Should I use a bead?

Question: While out shooting some clays recently I discovered to my horror that the bead had fallen out of the barrels on my O/U. I carried on shooting and was surprised that I shot better without the bead than I had done in years! Can you explain why this might be?

Don Brunt replies: This is something that happened to me earlier this year and I am still shooting without a bead. I know that on some targets I used to have a habit of checking back to the gun and trying to ‘measure’ things too precisely, especially on longer targets, which I would guess is a problem you had also. Without the bead it’s far easier to focus out on the bird because you don’t have the distraction of a bead drawing your eye. However, it only works if your gunfit and mount are perfectly consistent and if you are a shooter that has the ‘checking’ habit. Most people shoot better with a bead as it gives them a reference point in their peripheral vision and I would be loathe to recommend it to the majority. However, if you are unsure then give it a try – most beads simply unscrew and removal and refitting is pretty straightforward.