Several years ago the Hunting Retriever Club board voted to allow clubs to choose whether they use Factory – Loaded Poppers or Factory – Primer (only) shells (see below).
“POPPERS/SHELLS – The HRC Board of Directors has voted to allow individual Clubs to choose whether to use Factory – Loaded Poppers or Factory – Primer (only) shells. Whichever type of popper/shell is chosen must be used consistently for all categories of that Hunt Test. Gun Safety is of utmost priority to HRC, Inc., HRC Clubs and HRC members.” The majority of the clubs have adopted the use of the Primer (only) shells manufactured by Fiocchi Ammunition USA.
This decision not only has saved clubs money, but also helped increase safety and reduces the chance of hearing damage not only to the handler and dog, but to the judges and workers as well. The long barrel of the shotgun helps muffle the report and direct it away from the dog. As mentioned previously, this has reduced the amount of dogs that were going deaf, many by the age of 3-4 from being shot over so frequently. Fiocchi primer poppers are now in use by Hunting Retriever Clubs and Field Trial Clubs, Pro Trainers, ESPN, and Master National Hunting Tests. Fiocchi primer poppers are primed shotgun shell housings with no powder or wadding of any type. Plastic shell and no wad with roll crimp lets you see there is no payload inside to head down range.
Sounding similar to a .22 L.R. blank and are great for field trials, and beginner animal training. This is a great option as you do not need a second firearm or blank pistol and can use your shotgun from the start. This also help condition your dog to the use of a shotgun and not a blank starter pistol or equivalent.
Introduction to gun fire
Introduction to gun fire can be accomplished best with the help of another person. I would suggest having somebody else shoot (and throw a bumper) at a distance to acclimate a pup to gunshot. Have them adjust the distance and angle of the barrel accordingly and gradually decrease the distance. This may best be accomplished over several days of training, remember that this is not a race and that a dog that that has not been properly introduced to gun fire may become “gun-shy” and that is a huge problem that can be very difficult to correct, if at all!
When training, testing or introducing your dog to the gun; do yourself a favor and use primer poppers. You will not only save your pocket-book but you may also save your dog’s hearing and most of all prevent creating a dog that is gun-shy and afraid of the report of your weapon. We use and recommend quality made Fiocchi primer poppers for all our training and customers needs.
Joe Scarpy – HuntEmUp.com / Bull Valley Retrievers