View Full Version : New shooter, I can't hit crap...

February 9, 2006, 03:37 PM
OKay, I own a ruger P345, iv shot about 150 rounds, and I can hardly hit any thing with it. The first time i shot, i think it was 15 yards, I was putting them on the paper, sometimes i missed the paper, but i was every where on it.

Dad was shoting his 357 Mag and at 25 yards putting them in the center of his target. He shot a full botle of bottle (20oz) at 50 yards on the first shot. He shot mine at 15 yards. He did better then I, but he grouped them all all on one side of the paper (it does need a windage adjustment, the majority of my shots were on the left side too) but they were grouping any like with his 357.

I shot his 357 a few times, hit the center of my target, and this coffe can set up about 25 yards out twice (i only shot 4 rounds).

I shot again yesterday, set up the target at 5 yards, and i was grouping about a 4 - 4 1/2" group. still didnt seem too good.

I dont really understand how I can be pretty god with one gun, but the other I suck (same with dad). I have read the p345 is very accurate, but it just doesnt seem like it? or since im stil new and all, do i just need to learn how to shoot correctly? can you all give me tips/websites to teach me how to shoot?



February 9, 2006, 03:46 PM
I'd first recommend laying off the cola.

Next I'd suggest you have good ear protection and watch for flinching (I think that is the problem here).

The trigger break should come as a surprise. A 22lr is a great training device.

February 9, 2006, 03:54 PM
+ one on the crap shooting with a 10/22 , CCI stingers and fresh cow pies is a hoot. :D

February 9, 2006, 04:04 PM
Likely you're squeezing with your whole hand, pinky finger on your right hand, especially.

Also, too much trigger finger, use the middle of the pad. Much past that, and you start to make the pistol break left.

Watch your front sight, not the target.

Sight alignment, trigger control & follow-through.

(sorry to give actual good advise instead of smartass comments)

February 9, 2006, 04:06 PM
Many variables, here. Reloads or factory? The P series Ruger is made for reliability, not accuracy.

Practice by dry-firing. You won't hurt the gun. After making sure the gun is unloaded, aim it at a fixed point. Begin your trigger squeeze. When the hammers drops, your sight picture should be the same as when you began.
Continue practicing this procedure until you perfect it.

This exercise is important because it is not the sight picture when you first pull the trigger that counts. It is the sight picture when the bullet actually leaves the barrel. That's what counts.

The P Ruger has an awful trigger pull. The Smith, usually, does not.

Keep in mind that the Ruger P is a combat piece. Not a target gun.

February 9, 2006, 04:16 PM
sjstill, thanks for being above the age of 4. :D I know its hard for some people,, but they should really try.

Thanks for that advice, ill put it to use next time.

Iv used Federal factory load ammunition, and now I'm using Winchester factory loads. I try aiming at my favorite actor and pulling to see where it breaks also. if its a combat piece and not accurate, what good is it? :confused: cause if it trully isnt very accurate, ill pawn it later and invest in a better handgun.

urbanassault, one post is funny. Four posts make you the jackass.

February 9, 2006, 04:27 PM
sorry for wasting your time, you are right, only some people find the humor

February 9, 2006, 04:50 PM
Every gun is diferent, I bet you are shooting your dad's revolver in single action, mostprobably has a very light trigger pull in this fashion and a crisp break.

Unless you are already a very experienced shooter trying out a new gun at 15 yards is asking too much. Start at 7 yards at the most and very very slowly.

If your dad can hit a regular ol' bottle, even a whiskey one, with a handgun, any handgun at 50 yards he is a hell of a shot, that kind of shooting has to worked up to, be patient.


In my house ammo and guns are kept in separate locations and both are lolcked. There is one gun kept for defense and it is a revoler with the clinder open and a speedloader in position but still holding the ammo, this way it is ready to go in a fraction of a second btu there's no way to miss there's ammo at the ready.

The dry firing is the cheapest way to practice, get some snap caps, if your gun is DA/SA put a dime on top of the slide if it is flat and practice pulling the trigger in DA until you can do so without the dime moving until the hammer drops, there's no way to avoif it then but you should be able to pull the hammer back and let it go with no dime movement until it hits the firing pin.

Then continue to do this by aiming at a small point in a safe place. see if you can keep the point on sight all the way as you pull the trigger and it hits the firing pin.

Thne go and shoot at a target with ammo at 7 yards, when you can get 5 consecutive rounds through one hole move to 10 yards and so on. You'll be so lucky if you after a lot of practice can hit a bottle with a handgun at 50 yards!

Don't feel "inferior" by claims here or in other forums, or at the LGS for that matter of this gys that claim they can do 2" groups at 50 yards with a handgun, very, very few folks can do this, most that do are top competitors with gunmakers backing them up.

Check out what other beginer shooters are doing at the range and go by this. It is easy to make all kind of claims behind a computer. I am considered in my circles as a "decent shot" and I at best will do a 3 inch group at 10 yards. Producing a target with a 2 inch group to post is just a matter of shooting it at 3 feet.

February 9, 2006, 04:54 PM
What is the best way to dry fire a pistol (semi or revo) is it okay just to fire it on an empty chamber, should I put a spent casing in the chamber or does it not matter.

February 9, 2006, 05:16 PM
The Ruger you have IS a good gun. It's most likely something you're doing or not doing.
It's as simple (haha) as lining up the 3 dots on your sights in a straight line while keeping the target sitting atop the middle dot, focusing on the front sight (middle dot) and NOT on the target, and slowly pressing the trigger while keeping these things lined up. The BANG should come as a surprise.....you should not anticipate it. When the shot is anticipated, the hand starts to wobble, you lose focus, expect recoil, and the shot goes way off.

I think someone mentioned dry-firing. Great advice. It will help more than almost anything and the best part is that it's FREE. No ammo, no shot up targets. Just triple check (literally) that your gun is empty first. Put a paper plate with an "X" in the center on the wall, stand back 20 feet or so, and practice the routine I outlined above. Take notice of what your hand does when the gun goes "click" after the trigger releases. Ideally, your hand will not move at all amd the sights will remain on target. That's what you want to have happen every time you shoot with live ammo. Focus on the FRONT SIGHT and not on the target! The target should just be a blur in the background, visible enough that you can line it up on top of the sights. That is a very important point to make and follow. As you squeeze the trigger, hold your breath at a comfortable level for the last couple seconds as the trigger goes off.

If you do this just 10 minutes a night for a week or so, I can almost promise that your groups will improve VERY much. The best shooters in the world spend just as much time doing these practice drills as they do actually shooting.

February 9, 2006, 05:20 PM

That's a whole other debate. Do a search on dry firing and you'll have plenty of good reading with no definite conclusions. I usually use snapcaps but have neglected to plenty of times. If it were truly bad for firing pins, I think we'd have reached that conclusion by now.

February 9, 2006, 05:23 PM
80% of marksmanship is trigger control. When I started paying attention to my squeeze, I started getting better with all guns. Maybe the Ruger has a funky trigger or your just not acclimated to it yet?

Pay attention to your shooting. Don't close your eyes at the sound of the shot. If you can't call your shots, then you aren'y paying attention. As Brian Enos put it in his book...look through the shot. Which is to say that at the instant the shot breaks you are in total focus of the front sight and will be able to say "Bullseye, or low left" etc and KNOW it because you were paying attention at the crucial instant. You'll see the other stuff you've been missing also like the dirt clods flying and stuff.

Start close and work your way back as you get better.

February 9, 2006, 05:27 PM
I have a Browning Compact.

With the winchester white box stuff you get at wal mart I can't hit anything.

In fact when I first got it I thought what a pos!

Then I tried some better ammo.

Suddenly I am a dead eye.

I have repeated the result and its just that simple. The ammo makes all the difference in the world with this little 9mm.

So, it does not sound like its you. Try some good ammo.

February 9, 2006, 06:10 PM
Ammo does makes some diference, for instance I find that Sellier & Belliot on autos, particularly on 45 is useless, then Wolf, cheap and dirty is pretty accurate, American Eagle pretty good for the price and Winchester White Box very good and still affordable for target practice.

Someone mentioned 80% is triggger control, that guy knows what he is talking about. Also are you holding the gun correctly, for a 2 hand grip, recommended for a novice your strong hand should grab the gun's grip as higher as possible with the gun's barrel lined up with the bone that goes from your elbow to your wrist, as an extension of it if you will, you are to make pressure only on the front and back of the grip, not on the sides, you should be able to put a cigarette under your palm without crushing it.

Your weak hand goes on top of the strong hand, wrapping it, never under it like a saucer and cup, leave that for Hollywood, your index finger is to make contact with the botom of the trigger guard, thumbs are to be on top of the slide, strong hand thumb making contact with gun, weak hand thumb on top of it, both pointing forward, make sure that their position does not interfere with the slide stop. Pull gently the trigger once the sights are lined up using the tip of the trigger finger. yes you should not anticipate the shot.

On getting snap caps for dry firing they say that it is not needed on centerfires but being so cheap why take a chance, also they will come handy in finding out if you are flinching, the other 18%, the last 2% is getting the sights lined up which is easy, keeping them there is another story.

Get a friend to load up the magazines for you and to also load them in the gun putting snap caps in between live ammo, the friend is so you won't know when you'll have a live round and when a snap cap, as you shoot it will become evident if you are flinching when a snap cap comes up. Most probably you will be. Keep this up until you don't.

Also a new gun has to be broken in, some take 200 rounds to do this, some 500. I just got a new Kimber and ran 600 rounds of cheap ammo before going for accuracy, today I ran 2 boxes, one of American Eagle, the second of Winchester White Box, by the middle of the Winchester my 5 round groups at 12 yards where one big hole, I guess those 500 dry fire pulls every day plus the 600 rounds with the cheap ammo helped me get down the Kimber's trigger.

It takes time, one step at a time.

February 9, 2006, 09:59 PM
Gotta agree, something you are doing. If your dads .357 is a revolver and you are used to shooting a revolver, then that may be where your problem lies. My limited experience with firing revolvers DA is that I need to use less finger with them and with semi's there is there is more finger used on the trigger. I happen to own a KP345 and it is extremely accurate, it can take out the absolute center of my targets with it...at 7yrds, 10yrds and 15yrds...beyond that my groups are still within 4" to 5" (eyes are gettin old).

February 9, 2006, 10:22 PM
everyone's serious answers. Especially the dry firing while making sure the sight picture doesn't move. I like the idea of the dime on the slide - I'll have to try that one myself on my P90.

As regards the gun's inate accuracy, one way to check that is to set up sandbags on the bench, lay the frame across the bags and hold real steady while concentrating on the front sight. For this test, shoot the gun in single action mode only (assuming your's is DA/SA). Aim five shots at the same location on the target; don't worry about actual point of impact. If all five hit fairly tight, as they should, you'll know the gun is tight and you will also be able to make any necessary windage adjustments.

I did this with my P90. It's accurate. I just need to practice, practice, practice to get my unrested groups to be as tight as the sandbagged group. I know the gun can is capable of tight groups, so that only leaves me to improve.

February 9, 2006, 10:48 PM
Forgot the most important thing, always keep the front sight in focus, the back sight and the target will be fuzzy, that's normal but that front sight has to be sharp in focus.

February 9, 2006, 11:07 PM
It could partly be how the gun fits your hand (and thereby affecting how you pull the trigger, squeeze the grip, etc.) I actually have the opposite problem... I can shoot pretty well with my Ruger P95, but have trouble hitting anything past five yards with a sp101 snub I tried.

February 9, 2006, 11:10 PM
Ok who chickend out and left me holding the bag of doo. the number two post has mysteriously fanished. :mad:

February 10, 2006, 04:38 AM
Thanks for all the replies. Those have given some serious tips. I will be doing the aiming/dryfiring techniques for a week or two before I shoot again. The ammo I have been using was the white box Winchester from wally world. $20 for 100... good price to me. A box of 50 american eagle was $13.77 with tax at a local outdoor store.

Dads .357 Mag is a revolver, should have added that. He very very rarley shoots it. Infact a few weeks ago was the first time hes bought ammo for it in probably 10 years or better :eek: But First shot, 50 yards, bottle of water went boom. Either he is just a good shot or lucky, lol. And thanks for reading through my grammer errors when I frist posted, I was in a rush.

I have put about 150 rounds through it, I bought it used from a guy I work with who said he (supposidly) shot maybe 50-60 rounds. He sold it cause he needed money fast.

Seriously, thanks for all the help. Ill put all that into practice and see how I do next time at the range.


February 10, 2006, 06:32 AM
I've found that shooting crap can make it splatter...

:eek: :D

Rob P.
February 10, 2006, 02:28 PM
I've found that shooting crap can make it splatter...

HAH! Someone else who also believes you don't actually want to shoot crap. (at least not any that's too close to yourself or others). :)

More seriously, getting the butt of the gun snugged into your hand may help. When I first got my S&W I had trouble hitting my aimpoint. All the finger position on the trigger advice, anti-flinching practice, dry firing, etc did not help.

What helped was shooting my wife's 3913LS. It fits deeper into the web of my thumb and is more securely held that way. I tried to get my 6906 into the same position and, LO AND BEHOLD, real groups started to happen.

It may be that your dad's revolver fits your hand better/deeper/more securely without you thinking about it. And it may be that your dad automatically sets the gun into his hand at the "normal" place so his groups are accurate and tight.

So, practice dry firing all all that but see if you're holding the weapon correctly and securely as well. It really makes a difference.

February 10, 2006, 02:34 PM
Ok who chickend out and left me holding the bag of doo. the number two post has mysteriously fanished.

Sorry jibjab, RCracer got his pantys in a bunch and called me a jackass so I erased what I had written so as not to waste his precious time re-reading the "crap" that I had written that was off topic, it really pissed him off....

sjstill, thanks for being above the age of 4. I know its hard for some people,, but they should really try
urbanassault, one post is funny. Four posts make you the jackass.

(sorry to give actual good advise instead of smartass comments)

James K
February 10, 2006, 02:34 PM
The old rule is still a good one:

Concentrate on the sights and squeeze the trigger.


February 10, 2006, 10:02 PM
You might also want to consider purchasing an air pistol so you can practice in your backyard or garage. Seriously.

February 11, 2006, 09:24 AM
If you are right handed? Jerking the trigger will put your slug high and to the right. Bucking will throw your slug low to the left. If you're left handed the affect will be: Jerking will put you high to the left and Bucking will put you low to the right.

February 11, 2006, 11:10 AM
kozak, I actually have a Daisy 693 .177 air pistol. I havent shot it in forever, i use to take it camping and shoot across the river with it,,, a good 50 yards, and hit this tree that had fallen down, Id have to give it a little kentucky windage, aim above it, and i got pretty good at hitting it, i could watch the BB arc all the way there, lol. Ill make a box to shoot at and try that too. thanks for the idea.