Russell Mark Q&A – 2013
Article 11 – 2010
Question: I have been shooting clays for a couple of years socially, but my real passion for sport has always been golf where I played off a handicap of between 2 and 5 for many years. I am trying to take my shooting more seriously, but I was after your opinion on using a sports psychologist to help me get better faster. I did try a couple over the years in golf and I found it helped me. I am curious if you have used one and what your thoughts are on the subject?
Bert Ellis, Ipswich QLD
Answer: Over the years the Australian International Shooting Team has used a variety of Sports Psychologists with varying results. This is only my opinion I stress, but largely I would think that they have been a failure with our team because there wasn’t a strong relationship between the competitor and the psychologist prior to the competition where they were used. It takes a fair bit of pride swallowing to pour your heart out to a virtual stranger admitting why you did not succeed or are failing to reach specific goals. Unfortunately at least two of the psychologists that were assigned to our team actively “scouted” for work. By this I mean they virtually waited for somebody to shoot have a bad day then couldn’t wait to force them onto the couch wanting to psycho analyze the competitor’s brain. This type of aggressive doctoring was often met with very little positive results.
Interestingly though the Australian Olympic Committee since 1996 has employed what they call ”Athlete Liaison Officers” to work with competitors during the Olympic Games. The Liaison Officers are really doing the work of Sport Psychologists, but instead of having a degree in behavioral science they have experience as successful sportspeople. Some of the names that have been used include Peter Brock, John Eales, John Bertrand and Laurie Lawrence. The AOC found that many athletes would often listen to a person who has earnt their respect as opposed to a paid professional that has never experienced the high pressure of competition. I probably fall into this category of athlete mainly due to some poor psychologists that were forced on our team when I was younger. I have no doubt that if you believe something will help you then it probably will. Give them a try for this reason alone at the very least.
Question: Is there any truth in a rumour I heard that the Down The Line (DTL) format of trap shooting is being considered as a future Commonwealth Games event because many Commonwealth countries shoot this discipline? What do you seriously think the chances are of it happening?
Michael Nottingham, Corio VIC
Answer: Michael I seriously give it as much chance as Halley’s Comet suddenly changing direction from deep outer space next week and colliding with Earth this Christmas Eve just before Santa has had a chance to delivers your presents. Enjoy your festive season and I wish you a prosperous new year.
Article 10 – 2010
Question: I read with interest a previous article that you wrote in The Australian Shooters Journal on the disadvantage trap shooters have when shooting with one eye closed as opposed to those who shoot with both eyes open. I am left eye dominant, but I have to shoot clays from my right shoulder as I just can’t seem to shoot from my left side as I do everything else in my life right handed. I close my left eye and seem to shoot OK. Just what are the disadvantages that you speak of?
Ken McClure, Albury NSW
Answer: There are two obvious disadvantages when shooting trap (I am assuming you mean DTL when you talk about trap shooting). The first is the loss of a large part of your peripheral vision when you close one eye. To give a practical example to explain this more clearly would be to try driving up to a roundabout with one eye closed and see how hard it becomes to judge your way through it safely. With both eyes open an experienced driver can virtually sense through their peripheral vision that there are cars inside the roundabout therefore they must give way or if it is empty they can proceed safely without really having to move their heads sideways. With one eye closed much greater sideways head movement will be needed to make the correct judgment. The loss of peripheral vision by closing one eye will also affect your perception on the depth of vision. Secondly, many AA Class DTL shooters will use a technique at some stage in their careers when it is beneficial to call for the release of target when their guns are in the starting position above the top of the trap house roof. Shooting into a headwind is a good example of this. The advantage of this technique is simply that it requires less gun movement to shoot the target. Holding above the trap requires the use of peripheral vision to see the target correctly. If one eye is closed then a blind spot will occur just above the trap house caused by your left hand which is holding the forend. The only solution for a one eyed shooter is to hold the gun down on the top lip of the trap house and therefore let the target get way out in front of the barrels when it is released and then “chasing” it from behind. The more you are forced to follow the target from behind and below the greater chance you have for making a mistake unless your timing is perfect. In saying all of that I can name many two eyed shooters that use this technique anyway and have multiple National Champions. I have also seen three Olympic Gold Medals won by one eyed shooters.
I still believe one eyed shooters are at a disadvantage, personally if I had three eyes I would keep them all open, but in no way is closing one eye a total barrier to success in the sport as the above examples prove.
Article 9 – 2010
Question: I enjoy your monthly column to the point I am now contemplating joining a clay target club just to have some recreational fun and maybe in the future joining the occasional competition. I have enjoyed many forms of shotgun shooting over the past year, but I was wondering what you believe the best type of clay target event would be for me to join as I am concerned about people suggesting shooting competitions are in trouble in Australia because attendance at clubs has been on the decline for the past thirty years.
Phillip Coates Richmond NSW
Answer: Thank you Phillip I appreciate your comments. The SSAA, ACTA and both Field and Game bodies offer specific forms of clay shooting that can be enjoyed at a wide range of levels. Have a think about what you want from the sport, where you want to end up and most of all what discipline you enjoy the most?
The second part of your question, whether clay target shooting is on the decline in Australia, is widely debatable. I would suggest it is not. There is no doubt that the number of competitors at weekly or monthly club DTL Trap competitions is lower in 2010 than they were thirty years ago. This would be a fairly accurate statement for the majority of clubs in Australia that have been in operation for that length of time. However the amount of clay targets actually shot at each month, I would suggest for the greater percentage of these clubs, is way up. This is largely due to one factor. Practice. Thirty years ago it was nearly impossible to shoot a practice clay target anywhere mid week. These days most clubs in all capital cities and larger provisional centres have at least one day during the week set aside for practice and many clubs also have either Saturday or Sunday as a practice day also. For example the club I do the majority of my training at, the Werribee-Victorian Clay Target Club in Melbourne, is open four days a week solely for practice and one day or night weekly for competition. Without practice income the club would undoubtedly struggle. The best way to make money at a gun club is to throw targets. Clay target clubs have identified that there are a huge amount of shooters such as yourself that simply want to go and shoot clay targets for fun and don’t really want to be put under the pressure of an organized competition.
Another reason why numbers may be down at club competitions today as opposed to events several decades ago is simply, as I have previously suggested, that there is a huge variety of clay target disciplines for people to choose from today. On any given weekend a shot gunner can take his or her selection from the Olympic and domestic events offered by the ACTA, two types of Sporting Clay competitions and on top of this the variety of practices offered by the SSAA which include events as diverse as black powder and vintage side by side days. Every type of taste is catered for at some range somewhere in 2010 as opposed to basically the standard DTL and Skeet competitions that were on offer by the ACTA affiliated clubs until the 1980’s.
Unfortunately I don’t have the data supporting this theory. It can really only be done by calculating the total amount of clay target sales annually within Australia, but I have no doubt it is more in 2010 than it was thirty years ago. If anyone has an accurate idea I would be happy to hear from them as it would be a handy gauge to judge the health of our sport.
Article 8 – 2010
Question: I was interested if there has been any follow up with the ISSF as to the inclusion of Sporting Clays at future Olympic Games?
Heath Morrison, Albany WA
Answer: I was recently at a World Cup event where the topic of discussion amongst many of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) executive was just this. I did have the opportunity to have a coffee one day with one of the more influential members of the ISSF and it seems the dream of having Sporting Clays at future Olympic Games is again a long way off. The topography of what would be required from all shooting ranges in the world requiring them to be set up in exactly the same way to conduct a fair and equitable competition whilst still making the event interesting seems to be the greatest barrier. To be consistent worldwide would require that every ISSF range would need to be located on reasonably flat terrain for at least 55 metres in front of the shooting positions. Many grounds throughout the world are located on the side of huge cliff faces or vast sloping hills which would make setting up a pre determined sporting layout overlaying an existing Skeet and Trap field impossible.
Currently the ISSF have a proposal on the table to keep the existing event of Double Trap with slightly modified rules to make the event more appealing once again to Trap Shooters and making it slightly cheaper to compete and train in. The proposal involves reducing the event to four rounds of 15 pairs of targets and making the targets appear once again upon the shooters command instead of the current delayed release of anywhere up to one second. The new rules would come in effect in 2013.
Question: Do you recommend ear plugs or ear muffs when you are shooting? I have had a set of ear muffs given to me for my birthday, but when I mount my gun to my shoulder I often knock the ear muffs from my head. Are plugs sufficient?
Robert Pyke, Clayton VIC
Answer: It is not an uncommon problem that you are describing Robert. This is usually caused by a very high gun mount where the butt of the gun is positioned too high up on the shoulder . In Trap shooting many people that shoot what is called a “Monte Carlo” stock (a stock where the comb is parallel to the barrel of the shotgun) suffer from this due to the angle of the comb and therefore the butt or pad of the stock collide with the earmuff. Many earmuff manufacturers make a “low profile” ear muff which is specifically designed to overcome this problem. By lower profile I mean the actual shell part of the muff covering the ear is thinner and often cut away to provide more room for a high gun mount.
I know many shooters that wear custom fitted plugs also and this when used with earmuffs provide by far the best ear protection especially on any range, Rifle, Pistol or Shotgun, where you have other shooters competing right beside you therefore suffering their muzzle blast as well as your own.
Article 7 – 2010
Question: I recently bought a new shotgun after years of buying second hand older models. I have never patterned a gun before, but was convinced to do this by several people who said it would help me set the shotgun up with the correct stock height position as it has an adjustable comb. I did this at 30 metres because I thought this is the average distance where clays would be broken. I got the shock of my life when I found both barrels patterned well to right hand side of where I was aiming. I had a few experienced shooters with me and they all have said I should return it to the shop where I bought the firearm. I did this and the company said they would check the gun. They have now sent it back to me saying that the barrel was tested by them and it is fine. I have since patterned it again and I am finding it still shoots to the right. Can you explain if I did the barrel testing correctly or how I can conduct my own test to prove them wrong?
Answer: First of all if you are patterning a shotgun solely to ascertain if the barrels shoot straight then you need to get yourself a rest such as a bench with a sandbag so the gun can sit solid. For this test forget the firearm is a shotgun, pretend it is a rifle. Once you have a solid foundation, and a relatively calm windless day, place the pattern board at no more than 18 metres back from your shooting position. I find that anything as close as 12 metres for this exercise is fine. What you are trying to eliminate is any movement what so ever when you pull the trigger. Place a small cross on the pattern board and carefully aim the front sight at the middle of the cross with your eyes looking as flat and as straight as possible down along the rib of the barrel and slowly pull the trigger. My experience of helping shooters patterning thousands of shotguns tells me that clay target shooters have the worst trigger control when shooting at a static object such as a pattern board. Their habit of slapping the trigger instead of squeezing it often causes the shot to be pulled off centre. If you are free standing at 30 metres back from the pattern board and even a slight jerk on the trigger will cause the shot to be pulled to the right and catastrophically misleading results will occur. I have witnessed this time and time again.
In the last twenty five years I would be able to count the barrels on one hand that genuinely did not shoot straight either left or right or up and down. Don’t get too concerned if your shot pattern is not looking exactly the same with both the top and bottom barrel. At thirty metres I would be happy with any shotgun that had barrels that hit within 15 centimetres of each other. This is more than acceptable when you consider the size of shot patterns at this distance and the accuracy required to hit a 10 centimetre clay disc being hurled through space at 100 kilometres per hour.
If you try this method to pattern the barrels and are still unhappy with the results it may be worth actually patterning the shots on paper and sending the results back to where you purchased the shotgun for proof. The last thing any manufacturer wants is an unhappy customer running around with a shotgun that doesn’t shoot straight especially if you have the pattern sheets to prove it.
Article 6 – 2010
Question: I would like your thoughts to help settle a spirited discussion I have been having with a group of guys I hunt with. In your opinion if you were to buy only one shotgun to shoot every possible type of shotgun sport ranging from the Olympic Clay Target events such as Trap, Double Trap and International Skeet right through to the domestic events of DTL, American Skeet and Sporting Clays, BUT also having to use the same gun for hunting ducks, geese etc right through to quail, what shotgun configuration would you use? Please assume the shotgun would not have an adjustable stock or adjustable chokes and would not be custom modified in any way after you purchased the shotgun. Can you tell me what barrel lengths and weights, chokes, stock height etc that you would select. Also what ammunition would you pick assuming it was legal to use anything available?
Tony Marino, Ballarat VIC
Answer: It’s a good question Tony and the obvious first response is that one gun is certainly not perfect for all shotguns sports, but if I would have to pick just a solitary shotgun (and I am assuming no larger than a 12 gauge) that is not adjustable in any way then it would have to be a 30” barrel (75cm) trap gun choked improved modified in the bottom barrel and full in the top barrel. For barrel weights I would pick 1.55kg with a total gun weight of just under 4kg.The reason for this would be that I know the gun would be ideal for Olympic Trap and DTL and more than adequate for Double Trap. For Sporting Clays it may be slightly too high in the stock comb and for some ranges a little tightly choked, but there are enough world class Sporting Shooters shooting shotguns very similar to this anyway which would make me think that it won’t be a huge disadvantage. For duck and most other game shooting it certainly wouldn’t cause much of a problem even with the height of a trap stock. Shooting quail may be messy due to the tight chokes, but to overcome this you would let the bird fly a little bit further to gain the extra shot spread. American Skeet is slow enough that the tight chokes could be overcome with greater accuracy, but International Skeet would be the only event where the longer barrel, heavy gun, high stock and tight chokes would be a big disadvantage for the average shooter.
Ammunition is a debatable topic. If you are asking me to shoot at just one target in every clay target event and hunting code then I guess the theory of “more lead more dead” would come into play thus 36 grams of number 6 shot would be my choice. If you are suggesting 25 shots at each event to form a competition to settle a bet then I would certainly downsize to 32 grams of number 7 shot with a velocity of no more than 1300 feet per second to overcome the obvious recoil problems that the former 36 gram shot shell would produce.
Tony if you and your friends ever decide to make a competition of this then let me know the results as I am sure there will be thousands of differing opinions on this topic.
Article 5 – 2010
Question: I have purchased a second hand trap gun which I am told is about 20 years old. Being reasonably new to the sport of clay target shooting I am a little confused about all the numbers and symbols on the barrel under the for end. Can you shed some light on this for me?
Eric Fontanna, Springvale VIC
Answer: Eric you haven’t told me what manufacturer your shotgun was made by, but I will give you some general details on what you will find under the for end on an Italian shotgun and most European brands.
You will see a number that reads “KG1.55” for example. This refers to the net barrel weight. For a typical trap barrel it can vary all the way from 1.45 kg up to 1.8kg depending on the length and rib configuration. Most 75 cm barrels with a standard height rib range from 1.5 kg to 1.6 kg.
There will be a figure with the numbers 18.4 for example. This refers to the barrel bore diameter. This can vary anywhere from 18.3mm up to 18.7mm on most Italian shotguns with 18.4 being the most popular over the past fifty years, but an American trend of having “over bored” barrel sizes showing some popularity in trap shooting.
You may see some small circles just in front of the ejectors on a twenty year old trap gun. On the top barrel a solitary circle will mean its is choked “full” and two circles on the bottom barrel will mean a three quarter choke or “improved modified” as it is commonly called. Some trap guns are made with a half choke or “modified” in the bottom barrel which is represented by 3 circles. Four circles is a quarter choke, but are never standard in any trap barrel. Later model barrels will simply print the letter “F” “IM” or “M” on the top barrel.
The only other important number on your barrel should be the stamp which signifies the length of the chamber. Most trap barrels will have “CAM 70” written on it which details the maximum length of the cartridge to be loaded in it, but there are quite a few which will read “CAM 76” which means it can take a 76mm or 3” magnum type shot shell. ALWAYS check this before you attempt to load a high performance hunting type 3” shot shell in any competition barrel. Competition shot shells are typically 70mm or 2 ¾”.
Under the bottom of the breach you may see certain symbols that relate purely to the proof testing of the gun at the time of manufacturing and on Beretta shotguns a couple of capital letters enclosed in a small square box which is a symbol which provides the code for the year of production. Above this row should be a 6 or 7 number which is the serial registration number of the shot gun itself. Check to see it matches the number under the top lever if it’s a Beretta to check it’s the same. Recently, with the help of the local police firearms officer, I strangely found one in my gun collection that was different.
I hope all this helps you out Eric. It is always useful to know.
Article 4 – 2010
Question: I have been shooting Trap for over a year now and have worked my way back to a 21 metre handicap with a standard Miroku Trap gun. When I shoot from this distance and even further back have you any suggestions you can give me to improve? I seem to be very erratic and inconsistent the further back I get, but I guess this is understandable. Grateful for any advice you can give me.
Andrew G, Essendon VIC
Answer: I have always liked to make some changes when shooting from 22 metres and beyond. First of all the hold or starting position of the gun in relation to the trap house when calling for the target is different for me. I like to use a high gun hold position when shooting trap and teach this technique for shooters that shoot with both eyes open. The starting position for common mark ( 15 metre ) shooting is much higher than what it is off my handicap mark of 25 metres. This is simply to have a similar amount of gun movement to move the gun up from the starting position to the point where the trigger is pulled to break the target. Obviously the further back you stand from the trap house the less gun movement is needed to shoot the target so to simulate the movement needed from 15 metres to 25 metres a lower start position is needed for the latter. If you have a shotgun with an adjustable comb and adjustable chokes then two more alterations can be made which I believe are advantageous. I personally like to shoot a gun with a higher point of impact from the maximum handicap distance. I do this because it gives me extra vertical lead when you come up from under the target. I like to lift my comb up three millimeters which equates to a twelve percent higher shooting shot pattern.
There is only one choke to use if you have a choice on long handicap shots. Full. There really isn’t anything to discuss here. I use an improved modified choke for the first shot from 15 metres and the extra 10 metres in handicap ideally requires the next tightest choke. If you have the luxury of having both barrels with adjustable chokes then screw in an even tighter full choke into the top tube. Remember a standard full choke with a typical trap load is ideal to 36.5 metres. Not too many shooters I have seen are quick enough to shoot both barrels accurately at a target before it has travelled only 11.5 metres from the trap so anything less than full choke is probably not perfect.
Under the rules of the Australian Clay Target Association a shot shell with 32 grams of shot is the permissible maximum load to be used in handicap competitions ( 28 grams is the maximum for all other DTL Trap events ). Take advantage of the extra 4 grams of shot when shooting at the greater distance. Personally I like number 7 shot from 25 metres as opposed to 7.5’s from 15 metres. The larger shot has the extra hitting power on the target which I prefer, particularly if you need a second barrel break. Any shot shell that has a velocity of over 1250 feet per second with 32 grams of shot is going to recoil on your shoulder and face fairly hard so I really think you need to avoid some of the ultra fast loads that I am sure will hit the target hard, but your body just as hard which can make 50 targets of handicap shooting a bruising and unpleasant experience.
Finally if you get the opportunity to shoot a 32” or 81cm barrel from the longer handicap distances then please try it. The extra couple of inches will smooth out your swing and I am sure will improve your score. In the United States where the best handicap shooters play, 34” and even 36” barrels are not uncommon.
Article 3 – 2010
Question: My son is 18 this year (2010) and has been shooting normal trap at our local club for the past year and has now a competent A Grade competitor. He is no longer eligible for Junior Awards in domestic events, but under International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) rules he will still be eligible to shoot as a junior for a couple more years. He likes this type of shooting and I think he may go a long way further in it. Can you advise me when is a good time for him to start shooting the international events in trap? I have heard several members of our club try and warn him against getting involved as they believe it will destroy his enjoyment of the sport and this has probably turned him off even trying it.
Answer: It is always sad to hear this type of negative comment from shooters that probably are simply jealous or have never had any dreams or aspirations of their own. Your son obviously has some potential to say the very least as he has achieved a grading that proves this. Have no doubts, International Trap (Olympic Trap) is much harder technically than the domestic events (DTL), but the fundamentals are the same. Your son won’t achieve the same percentages that he currently does and if his enjoyment level of the sport is dictated by the need to do so then the detractors at your local club will be right. I am confident they aren’t. Most juniors I have seen that have tried the International disciplines have proved they can adapt quickly both physically and mentally. Certainly the greater percentage of kids do not go on to represent Australia, but long term goals such as this won’t enter into their enjoyment factor for quite some time. The faster targets, wider angles and lighter shot loads that are part of the International game will make your son into a much better competitor at the domestic events when he next tries them. Certainly keep encouraging him to compete in as many DTL events as he can as the competition that these events offer is also paramount to becoming a better competitor. I often criticize many competitors that only shoot ISSF events with little success, but won’t “lower” themselves to shoot DTL. Most of these shooters would not win at club level in DTL, but are afraid to compete against everyday club shooters for fear of getting beaten. DTL is still a fabulous stepping stone to an ISSF career and we are very lucky to have this in Australia and are foolish not to exploit it.
My advice is to take him along to a practice day at an international range and give him a try without any pressure or expectations on him. If he can hit 23 or 24 out of 25 at normal Trap then expect he will hit around 18 to 20 first up at Olympic Trap with the occasional 15 or 16 thrown in. this will test his character for sure, but it will make him a better shot overall. Finally when you next hear someone giving your son that type of negative advice ask them politely if they believe Michael Diamond, Suzy Balogh or my father ever gave their children the same type of encouragement?
Article 2 – 2010
Question: For a number of years I have been shooting clay targets with no great improvement. I like to shoot all disciplines, but trap is my favourite. I am told by many people that I “cant” my shotgun to the left and this will hold me back from improving. I shoot a Beretta 682 X Trap shotgun which has a raised rib. Can you explain what “cant” is and in layman terms tell me does it make a difference to how I shoot especially with this raised rib gun and please give me a way to cure this?
Lionel Kemp, Gold Coast QLD
Answer: Canting a shotgun occurs when the gun that is mounted into your shoulder does not sit vertically thus making the barrels lean to the right or, as is very common in broad chested right handed males, to the left. Most people that cant the barrels are unaware they are doing it. Does it make a difference? Of course it must. I have seen competent shooters shoot hundreds of targets in a row from the 15 metre mark on trap ranges with a canted gun mount, but I cannot name too many great trap shooters from the 25 metre handicap mark that cant their guns. The reason for this is the further away you try and hit something with a canted gun the less accurate you will be. These days many trap shooters are using shotguns that are built with higher ribs on top of their barrels to help visibility and target acquisition. These guns are fine as long as your technique is sound. They are often set up to shoot very high shot patterns to help shoot rising trap targets. By shooting high I am suggesting that the barrels are shooting up to 100 percent above the aiming point. With any height rib trap gun that is set up in this way a small cant can have catastrophic effects to your shot pattern when a quick reacting second shot is required.
My experience tells me that canting can be caused by a variety of factors. Firstly a poor gun mount usually caused by not lifting the shotgun up to the shoulder vertically enough. This is a common fault in new shooters that try and put the stock into the shoulder pocket before they have lifted the barrels into a position parallel enough to do so correctly. Canting can be caused by not enough pitch in the gun, not enough cast on the toe of the pad, a comb on the stock which is far too thick which will not let your cheek bone become locked into the stock thus causing a sloppy head/stock mount or in many Sporting and Field shooters it is caused by the shooter twisting their hand that is holding the trigger too much when mounting the gun too quickly or carelessly thus causing poor barrel alignment.
To correct poor gun mounting an experienced shooter or a coach will be needed. If mounting isn’t the problem then for a right handed trap shooter that cants the gun to the left this problem can generally be cured by adding some pitch ( increasing the angle that the gun free stands on its recoil pad ) this is easily done by adding length to the top of the pad with a pitched spacer which may be 5mm wide at the top decreasing to 1mm at the bottom. I would suggest that pitch when measured as an angle needs to be around 2 to 6 degrees for most normally built male shooters. Too little or too much pitch can cause other problems too complex to talk about here. Another adjustment can simply be to undo the bottom screw of your recoil pad and rescrew it a few millimeters to the right away from the shoulder thus adding some cast at the toe of the gun. Both adding pitch and cast at the toe should allow the pad to sit at a different angle in the shoulder pocket thus straightening up a canted barrel which was leaning to the left. If you cant the gun to the right and you are a right hand shooter you can simply do the opposite pitch and cast at toe adjustments to try and help the problem.
Lionel try these little adjustments then go down to the pattern board at your club and shoot some shots with both barrels at around 20 metres and see for yourself if it has helped. The pattern board rarely lies.
Article 1 – 2010
Question: Over the past 12 months I have really started to enjoy shooting clay target shooting. I recently went to a range that shoots at night and shot very poorly. I am told you need to shoot a different technique when shooting clays under lights? Is this true and what color shooting lenses are best when shooting at night?
Vic Garfield, Sunbury Victoria
Answer: Technically Vic there is nothing different when shooting clay targets at night or day. The traps and targets are still the same. Certainly the quality of the background lights can come into play which can cause a disadvantage for somebody with poor eyesight. I will assume though for the purposes of this answer that the lights on the range were adequate and your vision is reasonable. If that is the case then I would suggest you do everything else exactly as you would during the day. One thing that I always found helpful at night was to wear side blinkers on my shooting frames as often lights from the side can cause distractions when your gun is mounted to your shoulder. If you point your shotgun with the need to use the front sight as an aid in your fore vision then a white sight may be useful. I often just painted my sight for night shooting with a touch of stationary white out ink.
As to the color of the lenses it is my belief that clear lenses are not only the best, but the only logical choice. Despite what some people would have you believe there is no color lenses which allows more light to enter your eyes than the color god gave you. ANY color lenses that you use will inhibit the amount of light entering your eyes. On bright days darker colors will stop squinting which can certainly be an advantage. My advice though on bright days would be use the lightest tint that you can comfortably get away with. Shooters that wear very dark lenses on days when the light constantly changes due to cloud cover are looking for major problems. Whatever color you chose during daylight hours is a personal choice. It is purely a matter of perception. Much the same as how changes in recoil in firearms can be a perception as opposed to a matter of fact. At night lack of light is the major problem so there is no sense making the problem worse by using colored lenses. Many shooters complain about seeing a long “trail” on the back edges of the targets at night, mainly when white targets are used. Often this can be cured by getting an ‘anti glare’ coating on your clear lenses, but in reality this is simply putting a hint of green or purple in the lenses which again inhibits light.
Personally I always found night shooting fun and in many cases offered near perfect backgrounds for target acquisition. Try to focus on the positives and I am sure you will enjoy it also.