIM: You place the front sight post in the rear sight aperture, focus on the front sight and blur the target. The rear aperture is used to help reference your cheek weld. This is also why in High Power many folks stick their nose right on the charging handle. It makes a precision cheek weld possible.

Shotgun shooting you Aim/point: You weld the cheek to the stock and you look at the bird while pointing through your hands. You don't have the rear sight to help you anymore but you do have the barrel line and the cheek weld to keep you on point.

Quickdraw shooting you point: You look at the target but you point at it with your hand, you don't ever mechanically join your eye to the firearm.

Thefeeder
05-09-2012, 5:46 PM
I understand the concept of sight radius, but I've been told over and over that you don't aim a shotgun. Sight radius shouldnt matter if your not aiming, correct?

I'm not even convinced that you don't at least subconsciously aim, tho. I'd be interested in seeing if someone could successfully shoot targets without visual reference of the barrel.

I teach that all the time. When a student is having trouble NOT looking at the barrel and front sight ( always aiming the shotgun).....I have them mount the shotgun, then have them lower the barrels and move the stock from their face. They have nothing to look at but the target ...focus on the target, bring the shotgun back to their face and pull the trigger. If your looking at the target and the shotgun mounts to your eye, the shotgun is on target.

This is why shotgunners alway talk about gun fit....the gun mounts to where your eye is looking.

Dannicus
05-10-2012, 7:08 AM
I teach that all the time. When a student is having trouble NOT looking at the barrel and front sight ( always aiming the shotgun).....I have them mount the shotgun, then have them lower the barrels and move the stock from their face. They have nothing to look at but the target ...focus on the target, bring the shotgun back to their face and pull the trigger. If your looking at the target and the shotgun mounts to your eye, the shotgun is on target.

This is why shotgunners alway talk about gun fit....the gun mounts to where your eye is looking.

Very cool.

Khanan
05-10-2012, 7:40 AM
I teach that all the time. When a student is having trouble NOT looking at the barrel and front sight ( always aiming the shotgun).....I have them mount the shotgun, then have them lower the barrels and move the stock from their face. They have nothing to look at but the target ...focus on the target, bring the shotgun back to their face and pull the trigger. If your looking at the target and the shotgun mounts to your eye, the shotgun is on target.

This is why shotgunners alway talk about gun fit....the gun mounts to where your eye is looking.

Even in this scenario, you are not aiming but pointing. You are looking at the target and the barrel comes into your peripheral vision when you mount the gun. A person can intently focus on one thing (the bird) and still point at something else.

Stare closely at these words on the screen and without moving your eyes, point at the coffee cup on your desk. I wouldn't call that aiming, I call it pointing and that is what you are doing with a shotgun. You are staring at the bird and pointing (with the shotgun).

This may all just be semantics. But anyone standing behind you when you are swinging that shotgun can tell if you aim (look down the barrel, check the barrel) and not keep your eyes on the bird. That is the difference to me between aiming (sighting down the barrel) and pointing, focusing intently on the target and only seeing the barrel in your peripheral vision.

Dannicus
05-10-2012, 10:02 AM
Even in this scenario, you are not aiming but pointing. You are looking at the target and the barrel comes into your peripheral vision when you mount the gun. A person can intently focus on one thing (the bird) and still point at something else.

Stare closely at these words on the screen and without moving your eyes, point at the coffee cup on your desk. I wouldn't call that aiming, I call it pointing and that is what you are doing with a shotgun. You are staring at the bird and pointing (with the shotgun).

This may all just be semantics. But anyone standing behind you when you are swinging that shotgun can tell if you aim (look down the barrel, check the barrel) and not keep your eyes on the bird. That is the difference to me between aiming (sighting down the barrel) and pointing, focusing intently on the target and only seeing the barrel in your peripheral vision.

I have been accused of aiming, but I think it was because I over compensated after a round of rushing my shots and I started breaking the clays on the down slope. I do check my alignment before calling because my stock doesn't have enough comb.

The coach took me through an excersize where you try to point the gun at a treetop while looking at the barrel vs. looking at the treetop and pointing the barrel. I wasn't aiming, but it was an interesting excersize.

milotrain
05-10-2012, 10:36 AM
Even in this scenario, you are not aiming but pointing.
This is a semantic argument. The definition of aim includes the action of pointing so it's not really worth an argument. The claim that you don't aim a shotgun is as I said, to teach people not to be too focused on a "aiming" sight picture that they are used to in rifles, and not to pause on the bird but rather follow through.

Personally I feel like it's pointing when you don't have the firearm attached mechanically to your eyes. Shotgun from the hip is pointing, shotgun welded to the face is aiming. That's just a personal definition though as aim and point are not well enough defined in the english language to delineate them.

BigDogatPlay
05-10-2012, 7:59 PM
If you see it as a semantics issue, then I won't argue. At the basis level I guess you're right.

My experience is similar to Thefeeder when I instruct on the trap field. When they get the gun mounted comfortably and consistently I teach the folks I work to use the bead as nothing more than a reference, to focus out in front of the house and swing the gun, not the bead, when the bird appears. Keep the focus on the bird.

A while back ysr racer posted about how the front bead on his gun fell off partway through a sanctioned shoot, and he won his class IIRC.

aippi
05-10-2012, 9:03 PM
Good reference Feeder. I like that example.

milotrain
05-11-2012, 9:53 AM
If you see it as a semantics issue, then I won't argue. At the basis level I guess you're right.

My experience is similar to Thefeeder when I instruct on the trap field. When they get the gun mounted comfortably and consistently I teach the folks I work to use the bead as nothing more than a reference, to focus out in front of the house and swing the gun, not the bead, when the bird appears. Keep the focus on the bird.

A while back ysr racer posted about how the front bead on his gun fell off partway through a sanctioned shoot, and he won his class IIRC.

Off topic but I'm slightly left eye dominant (but functionally non dominant and I shoot righty), and I didn't realize why I was having such a problem with skeet until at the ripe age of 14 I asked my dad which bird do I shoot at. Obviously this is why you focus on the bird not the bead but then which barrel do I use to lead the bird? In rifle shooting I simply tape up my left eye but it's a real pain in the extents of the skeet range to pickup the far house bird with my left eye totally taped up.

Any advise?

Dannicus
05-11-2012, 12:04 PM
Off topic but I'm slightly left eye dominant (but functionally non dominant and I shoot righty), and I didn't realize why I was having such a problem with skeet until at the ripe age of 14 I asked my dad which bird do I shoot at. Obviously this is why you focus on the bird not the bead but then which barrel do I use to lead the bird? In rifle shooting I simply tape up my left eye but it's a real pain in the extents of the skeet range to pickup the far house bird with my left eye totally taped up.

Any advise?

Hate to feed an off topic post...

I'm strongly left handed, but right eye dominant. In my experience it was easier to learn to shoot right handed then work around eye dominance. I just decided to shoot everything righty years ago and it has never been a handicap for me.