Range Day Debrief--Help a Brother Out!


April 5, 2003, 10:56 PM
Got back from the range. Shot my M1A at 50 yds, sandbagged, benched, open sights.

I got the rifle sighted in the last time, but as it was only at 50 yards, I don't know if it's off, or just my crappy shooting. My problem is I couldn't really see my sights over the target. All I saw was a black post disappear somewhere onto the black target. I seemed to shoot the same whether I waited for a perfect sight picture, or I just let the frontsight go onto the black circle and pressed once every other second. Letting go at the perfect sight picture didn't help, maybe becuase I couldn't tell my frontsight from the target :confused:

40 rounds on upper target, 20 on middle and lower, all at 50 yards.

A couple questions:

1. Should I go 'skunk' and put a white stripe across the sight? Or paint it orange or something? Or get an easier target to see?

2. Should I tighten up my 50 groups, or move it back to 25 and tighten those, or shoot 50 and keep them all on the black, then see if I can keep them on at 100, etc.?

I'm getting to feel more comfortable with rifle, so I'll try to do it at least twice a month.


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April 5, 2003, 10:59 PM
I would also modify your sights to where you can see them. No use in having the rifle if you cannot aim it.

I would shoot at a distance where you get groups that you like, then keep moving the targets out. Try to move them to where the groups stay the same size. That way you will get 100 yard groups like you do now at 25 yards.


April 5, 2003, 11:11 PM
Try adjusting your sights so that your rounds hit dead center when you hold the top of the front blade at six o'clock on the target's black circle. Then, you just have to "dot the i" to be in the black. Getting a lighter colored target might work fine at 50 yards, but when you move out to 100, you won't be able to see it as well (or at all).

You're not doing bad at all, Skunk, for open sights and a new rifle. What kind of ammo are you using?

April 5, 2003, 11:17 PM
For reference, what size are those targets? Are they 1" rings?

Also, which M1A do you have?

April 5, 2003, 11:38 PM
I would use a six o' clock hold but I would just try to group right at the bottom of the target. If you try that, you should get a nice cluster right at your exact six o' clock point of aim.

mark mcj
April 5, 2003, 11:53 PM
I'm going to be much more harsh than I should be but, maybe you may want to spend more time at the range than the keyboard.

April 6, 2003, 12:09 AM
I would definatly paint the sight or just shoot at a diff colored target because my SAR-1 gets better groups than that at 50yards with wolf ammo (I can prove it too). I'm not saying you are a crappy shooter but the last time at the range a guy with a M1a was shooting about 2" groups (100yards) with 3 sets if 3 shot rapid fire (almost one right after the other).

April 6, 2003, 12:15 AM
Nah, it wasn't too harsh. I was going to suggest a severe beating!:D

Definitely learn a 6 o'clock hold, lollipop, dot-the-i, whatever you might wanna call it. Anything gotta be better than what you have there. Also work on focusing on that front sight. It should show up, even on a black background.

I hope that group was only symptomatic of your posted troubles. At worst, that should be your 100yd yard offhand group with surplus ammo.

April 6, 2003, 12:25 AM
Black sights work very well in the real world.

Try a much smaller black bullseye for sighting and you may be surprised.

Steve Smith
April 6, 2003, 12:27 AM
Your words and target tell me a lot. You have several problems you need to deal with.

#1 your target is inproperly sized for accuracy work. Try to find a target that when viewed at distance is the same width as your front sight. That will nearly eliminate your horizontal stringing, as long as you pay attention to it.

#2, for now go to a 6 o'clock hold. A center hold works well for certain conditions and experienced shooters, but you shoud stick to a 6 o'clock for now.

#3 I don't believe you are focusing on the front sight. After developing a good sight picture, only focus on the front sight.

#4 I think you might be flinching. Some dryfiring should help.

April 6, 2003, 05:36 AM
Remember the old addage, "aim small, miss small".

Find yourself as small a target as you can distinctly see for whatever range you're shooting, stay with the 6 O'clock hold, and keep your eye on the front sight. Even in the covered lanes that we have here, I can still make out the distinction of the black bull in the sun vs. my front sight; it's hard, and takes a lot of (squinting) concentration, but I can't shoot well otherwise. To alleviate this problem, hold at 6 o'clock.

Dunno if you're being facetious with

"...go onto the black circle and pressed once every other second."

But especially if you're unfamiliar with the rifle, there's no reason to "let off a magazine's worth" so quickly. There are several reasons to shoot slower:

1) you're not doing your barrel any favors by shooting so fast. In fact it's possible to shoot out a barrel by cooking it that way.

2) Barrel warping will probably not show it's affect on accuracy at this distance, but at 100yd, you're sure to see it as the barrel "oscillates" during your fast-shooting string.

3) Without a LOT of experience, it's not possible that you're shooting at your potential at that rate. Even the best shooters I've seen need 2-3 seconds minimum between shots to keep accuracy high w/ their AR15's at 25 yd. (I stopwatched what I'd consider a very good shooter with his AR at the 25yd line once--he rapid-fired 20 rounds into an area the size of a quarter, and his average timing was every 4-5 seconds. Basically, one shot for every practiced breath. Man, was that barrel hot.)

Initially for accuracy and practice, try and space your shots out at least 30 seconds apart; even then you'll have to stop fairly soon. The rule is (at least with "big bores"), if the barrel's too hot to hold, it's too hot to shoot.

Do you know how to regimen your breathing?

April 7, 2003, 04:20 PM

don't want to re-hash what been said already, so here's my .02......

Were those off a benchrest, or were they from some sort of KD type pos (sitting, kneeling, prone) ?

you might want to invest in a sling (deosn't have to be uber expensive, even a surplus m16 one would work). Try mounting with a loop sling or as a field expedient a hasty. You'd be surprised at the difference, especially for someone of your stature.

Before heading out to the range, try setting up an aiming point and doing some dry fire. If you can have someone help you, try having them balance a quarter on your barrel (between the front sight post and the flash suppresor/muzzle brake. attempt to sight in and dry fire w/ follow through while keeping the quarter balanced. Remember to keep the aiming point small.........

April 7, 2003, 09:09 PM
I used to do about the same at 100 yds with my SAR-48. I started putting yellow dots on the target, one on the bullseye, two above and two below. This gave me a better target picture than the black. At another range we were given white and red targets. These were great with no additional stickers. I started eventually shooting MOA with that rifle. Of course, this was when I could actually see at 100 yds. I haven't shot that rifle for over 9 years.:(

April 7, 2003, 09:28 PM
I have the same problem SB,

So I made some diamond targets you can square with the edges much easier. Also, no black to get in the way. It works well!


Maybe your Scout doesn't fit you. I'll be happy to exchange my extremely rare (cough) Mini-14 for it. Just here to help. ;)

April 8, 2003, 12:47 AM
Whats with firing 80 rounds at targets, sandbagged and benched? Thats what you would do when you are just adjusting your sights. Some people do it in 5 round strings, others in 3. And when they do, they fire it at paper with an inch-grid on it so they know which way to move after the sighting group has been shot.

On your first, and last targets, there is some horizontal stringing, more so than the 2nd target. Some dryfire exercises, or even loading a dummy round might help. When you know you are doing it is when you can stop doing it.

Focus on the front sight, rear sight should be a blur, target should be a blur. When you let a round go off, try and remember how the sight relationship to the target looked. See if you can 'call your shot'. Was it high? Was it to the left? Then compare to the actual shot.

Change your targets, do some small diamonds, or small black squares. The smaller, the better. If all else fails, go there with a marker, or staple some playing cards (just make sure you don't use the deck again, especially if you are playing for money). :p

For the sight-in shots, (or load-development) shots, you can do sandbagged and benched.
For others, you should do the 'normal' positions, standing (offhand), kneeling, sitting, or prone. I would go for prone. Get in position, on target, close your eyes, and relax. Open your eyes, if the sights are off-target, readjust your position.

What are the advantages of a 6'oclock hold vs a bullseye hold? I always set my sights to bullseye hold.

April 8, 2003, 08:05 AM
There's nothing wrong with shooting from a bench to learn trigger control and sight alignment. It's a lot easier to focus on those two when you're not fighting to learn a postion and then just yanking the trigger as the target flies by :D

The 6 o'clock hold is easier for many people because it allows you to hold on a definite position (the exact bottom of a circle) - the center hold works great for some people, but many get the front sight lost in the bull or have trouble finding the exact center to hold on. I use a center mass hold for pistol, shotgun, and "run-n-gun" type carbine stuff, but for precision shooting I use a 6 o'clock.

April 8, 2003, 03:43 PM
Bench shooting does beat you up a bit more than position shooting. Most of your body mass is supported by the chair, leaving only the upper body to soak up the recoil.

Navy joe
April 8, 2003, 03:51 PM
I second the notion to start position shooting and get off that bench. For the smaller targets, try a NRA 50ft pistol target, it's the one with the 4 small 4" bullseyes. If you can't see that try a 25yd pistol timed and rapid target. Definitely is a case of aim small miss small.

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