"Where did the BB go?" Lucky asks.
The pupil says he saw the shot pass under the target.
"That's right," Lucky says, and tosses up the washer again. "Cheek it and shoot it." The pupil misses again, is asked where the BB went and again he says it went under. Lucky agrees that it did. But on the fourth or fifth miss a pupil may say that he saw the BB pass over the target.
"No," Lucky says firmly. "It never goes over. You'll never miss by shooting over it. Now try to shoot over it and you'll hit it."
The pupil tries to shoot over the washer. He hits it. In that instant he becomes a wing shot. Smaller and smaller washers are tossed into the air and the misses become very infrequent. Eventually the pupil is hitting penny-sized washers and is able to plink them on the top or bottom, as called for by Lucky.
This occurs in an incredibly few minutes, usually under a half hour. During that time the shooter has been kept very busy. Lucky gives him no time to think about what he is doing, no time to theorize, no time to tense up. Targets are tossed in fast succession while Lucky keeps up a patter of suggestion pretty much implying that this is just about the brightest pupil he ever has taught. The pupil is inclined to think so, too.
After establishing expertness with the BB gun, the shooter moves on to the .22 rifle. The routine is much the same except that targets may be anything from small clay pigeons to charcoal briquets, either of which powders in a very satisfying way when hit by a bullet. There is almost never any difficulty in making the shift to the .22. The shooter now has ingrained ability to resist the temptation to aim. He just looks at the target, pulling the trigger when, somehow, he senses that he is pointing properly. This is a very definite feeling but hard to describe. It is a feeling of empathy with the target. Establishment of this "sense" is the big fundamental of Lucky's teaching.
One reason for seeing the BB leave the gun, Lucky says, is that he wants the pupil to "learn to focus on a single object without looking at everything else around."
"I tell him to hold the gun easy against the cheek, not force the cheek down to the gun in the regular way," he explains. "As soon as he begins to shoot I know what he is doing wrong. There are a thousand things he can do wrong. But I don't excite him. You've got to give him confidence or he'll tighten up. I tell him he's going to hit the target and most of the time I call 'em right. When he's shooting high I don't just point to where he should be shooting. I throw the object and point while I'm throwing it. I keep this up steadily so he'll swing into it. Then I keep shifting the target, like from one match to another on the ground, so he won't get wrapped up in one target.
"This is instinctive shooting and it's got to come easy."