Skill degredation over time


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Trent
July 12, 2014, 01:20 PM
(I'm posting this under competition forum instead of rifle as it is more geared to answering some questions about training regimen and skill degredation)

So life got too busy this year, and I had to cut back on range trips / practice sessions this year. I've been focusing most of my energy and time on pistol shooting this year, and only packed a rifle to the range twice - last time was in February.

Well, here it is July now, and decided to try to chip off some rust on the old High Power "across the course" game. I took some standard targets to the range last night and ran through a pair of 80 shot courses at 200 / 300 yards (using reduced size targets for 300 yards.)

The first course I ran through was right handed. I've been having some serious vision issues with my right eye (I think need a new eyeglass prescription), so I also ran through the high power regional course again left handed.

The big questions I wanted to answer is "how bad am I with iron sights with my bad eye vs. good eye, and how bad will I be shooting left handed, where I've had zero practice, but better vision."

In the past I've consistently shot expert level on good days, sharpshooter on not so good days. :)

This practice session I did last night ... was very disconcerting though.

I'd just built a couple AR-15's and decided to take the top one out.
http://i.imgur.com/mv6Qwskh.jpg

It's not really an ideal rifle for testing but I wanted to run it through it's paces since it was a fresh build, see if there were any hiccups. The rifle has a mid-weight 16" barrel, midwest industries mid length freefloat tube, and MI flip up emergency sights (I replaced the front post with an .050"). It sports a standard DPMS lower parts kit with a trigger pull coming in at about 5.5 lbs. Not exactly a match rifle, but lightweight (weighs 6.75 lbs).

Was shooting white box Prvi Partizan 5.56 ammo. Ammo and rifle functioned flawlessly, but it's not exactly match grade ammo or handloads. I figured for positional shooting and practice it'd be "good enough." (Certainly the ammo is more accurate than I am at this point... !)

I was not using a shooting coat, sling, or glove. (90 degrees and I don't like using shooting aids while practicing.)

For the timed rapid fire stages I just used a stopwatch on my phone.

Anyway that's the end of the setup ...

First round was sitting rapid fire. Went both left and right eye.

200 yards sitting rapid fire (right eye)
http://i.imgur.com/FnfPLboh.jpg

200 yards sitting rapid fire (LEFT eye)
http://i.imgur.com/JrblzfQh.jpg

Same score.... ???

That was surprising.

Made a 1/4 turn sight adjustment on my front sight post following these (the emergency flip up rear sight had no elevation adjustment, so I decided to zero the rifle at 200 yards and use kentucky windage for the 300 yard stage...)

Next strings were standing 200 yards slow fire.

Right handed 69/100
http://i.imgur.com/YOHzHFph.jpg

Left handed 76/100
http://i.imgur.com/Uq1QKrkh.jpg

Obviously a little out of practice, the scores here were disappointing. Usually without a coat I'm in the mid 80's. But what really surprised me is that I did better with my weak side than my strong side, considering I'd never even attempted shooting left handed standing before...

Following this I did a quick eye dominance check. My right eye has been so blurry lately I had a suspicion that I'd switched, and sure enough, with my glasses ON, my left eye was dominant. With my glasses OFF, on closer objects, my right eye was dominant, while on further objects, my left eye was dominant... kind of a head scratcher, but it makes sense, my brain is using the eye that can see better in any given situation.

Anyway moving on to 300 yards... ugh.

Rapid fire prone 300 yards.

http://i.imgur.com/WIdhGrnh.jpg

Clearly there's some issue here... and it's not the gun. :)

(Yes I know I'm supposed to use an SR-3C center here but didn't feel like wasting any, just shot the SR target unaltered at 300)

There's 4 strings there, 2 left handed, 2 right handed, none of which I'd want to write home to Mom about (although clearly I'm ok with showing my poor shooting skills in public for the entire world to see haha).

Averaged about 70/100 on rapid fire prone 300. My scores were so poor I didn't bother wasting ammo on the MR63 target on slowfire.

Last week in a sporting rifle match I shot back to back prone 200 yard scores of 152/200 and 146/200 with this rifle. My eyes suck.

The further out I go the worse it is. At 300 yards when I focus my eye on the front sight with either eye, the target doesn't just blur out, it VANISHES completely. In order to align the sight I'd have to open both eyes and focus on the 300 yard target (to see it), then have to remember that spot and switch focus to my front sight (whereas the target simply vanishes completely in a brown blur that is indistinguishable from the backstop / stand / etc).

At 200 yards at least I have a fuzzy blob of gray to shoot at, where the bull was, when I focus on the front sight.

I repeated the sitting and standing scores again after this, giving up on 300 yards.

Rapid fire Sitting, right eye, 200 yards

http://i.imgur.com/OtJhKB5h.jpg

96/100 - that's more like it. Substantial improvement over my first string. Not cleaning the target like last year but also back up to where I need to be to hit expert scores.

Rapid fire Sitting, left eye, 200 yards

http://i.imgur.com/3UHgMndh.jpg

89/100. Not as good as I was right handed but not too far off. I think I have a cheek weld / sight alignment issue when I shoot left handed (it feels SOOOO WRONG). But I can see the target more clearly so it almost washes. :)

I redid the standing shooting again but forgot to snap pics, as I was getting chased off the range by a pop up thunderstorm. Ended up with 86/100 right eye 200 yard standing slowfire, and 81/100 left eye.

So ended up shooting 2 80Rc courses minus the 300 yard prone slowfire stages (which would have been pointless, given how bad I was shooting at 300 yards).

Regional highpower championships are tomorrow.. not wasting 8 hours of driving time + ammo on them. I can't see targets at 300 yards, let alone 600 for the slowfire prone.

So maybe next year.

Going to get my prescription checked again and get a new set of glasses, and repeat the exercise. (with a scope, I can punch the 10 ring out of the 300 yard rapid fire and clean the target.... so it's not a technique issue...)

Anyway I figured I'd document this process of rifle marksmanship, to answer these questions:

* How much skill do you lose over time (degredation) with rifles?

(Answer, quite a lot!)

* How much skill (shooting fundamentals) automatically transfers to weak-side shooting?

(Answer thus far, *WAY* more than I expected! I wouldn't have thought I could have hit sharpshooter scores on my first outing; also I'm finding the AR-15 easier to operate left handed for some reason.)

* How much difference will an updated eyeglass prescription make?

(to be determined)

* How much difference will a sling make over my baseline skill?

(to be determined)

* How much difference will a shooting jacket make over my baseline skill?

(to be determined)

* How much difference will a lighter trigger make over the ragged stock DPMS lower parts kit I threw in there?

(to be determined)

* How much difference will handloads tuned to the rifle make over factory Prvi Partizan M855 ball?

(to be determined)

* How much difference will a proper rear sight make over the emergency flip up one I have mounted now? (It has no elevation adj.)

(to be determined)

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Trent
July 12, 2014, 01:50 PM
Also to follow-up. Not having picked up a rifle in 6 months these were my Sporting Rifle scores from last weekend.

The course was shot at 100 yards on Smallbore targets (A-25, slightly more difficult than the High Power targets).

No sling, no coat, no glove, iron sights, same gun as I used in practice last night.

Standing:

47/100 string 1 (ugh)
68/100 string 2 (ugh x2)
73/100 string 3 (ugh x3) - note that the rust is slowly getting chipped off...

Sitting:
80/100 string 1 (meh)
87/100 string 2 (better.. at least out of marksman territory)
86/100 string 3

Prone 200 yards on MR52 highpower target (simulates 600 yds slowfire)
152/200 string 1
146/200 string 2

Will be shooting the same course of fire again Aug 17

(By end of year last year my scores were consistently at the 90+% mark on those)

Basically, what I'm finding here ... is a 6 month break will knock a good 20% off your scores... and it takes a couple practice days to begin inching back up to where you were.

taliv
July 12, 2014, 01:52 PM
* How much skill do you lose over time (degredation) with rifles?


ime, for standing, kneeling and seated, quite a lot. for prone, almost none.

* How much skill (shooting fundamentals) automatically transfers to weak-side shooting?


a great diagnostic for a struggling shooter you suspect is having some mental issues, is to have them shoot weak hand. you will often find, regardless of discipline (e.g. rifle,pistol, HP, 3gun) they will briefly perform better weak side, and that can help get them over a hump on the strong side.

in other words, once you're tuned up again, i would not expect you to shoot as well weak side. it's just that shooting weak side this once, forced you to focus on things you know you don't have muscle memory on. it's a mental/focus issue.

* How much difference will an updated eyeglass prescription make?

ime, a ton. well, not so much eyeglasses in my case as lasik

* How much difference will a sling make over my baseline skill?


i'll bet if you took the slings away from a group of high masters, they wouldn't even shoot expert.

* How much difference will a shooting jacket make over my baseline skill?


it's worth a few points for sure

* How much difference will a lighter trigger make over the ragged stock DPMS lower parts kit I threw in there?

service rifle minimum is 4.5 lbs.

* How much difference will handloads tuned to the rifle make over factory Prvi Partizan M855 ball?

holy crap, probably a lot.

* How much difference will a proper rear sight make over the emergency flip up one I have mounted now? (It has no elevation adj.)


uhh, it's hard to shoot 200, 300, 600 without dialing up elevation. are you shooting all of this at 100 yards now?

BullfrogKen
July 12, 2014, 02:16 PM
You really can't compare any of those two days of shooting to your high power scores.

What Tom said is correct. Take the slings away from a High Master and those scores plummet. Especially in the rapid fire stages.


I'm not saying 6 months off won't have a negative effect. But if you want to see what it truly is, gear up and shoot those stages with everything you use in the matches.

Trent
July 12, 2014, 06:50 PM
* How much difference will a proper rear sight make over the emergency flip up one I have mounted now? (It has no elevation adj.)


uhh, it's hard to shoot 200, 300, 600 without dialing up elevation. are you shooting all of this at 100 yards now?

No, all of the shooting is at 200 / 300. Don't have access to a 600 yard range so I'm using MR63's reduced scale for 600 yard slowfire.

You were right about shooting better left handed *temporarily*.. today left handed stayed about the same while right handed started picking back up.

Ok today I went back out with the SCAR17, this time, affixed with a Turner sling.

http://i.imgur.com/fE8nlCCh.jpg

Being a glutton for punishment... I packed along Malaysian Surplus.

That Malaysian 7.62 ammo shoots about 2.5 MOA off the bench so it's not the best stuff in the world for this; but cheap, and I have quite a lot of it, so makes for OK practice ammo.

http://i.imgur.com/tkoqtzRh.jpg

Wind was gusty, 10-15mph, direct crosswind from 3 o'clock.

Just as yesterday, I shot both left and right handed. I ran through a full 80RC this time on right hand, but only shot a 600 with left (by the time I got done with slowfire prone right handed, I was wasted... 100F heat index.)

Today I had the good fortune to have a couple random friend show up at the range. They helped with timing on rapid fire. Less clunky that way.

Skipping the lengthy blow by blow, the scores were:

Right handed:
String 1 200yd sitting rapid fire: 91
String 2 200yd sitting rapid fire: 93 (avg 92%)
String 1 200yd standing slow fire: 87
String 2 200yd standing slow fire: 81 (avg 84%)
String 1 300yd Prone rapid fire: 93
String 2 300yd Prone rapid fire: 83 (avg 88%)
300 yd prone slowfire (MR63): 155 (77.5%) - those reduced scale targets are a pain in the ***.

Overall 683/800 (85.37%)

Left handed:
String 1 200yd sitting rapid fire: 89
String 2 200yd sitting rapid fire: 88 (avg 88.5%)
String 1 200yd standing slow fire: 70 (ouch)
String 2 200yd standing slow fire: 71 (ouch x2) (avg 70.5%)
String 1 300yd Prone rapid fire: 67 (I didn't get 2 shots off in time so lost -20 there)
String 2 300yd Prone rapid fire: 83 (avg 75%)

468/600 (78%)


Still not back to where I was, even with a sling, and still having vision issues at 300. Wind wasn't much fun today, but can't blame it all on the wind..... or the crappy ammo.

I'm still disappointed that I've lost so much ground on where I was last year, but it's coming back somewhat quickly, except for the longer ranges. Prone scores suck still with irons. Give me a scope and I'd punch that 10 ring right out. :)

At least I'm *consistently* putting up the same scores, so there's something to be said for that. :)

I also think it's time to forego the glasses entirely and look in to Lasik.

Trent
July 12, 2014, 06:53 PM
Oh, and trying to use a sling left handed about blew my mind at first. "which hand do I ..huh? what? Wait a minute... sonofa... "

My scores also dropped as the day went on, fatigue set in. Doing two full 80RC's was a bit out of my reach; but still, doing a 1400 point practice session is grueling, with no breaks. I got done in about 4 hours.

Overall shot sharpshooter with right hand today.

Anyway, I *have* dropped skill quite a bit from last year (was consistently shooting Expert, with occasional master scores)

Guess I'll keep at it. Only one way to improve... and that'll take more trigger time and dry fire.

taliv
July 13, 2014, 12:00 AM
don't waste a lot of ammo practicing for HP. dry firing is much more productive.

Trent
July 13, 2014, 10:08 AM
don't waste a lot of ammo practicing for HP. dry firing is much more productive.

I agree with that.... But it's a whole lot less fun. :)

If 22 ammo wasn't still unobtainable around here I could do a caliber conversion on the AR and practice on smallbore targets at shorter ranges. Time is a premium though, so shopping takes a back seat.

I did notice something potentially useful yesterday. If I lower the front sight down a little on the longer range targets, I *can* make out the targets with my poor vision. When I raise the front sight post back up again .. and focus on the front sight, it's gone. Target blurs to oblivion.

Even with crappy eye sight I think I can use that with some practice to produce a framing reference to shoot at the bull. I'd still be shooting blind, but depending on how accurately I can remember the framing reference (which will take some practice / muscle memory) I should be able to lob the rounds in. I did that with the entire last string on the MR-63 target, and put down a 155/200. With a little practice I could probably improve that.

Getting my eyes fixed is obviously the best solution but part of me is stubborn and wants to see what I can maximize what I have. (Perhaps I have?)

Going to head back out this afternoon with the SCAR, same Malaysian surplus ammo, everything the same as yesterday; but this time I'm mounting optics. Shoot the same sitting & prone stages with sling, just to get a baseline of what me, the rifle, and ammo can do with a clearly visible target.

I need to find out if it's my technique that is crap, or if it's simply my eyes gone from bad to worse that is causing the issue.

Trent
July 13, 2014, 04:58 PM
So ... back out again today. This is going to be pic heavy.

I had the range to myself ALL DAY. Couldn't believe no one else was out there.

http://i.imgur.com/BfOqFrDh.jpg

Unfortunately today involved a great deal of walking. Damn near got my 4x4 stuck putting up targets.

http://i.imgur.com/mFiJcUSh.jpg

Same ammunition (Malaysian Surplus 7.62), same rifle (SCAR17S), gear (sling), except this time a Leupold Vari-X III was added. Due to eye relief issues from the flip up rear sight taking up so much space, I was only able to use the scope on 6x magnification.

Parallax was carefully and deliberately reset between each distance change.

http://i.imgur.com/UirfqXuh.jpg

Before I started shooting / practicing, I decided to hit the bench and get a baseline of the ammunition w/ 7 shot groups.

100 yard benchrest group (wasted 2 shots getting it back down.. down 34 clicks.. dunno where the hell that scope was zeroed when I took it off last time lol)
http://i.imgur.com/YIiaiFOh.jpg

200 yard benchrest group
http://i.imgur.com/sHCGRt8h.jpg

(2 shots didn't impact the paper)
300 yard benchrest group
http://i.imgur.com/z5cxtqhh.jpg

Looking through the spotting scope at these... CLEARLY something is not right.

I got to thinking, and I'd just put 160 dirty Malaysian surplus through it the day before without giving it a cleaning.

As they say on Mythbusters, "Well, THERE is your problem."

http://i.imgur.com/BCgYgPVh.jpg

A little elbow grease with a brush and this pool of sludge came out the muzzle.

http://i.imgur.com/MUIFvMOh.jpg

After a LOT of scrubbing with a brush, bore mop, and patches, I finally got them running mostly clean.

Ahh! There we go, back to the normal 2.5 MOA groups I'm used to with this ammunition.

http://i.imgur.com/cHeXXk9h.jpg


OK now I'm a bit rusty with my math, but with a 7" 10 ring on the SR targets, and a ~5" estimated spread on the ammo at 200 yards based on the benchrest baseline (after cleaning), I realized I'd have to be able to hold 1 MOA in order to clean a target with 100.

Or in other words, compared to if I were using 0.5 MOA ammo, I'd have to shoot with the skill required to get a perfect 100-10x in order to get a 100 with this ammo. The absolute best scores I could hope for at 300 yards (using SR target for rapid fire prone) would be *90*, while the best I could hope for on the MR-63 reduced target would be an *80* (give or take), as the ammunition simply isn't accurate enough to score higher, even if I shot perfect.

This is fine, I don't mind shooting with bad ammo as long as I know how it's handicapping me. :)

I decided that switching back & forth between positions wasn't going to tell me anything new. So I decided to focus on ONE position only (sitting 200 yards rapid fire). After using up some ammo on sighters, I allocated 90 rounds of what I brought to sitting rapid fire, and the final 40 rounds to prone rapid and slow fire.

Sitting rapid fire 200 yards SR target:

string 1 88 (zero adjustment following, group was high 5")
string 2 93-1x
string 3 97-2x
string 4 95
string 5 94-1x
string 6 98-2x
string 7 94-1x
string 8 93 (bumped windage knob when putting sling on..)
string 9 100-1x

BOOM! After a LOT of shooting I'd *finally* found my sweet spot and relaxed enough to let the shots hit where I wanted. (That turned out to be my big problem, BTW; relaxation.)

As you can see by the patches.... if at first you don't succeed, kick yourself in the rear end and try.. try ... try again...

http://i.imgur.com/6Q7sRHeh.jpg

Knowing the ammo handicap, with a good handload I should be able to go back out and clean that with a 100-10x (probably take a few tries... but at least I know I'm back in good form).

The interesting thing about today is at 200 yards, the scope DID NOT help. The scores I was shooting yesterday with iron sights (both left and right handed) were RIGHT in line with the scores I was shooting TODAY at the beginning. So at least at the 200 yard mark, I was not handicapped by vision. (At least, not much)

The big difference here was being out of practice.

I went on to shoot some rather predictable 300 yard groups. With this ammo, getting an 90 or 80 respectively would have been about the best I could hope for:

300 yard rapid fire prone
string 1 87-1x
string 2 89-2x
(Theoretical best with this ammo 90)

300 yard slow fire prone
string 1 78
string 2 84-1x
(Theoretical best with this ammo 80 - got lucky on string 2 lol)

THOSE scores are up quite a lot from yesterday, close to the theoretical best I could get shooting 2.5 MOA crap ammo. So my vision beyond 200yd still affects my ability to hit the target; shooting with the scope, I was much more proficient.

Anyway, I can draw a lot of conclusions from this weekend. I think this answers the question pretty definitively on how much skill degredation there is over a 6 month timespan. (Sitting, quite a lot, standing, even more, and prone, not so much.)

It also told me I need to get rid of these old things.

http://i.imgur.com/LgCJMSbh.jpg

Anyway, thanks for reading. Hope this helps someone some day, at least to get an idea of how much practice you need to put in to regain skills that are rusty. (In my case, about 500 rounds and three days).

Trent
July 13, 2014, 04:59 PM
Also, since the range was so muddy, I also got a good day of exercise in, walking out to patch & score targets.

4800 yards worth of walking by my count.. :)

MrBorland
July 13, 2014, 06:36 PM
I think this answers the question pretty definitively on how much skill degredation there is over a 6 month timespan. (Sitting, quite a lot, standing, even more, and prone, not so much.)

Thanks for posting. This is pretty much as I expected: The more unsupported the position, the quicker it atrophies.

My standing scores are generally better when I don't miss dry fire sessions during the week, so it atrophies quickly, it seems. Looking at match scores, it appears standing SF can really kill your match, though. I'm hoping to shoot my first HP match next month, so that's enough to keep me motivated to regularly dry fire. ;)

Trent
July 13, 2014, 10:42 PM
MrBorland;

I was hitting "expert" scores last year, but only because of standing. My standing scores historically have been consistently mid-70's to 80's. My sitting and prone scores were (and hopefully soon again) 95+. But standing drug my score average back down enough to knock me out of the master levels.

I've never used a shooting coat, was waiting until standing scores hit 90's before I invested in a coat to give me that last little "push." Now that I've shaken some rust off, they standing slow fire scores are finally settling back in around mid-80's. A couple more practice days and they'll be bumping off 90's consistently. So I told the wife "find the tape measure, time to get fitted for a coat." :)

Standing is by far the hardest of the 4 positions to master. I am *finally* at the point now that even without a coat, my front sight post doesn't leave the black. Now it's just a matter of timing the break with the middle of the target. (You can never eliminate arc of movement, period).

What has suddenly jumped my standing scores has been 99% mindset and breathing. When I'm loading the next round I take two deliberate DEEP breaths and let them out. I start taking a third DEEP breath as I begin raising the gun up. I exhale a *little* (just a puff, so I'm not over-extending my lungs) as I settle the gun down. I deliberately get the cheek weld by "dragging my face" down. I shoulder the rifle VERY high, almost to the point it's TOO high, to keep my head as straight up as possible.

(When learning where to put this I actually bounced the charging handle off my nose a couple times... as the stock slipped up and over my shoulder on occasion.. but I finally "got it." You only do that crap ONCE with a 308, BTW. After that you will forever get the stock in the right position. That smarts.)

I keep my feet both parallel 90 degrees from the target, rotate my hip forward as far as possible, rest my elbow on my hip.

As I let that 3rd deep breath out, the entire world disappears except for the target. And for a FEW brief seconds, that post DOES NOT move. (Well, it moves from my heartbeat, but that's it.)

With practice that "window" you get extends. At first, there was only about 1 second of utter stability before things started going sideways. Now I get about 4-5 seconds of stability to take the shot. If I can't get on target I lower the gun back down, take a deep breath, and start over.

With the coat, it should help further isolate the heartbeat going through my torso and let me get to the maximum potential I can get to; as I have the technique nailed. Only the pulse through my cheek should affect the point of aim. (That's something you can never overcome even when shooting supported prone, you have to learn to time the shot to the heartbeat.)

It takes a long time and a lot of practice to get to a level of proficiency. Dry fire only takes you so far. The rifle DOES move when you pull the trigger, under recoil, for about 1 millisecond, as that bullet is travelling down the bore. That means if you don't have an *absolutely* neutral natural point of aim, you're increasing your MOA of accuracy error.

Getting that absolutely neutral natural point of aim is something you'll chase for your entire lifetime regardless of shooting discipline. It requires absolute relaxation and proper form so that you aren't exerting any unnatural force on the rifle in any direction, so that it recoils ONLY straight back.

It's most profound on handguns, obviously, because of the torque involved, but lock-up time and time-of-bore traversion is very evident in accuracy errors on bad grip / trigger control fundamentals on handgun.

But that same concept applies even to supported long range shooting with bipods and bags. The difference is only in degree.

Difficult to master is an understatement. I'll be chasing that rainbow the rest of my natural life. :)

Trent
July 14, 2014, 02:39 AM
As an afterthought; in addition to "skill deterioration over time" (which I didn't think would be an issue on rifle, as it was on handguns), is the question at what frequency of practice do you need to maintain a certain level of skill?

I know as I approached higher ranks in martial arts, it took a LOT more effort to gain an appreciably smaller level of skill. I think most physical skills are like that; rapid gains until a certain level of proficiency is reached, then incrementally harder to improve a little. E.g. getting to 75% in High Power is a relatively quick process. Getting to 80% takes at least as much work as getting to 75%. Getting to 85% takes even more. And so on.

Once you REACH a point it's somewhat easier the next time through; e.g. if you slide back to 75% and you *were* at 90%, it's easier to get back to 90 than it was the first time. (Also might be easier to push through and get even better after a short break, as the next ride through you might pick up on something you missed the first time that was holding you back.)

Training and coaching, as well as watching others who are above your skill level, all help to accelerate the curve, but at the end of the day, it comes down to you and the firearm. No amount of reading or talking or thinking can replace sling time.

Anyway. Here's to that "last 5%" ... wonder how long it'll take me, or if I'll ever be able to pull off a perfect 800 point course in my lifetime. :)

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 11:43 AM
Good stuff, Trent.

Knowing the importance of a good standing SF score, I've been shooting SSF exclusively since I got my service rifle (see below) in about mid-spring. Right now, I'm averaging a 186-187/200, a personal best of 193/200. With my first match coming up next month, though, it's time to start working on my sitting and prone shooting as well, methinks.

I'd definitely recommend a shooting coat. I didn't want to spring for a high-end one until I had a chance to evaluate them in person, so I bought a relatively basic Creedmoor coat (http://www.creedmoorsports.com/shop/Creedmoor_Deluxe_Shooting_Jacket.html), and I'm happy with it. It provides for a more consistent and stable placement of the gun and support elbow, and it keeps the toe of the buttstock from digging into my shoulder.

My philosophy with regards to gear is this: If you're serious enough about shooting to start competing, don't obsess over the gear; rather, look at what's standard in the sport, then get it and start practicing your butt off.

BTW, here's my rifle. Again, a pretty standard, but good setup: Rock River lower, Geissele NM 2-stage trigger, Keystone Accuracy upper with Krieger match barrel, Turner NM sling. Yeah, it may be overkill for a newb, but it's a standard setup that ain't holding me back or that I won't outgrow.


http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/ServiceRiflehoriz_zpsd96e89db.jpg

Trent
July 14, 2014, 12:20 PM
Very nice. Next year I'm going to drop some coin on a White Oak service rifle upper. Until then I'm going to use what I have in Match rifle (and predictably, get my butt stomped by guys with extended length front sights on franken-AR's, etc). All of my shooting to date has been in High Power sporting rifle, where the rules are more lax, and the competition not NEARLY as serious.

Not sure how much good a dedicated upper and good trigger will do me. In all reality, I shoot the same scores no matter what rifle I pick up (within a few points). The way I look at it, I'm not maximizing the gear I currently have. Might be good for a .1 MOA difference on a trigger. The upper might shave another .4 or .5 MOA off the size of groups. I guess combined that could mean the difference between a clean target and a mid 90's score, if conditions aren't favorable (uncertain wind, bad mirage, etc).

Positional shooting rifles is a matter of "margin of error" - your scores are a reflection of your skill (which provides a certain baseline MOA of inaccuracy), your ammo (which adds to that uncertainty), and the quality of rifle you are shooting (which further increases that uncertainty).

So if I'm able to shoot 1 MOA consistently with a sling in slow fire prone, and my rifle and ammunition is capable of delivering .5 MOA, and the MR-63 slowfire prone target I'm shooting at 300 yards has a 5.83" 10 ring, I *should* be able to nail perfect scores as long as I do my part (1.5 MOA *1.047 *3 = 4.7115", vs. 5.85" 10 ring.)

In reality, all of my guns except my F-Class rig and the FNAR are 1.25 MOA or better (with good ammo), so I can't sweep that MR63. The FNAR is consistently 1 MOA but unwieldy and not really good as a match rifle. The F-Class gun shoots .210 MOA with the best load I worked up; I can clear F-Class targets with it all day. But I couldn't shoulder that bolt gun and shoot from standing to save my ass. :)

I can get the baseline for my rifle & ammo combination by shooting groups from a benchrest at any known distance.

Which means I can determine how accurate *I* am in any given position based on group size at any given distance with that rifle / ammo combination.

Yesterday, I know my rifle + ammo was consistently getting 2.5" groups at 100 yards from the bench, 5.5" groups at 200 yards, and 9+" groups at 300 (started getting wider as I went further down range due to velocity inconsistency in the surplus ammo).

Which means when I shot that perfect 100 group at 200 yards yesterday in rapid fire sitting, with a couple of shots intersecting the line between 9 and 10, I know my group size was 7" (this held out over the course of the day, I shot 9 strings in all; getting the perfect 100 point 10 shot score involved a series of scope adjustments and relaxation techniques. Groups started at about 10" and settled down to 7", centering the sights as I shot each successive group)

So with a known 5.5" off the bench and 7.0" (on the nose) groups for the last 3 sets, leaves 1.5" of uncertainty (that's ME.) 1.5" at 200 yards = .76 MOA. So knowing what the ammo shot and having 3 consecutive 10 shot groups of the same exact diameter, the uncertainty I'm contributing while sitting is .76 MOA.

How is this useful? First, I know I'm not shooting bench level accuracy from sitting; but pretty good. Second, I know if I make a gear change at this point, I'm going to see immediate and dramatic results (the gear change being eliminating the crappy surplus ammo I use for practice).

From prior sessions I know that *without* a sling I can shoot 1 MOA (plus ammo plus rifle inaccuracy) all day from sitting, so the sling helps me for all of .25 MOA while sitting.

The reason I bring all this up, is if you study your shooting you will know what gear is contributing on top of your base skill. You don't *need* the gear to shoot well, or to practice (even when I get a coat, I'm not using it to practice). Since those articles (sling, coat) are additive in reducing your existing skill's minute of angle uncertainty in aiming, once you get past the base familiarity (e.g. "how do I use this properly") it's not really required to train with it to improve your base skill.

Just like premium ammo isn't required to practice, to determine improvement in skill, the gear isn't required to actually improve that skill.

Kind of like training wheels. :)

At least that's my take on it.

Trent
July 14, 2014, 12:52 PM
I know that was a long and meandering post... apologies. Just wanted to put enough empirical evidence forward to justify training with "imperfect" gear / equipment.

My point was rather simple, skill will grow regardless of what you use, when you practice, so long as you practice correctly, and make the right assumptions.

I've seen guys beat themselves up over bad scores and throw a LOT of money chasing ghosts. ESPECIALLY in this game, where they see the "Masters" using this, that, or the other. All too often (just as in other sports, from racing to whatever), people look at that and say "oh, THAT is the reason they do so well. They have a coat. Or they have a sling. Or they're using this brand of ammo. Or they are using this barrel. Or trigger."

I've watched guys at the rifle matches I run dump LOTS of money in and only see minor, sometimes barely noticeable, improvements. And I watch them grow frustrated and plateau out. The root problem is they are looking to gear as the answer, when they need to swallow their pride and admit "*I* am the problem, what am I doing WRONG?"

That revelation usually comes after several thousand dollars are spent and no measurable improvement in performance occurs. Which is several thousand dollars TOO LATE.

I was telling a friend the other night in private chat, who has plateau'd out on his High Power scores this very thing. He was about to drop a vacation worth of money on to some new gizmo to try to improve his score. He is averaging 79% scores.

I told him don't.

Skill wins or loses this race. Gear / equipment / gadgets / etc only helps to decide a photo finish between two equallly skilled people. Which is why until a person reaches a certain level of consistency and mastery, they should just practice shooting and try to internalize all of the marksmanship fundamentals (relaxation, natural point of aim, sight alignment, cheek weld, breath control, and so on).

Once a person reaches a certain point of mastery, THEN the gear will make the difference between win or lose, when they are in tight competition it can help push you past that .1 MOA needed to put a competitor below you on the charts.

Until then, you're better suited using the money on ammo for trigger time, practicing those fundamentals, learning to relax, learning to oxygenate your blood supply. At the higher levels, even learning Vagal maneuvers to "skip a heartbeat", etc. (I do that on F-class, it allows me to predictably shoot between heartbeats.)

Anyway... dry fire only takes you so far, some lessons can only be learned with recoil therapy. And that takes ammo. And time. And proper mindset when you practice. :)

Enough preaching, I'm off work this week and it's time to send more ammo downrange. :)

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 01:25 PM
So with a known 5.5" off the bench and 7.0" (on the nose) groups for the last 3 sets, leaves 1.5" of uncertainty (that's ME.) 1.5" at 200 yards = .76 MOA. So knowing what the ammo shot and having 3 consecutive 10 shot groups of the same exact diameter, the uncertainty I'm contributing while sitting is .76 MOA.

Breaking down accuracy into that of the shooter and that of the rifle/ammo can be helpful, but the 2 aren't strictly additive; rather, they are related by a Root Means Squared relationship. IOW, the square of the shooter's accuracy and the square of the rifle's accuracy add to the square of the net accuracy:

In this case:
(shooter)^2 = (net)^2 - (rifle)^2 = (7.0)^2 - (5.5)^2 = 49 - 30.3 = 18.7

Therefore;
shooter = sqrt(18.7) = 4.3" @ 200 yards = 2.2 MOA, not .76 MOA

With a rifle/ammo combo that shoots 1.5 MOA, you'd drop your 200 yard groups from 7" to 5.3". That's certainly worth some points. ;)

FWIW, if you're registered, a HM is selling his WOP/CLE upper for a good price on the USrifleteams.com forum. Last I checked, WOP had a long waiting list, so a good used one isn't a bad option.

Trent
July 14, 2014, 01:29 PM
OK you lost me on the math. :)

White Oak is only 20 minutes from my house, going to help keep John working by buying direct. Plan on putting my order in when he gets back from Camp Perry. Maybe have it ready by the next Camp Perry. :)

He's a real nice guy, when I started running the High Power shoots at our club, White Oak sent over a bunch of swag to give away as prizes. (NO uppers though lol, shucks)

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 01:29 PM
My point was rather simple, skill will grow regardless of what you use, when you practice, so long as you practice correctly, and make the right assumptions.

It's a good point, but I can do that while, at the same time, getting every point I shoot by using good gear. If I'm going to compete, I want both. ;)

Trent
July 14, 2014, 01:44 PM
It's a good point, but I can do that while, at the same time, getting every point I shoot by using good gear. If I'm going to compete, I want both. ;)

Your scores are definitely on the high end anyway, so you're at the point where gear will make a difference. I'm kind of borderline, still. Not convinced yet. :)

It's like buying a $5,000 Les Paul guitar and thinking "I'm going to play like Stevie Ray Vaughan!"

Umm... no. You won't!

But fair bet that *he* could pick up a $150 walmart guitar and make some dang fine music (if he were still alive, of course).

I used to chase this on pistols, too, years ago. Shoot, shoot, shoot, never really improve. Try different ammo. Buy different guns. Never really improve beyond a certain point.

Took training. Took more training. Practiced good habits and broke bad ones. Now I'm a superb shot stationary, on the move, at moving targets. It was a matter of checking my ego, realizing that "gear is not the ultimate answer", and learning to actually SHOOT.

A *very* large percentage of shooters who think about competing end up in that same boat. "Oh if I had a $2,500 custom race gun and magnetic magazine holders and a quick draw skeleton holster, I could swing with the grand masters." Umm.. no, a B shooter is still a B shooter. Spend all the money you want... it isn't going to help.

I feel good now that my handgun skills reached a point that I can pick up ANY of the old guns I bought, production or otherwise, and punch out the X ring consistently. And I can do it with my friends guns, when they bitch about crap ammo or sights that are misaligned, to illustrate the problem might be somewhere else (betwixt the ears..). ;)

I once had the opinion somewhat akin to "I fear the man with one gun who knows how to use it." (As I practiced exclusively with one gun for years, trying to "master it".)

Over time my world view changed to "I fear the man who has mastered the art of marksmanship, with ANY instrument in his hands." (As I learned that to master anything I first have to master my own mind.)

Being Buddhist, the art of marksmanship is (for all practical intents and purposes), a religious aid for me; practicing it helps me empty my mind. Studying it has become a way of life over time. I've long ago realized I can never truly master it... and in all reality I'll never be "the best"... but I can keep trying! Chasing impossible concepts is one of the things that makes humans unique.

Anyway my path is chasing that concept of "can I do my absolute best with what is in my hands right now." (Answer being, not yet, keep trying).

Edit to add: High Power is a diverse discipline that requires mastery of several things to score high. And since it's scored I can track my progress. Which makes it ideal for what I like to do with rifles. :)

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 02:25 PM
It's like buying a $5,000 Les Paul guitar and thinking "I'm going to play like Stevie Ray Vaughan!"

Umm... no. You won't!

But fair bet that *he* could pick up a $150 walmart guitar and make some dang fine music (if he were still alive, of course).

I read this reasoning a lot, and have issues with it. For one thing, how anyone else performs has no bearing on me, so that's off the table in my mind.

If someone were to make a well-grounded, honest, and mature decision to learn to play the guitar, and play it well, why not get a decent guitar right up front? You'll grow into one at some point. It might not be a $5k Les Paul, but, then again, it might, if it's the best option. Why rule it out simply because of some "I'm not worthy" feeling or perceived peer pressure? Either of those is unnecessarily self-limiting.

It really comes down to individual motivation - do I really want to be good, or am I more in love with some image of being good. If the former, I will put in the time, so good gear is a quicker, more efficient way towards that end. There are those in the latter group, but if I'm in the 1st group, what's it matter?

Trent
July 14, 2014, 06:02 PM
It really comes down to individual motivation - do I really want to be good, or am I more in love with some image of being good. If the former, I will put in the time, so good gear is a quicker, more efficient way towards that end. There are those in the latter group, but if I'm in the 1st group, what's it matter?

You're missing the point I was raising. I've seen a lot of shooters throw money at gear thinking it'll make them better overnight, find out it doesn't change anything, get discouraged, and quit. (Particularly in 'competitive' venues).

Now in any competitive venue, shooting or otherwise, there comes a point when you simply can NOT win without the appropriate gear. This is why Smallbore is ruled by Anschutz, etc.

But to the new shooter this creates a paradox. They feel they can't be competitive *without* the gear (properly so), but falsely believe that the gear will somehow make them a superstar.

I saw the same phenomenon on the racetrack when I was in the Superbike scene. Young rich kid gets the fastest bike thinking it'll make him a rock star, then injures himself when he suddenly finds skill doesn't measure up. Or gets whomped by someone on a slower bike with superior skill who knows how to get through corners much faster. (Even felt that myself, when I first started it was irritating, being on a 180hp literbike, getting passed by guys on 90 hp SV650's. :) )

Fortunately shooting is much more forgiving to the body. But it can be just as damaging to the wallet.

Keep in mind here I'm getting beyond the "I bought it because I liked it and wanted it." If a guy can afford it, and you want it, man, this is America. Buy it!

I'm addressing anyone reading this who is starting out in the sport, looking at the guys on the lines with the expensive gear, thinking to themselves "man I need that gear to be competitive and have fun."

Which is why it's hard to get new people interested in the sport. When I started running a rifle match at our club, it was a casual thing. Then word got out, more guys showed up and it became an arms race (literally, lol). Watching people dump tons of money in to it, they quit having fun when their new "equipment" didn't live up to expectations.

(It's not the equipment....)

So. Yes, and no. You need the gear to even the playing field at some point when your skill is equivalent to the others you are shooting with; because the gear can push you over the top to win. Or hold you back and lose.

But getting in to an arms race with others can suck the fun right out of it.

We do this to better ourselves. If we lose sight of that and focus on gizmos and gadgets, instead of what WE bring to the table (camaraderie, fun times, and our personal best effort), then we lose focus on what we started doing it for in the first place.

Personally, I like watching guys bring 10/22's to the smallbore match to shoot and have fun. Heck some of them are getting pretty dang competitive (much to the chagrin of the Anchutz bolt action shooters..... who have recently started LOSING matches to them!)

(Yes, watching a 10/22 win a smallbore match over Anschutz rifles put a smile on my face, I always root for the underdog.)

Keep in mind I'm just expressing my thoughts here, not directing this at you. Your last post made it seem like you took what I said personally. It was not intended as such. Just my thoughts to the world at large. :)

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 07:00 PM
You're missing the point I was raising. I've seen a lot of shooters throw money at gear thinking it'll make them better overnight, find out it doesn't change anything, get discouraged, and quit. (Particularly in 'competitive' venues).
.
.

Your last post made it seem like you took what I said personally. It was not intended as such. Just my thoughts to the world at large.


No worries Trent. I didn't take anything personally. Sorry if it came off that way.

Anyhoo...I understood your point and agree it seems some might feel the equipment is primary and run the risk of being disappointed, and outright discouraged. I come from a competitive bicycle racing background, and the equipment focus was often insane, and didn't necessarily correlate to the ability of the rider. Often, the riders with the fanciest bike & clothing were the first ones dropped.

That said, my point is that I've arrived at a "so what?" point. "Those guys" affect my shooting as much as those dropped riders mentioned above affected my race. Yeah, maybe those riders get discouraged, and maybe it seems I should show more concern for other members of the community, but there are other, more productive ways of helping the community that by sandbagging myself during competition on their behalf. There's really nothing helpful or noble about that.

And those who clearly understand the importance of the nut behind the trigger aren't doomed to being one of "those guys" simply by virtue of a good coat and and rifle, nor does a good coat and rifle have to mean an arms race gets started, either. Earlier, I wrote "don't obsess over the gear; rather, look at what's standard in the sport", with an implicit emphasis on "don't obsess" and "what's standard".

Trent
July 14, 2014, 07:32 PM
Good points, and fair!

A fair amount of sandbagging can be in order when you run the competitions though. My scores don't "officially count" anyway, per NRA rules they cannot be submitted; but if there's time and the crowd isn't huge, I jump on the line and join in so I'm not spending 8 hours sitting on my rear end. I have several trained RSO's that can run the line while I'm taking a break.

Anyway ... as the person organizing the match one of my primary jobs is trying to encourage people and keep them from getting discouraged. So sandbagging has a place. I shoot to the skill level of the group shooting.

We do this in Karate, too, with sparring partners. We don't knock the living crap out of the new guys. We hold back - a LOT - letting them score every once in awhile to build confidence. Sure, it's a false confidence, but for awhile, that is *vital* to getting the right patterns developed. (If all you ever do is fail, you soon quit, right?)

I very consistently come in 2nd place when I jump in to play unofficially. Keep in mind I don't get sloppy. I just forget to shoot 4 or 5 shots. Or get called aside to deal with something and have to skip a full string (instant -100...).

That is, until the side-matches or after-match grudge matches start. Then I'll put the nail down hard. One of my shooters and I have been parallel in score on F-Class now for several months, after each match the gauntlet gets tossed down hard. We're both at the point where it's won or lost on # of X's, which keeps it interesting. :)

So keep in mind throughout our discussions, my perspective has only been from "how to keep shooters engaged and showing up month to month."

Discussions of gear don't even enter in to that until proficiency reaches a certain point, unless their gear is so horribly wrong that it simply will not work, period. Seen that before when a guy brought an SKS to a sporting rifle match. Did it work? Yea. Did he win? No, he came in dead last, and he never came back again. (Sometimes there are no answers to issues; he simply couldn't afford a better gun, but an 8-10 MOA SKS with a crap bore isn't going to cut it...)

Unfortunately sometimes we just can't keep people involved. But it gets more fun when the regulars stick around month, to month, to month.

The problem is when the arms race starts, it's damn contagious, because people need to "keep up with the Jonses." When I filter in line and shoot, I do so with NO gear. If they are shooting optics, I shoot irons. I shoot with no coat, no sling, t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops (in the summertime, obviously).

The reason I do this is so people can see "I don't need X/Y/Z to shoot good, I just need to practice". So far it's worked. We have a very consistent shooter base at the events.

Although admittedly it DOES add to the difficulty, especially if there are shooters there who are utilizing all the gear and laying down 90%+ scores. I REALLY have to work at it. (One match in particular caught me off guard. I was out playing with the highpower sporting rifle guys with a little PS90 pea shooter when a "very serious" CMP shooter showed up. He runs matches and clinics too, so I didn't hold back at all - took him by 8 points, then a rematch, and we BOTH topped the course record that second time. I won again by only a few points. I had a PS90, no magnification, 3.5 MOA red dot, and a round that is anemic. He had a match AR-15 service rifle, coat, spotting scope on a stand, good quality hand loads, and sling. It was rough, I had to really focus.)

Also note, it's ENTIRELY possible he was sandbagging ME. You just never know. :)

OK now that story is behind me... eye candy.

http://i.imgur.com/7VNLlCZh.jpg

Next range trip I establish a baseline for load development. Have two types of match ammo to run a course with (one on 223, one on 308) to get a "match grade ammo" baseline, and some white box winchester to get a "normal factory" baseline off of (plus harvest some cases for, part of the reason I've been shooting surplus is I've exhausted my supply of good 308 brass).

The match grade ammo is what I'll want my handloads to beat. But I have to see what these rifles are capable of with that ammo, and also see if that transfers as I expected on the course. (Or worse, if your 'squared of squared' pattern is true).

Find out tomorrow!

Trent
July 14, 2014, 07:46 PM
And those who clearly understand the importance of the nut behind the trigger aren't doomed to being one of "those guys" simply by virtue of a good coat and and rifle, nor does a good coat and rifle have to mean an arms race gets started, either. Earlier, I wrote "don't obsess over the gear; rather, look at what's standard in the sport", with an implicit emphasis on "don't obsess" and "what's standard".

Remember most of my shooters have never, ever participated in a rifle match before; most have never participated in ANY type of match. I've had people show up who have *never* shot a gun in their entire *life* before. (One of my regulars brought his parents along once; another brought his wife, and yet another brought his kid).

I don't *like* teaching brand new shooters during a competition because I already have my hands full keeping things flowing along, but usually have a spare RSO on hand to "babysit", and I set more experienced guys near them to give some coaching. One nice thing about this sport, everyone I've ever met is *super* helpful, and if you tap someone for something, they usually do it very willingly and go above and beyond what you ask of them.

Anyway, more people getting on the line is a good thing. One guy in particular comes to mind. 70 year old retired Caterpillar guy. He first picked up a rifle last summer - the first time he'd ever picked up ANY firearm - and one I loaned him for the shoot. He showed up at the competition (we have several mutual friends who attend), and he's now a gun owner, went through my concealed carry class, and has attended *ever* shooting event except the hardcore midwinter ones.

He's even taken home a couple of blue ribbons now. :)

For me, that is what it is about. I do my serious shooting on my own time, and filter in to the line to help demonstrate one technique or another. Usually pick one to emphasize or focus on each match for people.

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 08:19 PM
Good points, and fair!

Indeed - you make excellent point, too, Trent, so thanks for the clarification. In particular, 2 points:

as the person organizing the match one of my primary jobs is trying to encourage people and keep them from getting discouraged. So sandbagging has a place. I shoot to the skill level of the group shooting.

We do this in Karate, too, with sparring partners. We don't knock the living crap out of the new guys. We hold back - a LOT - letting them score every once in awhile to build confidence. Sure, it's a false confidence, but for awhile, that is *vital* to getting the right patterns developed. (If all you ever do is fail, you soon quit, right?)

When practicing with a pistol shooter during training, I've done exactly what you do in your sparring sessions for the same reasons. And better shooters likely have done the same to me.

And if I were organizing a match, and knew I was Top Dog among newer shooters, I'd likely not shoot at all or shoot for funzies. A friend of mine is an IDPA MD who happens to be a Distinguished Master, and it really chaps and discourages people when he handily wins his own match. :fire:

In my case, though, I live about 20 minutes from Camp Butner, and don't expect anything other than full-on competition or anyone to sandbag on my behalf. That's life, so I'll do my best to prepare.

Finally I mentioned "those people" in such a way to suggest they're all terminally deluded, but the fact is, most realize very quickly that it's the indian and not the bow. Some may quit, but many others face the fact, and start working hard, stick with it and improve. The nature of competition is pretty self-selective in that way. Come to think of it, so is life...;)

Trent
July 14, 2014, 08:20 PM
Keep in mind also that the skill degredation origin of this thread was taking 6 months off to get the new format of the competitions in order, and RSO's trained. I'm just *now* - this month - picking up a rifle again. Between the NRA ban on officials from competing in their own events, and the 'transition shock' we went through going from a casual rifle match to an approved NRA tournament, I had other worries than shooting.

But now I've got RSO's who can run the ship smooth. The "sneak in and shoot in sporting rifle" test was successful this month. Unfortunately I found I was nowhere NEAR the shooter I was this last winter. :(

Taking breaks hurts (back is killing me today from 3 straight days on the range).

Sorry about getting sidetracked and longwinded on all of the philosophical stuff. For all I know I'm beating a dead horse or going about things the wrong way; just trying to do the best I can.

Trent
July 14, 2014, 08:27 PM
In my case, though, I live about 20 minutes from Camp Butner, and don't expect anything other than full-on competition or anyone to sandbag on my behalf. That's life, so I'll do my best to prepare.


Around here, there's a whole lot of nothing. Of course there are great IL High Power program running throughout the state, but the closest venues are all 2+ counties from home (think the closest match to me is at Chillicothe, which is 1.25 hours and it is a 100 yard reduced target affair). Beyond that I have Effingham (4 hours), Bellville (3+ hours), Milan (2.5 hours), etc. Every event in every direction is a heck of a long drive; and the ones that are close to me are reduce range events. Only a few ranges go to 300 yards, two go to 600, and only one range in the entire state goes to 1k - but they have events only 2x a year...

Illinois also bans all hunting (except 'yotes), with centerfire rifles. So there's really no 'practical purpose' to owning a rifle in Illinois (other than home defense, perhaps.)

Which means we have a lot of people who don't know how to really use a rifle. New shooter, or very inexperienced shooters, are the norm at my competition. Now that we're in the second year, some guys are starting to get pretty competent, and the competition across the board is closing in (20-30 point differences between the leaders, scores all up 150+ points aggregate from last year, etc).

It's really neat to see it develop from the ground up, watching people get to DO something with their nifty sporting rifles besides sit at a bench once a year and plink a few rounds to make sure they still work. :)

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 08:38 PM
Now that we're in the second year, some guys are starting to get pretty competent, and the competition across the board is closing in (20-30 point differences between the leaders, scores all up 150+ points aggregate from last year, etc).

It's really neat to see it develop from the ground up, watching people get to DO something with their nifty sporting rifles besides sit at a bench once a year and plink a few rounds to make sure they still work.

Just an important point I failed to make in my previous post - huge kudos to you, Trent, for your involvement and mentorship!! It's great to hear...:D

Trent
July 14, 2014, 09:32 PM
Just an important point I failed to make in my previous post - huge kudos to you, Trent, for your involvement and mentorship!! It's great to hear...:D

Thanks man. I appreciate it. It's a surprising amount of work.

Getting RSO's trained up and delegating saved my sanity this year. Was very hectic running both smallbore and highpower concurrently, but I wanted to "keep the band together" when I split off our casual match in to two separate main events.

We do a rimfire aggregate (relaxed smallbore rules, introductory stuff at 50 yards), NRA smallbore, Highpower Sporting Rifle (casual), NRA High Power, F-Class, and even have a benchrest course if someone doesn't want to do positional shooting. The sheer amount of targets required is staggering. I've gotten to the point I just leave them in my truck full time to avoid hauling them in and out.

Now that the RSO's are taking over more of the mundane tasks and the regulars all know the routine, I get to spend more 1:1 time helping shooters and even get to filter in to shoot again. I have one RSO run the smallbore line and one assist me on the high power line. Next match is the first time I hand off the high power line to an RSO - going to keep an eye on him, but he's been at every match and knows what to do. I've been lucky so far - for 14 matches straight I haven't been sick, or had any family emergencies interfere. Need to make sure if anything happens to me someone else can tow the line temporarily.

Logistically it was difficult to coordinate everything, but in the end the (somewhat complex) program has panned out and worked very well. Something for everyone! And everyone still has a lot of fun. I managed to retain the 'if you have a rifle you can shoot and have fun' atmosphere that I intended from the start, even after getting 'approved' for real tournaments and score submissions by the NRA. It has been a success so far.

Once last year I threw everyone a curveball and announced a "USA vs. Communist" rifle event where they all had to choose sides and bring an appropriate firearm. ("Partisans" with arms from neither side could choose one or the other at will, if someone didn't happen to own a US or comblock mfg firearm.)

Was a lot of fun, and got to see stuff that people normally wouldn't consider in a traditional shoot. Personally when I shot last year, I tend to bring oddball stuff to the event, so I can shoot to my potential but still handicap my scores. I've brought a Mosin Nagant, a Swiss K31, a Yugo M76 8mm (hard hitting but not known for accuracy lol), etc. I even brought a bolt action Steyr SSG 69 once with the original Zeiss glass.

Ian (forgotten weapons) suggested I bring a belt fed once, and I think I'll use the PKM this fall in the USA vs. Communist shoot. 18 pounds dry (more with a full 100 round box attached), and it removes flesh from your left arm on ejection if you try to shoot it shouldered, but I'll strap some leather on and give it a try. Damn thing is ACCURATE for a belt fed rifle - shoots 2 MOA at 200 yards off the tripod, so I might surprise people if my muscles can take it in positional shooting. I'd thought about using an MG34 or MG42 but those bottom ejectors would damage my legs if I tried to shoot them while sitting. They eject with authority. (Also a real danger of unintentional bump fire with those and I don't want rounds leaving the ballpark).

Anyway will post up a range report tomorrow on "match" ammo (assuming work remains slow and I don't get called in). See if I can further nail down my 'baseline' accuracy (me, not the gun).

If I can do this properly I can track progress as I continue on.

If I can't, I'm just speculating if I'm getting better or not. :)

WNTFW
July 14, 2014, 11:50 PM
Trent,
I didn't read all you posted yet.
What do you make of this? In the last 2 years I hardly shot at all. Prior to that I practiced a lot (air rifle) and dryfired.I went out to a clinic on Saturday and shot a 93 for prone sighting, 96-2X in RP, 95-0X in RS. Sunday I go to a match and shoot a 97-4X in RS and a 96-2X in RP. 2 personal best on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. My offhand was low for me. My personal best being a 96 in OH.
What I put forth is that the core physical skills (once developed) don't diminish as much as the mental part of it. I also think being away forces me to work at it more.
I don't have great equipment but adequate. I have what I call a "Budget Match" AR. I have a similar problem in that my right eye is not as good as my left.

Trent
July 15, 2014, 12:33 AM
WNTFW:

How much skill is lost is going to depend greatly on the individual.

Downtime also sometimes has the reverse effect. Found that out on guitar playing and other physical disciplines. Sometimes a break is what you need to take things to the next level. Your body retains muscle memory. Sometimes that break helps your brain sort out things that you couldn't while you were busy overthinking them. :)

Some of my skill degradation was due to physical weakening. I have a pretty sedentary job (computer stuff) and aside from gardening (which is good exercise), I did very little (read as none) physical workouts or cardio workouts during that downtime. I am stronger right now than I was last year but my cardio system (endurance) is kind of crap right now.

My arms / chest / and core were still strong from outside work. But my back and certain muscles used for shooting that I didn't touch while doing yardwork/ gardening were really, noticeably weakened. My back, in particular, has sore muscle fatigue today (badly). The muscles used in prone shooting, twisting and holding myself up to load the next round in slowfire, etc, really wore me the hell out.

Even with muscle fatigue, muscle memory will carry you a long way.

My prone supported (f-class) scores never really budge no matter how much time I take off. I've taken a couple years off shooting long range rifle and land right back where I was. Prone with a sling is a lot more demanding. More fine motor coordination, more major muscle groups involved.

I DO agree that being away will force you to work at it more. That's also one of the reasons that taking a break can sometimes push you past a plateau that you had been bumping off of! This is gleaned from both martial arts and guitar, as well as shooting, there are similarities between any different physical art that involves both fine and gross motor skills and precision of movement.

Think of it this way; a champion ice skater could very likely take a few years off and skate circles around me even if I were to spend all of that time trying to learn. They won't be in peak form and might not be able to pull off moves successfully that they could before, but the point of skill they regress to is still higher than I can attain in that period they took off. Change that to "20 years" and one might skate circles around THEM.

You can only build muscle memory so fast, and you only GAIN muscle memory through repetition. Push it too hard though and you gain no additional traction, or have to do 10x as many to gain a little. Take a short break and you reset the clock on the memory. Now when you resume you regain skill fast, and gain NEW skill fast. For a period of time.. then the effect diminishes.

You can only LOSE muscle memory so fast AND it only diminishes to a certain point. If you learn to ride a bike as a kid you will forever be able to ride a bike so long as you have two legs, two arms and a sense of balance... but you might be a little wobbly.

This varies by skill too.. Some other skills .. not so much. When I was a kid I could do cool things on a skateboard. Now all I do when I try to jump on MY kids board is fall on my rear. :)

I think shooting falls somewhere on the "high retention" end of the spectrum. You won't lose it completely unless you are away from it for a VERY long time. It's a very gradual curve.

Lots of speculative and theoretical stuff on muscle memory retention. I'm by no means an expert and all I can do is give anecdotal personal experience; which is of limited use because every human being and mind is different.

Trent
July 15, 2014, 12:44 AM
Quick followup: As Taliv pointed out earlier, different positions / shooting disciplines lose skill more rapidly than others.

Putting this in to a more scientific thought process, I would put forth that the amount of work required to gain skill in a discipline, and the rate that you lose skill, is *directly* proportional to the amount of muscles involved in that act, AND the ratio of fine motor coordination to gross motor coordination.

E.g. "low" position bipod prone - very few muscle groups involved, pretty easy to pick up and learn.

"High position (30 degree forearm) smallbore prone" - MUCH more difficult to learn and master than supported prone.

"Sitting" - no muscle groups involved in the torso, none in the legs; only neck, shoulder and wrists (as minimal as possible on those). Pretty easy to learn and master. Pretty slow to lose skill.

Standing - EVERY muscle is involved to some degree, either relaxed or tensed. A lot of major AND minor motor skills interacting. Very difficult to master. Faster to lose.

Handgun - same as standing, but worse. Handgun skills RAPIDLY diminish if you don't keep that kettle boiling. :)

The similarities I've found between that, and martial arts moves, is very similar. I had a 3 year forced break after a motorcycle crash. Was still highly proficient, except in the very fine details. Gross motor coordination didn't diminish at all. Minor mistakes in minor motor skills were abundant. Slight tensioning / relaxation errors. Somewhat jerky movements at times.

Basically the same thing I *started* feeling in my rifle shooting after 6 months. But it came back fast.

My first standing score this month after my 1/2 year break was in the *40's*. But after that it quickly bounced up to low-to-mid 80's. I've also started integrating a couple of helpful things in the off months from other shooters, should be able to push in to the 90's quickly now.

Trent
July 15, 2014, 12:47 AM
(Yet one more speculation before I go to bed)...

This raises the question "if I want to retain my skill, how often MUST I practice to avoid backsliding."

I think that would depend on level of mastery; the more refined you are, the higher that level of precision, the more you have to practice to keep the pot boiling.

(If it tracks with martial arts, anyway. Pure speculation).

Trent
July 15, 2014, 08:19 PM
OK, I thought that Malaysian ammo was crap ... until I shot Winchester White Box 147gr 308 factory ammo today. WOW.

http://i.imgur.com/UMfZSsJh.jpg

I thought my SCOPE was broke so I took it off and tried again with irons. NO called fliers. Just inconsistent as all hell.

http://i.imgur.com/J8fVvoth.jpg

So I switched over to Hornady Superperformance 165gr - thinking maybe I forgot how to shoot? It grouped at 1.25" at 100 yards with iron sights. (Forgot to snap a pic.)

Anyway decided to move on at that point, satisfied I hadn't forgot how to shoot overnight, and started more sitting 200 rapid fire strings. I was averaging about the 52 second mark on completion.

The first two strings were with the Leupold on to get a baseline, it was set at 6x.

1st string sitting rapid fire 200 yd:

98-2x (or maybe 4x, those other two were touching the line).

http://i.imgur.com/obJzMj3h.jpg

2nd string sitting rapid fire:

98-2x again.

(One shot shouldn't count though as I finished the string at 1:04... had trouble getting a sight picture on the scope this time.)

http://i.imgur.com/ghOSj59h.jpg

With the scope slowing me down, I removed it and shot the factory irons:

3rd string sitting rapid fire 200 yd:

97-2x

That one shot WAY low was an "OOOPS" - after executing the reload I shouldered it, and snapped off that first shot accidentally ... hit the paper but was low, and still managed a 97-2x. :)

http://i.imgur.com/TMsB2l2h.jpg

Fourth string sitting rapid fire 200 yds:

Yet another 97-2x. I lost my focus and had a known flier; range was busier today and another guy bumpfired dumped his damn AR as I was sighting following the reload. (That's obnoxious, by the way).

http://i.imgur.com/59TdZbih.jpg


At this point I was down to 20 rounds of Hornady and decided to save it (have another rifle I want to test it in), so tried more strings with the Winchester white box.

Fifth string sitting rapid fire 200 yds:

90-1x.

http://i.imgur.com/oG9Yluzh.jpg

Whoa. That was depressing. I should have started with WWB ammo and went to Hornady later. Talk about a morale killer.

Realizing also the 147 was hitting higher than the 165gr hornady, I held a 6 O'clock hold for the remainder of the shooting.

Sixth string sitting rapid fire 200 yds:

89. well.. that didn't get any better. Following the reload I had a rear sight alignment issue that I caught by the third round.

http://i.imgur.com/N5puAnHh.jpg

At this point it was getting REAL hard to see the bullseye with irons due to all the white pasters (I ran out of black a couple months ago).

So I threw a fresh target up and did 2x Sitting Rapid fire 10 shot strings back to back.

http://i.imgur.com/A8kuqmuh.jpg

186/200 1x

Clearly, there is a limit as to what I can expect from Winchester White Box ammo. :)

Anyway now that I have some fresh donor cases time to do a bit of loading. I just picked up a 308 caliber conversion kit for my Dillon 650 last month, so hopefully I can find a decently accurate round that I can produce quickly. Don't have time in the summer to sit at the single stage doing rifle ammo.

I seem to have hit a plateau with sitting rapid fire for now, at the 97-98% mark, so I'm going to move on to prone for a while after the loading hiatus.

WNTFW
July 16, 2014, 10:56 AM
Trent,
I still have not gone back and read yet.
I feel that some of the skill that degrades is not so much core skills or basics.
Some is the finer points like how easily I achieve NPoA. Then again I am still learning on what works. Wind reading is one I feel you need to work at to keep up, but then I never got good at wind reading.
With a lot of sports I find anything timing related needs regular maintenance.

No doubt sorting out equipment and ammo is worth some points though. It is pretty hard to overcome a poorly shooting gun.

Since I last shot for score and the previous time I think my shot calling really came in. Plus I practiced sitting and prone with air rifle and dry fire. Quality over quantity when it comes to practice is a big one in my eyes. Some times I would shoot 3 10 shot sessions instead of 1 30 shot session a day to go through the process 3x more in a day.

I also think swapping between scope/irons rifle/pistol and such helps. I also feel playing any game that has a similar mental/physical focus help. In my case I can be impatient in shooting, so any game that rewards patience helps me. I did find myself watching the wind more when not shooting.

Very interesting stuff you are talking about.

Trent
July 16, 2014, 11:28 AM
WNTFW -

One of my issues was tension. I noticed this yesterday when I went out - each time I got ready to shoot a string, before I hit the timer, I had to FORCE myself to relax my shoulders. Seems stress from work / life was carrying over to my shooting.

Have an eye doc appointment today to see if they can figure out why my right eye has deteriorated so rapidly. I had blind spots show up 2 years ago in the right eye that went away after a few months, they couldn't find anything wrong. Hoping something isn't going south there. (Part of the reason I was brushing up on left handed shooting was this nagging feeling that there is something seriously wrong with the right eye... there will probably come a point when I'm *forced* to switch, and don't want that transition to be so abrupt.)

Anyway appt set for this afternoon, so we'll see. Nervous.

Good ammo that shoots well in the rifle is definitely worth points. Notice the size of what I was doing yesterday with Hornady, vs. the size of the groups while shooting Malaysian surplus, or Winchester white box.

I found well tuned ammo on F-Class is worth more to a shooter than high quality glass.

I've never bothered to work up handloads for that SCAR; but I think it's long overdue. Also need to get a flash suppressor ordered so I can pull off the compensator, so it's competition legal in Match rifle. (Not that it'd make a good Match rifle, but the way it sits now it's not a legal gun, PERIOD.)

I'm planning on keeping the compensator around for practice, though. That rifle is going to kick like an angry mule once that compensator is pulled off. :)

WNTFW
July 16, 2014, 11:53 AM
Trent,
I am searching for and eye doctor. I have what I think is a floater.

At the local F Class match there are some guys that dominate. All have been shooting forever and shoot open. I think the biggest factor is they are at the range 4 days a week. A portion of that has to be observing wind conditions there. Of course every thing they do contributes.

I have reached the point which shooting a better bullet is my next move for F class TR.

Trent
July 16, 2014, 12:17 PM
Wind reading is definitely the most important skill for long range F-Class. Having a supported rifle the skill level for the actual shooting fundamentals is greatly reduced over other disciplines (shooting positionally, shooting prone w/ sling, etc).

That takes a lot of the "meat bag behind the trigger issues" out of the equation, and makes it a lot more about the rifle, the bore, the optics, and the ammunition (especially the ammunition..). I mean you still have to know how to shoot, but the biggest contribution the human makes to the equation is figuring out everything else off-course, and reading wind on-course.

It's a great discipline for the 'thinking man' since so much more effort goes in to preparing for the match, than the match itself. :)

Any long range discipline is a good pairing for higher end reloading concepts; neck turning, case sorting by weight, etc. You've got to shoot .5 MOA to hit the X on the F-Class targets, and have to consistently shoot sub MOA to get a perfect score (with all external variables accounted for).

That is where getting an extra .05 MOA out of ammo becomes critical, as well as finding a load with a VERY small velocity variation. (Frustratingly, the two don't often coincide with one another...) :)

twofifty
July 16, 2014, 12:29 PM
WNTFW, floaters are said to be a common occurrence. However they can be a sign that
something is going wrong.

For instance, a small retinal tear will cause floaters to suddenly increase to such numbers that vision is significantly darkened. If the condition is ignored, retinal detachment can be next in line.

Trent
July 16, 2014, 12:53 PM
LOL (Kind of a joke)

"So if my eyesight finally goes that means I can still take up "Action Shooting" again."

(Referring to 3 gun, etc...)

Trent
July 16, 2014, 04:57 PM
Ok, trip to the eye doc mission accomplished.

Two issues... vision in right eye had deteriorated to 20/80 (with my glasses on!), *and* my right eye tear ducts aren't working properly.

So, new glasses on the way, and I get to use glycerin eye drops several times a day from now on.

Will continue this journey when the new lenses show.. 7-10 days.

Jeff H
July 17, 2014, 05:44 PM
This has been an interesting read Trent. Thanks for that.

Now I know why we haven't seen a lot of you on THP. You've been spending all of your time shooting and posting here. :D

And, yes, this thread is yet another reminder that I won't progress in service rifle if I only get out and shoot a couple of times a year. <sigh> one of these days, I need to make that more of a priority.

twofifty
July 17, 2014, 08:52 PM
I guess that's a relief of sorts about your eyes trent.
Keep on training those WHO shots. Once you're confident with WHO, they're a great place to pick up points on the competition.

lol on the action pistol accuracy joke.
Consider also that less accuracy = more thinking. Or something like that. ;)

Trent
July 17, 2014, 09:26 PM
Well at least I won't have to be relegated to an eternity of "Action shooting" to get my gun kicks. :)

(Not that there is anything inherently wrong with action shooting... I just prefer targets with X, 10, .. etc on them instead of "A B C D")

Action shooting gets the young shooters interested but there's no replacement for sending the lead down range with a great deal of precision. One is merely "area shooting", the other is "hit dead center or lose."

Or if you prefer the warrior-mindset when you are on the range, "hit or be killed." THAT is worth a few points on it's own, twofifty.. :)

Trent
July 17, 2014, 09:29 PM
Jeff - yeah there's no replacement for some trigger time.

I've found that on days I'd rather not shoot, by the time I get my gear unpacked and sights on a target, I forget ALL about what a big PITA it is to get motivated, get my gear together, and get out the door. Force yourself up and out the door to get to the range, the rest of the day will be far more enjoyable. :)

twofifty
July 17, 2014, 10:02 PM
Good points. It's all good in my books.

Given how hot it is right now and trent's comment above about what a pita it is to get out the door, this would be an opportune time for him to repost a couple match pics taken this past winter, at -10F iirc. trent?

Trent
July 17, 2014, 10:26 PM
Ok, you asked for it. Consider this the "THR Ice Water Cooler" for the day.

Load development in the snow (7.62)

http://i.imgur.com/5Z8m3H0h.jpg

Getting a winter hike in (-20F) to keep cardio up. (At that temp your breath forms ice crystals all over your face / hat / shoulders)

http://i.imgur.com/afz3Gueh.jpg

Competitors changing targets. 14" of snow on the field, we took 4x4's to the range but could not make it to the targets in the trucks. (Someone tried and got horribly stuck at 100 yards)

http://i.imgur.com/XHSUT4qh.jpg

That was a LONG walk for me to supervise scoring ... (Competitors score but I have to supervise to resolve any cross-fire, extra shots, or "double holes")

http://i.imgur.com/cHdYJX7h.jpg

Collin (a minor at the time, a tall one at that, so no last name) switched to a bolt gun after his AR froze up solid.

http://i.imgur.com/9owkD1Bh.jpg

My buddy Dave on midrange prone (shooting under match rifle / rule 19.5.3 optics)

http://i.imgur.com/lqPy6PLh.jpg

Proud guys after a hard day of REALLY cold shooting. Wind chill of -24F, actual temp -10F or below.

http://i.imgur.com/6rr76Kxh.jpg

Me, demonstrating horrible form in the snow. (Was covering "how to go prone quickly in snow", which essentially involves throwing your body down hard face first.)

Note; proper high power prone technique (hiking right leg up) wasn't required to clear my diaphragm from the ground, as the snow cushioned it just fine. :)

http://i.imgur.com/boZsy1ih.jpg

My buddy Chris on F-class prone. He lays down high master scores with an off the shelf Rem 700, a good handload, and cheap glass. :)

http://i.imgur.com/Ubz1sQoh.jpg

Kevin with his old Anschutz on NRA Smallbore.

http://i.imgur.com/HME4WTFh.jpg

PS90 handload development in the frigid cold.

http://i.imgur.com/5fRIFKhh.jpg

For some reason I always have the range to myself on days like that. (-17F wind chill).

Note: the body armor is to put between me and the rifle. Was developing loads for 5.7x28mm that there was no data for, anywhere.

http://i.imgur.com/NpUbclbh.jpg

I love shooting in harsh conditions. I mean, I get the range to myself. No one bothers me. It's beautiful to sit back and gaze on nature during rest breaks. Totally peaceful.

http://i.imgur.com/9Zt3fZCh.jpg

twofifty
July 17, 2014, 10:49 PM
Very refreshing. Thx.

Trent
August 7, 2014, 10:57 PM
New glasses are finally in!

Was a long delay because the first set that came in was the wrong prescription.

So, redux, and now I've got a new set of lenses - and they work!

So back out again this weekend to see if there's any difference on irons. (I haven't shot since the last post on here - figured why waste the ammo on bad vision...)

Trent
August 9, 2014, 08:15 PM
Results with new eyeglasses; iron sights w/ sling (SCAR17S again); Win =winchester white box; Hornady = hornady superperformance

For the heck of it I shot one string at 300 with my old glasses for comparison. The group with new glasses had all in the black. The old glasses I was getting quite a few 5's & 6's....

89-2x Win 200 yard rapid fire sitting
94-2x Win 200 yard rapid fire sitting
92-1x Hornady 200 yard rapid fire sitting
93-1x Hornady 200 yard rapid fire sitting
75-1x Win 300 yard rapid fire prone (old glasses)
88-3x Win 300 yard rapid fire prone (new glasses)
166-1x Win 300 yard slow fire prone

Got a ways to go yet - but now that the eyes are fixed up, time to hit the bench and work up some test loads and find out what the SCAR likes to eat. :)

MrBorland
August 10, 2014, 11:40 AM
Nice.

Yep, you need to see what you need to see. I recently got a set of prescription shooting glasses, and it helps a lot. I never needed glasses, but my ability to see up close has been getting worse & worse to the point I had to do something about it.

Interesting your average scores with WWB were nearly as good as with the Hornady match ammo.

Trent
August 10, 2014, 01:47 PM
MrBorland;

If I'd eaten lunch before I ran off to the range, those scores would probably have been higher. Was pretty shaky yesterday. Before I started on the High Power strings I played a little at 50 yards. Well, played a lot.

Got this new Archangel stock for my 10/22:

http://i.imgur.com/AIrYdo9h.jpg

For this adjustable length of pull:

http://i.imgur.com/Mhgy82ph.jpg

Now me, and the kids can both use the dang thing. :)

I had a Turner sling in the basement which went on the QD mount points, got it adjusted up before I left. (Still used the Harris bipod for sighting in - had to move the scope forward once I got to the range).

http://i.imgur.com/OKpD7TOh.jpg

Did 150 rounds on that thing from noon to about 3 PM. Did 30 from the bench to get the scope moved, leveled, parallax set, and dialed in. Took awhile because the rifle either does not like the new stock or does not like the Federal ammo I was feeding it. (Leaning more towards ammo, since 1 of 10 shots would veer off 6" while the rest grouped about 1".)

Anyway after getting 'zeroed' as best I could, I did another 20 shots standing, 50 shots sitting, and 50 shots prone, before moving on to the SCAR on the longer side of the range.

So I was a bit tired and hungry to start on the high power strings. Which led to being downright grumpy towards the end at about 5:30 PM. :)

But back to the winchester ammo; yes it was grouping just as good;

First two groups of Winchester white box visible here (one set pasted, one set not) (10 shots each 200 yards sitting rapid fire)

http://i.imgur.com/AQrb8QRh.jpg

First group of Hornady (10 shots 200 yards sitting rapid fire)

http://i.imgur.com/rDdWrlXh.jpg

Second group of hornady (10 shots 200 yards sitting rapid fire)

http://i.imgur.com/JS0j0hLh.jpg

OLD glasses: Winchester white box at 300 yards rapid fire prone

http://i.imgur.com/NGkgA5Fh.jpg

(Was all over the damn place)

NEW glasses: Winchester white box 300 yards rapid fire prone

http://i.imgur.com/hkdKb3ch.jpg

No uncalled fliers - All hits were in the black except one which hit the line above and between 5 & 6 on the left side. I remember taking that shot, had a sudden muscle spasm and went "yea that went left, damnit". :)

The one thing I noticed about the new glasses; when I focus on the front sight, I can still make out a hazy black circle. Which is good. However, the prescription is so strong to correct my distance vision, that I get eye strain if I focus on that front sight long, and I can't maintain focus on it for very long. Anything < 1 foot from my face is *impossible* to focus on, and anything < 4' with these glasses on gives me varying degrees of strain to focus on.

So to compensate I close my eyes for a second between shots.

Trent
September 20, 2014, 01:39 PM
So ... I shot a perfect DEWAR in smallbore with that 10/22. (Yes, I was shooting optics). Also scored perfects on prone and sitting in 3pos, standing.. we just won't talk about standing. :)

My high power scores on the last shoot sucked, but mainly because I pulled a "duh" and didn't turn my rear sight knob on the 300 yard stage.... great group, but in the wrong damn spot. My score on sitting rapid fire was 180/200 (pair of 90's). But I dropped 83 frigging points on slowfire prone - 117/200 - we have no pits, and the mirage was so severe I couldn't see any holes @ 300 through my spotting scope. So didn't know where I was hitting until it was all said and done... sigh. I shot 168/200 on slowfire standing. First time I ever scored higher on standing than prone... grr.

F-class I put down a 196/200 and 195/200 on two strings. I'm still clearly better with a bipod and Nightforce in front of my face than I am with irons.. :)

Glasses helped but I was also out of shape on some things. Still am, but I'm practicing each weekend that I have available. Working on ladder testing ammo in that SCAR this weekend. Going to see if I can find a sweet spot and get those groups a bit tighter. It's now an NRA legal match rifle with the brake removed. Kicks like a mule, though. Always a trade-off...

Trent
September 20, 2014, 01:44 PM
Also worth noting;

ON that 10/22, the archangel stock has a "barrel tensioner" insert.

Freefloated it shot like crap.

Stick the tensioner in the 3rd spot, worked with it, and it shrunk groups down to below 0.5". I can't believe it, but a 1/4 turn on that tensioner either way has a shocking effect on group size! Even though that 10/22 has a hammer forged bull barrel, it still has some odd harmonic characteristics. It really does want to be bedded "on the firm side."

Compared to the stock-stock, I'm getting WAY better accuracy out of that archangel. I bought it to solve "Dad & Kid shooting" length of pull issues. I didn't expect it to make the dang 10/22 a somewhat serious contender against the Anshutz smallbore rifles I am playing against. Tried 4 types of Eley ammo and three of the 4 types I shot, shoot ragged single holes at 50 yards. Trying RWS ammo next. Pricey, but man, I need to see what this rifle is truly capable of now that I can muck around with the barrel harmonics some. :)

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