If you have taken a lesson from me..................you know I have two major pet peeves.  1.  Changing chokes all the time during a round.  2.  Thinking while you are shooting.

Here is a specific case where both cost a tournament shooter.  In a recent shoot, let's just call this shooter,  "Johnny".  In the box "Johnny" decides he is going to change chokes.  Obviously, this is an act that required thinking, a conscious decision to chance chokes.  100% not the correct place to change chokes or be thinking, and "Johnny" also knows from weeks past, what he has in his gun will break anything that is being thrown out there. Weeks ago he told me he broke targets out to 50+ yards when he mistakenly left a "Cyl Bore" choke in by mistake.  You would have thought he would have learned by now huh!   Well, "Johnny" changes his chokes, looks at the show pair, and calls PULL.  "CLICK".  Being a safe shooter, Johnny now waits making sure the shell in the chamber is not a hang fire, but in this case he could have waited until Christmas, as he opened the gun only to find an EMPTY CHAMBER.  LOST TARGET.  He was so concerned with his choke selection, he forgot to put shells in the gun.  Well, let's see...............how important was the choke selection on this stand.  Not important at all. 

Moral of the story.................put two chokes in your gun you will be happy shooting on every station, every time.  If you must change chokes.............do it sparingly, and only out of the shooting box.  Trust your ability and your gun.

Thinking is done ONLY out of the box............not in it.  Think, make your plan, and once you step into that box.............simply execute it.  Remember, DON'T BE JOHNNY!

Posted by Tom on April 11, 2019, 5:59 p.m.


As many people know, my Teaching Academy is situated at St. Hubert's Club, in Marlboro, New York, but many of you did not know while St. Hubert's is a private membership club, it is also open for the following public events:

Benefit and Private Corp. Shoots and Meetings
Shooting Clinics and Club shooting events
Weddings and Private Party Functions
Weekend Get-a-ways, featuring beautiful rooms and wonderful food

And many other events and functions.  If you can dream it up, St. Hubert's can host your function.........ESPECIALLY, if it means holding a shotgun in your hands.

Call Kathy at 914-474-8996 for information about St. Hubert's hosting your next event, or you can contact me for any clay's related information.

Tom Fiumarello
St. Hubert's Club
Professional Shooting Instructor

Posted by Tom on March 10, 2016, 1:22 p.m.

April....Tip of the month: START OUT THE SEASON RIGHT!

     If you noticed.............there was no tip of the month for Feb. and March.  I was to busy shoveling snow and taking care of this knee to do one..........so you will have to settle for an April one.  So here it is:

     With the season ahead of us, we are all anxious to shake off the rust and go burn up some ammo, and get ready for some tournaments.  Well................just how do we do that is the question, and this month's tip will provide  you some answers.

1.  Start out your practice regime by shooting only single targets 3-4-500 of them.  Get back in the swing of things by making sure every target in your sight picture memory bank is 100% set before you move to other presentations.

2.  In doing your singles, make sure your break points and hold points are PERFECT before moving on to report pairs.  If those points are not perfect for single targets......they will be an even bigger mess for report and true pairs.  When you got that.......move on to report pairs.  Same thing 3-4 hundred of them.  When they are in the bank.............True Pairs, the same exact way.  Be sure to shoot report pairs both ways, A-B  B-A, and make some reports into true pairs when they are practical. 

3.  Now that the basics are out of the way, with your practice......make sure your Pre-shot routine is perfect, and now practice each time out as if those 6-8 targets were a tournament.  Make a game of it, but practice with a purpose, not just pull the trigger.  Keep a mental note of how you did..............NOT SCORE, but the things that really matter.  (check #'s 1-2)  Every shot must have a PURPOSE, and it is not just break the target. 

4.  Keep a diary each time you shoot or practice:  What did I do well?  What do I need to improve upon?.  What targets gave me problems, and what do I have to work on next time I practice.  Lastly..............end with something POSITIVE in the book.  Negative thoughts and actions breed poor performances.............Positive breeds Positive.

5.  Set a goal for yourself.  Make sure it is realistic...........for next week, next month, by end of season, and when ever it happens!  Put that goal someplace where you can see it every day.  In my office I have a huge sign.........it says........."IMPOSSIBLE"?   NO...I'M POSSIBLE"
I see that sign first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.  Helped me more than I can think of........and even now with this knee, I will not let this knee keep me down. 

6. Challenge yourself with some harder targets once things are going good.  Remember, there are no hard targets........only targets beyond our comfort zone.  Work on them, and they will soon become in our comfort zone.

7.  Lastly, if you are struggling with something........call an instructor, and ask for some help.  Do you think Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and all the other PGA pros just  work through things when they are having trouble..........NOPE.  Same thing here.......chances are a hour or two with a competent instructor will clear things up in a hurry, and you will be a happy camper once again. 

8.  Visit some new clubs.  If all you ever see is the targets at Dover, you may struggle at Mid Hudson or Orvis, etc. Throw the wealth around, see some new targets and terrain.  Don't know where to go............www.claytargetsonline.com  Punch in New York, Conn, Mass, etc, and up pops hundreds of clubs within a couple hour drive or less.

9.  Take a kid shooting.  I can tell you from experience..........boy, girl, no matter what age..............when that clay target breaks, the smile will last in your heart for a lifetime.  It is like nothing you have ever seen.............so get them out on the course today.

10.  Lastly....................HAVE FUN.  No matter how competitive you are or how much of a newbie..............score 95 or 25...............it is all about enjoying yourself.  If it is not fun.........find another activity.  I see way to many people coming off the clays course after scoring 80........mad as hell, for whatever reason.  Good grief............there are far more important things in life to get mad at besides you missed a few .42 cent orange discs.  Smile, learn from it, and vow to do better next time.  And oh yes.........make sure there is a next time to do better.

Posted by Tom on March 28, 2014, 9:18 p.m.


  OK....so the New Year is close at hand.  Time to make some New Years resolutions.  Here are a few you can try out....maybe one will fit.

1.  Pattern and POI that shotgun.  How many of you have ever done this?  Bet less than 50%.  Really need to find out where ole Betsey is shooting these days.  Maybe  you have gained or lost weight, got a new gun, or just has never done it.  No time like the present to find out, and fit it if it needs fixing.

2.  Go out on a Pheasant hunt.  Plenty of preserves still open with our lack of snow.  Don't know where to go............email me and I will set something up for you.

3.  Take a kid hunting or shooting.  Our shooting heritage is getting pressure from every angle these days, and our youth may be the only ones to keep the shooting sports alive when we are gone to defend our rights.  Start one out today for a lifetime of outdoors enjoyment.

4.  Try a clay target sport.  Trap, Skeet, Five stand, F.I.T.A.S.C., or Sporting, are all great target sports and can keep that shotgun in  your hand long after hunting season is past.

5.  Join a gun club or Clay target range.  Join other people like yourself in enjoying all that the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and shooting have to offer.  Clubs are always looking for new members.

6.  Attend a meeting or join an organization that will defend our gun rights.  Either a local organization, like SCOPE, NY Rifle and Pistol Organization, or a National Organization like the NRA.  Grass roots efforts often produce huge crops at election time, and while you are at it, write a letter to your State Senator and Assemblymen voicing your gun rights opinions.  They will listen either when you write or on election day.

7.  Take a shooting lesson............want to break more targets, take more game, and have more fun?  A shooting lesson can do all of that, and more.  Breaking targets is FUN, missing is not, and expensive too.  Far more than the cost of a lesson.  I know, everyone misses.......but you can miss far less if you just pick up the phone and call an instructor you trust, and can click with.  Ask around, shooters know who is good, and who is just taking your money.

Well................that is about it..............lots to think about.  Want to know my New Years resolution?  "Shoot more tournaments".  That's it, easy one.  So hopefully I will see you out on the course.  Have fun and Happy New Year to everyone.


Posted by Tom on Dec. 28, 2013, 9:33 p.m.


Today's tip has nothing to do with shooting, but everything to do with everyone, shooter or not.  So if you are a shooter looking to improve your score.....this may not help add targets to your score, but I am sure it will add so very much to your life..........so here goes.

1.  Purchase a toy or two for a needy child.  There are literally thousands of kids whose Christmas will not be as bright except for the generosity of people like you and me.  Find an organization collecting toys, food, coats, etc., and help make someones Christmas that much better.

2.  Buy a service man or woman, lunch, coffee, pick up his tab at the diner, etc.  You would not believe the response you will get when they go to pay, and you already have.  I know, I've done it, and it is worth every penny you spend just to say "THANKS", for what they do for us every day.

3.  Go pick up Mom and Dad, and take them out to dinner, a show, or shopping.  Just go do it.  We are on this earth for such a very short time, and when they are not here, you will miss every minute you spent with them.

4.  Make someone's day special at a nursing or home for the elderly.  One of my wife's favorite things is talking to the people who have lived in generations before us.  While you think you are helping them, they can, and do teach us so much about years gone by, it is amazing.  Maybe you could serve Christmas dinner, entertain if you have a talent, or whatever is necessary to make their Christmas happier.

5.  Call your local hospital and see if you can be Santa or an Elf, or decorate or entertain in the children's ward.  Kids in the hospital just before Christmas makes for some pretty sad kids.  See what you can do to make it a little brighter.

6.  When the opportunity................just do a random act of kindness.  Weather it be holding the door at the supermarket, helping a person broken down on the side of the road, or giving a lift to a neighbor.  Every little bit makes us better people.

7.  Take a kid hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, or breaking some clays.  Introduce them to something they never have done before, and you may create a convert for life.

8.  Lastly, try to make every day Christmas for someone..............and it does not take much to make someone smile.  I see it every time a student breaks a clay target, Sugar or Meg bring back a Pheasant, or that 12 year old breaks his or her first clay.  But you can do the same thing with much less effort for your elderly neighbor, your paperboy, the UPS guy, the person sitting next to you in church, or the person who sits next to you at the dinner table.

     So if you were looking for how to break that tough crosser............not this month.  If you were looking for how to really enjoy breaking that tough crosser............yup, that is here, because even if it does not break.................you can smile, because someone else you helped just broke that crosser..............and is smiling from ear to ear.



Posted by Tom on Dec. 2, 2013, 4:29 p.m.


  Damn...........October is hear already, but the weather does not seem like fall.  Oh well dogs...........deal with it.  Anyway, I am asked all the time when giving a lesson, "What do I look at"?  The answer is easy, "The target", but in reality, it is much more complex than that.  Yes, we look at the target, and most of the time, a specific part of the target, say the leading edge.  But, we must also SEE a lot more of what is going on out there.  One is, "Where is our Barrel", and just as important is the space between the target's edge, and where the barrel is.  That space is called, "THE GAP".

   If you are a novice shooter............your eyes will almost always go to the bead at the end of the gun.............WHY?, because your brain says...point that at the target and it will break.  No brain, go back to sleep.  The brain is drawing from what it knows...umpteen years of watching Cowboys and Indians, John Wayne, Daniel Boone, and the like.  Point that gun towards what you are trying hit, line up that bead, and bingo...you got it.  Not in this game.  By looking at the target, the brain sees a moving object, and as such move the hands to keep the end of the barrel on that moving object.  If the moving object, target, is of a crossing variety, then we must put the shot string in front of the target, so the target and shot string meet at the same time, breaking the target.  We shoot in front of the target.  Brains says.............YO IDIOT, WHY ARE YOU SHOOTING OUT IN SPACE WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO BREAK THIS TARGET....LOOK AT THAT BEAD AND SHOOT AT THE TARGET.  DISASTER!  Eyes see bead, bead is a stationary object, brain says stop the gun, target wizzes par the barrel, and you miss... Brain says...NO CAN'T BE, DO THAT AGAIN.  Same result. 

     Focusing on the target keeps the hands and gun moving, and SEEING the gap, allows you to see exactly how much you are in front of the target in order to have it break.  If it does not, you can then SEE everything that is going on between the target and the muzzle, and correct what does not look correct on the next shot.  Looking at the bead or muzzle, you see nothing excpet the end of the gun.  Try it next time you are on the range...look at that target and the gap in front of it, as you pull away.  I think you will see more than you every thought possible......................

See you on the course...................................Tom

Posted by Tom on Oct. 9, 2013, 3:01 p.m.


Holy Crap....................somehow I lost August.  Well the hot weather tip was fitting, so I let it ride, but now it is SEPTEMBER, and with it, cooler weather, and Pheasants, Chukar, Quail, Huns, and anything else that fly's we want to work our dogs on in the field.  This tip is going to be two fold:  1.  What should you do to get ready.  2.  What should you do to get your four legged buddy ready.  First you.

1.  Get the firearms you want to shoot in the field ready.  Clean them up, lube them, and make sure everything is safe and up to snuff.  Firearms sitting around for a year, have a nasty habit of not working up to par when you want them most to, especially, auto loaders.

2.  Stock up on your favorite ammo.  Yes, ammo is still in short supply, but, if you think about it now.........you can get what you want, in your favorite gauge and shot size, and be happy as a clam, when you buddies are scrambling to find ammo the day before the hunt.

3.  Get your field clothes out now.  Jackets, vests, hats, brush pants, etc........that have been tucked away by your wife........can now come out of hibernation, and be ready to go at a moments notice.

4.  Get out on the range, and pattern your guns, and shoot a few clay targets.  If you have lost weight or put on a few pounds, that trusty old S X S may just not fit the same, and may not shoot the same.  Find out on paper and a few clay targets, BEFORE you miss a bunch of expensive pheasants, with your buddies laughing when bird #3 goes sailing out of sight.

5.  Schedule a hunt for a date down the road.  Don't know where..........call me.  I can book a hunt for you, guide with either Sugar or Meg, and provide a great time for you in the field.


1.  GET FIDO IN SHAPE.  There are no "Planet Canines" that I know of, so that fearsome feather finder may have put on a pound or two over the last year, so just don't assume he is up to the task when you get your jacket on.  It is not fair to the dog and can be dangerous in some early season situations.  Think about Fido NOW, not in October.

2.  Get Fido a check up.  Make sure he or she is 100% up to the task for the season.  Those tests should include blood work, stool sample for parasites, and general check up by your vet.  As  the good Dr. Jim says every time I bring Sugar and Meg in..."Man, these gals are ATHLETES...I wish every dog that came in here looked like Sugar and Meg"  Makes ya feel good, then I look in the mirror and say, "Good Grief". 

3.  Keep a close eye on Fido, when the temp is over 50 degrees.  A sun blazing down on thick cover, can raise the temps in the cover by over 20-30 degrees.  It does not take very long for a dog to become overcome by "Heat Exhaustion".  THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY FOR YOUR DOG.  A dog over come by heat, may NEVER the the same, even if it does survive.  Keeps work outs short in high temps, give plenty of water, use a "hydrate" product to keep electrolyte levels up, and cool your dog down in a pond every time possible.  Remember....a good dog will work until it keels over.  We have to be the smart ones.  At the first sign of fatigue, heavy heavy panting, a "cupped tongue", wobbly gate.............cool the dog down, and get him to a vet.

4.  Get your dog groomed early in the season.  It helps keep Fido cool, and the coat will just about grow back by the time the weather gets nippy.  It also helps keep, insects, burrs, and other grasses from sticking to his/her fur.......or at least it helps.

5.  Remember to use a quality flea, and tick repellent product.  I have found Vectra 3D to be the best for my dogs, but some people have had problems with that product.  Whatever product you use, make sure it, Kills and Repels....Ticks, Mosquitto's, Flea's, and other biting insects.  Does not hurt to even spray your dog with a SAFE repellent before they go into the field.  Check with your vet about which products to use.  Check your dog after every hunt for ticks. 

6.  Get your doggie stuff ready.  E-Collars, training gear, water bottles, and the most important thing............A DOG FIRST AID KIT.  A good one.  In the field, a deep cut with bleed out a dog in minutes.  A snake bite or broken bone can be fatal if not addressed.  Good first aid kits contain everything for the field, including sutures, clotting agent, dressings, etc.
I hope I never have to use mine, but I have and am glad I had it.  My kit was well worth the $100.00 I paid for it..................HOW MUCH IS YOUR DOG WORTH.  I will bet way more than a $100.00 if something should happen to it in the field.

7.  Lastly..........don't skimp on the food during hunting season.  The colder it gets, the more calories your dog needs to keep warm and work in the winter.  Buy the BEST food you can afford.  I have been using Blue Buffalo Wilderness for years, and find it to be an outstanding food, but there are plenty of other great foods out there.  The colder it gets, the more Fat and Protein your dog needs. 


Posted by Tom on Aug. 25, 2013, 11:38 p.m.


It you are shooting in all the hot and rainy weather we have been having lately..........God Bless You.  You are more hearty than I am.................95 degree heat and steady rain, makes everything that much worse........but here are some tips to help you.

1.  Get a good nights sleep before tournaments.................If you are starting a round tired, the heat will sap it out of you more quickly.  Go into the tournament rested, alert, and ready to shoot.

2.  Stay hydrated............and that does not just mean the day of the shoot.  Hydration should start at least two days before the shoot, and continue as the day of the shoot progresses.  Water is great, but if you have any gatoraide, poweraide, or any electrolytic drink, that will keep you in balance, drink lost of it.  Remember, when electrolytes drop in your body..........the first two things affected are large muscle groups.....and eye sight.  Think they are important in our game???  Yes they are.

3.  Try to stay cool........park in the shade, bring a small cooler with ice in it, and some drinks, wear one of those new........."cool towels" around your neck when you are not shooting, and keep your head wet with cool water.  Hats actually hold in heat........so take it off when you can, and let your head cool.

4.  If you feel light headed, faint, sick to your stomach, have blurred vision, you shake, or stop sweating, Cool down AT ONCE.  Heat exhaustion can turn to heat stroke in a heartbeat, and it is a serious MEDICAL EMERGENCY.  Do not ignore the symptoms.  Get help at once.

5.  Keep your hands and face dry..............I know you can figure out why to keep the hands dry.........but why the face.  If your face is dry, you cheek will sit on the stock nicely......if it is wet or clammy...........I have had times the stock will stick to, or slide on my cheek, and the gun will not mount correctly.  May mean the difference between a broken or missed target.

6.  Try and keep the gun cool...................What happens when a guns barrels are super hot?
How about heat rising from the rib distorts the target?  Well it does........and targets that do not appear clear to you when you are ready to pull the trigger........are targets that are easy to miss.  Keep your gun in the shade and out of holders and scabbards in hot weather.  They only hold the guns heat in.  Keep the gun out, where air can get to it and cool it as quickly as possible.

7.  Lastly.............if you usually walk the course...............take a cart when it is really hot.  Just because, "I always walk the course", is the macho thing to do.........carrying, an 8lb gun, 10 lbs of ammo, and the rest of our gear in hot humid weather, over a mile course is not just stupid.............it is dangerous............especially if you are over the age of 60, as I am.  Take the easy road................ride today, and enjoy your round.

Hope these tips help................see you on the course.



Posted by Tom on July 15, 2013, 10:05 p.m.



     I was at this years Wounded Warrior Shoot, at Vernon National.  That morning I was rushing around doing 15 things.  PA system set up, Raffle tickets, Gun Raffle, 21 Gun salute line-up..............You name it.  After I hosted the opening ceremonies, I rushed to catch up with my squad and start shooting.  FIRST TWO STATIONS 14 TARGETS..........7 DEAD, 7 MISSED.  Oh.....Crap.  Were they hard targets............NO.  Was my mind on shooting........NO.  Fact was I was thinking about 20 other things besides how to break these targets before me.  I bring this up because all of us, at one time or another....get in a tournament, and things do not go right, and we cannot figure it out.  Well boys and girls.........if you look at a target, and you know you should smoke them.....and you do not...........maybe you are missing by just 6"..................THE 6" BETWEEN YOUR EARS.  If you are, here are some tips to help you:
                      1.  Each time you shoot..............you must believe you can break every target and win whatever class, event, shoot you are entered in.  You can be realistic, but if you do not believe in your own ability.........when the target comes out of the trap...........instead of saying, "I am going to break this pair", you are saying, "I HOPE I BREAK THIS PAIR".  Hope does not break a lot of targets..........conviction does.
                      2.  At a shoot, you get tp the first station and find out....your chief rival, and a guy you just cannot stand is shooting in the squad behind you.......and will watch you shoot on a number of stations.  Now you freak.............how is your shooting going to be??  COULD YOU CONTROL HAVING THAT HAPPENING...............Nope?  So.....should it bother you................again, NO.............you had no control of what happened, so since you cannot control it......you cannot let it bother you.  Just about the only thing you can control, is "Your Shooting".  Lock in on that, not what is happening around you.
                       3.  A fellow shooter tells you...."Man, I shot station 8 yesterday, and it was unreal.........I only broke 2 out of 8.  Station 8 is your next station.  I "HOPE" I can do better than that I say to him.  GOODBYE.............throw the shells in the bucket, you're done.  Your response should have been.........if the targets come out, I am going to break them........If they don't, I won't pull the trigger.  The mind will believe what you say you want to do.  Hope is non specific.  I hope I won't throw up on this thrill ride..........instead, this ride will be GREAT, I cannot wait.  You can make your mind believe ANYTHING you ask it to believe.  Use the positive, rather than the negative.
                        4.  Negative thoughts and words, breed negative outcomes.  Rather than..............I can't hit rabbits at all...............switch to....I am really going to work hard on breaking these rabbits.  IF YOU CAN'T ....YOU WON'T....IF YOU CAN...........YOU MIGHT!

Hope these tips help.............Need some work on the Mental side of your game........give me a call.  I can set up a mental training program for you........and watch your scores rise.

See you on the course.........................

Posted by Tom on June 7, 2013, 5:29 p.m.


As I sit here, watching the snow fall.............6" on the ground already, all I can say is.....THINK SPRING! March has been so bad, I am forgetting the entire month, and starting with April. To that end, with Easter............it is always time to think "Bunny's"

Now I have your attention.  The rabbit.............the target that strikes fear into every shooters heart is today's topic.
Why does this happen..............couple of reasons.  1.  Rabbit targets look fast on the ground but are actually slower than a target thrown in the air...........we think about a lot of lead, but for most rabbits the front edge is all we need.  2.  Most rabbits are thrown very close, most no more than 20 yards. At that range, most patterns are pretty tight, so much room for error is not there.   3.  Rabbits do not always do what you are expecting them to do.

So how do we attack these wily creatures.  First, think slow, down.  We use a technique, called, "Walk the Rabbit"  for most rabbits. As the rabbit comes to our gun, at our hold point, we match gun speed, with rabbit speed, and keep the muzzle slightly in front of the rabbit's leading edge..........and "walk the rabbit" to our break point and pull the trigger.  As we do this imagine a bunny, reaching out with his paws, as if the target was now running.  Often I will tell my students............"Shoot the Paws", which give a visual of the gun being in front of the rabbit.  You could even call this "Sustained Rabbit" if you want, but matching gun speed to rabbit speed is critical for success.

Last thing...........visual focus on rabbits is at the bottom of the front edge of the target.  Example......a L-R Rabbit would have a visual focus of 5:00 on the target, and likewise, a R-L would be 8:00.  We want our shot string to hit the ground at the rabbit, effectively "spraying" our shot, allowing a little more leeway in our accuracy. 

Still having trouble hitting these "Wasscally Wabbits", give me a call..........I am sure I can straighten you out in no time.  Till them................think nice weather, and more broken clays...................PULL>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Posted by Tom on March 19, 2013, 12:39 p.m.


Well................great news, Phil did not see his shadow..........so get out that gun, hop on the re-loader, and get ready for Spring.  In the meantime........here are a few things you can do in the cold weather that will get you ready for the upcoming season.

1.  Book an upland hunt.  Getting outside with a good dog and shooting some Quail, Chukar, or Pheasant is a great day behind the trigger, and even better meal when you get home.  Upland hunting keeps your skills honed, and is a wonderful day outside, especially with your children or good friends.  Don't know where to go............?  Give me a call and I can hook you up at some GREAT local preserves.

2.  Read..............yeah, does not sound like tons of fun, but honestly, if you love this game............learning never stops.  Weather it be magazines like Sporting Clays, Upland Journal, Gun Dog, or books on Wing Shooting or Clays..........reading can get your "juices" flowing, and teach you along the way on those cold snowy days.........when pulling the trigger is not an option.

3.  Go to a Gun Show or Sportsman's and Sportswoman's Expo.  Both of these are great ways to spend a day.........(and some money), and have a ton of fun.  Many have seminars, like Pheasant Fest, and events for the entire family.  These events are not just for the "Good ole boys" anymore.  You will have a blast.

4.  Go out for a walk in your favorite hunting area...........or a local woods.  Never know what you might see along the way.  When I am really stressed or feeling pretty low, for whatever reason............I go out to our gun club preserve.........and just walk around.  Might bring the pup, but never a gun.  Being out there in the crisp air, gives  you time to think, refresh, and recharge.  I often used this time after I lost family members or beloved pets..........when you talk to them out there, no one is listening to you but them, and it made me feel tons better......like they were still here with us.  As a bonus........I often see things I have never seen before.........so that is very very cool.

5.  Introduce someone new to the shooting sports or outdoors.  Ask your wife, girlfriend or daughter if they want to learn how to shoot.  .22 or 12ga........makes no difference. It is great to have a shooting partner in close proximity when you really want to go pull the trigger.  Take an adult friend along on your next clays adventure, or your buddy's children.  Each new person we introduce to the shooting sports, is one more voice in keeping our freedoms intact, and their lives richer through the outdoors.

6.  Take an NRA course.  Shotgun, Rifle, Pistol, Hope protection, etc.  Does not matter.  The more things we learn about what we do with our firearms, the better we will be down the road.  You can find out what courses our in your area by going to the NRA website, and clicking Education.  And while you are there............become a member.  Help protect our 2nd. Amendment rights we are fighting so hard to keep.

Lastly.........say a little prayer for all of the people killed by senseless violence with firearms.  We as responsible citizens and gun owners are sickened and appalled by all of this, and the "bad guys" are severely impacting what we as responsible gun owners are not going to be able to do with firearms in the future

So there you have it...................let's hope Phil is correct, and we will be pulling the trigger in short sleeves very very soon..............KEEP BUSTIN' THEM UP

Posted by Tom on Feb. 5, 2013, 8:51 a.m.


Well the winter weather is upon us...........and keeping the gun in our hands a few times over the winter will pay huge benefits at the start of next season, IF, you remember a few things:

1.  FORGET ABOUT SCORE.  Yes, forget about it.  You will never shoot your best scores in wind, rain, snow, and cold.  Just keep that gun in your hand, relax, and enjoy your time out.
2.  More clothes means longer LOP, guns not fitting correctly, etc.  Try to dress as light as possible for the temps, while still staying warm.
3.  Use hand warmers.  The $1.00 hand warmers work great............keep your hands warm, as they are they things that control your shot.  If they are frozen, your shooting will suffer.
4.  Try to frequent courses that keep their targets fair over the winter.  Shooting a course that looks like the Nationals at 20 degrees is no fun for anyone.  Getting a handle on targets that you SHOULD break, but everyone misses, is great to work on in the winter.
5.  IF IT IS NOT FUN............STAY HOME.  We all love to shoot, and just because the guys shoot every Weds., does not mean if the wind is blowing at 30mph, and it's 10 degrees, you have to shoot.  Save the ammo, stay home in front of the fire, and go another day.
6.  Change the game up.............instead of shooting 100 targets of Sporting.......Try 5 stand, Skeet, Trap or FITASC.  They are only 25 targets, you stay out less time, and you still keep that gun in your hand.  Or develop your own game....shoot 50 targets doing all reports on the first 50, warm up, and all true pairs on the 2nd. 50. 
7.  For Practice.........shoot single targets only.  Shoot until you can break 5 singles in a row, or 10, or 3..........whatever is your level.  Helps your practice and sight pictures......and you can do as many stations as you like.........then go warm  up.

Anyway.........there are some suggestions for you to keep that gun in you hands when the weather is more for snowmobiling than shooting.  Have a wonderful Holiday season.
Talk to you next month

Posted by Tom on Dec. 16, 2012, 8:27 p.m.


     With the cooler weather, and the leaves changing, it could only mean one thing.............Watch out you upland game.  Pheasants, Quail, Grouse, Huns, Chukar, and a ton more of the birds we love to hunt.  I always get a question or two that says, " I can hit clay targets great.........how come I miss so may birds"?  Well, the answer is not so simple, but I will give you some reasons for missing. 
1.  When the bird flushes, what do you look at?  My guess, the end of the gun, where that bright bead is.  WRONG!  What are you trying to hit?  The bird flying away.  Shooting is an eye-hand coordination game.  When catching a fly ball in baseball, what do you watch, the glove or the ball.........better be the ball......or you are in for a cold pack for your noggin.  Same thing here.......let your eyes see the target, your brain process the info your eyes see, and send it to your hands which will move the barrel with the target.  Look at the end of the gun.............THE GUN STOPS, but your target does not.

2.  What does your brain say when the bird flushes.  OMG, FAST, HURRY, IT'S GETTING AWAY, YOU'RE TO SLOW, RUSH RUSH RUSH.  Think of this.....Bird 40 mph, shot charge of #5 Prairie Storm 12ga.  750 mph.  Who wins...........?  Not the bird.  Slow down, you have more time than you think........see your target well, and get that gun to the position it needs to be to put that bird in your dogs mouth. 

3.  When that bird flushes...........what is the first thing you do?  Pick your gun up right?  Need that to kill the bird.  Well, if the bird goes directly away from you, great, but, 90% of the time if goes left or right.  If you pick the gun straight up, the bird has a head start on your gun, and you must chase the target, (bird), as if fly's away, wasting time, and getting further away from you.  Try this.........when the bird goes left or right, turn from the hips as your gun comes up.  When the gun finally hits your cheek, where is the target?  Right at the end of your barrel, because you moved WITH the bird, not away from it, and then had to chase.  Try it in front of a mirror at home.  Trust me, it works like a charm.

So if you are missing a few birds.............try these tips.  Still struggling, give me a call, and we'll help you out.  Good hunting.

Posted by Tom on Sept. 19, 2012, 10:08 p.m.

Tip of the Month: May

     Chokes..............Good, Bad, or of no worry?  I am asked about chokes for Sporting Clays all the time.  Which are the best chokes, what choke should I use, should I be changing chokes for each presentation, etc.  All are great questions.  First let me say this.........Chokes are to the shooting Industry, what "The new Driver" is to the golf industry.  They all work well........and better in the hands of an accomplished golfer or shooter.  I personally am not a choke changer.....I run I/C & LM, almost 100% of the time.  Why???  Because I want my mind on breaking the target, and don't want another thing to be thinking about when I see that targets. That being said.....using a full choke on a target that is 10 yards away is foolish........so the correct choke for the presentation is the letter of the day.  Most courses will tell you what chokes you need for the targets they have out there.  Trust that info......they know.  If it a sight unseen target, here are some tips:    
                                             Up to 30 yards...Skeet will crush anything out there
                                             31-40+ I/C will do nicely
                                             45-out  Light Mod or Mod
                                             Targets on edge use larger shot, or one more choke
Here is one of the reasons I do not like changing chokes.  At an Instructor Cert. course a few years back, an instructor buddy of mine named Bob and I got out on the practice field and began shooting crossing targets...........with a Cyl Choke.  We started at 20 yards, and kept moving back until we could not break the target.  I was stumped at 75 yards.....Bob kept moving back, and was still CRUSHING targets at almost 90 yards.  So what does that tell you?  It tells you, if the gun is in the correct place, choke does not matter.........the target will break.  So here is my recommendation.  Put one or two chokes in your gun you really comfortable with.................and stay with them.  If you feel good about them, you will break targets..................and feel great doing it.  Just don't get hung up on anything.  Keep them in.
Here are the names of some reputable choke manufacturers: 
                                                             Briley Mfg.
                                                             Pure Gold Chokes
                                                             Muller Chokes
                                                             Carlson Chokes
                                                             Comp n Choke Chokes
                                                             Trulock Chokes
                                                             Seminole Chokes
                                                             Extreme Chokes
                                                             Kick's Chokes
And Many Many more.  Remember.........good equipment makes a difference, so a quality choke, either by the gun manufacturer or an after market company will make your shooting more enjoyable, BUT, like everything in sports we do, there is no magic choke, gun or load, that will make you go from E class to AA class, with a swipe of a credit card.  That takes hard work on the range, and the assistance of a good coach.  See ya on the course

.  Got a question for Tom...email him.  If he uses if for a monthly tip, he will treat you to a 50 target round at your local course.



Posted by Tom on April 16, 2012, 9:39 p.m.