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Old June 20, 2013, 07:39 AM   #51
phil mcwilliam
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A mate of mine bought a Caldwell lead sled that he conveniently leaves at my farm. Occasionally I use it when sighting in or comparing different loads, especially out of hard recoiling rifles. Difference is I would not "brag" about groups I shoot from the lead sled. Matter of fact is there is no one about to brag too (since my nearest neighbour is 8 mile away), but it does give me a reference point when free hand shooting of what the rifle is capable of.
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Old June 20, 2013, 08:55 AM   #52
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I like shooting groups always have and always will.

When I started reloading mid 60's I set a goal for myself and it's never changed for hunting. If I miss it's me not my rifle doesn't matter what position I'm shooting from.

When I was shooting BR very few were hunters some shot varmints most conversation were about target rifles vs being around bunch of hunters. It's funny how hunters are always poking fun at guys shooting from the bench for what ever reason.
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Old June 20, 2013, 10:30 AM   #53
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The groups that "matter" to me are the groups where the barrel is allowed to cool between each shot. Essentially, the idea is that you are testing cold-barrel, first-shot accuracy. To me, that's what matters most in a hunting rifle where second shots are, well...unlikely.
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Old June 20, 2013, 10:37 AM   #54
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[The groups that "matter" to me are the groups where the barrel is allowed to cool between each shot. Essentially, the idea is that you are testing cold-barrel, first-shot accuracy. To me, that's what matters most in a hunting rifle where second shots are, well...unlikely.]

I admire someone who never misses, but most of us cannot say that. Accordingly, while the first shot from a cold barrel is most important, follow up shots are also important.
If the first shot is clearly out of the group, IF you need follow up shots you may not be able to place them precisely. I would not own a hunting rifle where the first shot was clearly out of the group.

I think some are like the guy who says, "I cannot shoot paper targets, but am good at game."

Jerry
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Old June 20, 2013, 10:43 AM   #55
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Every once in a while this nugget of wisdom pops up on the internet. I think it is appropriate to repost here.



The Carlos Hathcock Method of Sighting in a Rifle as posted by Gus Fischer.

As mentioned before, I was a very young Marine Sergeant when I came up to THE Marine Corps Rifle Team the first time as the junior Armorer.

I didn't grow up using high power rifles. We used shotguns to hunt quail, rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, ducks and geese. I used a Mark I Ruger Target .22 pistol for racoon hunting and used a Model 74 Winchester .22 to really learn the basics of rifle marksmanship. My introduction to both high power shooting and long range shooting was in Marine Corps Boot Camp. On Qual Day in Boot Camp, I ran 7 consecutive bullseye's from the offhand position at 200 yards. The 8th round was a pinwheel bullseye, but it was on the target next to mine, so I got a maggie's drawers. Knee High wind got me after that and I fell apart and only shot Sharpshooter in boot camp.

I bought a sporterized Mauser in .308 with a scope on it from a fellow Marine during the time I was going through the Armorer's OJT program on Camp Pendleton. I used that for ground squirrel hunting, but was never really satisfied with my zero on the rifle. So after I came up on "The Big Team," I asked the second senior Armorer - Ted Hollabaugh, if he could show me how to REALLY sight in a rifle with a scope. He said sure and he would do it, but since we had all the talent in the world at MTU, why didn't I ask one of the shooters? Well, I was a young kid and I didn't know any of the shooters that well - most of them were much older than I. That's when he suggested I ask Carlos Hathcock for some help. I didn't know Carlos then and did not know of his exploits in NM and Sniper shooting. Ted talked to Carlos about it and Carlos stopped by the shop later that afternoon.

Carlos looked at me and said, "So you want to sight in your rifle, eh? OK, thoroughly clean the bore and chamber. Dry the bore out with patches just before you come down to Range 4 tomorrow at noon on the 200 yard line. Have the sling on the rifle that you are going to use in hunting." Then he went on about his business.

When I got to Range 4 the next day, he had a target in the air ready for me. He told me to get down in the best prone position I had. He checked me and adjusted my position just a bit. Then he said, "Before you shoot. The MOST important thing I want you to do is take your time and make it the best shot possible. It doesn't matter how long you take, just make it a good shot. ALSO, and this is as important, make sure you give me an accurate call on where you think the bullet hit the target." After I broke the shot, I told him where I thought the bullet had hit. He checked it by using a spotting scope when the target came back up. He grinned just slightly and said, "not a bad call." He then took a screwdriver and adjusted my scope a bit. He had me record everything possible about the shot and weather, humidity, temperature, wind, how I felt when the shot went off, what kind of ammo I was using, the date, and virtually everything about the conditions on the range that day. I had never seen such a complete and precise recording of such things in a log book. He told me that if a fly had gone by the rifle and farted while I was shooting, to make sure I recorded that. Then he told me to thoroughly clean the bore and chamber, and have it dry when I came back at 12 noon the next day. I was kind of surprised he only had me shoot once, but when you are getting free lessons - you don't question or argue.

The next day, he told me the same thing. I called the shot and it was closer to the center of the bullseye. He made another slight adjustment and told me to clean the bore and chamber, dry the bore thoroughly and come back the next day at noon. Then we recorded everything possible about that day. The following day, the shot was darn near exactly centered on the bullseye. Then he told me to clean and dry the bore before coming back the next day. Then we recorded everything about that day.

About a week into the process, Ted asked me how it was going. I said it was going really well, but we were only shooting one shot a day. Ted grinned and said, "How many shots do you think you are going to get at a deer? Don't you think you had better make the first one count?" There was a level of knowledge and wisdom there that I immediately appreciated, though I came to appreciate it even more as time went on.

We continued this process with the sitting position at 200 yards, then prone and sitting at 300 yards and 400 yards. Then we went down to 100 yards and included offhand in the mix. Each day and each shot we recorded everything possible in the book and that included the sight settings for each positon at each yard line. We also marked the scope adjustment settings with different color nail polish for each yard line.

When that was over after a few weeks, I thought I had a super good zero on the rifle. But no, not according to Carlos. He started calling me up on mornings it was foggy, rainy, windy, high or low humidity, etc., etc. and we fired a single shot and recorded the sight settings and everything else about the day. (I actually used four or five log books by the time we were through and put that info all into one ring binder.) I almost had an encyclopedia on that rifle. Grin.

Well, after a few months, we had shot a single round in most every kind of condition there was. Then about the 12th of December, it was REALLY cold and it seemed like an artic wind was blowing, there was about four inches of snow on the ground and freezing rain was falling. He called me up and told me to meet him at Range 4 at noon. I had gotten to know him well enough to joke, "Do you really want to watch me shoot in this kind of weather? He chuckled and said, "Well, are you ever going to hunt in this kind of weather?" I sighed and said, "See you at noon."

By the next spring, I had records for sight settings for the first shot out of a "cold" barrel for almost any weather, position and range I would use and temperature/wind/humidity condition imagineable. He had informed me months before that was bascially how he wanted all Marine Snipers to sight in their rifles as only the first shot counts, though of course they would do it out to 700 yards on a walking target and further on a stationary target. They also practiced follow up shots, of course and we did some of that as well. It gave me great confidence that I could dial in my scope for anything I would come across.
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Old June 20, 2013, 10:51 AM   #56
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Quote:
I admire someone who never misses, but most of us cannot say that. Accordingly, while the first shot from a cold barrel is most important, follow up shots are also important.
Never did I say I never miss. I'm a reasonably good shot, but no superman. What I'm saying is that it's rare indeed that I get a second shot after a clean miss. Usually the critter is long gone by the time I've got the next round chambered.
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Old June 20, 2013, 11:27 AM   #57
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Carlos Hathcock had a very different requirement than a hunter of big game.
When I checked my hunting rifle shortly before the hunting season I did not clean the barrel.
Jerry
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Old June 20, 2013, 01:22 PM   #58
Bart B.
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One observation of mine wearing out more than a few barrels. . .

Commercial factory barrels' bores are rough enough that a few to several shots are needed before bullets consistantly hit point of aim. Such barrels also walk shots away from point of aim as they get hot.

Quality custom barrels properly installed in actions put the first bullet from a clean, cold barrel to point of aim as do all other bullets fired as the barrel heats up to really hot. Same barrel, not cleaned, shot the next day shoots all bullets the same.
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Old June 20, 2013, 08:44 PM   #59
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My rifles, some with custom barrels and some without, all shoot where I want them to from a cold and mildly fouled barrel. It took some time to find the right bullet and powder combinations, and even to find the right amount of fouling. And...it took a lot of shooting of groups to find the sweet spots. No way around that, no matter what some say. That said, I'm only shooting at 100 to 300 yards normally.

One very interesting thing worth noting is that my Ruger Hawkeye in 223 did tend to foul a bit (copper), but with the rounds I've put through it in the last couple of years, it doesn't collect copper any more. That did surprise me.
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Old June 22, 2013, 09:28 AM   #60
Jack O'Conner
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In my opinion, the bench is perfect for zeroing the rifle. But to attain mastery of the rifle, shooting from multiple field positions is very important. Being able to consistantly strike an empty one gallon paint can at 200 yards is the hallmark of very good field marksmanship.

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Old June 22, 2013, 12:54 PM   #61
Bart B.
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There are rifle shooters who can sight in their very accurate rifle standing up on their hind legs without a sling can fire one shot at the target, call the shot, make a sight correction to call and they've got a zero within 1/4 to 1/3 MOA of what is really is. Yes, one shot is all they need. And they don't even have to hit dead center on the bullseye target they're using to sight in with.

These folks also know that the zeros used in the four common field positions (standing, kneeling, sitting and prone, with or without a sling) will not be the same the get when shooting that rifle as it rests atop something on a bench held against their shoudler. Typical differences in zeros is 1 MOA. between bench and field positions. There may be a 1/2 MOA difference across each of the field positions, too.

Nobody holds a rifle exactly the same way in all five of these positions.
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Old June 23, 2013, 07:33 PM   #62
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Quote:
Carlos Hathcock had a very different requirement than a hunter of big game.
The post wasn't about Carlos Hathcock doing his job as a sniper, it was a post about how Carlos Hathcock helped someone else zero his rifle, one shot at a time, over multiple distances, in multiple conditions, until that shooter knew his rifle was accurate and could make any shot Gus cared to take.

All without using "shot groups" to determine anything. Which, if you go back to the original post, seems to be what we are talking about.

I would rather be an accurate shot with poor precision (hit where I aim), than be a high precision shooter (tight groups) with poor accuracy. Most benchresters (except benchrest for score which is an exacting game) are the other way around, group size matters more than placement in that world.

Competitions that demand both precision and accuracy (F Class, Palma, High Power) produce the best shooters I've ever had the privelege to serve and be mentored by.

Jimro
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Old June 23, 2013, 09:05 PM   #63
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Once again,I'll go back to the context of kraigwy's original post.:

A CMP Garand clinic.

Fundamentals of marksmanship and familiarization with an as issue service rifle.

Put a dozen CMP Garands in a rack. Pick one.For the purpose of the clinic,it does not matter which one you pick.

It does not matter if it groups 2 in or 4 in at 100 yds.If it is your rifle and you keep using it you can know if you are doing things right,or not,and log progress.

Sure,developing accuracy in equiptment and ammunition is worthwhile and rewarding.

If you are focused on the equiptment edge of a 1 moa rifle/ammo at a CMP Garand clinic,well,it nice to have,but if the targets prone are 7 moa,it may be time to ignore the group size of the equiptment and work on breathing,position,trigger control,etc.

I do not read the OP to imply that all efforts on small groups are a waste of time.
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Old June 23, 2013, 09:32 PM   #64
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I agree that Kraigwy's point was that shot grousps made from the bench are relatively meaningless when it comes to actually shooting a rifle. Put any rifle in a rest or off of sandbags and it will shoot more precisely than any human can from a field position.

But if you put a Tubb2000 in my hand with ammunition rolled by David Tubb himself, I'd be lucky to add more points to my High Power scores (still struggling to make consistent Expert scores across the course, some matches I'll shoot great for three legs than bomb the third, it is challenging). Then again, if you give David Tubb my service rifle, I have no doubts he could still shoot High Master scores with it (even using my 1 MOA handloads).

What is truly maddening is that the Army has seen fit to cut short my competition season several years in a row now (I'm hoping for a sudden and unexpected outbreak of peace so I can get on with my shooting hobby) /rant.

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Old June 24, 2013, 08:42 AM   #65
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Quote:
I agree that Kraigwy's point was that shot grousps made from the bench are relatively meaningless when it comes to actually shooting a rifle.
Different strokes for different folks. As a re-loader, I care less of where the first shot goes than the size of the group. (often I will put it into the ground just to foul the barrel.) I am more interested in seeing what I can do with load development for a individual rifle to find the "sweet spot" of each rifle.

No I do not do competition and no longer hunt, at 70 I would rather sit in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee than in some blind or tree at 5 degrees Fahrenheit waiting for some unsuspecting animal to walk into my view. No longer have the need to prove myself

Testing one's skill as a hunter is rewarding, but after 50 years of doing so, I can think of many other things I would rather do. And custom making ammo for my favorite rifles is what I like the most.

For some, hunting is the top of the latter, for some competing against others, for me I guess it is getting out on a nice warm day, sitting next to a babbling stream under a nice shade tree with my line in the water taking a snooze. If any fish should dare bother me by biting my bait, I will eat it for revenge.(LOL) No, I throw then back.

I have enough problem just carrying all my gear and ammo to a bench to shoot (it keeps getting heavier and heavier each year). But, field shooting, I will leave that to the youngin's. Like they say "youth is wasted on the young".

If I was to meet my maker tomorrow, sitting at the bench with a 200 yard bullseye from my favorite 243 Winchester, that would make me a happy camper.

Jim
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Old June 25, 2013, 06:45 AM   #66
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^ AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old June 25, 2013, 09:02 AM   #67
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A friend of mine used to be a junior rifle target shooter. I tried it once, but didn't like it, thinking it was boring and too restrictive.

That friend was an excellent shot, but extremely slow...to the point that when we hunted varmints, several got away without his firing a shot. That bugged me, but being a good friend, I never said anything to him about his shooting slowness that affected all field positions.

I don't recall missing any more varmints than him, but got more opportunities because of my quicker, but still very accurate shooting style, especially offhand.
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Old June 25, 2013, 09:22 AM   #68
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Some here feel that the first shot from a match barrel is often in the group center. I agree that it happens with certain centerfire rifles, but NOT with rimfire ones.

Rimfire benchrest shooters recognize that the first few shots from a cold (dirty or clean) barrel doesn't go to the same POI as the rest on a target. Several .22LR target/benchrest rifles I've owned will shoot the first shot about an inch high. The second shot will be much closer, but still not there.

Some rifles take 5-6 shots before being where they should be at 50 yards. My newest rifle will do it in 3-4 rounds. We're talking about very good, heavy bench guns with 36 to 45X scopes, capable of putting 25 shots in less than 1/8" group in a tube range...the variable being the ammo only.

The difference in impact is the wax on bullets IMHO. It takes a few shots to get the barrel warm enough to make the wax coating on the bore to a uniform condition, probably reducing pressure/velocity. Waiting out wind conditions with a round in the chamber will cause a variation also, so some folks will eject it and chamber another, or just shoot it, away from the scoring targets.

These variations aren't not serious enough to cause problems for the plinker or most hunters, but if shooting groups, a few warm-up shots should be fired on a sighter.
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Old June 25, 2013, 04:20 PM   #69
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I'm a deer hunter if you haven't guessed by my handle on here. One inch groups at 100 yards has served me well when I deer hunt. Always lived in the city and have never really had a place to go shoot in the wild and choose not to shoot to much on my lease. For those that do I'm envious. So when I go to the range I go for two main reasons, check any new loads I've worked up or check to make sure my rifle is sighted in. I do go a few times when hunting season starts getting close to get any jitters out of the way and work a little on breathing and trigger pull. If my gun shoots 1 MOA it always performs well enough for me. I don't take shots I'm not pretty certain I can make. I do believe a lot of guys go to the range and based on bench shooting over estimate their own ability. I can say I'm always amazed at how guys behave when hunting season is a week or two away and their behavior at the range. I can't tell you how many times I've seen guys that have different kinds of ammo expecting all to perform the same and then when they don't think something is wrong with the rifle...pretty funny...except when you realize they are going out and hunting with it and risk wounding animals...then it's not too funny.
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Old June 29, 2013, 11:49 AM   #70
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Quote:
Quote:
What a rifle does from the bench is totally un-related to what it does in field or match conditions

That's wrong. What the rifle does from the bench is exactly what the rifle can do in the field or in a match. What the shooter does from the bench is unrelated to what the shooter does in a match.
You're absolutely right, OkieCruffler. And of course group size and/or placement matters. It doesn't necessarily tell you everything (what does?) but it can give you an idea as to how far or close your point of aim is with the point of impact in terms of sight adjustment; it can give you some clue(s) if your firearm needs attention and it can certainly reveal flaws on the part of the shooter in terms of his aiming and shooting ability (sight alignment; trigger squeeze; stance; breath control; follow-through, etc.) that simply hitting or missing a gong will never do.

There are people who rationalize their poor performances at the bench or at a match by arguing in "real" situations, their supposed innate shooting skills that aren't reflected in competition or at the bench, will somehow be manifested in time to save the day when the venue is more "practical". My favorite examples are shooters who can't hit clay birds with any regularity in the games of trap and skeet but will tell you that they can hit game birds just fine "in the field', where everything becomes more "practical". My experiences with these folks are that if they can't hit a clay bird in practice or competition they usually miss the birds wearing feathers too.
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Old June 30, 2013, 01:35 AM   #71
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Quote:
There are people who rationalize their poor performances at the bench or at a match by arguing in "real" situations, their supposed innate shooting skills that aren't reflected in competition or at the bench, will somehow be manifested in time to save the day when the venue is more "practical". My favorite examples are shooters who can't hit clay birds with any regularity in the games of trap and skeet but will tell you that they can hit game birds just fine "in the field', where everything becomes more "practical". My experiences with these folks are that if they can't hit a clay bird in practice or competition they usually miss the birds wearing feathers too.
That's what I like about competition. My score is my own, and it is up to me to improve it. What my gear can do from the bench or a rest is only there to remind me that I can't shoot as tight as the rifle can at this point.

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Old June 30, 2013, 02:24 PM   #72
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What a rifle does from the bench is not necessarily what it WILL do under field conditions with a human shooting. However, groups from a bench do in fact show what the rifle is capable of. That is very important.

I wonder if some of those who say otherwise are the same ones who say, "I don't do so well on the range shooting at targets, but when I shoot at game I am an excellent shot." Who believes the truth of that except the speaker who has deceived himself?

Jerry
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Old June 30, 2013, 09:13 PM   #73
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I think that some folks tend to flinch at the range, but don't when shooting at game. It's understandable because bench shooting magnifies recoil and it's for several shots, like getting punched several times in the same place.

Flinch is curable to some extent, but it often requires having someone load some dummy shells, so the shooter doesn't know whether the rifle will fire, or not.
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Old July 1, 2013, 08:30 AM   #74
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[I think that some folks tend to flinch at the range, but don't when shooting at game. It's understandable because bench shooting magnifies recoil and it's for several shots, like getting punched several times in the same place.]

I doubt it. A flinch is more mental than physical. I think if you develop a flinch on the bench it will carry over to the field. That is my experience. The problem is that they do not know they flinch in the field.
I found that the best way for me was to shoot fast several times from standing. A flinch shows immediately. I also learned that the most powerful rifle I could shoot without flinching when shooting such was a 30-06. Harder kicking guns always resulted in a "push" of the gun.

Shooting from the sitting position when you can really squeeze the trigger so that you don't know when the rifle will fire prevents a flinch.
But of if you know when the rifle is going to fire as in taking a quick running shot you will flinch if one has developed.
Jerry
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Old July 1, 2013, 12:39 PM   #75
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Quote:
A flinch is more mental than physical.
I agree with this statement. I rarely "feel" recoil when shooting at game. Well, most of the time I don't. I confess to sometimes "perceiving" recoil when touching off 3 1/2" twelve gauge loads at high-flying honkers. Especially if I miss...
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