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Old April 25, 2013, 10:07 PM   #1
doc540
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Marksmen: How to Improve?

I seem to have hit a plateau.

If I can drill the center once, I should be able to do it consistently, right?

Below is an example of my typical, consistent groups for a couple of months now.

And, yes, I am shooting slowly and breathing.

Apart from the obvious, "practice", any tips on improving my shooting at 50yds from a rest?

thnx

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Old April 26, 2013, 12:29 AM   #2
DaleA
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50 yards with a handgun, even with a rest I'd say that's excellent shooting.

If you know anyone who is a really great shot hand the gun off to them and see how they do. If they put every round in the orange, then yeah maybe you need to work on your shooting. If (as I suspect) they don't do any better than your target then realize you're doing pretty good.

That said, you could try some target ammo like Eley. Or maybe if the first shot is the center one, let the gun cool off before the next one. or maybe it's some weird thing with the rounds feeding from the magazine...try single loading your rounds one at a time.

But really I think you're shooting fine.
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Old April 26, 2013, 03:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
If I can drill the center once, I should be able to do it consistently, right?
No. But likely you know that.

Good shooting at 50 yards from a rest. But likely you know that also.

Try it without the scope.

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Old April 26, 2013, 06:37 AM   #4
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I think groups of that size at 50 yards are approaching the inherent accuracy (precision, really) of the gun/ammo/sight combination and I doubt would shrink much if shot by a Ransom rest. If you want to try to do better, I'd start with different brands of ammo. Also, be particularly careful to get the red dot centered in the sight picture - the Ultradot Match Dot is a great sight and relatively parallax-free, but still has some (and I'm not sure what distance it's corrected for, but I think it may be 25 yards).
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Old April 26, 2013, 06:56 AM   #5
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I noticed that you are using CCI Minimag rounds. Although the accuracy you are getting is pretty good for a handgun at fifty yards, unless you have tested several/many different brands of .22 Long Rifle in your gun and found them to be the most accurate, they are not likely not. If you have not already, get one box of any standard velocity (higher velocity rounds usually are not most accurate), and target .22 LR as you can and test them for accuracy in your pistol. Just like a hand loader must work-up a load for his center fire rifle, the .22 shooter needs to test to find what his gun likes.
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Old April 26, 2013, 08:47 AM   #6
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doc540--

Your setup is good for 50 yards or even a hundred. Stay off the coffee. Use ammo designed for target work; Wolf Match Target, Wolf Match Extra, Eley Match, etc. Your lack of consistency is doubtless due to ammunition. Target ammunition is all about consistency.

You will also have to discover which brand of ammo your pistol "likes." For example, some of my Volquartsens hated Tenex. Other brands of target ammo produced less than stellar results, also. I finally discovered they really liked Wolf Match Gold. (Obviously, this was a few years ago.) Another of my Volquartsens liked Lapua and some other ammo better than the no longer available Wolf Match Gold.

For consistent bench rest target shooting, ammunition is the key. It takes a while to find the right ammo for your pistol. Buy a box of each and bench it at 25 yards. It will be easy to see which is more consistent.

Good luck and have fun! (I like your setup.)

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Old April 26, 2013, 09:27 AM   #7
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Your pistol is not shooting badly and neither are you. I don't know how precise your dot or reticle is and a little change there might be all it takes.

Polish the crown of your barrel and see what happens... don't use anything coarser than 600 grit and stop when you get a consistent, bright ring that equally encompasses the lands and grooves. A gunsmith shouldn't charge an arm & leg to do this.

I've used this process to make mediocre guns into good shooters- and really good guns into fantastic shooters. FWIW I used to buy up old Standard models, rebuild the triggers, carefully regulate the sights to 50 yards and then finish with a re-crown. Any of them would stay on a D battery at 50 yards with Federal bulk HP loads, then available by the brick in little red boxes.
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Old April 26, 2013, 10:26 AM   #8
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doc540--

I forgot to mention your dot. Is it a 3 MOA device? If so, it is useable at 50 yards but will tend to cover a lot of the target. Look for a 1 MOA dot. They do not seem to be as available as they were a few years ago. Nikon had one called the Monarch. It's been discontinued but I think it is still available. I have one--or maybe it's ancestor--that I really like. It is currently on top of my Buckmark Hunter.

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Old April 26, 2013, 10:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
I forgot to mention your dot. Is it a 3 MOA device?
From the photo, he has an UltraDot Match Dot, so he can select among 2-4-6-8 MOA dots. I agree he should be using the smallest size available.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, even though they don't magnify, dot sights can suffer from varying amounts of parallax error if the dot isn't centered in the scope. I checked, and the Match Dot is optimized for 25 yards and can have parallax error of up to about 1/2" vertically and 1" horizontally at 50 yards (good discussion of that here), so it's important to be sure it's centered. I know of some bullseye shooters who use a white or yellow rubber band, the kind that they hold lobster's claws closed with, around the ocular of the scope to help with that - I believe it's something that Brian Zins recommends.
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Old April 26, 2013, 02:21 PM   #10
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I have experienced the exact same situation; with Ruger pistols. My solution in creating one hole ten shot groups was to go to a pistol scope with a very fine reticle/crosshairs.

You have to be able to really see where your intended POA and POI are; most red dots cover far too much of the target at 50 yards for any amount of serious work, considering accuracy.

I regularly shoot .22lr pistols out to 125 yards and a fine reticle/crosshairs scope makes a world of difference; I shoot both irons and scopes on my .22lr pistols, fine reticle/crosshair scoped makes for smaller groups.
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Old April 26, 2013, 02:36 PM   #11
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As others said at this point ammunition seems like the problem and will either work for or against you. You cant reload your own .22 rounds and tailor them to your gun and liking, so you are relying solely on factory ammunition. Your bet bet is to get the expensive competition stuff and go from there.
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Old April 26, 2013, 05:25 PM   #12
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I have a similar setup. 22/45 with a millet RD. At 50yds I am not near your pattern, odly at 25 or 100yds im pretty close. My ruger does pretty good with Fed auto match. Tomorrow I am going to give some wolf SV a try and see if it tightens things up. Made my Marlin rifle shoot 3/8-1/2" groups at 50yds.
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Old April 27, 2013, 11:44 PM   #13
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Two things I might try -- and I really don't know if you'd see any benefit, but I would do it as an experiment to gather data anyhow:

1) I would send the first shot of any magazine in to the berm, so that the pistol has fed it's first round by itself, under it's normal and typical firing and self-loading action

2) in fact, I might send a whole lot of rounds down range before ever firing on the target, to see if fouling or heating up the pistol might be affecting it's repeatability
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Old April 28, 2013, 08:29 AM   #14
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I can't tell you how many times I have put my first shot into the bull and the subsequent round miss. Not by much but still are not in the bull, I don't seem to have that problem with rifles, only handguns.
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Old April 28, 2013, 08:52 AM   #15
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If you're shooting close to the gun's potential, match ammo will shrink y our groups but not necessarily improve your shooting skill. Bench work is for testing. To develop YOUR skill, start shooting off your hind legs.
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Old April 28, 2013, 10:26 AM   #16
doc540
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Thanks for the tips.

I do shoot off my hind legs, too.

Just had a 50yd silhouette match yesterday and placed 2nd in both irons and optics.

Of course, I shot some serious stinkers and would'a..should'a...could'a scored better. :0
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Old April 28, 2013, 10:32 AM   #17
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I would look at your dot size as a possibility to improve precision. A scope might be better choice in your case.

Try other ammunition types, especially standard velocity 22LR ammo and see if there is an improvement. 22's really do shoot some ammunition better than others.

I think your shooting is quite good if that is typical. Many don't get as good results with a 22 rifle.

Fundamentals... breathing, lack of stimulants (coffee, tea, sugar drinks), grip consistancy, trigger control, and so forth.
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Old April 28, 2013, 11:06 AM   #18
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try cleaning the barrel after each shot and see where your bullets land
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Old April 28, 2013, 05:24 PM   #19
MrBorland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc540
If I can drill the center once, I should be able to do it consistently, right?
Your physical skills and equipment seem relatively strong to me. The low hanging fruit may now be your mental game: If it isn't as strong as the rest, you'll plateau because of self-doubt, poor self-image and other subconscious & self-limiting (& self-fulfilling) thought patterns.
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Old April 28, 2013, 07:23 PM   #20
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doc540--

Sevens said it best . . .
Quote:
2) in fact, I might send a whole lot of rounds down range before ever firing on the target, to see if fouling or heating up the pistol might be affecting it's repeatability
I ALWAYS downloaded the first ten rounds to get the barrel warmed and dirty a bit. There are .22lr target shooters that claim they NEVER clean their barrels. I do not subscribe to that theory, but I can guarantee that a barrel which has just fired several rounds will be far more consistent than a clean, cold one. Consistency is king.

--Bill
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Old April 28, 2013, 08:02 PM   #21
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So If I ever get into a gunfight should I fire about 10 rounds past his head first to warm my barrel up? Lol
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Old April 28, 2013, 09:06 PM   #22
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When we shot four position smallbore back when I was in High School, our coach had a very strict regimen for the cleaning of the club-owned Winchester target rifles.

We cleaned them. Once a year.
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:00 AM   #23
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"If I can drill the center once, I should be able to do it consistently, right?" [doc540]

Right. Triple right when you throw in optics and a rest.

If I miss my morning cup of joe, it shows. Very strong coffee, (not the corner donut-shop swill) I mean a heavy dark roast, makes all the difference.
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:27 AM   #24
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Backrub--
Quote:
So If I ever get into a gunfight should I fire about 10 rounds past his head first to warm my barrel up? Lol
Try to avoid getting into a gunfight with a .22lr bench rest target pistol. However, if it is a close range gunfight, I have some that would make excellent clubs.

--Bill
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Old April 29, 2013, 11:52 AM   #25
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I dont know- have you ever been shot with a 22 bullet? I think youd be flouncing around on the ground screaming. lol I sight my deer rifles before deer season and dont again until after its over, unless gun gets damp or something like that. If im shooting against someone on the bench I like to shoot 3-4 times to warm barrel up too.
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