Are shotgun beads necessary?

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  • Mr Smooth

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    Feb 19, 2022
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    Destrehan
    Just wondering how people feel about shotgun beads. I have shotguns with and without mid beads. One shotgun lost it's mid bead and I don't feel like it mattered.
     

    Bmash

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    Dec 23, 2013
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    My opinion - Mid bead - not at all. Front bead is useful for aiming (e. g. turkey or a slug at distance) and for ensuring your fit is correct when you Mount the gun. With proper technique you don’t need the front bead for bird hunting. You don’t “aim”.
    I lost the front bead on a shotgun and hit ducks just fine without it there.
     

    Forgotten

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    Aug 30, 2016
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    LAFAYETTE
    I believe the beads help with looks around this time of year. Happy Mardi Gras.
    20220222_095156.jpg
     

    highstandard40

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    Apr 14, 2009
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    It depends. If you have a shotgun that patterns very tightly and you are aiming at a small target, then yes, beads help. For wing shooting with a more open choke, then it's not as important.
     

    cyclone1970

    Oldie
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    May 10, 2014
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    I learned in some Army training that sights are definitely not necessary for short range shooting. The training was designed to dramatically show that and it did for me.

    We were given BB guns without any sights at all and of course, goggles. Another person threw aluminum discs, about 2" in diameter, as high as they could throw them into the air. I was shocked at how successful everyone was, myself included, at hitting the discs.

    My opinion, after that, is for all firearms, rifles, pistols, and shotguns, need sights for distance, but close in, not so much. I would not worry about a missing bead if your shotgun shooting is for fun.
     

    Ancient115

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    Sep 18, 2022
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    I shoot two 870s, both with just a front bead. I like to blame the stock sights when I miss a bird, but we all know its the ammos fault honestly. No way I could have missed that shot.

    But in all honesty, I dont even consciously look at the one bead, much less if there was a mid bead too
     

    Manimal

    Get'n Duffy!
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    May 27, 2007
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    I learned in some Army training that sights are definitely not necessary for short range shooting. The training was designed to dramatically show that and it did for me.

    We were given BB guns without any sights at all and of course, goggles. Another person threw aluminum discs, about 2" in diameter, as high as they could throw them into the air. I was shocked at how successful everyone was, myself included, at hitting the discs.

    My opinion, after that, is for all firearms, rifles, pistols, and shotguns, need sights for distance, but close in, not so much. I would not worry about a missing bead if your shotgun shooting is for fun.
    I grew up with that BB gun, was great, and give it credit for helping to refine judgement in sightless/point shooting with gun and bows. I wish I still had the box and disk, but still have the BB gun!
     

    Request Dust Off

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    Feb 11, 2007
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    Just wondering how people feel about shotgun beads. I have shotguns with and without mid beads. One shotgun lost it's mid bead and I don't feel like it mattered.
    There are is least one guy that wrote a book who advocate removing the front bead, so you can't look at it, as you should be focusing on the target.
    I never had a mid bead on a shotgun and never had one with no front bead. So I can't say how it would affect me.
    I'd say a vented rib my would be my choice over no rib.
    He also makes a point that shotguns are a both eyes open gun. I think all guns are both eyes open guns, even scoped rifles.
     

    highstandard40

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    This discussion can only be meaningful if we differentiate between stationary targets and moving targets. A turkey hunter can certainly benefit from a front and mid bead. A wing shooter may do fine without either bead.
     

    PDaddy

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    Aug 10, 2022
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    New Orleans, LA
    I found no bead works better for me when duck hunting. The bead is a distraction from focusing on a flying bird. If you aim with the bead you will miss. I‘ve duck hunted for 45 years. Wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I really understood this. I had knocked the bead off of my shotgun and so had to hunt without one for a while. It caused me to watch the bird more and my shooting improved noticeably.
     

    PDaddy

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    Aug 10, 2022
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    You might have the lead wrong too. But if you are not focused on the moving bird, and instead you are aiming with the bead, you will miss the bird. That’s why they say you don’t aim a shotgun you point it.
     

    SVT Bansheeman

    No more laughing dog
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    Jan 24, 2011
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    You might have the lead wrong too. But if you are not focused on the moving bird, and instead you are aiming with the bead, you will miss the bird. That’s why they say you don’t aim a shotgun you point it.
    I was focused on the target, still missed. Lead was off.

    It seems if that's the case, then shotguns wouldn't have beads. Either way, someone can do what works for them.
     

    mod1911a

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    Jan 20, 2014
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    Covington, LA
    My 2 cents. It's long but I'm a fanatic when it comes to shotguns.
    I agree with Bmash in Post #2 in that the bead is very important to verifying gun fit.
    When you mount a shotgun, you should see the bead sitting right on top of the rib. On guns without a rib, the bead should be sitting directly on top of the receiver. A mid-bead is very useful to determine if the gun is canted. If you raise the gun and the mid bead is aligned with the front bead in a Figure 8, the gun fits. And even if a gun fits with summer clothes, it may be way off while wearing thicker clothes. The bead(s) play an important role when achieving good fit. That's why they're there.
    If you determine proper fit, mount the gun consistently every time, and keep your face on the stock; the gun will shoot where you point it every single time.

    As far as "aiming" with the bead----NO, you don't aim. Back in the late 90's and early 2000's, I shot skeet as often as twice a week. Joined the NSSA and shot in a few tournaments. Recently, I joined another club and I'm shooting again. I've read a lot of pro's books and watched a lot of videos. I've put at least 10,000 rounds through various shotguns; 12, 20, and 28ga.
    While you're not "looking" at the bead while focusing on the target and calculating your lead, you're still unconsciously (or subconsciously) "seeing" the front of the barrel, or bead, in relation to the target. How can your brain determine a 1ft, 2ft or 4ft lead if it can't determine where the end of the barrel is? Try this; Go outside and find an object at least 10 yards away and instinctively point your finger at it without actually looking at your finger. While still focusing only on the object, you'll be able see your finger pointing right at it. Now move your finger to the right or left, say, 2ft, while still focusing on the object. You can still "see" your finger in your peripheral vision and "see" and approximate that 2ft.
    Same goes with a shotgun. I installed a Hi Viz fiber optic front bead on my skeet gun to aid in "seeing" the relationship of the barrel to the target. But I'm 100% focused on the target. Many, many people strongly state, "I don't even see the barrel". In my educated opinion, I disagree. They're "seeing" the end of the barrel, just not looking at it.

    And the moral of this long, nauseating story: Responding to Mr Smooth in Post #1, I feel beads on a shotgun serve a useful purpose. And remember: Gun fit, Head on the gun, Eye on the target. Shot string will take care of discrepancies in Lead.
     

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