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Old August 4, 2013, 02:11 PM   #1
ZRTaylor
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Beginning Rifle - Ideal Setup?

Friendly greetings everyone.

I've recently started working on developing some basic skill with a rifle. For the moment I'm using a borrowed .22lr. I'm curious what types of training setups are useful for new shooters. At the moment I've got a target set up at 25 yards, shooting off a mat in prone unsupported.

* Is 25 yards a good starting range? So far I'm getting 4 inch groups, but I'm not sure if I should be continuing working at 25 yards or start moving back.

* At what point should I start moving the target back, and by what increments?

* Should I be more focused on accuracy, or precision?

* Is there an ideal type of paper target to fire at? Presumably a NRA-style bullseye target, but I want to know if there are any alternatives that may be better.


Thanks very much for taking the time to read this. *tips hat*
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Old August 4, 2013, 02:29 PM   #2
MTSCMike
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.22's are great "starters" and they are useful throughout your shooting career for working through problems or developing techniques. When you buy one of your own I recommend a Ruger 10-22 for it's accuracy and reasonable cost.

25 yards is a good starting point for learning with a .22 and you should keep it about there (my opinion) until you are well practiced and accomplished before attempting more distance. Prone groups of 4" are not really tight depending on the rifle and ammo you are currently using. With a good rifle, ammo and technique you should be getting close to "ragged hole" groups at that distance from that position.

I'm not sure what you perceive to be the difference between accuracy and precision. If you explained a bit it might help.

For precision shooting I like the "four-square" type sight in targets the best but it can depend on your sights...optic or iron...pick what works for you.

Look for a local NRA Rifle instructor or check the Appleseed website for events near you. Build a solid position and work on correct fundamentals before forming bad habits.
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Old August 4, 2013, 03:43 PM   #3
big al hunter
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The 22 is a great way to start. I like targets with small dark bullseye with a light background, or vice versa. Stay at close range until you are confident that you are shooting as well as the gun can at 25 yards. When I was in the Boy Scouts the rifle merit badge required a group of ten shots scoring high on an nra smallbore target. My merit badge councilor allowed us to pass if we put 10 shots under a quarter at 25 yards. That takes some practice, but it is a good goal. When you reach that at 25, move to 50 and so on. Occasionally add a reactive target. Something that explodes or pops is fun. Be sure to clean up after yourself. And have fun.
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Old August 4, 2013, 05:32 PM   #4
Art Eatman
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I've always believed that the "lowly" .22 rimfire is the best tool for a novice to become a rifleman. It's also an excellent tool for an experienced rifleman to stay "tuned up".

One part of tight groups is consistency in the sight picture at the time the firing pin hits. Generally, using some sort of steady table as a rest, with sandbags, lets you focus on coordinating the sight picture and the squeezing of the trigger.

It's a learning curve. So, start out easy and then transition to more demanding types of shooting.
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Old August 4, 2013, 06:10 PM   #5
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pratice

I would stay at that range until you get 1 inch groups standing unsupported.
Then go to 50. I would shoot at 1" squares or circles.
With a decent rifle you shouldbe grouping better. You have a flaw. Find what it is. Are you steady? are you squeezing the trigger or jerking?
Post a target and we can maybe give you some ideas.
Make a targert with five aimpoints per sheet.(like a five side dice). Shoot one round per aimpoint. Mark where you think the sights were when the gun fires on a seperate identical target.
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Old August 4, 2013, 11:52 PM   #6
ZRTaylor
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Mike: Thank you for the recommendation. I'll keep the 10/22 in mind for when the time comes to pick out a firearm of my own in the near future.As for the distinction between accuracy or precision, I meant whether I should be more focused on tight groups first, or getting the rounds centered on the bullseye. Precision being tightness, accuracy being average proximity to center. I dug in to the Appleseed shoot events and I think I'm going to make that my short term goal. Build fundamentals as best as I can and attend one of those events.

Big Al: That sounds like a good rule of thumb. I'm not sure how to determine the merits of the rifle, but at 25 yards it sounds like I shouldn't have any excuse not to shoot within a quarter sized area. I'll try modifying my handgun target design for black and white, and see if that helps with sighting.

Art: I'll look in to getting some kind of makeshift bench rest. I tried using a rolled up towel as a substitute for sandbags but couldn't quite get it comfortable. It would be nice to be able to focus on the sight picture more until I figure out exactly how it should look with this particular rifle. That might be the way to go.

bcarver: The biggest issue I was having was holding steady. The sight picture kept bobbing around and I couldn't quite lock it down. I was also having some trouble seeing the bullseye around the front post of the sights. Not quite sure how to deal with that yet. I like the idea of a five aimpoint target. I'll see if I can get a similar design to fit on a single sheet of paper and still sight in with irons. I'll post a picture of targets at the end of this post.

Day 1 Targets:


I should specify, the rifle in question is a Squires Bingham Model 20, and I'm using iron sights only.
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Old August 5, 2013, 08:34 AM   #7
Art Eatman
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You can make sandbags from old shirt sleeves or pants legs. Also, the zipper bank bags. I commonly use a piece of 4x4 maybe a foot long as a support for the bag under the forearm of the rifle.

A folding-leg card table isn't the best thing, but it beats impromptu rests.
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Old August 5, 2013, 10:56 PM   #8
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I'll try to set up some kind of rest next time. I shot a tricked out 10/22 earlier today with a scope instead of irons, and a good bipod, with ragged-hole level results at 25 yards. Irons are proving to be much more challenging.
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Old August 6, 2013, 12:15 AM   #9
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Shooting prone, unsupported can be rough. Appleseed will teach you how to use a sling. You'll be amazed at how much steadier it is.

Proper position, trigger squeeze, breath control, these things all go into becoming a good shooter.

I love the Ruger 10/22 for lots of reasons but if you ever get a chance to shoot a real target rifle like an Anschutz, Winchester 52 or Remington 40x, with their marvelous triggers and some good iron sights don't pass it up.

Some of the experts on the forum here regularly recommend the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Instructional manuals. Here's a link to their page.

http://www.odcmp.com/Comm/Publications.htm
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Old August 6, 2013, 02:00 AM   #10
idek
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I attended an appleseed course that some people have mentioned, and it helped me. I wasn't new to shooting, but I'd never had any kind of formal instruction. They don't teach really anything revolutionary (no pun intended—they talk about Revolutionary War stuff), but the guided practice made me more conscious of what I was doing with my body, my breathing, my eyes, and my trigger finger.

I don't think anyone answered your question about precision vs. accuracy. Not sure how you define those words, but to me, precision means tight groups (regardless of where they are on the target), while accuracy means hitting near the bulleye (even if the group isn't especially tight). Based on those interpretations, I'd say a new shooter who's practicing should be concerned with precision first. Until groups are fairly small and consistent, it can be hard to adjust the sights for better accuracy.

The shooter is responsible for precision.
The sights/scope deal with accuracy.

...that may not be true at longer distances when you're dealing with wind and significant bullet drop, but at 25 yards, I think it's a safe statement.
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Old August 6, 2013, 10:20 PM   #11
big al hunter
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iron sight "hold"

How you "hold your sight picture will help or hinder the precision of your bullet placement.

I prefer the second sight picture. I try to make it so the bullet hits at the top edge of the front sight, centered on the post. Use what works for you, but try to get the sight picture and alignment the same for every shot.
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Old August 6, 2013, 10:46 PM   #12
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Beginning Rifle - Ideal Setup?

In response to Big Al's post; first you must determine which sight picture your gun is currently sighted with. Then you can adjust to the sight picture that you want by adjusting the sights (if they are adjustable).
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Old August 7, 2013, 12:11 AM   #13
ZRTaylor
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DaleA: I would LOVE to shoot one of those rifle. Perhaps one of these days. I'll in to those manuals, and as of last night I have sling studs, swivels, and an Appleseed specification sling on the way.

idek: Thank you for answering the accuracy vs precision question. That's precisely the distinction that I had in mind. I'm planning on attending a local Appleseed shoot after the end of my current work season.

big al: Thanks for the tip. It hadn't occurred to me that a rifle could be sighted for different sight pictures. I'll keep this in mind next time I head out to practice.

allaroundhunger: They're somewhat adjustable. The rifle in question is an old K-mart/Squires Bingham Model 20, with the old-school ramp sights. I might end up trying one of those color-changing targets, just to get a clearer idea of how the thing is currently sighted.
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Old August 7, 2013, 10:05 AM   #14
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Beginning Rifle - Ideal Setup?

MTSCMike is right on . The only thing I disagree with him on is the choice of Rifle.I have @ 10/22s and 3 model 60's, my go to gun is the Marlin Model 60. What ever aU do, check them both out before U buy. BTW The Marlins are less expensive! Cliff
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Old August 7, 2013, 10:26 AM   #15
Picher
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The hardest sights to learn how to use are the open front and rear. You need to line up three things and it's hard for many people to do that consistently, especially when trying to learn how to hold, squeeze and follow-through.

I think the easiest sights to learn on are Red-Dot sights. They don't have much parallax to worry about and there are only two things to line up, the target and the dot. There's no magnification, so you don't see yourself shaking as much as when using a scope. Varying light conditions also don't bother POI like it does with open irons (especially handgun sights, but that's another matter).

The second easiest is a low-powered scope, a 2X or 3X is fine for beginning, so a variable can be nice, but they're more expensive and heavier.

The third option, and a bit harder to learn is the receiver sight and open front. Usually, rifles need to be drilled and tapped for one, and a new front sight is usually needed. This combination is usually more expensive than a cheap scope and/or Red Dot.

Your money; your choice.
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Old August 8, 2013, 07:52 PM   #16
MattShlock
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ZR;
Can u take the Basic NRA course?

Can u buy NRA's The Basics of Rifle Shooting I guess it's called?

Go to the site below and self-practice through the Rimfire Rifle Qualification program and then the Four Position Qualification program. You'll need the right targets. If you have any questions PM me. If I have any of the targets you want and need I'll also drop a few into the mail to get you started...

This works on the honor system except at the highest level of achievment, is simple to participate in once you get going, doesn't waste ammo, and challenges you to grow...

http://mqp.nra.org/

http://competitions.nra.org/document...R/sbr-book.pdf
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Old August 9, 2013, 12:09 PM   #17
DPris
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Before you waste any more time & ammunition, get that rifle zeroed.
The sights ARE adjustable.
The rear sight is adjustable for elevation by moving the notched elevator ramp backward or forward & resting the sight itself on whichever notch elevation puts the bullet at point of aim at whatever distance you're shooting.
The rear can also be tapped left or right in its dovetail to correct for windage.

Your 25-yard groups are actually poor, and I don't say that to be critical, but to give you a frame of reference.

Find a bench rest & sight the gun in at 25 yards. If you don't have the gun correctly zeroed, you don't know if errors are yours or its.
If you can't find a bench where you can do that, figure out some way to shoot the gun with it and you fully supported, to remove your "wandering" when you aim & fire.

Once you get the gun zeroed, you can move on & work on your technique.

It's best to start your shooting from a benchrest sitting position.

Prone is not the way to start out.
You need to learn the basics of sight picture, breathing, and trigger control first, and then branch out to other positions. AFTER zeroing the gun.

Shooting from a position that reduces your tendency to wobble removes distractions & creates a more consistently stable shooting platform while you learn the basics.

Use a 25-yard standard rimfire pistol black bull's-eye target (you can order from Amazon.com if not available locally) at 25 yards, for your initial rifle work.
Or, the equivalent of the same size in one of the Shoot'n See types that registers hits more visibly.

Don't mess with prone, ground sitting, free-standing, or other field positions till you've learned the basics & figured the gun out. Those can come later. Don't get ahead of yourself.
Denis

Last edited by DPris; August 9, 2013 at 02:39 PM.
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:32 PM   #18
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You can go to the local bowling alley and ask for old pins. If they ask for any money for them its usually about fifty cents each. Fun reactive target.
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Old August 11, 2013, 06:08 PM   #19
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Bowling pins OFTEN ricochet bullets, including right back at you. Do NOT use them...
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Old August 11, 2013, 06:23 PM   #20
allaroundhunter
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Beginning Rifle - Ideal Setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattShlock View Post
Bowling pins OFTEN ricochet bullets, including right back at you. Do NOT use them...
Supportive evidence? Seeing as they are a rounded shape, a ricochet directly back at the shooter is very difficult. I have been shooting them regularly for the past 3 months without any ricochets coming near back in my direction.

Bullets will rarely go straight through them due to the density of the material, but any change in direction will not be 180 degrees.
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Old August 13, 2013, 01:25 AM   #21
ZRTaylor
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Just an update. I'm holding up on shooting too much more until the replacement rear sight ramp arrives. Also looking in to doing a makeshift bench set up (per DPris' suggestion), but having trouble finding anything that will work. Hoping to get the repairs finished, a shooting sling installed, and some new groups posted within the week. Thank you to everyone who has posted and has continued to monitor the thread.

A couple new questions though:

*Are there any sources for good live-fire drill routines? I'm looking at 25 round every other day as a possible routine amount.

*Is there such a thing as dry fire drills for rifle, and if so what would they consist of?
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Old August 13, 2013, 08:43 AM   #22
Art Eatman
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Keep some empty cases to insert when dry-firing. .22 rifle firing pins can hammer against the barrel and deform.

Dry-firing is just like live fire--but quieter. The idea is to maintain consistency of sight picture while pressing the trigger the same way for each shot.

A couple of things to know and work toward as you gain experience: Olympic shooters press the trigger between heartbeats. Good health means a pulse rate down around 60 per minute, which is once per second. You can feel a heartbeat cause a very slight jiggle in the sight picture.

Another is the 0.2-second lag between the time your brain says, "Press," and your finger actually moves. Since nobody is a human bench rest, and there can be some very slight motion even with proper sandbags, you eventually develop the ability to forecast the perfect sight picture 0.2 seconds in advance.

Again, just something to keep in mind for "on down the road".
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Old August 13, 2013, 10:20 AM   #23
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Quote:
The biggest issue I was having was holding steady. The sight picture kept bobbing around and I couldn't quite lock it down.
If you find the answer, let the rest of us in on it.

Everyone has that; the question is how large a zone within which your sight picture will "bob around" should you accept.

There is lots of fine specific advice here, but let me also suggest books and instruction manuals as well. The best thing these did for me was the confidence to work on technique rather than chasing an immediate result from shot to shot.

If you improve on a solid technique and print four inch groups all day, I would consider the time well spent.
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Old August 13, 2013, 01:46 PM   #24
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Zr,
While I am still learning and re-learning, I will offer this to you: following the advice of DPris is absolutely essential first steps that other good advice can then be incorporated.

And concerning appleseed, which is a phenomenal experience- go after youve practiced much of what you read here. Yes, you can go and have a great experience; but as a person trying to learn how to proper shooting techniques, I found (in my one visit a couple years back), that the solid techniques taught were like an avalanche of new skills that one immediately had to employ under timed drills. And just to be straight up, it was frusrating to me sometimes. But, thats just me and I definitely plan to go back someday. But my 10/22 and I will be much better acquainted, not to mention a couple upgrades on the trigger and sites that have made shooting so much better.

Good luck.
John
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Old August 13, 2013, 01:59 PM   #25
DPris
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I don't know where you shoot, but there are portable shooting "benches" & tables you can buy from Midway or Brownells that you can set up anywhere.

I use one for my handgun testing normally in an old stone quarry. I have used it for rifles in the past, but I'm lucky in living 20 miles from a state-owned rifle range with concrete tables, so that's where I do most rifle work nowdays.

You do genuinely need a solid platform that provides repeatable results.
If you're not solidly braced in learning, you can't reliably evaluate which parts of your target results were your fault & which parts were the gun's fault.

In zeroing the gun, it has to be steady, you have to be steady.
In working on technique, YOU have to be consistent, and you can't be if you & the gun are both wandering on target.

If you plan to seriously pursue shooting, you need to understand it'll cost money.
Spend some to get yourself a GOOD shooting platform.

I use a strong plastic-topped portable shooting table with folding legs from Brownells that isn't quite as stable as a concrete bench, but works adequately if all feet are firmly planted on the ground.
I also use a standard resin patio-type chair with a tall back, and I use a shooting rest for handguns set on the table.

Table & chair were both fairly cheap, both lightweight & easy to transport.

There are dedicated rifle shooting rests you can also buy from Brownells, or you can dummy something up yourself to rest the fore-end on.

Key is to make the table stable, make yourself stable, rest the rifle's fore-end on something, and eliminate as much movement as possible while you're lining up your sights and pulling the trigger.

Get this done before you waste ammunition in trying to figure out why groups are large & where the gun shoots.
Denis

Edited to add that you can find the MTM Predator Shooting Table I use on Amazon for $75.
Weighs 15 pounds, folds flat.
Looks like Brownells doesn't carry it.

Last edited by DPris; August 13, 2013 at 04:39 PM.
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