I hear you Big Shrek and others. There is certainly much to learn and much that I can learn with the conditions just as they are now. And you've provided me with several other benefits I hadn't considered at all. Thank you.
One thing I have battled is first-shot-stray syndrome. Whether standing, sitting, or prone, the first shot of a group has commonly been a little off target. It didn't matter whether I was in a timed exercise or one where I had all the time in the world, I would have a stray first shot then all the others right on the mark. Then I'd switch to the next target, the first shot would be off and then rest right on the mark. I'd pretty much concluded that it was mental, but sometimes I wonder.
I remounted my sights and tightened down everything on the rifle. And the next trip to the range (although very limited in time spent and shots fired) I didn't have the first-shot-stray problem. Yet I had also been dry firing (with no auto-cocker). So was it the equipment or did the dry fire practice cure my first shot strays?
Anyway, I'll certainly keep practicing with the setup I have now. The auto-cocker project is low on the to-do list. But if I ever find the time, I do think I'll give it a try
But even if I do give it a whirl, I don't think I'll ever be able to be a pray-and-spray shooter. As a kid I learned on single shots and over-and-under guns hunting frogs and squirrels. Before graduating to a semi-auto shotgun, I only had that one shot with the .410 on the over-and-under hunting rabbits and quail. Since I got the Marlin 795, a few times I have thought about aiming and then just ripping off 10 shots - just to see what it would be like. But so far I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it. It just seems, well... wrong. (And my dad or grandpa would roll in their graves.)