Learn the John Wick Special From 3-Gun!

For the very few people left that still shoot 3-Gun competitions and use a tube-fed shotgun, this drill is for you! I paid my dues for years shooting my Benelli M2 until finally upgrading to Open class and moving to a magazine-fed Genesis Arms shotgun. But there are days that I miss shooting and reloading a tube-fed shotgun on the clock. It’s a skill that even John Wick had to master after a few movies of painfully loading one shell at a time into a shotgun. Quad loading with the strong hand is extremely popular in 3-Gun and practical shotgun sports.

Shotgun Quad Loading for Sport

Now if you don’t shoot 3-Gun, but you are any sort of bird hunter, who’s to say this skill isn’t totally useless? I know competitors in the off-season who plug their shotgun for legal reasons but will take their shotgun shell caddy with them into the field, swamp, marsh or lake. After they send their three or five rounds into the sky, they can perform a dual or quad load from the caddy and be back on target within seconds.

How to Strong Hand Load a Shotgun

Before we get into the drill, I’d like to break down the strong-hand dual and quad loading process. I’m right-handed, so if you’re left-handed, swap these instructions to you. The shotgun shell caddies should be set up at about a 45-degree angle to make it more natural to pull the shells off. Each caddy grip will hold two shotgun shells end to end. The brass side of the shotgun shells should be facing away toward the left side of your body and stacked in the same direction.

To perform a strong-hand dual load, start with the bottom of the shotgun caddy to pull two shells off together. Your right-hand thumb should find the brass end of the shotgun shell. Wrap your fingers around the two shells and pull both off the caddy, keeping them stacked together. Insert the first end of the two shells (should be crimp side first) into the tube, keeping the shells as parallel to the shotgun as possible. Once the first shotgun shell end has pushed the follower down and is in the tube, start uncurling your fingers from the shells, while keeping your thumb on the brass end.

From here, the pressure from your thumb should guide both shells all the way into the tube. Do not follow your thumb into the tube of the shotgun or it’ll get pinched. Use the side of your thumb to push them in at the end of the loading port. Exaggerate this movement of “throwing” the shells down into the tube with your thumb, throwing your whole hand past the loading port to keep that momentum.

To effectively quad load, shooters grab four shells in two stacks of two.

Finer Points of Shotgun Quad Loading

A quad load requires more discipline in keeping the shells together and loading two at a time into the gun. Start with the bottom most four shells on your caddy. Your thumb should go to the brass end of the topmost shell since those will go in first. Wrap the rest of your fingers around the shells to keep them all together as you pull them off the caddy. Now, you essentially perform two dual loads, but with some trickery to it. The two shells with your thumb on the brass end will go in first. As you guide those first two shells into the tube, start uncurling your fingers from those shells so your palm flattens against the shells and helps keep them in line going in.

While your thumb is pushing those two shells all the way in, the rest of your fingers must stay curled around the other two shells, keeping them stacked together. As soon as your thumb is free, it should immediately rest on the brass end of the second set of shells. Finally, perform a dual load with the remaining two shells. With practice, quad loading is easy, faster than dual loading, and much more efficient to load your tube back up with shells. Hence, this strong-hand loading drill.

Equipment Needed

The gear list for shotgun quad loading drill.
  • Shotgun*
  • Competition or Sturdy Belt
  • Invictus Practical Shotgun Shell Caddy (attached to belt)
  • Federal Action Shotgun Ammunition
  • Dummy Rounds (optional)
  • Steel Target (optional)
  • Timer (optional)

*This drill is best performed with a shotgun customized for dual or quad loading. This typically looks like a widened loading port either machined or opened with a Dremel. Most often, the tube spring is lightened and a smoother, competition style follower is used. Also, for competition shotguns, I recommend an extended tube to hold a total of 12 rounds minimum.

The Drill

A shooter with four shells beginning to load the first two.

The starting position for this drill is shotgun completely shouldered, aimed at steel target. When you’re ready or at the beep of the timer, perform a strong-hand dual or quad load. Then, bring the gun back up on target, and fire a round. If you’re tracking the time it takes for you to perform a strong-hand dual or quad reload and get back on target, this single shot will spit out the time for you to notate. I highly recommend practicing this drill at home with dummy rounds. Some of the best tube shotgun competitors in the world simply dry fire weekly at home to nail their reloads.

I have a quick story for you. In my first year shooting 3-Gun competitions, I was a weak-hand shotgun loader. I had never learned the strong-hand technique. It wasn’t until I took a 3-Gun class with AMU shooter, Joel Turner Jr., that I learned not only was the strong-hand loading process easier with the weight of the shotgun, but it was faster for me to perform. If you’re not sure which method you should stick with, there are a few factors to consider.

Weak-hand loading puts more weight strain on your strong hand as you load the gun and keep it parallel to the ground. If you weak-hand load a shotgun while moving on a stage, you must be extra aware of your muzzle to not break the 180-degree safety rule. This is all about competing, so if you perform one reload way faster than the other, that’s a factor to consider. Just be safe and have fun along the way!

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Source link: https://www.athlonoutdoors.com/article/shotgun-quad-loading/ by Kenzie Fitzpatrick at www.athlonoutdoors.com