If It Ain’t Broke...

When entrusted with the education of a new shooter, I try to point out three great truths about successful marksmen:

  • They handle a gun—any kind of gun—with a minimum of movement. If you watch them at work, there doesn't seem to be much happening.

  • They are able to shoot fast. They have taken to heart the Gunsite adage that "A good fast shot is better than a slow perfect shot because you're not going to get time for the slow, perfect shot."

  • They don't jack around with their guns. They accept the fact that if they miss, it's not the gun, it's them.

Back in my formative years, I left several fortunes in the hands of gunsmiths who were constantly diddling with my rifles and shotguns. I wanted them lighter or heavier. I wanted the stocks shorter or longer. I wanted a new trigger. I wanted a new chambering. I wanted different sights. In the end, I doubt if any of it was even remotely worth the money.

I began to catch on to this when I was shooting registered trap, and noted that the guy who won everything at the shoots I participated in used a plain-vanilla Remington 870 pump. He beat the hell out of all the guys with Perazzis and Berettas and Kriegfhoffs. He did not own choke tubes, never adjusted his comb height when he shot yardage, and did not get a release trigger or any of that stuff. All he did was break targets.

I once asked “Smoker” Smith, the Brit was the world Sporting Clays champion back in the 80s, which choke tubes he used.

“’Ow the ‘ell would I know?”, he said. “And it doesn’t make any difference anyway. The bloody things have been rusted in place for years.”