The reticle is the adjustable crosshair or red circle/dot aim-point seen in the ShotKam videos. We've compiled direct answers to your most frequent questions to ensure a clear understanding of the calibration process.
To get started, it's essential to recognize that the ShotKam's purpose is to depict the actual position of your gun. Your perception of where you're aiming might differ, but the ShotKam unveils the actual position of the gun muzzle. For instance, you might believe your hold-point is right on the trap house, yet the ShotKam video could reveal the reticle being a foot higher. This disparity doesn't indicate misaligned calibration but rather a distinction between reality and perception.
To eliminate any doubts about calibration, a straightforward solution is to use a laser bore sight, available for under $15 on Amazon (purchase link here). This device inserts into your shotgun barrel and sends out a red beam of light. This allows you to adjust the ShotKam's reticle through the app while aiming the laser at a target over 30 yards away, ensuring accurate alignment. While not required, a laser bore sight provides an effective means to attain absolute certainty in your calibration.
Question 1: "Why is my reticle not showing directly on the target even though it broke?"
Understanding lead, or "the gap/space ahead of the target", is crucial for interpreting your ShotKam videos. The reticle shows where your barrel was, and when shooting at moving targets, the reticle will naturally be ahead of the target at the time of firing. This showcases the correct lead required to hit the target. The reticle will only be directly over the target when shooting at stationary targets. In dynamic shooting scenarios, expect a gap between reticle and target which demonstrates the lead required for the pellets to merge with the target.
As an analogy, imagine throwing a ball to someone who's running. Your eyes focus on the runner, and you throw the ball ahead of them, predicting where they'll be when the ball reaches them. It's like predicting the future path of the runner. You don't throw the ball directly at them, as you would if they were standing still. In the same way, when shooting at moving targets, you shoot where you expect the target to be when your shot reaches it. Just like throwing a ball to a moving person, you're predicting where the target will be for a successful hit, so the reticle will be ahead of the target.
Question 2: "In viewing my videos, it seems the gun barrel is always to the left of the target, even though believe I calibrated correctly. Any ideas on what is wrong? Or is the calibration incorrect?"
When you consistently observe your ShotKam videos depicting your gun pointing left of the target, it's likely due to one of two potential causes, each requiring deeper consideration.
Option A: Gun Fit Issue — If your videos consistently show the reticle left of the target during clay shooting, this may signify that during the reticle alignment process, you were conscientiously ensuring your eye was aligned down the rib of the gun, matching the bead to your intended point-of-aim. However, when you shoot, your eye's position is more to the left of the stock of the gun. This might happen when you firmly mount the gun into your cheek during alignment but only lightly rest it on your cheek while shooting.
To fix this, you can use a bore laser sight as mentioned earlier and align the reticle to match where the gun is aimed. If you want the gun to point differently when it's against your cheek, it's a good idea to consult a gun fitter for adjustments.
Option B: Complexities of Eye Dominance — Eye dominance isn't always straightforward—many people believe they're either right-eye or left-eye dominant. However, numerous individuals have center-occular dominance. They perceive themselves as right-eye dominant when bringing the gun to their face, and this aligns correctly with the target. Yet, spending more time with the gun mounted firmly into their cheek can lead to a left-pointing or right-pointing gun due to the influence of their center-occular vision, which positions between their nose bridge and right eye.
People who believe they're right-eye dominant may actually exhibit center-occular dominance, causing them to shoot to the side of the target due to prolonged gun mounting. If you're curious about whether you have an eye-dominance issue, it's recommended to consult an instructor or experienced shooter. Most eye-dominance problems can be resolved by pulling the trigger within half a second of mounting the gun against your face. This shorter time spent in the gun often helps to address these issues effectively. Importantly, this isn't a ShotKam calibration issue. The ShotKam is accurately representing where the muzzle actually was when the shot was broken, even if the clay broke (as the pattern is wide).
Question 3: "When I’m calibrating the reticle, I’m guessing my beads needs to be exactly the same as it is when I’m shooting? As in how the beads are stacked."
During reticle alignment, we recommend that the gun's beads are stacked in a snowman-like setup—where the middle bead of your gun is the snowman's body and the bead above the muzzle represents the head—then align the reticle to the top of these stacked beads, simulating the snowman's hat ⛄️. Again, the body of the snowman being the center bead of your gun, end bead is the head, then the reticle should be aligned above both. Imagine three dots arranged vertically, one above the other, to achieve the correct alignment.
Alternatively, if your gun fit has the beads in a flat line, where the middle bead is seen and hides the end bead, then align the ShotKam reticle to the top of these merged beads. Typically, most shotgun shooters use the snowman configuration for shooting, so it's recommended to align the reticle accordingly during calibration. This consistency ensures your ShotKam videos accurately mirror your actual shotgun aim point.
Question 4: "I calibrated it 30+ yards out and it was correct. I then pointed at a target 3 yards away, then it was off, why?"
We recommend that you calibrate at a target 30+ yards away for optimal alignment. Once calibrated, aiming at very close range will result in discrepancies due to the height difference between the camera and barrel centers. At very close range such as 3 yards (closer than typical shooting), you may notice around a 1-inch alignment error on your bottom barrel and about a 2-inch error on your top barrel. These discrepancies occur due to height differences between the camera and barrel centers. This error vanishes beyond 30 yards, providing accurate shot representation.
To better understand, imagine you've calibrated the reticle to your gun's bead while aiming at a target over 30 meters away. This alignment creates a triangular configuration with the ShotKam's center and the rib's top edge. However, when aiming at a target just 3 meters away, there would be a visible gap in this imaginary triangle of lines. This gap emerges due to the contrast between the upward line from the ShotKam's center and the flat line from the rib. This phenomenon is what you're observing.
Beyond the 30-meter range, this alignment in the imaginary triangle becomes almost inconsequential, maintaining consistent alignment even at distances like 50 yards or more. Therefore, there's no need for concern when shooting at such distances.
Question 5: "How can I confirm that I calibrated it correctly?"
The first option is to employ a laser bore sight to align the reticle accurately (purchasing link previously mentioned). Alternatively, you can leverage the expertise of an experienced shooter or coach who can assess the alignment via the WiFi app while the gun remains stationary. These two options are the most effective methods for achieving accurate reticle alignment.
It's crucial to avoid conflating your perceived sight-picture with the actual point of aim of the gun. After calibrating the reticle following our recommendations, any discrepancies observed in the ShotKam video during review do not stem from the ShotKam or the calibration process. Instead, they arise because your perceived sight-picture doesn't match the actual gun's orientation.
For instance, if in trap shooting you believe you're aiming on the trap house, yet the video shows a one-foot discrepancy higher, adjust your gun mount lower to align with the trap house. This adjustment enables you to learn the accurate sight-picture, replacing your initial perception. The training tool's value lies in its truthfulness—it depicts precisely where your gun was positioned. By adapting your stance or mount, you can embrace the corrected sight-picture. The discrepancy doesn't lie with the ShotKam itself; instead, it pertains to the initial inaccuracies in the sight-picture. The solution involves adjusting the gun's position to align accurately, followed by familiarizing yourself with this corrected sight-picture. This approach ensures that you're learning the precise and correct alignment, which will ultimately contribute to improved accuracy.
Question 6: "I don’t want to rest my gun down when calibrating because that’s not the same as having the gun mounted. I don’t have a friend that can help, so how do you suggest I calibrate the gun while mounting it by myself?"
Attempting to calibrate while holding the gun can complicate the process unnecessarily. Our recommendation is to set the gun down, pointed at a target, and then adjust the reticle in the ShotKam App to match your point-of-aim. Aligning the reticle while holding the gun can potentially lead to aligning to an inaccurate sight-picture. For the most accurate calibration, place the gun in a stationary position and align the reticle to the rib of your gun, as previously recommended. This ensures alignment with the gun's actual point of aim. When holding the gun, inconsistencies in shouldering and head/eye positioning can arise, compromising the calibration's reliability.
Should you still prefer to hold the gun while calibrating, your best option would be to use the manual record feature (accessible through the "Test Recording" button in the app). This involves creating a short manual recording for a few seconds, followed by replaying the video to make gradual reticle adjustments. However, it's crucial to understand that this method isn't ideal. By aligning to your sight-picture, you might deviate from the gun's actual aim point, leading to potential inaccuracies. The goal is to identify the precise position of the barrel, not what you perceive it to be.
In conclusion, calibrating the reticle should remain a straightforward and uncomplicated procedure. Strive to avoid unnecessary complexities during this process. If you adhere to our calibration guidelines and discover discrepancies in the resulting videos, it's important to recognize that the problem isn't rooted in the calibration itself. Instead, the issue likely stems from how the gun is being held during shooting. Embrace the valuable lesson that your perceived actions may differ from the gun's actual movement. The ShotKam truly depicts your gun's motion, regardless of your personal perception.