Shooting with Accuracy 101


PDA






Paper_Zombie
February 12, 2013, 08:55 PM
Let's assume that our student knows how to hold a rifle, load the rifle, cycle the action, and pull the trigger.

Let's also assume they've never shot at anything further than 25 yards before (typical for an indoor range), but now wants to shoot at much further distances.

What tips, tricks and advice do you more experienced shooters have for this student (who is waiting to devour any sound advice tossed casually in his direction). :o

Consider things like breathing control, different kinds of rests, where to place a rifle on a rest, difference between holding a rifle offhand and holding it on a bench, etc.

Teach me, oh wise ones.

If you enjoyed reading about "Shooting with Accuracy 101" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Powerglide
February 12, 2013, 09:14 PM
Advice, learn what you said with a 22 rifle then, keep getting bigger. Pretty soon, you're lauching scud missles.And right on target too!

TurtlePhish
February 12, 2013, 09:24 PM
What have you taught him for shooting at 25 yards?

The same basic accuracy fundamentals apply. Breathing control, trigger control, sight picture, stable stance, etc.

I'd recommend first trying it at 50 yards, then moving out little by little to get a more gradual introduction to shooting at range.

Shooting on rests- put the stock on the rest, make sure there's no pressure on the barrel. If the rifle has a full-length stock, move the rest as far back towards the shooter as you can- preferably placing the magazine on the rest (if applicable).

Types of rests- sandbags, shooting sticks, little wooden stands, bipods, etc.

Shooting from a rest is a good way to practice trigger control and sight picture, but not much else. Stance, breathing, etc. only really have a big impact when shooting using only the body and/or sling as a rest- offhand, sitting, kneeling, prone, etc.

Skylerbone
February 12, 2013, 09:35 PM
I'll second posts 2 & 3 with the exception of resting the magazine against the bag. Set the bag under the forward action screw if possible is my preference.

Beyond what's been said, trust your wobble, aim small miss small, squeeze the trigger if all is right, remove your finger if not and most importantly: ENJOY what you're doing!

tahoe2
February 12, 2013, 09:36 PM
consistency is the key, same trigger pull, same stance, grip, etc... and all that stuff that was stated above.

Demos
February 12, 2013, 09:39 PM
Hi,
You can learn about marksmanship and the different positions from the people who taught the most, the US Army. http://archive.org/details/Rifle_Marksmanship_with_M1_Rifle_Part_1
The video is centered around a Garand, but it applies to any rifle.
Then practice. Practicing doesn't necessarily mean go to the range and shoot $100 of ammo. To start just practice getting into all the different positions, focus on adjusting your natural point of aim, and do some dry firing (depending on what you are practicing with snap caps or something similar may be recommended). Once you can get yourself comfortably into the positions and set your natural point of aim over the target head out to the range and have some fun, and I've always found the most fun can be had with 22's since you can practice all day without the guilt of spending tons of money.
I hope this helps.
Demos

Paper_Zombie
February 12, 2013, 09:45 PM
In response...let's say this student never learned proper breathing control...

oh, screw it...I find it much easier to shoot at 25 yards regardless.

Let's say I have a rifle that's approx. 9 lbs. <.<...>.>

I have a tendency to keep my weak hand almost at the magazine in order to stabilize, whereas it's much further up with one of my lighter .22 rifles.

Is that a bad thing, or does stance have more to do with what's comfortable to the shooter than what some official guidelines say is best?

(Reminds me of a movie where a city-slicker found himself in the wild-west, bought a gun for his protection, but didn't know how to shoot it. He'd wrap his weak arm around his torso, grabbing onto his shoulder, and braced his arm w/ pistol in the crook of his elbow while humorously adjusting his head to get a good sight picture. He could hit a dime at 50 feet with that stance, but couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a "normal" shooter's stance)

As far as sighting...is it proper to have a 6 o'clock hold, or do you want the sight to sit "over" the target.

I know I sound like a beginner, and you're probably shaking your heads right now, but no-one else I know (save for one lovable gun-nut that, oddly enough, I don't trust with a loaded gun) can teach me these things, and here I am trying to teach my uncle and younger cousins the fine art of shooting. :banghead:

TurtlePhish
February 12, 2013, 09:48 PM
I have a tendency to keep my weak hand almost at the magazine in order to stabilize, whereas it's much further up with one of my lighter .22 rifles.

Is that a bad thing, or does stance have more to do with what's comfortable to the shooter than what some official guidelines say is best?


That's actually what a lot of target shooters do. Many will use the magazine area as a place to rest the rifle on their weak hand, bracing their elbow against their ribcage or hip. Look at the offhand 4-position stance for an idea.

What official guidelines say is "best" is often the most stable stance possible to shoot from. Some are uncomfortable, but you'll notice a distinct decrease in wobble and it'll be easier to hold the rifle up for longer periods of time.

As far as sighting...is it proper to have a 6 o'clock hold, or do you want the sight to sit "over" the target.


Either is proper, but it depends on what you're shooting. 6 o'clock is preferred by target shooters, covering the target is alright for general shooting.

Paper_Zombie
February 12, 2013, 10:07 PM
I appreciate all the answers so far. Thanks go out to all that have replied.

Every word you spend the effort typing is helping someone become a better shooter. I will endeavor to research and practice different stances in order to find what's comfortable and effective, as well as get back to the basics, which I believe is more important at longer ranges, and which is something I've probably taken for granted for a long time, believing myself to be a "decent shot". (That's a laugh) :P

Keep it coming. :D

TurtlePhish
February 12, 2013, 10:08 PM
Oh, one tip I forgot- attend an Appleseed event! You'll learn all the fundamentals you need.

Welding Rod
February 12, 2013, 11:16 PM
Focus on trigger control. The real key to hitting is as simple as having the trigger break when the sights are on target.

You can never get the sights to hang on target, they will always be moving over the target. All you have to do is get the trigger to break at the right time. Focus your attention there.

Oh, and never rest the barrel on anything.

WNTFW
February 12, 2013, 11:53 PM
Center hold is what I like. I find it easier with some of the issues below. Also it is supposed to be less affected by lighting conditions. Sight black helps too.

NPoA = Natural Point of Aim. That is the key to any position. Sights will be where they need to be for a lot longer. Knowing how to adjust your position is key.

Feet about hip width apart.

For field positions don't let the stock touch anything. Brace your body/hand to the object not the stock.

What Welding Rod said is one of the hardest things to do. Only take good shots! Many people give in & take a knowingly compromised shot. Not backing off & regrouping is one example. It is a lot of work but it starts coming easier just like getting your NPA gets easier.

Trigger control is a key element. Dry firing can help. Once you can call you shots, you really are on your way.

I practice with an Air rifle at 14 yds at home for distances up to 600 yds. I just reduce target size. Not perfect but way better than whining that i have not shot in X number of days, weeks & months.

This has some good position advice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UE8RDSyrJY&playnext=1&list=PL4EBA17557DDC2CC7&feature=results_main

Ramone
February 14, 2013, 02:45 PM
All good advice above.

For me, understanding the mechanics of a posture is very important- knowing what is resting on what, which way the pressure should be applied, how the forces should be resolved.

GOOD question on the support arm! Here's the rub- the closer to your body, the steadier your hand will be- the further out the foregrip, the steadier the rifle will be. Find your happy place, but always try moving things around when you can.

What works, works- if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying. On the Other Hand, Generations of Rifleman have worked out some pretty good ways of doing things, and their techniques should be mastered, if only so we can move beyond them.

Get a 1907 style sling- learn the sling, love the sling.

CHEEK WELD. learn to make it the same way, every time, in any position. *I* always lay my jaw to the stock firmly, then slide down until my cheekbone is firm to the comb of the stock. A small tack, or a slight notch placed on the comb (or even a piece of tape) will help you find the same spot every time. Every good marksman I know has a different method/trick, but they all have good, consistent cheek weld.

Breathing/heartbeat- learning to calm your body to the closest to utter stillness is key. I usually tell proteges not to 'hold' their breath, but to 'stop' it when their lungs are as close to empty as comfortable. Learn to settle in, to relax into the posture, to make your most rested posture your natural point of aim.

Trigger control- again, a little verbal pickiness, but don't 'pull' the trigger- 'Press' the trigger. Isolate your trigger finger from the rest of your hand while doing so. Follow through- don't reset (release) the trigger till you have required the target- that right there will tighten up groups all by itself.

EVERY SHOT COUNTS. Every shot exists separately from every other shot. don't 'throw out the flyer'. never give yourself an alibi- the misses teach you more than the hits. Use ten round groups. Keep good records of everything you can record.

Ask. Listen. Learn.

Paladin7
February 14, 2013, 02:55 PM
Get a copy of Jeff Cooper's book, The Art of the Rifle.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Of-Rifle/dp/1581605927/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360871672&sr=8-1&keywords=the+art+of+the+rifle

Pretty much all you need to know is in this excellent book... Enjoy

Captains1911
February 14, 2013, 03:01 PM
Attend an Appleseed

DDawg
February 14, 2013, 08:51 PM
+1 on attending an Appleseed Event.
I've been shooting all my life, and was amazed at how much I learned at my first Appleseed Event.

HKGuns
February 14, 2013, 10:17 PM
Breath control and depending on the range even pulse control. Smooth consistent trigger squeeze so the break surprises you. Don't jerk the trigger and ensure your pull is straight back so the rifle doesn't twist in your grip.

Captains1911
February 15, 2013, 08:52 AM
Breath control and depending on the range even pulse control. Smooth consistent trigger squeeze so the break surprises you. Don't jerk the trigger and ensure your pull is straight back so the rifle doesn't twist in your grip.
Don't forget not to drag wood either;)

The_Armed_Therapist
February 15, 2013, 09:20 AM
What tips, tricks and advice do you more experienced shooters have for this student (who is waiting to devour any sound advice tossed casually in his direction).

Consider things like breathing control, different kinds of rests, where to place a rifle on a rest, difference between holding a rifle offhand and holding it on a bench, etc.

Teach me, oh wise ones.

#1... PATIENCE. This student will not be Vasili Zaitsev anytime soon. I've been shooting rifles seriously for years, and I'm not even Soviet-grade sniper yet. LOL

#2... NO BENCH SHOOTING... YET. One of my big problems was starting off with the bench. That's nice and all, but completely impractical. In addition, I think it's more effective to learn the other things (breathing, NPOA, etc., in "real-life" positions). Then, bench shooting should be a breeze, relative to the other way around.

#3... 22LR FIRST. Again, learning breathing, NPOA, and other techniques is far easier with .22LR, and far easier to transfer over to centerfire cartridges, relative to the other way around.

#4... SMALL INCREMENTS. Take several shooting trips to master shorter distances before stretching out. Start with the .22LR at 25 yards. Learn the proper techniques this way, first. Once mastered (dedicate at least 1 hour to this), move to 50 yards. Then, to 75 yards, then to 100 yards.

#5... SLING. I am not a military person, was not raised by military persons, and had no real experience in anything practical before I started shooting. I learned the importance of a decent sling far too late. I rarely shoot without using a sling these days.

#6... FOUR POSITIONS. Standing, kneeling, sitting, prone. These seem more simple to learn and master than they really are. Start mastering them @25 yards with the .22LR and a good sling.

#7... NATURAL POINT OF AIM (NPOA). In the various positions, use deep breaths to relax the muscles in your body. Close your eyes initially, take a couple breaths; when relaxed, open them. Is the rifle at the bullseye? If not, make the proper adjustments and try again. Once you're at the bullseye, move on to #8.

#8... BREATHING. Again, not as easy to master as it sounds. Steady, deep breaths. At the end of each exhale, the rifle should be at the bullseye. Fire, take another deep breath, allow the rifle to rise naturally, and fire again at the end of the exhale.

#9... REPEAT. After a few range trips, the student should be at least fairly good with positions, sling, NPOA, breathing, etc., with the .22 up to 100 yards. At this point, it should be OK to mix in some centerfire rounds and/or longer distances. However, the student will NOT have the positions, sling, NPOA, breathing, etc. mastered at this point. Each shooting trip should include running these drills again. I prefer to do them once at the beginning, and once at the end of shooting centerfires and longer distances. My range trips are usually at least 4 hours long, mind you... There probably aren't many people who have no need to keep practicing the 25-100 yard drills with the .22LR in order to be a truly great marksman. Even Vasili would have (or, perhaps he did?) benefited from these.

#10... DON'T GET SLOPPY. Often if I'm in a hurry (like if I have an appointment at noon and don't get to the range until 9), or if I get frustrated with something silly (ie, "why did I wear my nice shoes out here in the mud?!?!?!" LOL), I start to neglect one or more of these things. My attention span is also lacking, so sometimes I just plain forget. I typically shoot alone, which may not help this. Perhaps a "shooting partner" would be beneficial for the new student. He could have someone watching him during his drills, reminding him of x, y, or z; then, even better, he'd get the chance to watch and coach the shooting partner.



***These recommendations come from my own experiences. I didn't have a guide, and may not have listened even if I did. LOL... I still sometimes feel like I'm in remedial stages of learning this stuff because I've had to start over and struggle to stick with all of this stuff at all times.

The_Armed_Therapist
February 15, 2013, 09:40 AM
Just read through the comments... all great information! I specifically forgot to mention trigger control and sight picture. Trigger control has been well-covered so far. I'll add some things about sight picture, though...

From what I have noticed in my experience is that the 6 o'clock hold is the most precise. You can see what you want to hit. When breathing properly, you're firing at the end of the exhale when your front sight is just below the target, at 6 o'clock. This gives you a split second of a clear picture, which is a great signal that it's time to fire again. When holding dead on, you're only seeing perhaps half of the target when it's time to fire again. That can lead to imprecise judgments. Theoretically, of course, the end of your exhale should put you where you need to be; however, having the full sight picture above the front sight is a good double-check on that. Dead-on hold allows a small degree of guessing to enter into the equation.

While the 6 o'clock hold is more beneficial in the ways that I mentioned above, it isn't without its limitations. Like one of the comments mentioned, dead-on can be more beneficial in low light conditions. In those conditions, precision isn't really much of an option, and accuracy becomes more of a "general" concept. It becomes easier to see the contrast between the "no visibility of the sights and the partial visibility of the sight picture. Being able to see completely what you're shooting at doesn't do as much good in these conditions. The type of sights also plays a part here, however... That's probably too much to get into right now.

Warp
February 15, 2013, 09:42 AM
Attend an Appleseed

This.

I couldn't even begin to explain the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship in a post.

Learn how to use a hasty, loop, and hasty-hasty sling. Youtube is your friend.

Learn the positions. Standing, seated, kneeling, and prone.

Six steps to firing the shot.
http://appleseedshoot.blogspot.com/2008/03/six-steps-of-firing-shot.html

That's a start.

The_Armed_Therapist
February 15, 2013, 09:43 AM
Last comment... an LTR is a FANTASTIC way to learn these things! Put about $100 into a beat-up 10/22, and good marksmanship is within sight (pun most definitely intended)

http://appleseedproject.blogspot.com/2008/02/liberty-training-rifle.html

SlamFire1
February 15, 2013, 09:53 AM
Shoot until you are arse deep in brass. :D

Warp
February 15, 2013, 10:00 AM
Shoot until you are arse deep in brass. :D

That is a great way to establish bad habits that are very difficult and time consuming to break.

You can make a LOT of headway without firing a single shot, if you are doing it right.

Hapworth
February 15, 2013, 10:04 AM
Hi,You can learn about marksmanship and the different positions from the people who taught the most, the US Army. http://archive.org/details/Rifle_Marksmanship_with_M1_Rifle_Part_1
The video is centered around a Garand, but it applies to any rifle.Good videos. Here's a link to the complete set:

http://archive.org/details/Rifle_Marksmanship_with_the_M1_Rifle

danweasel
February 15, 2013, 10:12 AM
Ok, well it sure can't hurt to learn the fundamentals and THEN shoot until you are arse deep in brass!

.22 is the ticket.

-Dan

Warp
February 15, 2013, 10:15 AM
.22lr is the ticket for 99% of us.

Skylerbone
February 15, 2013, 10:38 AM
Fun sayings aside, I find few people wanting or willing to devote 4 hour blocks of time to range work. On a personal level it is my feeling that is far too much time both physically and mentally to sustain. Once a peak has been reached there will be a decline indicating a good stopping point, sooner for new shooter so as to keep things enjoyable. If it isn't fun then it's work.

My last suggestion, vary the targets. Interactive targets provide both instant feedback and gratification to newer shooters be it a swinging steel plate or a simple balloon tacked to the backstop.

Furncliff
February 15, 2013, 11:49 AM
I thought I knew what accuracy meant until I bought a really good .22. I have learned a lot since and my efforts are more generously rewarded.

A Cooper or Anni is great, but a CZ or Brno will work too.

Nwflycaster
February 15, 2013, 12:46 PM
What discipline does this student want to get into? Is said student a young person?

My shooting career started with a pellet rifle in the backyard. Then I moved into a junior indoor 4 position program (most rangess have something like this). I couldn't recommend anything higher than one of these programs. They will teach the proper fundamentals for precision shooting. As I said this is how I started, I never shot any longer range stuff or larger caliber than my .22 rf for years other than my hunting rifles to check that I was sighted in and to hunt.
My first introduction into longer range stuff was a year and a half ago. I have been shooting midrange prone matches and highpower across the course matches as well and have never fired anything but high master scores. I attribute this 100% to the smallbore shooting I have done most of my life.
When you want to practice, do so dry-firing at home, or with an air rifle at home. Anytime you spend time behind your rifle practing sound fundamentals will help. You don't have to go and shoot 200, 300, 600 or even 1000 yards to improve your shooting. But you will need to do those things to learn how to read the wind, that is another lesson all in itself.

All of the best shooters I know personally, come from a smallbore position shooting background.

And one more thing that the young shooters enjoy about an NRA smallbore program is that there are awards they can earn along the way to keep them motivated to keep improving. By the time they get their Distinguished Expert badge they are becoming quite an accomplished young shooter.
At my local club's program the shooters get about 45 minutes of shooting time each week plus monthly matches where they can compete against other clubs as well, shooting against kids of the same ability class, and have some fun.

Ramone
February 15, 2013, 06:32 PM
as regards 'shooting till you are in pile of brass'...

While everyone is different, I find many (myself included) make more progress in a few shorter (less than 2 hour) range trips than a longer one.

jungle
February 15, 2013, 07:04 PM
Position and paper shooting is great, but a field shot must practice many non-standard positions and develop a fairly rapid technique to be effective.

Always use any available rest and understand what you and your rifle are really capable of off the range. There is a big difference.

Any careful shot under any conditions helps to develop skill that transfers to all other shots.

I agree with niho on this, being a good shot is much more than just visiting a range and drilling paper at a known distance in the same conditions time after time.

If you enjoyed reading about "Shooting with Accuracy 101" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!