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Old February 9, 2016, 04:50 PM   #1
themalicious0ne
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Help me shoot good groupings

I would say I am newer, I guess, to rifle shooting. I say this because I have shot rifles on and off for years, starting with bb guns and 22's when I was a kid, but now I am trying to seriously get into rifle shooting. I would love to get into long range and competition and everything in between.

I have always considered myself a decent shot. I have never had any issues shooting accurately. I have helped friends sight in rifles. I have shot handgun leagues and have helped teach people how to shoot handguns. I have no where near the skill as some of you have on here but I am no slouch either. Hunting small game or birds, I have pulled off shots I didn't know I was capable of. Almost every time I pull out a rifle and send a cold bore shot on target, I hit bullseye. I for the life of me, however cannot get a real solid grouping.

They aren't bad groupings, and like I said, when I sight one in my first cold bore shot is usually a bull. I am impatient and I know there are several things I do wrong that are counter productive to the smallest grouping I can get. I think I often shoot when I THINK the shot is good enough rather than try to repeat the exact same shot every time. My last 11 (shot one extra) shot grouping was 4 moa vertical by 2 moa horizontal with iron sights. I have done one 3 shot group of just over 1 moa with my eotech and under 2 moa 5 shot grouping. I want more consistency in my shooting, not the smallest group to boast about online. If I can't shoot 2 moa every day, I am not happy. I know the rifle is capable of better, I know if I got a better trigger or stock or scope or ammo I could shrink them up. I will do that all in due time but for now with irons, ammo, trigger and my current capabilities I can at least get 2 moa without my vertical stringing.

I want to hear exactly what I should be doing from start to finish to pull off the perfect shot every time. I do very well reading and self teaching. I will get professional instruction but in the meantime I want a checklist in my head, I can check off to pull that perfect shot repeatedly. I know I possess the skills to do this. I just like, with my handgun shooting or instructing, to be able to think about and mentally check off every step before the shot goes off.

Edit: please walk me through your rifle shot process, from a front rest at a bench with irons at 100 yards.
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Old February 9, 2016, 05:14 PM   #2
Llama Bob
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Well, here's a first crack at a checklist:
- How is the rifle rested? Is it stable?
- Are your sights/optics sufficient to the level of accuracy you want? It's hard to shoot smaller than the front post/dot/reticle's angular size
- What's the trigger weight? Have you done what can be done safely to get it down?
- How's your trigger pull and follow-through?
- Is the way you mount the rifle leading to optical aberrations like parallax?
- Is your ammo match ammo with good match bullets and carefully measured powder charges?
- Does your ammo have a bullet-to-lands distance that works well?
- Is your stock rigid, with appropriate bedding?
- Is there pressure on the barrel? If so, is it repeatable or arbitrary?
- Are all action screws and sight mounting screws tightened to an apropriate torque?
- Put a randomly located snap cap in the magazine (with help if need be) and see if you're flinching and how your follow through is.

I'm sure there's more, but that will get you started.
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Old February 9, 2016, 05:33 PM   #3
themalicious0ne
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I think that is a pretty good checklist but more along the lines of a scoped distance rifle. I will get to all of those things.

Right now I am using a 18" 1/8 twist 223 wylde ar. I will get a scope and make sure it is appropriately secured. I will make my own rounds, probably 77gr otm. I will change the stock and trigger. I know with all these things I can shoot a tighter grouping. I am not looking for the smallest grouping right now. I was more looking for a checklist after loading the round and before I pull the trigger. Sight allignment, breathing, grip, trigger pull, focus, ect. I can pay to get under 1 moa, or I can ask how to do things properly to get from a 4x2 moa grouping to under 2x2. I want baby steps first. It's not the hardware but the software I need to focus on.

Edit: also walk me through follow through.
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Old February 9, 2016, 06:42 PM   #4
Llama Bob
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OK, that extra info is helpful. In terms of the shot itself, here's roughly the process I go through:

- get in a stable position. In general if you're trying to shoot 2MOA or under, that means bipod prone, ruck sack prone, or bench.

- force your vision focus distance to be at the gun's front sight (not rear sight or target) and align your sights with the target.

- safety (if any) off, finger on the trigger

- pay attention to your breathing. You want to breath naturally, not stop (stopping triggers panic/stress reflexes) but pay attention to your breath-out pause. When you're ready to shoot, breathe out, extend the respiratory pause a bit, and pull the trigger.

- How you pull the trigger depends a bit on trigger weight, single vs. double stage, etc. but you're going for a "surprise break" - you do not want to know when it's going to break. If this takes too long, breath again (to avoid panic reflex) and try on the next breath. You may need to compress your trigger pull to a "compressed surprise break" for some guns.

- as you pull the trigger, you should be focused on sight alignment, and hold this past the end of the trigger pull. If done correctly, you'll see the sights still on target shrouded by muzzle blast. This is follow through. If you close your eyes or stop paying attention to the front post, that's lack of follow through. Another part of follow through is making sure you pull the trigger back solidly to the over-travel stop.
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Old February 9, 2016, 06:45 PM   #5
Llama Bob
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The thing I forgot to mention is natural point of aim. When you align the sights on target, you want to do it by maneuvering your body position/rest, not by steering the gun on target with your hands. Ideally if you took your right hand especially off the gun entirely, you'd like the point of aim not to change at all.
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Old February 9, 2016, 07:59 PM   #6
IROCZ
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Try an Appleseed.

Spend the $60 dollars and take a two day Appleseed course. It is some of the best instruction on how to shoot a rifle and the dicsipline that is taught directly crosses over to CMP match shooting. I hit one every year, a month or so before hunting season as a "pencil sharpener" for my rifle shooting skills. Good instruction, good people.
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Old February 9, 2016, 08:28 PM   #7
themalicious0ne
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Thank you, that is some good advice. I'm good on trigger control but the natural position bit is very interesting. I never thought about that, usually I try to force the sights onto the target, as naturally as possible. Usually by using my off hand to move the stock around while the stock rests on it. I also think I have been doing my breathing wrong in addition to absolutely zero follow through. I don't jerk the rifle, but usually my eyes and head flinch I guess from the sound. Some good things to think about. I might have to try prone to see if I can better allignment my body comfortably behind it.
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Old February 10, 2016, 10:24 AM   #8
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I once heard a Marine Sniper state that "positioning" as you're calling it- should be such that you should be able to fall asleep behind the rifle- and wake up staring straight down the scope.

Now, you're referring to iron sights, but the point is the same.

Correct cheekweld, and using ONLY bone support- and not muscle support, is critical to shot consistency. Muscles, fatigue and strain and affect point of aim. Bone support, will not.

Principle is the same, prone or bench. Now, this isn't always possible depending on the scenario- but your're asking about shooting groups- not shooting off of sticks at an Elk.

Very few shooters actually get correct cheekweld and positioning, whether scoped or with irons.
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Old February 10, 2016, 03:41 PM   #9
themalicious0ne
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Can you get a good cheek weld with an adjustable stock? I've been wanting to get a magpul ubr, should I look at the prs instead?
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Old February 10, 2016, 09:13 PM   #10
Llama Bob
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For irons, depending on the exact height, a collapsible stock can be OK in terms of cheek weld. For optics, especially big ones, a fixed stock with adjustable cheek position is probably better.
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Old February 10, 2016, 10:12 PM   #11
Llama Bob
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For irons, depending on the exact height, a collapsible stock can be OK in terms of cheek weld. For optics, especially big ones, a fixed stock with adjustable cheek position is probably better.
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Old February 11, 2016, 08:18 AM   #12
gman3
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Bolt rifle, good ammo, good scope, good stock, good cheek weld, bipod, rear bag, practice a lot...good trigger helps too
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