Noob & long gun shooting


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10-Ring
May 11, 2006, 01:32 AM
I've been a member here for a long time...I've got an ever evolving handgun collection and can shoot any one handgun quite well. Recently, I bought myself an M1A and discovered I need to teach myself how to shoot it properly. My question to all of you is...what do I need to do?
Now, I don't want to "cheat" by using a bipod or sandbags. I want to shoot standing, at targets at least 100 yards away and shoot good groups w/ my rifle.
Now just as a frame of reference, I taught myself to shoot my handguns shooting ALOT of rounds DA from a 22 revolver. I'm hoping I can do something similar w/ m1a
Thanks for all the pointers in advanced

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dmckean44
May 11, 2006, 02:19 AM
I would recommend buying a lighweight .22LR semi-auto rifle (marlin 60 maybe?) and shoot a 20,000 rounds of ammo through it. Then come back to your M1A and learn to deal with the 10 pound weight and the extra recoil.

wayne in boca
May 11, 2006, 07:04 AM
That's actually very good advice.A .22 rifle will help you learn the basics of offhand rifle shooting without bankrupting you with ammo cost.When I was a kid,we started out shooting BB guns,then pellet guns,then .22's,and only after we got older and richer,centerfire rifles.By then,we undoubtedly had fired the 20,000 rounds mentioned above.It's a lot easier,and cheaper,to make all your rookie mistakes with a .22 instead of a .308.Besides,.22s are loads of fun.

qajaq59
May 11, 2006, 08:53 AM
Shoot as often as you can and try to get a coach to watch you. He will see if you are flinching or whatever bad habits you may have picked up. I had to stop shooting for 8 years because of some serious back surgery so when I started doing it again last Oct I had one of the experienced guys watch me for a while. I've fired well over 1600 .30 cal rounds since then and my shooting is right back where it used to be.

DirksterG30
May 11, 2006, 09:16 AM
I'm new to rifle shooting as well. I've got a RRA AR-15, as well as a Ruger 10/22. The Ruger has rifle sights, and the AR has the standard ghost-ring sights. Would it be better to get ghost-rings for the Ruger?

10-Ring
May 11, 2006, 11:19 AM
20,000...okay, just more reason to go shooting!
Another question. Am I better off learning to shoot w/ or w/o a scope? Especially at distance, am I not better of being able to see what I'm shooting?

Mikee Loxxer
May 11, 2006, 12:16 PM
Remember that shooting standing (offhand) is the hardest and will result in larger groups. You should start from the prone position with a sling as it is the most stable and will have you shooting more accurately.

You should get a good quality 1907 sling and a shooting jacket and then learn to shoot from at least three of the standard positions ala NRA High Power. A good sling and jacket can make all of the difference in the world. Find a local club affiliated with the CMP and you should be able to find someone who will show you basics of shooting a rifle the right way.

Powderman
May 11, 2006, 12:29 PM
Cart before the horse, friend 10-Ring. :)

The elements of shooting ANY firearm--not just a shoulder arm or a handgun--are the same. And, the objective is the same--to hit the target as close to the point of aim as possible.

Here, then are the elements that make a good shot:

Sight picture--your sights placed so that the object to be hit is in the same relation each time. Some use a 6 o'clock hold (target on top of the front sight), some use a center hold (target cut in half by the front sight). Whatever it is, it should be the same each time.

Sight alignment--front sight post level and centered in the rear sight.

Trigger control--steady pressure to the rear until the gun fires.

The challenge is to do all three--AT THE SAME TIME--without disturbing your sights.

That's really all there is to it.

And, your best place to start is from the prone position, with a .22 rifle. Why a .22? You can shoot more without damaging your budget.

Use all of the things you know about shooting a handgun. Transfer that to rifle shooting. Of course, there are a few important additions:

1. Breath control--even more important than handgun shooting.
2. Stock weld--the placement of the cheek upon the stock of the rifle to bring your eyes in alignment with the sights.
3. Eye relief--having your eye in the same position every time.
4. Stock pressure--pulling the rifle back tightly into the pocket of your shoulder, each and every time.

Concentrate on the basics first. Get yourself a good .22 semiauto, and go out to a 50 yard range. Set up a target that allows you to see the sights in good relief. Now, using the same sight picture each time, fire off five-round groups.

Your objective at 50 yards is to achieve a shot group that can be covered with a nickel, with the irons. After you do that, move the target to 75 yards. When you are getting nice tight groups to point of aim, then transition to the big rifle.

Good luck, and good shooting! Remember to shoot that big rifle slow, let it cool at least 1 minute between shots, and 5 minutes between groups. This will preserve your barrel and leade.

If you want some break in tips, let me know. :)

30Cal
May 11, 2006, 12:32 PM
+1 on the advice to joing a CMP club and shoot some matches.

Am I better off learning to shoot w/ or w/o a scope? Especially at distance, am I not better of being able to see what I'm shooting

Learn to shoot iron sights. You can pick up a scoped rifle at anytime and not miss a beat.

Ty

10-Ring
May 11, 2006, 01:23 PM
Thanks everyone for the pointers so far.
I've taken my M1A out a couple of times, w/ a total of 400 rounds shot so far. Now, because of what I was told before my 1st outing, I put my target out to 100 yards and started shooting. QUickly discovered 50 was better just to simplify what I was trying to accomplish. To ask the total noob question, but what is the best method for limiting muzzle movement? I've been told several things to the point of confusion & frustration. I just want to tighten up the groups I've been shooting.

rockstar.esq
May 11, 2006, 04:09 PM
Consider purchasing Jeff Coopers book "The Art of the Rifle".

Powderman
May 11, 2006, 05:09 PM
The best way to minimize muzzle movement is to shoot from a rest.

Not trying to be sarcastic, but the only way to realize the true accuracy potential of your rifle is to shoot it from a rest. Sandbags are the best, followed by the bipod--and there are techniques for doing both.

Remember, find the front sight. Your focus must be hard on that front sight.

Also, since you have fired the rifle extensively, I recommend a good cleaning. Cleaning of the bore, especially on the M1A, is of paramount importance.

Start with a patch, wet with Hoppe's or the solvent of your choice. One time through, and pull the patch off.

(HINT: Get a action trap or cleaning guard, available from Brownell's. This will hold the bolt open. Also, if you are not using a properly sized coated one piece rod, get one quickly!)

Patch the bore dry. Now, use Sweet's, in accordance with the directions on the bottle. Patch it out--as long as you see any traces of green on the patch, re-treat with Sweet's as much as necessary.

Patch out the bore with dry patches, taking care to ensure that all traces of Sweet's is removed from the chamber, too. Now, patch it out with Hoppe's one more time, and patch dry.

One patch down the bore with a bit of good oil on it, and the job's done.

Don't forget to lube the rifle properly. Good guideline--grease everything that's inside the rifle, and oil everything on the outside. You will also need a grease accessory for the bolt cam roller, also available from Brownell's.

30Cal
May 11, 2006, 05:15 PM
To ask the total noob question, but what is the best method for limiting muzzle movement?

In the end, you'll have to accept your wobble area and shoot through it. You can make it easier by getting your left elbow down against your ribcage and pulling it towards the center. With the M1 and M14, you can choke up on the grip with your right hand, lift your elbow and pull which will also help stabilize things, especially when the wind picks up.

Make sure you bring the rifle up to your eye (and not the other way around).

To repeat Powderman, FOCUS ON THE FRONT SIGHT. Do not focus on the target and do not shift your focus between the target and the front sight. FOCUS ON THE FRONT SIGHT. It helps to blacken the sight with candle soot.

Ty

10-Ring
May 11, 2006, 08:32 PM
quote " accept your wobble area and shoot through it."

What do you mean by shooting through it? Just practice good technique & work through it or just accept it as my weak point and blast away??? :confused:

AJAX22
May 11, 2006, 08:39 PM
I think what they are saying is that on a heavy rifle the barrel will naturally drift in a slight pattern over the area that you want to hit, you can't hold it rock solid without holding your breath and being way to tense. accept that it will drift and time your breaths.

I agree on getting a .22 to learn with, you don't want to develop the habbit of flinching from the muzzle slap and recoil, once you have good habits then move up to the big boys, heck, a good heavy air rifle is good to practice with

antsi
May 11, 2006, 10:30 PM
A great way to improve your rifle shooting is to try out shooting in an NRA high power match. I would suggest shooting in a "reduced course" match at first. Don't go with the object in mind of winning - just with the idea of learning and improving. High power match shooting is a pretty good test of all-around rifle skills, slow fire, rapid fire, unsupported, and supported positions. There are almost always folks there who will help a noob get started. Many of the clubs that hold high power matches also hold high power "clinics" where accomplished shooters can help you improve.

And, you've got a great rifle for it - the M1a is one of the preferred options for high power shooters.

Jaim03
May 12, 2006, 12:03 AM
(HINT: Get a action trap or cleaning guard, available from Brownell's. This will hold the bolt open. Also, if you are not using a properly sized coated one piece rod, get one quickly!)

Powderman, quick question about this point. I have 2 .30cal rifles. (M1 Carbine & M1 Garand). I bought a Dewey 1 piece rod, but got a .227 in error.

That slight "undersize" shouldn't cause any problems, should it? (I have a brass muzzle "protector" as well). Thanks!

Also, thanks for all the shooting tips in this post! I'm starting a prone .22 league in a couple of weeks...

Powderman
May 12, 2006, 12:34 AM
The Dewey rod you have is fine--but getting the proper .30 sized rod will make cleaning much, much easier.

30Cal
May 12, 2006, 11:45 AM
quote " accept your wobble area and shoot through it."

What do you mean by shooting through it? Just practice good technique & work through it or just accept it as my weak point and blast away???

The front sight is going to be moving over the target regardless of how good you are. If that's a weakness, then everyone has it. There are two schools of thought in highpower--one says to keep squeezing the trigger whenever the sight is in the black and hold what you have when it strays outside and the other says to take in most of the second stage and make the gun go off when the front sight is where you want it (i.e. be aggressive and squeeze the trigger in a hurry--takes a lot more time and practice to master).

10-Ring
May 12, 2006, 08:07 PM
Thanks all! I've got my range session all set up w/ 2 value packs worth of ammo (about 1100 rounds) and a 10/22 w/ iron sights.
I'll return w/ results from my training session ;)

GarandOwner
May 12, 2006, 09:34 PM
A cheaper way that can help you improve also is to practice holding the rifle at home. (UNLOADED of course) I use to put a 1" circle on the wall and stand on the other side of the room and just aim at it. This helps you train your arms to hold the rifle steady. Also to adjust your stance so you can see where your "natural" point of aim is. Close your eyes and then open them to see where your natural aim is, then move your stance until when you open your eyes you are pointing close to your aim point. This will help you keep your rifle steady because if you move it too far from your natural aim point it will be harder to hold steady. Breathing is a big part of taking shots too. Get some "saftey cap" bullets to put in the chamber so you can pull the trigger without worrying about doing excessive wear on your rifle. A good thing to practice is as simple as pulling the trigger. Gently squeeze it and you will find that there is a stopping point before the trigger fires. Pull to this point while holding the rifle, then when you have the sight picture you want pull the rest of the way to fire the rifle. With the saftey caps you can practice this at home without spending $$$ on ammo. This will help tighten your groups because when you pull the trigger your rifle moves slightly, and at 100+ yards that slight movement with skew your groups. Also I recomend getting a leather GI sling for the rifle. I have one on mine and find that it helps keep the rifle steady as well. BUT the best thing is to buy a book and read up on it, or get advice from folks at the range or get an instructor. There is tons of good books out there that can help you improve your shooting technique. and not enough room to put it all on the message board :D hope that helped!

10-Ring
May 14, 2006, 02:33 AM
Just got back from the range. I shot a Federal value box of 550 rounds tonight...did a lot of shooting and I'm physically tired. I think the first 100-125 rounds I was trying to hard and thinking too much. Plus I found if I just relaxed a little bit, I shot better. The middle 200-250 rounds were the best ones...I had warmed up, calmed down and was getting a better feel of what I was trying to accomplish...The final 100 or so weren't as good. I think because I was getting tired.
I'm taking my baby steps. I'm developing the sight picture I want and the groupings tightened up as the night went on. I've still got alot to learn, but I'm gonna get it there and have fun doing it!
Thanks again to all that replied :cool:

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