Gould Brothers Interview by George Trulock
1- What got you interested/started in exhibition shooting?
Steve-I got my first shotgun after my first year of college and was just starting to get into shooting. Aaron had grown up shooting and had a lot more experience than I did. I would go out and have someone throw me clays and the first few times shooting I would hit just a few out of 25. This frustrated me but it also drove me to improve and keep trying. I would bother anyone I could to come out and shoot. Aaron and I started shooting together and as we would get shots we would challenge ourselves to do more difficult shots. We then started throwing multiple targets unassisted and the passion was born. We are continually driven to complete new shots and make exhibition shooting entertaining. Having a little friendly sibling rivalry also helps push us further.
Aaron-We were in college before we even became aware of exhibition shooting. A friend showed me a video online of Tom Knapp shooting a gun over his head without using the sights of the gun. That intrigued me. I had been shooting since I was 10 and could not believe someone could complete a shot like that. Over the next couple years I tried a few of the tricks I had seen on videos but had little luck. It wasn’t until my brother finished college and moved back home and we started shooting together that our exhibition shooting dream formulated. My brother and I would go out shooting almost every weekend and while we were shooting would challenge each other in all forms of shooting.
2- How long have ya’ll been doing this?
Steve-We have been focused on exhibition shooting mainly in the last 4 years. We put together a routine and started performing publicly in 2010. The first year was sort of a test phase to see the response that we would get. We had a lot of great responses so we started marketing our shows a little bit. We have a pretty full schedule in 2011 and have lined up many of our shows up 2012.
Aaron-We have two different stories. I have been into the shooting sports since I was allowed to have a firearm. I shot a fair amount throughout high school and college.
Steve –I on the other hand didn’t start shooting shotgun until I was in college and man was I horrible. I would miss a lot more than I would hit, but this drove me to get better In 2009 we decided to put together a routine and invite family and friends to a performance by Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting. August 29th 2009 was the performance held at a family farm. Our bias audience gave us encouragement and greatly enjoyed the show. Over the winter of 2009-10 we made plans to make a business venture trying to get 5 live performances over the summer of 2010. After discussing this idea with our wives it was decided to give it 3 years and then reevaluate the success of this idea. Year one we performed 7 shows. 2011 has been a breakout year for us as we have shot at larger events and tripled the amount of shows that we are performing. We are looking forward to a great 2012 shooting season and are expecting things to be even more exciting.
3-How much time is devoted to practice?
Steve-It’s hard to say really. Time and money are always limiting factors. During the summer we try to shoot 1000 rounds of shotgun plus .22 every week. Range time is only a part of practice. We also have ways to practice our shooting without firing a single shot. We work on things such as muscle memory, shooting techniques and developing sight pictures off the range as well as on. If it was up to us we would be on the range everyday.
Aaron-We practice as much as our budget allows us to. Minimum we try to shoot together once a week and usually shoot several cases of ammunition a piece. Practice is not always comprised of actually shooting. Visualization while sitting at home can help tremendously. Also we spend time analyzing other shooters and try to learn as much as possible from them.
4-How do you come up with the ideas for each kind of shot?
Steve-Many of the shots are spontaneously thought up on the spot as we are shooting. Then we try them and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Some shots are ones that have been done in the past or a variation of old shots. The trick is to find shots that are going to be entertaining to watch.
Aaron-It is somewhat hard to be original and a lot of the shots we do have been performed by other shooters. Steve is usually the one who comes up with new ideas. Usually a new shot comes about just by a challenge between us. Safety is always of the utmost importance so before trying a new shot we talk about how it would be performed and any safety issues need to be accounted for before executing any shot
5-What kind of guns, loads, chokes and other accessory gear do you use and why?
Steve-Our gun of choice right now is the Winchester SX3. Our guns are stock guns with the exception of a magazine tube extension, fiber optic sight, and of course Trulock choke tubes. We use cylinder choke tubes because of the close proximity to our targets. Some people may think that you are just throwing a wide pattern down range and hitting the target with a few bb’s. Indeed shotgun shooting is much different than shooting a rifle, but it does require a high degree of precision. When shooting multiple clays you may have clays just a couple inches apart or even less. This is where precision shooting and a consistent pattern become extremely important.
Aaron-I’m glad you asked because I love talking about our gear. We are not sponsored by any gun manufacturer at this writing. We chose to shoot the Winchester SX3 for the fact that we like how it fit us, it is economical, has great reliability and points right where we are looking. Our guns are also fit with 7 round extension tubes for a total of 12 shots. For most of our shots we use 11/8oz loads of #8 shot from Winchester. Chokes, what can I say, we love the choke tubes from Trulock. The first day we received our chokes and tested them you could tell right away we were hitting the targets harder than before. They are a great product
at a great price especially when comparing them to the competition. To protect our eyes we trust the crossbow glasses from Eye Safety Systems (ESS). During our shows we also use an exploding target from Sure Shot Exploding Targets they are so fun to shoot.
6-What territory do you cover with your performances?
Steve-As we have become more widely known we have expanded the distance we travel. We are freelance and we do charge for our shows. The farther away the show is the more we have to charge. This naturally has made us a more attractive option for closer shows, but we are available for shows through the Country.
7-Do you have any tips that the average shotgun shooter could use to improve their
Steve-Cheek on gun, eye on target and proper lead. These 3 things are the basics. There are many other tips out there, but focusing on these basic things will go a long ways along with a lot of practice. Many of the times when we miss targets it is because one of these three basic things. Make sure your cheek is on the gun. Many people have a tendency to lift their head as they follow the target. If you are lifting your cheek off of the stock you are changing your sight picture and will more than likely miss high. Keep you eye on the target you want to shoot. Don’t focus on your bead, but rather on the target that you want to shoot. If your cheek is on the gun you will shoot were you are looking unless you have an eye dominancy issue, but that’s a whole other topic. Now we need proper lead. Proper lead comes from lots of practice. That is the only way to learn the lead needed on the different angles, speeds, and distances. It is also beneficial to have an experienced shooter of coach to stand behind you and tell you whether you need more or less lead.
8-Anything you would like to say about Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting.
Steve-We try to bring a high level of value to our clients and put on the most entertaining show that we can. Our goal is to promote hunting, shooting, freedom, and living with purpose.
Aaron-My brother and I had never heard of exhibition shooting until we were out of high school. We want the shooting sports and exhibition shooting to be household across the country. Getting young people excited about the shooting sports is the key to a strong future for our industry and for all gun owners. It is amazing to us how many people don’t know about exhibition shooting even in the hunting and shooting community. When people hear the name Gould Brothers or Tom Knapp we want them to know those are the guys who perform unusual feats with firearms
9- All of your contact info
Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting
Steve-After switching to Trulock choke tubes we immediately saw huge improvements in our shooting. Many of our shots involve multiple clays that are often just inches apart. We need a choke tube that will give us a consistently tight pattern and that’s exactly what Trulock choke tubes do. Trulock helps us put more bb’s on target every time and that’s what everyone wants whether shooting clays or game.
Aaron-Trulock chokes have out performed all other choke tubes we have used.
Trulock has better pattern consistency and uniformity allowing you to put more bb’s on target.