Rifle for learning real markmanship


February 8, 2007, 02:13 PM
I feel I do well with my current rifles, (CETME, SKS and Weatherby Vanguard), but I am at the point where I want to learn real solid marksmanship skills, with iron sights.

There is not much surplus ammo out there left in 7.62 nato, and my CETME beats brass up too much to reload, so the 1k I have in aussie surplus is all I would have available.

SKS doesn't have very good sights, and isn't exactly accurate.

The Vanguard is very accurate, but doesn't have iron sights.

Basically, I want to learn to shoot accurately from positions, using iron sights, possibly compete, and basically, get past all the bad habits I have previously learned. The other hitch is that there is a real possiblity that I might enlist in the Army here in the next 6-8 months. I know they will teach me marksmanship there, but I already have bad habits that I would like to break, and there the chance I won't enlist due to my age.

My choices seem to be the M1 Garand, the M1A, or an AR-15. I currently reload .30-06, but the AR-15 option would allow me to train with something almost identical to what I would be trained on if I joined.

What do you think?


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Jim Watson
February 8, 2007, 02:21 PM
Well, you could get an AR15 and take up Highpower.

You could get a good .22 lr and learn to shoot at low ammo cost with negligible recoil and blast.

Contact NRA or visit local ranges to see what is being shot in your area. There are oftentimes clinics with instruction, rifle, and ammo provided. Check out the Appleseed program for basic shooting instruction.

February 8, 2007, 02:21 PM
I have met and shot with many vets. Most are now cops so have gone through not one, but two firearms trainings. Many also work in the BP/DHS etc. I must say I have been very UNIMPRESSED by the majority (not all, a few can shoot better than anyone else I've seen), the few that shoot great went out of their way to get better training. I would recommend going to a high quality training institute, i.e. Thunder Ranch, Gunsite are the best. Blackwater is good but for sheer marksmanship, not so much.

I'd also recommend going out and buying a 250 buck Mossberg .270 or .30-06 and putting iron sights on it. Use that in practice training etc. My Mossbert shot to point of aim and was MOA out of the box (no exaggeration). AR's, AK's, MI's and M14s are great guns, but for the sheer purpose of marksmanship learn on a bolt. just my 2cents.

Art Eatman
February 8, 2007, 02:23 PM
Buy a decent bolt-action .22 rifle. Find the particular brand and style of ammo that gives the tightest groups.

That is the least expensive way to learn to press the trigger between heartbeats. (It's an Olympic shooter thing. :) )

Same for learning how to deal with the normal 0.2 second delay between your brain telling your trigger finger to press and the actual doing so. You learn to think, "Shoot," when your sights will waver/wobble onto perfection in 0.2 seconds.

It takes a while. :)


February 8, 2007, 02:26 PM
is probably the way to go for you. The AR is a very accurate platform and the ammo is inexpensive. If I were you I would opt for one with a removeable carry handle. This will allow you to shoot with Iron sights and to mount a scope, just to test the inherent aacuracy of the rifle. A good 22 with iron sights would also go a long way toward doing what you would like to achieve.

February 8, 2007, 02:31 PM
Something to consider:

Good .22 ammo isn't all that cheap. I think PMC Scoremaster is pretty good, and it's not too expensive. But the really good stuff can be pricey.

.17 rimfire ammo is also not all that cheap, but you don't have to go looking too far for stuff that groups well, like you do with .22LR. It shoots a good deal flatter, too. And it's cheaper than centerfire.

February 8, 2007, 02:32 PM
You can get a pretty nice .22 and a pallet of ammo for the cost of a "cheap" bolt.

A good AR setup for highpower is a lot to lay out. Those guys shoot with a heck of a lot nicer than a standard A2. But it will work.

February 8, 2007, 02:36 PM
A .22lr at various distances (25yds, 50yds, 100yds, 150yds) will teach you everything you need to know about marksmanship. .22lr is a slow bullet with a lot of curve in the trajectory. With practice you'll learn how to adjust elevation to compensate for the trajectory at different distances. Also, if you practice on windy days, you'll learn how to adjust windage to compensate for the wind. When you get to the point that you can consistently shoot 2-3" groups at 150yds in breezy conditions, you'll be pretty darn good with a rifle.

February 8, 2007, 02:39 PM
...another thing...

Rimfires won't encourage you to develop a flinch.:)

February 8, 2007, 02:39 PM
.22 target rifle, air rifle, and the swiss k31.

cracked butt
February 8, 2007, 02:39 PM
.22 bolt action target rifle or a quality bolt action rifle fitted with aperture sights.
-Its cheap to feed.
-You use the exact same skills and fundamentals as you would shooting any other rifle.
-The rifle will be more accurate that you could possibly hold unless your entire body is made of granite.
-You can get the same wind effects as a centerfire rifle at a much shorter range.
-You'll be more focused on making every shot count with a bolt action versus the temptation to spray a few shots with one of the semiauto 'toy' rimfires.
-You can shoot at reactive targets to get instant feedback- its often difficult to get reactive targets that will hold up to centerfires, let alone find a range that will let you shoot them.
-Botl action rimfires are often made to mimic the handling of centerfire rifles- popular autoloaders tend to be on the scaled down carbine size.

February 8, 2007, 02:39 PM
I vote for .22 as well. It is the most cost effective.

The CZ 452 is an extremely well made bolt action rifle, and it comes from the factory with the best production iron sights on a .22 rifle. If I was a brand new shooter, this is the rifle I would want.

You could also get an AR-15 in .223 and/or get a dedicated .22 upper for it as well.

February 8, 2007, 02:41 PM
Kimber M82 from the CMP. $600 + $22.95 shipping gets you a brand new rifle in .22LR with aperture sights suitable for position shooting.

Though, it would be awesome if you went the AR15 route and started High Power. But your investment in a rifle will be around $1200 for a good NM upper and 2-stage trigger. The cheapest way to go would be the RRA NM rifle, but for just a couple hundred more, you could easily outclass the RRA. Also, you would expect to pay at least $200 or so for a decent shooting coat, plus un-Godly amounts of money on a spotting scope, scope stand, shooting cart, etc.

So yeah, a good 22 like the Kimber M82 is the best option. But definitely check out a High Power tournament in your area if there is one. They may even loan you a rifle so you can participate in the match. You may find that you actually like High Power.

February 8, 2007, 02:43 PM
BTW, this will get you into the game for pretty cheap. Good aftermarket sights can cost $$$; this comes with them for around $300.



February 8, 2007, 02:44 PM
wait a minute....... you guys are saying that real marksmanship isnt just throwing lead down range?

February 8, 2007, 02:46 PM
Whoa. I never saw that Savage model before. That's a pretty good buy. $331 MSRP? You should be able to find it for $250 locally. Definitely worth looking into.

February 8, 2007, 02:46 PM
As an M1 Garand owner, I advise you to get a Garand before CMP runs out. You did say you handload for .30-06... you can tailor your loads to your rifle and and iron sights are already there. For acceptance for service, the M1 had to do 4MOA or better. From what I hear, a good many do a lot better.

Or, for a bolt action, if you can find a 1903A3 they have a finer front sight than the Garand or 1903. Some '03's and '03A3's have been built into good iron-sighted precission rifles as well.

For a .22LR bolt action, I recommend getting on Gunbroker.com and running a search for Remington 521-T. I say that because I really like mine which came with the Lyman 57RS rear sight and 17A on the front. Some are marked "U.S. Property" and that runs the price up some, but I'd bet there's still some can be had cheaper.

Editted to add:

Whoa. I never saw that Savage model before. That's a pretty good buy. $331 MSRP? You should be able to find it for $250 locally. Definitely worth looking into.

That's the first I saw of it too. Looks like a nice deal for a new rifle. Never noticed a .22LR with the AccuTrigger before. Anything $331 or less for this one sounds good considering how prices are going these days. My 521-T has features or details you won't get on a new production rifle. But if you want new production, I think this one's the way to go.

February 8, 2007, 02:58 PM
If you already load 30.06, you might consider a 1903 or 1903A3 rifle. They are very accurate and have good iron sights. The CMP still has some and replacement barrels are available. My 1903A3 will shoot 1.5" groups with Lake City surplus. I imagine good hand loads could do better.

Failing that, I like the .22 suggestions, but that might be better for a novice shooter.

An AR15 is an excellent choice if you want to go that way. It might be better to not shoot that rifle though to avoid interfering with your training in the near future.

February 8, 2007, 03:02 PM
Whoa. I never saw that Savage model before. That's a pretty good buy. $331 MSRP? You should be able to find it for $250 locally. Definitely worth looking into.

The Accu-Trigger, too, makes it a particularly good deal. It's ready to go right out of the box.

Aftermarket triggers are also not cheap. If I got a CZ for this purpose, I'd probably spring for the 453 with the single-set trigger, but then you're talking $500+, without sights.

Vern Humphrey
February 8, 2007, 03:04 PM
What's your goal? If it's to really learn rifle marksmanship at long ranges, I heartily endorse those who advise you to get a .22 -- and that Savage with the accutrigger looks like an unbeatable combination.

You can learn position shooting and long range shooting -- just stretch it beyond 100 yards and you'll learn more from a .22 than you can from a centerfire, both about trajectory and wind.

You can learn fast, offhand shooting with a .22 better than with any other rifle - I've fired hundreds of thousands of rounds offhand, working the bolt from the shoulder for just that purpose.

Now, if you want to learn high-power competition shooting, then a good AR 15 clone is what you need. But for general marksmanship, the .22 can't be beat.

February 8, 2007, 03:10 PM
As an M1 Garand owner, I advise you to get a Garand before CMP runs out.

Great advice. One problem... They are already out.

I was on their sight last night and they said that they were sold out and tot accepting any orders.:mad:

Sniper X
February 8, 2007, 03:11 PM
Anschutz Olympic rifle in .22 LR..

February 8, 2007, 03:12 PM
if there's a chance you might enlist, why not buy an AR and get familiar?...or better yet, use a friend's. if you're concentrating on marksmanship, you want very manageable recoil, and the AR fits that bill.

by the way, just about everybody i met in the army who was in a combat MOS was a decent marksman. your average combat arms vet has a very nice base to work from in regard to further refining skills. the army teaches the basics very well in my opinion.

February 8, 2007, 03:13 PM
Great advice. One problem... They are already out.

I was on their sight last night and they said that they were sold out and tot accepting any orders.

False. Rack grade rifles, service grade barrelled receivers, and bare receivers are still available.

February 8, 2007, 03:24 PM
I was thinking of the better condition ones that didn't need as much work

February 8, 2007, 03:30 PM
The keys to learning any sport or skill well are similar:

1. Get good information/instruction.
2. Practice to learn/improve
3. Competition or other test to assess progress

Repeat until really good. Then repeat some more.

To facilitate this, the gun should be low-recoil, really cheap to shoot, and easy to clean.

A .30-06 semiauto is none of these.:)

Doesn't mean it's not fun...

February 8, 2007, 03:45 PM
You do realize that the rifle you'll be issued will not have a pristine bore, or have a match trigger, etc. My own opinion is that you should be shooting something with a less-than-perfect trigger, offhand, until you can hit with confidence. If you can shoot well with average equipment & crummy triggers, you can shoot anything, and it won't matter what caliber it is. You can learn a lot of very valuable lessons from a pawnshop POS...

February 8, 2007, 03:48 PM
CZ 452 in the rimfire of your choice (they've got 'em all, I think)
CZ 527 in .223 Remington.

February 8, 2007, 04:10 PM
First, find a smallbore or air rifle club to see if you really like position shooting. The other thing is you will be around people that know what they are doing. They will most likely be happy to answer your questions, and prevent you from traveling down dead ends.

Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent, so make sure you are doing the right thing before you burn it in with a few thousand repetitions.

cracked butt
February 8, 2007, 04:45 PM
Ouch! I thought that I bought my 'last' rifle last night, then someone has to go and post about a really neat rimfire from Savage with lots of nifty add-ons for a low price.:banghead:

February 8, 2007, 05:21 PM
I was thinking of the better condition ones that didn't need as much work

I've heard a lot of good about those Rack Grades too... they shoot a lot better than CMP tells you they will. And you can rebarrel when that becomes necessary. Plus, if you need a better stock than comes on it, Boyds and Ramline offer two decent and affordable options.

February 8, 2007, 05:23 PM
Ouch! I thought that I bought my 'last' rifle last night, then someone has to go and post about a really neat rimfire from Savage with lots of nifty add-ons for a low price.

Yeah.:fire: :cuss: :banghead: Oh, wait, that's a good thing.

February 8, 2007, 05:32 PM
I'll jump on the .22 bandwagon. My son shoots in an NRA junior program, position shooting iron sighted .22's at small bullseyes at 50 feet. He also squirrel hunts with a scoped .22, which gives him a lot of experience in field positions at varying distances. When the big game rifle comes out, the techniques he has learned serve him quite well at 300 yards, and this year we'll try 400. At 14, he's way ahead of where I was when I was 3 times his age.

February 9, 2007, 01:37 AM
Get a .22lr rifle, Get a .22lr, what you still haven't gotten a .22lr?

Okay, it ain't a direct quote, but I love that everyone seems to be on the same page. :D

The .22lr does sound like a good idea, and that savage looks like a good little rifle, and would meet the requirement of having a peep sight.

Honestly, the whole point of this is that if I enlist, I want to score expert on the marksmanship test. Really, i would like to score 40/40.

If it wasn't for the fact that I am considering enlisting, I would be getting a precision rifle next. But with possibility of enlisting, I need to work on my shooting with iron sights.

Here is my concern:

As someone already mentioned, when I qualify, it won't be with a pristine AR-15 right off the shelf, it will be with a used, probably slightly abused M-16 that has seen better days.

So part of me thinks that I should get used to something slightly tougher to shoot well, such as the M1 or M1A, and shoot it out to 600 yards, so that when I get to basic, shooting the M-16 at 300 will be a piece of cake. I already shoot 20-40 rounds of .30-06 a week, but right now that is off the bench, and with a scoped rifle.

Part of me thinks that getting used to an AR-15 is a good idea, since that is close enough to what I am qualifying on, and I could always take that out to 600 as well to get me a tougher challenge. Or I could get a 16" carbine, and shoot it at 300 yards, and with the shorter sight radius, it will make it a little tougher. Learning to clean it effectively, learning the feel of it, and getting used to the sights, etc etc.

Part of me thinks that shooting reduced sized targets @ 25 and 50 yards with a .22lr makes a lot of sense, since I won't be worrying too much about holding high/low with the battle sight zero.

Thanks again guys, you have given me a lot to think about.


February 9, 2007, 03:02 AM
While I agree with the affordability of a .22 rifle and ammo My vote would be for a centerfire cartridge rather than a rimfire if you really get into it you will want to start shooting longer distances and I would recommend a larger caliber such as a .223 .I would also recomend a bolt action rather than a semi, just my opinion.

February 9, 2007, 06:48 AM
Obtain a copy of The Art of the Rifle, by Col. Cooper - and something like the already suggested CZ 452.

This package should be standard issue to boys under the Christmas tree at the appropriate age and time.



February 9, 2007, 07:29 AM
Obtain a copy of The Art of the Rifle, by Col. Cooper - and something like the already suggested CZ 452.

This package should be standard issue to boys under the Christmas tree at the appropriate age and time

That is exactly what I was going to post!

February 9, 2007, 08:23 AM
Since you have all the fun-go-boom rifles that double as home/range/end of the world defense, then a good .22LR might be the perfect thing. The CZ's are good, but keep in mind you can get a Mossberg 320-350 model .22 that has a really nice trigger, detachable magazine, iron sights, and is hammer fired like your Cetme or other military rifles. Best of all, you can get used Mossberg's for very, very cheap. Last one I picked up with a pristine bore in perfect condition, (but was a single-shot only) cost me all of $60. Just about every pawnshop will have at least one.

For example:



Or even his big brother (though these can be had cheaper)


Of course, the Garand is an excellent rifle for training. A bad Garand trigger beats a good Cetme or FAL trigger, usually. Plus, they are generally very accurate.


1911 guy
February 9, 2007, 08:23 AM
There are no advanced techniques. There are only basics applied faster and farther away. This came from, I think, Clint Smith.

Learn the basics of marksmanship as well as unlearn any bad habits with a .22 rimfire. Stretching a .22 out to 100M offhand will teach you about wind doping, sight adjustment and proper form. Master this and then move up to something with more range and power. Go back to the .22 often to reinforce the things you need "reminding" of.

February 9, 2007, 09:47 AM
I notice we always hear from those who think a .22 rifle is only good inside 50yds, but I read about one service rifle club somewhere in southern California where they shoot .22LR rifles out to 400yds. I've shot sillouette matches to 100yds with my 521-T with apertures against a line full of scopes and did well enough to get their attention. I also recall when I was 13 or 14 years old seeing my Grandpa- on Daddy's side- kill a chicken killing varmint out at 300yds with his open-sighted .22 rifle. People don't give .22's enough credit.

cracked butt
February 9, 2007, 09:50 AM
Honestly, the whole point of this is that if I enlist, I want to score expert on the marksmanship test. Really, i would like to score 40/40.

Try NRA rimfire silhouette. If you can clean the course fo fire for this discipline, the military marksmanship test would be a walk in the park.

The method I used to work on my standing position was to put a fairly large yet somewhat challenging target (milk jug) on a dirt berm at 100 yards. You get instant feedback if you hit it, and can see where the bullet hits when you miss. Once you gt tot he point where you can hit this target easily, use a smaller target like a 2L soda bottle, Once you get down to where you are hitting a pop can every shot at 1oo yards, you'll know your rifle very well. I spent a few months doing this a few years ago, and my scores for my highpower standing position went from the mid 60's to the high 90s.

cracked butt
February 9, 2007, 10:03 AM
but I read about one service rifle club somewhere in southern California where they shoot .22LR rifles out to 400yds. I've shot sillouette matches to 100yds with my 521-T with apertures against a line full of scopes and did well enough to get their attention. I also recall when I was 13 or 14 years old seeing my Grandpa- on Daddy's side- kill a chicken killing varmint out at 300yds with his open-sighted .22 rifle. People don't give .22's enough credit.

The farthest I've shot a .22 was 270 yards, which was the farthest shot at the range I could take. Shooting prone with a scoped rifle, once I got the drop and wind figured out, I was banging a 14" gong with every shot- the bullets were litterally being lobbed at the target:)

Vern Humphrey
February 9, 2007, 12:35 PM
I used to win a little pocket money shooting .22 Silhouette -- although now the game is dominated by cheaters -- people with specially-made chin guns with bloop tubes and so on.

One good thing is that the ram is almost exactly the size of a squirrel. I have shot many a squirrel at around 100 yards.

February 9, 2007, 02:02 PM
I also recall when I was 13 or 14 years old seeing my Grandpa- on Daddy's side- kill a chicken killing varmint out at 300yds with his open-sighted .22 rifle.

What kind of varmint?

How did he compensate for the bullet drop (around 7 ft., I think)?

Eleven Mike
February 9, 2007, 03:04 PM
That savage looks great, especially because of the sights. However, I put together a 10/22 Carbine with a fiber-optic Williams peep sight for somewhat less. The Savage will likely be more accurate. The Ruger will have more after-market parts (sights, triggers, barrels). You can buy a few ten-rounders for the Rugers and spend less time loading, and more time shooting, as opposed to the five-shot Savage. Then again, you don't have much time for gun-smithing.

If you have the cash, get the AR. (Even though I hate them.) The Army will do a poor job of teaching you marksmanship, and you'll be lucky if you figure out how the sights work. I'd get familiar with the platform now. Recoil is negligible, so it's a decent training tool. And some of those DO come with iron sights. :)

Later, when the New AWB makes them triple in price, you can trade the AR for something better.;)

February 9, 2007, 05:25 PM
What kind of varmint?

Like I said, it was the kind that kills chickens.

How did he compensate for the bullet drop (around 7 ft., I think)?

I don't know what his holdover was. What I know is I pointed out the target and Grandpa slung in and nailed it. But I agree it had to be a bit high at that distance.

February 9, 2007, 05:28 PM
Like I said, it was the kind that kills chickens.

...which is why I asked...

We have bobcats, cougars, coyotes, feral dogs, foxes, and maybe a big bird or two.

I'm wondering what a .22LR will kill at 300 yards, even if you CAN hit it.

February 9, 2007, 05:44 PM
For learning marksmanship, I'd suggest first off getting an accurate .22. There's no easier or cheaper way to learn the ins and outs. Also, since it doesn't kick and isn't loud, it doesn't fatigue you. You'll pick up a lot of valuable skills such as breath control, trigger control, etc. and it won't cost you an arm and a leg to do so. These skills will be with you when you buy something larger for longer range.

Eleven Mike
February 9, 2007, 06:15 PM
But the AR also does this, if you can handle the cost. It also helps you learn the "ins and outs" of the American military's primary small arm.

February 9, 2007, 07:51 PM
Oh, another thing that I have not seen...

The M16A2 has a horrible trigger, which I have read is due to the three round burst mechanism. So don't get too used to a nice trigger.

February 9, 2007, 08:06 PM
+1 for the K-31 Swiss, They are ugly, but I hear that they are really accurate.

cracked butt
February 9, 2007, 08:25 PM
+1 for the K-31 Swiss, They are ugly, but I hear that they are really accurate.

They are, but they also recoil fairly hard. Its hard to learn and work on fundamentals when the shooter starts flinching after 10 shots.

February 9, 2007, 09:01 PM
Felt recoil is subjective. It's dependant on how the stock fits the shooter. That said, according to the Hornady 5th Edition load manual, the 7.5x55 Swiss round fires a .308"dia. bullet and all their's are also listed for .308 and .30-06 among other chamberings. Case dimensions... 7.5x55 is 4mm's longer than .308Winchester and 8mm's shorter than .30-06, so volume of powder is somewhere between the two. I'll have to check the manual again to get exact charge weights to comparison with .308 and '06. My opinion is that actual ft.lbs. will be in the .308/.30-06 range. But felt recoil and ft.lbs. are two different things.

February 9, 2007, 09:51 PM
I picked up shooting highpower a few years ago and here is my take. You don't need new. Most shooters could care less how new or highspeed-lowdrag your gear is, almost all are glad to see you there. Find a used AR in good shape and a leather sling like Turner as they are easier to find, may even come with the gun if your lucky. When finances permit consider a rimfire upper for the short range training at 100, cause after shooting highpower, 100 is shortrange. There are plenty of other pieces to add to your equipment but this will get your foot in the door. Find a local club and get involved because once they know you are interested they are more than happy to help. When I was going to Saturday practice there were experienced guys helping me and some others with positions and once I was up and running I got my expert card that summer. Some folks will even loan you equipment to get through the match, at least that was my experience. I've let guys use my Kowa that didn't have scope that were squadded with me and I love it when someones eyes light up when you give then a nice piece of equipment to use. Be humble, most of them will treat you like family. Shooting highpower, just below family time, has been one of lifes most rewarding experiences. My oldest may shoot his first Garand match this year and then it will be family time as well. :D

I love my M1s, but I wouldn't spend much time shooting one to train to shoot an M16/AR15 unless I was going to shoot it for fun or practice for the next Garand match.

And of course always, YMMV. Good luck, I dont think you will be disapointed.

Here is a good start: http://estore.odcmp.com/store/catalog/catalog.aspx?pg=product&ID=780&item=&sfv=&cat=BKS&desc=&udc=&mct=&vndr=&ba=&pmin=&pmax=&note1=&note2=&note3=&note4=&note5=&max=

February 9, 2007, 10:04 PM
Buy a good, accurate, plinker grade .22 rifle like a Marlin M60 or a Ruger 10/22 or Remington 597 or a bolt gun, don't have to be an autoloader. Marksmanship skills begin with the .22 rimfire. Buy four or five thousand rounds for less than the cost of a new rifle and burn 'em up practicing.

Take some rifle marksmanship training if you haven't.

February 10, 2007, 01:28 PM

I would think anyone as experienced as yourself would do well on a basic rifle qualification course.

I qualified "expert" at nineteen first at Ft. Knox with an XM-16E1 that had issues some three decades ago. Only once in my service did I score less than "expert" and that is a long story involving a 2LT.

Before I entered service my "High Power" shooting was limited to a few rounds from family and friends hunting rifles, a couple of clips through an M-1,
literally five shots through an M-14 and a few hundred from an M-1 Carbine.

What I think allowed me to shoot "expert" was the thousands of rounds I shot through aperature sighted Remington 513T and Winchester 52D rifles in highschool and the thousand or so I fired through tangent sighted sporting .22LRs like my old Savage stevens 67DL or Dad's Nylon 66 or my anchient WInchester 67 single shot.

At the Citadel during my one semester there I was one of four freshmen to earn "Expert" at small bore and that with only about 40 rounds practice weeks earlier.

I believe that shooting a .22LR allows one to concentrate more on position, control, and trigger manipulation than shooting high power. Before folks start, yes I have since done a far amount of shooting with centerfires sence then my last two club matches Ishot in I used an M1903A3 and an AR-180 in. I have owned and shot Garands and such since then as well and qualified with the G3 in Germany.

I still like to drop back to the .22LR frequently. WHen I was having dismal results with an HK94, the semi only long barreled MP-5 wannabe, I stopped and picked up my .22LR to assure myself it was not me.

A couple of years ago I took and Urban Rifle course taught by Maj. J.E. Land USMC Ret. Some of you will recall that besides being a national champion High Power Shooter himself, he was also Carlos Hathcock's coach when White Feather first started shooting competitions and later was Hathcock's commander in VN and shot in the field, sometimes with Hathcock and sometimes with others himself, as well.

He said to me in a break in the class that whenever Marine Scout Snipers or HP Competitors seemed to be having trouble with HP that he put them back on the .22LR and they shot as far as 200 meters with them to re enforce leassons about trajectory and wind drift. He said this always got folks back on track.

Personally I feel just the opposite of some folks here. I believe practice with a crappy trigger or a less accurate rifle does little to prepare one for a different crappy trigger and crappy barrel. I think reducing variables out side of yourself as much as possible make you learn to be a better shooter by controlling yourself.

As far as shooting a possible on a GI course of fire, unless it is your intention to try to be a precision shooter by impressing some one from a team that by sheer luck is whatching your lane, I can see little reason carreer wise to do so. Unless things have changed only the qualification, not the score will follow you around. The guy that drops just enough to make expert will have the same thing in his records as the guy that shoots the possible.

If I had to buy a new centerfire I would buy and AR-15 with everything as much like a stock M-16A2 as possible, just to be comfortable with its shape and controls. I would get lots of practice obtaining a zero, to the point of having someone else crank the sights off, front and rear so you get to start from scratch as it were every time. Obtaing battle sight and using the proper sight setting are key to qauifying with any M-16. I would also search for some of the reduced range targets that allow qualification at 25 meters, just for the immediate feed back and because they may require you to obtain a other zero just for them and it gives you more practice at that.

Just learning to opperate the gun and becoming very familure with it will give you an advantage over most of the troopers. You will not be fumbling for unfamilure controls or using them improperly when the targets come up. You will know the fastest safe way to make magazine changes.

Get a GI users manual and learn the Army Way of doing things, especially the immediate action drill. It helps to have some dummy rounds for that and practice it where it would be safe if they magically turned into ball ammo.

I admit it....I cheated on every one of the popup only courses I qualified on. I studied available texts and learned about the trajectory of the bullet with regard to the sights when set at Battle Sight Zero ( in those days with the A1s this was 250meter Zero with the short sight). Despite assurences that the round would strike every target when held in high center mass I noted that folks tened to shoot over at 150 and under at 300 so I held a little low at 150 and a little high at 300. I also shot to hit undamaged parts of the target at close range as the old target system would sometimes not register hits through shot out areas. I went for upperchest/head shots on the 25 and 50 meter and aimed a smidgion low at 100 to get the round between the damaged area and the bottom of the target. It was also posible to take that target in that system with the splash of a near miss low that threw up debris at a velocity that registed as a hit so even if I was a little off I still got a hit.

I also feel that familuraity with the weapon would help in night firing. We fired at night wihour NVDs or flairs at 25 and 50 meter targets that had little strobes set before them breifly ligth them up as though by there muzzle flash. Both in Infantry AIT and in Europe we shot under flares. In every case the grade was just GO or NO GO. The chemical mask of the time had rigid eyepieces so weird positions go used. Guess what? Those with the most familurarity with the weapons and the best day time scores shot best even when those weird positions were made up on the site.

My unit in Europe had a very high rate for earning the EIB. The Expert Infantry badge was normally won by 3 percent or lest of those testing in any year. The 100 guys testing in 1974 in my unit took 18 awards of the EIB. the other two companys each to twice thae average. One of the major reasons for us doing so wel was shooting expert was required to win the Badge. Granted we chot between two and three times what any other Infantry in Europe at the time did because of job requirements but I think it had much to do with the fact that we spent far more days with a rifle in our hands than other units. Part of our job required that we sit and wait for 3 hours at a time in a ready room and so many of us used the time to practice balancing a dime on the barrle while squeezing off a dry fire shot. A few times we shot the box, a system where by one checks to see they have consistant sight picture and sight alignment with the rifle fixed solidly in a box and a movable target befor a piec of paper. One ordered the target holder to move ther target up, down ,left or right until everything was perfect adn the target was marked. This allowed us to simulate 100 meter shooting from across the room. Those three thing allowed us to be familure with the rifle, learn good trigger control with our own issue rifle and learn sight alignment and sight picture to a fair degree and with the extra actual shooting this meant more shot expert so more could get by on the easier stuff like the killer map adn compass day and night courses, the forced march with gear, and the today hands on test (range finding was the killer here, oddly those that practiced such anyway for rifle shooting and calls for fire had no problem here).

My point being that familurarity with the weapon is a Good Thing(TM).

So if you have the money for any thing beyound a .22LR get an AR-15 done up to current A2 specs.

Rather than any other centerfire I would get a .22LR.

and now you know why.

-Bob Hollingsworth

Eleven Mike
February 10, 2007, 04:15 PM
Take some rifle marksmanship training if you haven't.

Very good suggestion. Competent instruction is vital in any field, and you may or may not get very much of it in the service, where riflecraft is concerned.

February 10, 2007, 05:14 PM
I site in my Anshultz w/ 4-12 X AO scope 22 rifle using Win 40 Gr LR HP ammo. Sited in at 60 Yds the bullet path is .2 in low at 25 Yds, +.4 in at 50 Yds, low 1.2 in at 75 Yds, low 4.8 in at 100 Yds, low 10.6 in at 125 Yds, low 18.9 in at 150 Yds, low 29.8 inches at 175 Yds. The bullet will drift about 9 inches in a 10 MPH 90 degree wind at 175 Yds. I have about $1500 in my 22 rifle. Where are people gettiing thoes 22 Rimfire wonder guns that shot game out past 200 Yds? Some years ago I was a NRA Certified Marksman Instructor and shot the four positions at 50 feet. I grew up in the country and have no idea how many prairie dogs and jack rabbits I have shot at various ranges in my life time with a 22 rifle. Get a top quality bolt action rifle 22 rifle to learn how to become a rifleman. There is no recoil so you can see when you flinch ,and other shooting faults. Get some books from the NRA about rifle shooting. If you can, go to a rimfire rifle shooting club.

February 10, 2007, 08:00 PM
Buy Boston's Gun Bible for a complete detailed analysis and breakdown of all major battle rifles. The Whys and Hows of becoming a rifleman. A truly excellent book.

February 10, 2007, 08:31 PM
You've already gotten a lot of good advice.

A few more options I think no one has mentioned:
1 option = Get a replacement rear sight for the SKS.

Attend a Garand Clinic, I did one for 35 dollars & got some decent instruction. It depends on luck, but you will probably do well for the investment. Plus it is a pretty fair comparison to the guy shooting next to you.

An air rifle or .22 at home if possible. Shooting 10 rounds every week day puts you through the discipline of shooting better that 50 rounds in 1 session. Being able to pick up a rifle & making the 1st shot count is different than having a few rounds to warm up. Might as well work out the kinks cheaply at home if possible


February 10, 2007, 09:58 PM
Daniel FloryThat is exactly what I was going to post!
OK; next time it's your turn. :)



February 10, 2007, 10:48 PM
My advise is not to get all hung up about what rifle you should get untill you look around and find what type of shooting is going on in your area.
Poke around on the internet,visit local gun clubs,and find out what is going on in your area.Highpower,service rifle matches,smallbore. Shooters in general and competition shooters in particular are very generous of their time and spare firearms to shooters just starting in any particular shooting sport and those same shooters are the best sorce of used special pourpose firearms. I believe that competition shooting and competition shooters are your best source to become a "better" shooter at any level but the most casual
Find yourself some local competition,get some good instruction from those who know their stuff (the guys who compete do !) and start out with some borrowed or good used equipment that is correct for whatever type you find,and then if you really get into a particular type you can start to purchase newer/better stuff as your wallet allows.
Haveing said all this a Rock River National Match AR is only slightly more than the standard ARs (and much less than some of the fancy models) and is good to go right out of the box and will serve your needs untill you get serious at a pretty high level. I bought one last summer and was out the door for $1025. You will need a couple hundred more for a sling,glove or mit and a jacket

February 11, 2007, 06:16 PM
Honestly, the whole point of this is that if I enlist, I want to score expert on the marksmanship test. Really, i would like to score 40/40.

Shooting 40/40 is harder than one would think, even for a good marksman. The silhouettes seem to just not go down sometimes. Alot of silhouettes arent always changed when theyre shot full of holes and i swear the rounds go right through them without registering a hit. Sometimes, Ive even found it easier to shoot up rocks and dirt in front of the target to knock it down. But good luck. If thats the reason you want to get good, youd almost certainly want an ar for practice then.

February 11, 2007, 06:19 PM
:evil: :evil: 40/40? :confused:

Last time I checked it was a 250... :p :neener:

February 11, 2007, 10:41 PM
I want to say thanks everyone for the advice.

My wife and I have discussed it, and we are probably going to get a 20" AR-15 in the A2 configuration.

We are going to wait a month or two, to see how I do with getting back into shape, and see if my knees hold up. So far I am working out everyday, trying to get back to the fitness level I was at when I was 18. Ten years has done a number on me. :(

Thanks again everyone.

February 11, 2007, 11:25 PM
Rember my shoots going striaght thru the targets and not counting as a hit, hell one range in Ft Lenerad Wood i was able to score two hits with on round ( hit the target just right it would follow thru and hit the target behind it)

But the Army came out with new quallifing target that is placed at 50 meters and has all the target profiles from ranges 25-300 meter and you have to but 2-3 rounds in each which is kinda hard cause you have to rember which ones you shot at.

But for a rifle to pratice on before joining up get an Ar-15 with the 22lr conversion on it, that should give you feel of M-16 and cheap rounds to get send down range. dont need matchgrade parts for it cause you wont be aiming for bulleyes but for center mass (kill a soilder take out one, wound him take out 2 or 3), and find a range that has miltary type shooting range pop up man sized targets so you can work on target spoting and quick shots (time limit and 2 tagets up at once).

February 11, 2007, 11:43 PM

Please PM me your adress so I can send you the invoice for the $300 I'm going to have to spend on the Savage someone posted. If you'd like I may be able to send 1/2 the bill to the guilty party who posted the picture but since this was your thread I'm holding you responsible as well.

In all seriousness I'm planning on tying to improve my shooting as well. Been meaning to pick up Art of the Rifle but just haven't got around to it.

Best of luck.

February 12, 2007, 01:15 AM
Youre looking for a bolt action in .22 LR.

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