Press Room

Written by Bobby Fowler — Professional Shooting Instructor, Elite Shooting School   
Dreaded Towers

You’re on GHGC’s North Course with friends, and you’re shooting pretty well. But as you round station nine, you get that nagging feeling – you know the one – from the knowledge that the dreaded tower stations are coming up! If you have ever experienced this trepidation, you are not alone. But with a little knowledge, and a few key tips, you may never have to worry about those tower shots again.

The first step to success when taking on the tower is to use the correct choke and shell shot size. The tower definitely requires a tighter choke, as it keeps the shot compressed for a longer distance. I prefer using a modified choke, but a light modified choke will do. A 7 ½ shot size is ideal for long tower shots, as it is for better penetration. You can use 8’s, but 9’s won’t do it.

The next piece of the puzzle is to determine the correct break point, or sweet spot. As you watch the target, decide ahead of time where you are going to break it. Usually this will be somewhere halfway between the trap and the point at which the target starts to drop. Your break point also dictates where you are going to start the gun – the hold point. This will be about halfway between the trap and your break point. Be sure to start, and move, the gun below the line of the target, which allows you a clear field vision on the bird the entire time.

The next consideration is lead, one of the most talked about topics in the shooting sports. Lead is estimated “at the barrel” relative to the target. Typically, every inch of lead you see at the barrel is equivalent to a 1-foot lead at the bird. Let’s take an example, a left to right crossing shot, where the tower is set at approxinmately100-feet, or about 38-yards. By the time the target reaches your break point, it is about a 50-yard shot. I shoot a 5 to 6-foot lead at this range. My sight picture, then, will be a gap of about 5 to 6 inches at the barrel.

Sounds pretty simple? It is. The basics of the shot are not hard to hard to learn. The challenge, however, is to put it all together.

For tower shots, I teach my students to place the barrel of their gun below the line of the target, halfway between the trap and their break point, then to look back at the trap and call “pull.” Once the target exits the trap, they start moving their barrel from under the line of the bird up to the break point with a 6-foot lead, or 5 to 6 inches of gap between target and barrel. There are a few more tips I encourage them to consider to truly master the shot. First, to remember that the gun barrel should always be in their peripheral vision so they can focus their eye on the bird. Second, to always shoot the target at their predetermined break point. Lastly, to always keep their barrel moving when the shot is taken – the longer the shot, the more critical the follow-through.

Give these tips a try next time you’re faced with the dreaded tower shots again. Hopefully they will help you break more birds and have more fun. Or let me help you put it all together. Contact me by email or give me a call at 713-858-4200 to schedule an appointment for a lesson.

Bobby firing upward Bobby instructing man with onlookers Bobby aiming right