2. SO WHAT IS THE IDEAL PLANE FOR SHOOTING?
I recommend a bevel-up plane with plenty of mass in the body and blade, such as the Lie-Nielsen #9 shown here, or the Veritas shooting plane. While such dedicated planes are great, a heavy bevel-up general bench plane such as a bevel up jack or jointer will also do very well. A block plane, though it is bevel-up, does not have enough mass for effective shooting.
3. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT SHOOTING UNLESS YOUR BLADE IS WICKED SHARP.
A dull blade will make you work harder and less accurately, while the effect of nicks in the blade edge will be obvious on the end grain of the work piece. Choose your steel, A-1 for endurance or O-1 for keenness and ease of sharpening, but get it sharp. It’s an easy edge to make – straight across, no camber.