View Full Version : How to shoot better

July 22, 2006, 05:54 PM
I am very new to this whole hunting thing, however have wanted to do it forever but not had the opportunity. Just recently the wife let me get my first gun a 30-06 Rem ADL, slightly used. I have shot with it a couple of times but don't know how well I am sighting it in/shooting with it.

After sighting it or at least getting it close to being sighted in I still have random shots that are outliers from my group of three shots to adjust the sights with. Usually the groups that I shoot are about 5 inches apart, not very tight. So far I can get everything on the target at 100yds but can't get much accuracy even when sitting on the bench shooting.

I am just looking for some basics on how to shoot better and how to become a better marksman so that when I go out this fall (got a deer and elk tags) I can get the animal when I find them.

July 22, 2006, 06:13 PM
First suggestion is to put a scope on the rifle and sight it in. You will immediately start shooting better. Most like the 3-9x variables these days. Depends on the terrain you are hunting, but the 3-9x works well for most things.

Rich Lucibella
July 22, 2006, 06:48 PM
Two words:
Dry Fire.

And a third:

Seriously- careful, honest daily dry fire is an enormous help prior to hunting season. Use a specific place where ammunition is not allowed anywhere around you. Check the weapon and practice. Concentrated practice....a dozen or 20 snap-ins in the course of 5 minutes daily can make a world of difference. Treat it as you would a physical work out session....set the time aside for it and determine to get as much out of it as possible. Quit when your concentration wanes and you start "cheating".

Do it while practicing offhand and moving into kneeling, sitting and prone. Again, if done honestly, it'll do more for you than a day at the range every week.


July 22, 2006, 08:15 PM
I wish I had the opportunity you do now. Join a gun club and get lessons. You can ask as much as you want on line and get some good answers, but with out being there and watching you no one can see your poor practices.

A good gun coach can get you started before you pick up the bad habits that many of us had/have to overcome.

July 22, 2006, 11:21 PM
A few words of wisdom. Trigger control. squeeze the trigger SSSLLLOOOOOWWW. don't jerk it. Take your rifle to a gun store not walmart, most gun store have a device to measure the trigger pull ( the amont of force necessary to pull the trigger). if it's over 5 pounds it's to much. get it fixed I prefer about 2.5 pounds but I shoot a LOT and i'm tuned to a lighter trigger.

Breath control: take a breath let it half out and hold your breath while you squeeze the trigger. DON'T JERK THE TRIGGER!.

Sight picture. When you properly aligned with the target squeeze when you wander off stop ( don't let off just don't take it up any further) squeezeing until you are again aligned. you can practice this dry fireing. every time that thing goes BANG is should be a suprize.

July 23, 2006, 09:44 AM
first, you don't mention if "shooting off a bench" includes a really steady rest, like sandbags. Try it that way...and allow the barrel to cool between EVERY shot. Using the "most steady" rest possible, will give you a good baseline, as the the true accuracy you can expect from the rifle. allowing the barrel to cool is important, too. Many sporter wieght barrels will change the Point of Iimpact (POI) significantly if you shoot several rounds and let the barrel heat up. In ahunting situation, you'll usually be shooting from a "cold" barrel, so the POI for the 1st shot is the one you sight in for.

As mentions, put a scope on it. Some people, with alot of experience can shoot very small groups with iron sights. I'M NOT ONE OF THEM. I can do OK with an aperture sight, but if I really wanna hit something, I have to use a scope (and I prefer higher magnification scopes than many.) The aforementioned 3-9x variable is a good general choice, but it does depnd on where you're hunting. Most of my deer hunting has been in the North and NorthEast, and it rare to get long shots over 100-125 yards, because of heavy cover. In those circumstance I find a 2-7x or even 1-4x to be OK. If you're hunting in a area where you many get a higher percentage on longer shots (over 200 yards), I might go as high a 4-12x. Variable scopes are great, IMHO, as you get some flexibilty when hunting in different areas.

And, when you do get out in the fields,know youre limitations. Take only those shots, that you know through practice. are likely to be fatal. This may limit it you to 100 yards, or 125, but the animal deserves a quick death.

Wild Bill Bucks
July 24, 2006, 10:32 AM
Rich and the others are telling it right, only thing I might add is, dry firing a rifle should be done on a spent cartridge.( I know it's not supposed to hurt them, but I can't get around the idea that my dad would kick my butt if he saw me doing it) I sit and shoot stuff on my television almost every day, and it will do more to make your sight picture solid, than about anything else you can do.

I would also suggest a good scope, since I am not one that can shoot very well with open sights either.

When at the range, I would start out at 50 yards, work on zeroing in, and groups, then move to 100 .

Once you are zeroed as good as you can get, you can try different ammo and see what your rifle likes the best.

July 24, 2006, 01:09 PM
In addition to dry firing the rifle for about 20-30 mins/day, you would see a great improvement if you were to buy a 22 rifle that matches your centerfire rifle closely. Buy a case of 22 ammo. Sight in the rifle, then shoot 50-100 rounds once a week. Make sure your form is good and you are carefully following a good mounting/sighting/breathing routine. After you follow this routine for about 2 months, you will be able to shoot as well as anyone.

Rich Lucibella
July 24, 2006, 01:29 PM
I should have mentioned the .22 trainer.
Absolutely indispensable.

July 27, 2006, 03:45 PM
I really find the best way to learn is to just do it, A LOT. You will soon learn that control is KEY...if you move the tiniest bit, the hit will be very off. You have to be rock steady, all the way thru to the shot, and by rock steady I mean more than you could possibly imagine by just hearing the words.

R-O-C-K S-T-E-A-D-Y!!

Learn to control your breathing (hold your breath works for me), squeeze the trigger ever so slowly, and try to keep the bullseye the on exact mark the whole time (not easy at first, as your arm will jerk and twicth ever so slightly).

Also, be sure to let the barrel cool down in between shots, b/c a hot barrel will bend and your shots will be all over the place, and you will go nuts wondering why your shooting is so off. One shot every 3 minutes or so should be fine. I sometimes blow on the barrel if I am impatient...a fan helps, too.

A spotting scope is great, too, because it lets you see right away your result, and you won't get iced or winded running back & forth to see your hit.

July 29, 2006, 02:04 AM
all good solid advise....
the .22 trainer. Absolutely indispensable.
you are using ear protection....yes
have watched good riflemen flinch, from not using ear plugs/muffs.
A 30-06 make's a good BOOM for a new shooter.
keep in mind once you have followed this advice, you will not be sitting on a bench while hunting.
unless your hunting from a stand?
your shots will be free hand or kneeling. put some time in as rich said.
Do it while practicing offhand and moving into kneeling, sitting and prone. Again, if done honestly, it'll do more for you than a day at the range every week.
Now once your all sighted in, try some offhand shots at milk jugs full of water. If you have a good spot to shoot outdoor's (as in not at a range)
just remember to take home what you take out....;) You'll know when you hit them, I would also punch some paper offhand at this time.
good luck to you

Anthony Terry
July 29, 2006, 02:55 AM
funny, i also shoot animals on TV all the time! i wonder how many people do that? :D

July 29, 2006, 06:57 AM
If you are shooting stuff on your TV, be sure to check that the gun is unloaded. Mistakes happen. Don't make stupid ones like have a live cartridge in the gun.

Back to the topic at hand. I have never shot very well with open sights at distances like 100 yds with centerfire rifles.

If you mount a scope on the rifle (and get it sighted in) and you are still shooting all over the place on the target at 100 yds, I would bring the target in to 25 yds, and then 50 yds to build up some confidence. Practice breathing control and trigger control. You should not know the exact instant when the rifle will discharge if you are doing things properly... slow even pressure on the trigger. No jerking or snapping a shot off unless you are just playing around. You should do the same thing while hunting.

The 22 idea is very sound. I learned to shoot with a 22 rifle. It is a confidence builder and the skills transfer to your centerfire rifle.

You may be recoil sensitive... flinch. You just have to practice so that you do not anticipate the shot with a flinch. You can test this with dry firing the rifle. The 22 will really help you improve in the flinch department.

If you do everything right, you should be shooting okay at 100 yds; certainly should have groups under 2" with a scope.

Last thing is it could always be your rifle. Remington Model 700's are generally good shooting rifles.

Varmint hunting during the warmer months also helps you simulate hunting conditions. You don't always have a nice steady rest to shoot from. This takes practice. But, getting the rifle properly sighted in is the starting poing so that you know the large groups are your doing and not the guns.

Dave Haven
July 30, 2006, 01:01 AM
funny, i also shoot animals on TV all the time! i wonder how many people do that?As Rich said, DRY FIRE. :) You need to aim at a target for constructive dry firing. Animals on TV are good dry fire targets. Just don't play QUICK DRAW with the guy on TV with a loaded .357. A local cop killed his TV that way about 30 years ago.:D
An air rifle is also a good training aid. It WILL let you know if your aim is off or if you're flinching.

Wild Bill Bucks
August 8, 2006, 09:29 AM
I was hunting in Africa last night, and had my sights set on a big bull elephant, and just before I could pull the trigger, my wife changed the channel, so I had to shoot Ted Nugent instead. Guess I'll go down in history as the man who killed Rock n Roll.:D

August 8, 2006, 10:02 PM
Shooting the TV can be fun. Did one in a field once with my 30-30 (no idea how it got there). It exploded real nice! Those high vacuum picture tubes really go! Always wanted to kill a tv.:D

Anthony Terry
August 8, 2006, 11:33 PM
I agree, TV's are fun to shoot. I've blown one away with my ak before. They will start smoking and popping everywhere. Outside, of course.:D

Death from Afar
August 9, 2006, 04:48 PM
Some very sound advice. I would strongly endorse the idea of a .22 as a training gun, try and get one with similier feel and size to your hunting rifle and you will be well on the way.

August 10, 2006, 01:06 AM
Rich and the other posters here are dead on. Dry fire, but skip the empty cartridge in the chamber thing (too easy to screw that up, and there’s absolutely no reason to do that with your 700). Practice from field positions. Dry fire some more. Get a .22 if you can afford it that’s similar in operating system to your hunting rifle (any bolt action .22 will do). Dry fire from field positions. Focus on where your sights (crosshairs) are the moment you feel the sear break. Did I mention dry firing?

Here’s the part that will probably get me flamed: More important than all of the above is to make sure you’re not learning bad habits that will limit you for life or have to be unlearned very tediously later. You want to learn to shoot a hunting rifle, and I’ve only seen a few competent instructors that are willing to teach that at a local range, so please skip the training at the local range. (I was a local range officer for years, and there’s absolutely no way to evaluate an instructor to know if you’ll be learning anything that’s useful without already knowing a bunch about shooting). Many of the volunteer instructors are a horror to watch. Most of the good ones will teach you stuff that won’t be that useful to you (DCM High Power, Benchrest, etc.)

If you can’t afford a trip to Gunsite (http://www.gunsite.net/rifle.htm), Thunder Ranch (http://www.thunderranchinc.com) or the like, then I’d recommend you pick up a copy of “The Art Of The Rifle” by Jeff Cooper. There’s a reason that the man is called “The Gunner’s Guru.” You can pick up a used copy on Amazon.com or directly from Gunsite. It’ll be the best 30-50 bucks you’ll spend as part of this process. More important than even the .22.