Pheasant Hunting with the Fat•Bead
by Brad Fenson
One of the best things I ever did to improve my wing shooting ability was to take a lesson from OSP Shooting School gurus, Gil and Vicki Ash. The experience turned me from an average shooter into one that pheasants fear.
Keep your head up, both eyes open, watch the target, and know where the end of your shotgun is as you swing it, and keep swinging it. One of the biggest mistakes we make as shotgun enthusiasts is trying to aim a shotgun when it needs to be pointed. The end of your shotgun and bead are a guide but aren’t meant to be your focus point. There are lots of things you can do to help keep the bead in your peripheral vision, as we all know we need to be watching the target.
A larger bead is easy to keep track of and the brighter it is, the more likely you’ll see it under varying light conditions. A TRUGLO Fat Bead could be the difference in you bringing home a limit of birds, or carting a shooting vest full of empty hulls.
A Fat Bead or Fat Bead Universal come in different models to attach to your shotgun. There are distinct size mounting screws to accommodate most shotguns. The large diameter bead has a fiber optic that is .100 inches and stands out like a colorful rooster. The fiber used in the bead is 0.5 inches long, meaning it can gather and emit lots of light and brightness. The fat, bright sight makes your shotgun easier to track while you’re watching birds fly.
Pheasants can be tricky fowl to hit on the wing. They usually rocket straight up out of cover, level off for a brief second, then jet away at breakneck speed. If you can catch them on the momentary pause between leveling off and heading for safer ground, you can usually collect more birds.
Pheasants are masters at using the wind and they often flush into the breeze, turn quickly, and use the Jetstream to carry them away as quick as possible. A crossing shot, on a fast target in the wind, is hard to hit. You need to concentrate on the speed of the bird and keep your gun barrel swinging at the same speed. The old saying, “back, belly, beak—bang!” often describes the swift swing of a trusty smoothbore to anchor your target.
If you have any vision issues or suffer from eyes that are aging, the Fat Bead just might be the quick fix to make you look like an all-star again. It is ideal for a replacement, or a repair, to existing shotgun bead. Whether you enjoy shooting clay targets, upland game birds, or waterfowl, a more visible shotgun bead could help you out. The fiber optics come in green or red and are available in several sizes and diameters. The Fat Bead can only be installed on a shotgun barrel with a ventilated, or solid rib design.
Shotgun Slug Hunting, Sighting Options
By Joe Byers
Shotgun slug technology has come a long way in recent years such that 100-yard shots are a certainty with a quality sight and solid rest. Slug guns have tremendous knockdown power, penetration, and lethality. A fellow recently took a slug gun to Africa on a plains game safari and took a Livingstone eland at 75 yards with a single shot. Despite a chest nearly two feet thick the copper slug stopped just under the skin of the far shoulder. The beast ran 50 yards and crashed. Although many states mandate shotguns due to the flat nature of terrain or urban development, you need not feel handicapped by those laws. Test your shotgun to see which brand of slug works best and top your buck-buster with one of these three sighting options. Adding a more precise sighting system to a shotgun will likely increase the effectiveness at distance. As they say in the military, “aim small, hit small.”
Open sight fans will love the TRUGLO Pro Series Slug Gun sights that keep your cheek on the stock and provide a precise aim, even on moving game. Sight down the barrel and you’ll see how naturally the red front dot fits between the two green dots of the rear sight. Line up the three dots and you get a precise shot every time. The added light grabbing ability of the fiber-optics work well in low light or inclement weather when traditional iron sights can be fuzzy and difficult to see. This is especially valuable for hunting deer or other game where shots typically occur close to dawn or dusk. The sights mount easily and solidly—attaching to any shotgun rib. The rear sight allows for vertical and windage adjustments. They are made of steel to take tough punishment and require no magnets or tape to mount.
Reflex or “Red Dot” optics are an excellent slug gun choice well suited for running shots and for shooters who are recoil sensitive. A red dot optic can’t reduce recoil, yet because of the unlimited eye relief you are virtually guaranteed it won’t put a ring above your eye. If you hunt deer by driving, you’ll rarely get a standing, broadside sight picture and here’s where that single aiming dot really shines, no pun intended. You get a simple sight pictured that can be aimed quickly and easily. For example, the new Tru•Tec 20mm sight provides a sharp 2-MOA dot with variable intensity so that it shows equally in bright sunshine or at the end of shooting light. It features ultra-long battery life, is shockproof and waterproof making it the perfect match for bad weather when the hunting can be best. Red dot optics are a frequent option for AR and tactical carbine shooters, but are every bit as practical for shotguns. The Tru•Tec identifies well with both audiences and comes with two different mounts (high and low) to match your shooting style. Finally, if you’ve ever seen a buck you couldn’t find in your scope, the ultra-wide field of view of this optic solves that for good. Best of all, red dot sights allow you to shoot with both eyes open and that red dot won’t get mixed in with leaves or tree trunks, important attributes that inevitably make aiming your shotgun quite a bit faster. You’ll be amazed how effective you can become at normal shotgun ranges of 20-80 yards.
Traditional scope lovers will relish the Tru•Brite 30 Hunter configured like a standard rifle scope that offers 1-4x magnification in a 30mm tube for increased brightness. This optic offers nearly four inches of eye relief and an extremely field of view when turned down to 1x. If you hunt in a region with point restrictions, the four-power option can quickly tell you if a buck is legal without affecting accuracy. 4x magnification has been a common and practical choice on rifle optics for decades. Being able to quickly zoom between 1x and 4x provides the advantages of speed and accuracy. Although designed as a slug gun scope, the same optic can easily double on your turkey shotgun or other models for varmints or wild hogs. It features fully-coated lenses for maximum brightness, clarity and contrast. Being nitrogen gas-filled, it is naturally waterproof and fog-proof. This scope is also shock resistant and Weaver-style rings are included.
Confidence is critical to deer hunting success and if you feel you are at a disadvantage with your slug gun, pop one of these sighting systems on your favorite pump or auto and you’ll quickly see the light.