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Old December 25, 2012, 05:21 PM   #1
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Marksmanship problems

I got a Savage .270 to hunt this year. I am having problems shooting halfway decently. I couldn't even zero the scope at 100 yds. I have a flinch and for some reason I'm loosening my grip when the shot goes off.

Any advice from experienced riflemen?
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Old December 25, 2012, 05:29 PM   #2
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Practice dry fire. Keep the rifle tight into your shoulder. When you pull the trigger, make sure the crosshairs on the scope stay on target.

Breath, relax, aim, get perfect Sight Picture, and squeeze the trigger. The click should surprise you.

Dry fire all the time.

Machine guns are awesome until you have to carry one.
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Old December 25, 2012, 06:04 PM   #3
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What jimro said. Also--Concentrate on the target only. When rifle goes off it will be a suprise.
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Old December 25, 2012, 06:36 PM   #4
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Seek training.

Find a CMP GSM Clinic or Appleseed Event in your area.

Baring that get with the Ariz. State Rifle & Pistol Assn. They'll help you along your way.

Right now, I'm thinking going it on your own may create habits that would be hard to break latter on.

Baring that, or in addition. Tons of dry firing.
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Old December 25, 2012, 07:17 PM   #5
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Do you have a 22 rifle, preferably with iron sights. Print yourself a whole bushel basket full of small bore rifle targets and about 5,ppp rounds of 22LR ammo. Then start position shooting, no bench. No recoil to make you flinch, ear plugs to help you not jump at the bang, shooting glasses to protect your eyes. offhand, kneeling sitting, prone, multiple targets and single targets, tin cans, pill bottles, cookies, crackers, blocks of wood, ice cubes. Vary your game, get somebody to shoot with you so its fun and not just a chore and keep doing it until you can shoot expert scores offhand at 50 yards. Start you shooting day with offhand and end your shooting day with offhand.

If you can master the mouse gun you can shoot the centerfire. Gear up with glasses and ear protection and just fire one offhand shot at 50 yards at that same small bore target you are now used to shooting at. Take a break, when you are deer hunting you won't be shooting 50 rounds at a sitting. Concentrate on the basics, you already know them. Another shot and take a break, look at the target, contemplate your navel, take a deep breath and think good thoughts, take another shot. You should have 3 good shots offhand.

Call it a day. Last thing you want to do is shoot up a box of ammo and get all your old bad habits back. Stay off the bench. The shooting bench should only be for your box of ammo and your mug of lemonade.

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Old December 25, 2012, 08:34 PM   #6
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azmark, I have an old trick we use. If you have a shooting partner, have him load the gun, only your partner loads it sometimes, and sometimes not. You will not know if it is loaded. Do this randomly. It makes flinching look silly, and it can be cured.
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Old December 25, 2012, 08:51 PM   #7
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A guy at work mentioned Appleseed events. I'll ask him about it.
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Old December 26, 2012, 08:05 AM   #8
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It's easier to learn to drive if you don't start on a tractor-trailer rig.
Four years ago I sold a Dad a 270 for his 12 YO against all my advice. The next week he was asking for "managed recoil ammo". The kid missed 1/2 dozen deer that year. Next year the guy is looking for a 243. Still didn't get the memo about starting with a 22. After 3 years, the now 15YO has such a ferocious flinch he may never get over it.
I went through a couple of flinchitus periods with my two older kids that took a lot of effort to correct. Third time around, I did better and #3 didn't catch the disease.
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Old December 26, 2012, 05:00 PM   #9
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Rifle marksmanship basics...

Azmark--If what you want is real rifle marksmanship basics, you oughta attend an Appleseed weekend event. Besides American history, rifle basics is what Appleseed is all about, and you get instruction, along with shooting (oh, lots and lots of shooting!)

An autoloading .22 with several 10-round box magazines, sling swivels--with military-style sling--and possibly a 'scope, is the ideal weapon for an Appleseed, along with abt. 500 rds. of ammo. But you bring what you got, and shoot what you brung, and the very-well-schooled instructors @ any Appleseed will work with you to bring out your rifle's best, and to greatly improve your own best shooting.

Appleseed events are held all over the country. Their website will let you know when/where there will be one near you. If you have to drive a little to get to the event, IMHO it will be well worth your time.

Good luck and please keep us posted!
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Old December 26, 2012, 05:22 PM   #10
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Get some "snap caps" in the caliber you're using and have someone "skip-load" your magazine, placing the snap caps in random order. You'll be surprised what you're doing wrong when you pull the trigger and the rifle goes "click". It's the best way to make you concentrate on slow and steady trigger pulls that make for best accuracy.
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Old December 26, 2012, 07:49 PM   #11
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Double check all the hardware. Sometimes when it seems a rifle can't be reliably dialed in, it pays to check all the fasteners, all the scope hardware, and so on. If you have trouble out at some distance, back off to one-half that distance to see if there is some sort of problem that remains. Dial that puppy in at 25 then 50 yards. Then go farther out. If you fail when farther out, come back to where you just were and see if the results might have changed. This has happened to me a few times. Dialing in just doesn't make sense. And then I might discover a fault with the bases, rings, screws, or the scope itself.
I've assisted other guys at the range that could not dial in their firearms. I'd always ask about fastener integrity, and sometimes the owners were surprised to find a loose scope, sloppy rings, or a scope that would not hold zero. Have a buddy watch you to see if you jerk the trigger or jump in anticipation of recoil. If you do, just slow down, breathe, relax, aim and squeeze. Hold that cross hair on the spot when it goes off. Don't hold too tight or get too tense. Get comfortable in your hold on target and let her fly smoothly.
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:36 PM   #12
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Not being a smart a.. but if you are flenching, you need to go back to a .22 lr and develop the basics then progress back into the heavier recoiling rifles. A .270 in a light weight rifle can hurt. I have a Savage light weight .270 and I put a brake on it. After I had shoulder reconstruction I do not tolerate recoil well and the .270 in that rifle was enough to highly annoy me.
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Old December 26, 2012, 10:07 PM   #13
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Most of my flinching comes from recoil. I've found that a Limbsaver recoil pad on my .270 makes a major difference.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:39 AM   #14
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My brother did the same thing with his 7mm mag. Tamed it (I have not shot it with that but the 7mm is a vicious thing)

If it can tame a 7mm then anything else will be great (I have shot 338 WM, 375 H&H and none of them are as bad as that belted case moving that tiny bullet out at far higher speeds than a bullet should fly!
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:51 AM   #15
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azmark, I have an old trick we use. If you have a shooting partner, have him load the gun, only your partner loads it sometimes, and sometimes not. You will not know if it is loaded. Do this randomly. It makes flinching look silly, and it can be cured.
This works.

Dry fire, shoot a .22, AND shoot your rifle to work on fundamentals and field positions. Any schlub can hold relatively still on a bench with sand bags ...... learn to use what you'll have in the field: at best, a military style sling in the prone, at worst, you'll have to stand on your own two feet ......

Appleseed is great. Do that.

The single greatest thing I did to improve my shooting was to learn to handload, which made it possible to shoot hundreds of rounds of centerfire every year instead of a couple dozen .......
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:05 AM   #16
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Lots of good information has been given.
I would be very hesitant to load in the dummy rounds randomly without someone to confirm that the misfire is a dummy and not a hang fire, or in the least, practice proper ammo problem discipline that is printed on every ammo package. I am never surprised when I ask in my handgun class what the proper procedure should your gun not fire and when I get a part answer, the prudent time of the pause, keeping muzzle in safe direction is very seldom offered.

Also, I would advise you, if you haven't already, have someone else that is a confident good shot test fire you rifle. If you are positive that your firearm/ammunition is and accurate you won't have that question troubling you.
And, have you checked yourself for eye dominance recently? This can change,
And did anyone say, Dry Fire yet?
Best to you.
For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, But to us who are being saved, It Is The Power Of God. 1Corinthians 1-18
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:17 AM   #17
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Ask your Doctor,my best friend has a mild form of a "reverse MS) and is fine until he shoots and then he loses his grip and involuntarily jerks the trigger.It may be worth looking into.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:54 PM   #18
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An excellent way to see exactly how much your rifle's bore axis moves around as you fire it is to tape a laser pointer onto its barrel. Lock it turned on somehow, then just hold the rifle across your lap and dry fire it while watching the spot on a wall some distance away.

You'll immediately see how it wiggles around while you apply pressure on the trigger, then, as the firing pin falls, it does different things. Somewhere between jumping all over the place from where it wiggled before you fired it to somewhere in the same area it wiggles at while pressure on the trigger's applied.
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:02 PM   #19
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With a hunting rifle in 270 Cal. A hard hold is needed until you get over the fear of the recoil. Make sure the scope isn't to close. Need more trigger time,when you settle down and get use to the rifle,you'll be OK. Thats what happens when you start out in the big leagues. Glad your first rifle wasn't a 338 Lapua. sorry , Hang in there Chris
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:24 PM   #20
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Lots of good advice so far, dry firing is a GREAT tool. Also and I am not trying to be too elementary but have seen it too many times, hearing protection. The "apparent or perceived" recoil can be greatly lessened by good hearing protection such as foam plugs and ear muffs. Note I said perceived not actual recoil. Know before you start the rifle is going to recoil, its not going to hurt you, cripple your or drain your bank account, simply concentrate on that trigger and follow through, count to 5 after the shot just to get into the follow through groove before you move anything, your head, the rifle, anything, concentrate on exactly where the crosshairs were when the shot broke, see it in your mind the whole 5 count. Oh yeah and dry fire some more. Good coaching will certainly help keep you from developing bad habits that are tough to overcome later. Lots of us have been to "flinch town" and come back, so can you.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:52 PM   #21
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Azmark, you are getting a lot of good advice from people I suspect are far better shooters than me.

I am curious, though, as to what you were hunting with before the .270. If you went straight from a .22 or .223 to the .270 this may have been too big a jump. There are many excellent deer rifles with milder recoil than a .270 - the 6.5x55 Swede comes to mind, for example. A season or two spent with such a calibre will teach you a lot about centrefire rifles and you will bring home the venison as readily as with the .270 and not develop bad habits.

The .270 is a fine calibre but not one I would recommend as a first centrefire rifle. A year ago I bought a 270WSM in a Sako Finnlight and soon both my son and myself found ourselves developing a flinch. We managed to tame it by fitting a Limbsaver recoil pad, lightening the trigger to 2 1/4 lbs and finally fitting a muzzle brake. I really like it now. You should not need the brake on a standard .270 but the recoil pad and lighter trigger will help, plus practice, practice, as others have suggested.

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