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Old February 1, 2018, 05:46 PM   #1
KyleYankee
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Learning the basics

New shooter here - turned 18 January 1st, purchased my first two long guns right after. This will definitely be a read, so please bear with me:

I would like to learn to shoot well, or at least, much better than I am now. I loaded up my NHM-91 yesterday and took to the range. I borrowed the range's spotting scope (nobody else was there) to see how I was doing at 100yds.

Using the basic irons, I was landing 25 of 30 shots on target average, from the bench and various rests. Targets were 12" circles on a large piece of background paper. All "groups" were me slowly firing 30 shots (1 or 2 seconds between shots) and seeing about how many hit the target, and how close together shots were. I use 123gr wolf steel-cased FMJ.

Groups 1 and 2 were not fired from a rest, and I was getting about 25 shots not on target, but on the paper in general. They tended to fall left and low on the paper. I adjusted my rear sight for elevation and, since I had no front sight adjusting tool, I hung right when aiming in future groups.

Groups 3 through 5 were more centered vertically, but still were generally left-of-center. Both groups were fired from sandbag rest to simulate shooting from cover. Still about the same amount of rounds (25-ish) hitting the paper, but more were hitting the actual target rather than the background.

Groups 5-8 were fired from a rifle rest. Roughly same results as 3-5, but group 7 had no misses and almost all that struck the paper were on the border of or within the target circle. Was getting dark around the time I did group number 8, so results went back to before.

From this, I can see I need to:

-Zero my rifle (especially adjust my front sight)
-Get some help. I don't know what I need to be focused on to be more accurate, nobody else in my family shoots or even owns firearms so I can't ask them.

I'm confident I can hit a man sized target at 100yds, but I want to be landing accurate shots at 300yds+ and even further if possible. This was my first time at a range with my own weapon. Before I've just gone shooting in the woods at very close ranges. Would like to master iron sights inside and out before I even think about an optic.

Any kind of input from shooters more experienced than I would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old February 2, 2018, 10:27 AM   #2
RedHoundTargets
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Ive been shooting about 16 years - started out with .22 4 position competition in high school which is typically iron sights. I personally enjoy irons more than optics. I also think you’re on the right track starting with them. Since a scope of course give you a zoomed view, it can make you feel like you’re bouncing around even more than you are which can throw off your concentration until you’re used to it.

Zeroing the rifle is important, but the main thing to look for is consistency. If you’ve got a tight group that’s way out to the left, you know you’re doing well. Sights can be adjusted.

Greatness takes time so don’t get discouraged. You’ll get there with practice. Next time you’re at the range think about these items:

Follow through: after you pull the trigger, stay in position - cheek weld, trigger finger, breathing,etc. you’re not going to change the bullet’s flight path after its left the barrel, but following through can help ensure you don’t move or jerk anything while firing.

Breathing and Muscles: generally you want your body loose, and equipment tight. If you stop and really focus on your body when you’re lining up a shot you’ll notice some things; you’ll feel your pulse and see how it pushes your sight picture around. You’ll feel how tensed muscles can add a little shake. You’ll notice how your breathing (holding too much air, or even too little) can affect things as well. Over time you’ll work out ways to control that stuff, and concentrate on relaxing each thing. You want your equipment to work for you. Instead of keeping things in place by muscling it, keep your sling tight if you use one. Get a stock that works for you, not the other way around. Note that since you’re just starting out I’m not saying you need to run out and spend a bunch on fancy new equipment. Just things to consider.

Finally, it always helps to have someone who knows what they’re doing there in person with you. If you can find NRA instruction near you that’s always good. Competitions of the type of shooting you’re interested in usually have people around who are happy to give pointers. You’ll see people mention Appleseed events (appleseedinfo.org). Local ranges may sometimes have events as well.

Best of luck to you!
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Old February 2, 2018, 12:12 PM   #3
xandi
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What rifles did you get?
I nice 22lr rifle is a great tool for learning on, without recoil and cost of high powered rifles
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Old February 2, 2018, 03:15 PM   #4
KyleYankee
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I bought a Remington 870 tactical for all my 3" 00 buck purposes, and a Norinco NHM-91 from my grampy for everything else. I have a 10/22 with a folding stock I received from a family member that I have a bunch of mags for.
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Old February 2, 2018, 03:16 PM   #5
KyleYankee
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Thank you RedHound, excellent pointers!! It was to my understanding that I will get consistency from firing at the bottom of my breathing cycle among other things.
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Old February 2, 2018, 04:13 PM   #6
RedHoundTargets
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The ‘bottom of your breathing cycle’ is probably about right. The conventional wisdom is to let your breath halfway out and sort of hold it there. During a normal breath, the point at which you stop letting air out is when your lungs/associated muscles are most relaxed. It’s probably considered ‘halfway’ because you’ve still got air in your lungs that you could force out if you wanted to, but normally wouldn’t think about.
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Old February 3, 2018, 09:29 PM   #7
Rob228
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Start with the absolute basics.

Natural point of aim: Get into your shooting position on the rest. When you hit your natural respiratory pause (the 2-3 seconds after an exhale or before an inhale) your front sight should be exactly on target. If it is not, you are muscling the rifle into position, however minutely, and it will have an effect on the impact of the round.

Sight picture: The target should be blurry, the front sight should be 100% in focus. Once you have your natural point of aim and hit a respiratory pause, you should see a crystal clear front sight superimposed over a blurry target, with the tip of the front sight either covering or at 6 O'clock to the desired point of impact (figure out if you want a 6 o'clock hold or center mass hold when you zero)

Slow and steady trigger squeeze: When you have done all of the above, and are in a natural respiratory pause you begin your trigger squeeze. When you know your trigger well enough you can take some of the slack out as you are inhaling/exhaling. Pull it slowly straight to the rear, the break should be a surprise.

Consistency: You can practice all of those without ammo, and it will save you some money if you put 10-20 minutes in of practicing dry each day. You can get to the point where you know if it was a hit or miss when you are practicing without ammo.

Don't get frustrated, it sounds like you are already doing pretty well. Just keep it up and make everything consistent and your groups will tighten up.
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Old February 4, 2018, 12:11 PM   #8
Don Fischer
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Muscling the rifle in. I suspect he's saying your fighting body tension. Good way to really see it is in prone on the 100yd range. Sight at the target then close your eye's and relax. When you open your eye's the point of aim probably will have moved! That's the result of you fighting lower back muscles. Kick your legs and feet a bit in the direction you moved with your eye's closed and do it again. The same apply's in sitting, kneeling and off hand position's. Don't fight your muscle's. If your right handed the barrel will be pointing to the left side of your body with the muscle's relaxed.

I should mention do the same in every position. If your fighting your own muscle's you'll never fire as well as you can. You've already been told about breath control, good. Trigger control. We all pull a shot now and then, that come's from yanking on the trigger rather than squeezing it. You can practice this at home. Get your rifle up in off hand position and have someone balance a quarter on the muzzle of the barrel. Dry fire the gun without knocking the quarter off the barrel. You jerk just a bit and you lose the quarter. Maybe the jerk is brought about over the years by people suggesting you pull the trigger. Don't pull, press till the striker drops. With good trigger control you can still fire bad trigger rifles very well, but you'll like better trigger's in the end.
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Old February 4, 2018, 02:38 PM   #9
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May I suggest investing in a good bull barreled, peep sighted 22 rifle. Light weight 22 rifles are just too bouncy, when shooting offhand or in the standing position --- Mine is a BSA Martini Henry bull barrel single shot --- The rifle is boringly accurate...guaranteed 1.5" m.o.a. @ 100 yards out of the box.

Once you get familiar with the rifle or pistol...by bench resting it --- then leave the bench and shoot offhand or in the standing position.

'Aim small miss small' --- I like to shoot at small metallic targets with my 22 or air rifle, which gives you instant feedback on how you performed the shot.

Do 75 reps a night, by raising a heavy rifle or shotgun to your shoulder --- This exercise will help give you the proper muscle tone for shooting offhand.

I highly recommend this article by Paul Schoch: 'Dealing With Anticipation When Shooting'

https://www.shootingillustrated.com/...when-shooting/
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Last edited by Erno86; February 5, 2018 at 01:37 PM.
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Old February 5, 2018, 01:45 PM   #10
Erno86
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Now...this is one way to target practice.


http://www.historyinorbit.com/175-fa...rc=taboola&v=p
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Old February 5, 2018, 04:32 PM   #11
DukeConnor
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Find an Appleseed event near you.
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Old February 8, 2018, 08:30 PM   #12
Prndll
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That Paul Schoch article was interesting and I certainly consider it worth while to read. It's just that all the script I had to remove basically ruined the zen for me. I miss articles of yester-year that had a "print" button somewhere.
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Old February 11, 2018, 10:08 AM   #13
Erno86
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The silent 'wait-wait-wait' technique (recommended by Paul Schoch), while I'm pressing the trigger, really helps me prevent shot anticipation during slow-fire.
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