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Old April 4, 2002, 12:53 PM   #1
Correia
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Medium-Long range shooting with iron sights

How many of you practice medium too long range shooting with your iron sighted rifles? What have been your experiences trying this?

Have you found any helpfull tricks to improve your shooting with irons?

I ask this because I have been trying to do some 500-600 yard shooting with my FAL, using the regular peep sights. I just wanted to see how some other shooters do it.

I know that the Hi-power shooters can do it.
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Old April 5, 2002, 11:23 PM   #2
Steve Smith
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"I know that the Hi-power shooters can do it."

So, do you want us to keep our traps shut?
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Old April 5, 2002, 11:50 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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1. Aim carefully. It helps if you can see the rear sight, the front sight, and also the target. (This is called "young eyes".)

2. Carefully pull the trigger, gently enough such that your aim is undisturbed.

Sorry 'bout dat; couldn't resist. It has been decades since I could see all three important items at the same time. At least with a handgun I can use a sharp sight picture to hit the middle of the blur.

Actually, with a rear peep sight and adequate vision to see the front sight and the target, you center the top of the front sight in the slightly-blurred ring of the peep. That's part of the reason for those tang-mounted peep sights, as well as the longer sight-radius.

, Art
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Old April 6, 2002, 12:04 AM   #4
Edward429451
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Yep, love them peep sights. Going out sunday to work out the M1A with irons. Only at a hundred yards though, gotta walk before I run. When I shrink those 6" groups down to 4" or so, consistently, I'll move back to two hundred.
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Old April 6, 2002, 01:24 AM   #5
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Blackening the sights really helps!

Sooty sights improve your sight picture...at 500+yds you need allthe 'edge' you can get.

Oh!...Yea...To _get_ 'sooty' sights, take a wad of masking tape, set it afire and 'smoke the sights'

Burning Masking Tape puts out really sooty smoke, the old boys at the range use carbide miners lamps for the same effect, but carbide is now a HAZMAT, & I haven't seen a carbide miners lamp outside of an antique store in quite some time.

The only iron sight shooting I do past 200 yds is with an M1 Garand... you'd be surprised how much 1/4min match sights
added onto a service rifle will improve your score.
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Old April 6, 2002, 01:38 AM   #6
Dave R
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I shoot my CETME at 250 yds. with the iron. I guess my only suggestion is to get a very consistent sight picture from shot to shot. And make very small sight adjustments as needed...
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Old April 6, 2002, 10:25 AM   #7
Art Eatman
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Thinking some more on this, and it holds for scopes and stuff besides shooting: Uniformity of sight picture from shot to shot is the key to tight groups. I've regularly been startled by some people's inability to see, process and then duplicate something.

I first noticed it in demonstrating how to hold the brace hand when playing pool. I'd make a brace and say, "Now do your hand like this." and just no way! Yet, I'd get this look from the "student" as though he had duplicated my brace. Dangifino.

Same on teaching somebody to shoot. I've seen people splatter shots all over a 25-yard target; no way they were uniform in sight picture. Yet, they professed that they were.

Anyway, the top of the front sight MUST be in the same place, centered in the peep or vee, every time.

Art
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Old April 6, 2002, 10:58 AM   #8
Lmccrock
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Targets

Shooting at something small, say a soda can, at 500 yards with open sights is beyond my ability. Yours, too? I need to see the target. The "bullseye" on a 600 yard prone highpower target is what, about 30 inches across? I guess this is a corollary to the sight picture. The front sight post about covers the bullseye at 600, so be realistic about the target.

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Old April 6, 2002, 11:48 AM   #9
Correia
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Steve, I don't want you guys to keep your traps shut! I want to know how you do it.

Seriously, I have been working on this, and it is a challenge. I'm not going for good groups as much as I'm trying to be able to consistently hit a man size steel plate at 500 yards, fast. (relativley speaking) It has been challenging, and has put a lot of fun into my shooting lately.

I think that a narrower front sight would be nice. Anybody know where to get one for an L1a1?

I will give you Garand & M1a shooters this, your iron sights are much nicer. Click adjustable vs. a slide that was regulated for somebody, somewhere, sometime ago, shooting some sort of ammo. But it is pretty close. Unfortunatly at 500 yards close isn't good enough unless you are shooting an M203.

One thing I have learned is this. You have got to know how much your ammo drops! Sounds simple, but man when you don't have those little dots on a plane of glass infront of your eye, it can be a challenge.

But then again challenge=fun. So what the heck.
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Old April 6, 2002, 12:48 PM   #10
Dave R
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Lmccrock made a good point. The ability to see your target well is important. I found this at the 250 yd. range. Shooting at one of the orange/white sight-in targets, my groups were large. I couldn't hold a specific spot.

I remembered reading a post on TFL about target visibility, so I changed to a black-center target I could see. I could "dot the I" with my sights with some precision. Groups tightened noticeably.

Likewise, I was shooting at a steel plate and missed some, because the contrast between plate and backdrop made it hard to see the plate. When I put a white target on it to make it stand out, I didn't miss.

You've gotta have a solid aiming point to hit at long range.
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Old April 6, 2002, 04:03 PM   #11
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Good peep sights are good for all ages.
They are a must for we with old peeps.

Like Art said, basics n pay attention.

Sam
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Old April 6, 2002, 04:19 PM   #12
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Narrow front sight, properly blackened. Small rear sight aperture. Good crisp trigger, not too heavy. Good sturdy sling (e.g., Turner sling), looped around your support upper arm. Get your support arm as much under the rifle as possible -- don't have it to one side or the other. Make sure that your natural point of aim is correct -- when you're on target, close your eyes for a few seconds, then open them again and see if you are still on target. If not, shift your entire body left or right until you are on target.

Know your come ups.

When you are ready to take the shot, use the BRASS acronym: Breathe, Relax, Align the sights, Sight picture, Squeeze the trigger.

At 600 yards, you'll also want to be using match grade ammo and watching the wind. The wind can make a big difference at that distance.

Final tip is to use big, contrasty targets. The target used for 600 yard service rifle is BIG. Something like 5' square with a 2' diameter bull.

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Old April 6, 2002, 05:22 PM   #13
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On the targets: 600 yard Slow Prone target is 36" across the black. That's the 7 ring. X ring is 1 MOA (6") and 10 ring is 2 MOA (12"). That sounds big, but from position, its truly about the size of a standard thumb tack viewed from 12.5' away (dryfiring practice dot). If you're firing a National or Regional Match course, if you're stiil shooting the 7 ring and the wind is not the problem, your position of sight picture is non-existant. Now, Correia didn't ask abouy iron sights AND position shooting, but shooting irons off a bench sounds kinda lame to me...however, with the L1A1 that he mentioned, you could possibly expect some barrel bending with a good sling. Position shooting could be a problem. Correia, the absolute best way to learn this is to start going to HP matches and read a few books. Rudolph Constatine's book "Modern Highpower Competition" will help a lot.

There's no voodoo. Its all about the basics, only amplified 100x. Have a rock solid position. Align the front and rear sights. Imagine your rear aperture sight to have crosshairs, and put the front sight perfectly at the crosshair point. Place the front sight where you want it on the target. I use a 6'oclock hold for 600 yards. That way the sight doesn't obscure the target and you have a definite point of aim. Our sights are usually very close to the same width as the target when viewed from position. That way the horizontal alignment is easier. A good trigger is essential. In Service Rifle class, we have to have a 4.5 lb trigger, but we break it into two stages. My trigger is 100% legal, but my 2nd stage letoff is about 1 lb. Your final press should be straight back. For offhand (200 yards) you must command the rifle to fire when the sights are perfect. No squeezing. Perhaps one of the best SR shooters in the country, Chris Hatcher, fires his offhand with so much force on the trigger that he actually feels the rifle come backwards into his shoulder...from his trigger pressure. Its straight back, and he is absolutely amazing. For 600, though, a good squeeze is great...you have no leeway to move the rifle. If you move, you will miss. Great sights are a must, as well as a great spotting scope. The sights allow you to adjust within 1/4 MOA (1.5" at 600) and the scope lets you know how much to move. At 600, though, you're not going to see your bullet holes. We use pits to get feedback on our shot placement. You watch for trends or changes in wind, and adjust toward the X. Sorry, man, but shooting at targets that far away without feedback and with course adjustment sights will be a royal difficulty, at best. Write down what your settings are. Begin to keep a log of conditions (wind, light, else?), what elevation and windage you had, and where your shots were called/hit. Your call is extremely important to whether you are truly going to get better or not. If you don't know what your call is, you don't know what to do to the sights. Keep the same sight picture throughout the string, and adjust the sights. Never backwards. "Holding off" or Kentucky Windage will totally screw you up at 600. There are times when it is used in HP, but its usually on team matches, and very, very, rare. Try not to shoot in the wind. Good HP shooters shoot when the wind is at its most constant, and wait when it is shifting. We have 20 minutes for 20 shots in Slow Prone, so when the wind dies, the line lights up. There are books written on each of these subjects...I am not a "know it all" so I'm not about to blather on about all this. If you have a specific question, I'll try to answer or get an answer for you.

Positions: If you're shooting at 600, I'm going to assume that you're prone. No matter the position, though, your natural point of aim is CRITICAL. In prone, just plopping on the ground doesn't get you pointed at the target. M1911 talked about this. In using the sling, if you have a Garand web sling or a 1907 sling, you want it WAY high on your "off" arm, and tight. Have the keepers pointing outboard of you. Before you do that, make sure to put a 1/2 twist in the sling to the outboard...that will allow the sling to lie flat against your hand (wear a glove!). The sling should be tight enough so that when you're in your position, you can release your death grip on your forward hand, stop pulling the rifle into your shoulder, and the rifle will stay where it is. You should not have to hold the rifle with your muscles. Get your "off" side leg straight, and as close behind the gun as possible (not angling off rackishly). Your "good" side leg should be cocked high. That keeps your diaphram off the ground, so you should have less movement when you breathe. Have your forward hand's elbow as much under the rifle as possible, with the FLAT of your elbow (just above it) on the ground...NOT the round bone.

That's enough for now. If you have some specifics, I'll be happy to try to answer them. I'm no Master, but I won't tell you voodoo stuff anyway...just solid info that anyone including me can get improvement from.

BTW,I shot the best reduced course (200 yard) I've fired yet, with a 469-10x (out of 500) today. Yay!
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Old April 6, 2002, 09:48 PM   #14
Pvt. Joker
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Hey guys,
Great Thread! I have been shooting medium range 200 and 300 yards with the AR lately, Its so much fun, I can't hardly get enough. I have a few questions about it though...

First of all... Simple one, When shooting off hand with my AR, will it adjust my POI when using the sling as a support? It IS attached to the barrel. I think it will...

Second questions are about squeezing the trigger. If only it were as simple as it sounds. I was at the range today, shooting at 300 yards and wasn't having the best of times. I was using the tip of my trigger finger as opposed to the area around the first knuckle. Seems I read somewhere that I should be doing it with the tip of my finger. I ask, because when got home from the range, I was dry firing (can't get enough!) and it seems when I tuck my finger around the trigger, right around that first crease, it seems that I can feel out the trigger alot better. I can actually feel the whole travel, and get a much better release, as opposed to the quicker snap as with the tip of my finger. The trigger is a stock bushmaster single stage with about 1500 rounds through it.

On to the next question, still about triggers and breathing. When squeezing said trigger, I break it up into a couple stages, Breath in, breath out, relax, slowly squeeze... I do this slowly untill the trigger is about to break. I have gotten to know it pretty well, so I can guess when its about you break. Is this the recomended way of going about this?

As far as breathing goes, I know your not supposed to hold your breath...Right? It taking alot of practice, but I try to "break" the trigger when your naturally not breathing. That is, when to take a breath, and exhale... the microsecond before take that next breath. How does that sound? Is there anything I could be doing better?'

Hope its not too many questions for you guys.. I am just starting out with the AR, only had it out twice, with about 500 rounds out of her, so I am hoping to get better, and maybe even consider shooting highpower, if I get any good.

I can use all the suggestions I can get, and look forward to reading some responses.

Thanks!

-Jared
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Old April 6, 2002, 10:10 PM   #15
Steve Smith
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Pvt., one more post and I'm calling it a night.

If you are using your sling for offhand (standing) and your rifle does not have a free floated barrel, then yes, your groups could very likely move from where they would be without the use of the sling.

Your trigger finger placement is something that no one can help you with much. YOU need to dry fire, and pay great attention to where the rifle goes during the pull. The rifle should not move at all. Move your finger in and out untill you find the spot. That's YOUR spot.

I think you're talking about the natural respiratory pause. Yes, that's where most shooters break the shot. However, don't try to force the shot to go off when you reach your pause. If you can't do it, take the rifle down, breathe, and try it again.

Suggestion: Back off on your rate of fire when in paractice, and add a lot to the concentration level for each shot. Practice one position per session, maybe 30 to 40 rounds max, in 10 shot groups. Take your time. Mental exertion should be fatiguing you long before you reach the 250 rounds per session. I shot a 50 shot match today and I was ready to flop on the couch when I got home.
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Old April 6, 2002, 10:28 PM   #16
Pvt. Joker
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Steve, I apprecieate your speedy reply and look forward to hearing from others...

I think thats my biggest problem, Having 30 rounds loaded in the mag (I've got 20's on the way) seem to make me shoot so fast, because I can. If I slowly take my time, I am sure things will improve even more. I think I might need to start loading them one at a time for more practice, as well as a ton of dry firing...

Once again, Thanks for all your information...

-Jared
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Old April 7, 2002, 12:35 PM   #17
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This has been a great thread. Thanks guys.
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Old April 7, 2002, 02:00 PM   #18
Steve Smith
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Correia, did you get the answers you wanted?
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Old April 7, 2002, 04:16 PM   #19
Correia
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Yep Steve. This will help a lot. Now I need to try and assimilate this info, and go practice.

I will probably order the Tubbs book. I'm already trying to get a hold of the Brian Enos Practical shooting book, and a copy of Art of the Rifle by Cooper.

I've decided that I just need to get better all around.

Thanks.
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Old April 7, 2002, 06:46 PM   #20
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Rereading this thread before I went to the range today mustv'e helped. Where I was getting 6" 5-shot groups last time out, I was getting 3 1/2" groups today, with the best being 3 3/8". 5 shot groups at 100 yds with my M1A, Military Prone.

My groups seemed to have a little verticalness to them, maybe this is from being military prone (with my diaphragm against the ground). You said to pull one knee up so the diaphragms off the ground, like Olympic prone? I'll have to try that.

I outshot both other guys, with their scoped /06 & 308's and me with irons! That felt good! Concentrating on consistency of sight picture may have been the factor...

Best shot of the day IMO, was my first from a cold clean barrel, right in the 10 ring at/on a 100 yd sight in target. Great fun.
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Old April 7, 2002, 07:13 PM   #21
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Good job, Edward, and yes, vertical string does usually indicate a breathing inconsistency. Either lying on your stomach, or not using the same point in your breathing rythm.

This reminds me, I need to call you back. When I call, remind me to ask you about the HP Clinic Match coming up in Byers.
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Old April 8, 2002, 02:18 PM   #22
Mikul
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At a long distance, your sight picture has to be PERFECT. Don't settle for a sight picture that is almost dead center.

Trigger control is king.

I find that a smaller rear aperture is a big help. You can make your existing aperture smaller by filling it with epoxy or polymer clay and running a needle through it.

If you feel that your front sight is too wide, you can file it down. Try to file it at an angle so the muzzle side is slightly narrower than the butt end.
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