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Old January 30, 2012, 02:40 PM   #1
TheWanderingRed
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New shooter using range time most effectively:

Hey you guys, I’m new to shooting, and I’m relatively poor, being a struggling car salesman. I’ve owned my Ruger GP100 for a little over a year, and I’ve only had the time/money to take it out to the range three or four times . Sales have picked up and I’m looking to spend some time with it on my off day this Friday, and I was wondering, what can a new shooter do to utilize his time at the range most effectively? I’ll be using some Winchester .38 special target ammo (jacketed semi-wadcutter) and I may try and pick up some Cor-Bon .38 Special+P 125 grain JHP that I’ll use for home defense, as the Ruger is primarily a bedside gun.
Thanks in advance, I’ve searched the forums already looking for advice, but have come up with nothing. Being stuck on my work computer I’m also limited as to what websites I can access.
I know some things to work on, like stance, grip, and sight picture, but I have no real effective exercises to drill these things/track my progress.
So, what type of exercises should I use?
How many rounds to a target to effectively track my progress?
Are some target’s more effective for training than others?
How many rounds should I shoot of range ammo vs defensive ammo to ensure that I’ll be prepared in a defensive situation?
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Old January 30, 2012, 02:48 PM   #2
KenL
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To maximize trigger time, I use snap caps. They allow me to practice trigger control and getting a good sight picture. You can practice both single action and double action with them, and time spent squeezing the trigger is always good. Remember the whole safe backstop thing, triple check that you're using the snap caps and all the other safety precautions.

At the range, I'd shoot mostly your target .38s to get used to the trigger in a live fire exercise, and run a couple of cylinders of the defense loads thru near the end of the session to make sure that you're comfortable where they hit. There really is no substitute for practice to help you become familiar with the firearm.
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Old January 30, 2012, 02:51 PM   #3
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Thanks Ken. I was wondering since Ruger says that you can dry fire the gp100 safely, are snap caps really necessary, or will repeated dry firing of the weapon damage it? Also can I use spent shell casings as a snap cap as I have hundreds of those on hand anticipating the day I buy the supplies to reload.
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Old January 30, 2012, 04:24 PM   #4
KenL
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If Ruger says it's OK, then you can go ahead and start dry firing without them. I have always used snap caps so it's just habit. Not sure about using empties since the primer is already deformed if they will offer enough resistance for the firing pin.
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Old January 30, 2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks Ken. I've been bouncing off the filter at work all day and I'm still coming up with nothing as far as exercises to do at the range, or if different types of targets (hiv viz vs cheap paper) are better than others for training
Maybe I'll have better luck at home tonight.
Thanks again.
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Old January 30, 2012, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
I’ve owned my Ruger GP100 for a little over a year, and I’ve only had the time/money to take it out to the range three or four times
I'm a big advocate of dry fire & dry fire drills, especially for someone in your situation. It makes the time you do spend at the range much more useful.

You can use dry fire to improve your sight picture & trigger control, in which you're establishing a good sight picture, and actually pulling the trigger (not on a live round, of course) while watching the front sight and not disturbing the sight picture.

You can also do dry fire drills where the main focus is on gun handling skills, e.g. drawing from a holster, reloading, moving, etc. There are a metric ton of dry fire drills online. For starters, Google Ben Stoeger's 15 minute dry fire drill.


As a new-ish shooter, though, I recommend focusing on just practicing the fundamentals while at the range (sight picture & trigger control) than on gun handling for the time being. Getting a firm foundation in the fundamentals now will pay big dividends later. Or, stated differently, blow off the fundamentals now, it will always be problem later.

At the range, you can put up standard bullseye targets, shoot 5 rounds groups and track your score (be sure to practice that double action trigger, as well ) There are a bunch of links to printable targets. I pasted one below. At the range, I'd work on your basics until you're able to consistently (in single and double action) shoot 44-45 out of 50 on a distance-appropriate target (e.g. an NRA B-2 @ 50 ft).

Until you've gained some proficiency with the fundamentals, I'd hold off on any type of fancy or speedy drill at the range. In the meantime, in addition to dry fire practicing your trigger control, you can also be practicing your gun handling skills with those Stoeger drills, among others.


http://dotclue.org/targets
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Old January 30, 2012, 06:45 PM   #7
g.willikers
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Just do a web search for "firearms drills."
Here's one to get started -
http://www.kuci.org/~dany/firearms/a...html#standards
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Old January 30, 2012, 10:08 PM   #8
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Thank you Mr. Borland! The fifteen minute drills look very interesting, and they are something I can do after work, which'll be so nice. the 11 hours days also make getting to the range hard. It also looks incredibly thorough! The scoring system, for range time, while something I had heard about never even entered my mind as something to use to help me advance. I'm not the most scientific fellow. Thank you so much.
Thank you Mr. Willikers as well. I looked up firearms drills while I was at work, but alas the internet filter they have prevents me from getting to any firearms related sites short of Chuckhawks.com wikipedia, and TFL (frankly I'm very surprised they let me get on TFL, but by some miracle this site squeaks through...) So if I have a question at work I turn to you guys and your collective years of experience.
I'm copying the drills on the site you linked into my email though, so I can puruse it at work tomorrow as I watch the lot. Thank you.
And thank you all for lending me your wisdom and experience.
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Old January 31, 2012, 08:49 AM   #9
MrBorland
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My pleasure, TWR. I enjoy helping newer shooters when I can, particularly fellow revolver shooters.

One very important thing to keep in mind about dry fire drills, especially those involving gun handling skills & a timer: Think of them as vision drills as much as gun handling skills. Whether target or combat action shooting, you always need to see what you need to see when making any shot. They're called "fundamentals" for a reason, though they're applied faster in some situations. The temptation is to run drills to beat a timer, but if you're not seeing a good sight picture, and exercising good control in the process, you'll actually be offsetting all your other hard work.

Speaking of a timer, if you're interested in trying one, here's a link to some on-line drills, one of which has a timer:

http://www.predatortactical.com/cart...se_detail&id=5

Finally, here's a video of the 15 minute program, in case you're interested.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NGyH...3FAB6E4186147B
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Old February 1, 2012, 03:54 AM   #10
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You can get more out of range time if you're taking lessons.

Two thing that work well while dry firing are a laser site and a dime. Using the laser site on a spot on the wall and try to keep the laser on target. Place the dime on the barrel and dry fire trying not to drop the dime.
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Old February 1, 2012, 01:10 PM   #11
g.willikers
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And, once again, get one of these for home practice.
It works.

http://www.crosman.com/airguns/pistols/3576W
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Old February 1, 2012, 06:48 PM   #12
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Heres one for ya Red.
At home while dry firing....(of course being safe and ensuring you are unloaded) Go ahead and cock the hammer, then take a round that is flat on top, Say a hollow point, and balance it upside down on the end of the barrel. Next, raise the weapon to your sight picture and focus on something small like a light switch and pull the trigger steadily without knocking over the round. After a little practice, you will gain excellent trigger control. At first this will seem difficult but.....lol. I had been shooting for a long time before I heard about this method and I couldnt believe how much it improved my control. After all, Its all about trigger control. Also, use only the front end of your trigger finger. NOT the joint area. This will cause you to pull in and down just like anticipating the shot. Let the weapon "surprise" you when it goes off. This will all come into play as it will build muscle memory and you wont even have to "think" about it while doing it during live fire.

Keep us up to posted on your findings as well.
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Old February 2, 2012, 12:44 PM   #13
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The dime and the flat top round thing sound kinda hard. I'll try them both tonight. Looks like I'll actually be able to go out tomorrow and I can't wait! Thanks for all your help! I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old February 2, 2012, 06:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
The dime and the flat top round thing sound kinda hard
A dime is kinda hard. I had to use a nickel 'cuz it's thicker :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmy5mkjpUNI
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Old February 3, 2012, 10:14 AM   #15
TheWanderingRed
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Exercise results!

Alright Buzzcock and GITSUM! I tried both of your exercises last night and found out several interesting things:
First: My time as a car salesman has made me sessile and weak. Holding the weapon unsupported while trying to put the round on top was neither easy nor fun after about the fiftieth time.
Second: Keeping the round on the muzzle isn’t so hard once the weapon is up and in my sight picture. Getting the weapon there with out removing the round is.
Third: I have really good reflexes for catching falling things.
Fourth: its easier to not jerk the weapon in single action. The take up process (where the cylinder moves to index another “round”) is hard to do without moving the weapon.
Fifth: at least initially I was jerking down, and to the right. This has been corrected. Thank you.
Sixth and finally: any exercise that involves a shiny piece of copper and brass should not be performed with a cat in the room. She became hypnotized by the shell, and continuously pressed against me, making it harder to maintain a good stance…
I’m stuck at work again. A lady lost her drivers license and I need that to finish up the sale. When she get’s that I have to go see a priest about a wedding, and then off to the range. Wish me luck, and thanks for your help! I should have a report up by the evening!
Thanks again all!
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Old February 3, 2012, 10:21 AM   #16
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Holly shoot Mr. Borland! I just watched that video! I was having trouble standing a .38 semi wadcutter on the end of the barrel and you did it with a bleeding nickle! I'd have thought that was impossible last night!
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Old February 3, 2012, 11:18 AM   #17
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It's that double sticky tape.
Gotta' watch these guys every second.
They're a sneaky bunch.
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:35 PM   #18
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Alright y'all, I finally got to go to the range today. Some observations, then results.
First, the Gp100 is still a very heavy weapon, even after all the dry firing practice.
Second, Ranges make me very nervous. Even when I have them all to myself like today.
Third, buy more ammo before going signing into the range. Total Homer D'oh moment. Meant I didn't get to try the goldsaber ammo I bought after the range time.
Fourth: The range masters eyes get really wide when a 24 year old kid wants 20 targets.
Fifth and finally. I really need a bloody twenty two revolver, but more on that latter.
Results
After 90 rounds fired, double action
Fifty Foot Timed National Pistol Targets, at 21 feet, five rounds of 130 grain SWFMJ Winchester ammo per target
Mean score per shot 7.9
Mean score for a target 39.9
Mean Group: 4.61"
Mode Group per target: 4"
Mode Score per target: 40
I tend to miss low and right. Or high and right. Mostly I miss right. Also I don't really have any values in my mind to compare these to, so I'm not sure if its terrible shooting, or alright shooting.
The Report
The first few targets were terrible. I was getting used to being at a range, and watched, and remembering that the gun goes bang when you pull the trigger and I started with a 7" 8" and 7.25" group before I got into a rhythm. After that I got a little annoyed at myself and went into my old boxing mindset. A kinda, alright you want to kick me around, well I'm going to do this my way, and you can just watch me.
After that I stopped flinching so much (though I still flinched the first time I pulled the trigger every single time, even though the first time the hammer fell it was always on an empty chamber.
Finally I started pulling the trigger with the first crease on my index finger, and really really really watching the front sight. As I breathed out I'd actually say "front sight" to myself, and that worked fairly well as long as I remembered to do it. When I became concerned with stance, or where the bullet would hit and not the front sight I'd still bugger up.
When I got done I packed up, stowed my weapon and looked around. Pretty sparse pawn and gun place, and the only .22 revolvers they had were Heritage Rough Rides ($240-$290) with convertible cylinders, but they felt heavy and I didn't like the fixed rear sights, its nothing like my Ruger, and thus maybe not as good for practicing?
A Ruger LCR in .22 which was so much money my brain has blanked out the price and which has a barrel too small to use for squirrels or rabbits (which I want to go shoot with my fiancee)
And a Taurus model 94 tracker that was only chambered in .22 mag which kind of defeats the purpose of getting a .22. I need it to be cheaper to feed.
So I'm going seriously in the market for a .22 and I'm going to get a range membership. I need to practice. Any more advice that you can give me would be great!
Also is Winchester Ammo supposed to be really dirty? It took 20+ patches some with Hoppes No. 9 on them before they started coming out cleanly.
Pic of my Revolver and best group.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 101_0102.jpg (230.3 KB, 36 views)
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Old February 12, 2012, 01:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Results
After 90 rounds fired, double action
Fifty Foot Timed National Pistol Targets, at 21 feet, five rounds of 130 grain SWFMJ Winchester ammo per target
Mean score per shot 7.9
Mean score for a target 39.9
Mean Group: 4.61"
Good. Keep practicing, and keep dry firing. Make it a point to apply the fundamentals better every time you practice & shoot, but remember to be patient with your progress, too. Good shooting doesn't come easily, so keep the journey fun.

Quote:
Finally I started pulling the trigger with the first crease on my index finger, and really really really watching the front sight. As I breathed out I'd actually say "front sight" to myself, and that worked fairly well as long as I remembered to do it. When I became concerned with stance, or where the bullet would hit and not the front sight I'd still bugger up.
Literally reminding yourself to watch the front sight is a good exercise when it helps you watch the front sight. As you see, though, mental distractions can make watching the front sight deceptively tough.

Try this - get rid of the target and simply shoot into the berm. You have no goal of shooting a good group, or how good your stance is. With a smooth trigger stroke, watch the front sight. Just relax & watch. Don't expect, react or judge. Just watch. But do be sure you watch. And it wouldn't be a bad thing to put a random dummy round in with the others during this exercise.


Quote:
So I'm going seriously in the market for a .22 and I'm going to get a range membership. I need to practice. Any more advice that you can give me would be great!
I can highly recommend a .22LR as an understudy to your GP100. Maybe look for an SP101 in .22LR.

I bought a S&W 617 .22 on the same day I bought my 686. Yeah, it was pricey, yet my 617 is my most-shot gun, and what I consider one of my wiser firearm-related purchases.

Another option might be a decent target air pistol. While not the same platform as your revolver, it'd let you work on your fundamentals at home. Combined with a dry fire routine using your GP100, it'd be good practice.

For those who don't reload (another option, btw), there are some commercial reloaders that sell reloaded ammo at pretty reasonable prices. Georgia Arms and Mastercast come to mind.

Quote:
Also is Winchester Ammo supposed to be really dirty? It took 20+ patches some with Hoppes No. 9 on them before they started coming out cleanly.
The 130 grain White box stuff? Yeah, I think it's pretty dirty, especially for FMJ. It's reasonably priced, available, and reasonably accurate, though. Still, 20 patches seems a bit much. If you're trying for that "like new" look, I'd recommend not bothering. It's a losing game, and it's not necessary to get the gun that clean.

My procedure after shooting is to wipe it down, run a wet patch down the barrel (from the breech end, using an Otis cleaner), run a wet patch through the chambers. While the solvent's working, I'll use a wet patch to wipe/clean the inside the frame window (including the area between the forcing cone and the topstrap), the front & back of the cylinder, and under the ejector. I'll then run a dry patch down the barrel, a wet brush through the chambers, then 2 wet ones (1 patch for all chambers), then a clean dry patch.

Occasionally, and before a big match, I'll do a little more thorough cleaning by taking a brass brush to the areas that I normally just wipe.
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Old February 13, 2012, 06:48 PM   #20
TheWanderingRed
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Thanks again Mr. Boreland!
Speaking of progress how am I doing as a bench mark? What can I do to track my progress more effectively? Or is what I’ve started to do enough i.e. keep careful track of my average group size and score?
Quote:
Try this - get rid of the target and simply shoot into the berm. You have no goal of shooting a good group, or how good your stance is. With a smooth trigger stroke, watch the front sight. Just relax & watch. Don't expect, react or judge. Just watch. But do be sure you watch. And it wouldn't be a bad thing to put a random dummy round in with the others during this exercise.
Sounds fun. If the range master was surprised when I bought twenty targets imagine how strange he’ll think it is to see me putting rounds through empty air! But if it helps it helps, and its an excuse to shoot more!
Quote:
I can highly recommend a .22LR as an understudy to your GP100. Maybe look for an SP101 in .22LR.
Oh I want one so badly! Either an eight shot new one, or an older 6 shot, but they never have any used at my LGS and I’m kinda afraid to buy a weapon on the internet. BTW do you think they’ll make the new sp101 8 shot blued?
Also what about the fixed sights on the Rough Rider or Bearcat? Would they be a hindrance to my practice? Or the fiber optic sight on the new 101?
Oh, and should I adjust the sights on my GP to account for my consistent miss to the right? I think that maybe a trigger pull issue on my end though. I seem to recall a circle graph at the range I shot the weapon at first showing how misses in each of the directions were caused by trigger pull issues, or flinches, used to have it on my laptop, but I lost it when the laptop died.
Yeah it was the white box FMJ stuff, and I wasn’t going for show room clean, to borrow from my profession; just no black on the patch.
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Old February 13, 2012, 07:43 PM   #21
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TheWanderingRed, don't be afraid of online purchases, there are plenty of good dealers online. A few in no particular order: Bud's Gun Shop, Jet Guns, Grabagun, J&G Sales, CDNN.

I started using a technique recently that I feel has helped me a lot at the range. I can't remember the name so hopefully someone can fill in the blank. Basically squeeze and release the trigger, applying more pressure with each squeeze until you let a shot off. This has helped me focus on the fundamentals and slow things down when I feel myself getting over eager.
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Old February 14, 2012, 11:44 AM   #22
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Quote:
Speaking of progress how am I doing as a bench mark? What can I do to track my progress more effectively? Or is what I’ve started to do enough i.e. keep careful track of my average group size and score?
You established your baseline, so monitor progress from here. For now, I think you should keep up what you're doing - group size & score. Again, I think a good goal would be to be able to consistently shoot in the mid 40s on an NRA target at the appropriate distance. At 50', 1.5" - 2" (or 3"@25) groups are achievable - it's not necessarily easy, but it is something Average Joe can achieve with practice. That's not world class marksmanship, but it's much better than anything most will see at their range. Your baseline is just under 40 at 21' on a 50' target, with a 4.6" group, so keep working to execute the fundamentals well, and start moving the target out as your groups shrink and score rises.

Add some variety by shooting DA & SA, weak hand, strong hand only, etc. The main thing, though, is to get a good foundation in the fundamentals. It can be boring and frustrating, so keep it fun, but working on the fundamentals now will pay big dividends later. Shooting well isn't easy, so be patient but persistent.

Quote:
Either an eight shot new one, or an older 6 shot, but they never have any used at my LGS and I’m kinda afraid to buy a weapon on the internet. BTW do you think they’ll make the new sp101 8 shot blued?
Also what about the fixed sights on the Rough Rider or Bearcat? Would they be a hindrance to my practice? Or the fiber optic sight on the new 101?
I'd skip the cowboy revolvers if you want an understudy to your GP100, as the grip & trigger are so different. I wouldn't worry about buying new from a reputable on-line dealer. Buds Gun Shop is a good place to start looking.

A fiber optic isn't necessarily bad for target shooting, but understand that the fiber isn't the sight itself, so it'll be important to keep the sight - not necessarily the FO - in alignment.

Quote:
Oh, and should I adjust the sights on my GP to account for my consistent miss to the right?
Since you're also tracking group size, I'd leave the sights alone for now. Until your groups tighten up & gain some consistency, you'll be chasing sight adjustment, and it'll be a distraction from your real job - sight picture/trigger control.
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Old February 14, 2012, 06:28 PM   #23
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Hey Mr. Borland, thanks again.
Quote:
Again, I think a good goal would be to be able to consistently shoot in the mid 40s on an NRA target at the appropriate distance.
So next time I go to the range I’ll push 4 targets out to 50’ to establish a base line there. Then I’ll concentrate on the 21’ (shortest allowed at this range, also the one with the most convenient marker) and continue tracking. When I pull my mean group into the mid fourty’s I’ll back it off again to 30’ or so and start all over.
I’ll spend the rest of my ammo on the remaining ten targets, and the berm.
Quote:
A fiber optic isn't necessarily bad for target shooting, but understand that the fiber isn't the sight itself, so it'll be important to keep the sight - not necessarily the FO - in alignment
What do you mean sir? Isn’t the FO the front sight post? Just lengthened and made of light conductive material?
I’m selling my old junker prelude this week, and hopefully that’ll give me the money to buy an Sp101.
Or not. Just saw a site with a suggested retail of $675. I can close like a beast but on a brand new high demand weapon with a huge market, and one that’ll possibly have to be ordered? I’m not that good.
But thank you Sigcurious and Mr. Borland for the list of online sites to troll. I’ll start once I escape from work and have access to unfiltered internet.
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Old February 15, 2012, 02:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
So next time I go to the range I’ll push 4 targets out to 50’ to establish a base line there. Then I’ll concentrate on the 21’ (shortest allowed at this range, also the one with the most convenient marker) and continue tracking. When I pull my mean group into the mid fourty’s I’ll back it off again to 30’ or so and start all over.
I’ll spend the rest of my ammo on the remaining ten targets, and the berm.
Good plan, though I'd suggest starting with the berm rounds.

Quote:
What do you mean sir? Isn’t the FO the front sight post?
The FO sits inside the sight housing. The sight itself, when viewed from the rear, still has the outline of a traditional sight, but has a bright circle sitting in the middle. Your eye is drawn to the circle, but you'll have to make sure the top of the sight (not the FO itself) is even with the top of the rear blades.

btw, in addition to Bud's, here are a number of other places to cruise...

http://www.cdnninvestments.com/
http://www.jetguns.com/
http://www.summitgunbroker.com/
http://www.whittakerguns.com/
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Old February 15, 2012, 03:11 AM   #25
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I would try using this target I attached below. I have found it very useful in diagnosing any errors on my part. It will let you know what you are doing wrong and you can adjust much easier. Just print as many as you want with your printer. If you do not want to use up all of your color ink, Do like I do and print in black and white only or better yet print one out and use a copy machine if you have access to one and crank out a boat load of them.
As far as the type of ammo, dont shoot up too much of your defense ammo at the range on paper. Just use your target ammo to get you fundimentals down. Maybe shoot a few rounds to know what they feel like and what to expect, God Forbid you had to use your pistol in self defense. Good Luck and above all HAve Fun!! XD Training target.pdf
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