Beretta Blog

Bill Miller

Bill Miller is an outdoor writer/editor who has hunted and/or shot competitively and recreationally in 41 states, 9 provinces, and on 5 continents. While he enjoys all kinds of hunting and shooting, at the core, he's a shotgunner - ever since his youngest days when his parents issued his allowance in shotshells rather than cash. He shoots trap, skeet, sporting clays regularly and has shot the international clays games, FITASC, helice, ZZ bird, live pigeons, StarShot, and more. His writing has appeared in North American Hunter, Delta Waterfowl, Clay Target Nation, Waterfowl & Retriever, Game & Fish Publications, Quebec Outfitters magazine, and many more. He hosted hunting and shooting sports shows on ESPN, espn2, ESPNU, Versus, the Outdoor Channel, FoxSports, Sportsmen's Channel, and Pursuit Channel, He is currently the Executive Editor for 50Campfires.com - the world's largest media platform for family campers.
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Recent Posts

As Easy As Pointing Your Finger

Posted by Bill Miller on Oct 16, 2018 9:44:00 AM

 

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On some days – all too rare days – wingshooting seems so easy. It’s as easy as pointing your finger and thinking, “bang!” When that happens, it’s because the clays seem as big as trashcan lids or the pheasants seem to fly in slow motion.

While such days are the ultimate in shotgunning fun and the stuff of the best glory days’ memories, at some point I usually remember that glory never happens without paying for it!

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Topics: Clay Shooting, Hunting - Upland, hunting - waterfowl

Basics of the Shotgun Games: Sporting Clays

Posted by Bill Miller on Oct 12, 2018 8:49:00 AM

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At the conclusion of a particularly humbling round, sporting clays has been called a lot of things by a lot of people. Many of them are not suitable for a family website like this Beretta Blog. However, I vividly remember the two things I said after completing my first ever round of sporting clays in 1984.

The event was media day at the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club. They had just finished installing their first sporting clays course, but not yet opened it to the public. Members of the press were invited to shoot the “new game” in hopes of providing some pre-grand opening publicity.

As I walked back to the clubhouse, the manager came up and asked, “So, what do you think?”

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Topics: Clay Shooting

Home Defense: Why I Choose a Shotgun

Posted by Bill Miller on Oct 3, 2018 8:08:00 AM

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The instructor of the course I attended to acquire my first Minnesota Permit to Carry was a goofball. The six-plus hours of classroom instruction were heavy on his tales of bounty hunting adventure and his personal political and religious views. They were vapidly light on meaningful content. Though this was nearly a decade ago, and I have attended much better “thinking man’s” carry training since, one piece of good advice from “GI Joe” still rings loud in my head:

“There is nothing worth killing for that isn’t worth dying for.”

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Topics: Self Defense, Dynamic Shooting

Familiarity Breeds Success

Posted by Bill Miller on Oct 1, 2018 9:08:00 AM

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Our weekly Wednesday night sporting clays league was a welcome respite from hectic days at the office. All of us on the team – the regulars, anyway – worked at the same mid-sized company. Though we focused on different departments, we were all under the thumb of the same “Man.” You know, “… working for The Man.”

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Topics: Clay Shooting

4 Quick Adjustments to Break More Targets

Posted by Bill Miller on Sep 10, 2018 11:36:00 AM

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Breaking more targets. Achieving higher scores. From the Tuesday night league shooter to the high school team member to the occasional weekend-with-buddies plinker to the hardened competitor -- these are the goals of every clay target shooter. Break more birds!

Sometimes reaching these goals takes a revamp. You need to go to a professional coach for a tune-up, or maybe a total makeover starting with rebuilding the basics and working your way back up. You know, like when a pro golfer has to go back to his or her swing coach to get back on top.

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Topics: Clay Shooting

On the Job Training for Wingshooters

Posted by Bill Miller on Sep 6, 2018 10:38:00 AM

 

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There was a time in North America when it was possible to learn the skills necessary to become a great wingshot by shooting live birds. But we’re talking a long time ago – think of the heydays of the passenger pigeon, which was the early- to mid-1800s. Think of the days of market hunting for waterfowl, which ended in the early 20th century.

The bottom line is, it takes a lot of shooting to become good at it. Championship caliber shooters in any shotgunning discipline shoot tens of thousands of shells a year to develop and maintain their skills.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

“Real” Clays Practice for the Field

Posted by Bill Miller on Sep 4, 2018 10:19:00 AM

 

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There are two kinds of clay target shooting. You can go out and shoot clays for the sake of the games themselves. Trap, skeet, and sporting clays are all fun in their own right. They can stoke the competitive flame and compel shooters to renown. Or they can be pursued as family fun, a wonderful introduction to firearms, and challenging lifelong pursuits.

Then there is clay shooting in preparation for hunting. It’s practice to make you a perfect shot in the field. The goal is to create mental pictures and instill muscle memory you’ll call upon when you’re hunting.

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Topics: Clay Shooting

One-Gun or the Golf Bag Approach?

Posted by Bill Miller on Aug 30, 2018 9:55:00 AM

 

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There are two different ways to look at shotguns for hunting … and to some extent for shooting clay targets. Neither is right. Neither is wrong. They are just different.

The first view considers a shotgun as a tool, and a means to an end. Nothing more. Nothing less. In this philosophy, a shotgun is simply the implement used to make it possible to take game – most often birds, but sometimes furred-critters or even big game. As a craftsman recognizes the importance of maintaining his tools, this shooter is just as pragmatic about maintaining his shotgun.

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Topics: Clay Shooting, Hunting - Upland, Hunting - Duck, Hunting - Turkey

Basics of the Shotgun Games: American Skeet

Posted by Bill Miller on Aug 24, 2018 2:08:48 PM

 

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A quiet skeet field, where the new student and a competent coach can work together uninterrupted, is the best tool for teaching wingshooting skills. The flight of each target is the same, so it eliminates the variable of the new shooter having to figure out where to look.

Low seven is a straightaway launched just a few feet from the shooter. It can be learned quickly and is a great confidence builder. This is really important when working with a new shooter whom you had to convince to give shotgun shooting a try. They need some near-instant success to build enthusiasm quickly and the realization, “Yes, I can do this!”

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Topics: Clay Shooting

Laser Guided Shotgun Training? Almost…

Posted by Bill Miller on Jul 23, 2018 9:24:00 AM

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Wingshooting skills would be so easy to learn if we were shooting laser guns. You know, the ones aliens carried in the “B” movies to project a continuous beam of disintegration at earthlings who refused to take them to their leader. With these mythical shotguns, we would just watch the beam and easily adjust for lead on any target no matter how evasive its maneuvers.

If you’ve ever set foot on a shotgun range, you know it doesn’t work that way. Learning to consistently center a shot pattern you can’t see on a moving target is to master physics, muscle memory … and a good bit of art. It takes time.

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Topics: Clay Shooting, Hunting - Upland, Hunting - Duck, hunting - waterfowl