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Shooting Drill: Turkey Gun Pop Cans

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August 03, 2011

Shooting Drill: Turkey Gun Pop Cans

By Phil Bourjaily

This week’s “Shoot Better in a Minute” tip on Episode 7 of “The Gun Nuts” TV show deals with turkey hunting target practice. We all pattern our turkey guns to see what load works best, but how many of us practice from field positions? If you have turkey hunted much at all, you've shot birds while you were twisting around a tree, or even from your off-shoulder and it helps a great deal to actually practice some of those shots.

http://ak.c.ooyala.com/g4YXEwYzpvdIWTBINlm20T3lVdaUq-OF/Ut_HKthATH4eww8X4xMDoxOjA4MTsiGN

You don’t have to use turkey loads nor turkey targets. Since you don’t actually feel the recoil of a heavy shell in the excitement of shooting at a turkey, a field or target load is just fine. While a pop can is bigger than a turkey’s head, it makes a good cheap target and any shot that ventilates a can would have killed a turkey. In fact, when I started turkey hunting, the only turkey pattern targets were the ones you drew yourself, or aluminum cans. The best patterning target was an Old Style beer can, as the Old Style blue and red shield logo on side was about turkey head-sized.

Besides being good practice, shooting cans takes you back, too, to childhood days of BB guns and .22s. Just be sure to pack them out of the woods when you’re done.

Comments (13)

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Sounds like a good idea; especially the practicing shots from your off shoulder. I'm about the least ambidextrous righthander in the world, and the only standing turkey I ever missed in easy range was one I tried to shoot lefthanded when he came in behind me on the right. Didn't get my head down and shot right over him. Also missed a chance at a great bird once because I couldn't figure out how to get off a lefthanded shot. It doesn't happen often but you never forget when it does. One thought -- if you don't have a good place to practice with a shotgun you could always go beyond nostalgia and actually practice with a BB gun in the backyard.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Shooting out of position calls for extra skill. If you must push to the left, you will shoot right and/or push up, you will shoot low and the opposites are true.

Sir Phil, there is more to learning these techniques with the side effects of than what one realizes!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Learning "follow through" is a must!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Great tip and very simple. Have needed to shoot from my opposite shoulder a number of times but have never thought to practice that shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Phil, You might appreciate my misery on the skeet range tonight. Going into station 7 I had 19 birds on 18 shots hoping for my first better than perfect round only to miss my single on the low house at 7, the easiest shot in skeet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Troy Weber wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

On this weeks episode in a different segment, it was explained that you will shoot low when shooting up and down hill. The reasoning was that gravity is stronger when something is held closer to horizontal (referring to the bend in the tip of a fly rod.)

You are mistaken with your reasoning. Gravity is a constant. On planet Earth, that constant is -32f/s or -9.8m/s. It has the same force regardless of orientation of your fly rod (its a constant). Gravity on Earth will always pull down on any given object (bullet or fly rod) with the same force, no matter what orientation it is relative to the horizontal.

The only thing that hold some slight truth is that when fired uphill, a bullet should stay above the line of sight for a longer period of time due to the inital force (firing the weapon) being in an upward direction.

The average American is not very intelligent. They are likely to believe these false facts. Please check your facts before presenting them as fact on television.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

i have always found that when shooting up or down hill at steep angles, that i would have to aim higher, so in my eyes it IS fact. i have practiced the shot many times and the round did go low if i did not adjust my aim higher.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

sorry should have said lower not higher. i aim low on steep up or down hill shots. sorry, it's 4am here and i haven't had my coffee.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Oryx wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Troy Weber:

Gravity is a constant of 9.8 m/s^2, and as acceleration, not deceleration, is not a negative number.

If you shoot downhill, or uphill, your shot will be higher than you aimed. This increases as does the angle. Ask a bowhunter, or buy a fancy compensating rangefinder.

The average American is not very intelligent. They are likely to believe these false facts. Please check your facts before presenting them as fact on this blog.

Oh, and :-).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Buckhunter -- glad you liked the tip. As for missing low 7 to ruin a straight, been there and done it,and seen it done by my betters. You have to focus just as hard on the gimme targets as you do on the tougher ones, or heartbreak ensues

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Phil,

Good choice of targets. Old Style is such crappy beer that shooting full cans was a public service and might even be considered a charitable contribution worthy of an IRS deduction.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I frequently practice shooting from my "wrong" shoulder since turkeys are such geniuses at approaching from that side. I usually do it with a soda can and .22 shorts just to save money. (I have several beards on the wall to testify that it has paid off.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Not a bad idea for shooting/position practice,Phil.
However, I would prefer to shoot a PEPSI can..Diet Coke is the stuff perfect RUM DRINK dreams are made of!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Oryx wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Troy Weber:

Gravity is a constant of 9.8 m/s^2, and as acceleration, not deceleration, is not a negative number.

If you shoot downhill, or uphill, your shot will be higher than you aimed. This increases as does the angle. Ask a bowhunter, or buy a fancy compensating rangefinder.

The average American is not very intelligent. They are likely to believe these false facts. Please check your facts before presenting them as fact on this blog.

Oh, and :-).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Not a bad idea for shooting/position practice,Phil.
However, I would prefer to shoot a PEPSI can..Diet Coke is the stuff perfect RUM DRINK dreams are made of!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Sounds like a good idea; especially the practicing shots from your off shoulder. I'm about the least ambidextrous righthander in the world, and the only standing turkey I ever missed in easy range was one I tried to shoot lefthanded when he came in behind me on the right. Didn't get my head down and shot right over him. Also missed a chance at a great bird once because I couldn't figure out how to get off a lefthanded shot. It doesn't happen often but you never forget when it does. One thought -- if you don't have a good place to practice with a shotgun you could always go beyond nostalgia and actually practice with a BB gun in the backyard.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Shooting out of position calls for extra skill. If you must push to the left, you will shoot right and/or push up, you will shoot low and the opposites are true.

Sir Phil, there is more to learning these techniques with the side effects of than what one realizes!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Learning "follow through" is a must!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Great tip and very simple. Have needed to shoot from my opposite shoulder a number of times but have never thought to practice that shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Phil, You might appreciate my misery on the skeet range tonight. Going into station 7 I had 19 birds on 18 shots hoping for my first better than perfect round only to miss my single on the low house at 7, the easiest shot in skeet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Troy Weber wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

On this weeks episode in a different segment, it was explained that you will shoot low when shooting up and down hill. The reasoning was that gravity is stronger when something is held closer to horizontal (referring to the bend in the tip of a fly rod.)

You are mistaken with your reasoning. Gravity is a constant. On planet Earth, that constant is -32f/s or -9.8m/s. It has the same force regardless of orientation of your fly rod (its a constant). Gravity on Earth will always pull down on any given object (bullet or fly rod) with the same force, no matter what orientation it is relative to the horizontal.

The only thing that hold some slight truth is that when fired uphill, a bullet should stay above the line of sight for a longer period of time due to the inital force (firing the weapon) being in an upward direction.

The average American is not very intelligent. They are likely to believe these false facts. Please check your facts before presenting them as fact on television.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

i have always found that when shooting up or down hill at steep angles, that i would have to aim higher, so in my eyes it IS fact. i have practiced the shot many times and the round did go low if i did not adjust my aim higher.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

sorry should have said lower not higher. i aim low on steep up or down hill shots. sorry, it's 4am here and i haven't had my coffee.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Buckhunter -- glad you liked the tip. As for missing low 7 to ruin a straight, been there and done it,and seen it done by my betters. You have to focus just as hard on the gimme targets as you do on the tougher ones, or heartbreak ensues

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Phil,

Good choice of targets. Old Style is such crappy beer that shooting full cans was a public service and might even be considered a charitable contribution worthy of an IRS deduction.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I frequently practice shooting from my "wrong" shoulder since turkeys are such geniuses at approaching from that side. I usually do it with a soda can and .22 shorts just to save money. (I have several beards on the wall to testify that it has paid off.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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