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Old March 11, 2013, 10:27 PM   #1
Join Date: March 4, 2013
Location: NW Idaho
Posts: 53
Newbie Shooter: Am I On the Right Track?

I recently acquired a Heritage Rough Rider in .22lr, the saga of which is referenced in another thread that's probably buried somewhere in the revolver sub-forum by this point. Long story short, my goal is to learn solid, fundamental marksmanship skills. The difficult thing is that I don't really know what constitutes solid, fundamental marksmanship skills, and so I've been piecing that together from floating chunks of the U.S.S. Internets™.

Right now .22lr is a pain to find in my town, we just had a gun show come through and they bought up everything, so I'm starting modestly. I'm looking to burn 50 live rounds every other day in practice. I made up some targets, a one inch bulls eye with a four inch and eight inch radius circle. I'm working my revolver with five rounds in the cylinder to simulate how it would operate if I had it set up for field carry, one empty under the hammer.

I've come up with four (very) basic exercises that make up my drill routine so far. Two five round groups right handed, two hands. Two five round groups Left handed, two hands. Two five round groups right handed one hand. Two five round groups left handed, one hand. I also switch dominant eyes when I switch hands. Left for left, right for right. After these exercises I take whichever of the four I did the worst on and repeat it for a total of 50 rounds.

Am I on the right track here? Is there anything I should be doing instead, or something I should substitute for the fifth exercise? I have a small natural ability for ambidexterity, so I wanted to build that in to the drill, but I'm curious about whether I might be wasting my time (and ammo) by doing both hands.

My current range is ~5 yards. When should I start moving back further?

Is 50 rounds every other day too much? Too little?

Advice is much appreciated, thank you for taking the time to read the thread.

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Old March 11, 2013, 11:03 PM   #2
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AFAIK you can load all 6 rounds.

I'd suggest taking a basic pistol course. The NRA web site can find an instructor in your area.

50 rounds every other day is fine. You'll want to increase that once you find a supply of ammo.

For right now I'd concentrate on right hand, both two and one handed. Shoot a cylinder left handed just for fun.

Concentrate on the basics, good stance, grip, trigger control and sight picture.

Move out to ten yards now and once you've had some lessons vary your distance between 10 and 25yds.

Have fun.
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:02 AM   #3
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This may be right or wrong, but it seems to work for me.

But the way i teach people pistol is i start them at a distance i know all their shots will hit paper so i can evaluate how they are shooting and fix accordingly, as they improve I walk them back further and further. usually stopping @ 25yds unless they want to shoot further. Once basic sight alignment and trigger pull is addressed then I concentrate on stance. Throw to much at them at one time and they can't focus.

Hits build confidence and enjoyment. New shooters missing constantly @ 25 aren't having much fun.

I had a young lady who'd never fired a weapon making pop cans dance @ 25 yards 9 times outta 10 with a mk2. She was handling a 5.45 AK better then most guys.
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Old March 12, 2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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Pretty much the same advice I give to anybody wanting to improve their shooting skills is find a club and compete. You'll meet some interesting folk, exchange tips and you'll measure yourself against their real scores shooting in the same conditions and not the internet scores some folk post.
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:42 PM   #5
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ZR, . . . here is a fun little game you can shoot if you want.

Mark off 5 yds, 10, 15, 20, and 25.

Get a stack of cheap, white, paper plates, . . . I like the 5 inch or so size.

You shoot 10 shots from each distance, . . . you could do 5 right / 5 left.

The first distance scores 1 point for each hit.

The second distance scores 2 points for each hit.

The third distance scores 3 points for each hit.

The fourth distance scores 4 points for each hit.

The fifth distance scores 5 points for each hit.

Start at 5 yards, . . . you MUST HAVE A FULL 10 HITS OUT OF 10 before you can move to the next stage. Miss once, you have to shoot out that stage, but you then have to shoot a 100% stage before you move back further.

Score the paper plate, . . . put it in the stack.

Watch your scores go up, . . . when it doesn't, . . . figure out why.

It really is a good little exercise, I think.

I am also planning on making the rifle version of it a part of my shooting regimen, . . . it is 25 yds, 50 yds, 100, 150, and 200. I only shoot irons, . . . so this will be fun for me this spring, . . . of course, . . . if spring ever does arrive here in Ohio, . . . heard the bus was broke down somewhere in southern Tenn.

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Old March 13, 2013, 10:54 PM   #6
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Most people will learn two handed shooting with their dominant hand and eye first, and maybe dominant hand only shooting. I'm not going to say that training strong and weak hand and eye is a bad thing--it's very good actually. My concern is that you are trying to learn how to shoot four different ways at once. In my experience, it is generally easier to learn one thing decently well, before taking the next step. That's not to say some variety isn't necessary, but I would try to get good at one or two stances first, then branch out.

50 rounds every other day is more than most people will manage. I'm envious! Now, just make sure you are doing productive shooting and aren't ingraining bad habits...for that, I'd recommend some professional quality instruction.
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:17 PM   #7
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You seem very determined. Remember to have fun. Also be aware that the fundamentals of grip, stance, sight picture/alignment may vary slightly in how they are applied due to your specific firearm. You're shooting a single action revolver correct? Should you branch out to double action be sure to train for the long trigger pull. The necessity of a firmer grip may become apparent when you shoot a larger caliber. But with your enthusiasm I have no doubt you'll find your answers as you come across the issues.

If you can spare a few hours, I took an NRA first steps pistol class which was very comprehensive and relatively cheap. I had been shooting for a few years and still learned a few good pointers.
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Old March 14, 2013, 04:51 PM   #8
Join Date: March 4, 2013
Location: NW Idaho
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Buzzcock: True, the weapon does have a hammer block. I'm just paranoid I suppose. I've looked in to NRA courses and there is an instructor about 30 minutes from where I live. I'll be looking in to that pronto.

Venom: That's pretty impressive, I'm sure she had a blast. I've been keeping my ranges modest for precisely that reason. I still need to build confidence in the accuracy of this weapon, given that I put it back together with Loc-tite and JB Weld.

Dale: That sounds like a good idea. I know of at least one shooting club in about 45 minutes away. I'll go hunting for somewhere closer after I take some classes and get my basics squared off.

Dwight: That sounds like a lot of fun. I'll have to find myself a tape measure and mark that out. Thanks. I used to live in Ohio myself, sorry to hear your winter is overstaying its welcome. Out here in Idaho the weather can't make up its mind either. One day it's spring and the next we have a fresh blanket of snow over everything. I feel your pain.

ramius: That's a very good point. I think you might be right, sticking to one hand, especially with a limited ammo supply, might be the best way to go. I'm paranoid about bad habits, and I'll definitely go get some professional training ASAP accordingly.

dyl: I'm not sure where I'm going to go with shooting yet, but I try to keep everything open as much as possible. For instance, one thing I like about this particular revolver is the heavier trigger pull. It doesn't have the length of a double action but it gets me used to working a little harder for the shot while keeping aim steady. The first steps class looks interesting, though I'm not sure whether I should take that or jump to the pistol basics instead. Training is good, but a little expensive, and if I get it I need to get it soon before my work schedule starts to interfere.


Thanks for all the advice.

As for class choices, should I go after the NRA S.T.E.P.S. course, or the Basic Pistol Shooting course? I already regularly clean my firearm, and have an idea of what to put in to it, do I still stand to benefit from the more elementary course or should I jump to the shooting course?
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Old March 14, 2013, 06:45 PM   #9
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If you know Cooper's Four Rules of safety (and follow them!), can maintain your firearm, and operate it safely, I'd go for the basic pistol course.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Another 0.02:

Just starting out I wouldn't be trying to learn four things at once. Go basic, two hands on the guns and get that right, then go to strong hand and later weak hand.

Best of all get some instruction from a professional. And for fun and comraderie, join a shooting club.
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Old April 3, 2013, 11:00 PM   #11
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dry-fire and save some ammo!

Some highly proficient shooters in the Bullseye world do really high ratios of dry-fire to live ammo, like 50-1 or 100-1.

You can do things like put a penny on the barrel and see if your trigger squeeze jostles it, or go 3-5" away from a dot on the wall and see if your sights move.

Others can provide better drills and descriptions of drills.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:06 PM   #12
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It takes around 15 minutes of shooting...for a shooter to get warmed up.

If you are fortunate to shoot at an open range: Butt a mettallic spinner plate up against a dirt backstop at 50 or 100 yards, so you'll have instant sight recognition of any missed hits. This will force you to have a "aim small miss small" kind of training. Start by shooting off the bench...and graduate to shooting offhand.
Here's to mountains of spare ammo!!!

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