Recently I got my hands on an absolutely gorgeous a Franchi Affinity 3 Upland Elite in 20 gauge, Model 41315. Since this is a new shotgun for me, and I haven’t been upland hunting for a couple years, I decided to reach out to my friend John Francis for some tips on preparing for upland hunting season.
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First though, I must tell you about the Franchi Affinity 3 Upland Elite and why I’m so excited to shoot it. I was amazed how light the box was when I picked it up from my local gun shop. Could there really be a shotgun in there? Yep … there was and it is beautiful. I love the gun metal gray Cerakote finish. Apparently, the Inertia Driven system allows for a lighter shotgun with a slimmer profile, which makes it perfect for extremely long walks in the fields. After all, who wants to lug around a heavy shotgun all day?
John Francis is a wing shooting consultant in Shawnee, Kansas. You may wonder what qualifies him for this title: he’s an NSCA Level III Instructor/Coach and Master Class competitor with 45 years of bird hunting experience in both North and South America. From now until November 10, he sees 20-to-25 people a week for wingshooting lessons. Although most are typical corporate men that want to improve and not be embarrassed, in the last few years his fall client base has expanded to include women who plan on hunting with other girlfriends or their spouses. I knew he could help me prepare for upland hunting with my new shotgun.
You may have the finest gear and clothing for upland hunting, but if you’re shotgun skills aren’t up to par, you might as well just skip the long, grueling walk through the fields. The following tips, from John, will help increase your chances of a successful upland hunt.
According to John, the gun mount is the hardest part, but once it’s mastered, it becomes fun. He recommends having a qualified instructor help with this process. A gun mount starts by bringing the gun to your face as you lean forward. This action should securely seat the buttstock into your shoulder pocket. Speaking of buttstock, Franchi’s Affinity 3 shotgun has a TSA recoil pad, which is proven to reduce felt recoil up to 50 percent. This reduces flinching, thus allowing for faster follow-up shots and makes shooting more enjoyable.
Another important step before ever shooting is knowing eye dominance. Since your dominant eye is the rear sight for the shotgun, it needs to be aligned so you look straight down the rib line. Thankfully, the Franchi Affinity 3 has an Omni stock adjustable fit that allows for both drop and cast adjustments. For help with fit, I met with a local shotgun instructor since I can’t just fly out to John in Kansas for assistance.
Whether you have the opportunity to shoot clays at a club, or on a farm field, find a trap that throws a full-size target at a slow-to-moderate speed with about a 30-to-45 degree angle up and away. This mimics the flushing type shots used with most upland birds.
Begin with the shotgun in a low ready position, keeping the muzzle at eye level. This is important since you can’t identify the birds until they reach eye level. Also, if hunting with dogs, muzzle control must be up, with shots into the sky only. Always make sure you can see the horizon under your gun before you pull the trigger. Then, call pull and mount the gun in sync with the target. Keep the gun moving through the mount and trigger pull, following the bird. Practice with one shell until you’re comfortable, then load two rounds and shoot a second time if you miss the first shot. This will allow for follow up, more instinctive moves and trains your eyes to focus for a second shot and or the bird.
Make sure you spend time with your shotgun. Learn how to work the safety and clear any malfunctions. Learn how to unload the gun on the range or in the field. Practice firearm safety both on the range and in the field.
Find more information about Franchi’s Affinity 3 Upland Elite in 20 gauge, Model 41315 here.
[…] shotgun instructors find their days filled with coaching people on upland hunting techniques. In my previous post, “Preparing for Upland Hunting Season with a Franchi Affinity 3” I shared tips and […]