How do superb talents do it? You will be astounded at how accurately and fast he could aim and shoot with his shotgun… especially if you have ever shot one! Tom Knapp was among the celebrated in the tradition of shot shooters like Annie Oakley.
The guy died recently…only age 62. You can read the whole story of his life here, and a few excerpts are below:
Tom Knapp, an exhibition shotgun virtuoso who broke world records by picking off flocks of airborne clay targets with the flair of a western movie hero and dazzled crowds with his effortless precision shattering of golf balls, radishes, aspirin and other flying targets, died on April 26 in Rochester, Minn. He was 62.
Mr. Knapp, who was familiar to viewers of “Sharpshooters” on the History Channel and “Shooting Stars” on Discovery, mastered many kinds of long guns but was known mainly for his bravura with a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun.
A highlight videotape from 2007 (seen by more than three million viewers on YouTube) shows him firing his pump-action weapon from the hip, from behind his back and from over his head, each time hitting his airborne targets. In one scene, he hurls his shotgun into the air, flings a clay target skyward behind him, pivots, catches his gun and fires, leaving an orange puff of dust where the plummeting target had been.
From 1993 to 2004, Mr. Knapp made and broke his own records for the number of hand-thrown clay targets struck in a single round and for speed in doing so. His last record — 10 airborne targets hit (or “dusted,” in shooting-speak) in 2.2 seconds, each struck with a separate round — was set at an exhibition in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Oct. 10, 2004.
Mr. Knapp, whose exhibitions were sponsored by firearms manufacturers, was widely considered one of the most accomplished heirs to an American tradition defined in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows by Annie Oakley and A. H. Bogardus. Mr. Knapp said he had been inspired by trick shooters of the next generation, most notably Herb Parsons, a showman who toured the country from the 1930s through the ’50s and often worked in Hollywood as a trick-shot stand-in for stars like Jimmy Stewart in “Winchester ’73” (1950), which involves a shooting contest.