The third step is pistol shooting from the hip and again Lucky gives only minimum instruction. He shows how to press the elbow of the shooting arm firmly against the hipbone, makes sure that the wrist is held stiff. The shooter stands with feet apart and knees slightly bent. Lucky tosses small objects—pine cones, cartridge boxes, briquets—onto the ground and the shooter selects one for a target. He is told that if he misses on a shot he must not try to hit the same object again but must shift to another target. The reason is that after a miss there is a tendency to overcorrect on the next shot. Shifting to another target seems to relieve the tension that leads to overcorrection.
Finally the shooter is given a shotgun and goes through the same procedure against clay pigeons slung from a hand trap. This transition is difficult for some shooters. A shotgun's blast and kick can cause flinching, the pitch of the barrels is different and the heft and balance of a shotgun feel strange after the rifle. But the principle on which Lucky has taught rifle shooting is the basic principle of good shotgun shooting. With a little practice it pays off.
Lucky has no patience with those who teach shotgunners to lead their birds, even though this makes good ballistic sense.
"When a man tells me he doesn't know how he hits, I figure he must be a good shot," Lucky says. A good shotgunner, he believes, doesn't know whether he leads or not.
Fred D. Missildine, a Sea Island resident and champion skeet shot, dropped by to watch Lucky give a lesson to Colonel J. Henry Pool, a retired Army officer. Missildine is a Winchester shooting promotion representative and a few days before he had given Lucky a new Winchester Model 55 single-shot .22 rifle, which features a safety that goes on automatically when the cartridge is inserted in the rifle. Lucky has found it an ideal teaching weapon.
Missildine was curious about the teaching method. He watched intently as Colonel Pool, using the .22, began to knock nickel-sized cardboard plugs from the center of tossed washers. He grasped quickly the idea behind Lucky's "instinct" shooting.
"I've been shooting like that all my life and didn't know it," he said finally. In 1957 Missildine set an all-round world record at skeet, blasting 496 out of 500 targets.
Missildine was further impressed when he saw that Lucky could be equally successful with the experienced Mrs. Charles Moeser, wife of a former Princeton football captain, who that afternoon was to go on a turkey shoot, and the totally inexperienced Mrs. Stella Harned, wife of The Cloister's manager, who had an actual dislike for shooting and had to be persuaded to take a lesson.
It was not so impressive to me since I already knew that Lucky had taught small children as well as women.
It is Lucky's contention that the legendary shooters of the West actually did perform as the stories tell and that they shot by instinct.