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Old September 13, 2012, 07:12 AM   #1
Hal
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Why do I suck w/a rifle?

Anybody?

When it comes to shooting a handgun,,,,no problem.
Tell me what you want hit & if it's within the max range of the caliber, you can consider it as good as being hit.

Issues -

-Recoil. I hate recoil. I max out at a .30/30. Handgun, no problem. .44mag full boogie is a piece of cake. No desire or money to go bigger

- Sight plane -weird - but -w/a handgun, sight plane is a none issue. I shoot from snub nose to 8 3/8 in barrels the exact same..
Rifle? Trapper lenght lever gun seems to be ok - anything longer & I really start to suck badly.

- Eye dominance. Cant do a thing about that - I only have one eye. The right one doesn't work. Since I'm right handed, I do have to shoot lefty. Again - handgun though - I shoot weak and strong hand the same..
Weirdism? If I really bear down and focus, I'm better weak (left) handed than right.

- Open sights vs scope. I do suck less with a scope..however...w/a scoped pistol, I can shoot rings around what I can shoot w/a scoped rifle.

- Sights - part two - and a possible clue.
There is one rifle that I do shoot pretty well with. It's my old Sheridan Blue Streak pellet gun. It has a Williams sight on it - round hole in the back and blade front sight. That type of sight does feel very natural.
I used to work in a paint store years ago. Id save all the defective spray cans we'd get back, then during the Winter slow down, line them up at the back of the warehouse and shoot them. Probably,,,50 feet or so away.
I had very little problem hitting the little spray nozzle on the can w/the pellet gun.
While I never tried that w/a handgun, I have shot similar sized targets w/a Ruger .22/45 at the same or even much greater distance w/no problems at all.
heck, one of my favorite "blowing off steam" things used to be shooting a penny off hand w/that Ruger @ 50 yards and trying to hit it before the magazine ran empty (10 shots). It got so that by the end of a Summer of doing that, I could hit three pennies on a regular basis before the magazine ran dry.

I dunno..the whole thing has always sort of mystified me...I can't understand how (no brag intended) I can be so good with one platform and suck sobad with another.

I don't even want to mention shotguns....let's just say that the most moserable shot with one of those things you know - looks like Annie Oakley next to me.
I super suck with a scatter gun,,,,,
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Old September 13, 2012, 07:17 AM   #2
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That many problem? Lack of proper instruction or mental block against learning.
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Old September 13, 2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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Purchase a low cost bolt action 22 with a 4 power scope and lots of ammo then practice. The pellet rifle explains your fear of recoil.
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Old September 13, 2012, 07:46 AM   #4
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With your eye problems, have you checked a rifle with a scout scope set-up? You might have an issue with close-up focus needed for standard rifle sights. As you can aim handguns held at arms length, might be worth a try.
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Old September 13, 2012, 07:46 AM   #5
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Find a CMP GSM Clinic.

Take you're list of perceived problems and give them to the instructor before the class.

The first thing they teach you when you go to a CMP GSM Master Instructor Course is:

THERE IS NO HOPELESS SHOOTERS.

I would love to have you for about a week here at my range, I love a challenge.

Find a CMP Clinic near you:

http://clubs.odcmp.com/cgi-bin/matchUpcomingSearch.cgi


It's easier to make a rifle shooter out of a pistol shooter then it is to make a pistol shooter out of a rifle shooter.
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:32 AM   #6
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From the sounds of it, you are a very experienced pistol shooter. If you spent the same amount of time and energy learning to shoot a rifle, I have little doubt your level of proficiency would match your pistol shooting skills.
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:49 AM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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My guess is some sort of target panic.

It should be near on impossible to shoot a handgun better than a rifle at a given distance, assuming the rifle itself is reasonably capable.

The rifle should be easily held steadier and it has a much, much longer sight radius.

The first thing I'd do is practice aiming without any ammo at all and without dry-firing. Just aim, aim, aim, aim until you wobble too much, then lower the gun and start over in a few seconds. Then I'd progress to concentrating on aiming and add dry-firing, making sure that the trigger is squeezed smoothly, with control, a surprise break and without the sights jumping off target when it breaks.

When you can do that, load the gun and try it with real ammo.

Lots of people have some variation of target panic. It happens when "aim" becomes "Shoot".
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Old September 13, 2012, 12:08 PM   #8
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Have someone load (or NOT load) your rifle for you so you don't know if there's a round in the chamber or not. This will immediately show if you are flinching.

Next thing I would check is if you are squeezing and not jerking the trigger. Only things I could suggest.
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Old September 13, 2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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Training issue.

Master the basics, and you will improve.
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Old September 13, 2012, 12:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAL
Anybody?

When it comes to shooting a handgun,,,,no problem.
Tell me what you want hit & if it's within the max range of the caliber, you can consider it as good as being hit.

Issues -

-Recoil. I hate recoil.
I am posting not to be helpful, but to commisserate.

With a pistol, I am better than most people with whom I've ever shot. With a rifle, I've practiced my standing rifle position with thousands of rounds of .22, and I've never considered my results to approach satisfactory. I have a tough time getting a good, stable position standing. Like most people, sitting is better and prone is best, but even those are unimpressive.

I have no doubt that an afternoon with Kraigwy, or someone else very good would show an improvement, but I think there is a modest pool of talent they would be shaping.

I try not to think of myself as a good shooter with poor rifle technique, but an overall poor shooter who has discovered the secret of pistol shooting.
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Old September 13, 2012, 03:13 PM   #11
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Try a better rest

Based on my own experience, I used to "suck" with a rifle and have always shot a pistol great. I started watching some youtube videos on the proper way to shoot a rifle and realized I was doing almost everything right... There are a few things I HAD to change to get consistent groups though, things you don't have to worry about when shooting pistol.

1) You're only as good as your scope - don't expect to shoot sub MOA groups at 300 yrds with a 4x scope. Not going to happen.. Most of the benchrest shooters have 45X scopes for 300yrd and above. Not saying you can't shoot that well, just the average Joe shouldn't expect that without serious training. I'd throw a good 24x bushnell banner (fairly cheap but good) on any gun I want supreme accuracy with over 200yrds.

2) You're also only as good as your rest - If you rest is not absolutely steady, you're not going to shoot good. When you're getting ready to pull the trigger, if you have to try and hurry up and pull the trigger when your cross-hairs move "past" the bullseye you're not doing it right. You should be able to steady your cross-hairs and pull the trigger ON a steady bullseye, not with your crosshairs moving back and forth past it... I'd suggest the Caldwell tackdriver or "the rock" with matching rear rest. I've had great success with those.

3) Let the gun scare the **** out of you when it shoots. You should be applying very soft, increasing pressure on the trigger when shooting to the point where you're not really sure when it's going to go off.. If recoild is a problem, get the "limbsaver" which will pretty much eliminate 80% of the recoil... Or you could get a recoil pad.. No shame in recoil scare, that crap hurts sometimes!

In my very limited experience, if you have a steady rest and a great scope you should be able to shoot well.. at least 1MOA with factory rounds or less with reloads.
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Old September 13, 2012, 03:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
You're only as good as your scope - don't expect to shoot sub MOA groups at 300 yrds with a 4x scope.
Sub MOA is sub MOA, regardless of range.

1 MOA at 300 yards is approcimately 3".

If you and your rifle can hold to 1" @ 100 yards, then 3" @ 300 is possible, provided you can see the target clearly.

Quote:
You're also only as good as your rest - If you rest is not absolutely steady, you're not going to shoot good. When you're getting ready to pull the trigger, if you have to try and hurry up and pull the trigger when your cross-hairs move "past" the bullseye you're not doing it right. You should be able to steady your cross-hairs and pull the trigger ON a steady bullseye, not with your crosshairs moving back and forth past it... I'd suggest the Caldwell tackdriver or "the rock" with matching rear rest. I've had great success with those.
Shooting from a benchrest does not measure anything but the rifle and load, for all practical purposes taking all the human error out of the equation.

Learning good shooting positions is part of the fundamentals, and is as important as sight picture, breathing and trigger control.
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Old September 13, 2012, 03:53 PM   #13
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If you and your rifle can hold to 1" @ 100 yards, then 3" @ 300 is possible, provided you can see the target clearly.
Agreed, PROVIDED you can see the target. Exactly the point I was making. You are not going to be able to see a target very clearly with a 4x scope at 300-600 yards. If he expects sub MOA accuracy at 300 yards with a scope that he can't see the target with it's not going to happen...

Quote:
Shooting from a benchrest does not measure anything but the rifle and load, for all practical purposes taking all the human error out of the equation.
There are thousands of benchrest shooters who will respectfully disagree with you. If this was the case benchrest competitions would involve automated trigger pull machines. They don't because the shooter still has to have good technique, trigger pull, breathing, be able to read wind, mirage, etc... If anything, benchrest shooting allows you to take the gun/ammo out of the equation and tests the shooters ability to read the environmental variables, thus testing shooting ability to the extreme... Just my opinion...
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:17 PM   #14
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There are thousands of benchrest shooters who will respectfully disagree with you. If this was the case benchrest competitions would involve automated trigger pull machines. They don't because the shooter still has to have good technique, trigger pull, breathing, be able to read wind, mirage, etc... If anything, benchrest shooting allows you to take the gun/ammo out of the equation and tests the shooters ability to read the environmental variables, thus testing shooting ability to the extreme... Just my opinion...
Guess you missed the word "practical" in there.... other than sighting in, and benchrest type games, give me a practical situation where you could use a lead sled type rest.

I can not think of any situation in hunting or combat in which the target will oblige by appearing in relatively small area in front of static position at a range that would necessitate the kind of precision that could not be obtained with a good field position, and a portable shooting aid like, a 1907 sling, sticks or a bi-pod.....

Maybe outside some firebase somewhere in A-stan, there's a Taliban that's foolish enough to think that if he is says at least a mile away, he is free to stand around in a predictable place often enough that someone can build a bench with a dedicated rest oriented on his favorite hangout.....

It would be a far better idea, I think, to learn to shoot from field positions, rather than persist in ignorance and imagine that there will always be something to rest your rifle in, right when and where you need it.

Once upon a time, the .mil taught draftees to shoot well ....
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:34 PM   #15
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other than sighting in, and benchrest type games, give me a practical situation where you could use a lead sled type rest
The difference between a bipod and a bench rest is pretty much nothing. By your logic, bipods are not necessary? The only difference between using shooting bags or a bipod is the back bag, they serve exactly the same purpose! Most sniper rifles also have an adjustable stock that serves the same purpose as a rear bag. Why? Because that IS the most accurate way to shoot!

The point of my post is this: If you cannot shoot accurately with a "benchrest" type setup you will NEVER shoot accurately free handed/prone/against a tree/in a deer stand/etc. Before the poster starts blaming his eyes or a flinch or a bad trigger finger he should make sure it's not a function of the equipment he is using. Agreed?

When you grab a new gun that doesn't shoot well do you just assume you suck at shooting or do eliminate all other variables? I personally believe if I can shoot sub MOA with a rest, then all other field experiences are compared to that. How do you know if you suck or if its the rifle/scope/bullets?

I'm a scientist, thus I tend to approach things as though they should be compared to a standard (being the most accurate possible). If field experiences are comparable to the standard, great. If not, then you should start narrowing down WHY.
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:41 PM   #16
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What Scorch said,+100.
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Old September 13, 2012, 06:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
The difference between a bipod and a bench rest is pretty much nothing.
Unless you have to carry that nothing ......

Quote:
By your logic, bipods are not necessary?
Not only are they unnecessary for 95% of shooting applications, they get in the way for shooting requiring fast handling or moving through brush, into and out of vehichles, etc. I don't use them. I have a pair of stoney point sticks if I need to make a long shot form a stationary point.

Quote:
Before the poster starts blaming his eyes or a flinch or a bad trigger finger he should make sure it's not a function of the equipment he is using. Agreed?
Yes, and you have agreed in that stement that shooting from a bench is test of the equipment rather than the shooter.

I shoot off a bench when developing a load, and to verify zero before the hunt. After that, I need to work on the greatest variable: ME.

Quote:
If you cannot shoot accurately with a "benchrest" type setup you will NEVER shoot accurately free handed/prone/against a tree/in a deer stand/etc.
Agreed. Conversely, if your gun has been proven to be sub MOA form a bench, and you can't hold it to minute of barn without the bench, what have you gained?

Fundamentals. Stable position at a natural point of aim, a good consistant sight picture with a solid cheek to stock weld, proper breath control, and a steady trigger squeeze. Do all that right and you can shoot up to your rifle from field positions, whether it's a tack driving benchrest gun or a 4 MOA AKM.* Don't do those things, and it does not matter what you do, other than shoot a lot and hope you get lucky. If you don't practice those things in field conditions, you won't be able to do them in field conditions.

* For it's intended purpose (combat @ <300 meters) 4MOA is 1/2 again as accurate as it needs to be, as 4MOA is roughly equal to a 12" dispersion at 300 ..... an enemy soldier is much broader than 12" ... more like 18".... with even more leeway vertically. If the shooter does his part, even the "woefully inaccurate AKM" is adequate. The biggest variable in the problem is, as almost always is the case, the shooter.
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Last edited by jimbob86; September 13, 2012 at 08:08 PM.
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Old September 13, 2012, 09:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Why do I suck w/a rifle?
I was going to say, "Because Kraigwy hasn't gotten ahold of you, yet", but I see Kraig has already pretty much said that.

Good luck!
Tom
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:16 PM   #19
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Do you own a .22 rifle? Pick up a couple bricks, start off at pistol distances with the rifle and make your way up to 25, 50, and 100 yards. You mentioned you like tange style sights, check out a Henry lever action in .22 and add a set of tang sights. Henry's are great rifles and there pretty damn cheap to pick up.
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Old September 14, 2012, 12:09 AM   #20
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The reason I see as your major reason for both rifle and shotgun issues is that you are shooting with your weak hand. Coordination is directed by your strong hand on the trigger for both. Practice is the only cure. But it needs to be with good technique. Practice the basics. Breathing, trigger squeeze, and sight alignment are probably not hard for you as your pistol shooting shows. Practice holding the rifle and aiming. Muscle memory will improve. When you are used to the rifle it will feel more natural when you are aiming and your shooting should improve. As for shotguns, practice more. The coordination thing is even more important with moving targets. Anyone that disagrees with that should try shooting with their hands opposite normal for them. With only one eye you have a harder time judging distance and picking up moving targets. More practice will help. How many times have I said "practice", probably enough that you got my point.. Did you loose the other eye recently enough to know if it was also your dominant eye. That makes a difference in shotguns and rifles. Still fix it with practice.
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Old September 14, 2012, 12:48 AM   #21
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I seen a noticeable increase in accuracy when I began paying more attention to the trigger. Like they say...80% of Marksmanship is trigger control.
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Old September 14, 2012, 04:30 AM   #22
Hal
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Quote:
With only one eye you have a harder time judging distance and picking up moving targets. More practice will help. How many times have I said "practice", probably enough that you got my point.. Did you loose the other eye recently enough to know if it was also your dominant eye.
Nope - not recent. I was born with ~ 95% sight loss in my right eye.
As a result, I have & never did have any depth perception. Yes - hitting something moving is and always has been erratic. Not only shooting, but, hitting a baseball, catching a ball & stuff like that. I suck at that stuff too.

However - if it sits still for a fraction of a second, I "own" it.
I shot a round of sporting clays once and at one station they toss two birds straight up in the air at once. That was tailor made for me. They hit the high point and hung for just a split second & I smoked them both. IIRC, I scored 8 hits all told - pretty much suck city...it was a lot of fun though.

Re. a .22 - I have an old Marlin/Glenfield model 60. (Decent gun). I also have a Browning .22 lever action(pretty gun but nasty trigger) & my wife has a Winchester 9422 Trapper (Really sweet little gun - but -it's hers & I don't get to touch it all that often).

I have thought about getting a Henry & putting a tang sight on it.
I go round and round w/that idea.
I do also have a Marlin Cowboy II in .38/.357 that a tang sight would just be perfect on.
Since I also handload, shooting that is on the cheap side.

Re: equipment - well, I have two Winchester Trappers, one in .44spl/.44 mag and the other in .45LC. - a Ted Williams (Sears) brand Wincheter 94 in .30/30, the .22's mentioned above and a Winchester 670 in .30/06.
I handload for the Trappers so ammo is on the cheap there.
The other two the .30/30 and the .30/06 - I very seldom - if ever - shoot them because of the recoil. I just don't get any enjoyment out of getting my shoulder pounded.

Bottom line here & I guess it's one everyone has stressed is - practice, practice, practice.
Stupid question here - would dry firing help any?

Finding a place to shoot a rifle around where I live is very problematic.
The nearest place to shoot one is an hour away.
W/gas prices near $4.00 a gallon, that makes it about a $12.00 round trip.
Since I retired, my "fun budget" is about $80.00 a month so going once a week would chew up over half my budget in just gas alone.
Once a month would be more realsitic.
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Old September 14, 2012, 09:02 PM   #23
Discern
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Without seeing you shoot, I can't say for sure. However, I suspect improper follow through and/or inconsistent/improper form/grip/stance.

I would first start with follow through. The barrel of a long gun is much longer than a handgun, and improper/inconsistent follow through has more potential to affect accuracy on a rifle than a handgun.

Here is a video that may be of help to you. Please keep us posted with your progress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGs_GuPiDbI
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Old September 14, 2012, 10:10 PM   #24
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Yes, dry firing is good practice when done properly. Get snap caps for the gun (they protect the firing pin). When you dry fire, aim at a target that is clear enough you can see if you wiggle. The sights should stay where you put them until at least a second after you hear the firing pin strike. When that happens more times than not you will see improvement at the range. If you can find a book or military shooting manual it should have good techniques to practice.
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Old September 15, 2012, 09:29 AM   #25
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If you are not using a left handed rifle, you might want to start. I can't imagine using a right handed rifle with only the left eye functioning. All the left hand shooters I know that use a right hand rifle still use their right eye to sight.
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