I can shoot well, but not at targets


February 27, 2009, 03:29 PM
I have noticed something interesting the last few times I went to the range. When I shoot at paper targets at any range from 50 out to 300 yards my groups are okay at best but really nothing impressive. If I am shooting at objects that are set on the berm for example I can hit just about anything I can see. I can kill bottle caps with my marlin .22 at 50 yards about 8 out of 10 shots, and clay pigeons almost 100% out to 300 yards with my M1A. Any one have any Ideas as to my problem may be, any ways to practice to fix it?

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February 27, 2009, 03:32 PM
A few things have had a similar effect on me.

1. Time of day, meals, etc. Sometimes, I'm shakier than others.

2. Lighting. I can sometimes shoot pretty well, plinking at 100 yards with a .22 revolver outside in broad daylight, but damn if I don't have a hard time seeing the sights and target clearly indoors, and a lot closer.

3. Focus. When you're having fun, you don't have to try to focus. When you're trying to focus and not having fun, your mind rebels.:)

Hungry Seagull
February 27, 2009, 03:36 PM
Kinda like bowling.

Bowling a 199 or so to keep my 175+ average and having fun with spouse without worrying about that "PERFECT" game or BOOSTING the average past 200... relaxing times.

Bowling to boost average or perhaps that perfect game is really NOT fun.

I try for a strike every time the same way, however the body and mind isnt always on the job. So... I throw for fun.

I shoot on the range for these things:

Safe Gunhandling

Chance to shoot a few rounds or clips at something

Having a little fun as long as everything is progressing normally and no one is getting hurt. (And my shots are hitting the police paper within center mass)

Dont push it. If you are shooting ho hum average or losing your grip and your shots are getting missing by greater distances and it upsets you...

Take a break a while.

One thing we do is change paper targets. Sometimes sight centering targets, sometimes police targets sometimes animal targets.... those are fun!

Keep in mind we fire indoors at a 100 yard range, shooting out lights, seeing splashback, Choking on gunsmoke/lead clouds, unsafe behavior or other problems IS NOT fun.

February 27, 2009, 03:45 PM
aim small, miss small

try putting a bottle cap on your target? :)

Bwana John
February 27, 2009, 03:54 PM
Its a lot easier to forget those misses on the bank.:)

Paper dont forget.:scrutiny:

February 27, 2009, 03:58 PM
You can also be missing bottle-caps and clay targets slightly, and the dirt thrown back by the bullet strikes is breaking clays and tossing bottle-caps.

Paper targets are a true indication of how well you can shoot or not.

Moving "Found Objects" on a dirt bank is not.


February 27, 2009, 04:05 PM
Moving "Found Objects" on a dirt bank is not.

It is if you pick up the flying can and there's a clean, round .44 caliber hole through the middle of it.:D

February 27, 2009, 04:10 PM
Kinda reminds me of another broker I knew when I was in Commodities & Securities. Claimed he never made a bad trade, and he fully believed it.

I found out different after I joined the company. I think "selective memory" is the term.

See, if you miss the bottle cap, you shoot again....(and maybe again, and again). Suddenly..."LOOK!!! I HIT THE CAP!!!"

February 27, 2009, 04:13 PM
A; shoot for fun, not for scores.
B; try some targets that are a big contrast, i have some tan/brown "NRA" smallbore targets, i can't shoot them all that well. This feb rimfire match target has a black dot in white paper, helps to concentrate on that. Also "dot" targets help, no scoring rings, just hit and miss.

Hungry Seagull
February 27, 2009, 04:16 PM
Redneck2... going back a few generation's make that the "Percussion Cap!"

Drumroll rimshot please :D

February 27, 2009, 04:29 PM
aim small, miss small

Great movie "The Patriot" !

February 27, 2009, 06:06 PM
You can also be missing bottle-caps and clay targets slightly, and the dirt thrown back by the bullet strikes is breaking clays and tossing bottle-caps.

That is my experience as well. Unless you count the holes as ArmedBear says. Another possibility is that your paper target is not right for your sights or range. A big bullseye pistol target is not very good for a scoped rifle and vice versa.

February 27, 2009, 06:48 PM
you are breathing all wrong, your trigger control is all wrong, and your body positioning; you are in incorrect unnatural, or a nonrelaxed oscillating position; that is to say, you are not in a correct,natural, relaxed, static position, so your muscles all over your body are twitchin and bouncin, trying to hold your aim, while fighting against, an unnatural , unrelaxed, position.
you can overcome a lot of bad crap at the range, almost all of it, but bad trigger control, and bad body positioning, especially together , is almost impossible to overcome.
Natural body position is mostly this; say you are going to be shooting off of a bench. Get all totally ready- all your stuff, ammo, bags, front and back, rifle rested on it, mags loaded, 1 in the gun, just like you are ready to go, then put your finger on the trigger, and do everything you normally would, if you were going to pull that trigger. THEN DON'T!!!! drop your trigger hand on the table, close your eyes, let your head totally droop on your neck, with your chin resting on your chest, and breathe normal. As a matter of fact, when you do this, remember your breathing during this time; this is normal and natural, and should be this way, all through your shooting period.
Sit there for at least 30 seconds, totally relaxed; if you can wait a full minute, that is better. Then open your eyes, look up, look through your sights or scope, WITHOUT MOVING, ADJUSTING, FIDGITING, FIXING, MOVING YOUR A$%SSGROOVE, NO MOVING AT ALL!!!! Keep your body in it's totally relaxed mode, just as you had it, with your eyes closed, arms down, hands down, chin on chest, just now that your eyes are open, and head is up.
Now then, if you have to move any part of your body, to correctly look through your scope, or you have to move closer, or a little left or right, or tilt your head, or move your head on your neck, a little left or right, or whatever the movement is; YOU ARE NOT IN A NATURAL SHOOTING POSITION!!!!
you should be able to open your eyes, lift your head, raise your shooting hand, and without moving anything else at all, be ready to shoot; if not, and you have to move a bit, strain, here a bit, stretch there a bit, then your body is twitching all over, and your muscles are fighting to keep your potato lumpy skin and skeleton where the muscles want them to go.
As for the breathing keep up the regular normal breathing, and allways choose a place , on the way of the exhale, where to pull the trigger; allways
the same place.

February 27, 2009, 06:52 PM
i kinda feel the same. i shoot my ar15 iron sights at 100 yards and i tend to do better grouping with a 4" target rather than a full 12". it's like what i tell my friend, if you can see it, you can hit it. (in range that is)

Hungry Seagull
February 27, 2009, 06:53 PM
I let out about 90 percent of my air from the lungs and pull at that point.

That muzzle follows your breathing from a standing positon along with everything else.

February 27, 2009, 09:39 PM
I do not shoot paper targets too good either......:scrutiny:........I love busting clay pigeons though..............:D

.38 Special
February 27, 2009, 09:44 PM
Its a lot easier to forget those misses on the bank.

Paper dont forget.

Never underestimate the power of self deception, is the moral of that story. Most of us have met the hunter who "can't hit paper" but "show me hide and I can hit it every time". Riiight...

Hungry Seagull
February 27, 2009, 09:47 PM
Have the recent thread Montana Street Gangs Photos BLOWN UP professionally and tack THAT to the end of the range.

We will see who hits that photorealistic hide. And not hit anyone else, windows, doors or cars.

February 27, 2009, 09:55 PM
yes, try different targets! seriously! some targets are just terrible. the ones that have a large black "bullseye" for example are terrible to shoot at. personally, i make my own targets on my computer, and i use NO black ink at all. all of my targets are in vivid color, and the bullseye is quite small. usually a darker red or blue in coclr, but never black. actually, a fairly large "x" in a different color can also help you aim accurately. give it a try, and see what happens. p.s. i make all of my targets on the "paint" program that comes on almost every computer.

February 27, 2009, 10:24 PM
Here's me at 50 yards shooting at 30-06 brass.


Me again at 50 yards on paper.


I'm just sayin'...

February 27, 2009, 10:24 PM
The Sundance Kid syndrome? :rolleyes:

Shoot faster!

.38 Special
February 27, 2009, 10:39 PM
The difference is that there is one hole in the case and five holes in the paper.

You could tell us that you can center a .30-06 case every time. But you probably shouldn't.

February 27, 2009, 11:00 PM
One thing that helped me, and may help you is the breathing aspect. A fellow member of this board ( And my best friend I might add), noticed that my breathing was all out of wack! He gave me the same advice as a previous post, relax your breathing for how ever long that may take. Inhale, exhale, then in the short pause between your exhale and next inhale, is when you take the shot. I can honestly say, this has been the best advice I have ever received regarding improving my shooting ability. After all, eight years as a ranger, I would be ignorant not to take his advice. It helped.

March 1, 2009, 07:43 PM
when shooting at objects your just trying to hit the object your not trying to zero in and hit the same excact spot repeatedly... next time you shoot focus on just a line from the paper and the center...

March 1, 2009, 07:49 PM
Stop thinking and just shoot. Paper, bottles, cans, whatever, it's just a target. Keep your focus on the front sight, use your sling, dope the wind, whatever. If you do everything correct it's not the target.

On the other hand the sight picture and light may affect your vision so it will affect your aim. So pay close attention next time and dry fire 10 - 20 times and see what is different. Is your front sight shiney and reflecting light? Are you shooting in a dark indoor range?

Somehing is different and you need to findout wha it is.

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