The Churchill Shooting Method Revealed
The Churchill Method has long been considered the standard textbook on instinctive wingshooting for game birds and sporting clays. Its first edition was published in 1955, and the second edition was updated by Churchill’s friend and shooting coach, Macdonald Hastings, to bring it fully up to date. These revised editions remain essential reading for any serious shotgun shooter, both those who already practice the Churchill technique and others interested in learning it.
The Churchill method relies on economy of movement and elegant, efficient gun mounting that enables you to engage a moving target without any visual awareness of the barrel. This allows you to place your point of aim directly on the target with each wingbeat, using a flat, diagonal converging approach that is easy for any shooter to master. The swing then naturally achieves your lead—which you can feel as the comb of your stock comes up under your cheekbone and the butt reverses back into your shoulder pocket. At that point, you simply squeeze the trigger.
Winston Churchill was a keen and accomplished wing and clays shooter. He had a reputation for being especially fast and accurate with his hammerless shotguns, as well as an appreciation for “buzz guns,” or submachine guns, such as the 1914 Webley.32-caliber auto, which was favored by Scotland Yard officers for close protection details. Churchill was a great defender of these firearms, and even carried one in his limousine when on official business.
One of Churchill’s most famous photos is of him dressed in pinstripes, chomping on his ever-present cigar, holding a.45-caliber Thompson submachine gun with a drum magazine. This was his favorite, and he would often have a Sten gun or a Thompson in his battery when on security detail. He is pictured with both weapons in an iconic photo that has been used to depict him as a stereotypical American gangster.
Churchill founded his own gunmaking company in 1891, which quickly established a leading reputation in London, becoming a major influence on the British sport between the world wars. His son, Robert, inherited the company in 1910, and developed it into a highly successful hunting and sporting goods outfitter. Robert Churchill also established himself as a renowned pigeon shooter. To capitalize on his skills, he created a line of Churchill branded shotguns with short, tapered 25-inch barrels that worked especially well for grouse moor shooting. This was known as the Churchill XXV, and these shorter barrels were the secret to its success on the grouse moors. Churchill shooting