About the Study Guide

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While there is a significant difference in performance between a centerfire rifle and a muzzleloading rifle, the difference between shooting a conventional shotgun and a muzzleloading shotgun is negligible. A muzzleloading shotgun can perform in the field as effectively as a conventional shotgun. Shotgun marksmanship, however, differs from rifle marksmanship. A rifle hunter aims at a target; a shotgun hunter points at a moving target with the barrel.

Aiming a muzzleloader in the correct standing position

Using Correct Shotgun-Firing Techniques

  1. Spread your feet about shoulder-width apart with your weight evenly balanced so that your arms and upper body can swing to the left or right.
  2. Shoulder the shotgun. Bring the stock to your cheek first and then back to your shoulder.
  3. Look at the target, not the muzzle. Swing your barrel to track the game.
  4. Practice moving smoothly as you swing.
  5. Shift your weight to the leg in front, and lean slightly into the shotgun.
  6. Slap the trigger quickly and with a firm motion. Do not jerk. Know exactly when to fire.
  7. Follow through with the swing of the barrel during and after the shot. If you stop as you pull the trigger, you will hit behind a moving target.