Starting to shoot for real! Long winded anecdotal advice needed.


May 31, 2004, 12:03 AM
So to help me get my life back on track after some bad moves on my part (pm or email me for details, I don't feel good about broadcasting them. It's hard to stay sober in an Arts School in San Francisco) my parents are allowing me to participate in the NRA Youth Riflery Program at the Pacific Rod and Gun Club in foggy San Francisco!

Good times. Yesterday I went down, introduced myself to the instructor and handled a firearm for the first time. 4 rules obeyed, thank you very much. Of course, the bolt was removed, but I wanted to make a good impression. :rolleyes:

16lb single shot .22, didn't catch the make or model.

Anyway, watched another kid shoot of a group. What do they mean when this dialogue happens:

Instructor: Call the shot?
Shooter: 10 o'clock 6?
Instructor: Close, 9 o'clock 7.

I assume something about where the round hit on the target, but edify me please.

Watched some other guys shoot some skeet for a while. They were kind of gruff and unfriendly when I attempted to talk to them, but I guess you don't get friendly reactions from kids in Frisco... we're taught by parents and schools that guns are bad.

So next Saturday I'm taking the safety course, and probably popping off my first round!

Life is good.

Anyway, tell me what I need to know to shoot the first time. What to wear (Indoor range with AC), what to do, some lingo I might need to know, and let's hear some stories of your guys' first shoots.

Oleg: You are the man. This would not have happened with out you. If you're ever out this way, please let me buy you lunch or something.

If you enjoyed reading about "Starting to shoot for real! Long winded anecdotal advice needed." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 31, 2004, 12:15 AM
Winston - safety comes first - always. That's good.

Stories?? .. hell - my first shoot was so long ago - it's written in the bible!!:D

What to wear?? Main thing is - comfortable, and non-restrictive clothing. Eye and ear protectuion, of course. That'll set you up. What do they mean when this dialogue happens: That is ''calling the shot''.

At the exact moment of shot release ... you should be able to have a near photographic image of the sight picture. If sights are spot on with adjustment, then ... as the shot goes you ''see'' the deviation from ideal.

It is (can be) very accurate. Practice this with your follow-thru ... an important part of shooting. You should be able to call, at least - ''x'' o'clock .... even if score not certain. Even perhaps ..... ''that was low left'' ... whatever.

Not that difficult to achieve but ... follows on from good sights and trigger disciplines.

Good luck with starting out ... keep us up to speed.:)

May 31, 2004, 12:17 AM
Thanks p95!

To give you guys a frame of reference, this is how I started out:

14 years old then, now I'm on the cusp of 16. It's been quite a journey so far!

May 31, 2004, 12:19 AM
good luck with it :)

May 31, 2004, 12:19 AM
good luck with it :)

May 31, 2004, 12:22 AM
Winston - I'll say one thing... if you had not divulged your age I (we perhaps) would have maybe taken you for older. It would seem you have a good head on your shoulders .. and I daresay you have learned much from your long membership here.

Put all that to good use and I expect you'll be an ambassador of your own generation when it comes to shooting, RKBA etc. Keep it up.

All and any questions you may have ... bring it on in ..... we will help all we can.

Oleg Volk
May 31, 2004, 12:44 AM
Congratulations! Well done! The only advice I can provide is listen, think and relax...this should be fun. I wish I had competent instruction when starting out.

Here's what Kipling had to say on the topic:

May 31, 2004, 12:52 AM
winston, good luck starting your (hopefully) lifelong love of shooting! I believe you'll do just fine, from seeing your posts just since I've joined THR.
Just remember, easy does it! Hopefully you'll get to shoot that '16 lb. rifle', it's probably a Winchester 52D or Remington 513T, both excellent-tack driving .22's. My advice about clothes is what not to wear: Don't wear 'Range ninja/Rambo' clothes. (Black BDU's, T-shirt with 'Kill 'em all..') There is a thread on that, and most posters agree this just gives the blissninnies more ammo (pun intended) against us. Learning to call your shots is a good idea, it makes you aware of where you're shooting, and if you spot any 'trends' in where, you can correct them. Good luck, stay safe, and have fun!

May 31, 2004, 01:07 AM
When I did NRA smallbore, what you wanted to have was a sweatshirt to go under your shooting jacket, the same one every time for consistency. You'll also want a pen and small notebook to be your shooter's diary, where you note down the rack number of the rifle you're shooting and any sight adjustments and so on. Are you shooting positions or just prone?
You're unlikely to be fighting a lousy trigger, mainly what you want to concentrate on is your breathing, and not moving your left arm much while you load. It's a really amazing ammount of fun, you're going to love it.

May 31, 2004, 09:55 AM
I fired my first shot at age six. It was from an air pistol.
I missed the target, but not by too much. I was hooked.

I had to wait until age 12 to fire my next shot. Since then I've shot hundreds of guns and thousands of rounds of ammo.
I've competed with pistols, rifles, shotguns and subguns. The people I've met have been some of the most helpful folks you could ever find.
Loaning equipment is almost a reflex. Advice is easy to come by too, and I've needed it often over the years.

Be safe and have fun!

(If your parents are willing to consider getting you a target rifle there are some good deals at the Civilian Marksmanship Program,

May 31, 2004, 10:21 AM
That's great news Winston. I did some of that kind of target shooting when I was 15. It's a good way to learn about accuracy.

My first shot? I'd been shooting bb guns since I was 7 but my first recoiling gun was a 20 guage single shot shotgun when I was 12. My dad paid a dollar for me to enter into a turkey shoot. There was a line of twenty grown men and we all got one shot at an 8x12 sheet of paper tacked to a stake 60 yards out. Penciled onto that paper was a one inch X and whoever came closest to the center of that X with a #6 pellet won a certificate to pick up a turkey from the local turkey farm.

I liked shooting that gun so much that I asked my dad if I won would he pay another dollar for me to shoot it again. He said "we'll see". Guess he didn't think I had a chance, didn't have another buck, or was just plain embarassed that I out-shot him because I didn't get to shoot again.

My turkey weighed 24 pounds! :D

El Tejon
May 31, 2004, 10:42 AM
What to wear? Clothes that will be washed immediately.

It's an indoor range. Lead abatement rules: wash your hands in cold water, do not eat while shooting, shower when you get home, do not bring your range shoes inside, wash your clothing.

Shooting inside will not give you the gaspers, but over time, lead build up in your body can be injurious to your health. To be forewarned . . .:)

What to do? What they tell you. Minds are like parachutes, they work better when open.

Lingo? Finger straight, where's your muzzle? If in doubt, don't. The Four Rules.

I first shot at age 5. Greatgrandfather's farm. Stevens .22 with cbs.:)

May 31, 2004, 12:39 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. Looks like I'll start out prone, then move on to other positions.

Standing Wolf
May 31, 2004, 03:39 PM
You're on the right path, young man.

Calling shots takes years of concentrated effort. It's a way to help your next shot hit the X ring. Shooters who learn from misses are like people who learn from mistakes: ahead of the crowd.

May 31, 2004, 03:43 PM
For the dialogue, the instructor was stating which direction from the bullseye the shot went by stating "x o'clock". The first number, say, "9" means the shot was in the 9 point ring. So if the instructor says, "7, 12 o' clock", that means that it is in the 7 point ring, directly above the bullseye.

May 31, 2004, 09:04 PM
Double up on ear protection. Use plugs and muffs.

Calling your shot is an excellent way of doin' that Zennie thing of knowing your body. It takes time to develop but a good understanding of your sight picture, breathing patterns, and trigger takeup is essential to marksmanship. If you rifle is properly sighted and you know you, you will be able to tell exactly where the round landed.

When I did competitive .22LR rifle shooting (decades ago) not only would bw have to discuss where the shot landed but we had to identify what we screwed up to have missed the target. It was an Army sponsored Scout rifle team. And yes, we were good.

June 1, 2004, 12:33 AM
Don't be afraid to simply follow directions. For some physical things, it's easier to set you up to experience it for yourself, than for your instructor to precisely explain what & why to you ahead of time.

logan5 mentioned breathing.... yes - you don't conquer breathing, you need to get to "know" breathing very very well.

Have fun. Be proud of your achievements.

June 1, 2004, 09:37 AM

You're not far now. Getting competent instruction will go a long way -- it's a luxury many of us never had.

"Calling the shot:" If you can call the shot, it generally means that you're not scared, not hyperventilating, and that you aren't jerking or blinking at the point of discharge. This is the "Zen" that many on THR have talked about -- when you get better (take your time, you'll get there) you'll almost be in a different realm. You will see the sights, sometimes even muzzleflash and bullet strike before you blink. This means you should know exactly where the bullet went.

It's so exciting to read of someone getting into shooting. Have fun with it. ;)


June 1, 2004, 10:31 AM
Calling the shot is critical for shooting any gun. If you can't call your shots, you haven't learned how to shoot yet.

If you think you will be serious about target shooting, you will want to read "With Winning in Mind" by Lanny Basham. Its about the mental side of shooting. Your time on the range will be relatively short, so most coaches end up concentrating on physical technique, but the real game is in your head. Calling your shots is part of the head game.

I shot smallbore through high school, but never got any good info on the head game until I started shooting bullseye pistol after college. The best thing you can do is some reading.


June 2, 2004, 01:11 PM
On an indoor range it is advisable to wear a hat with a brim: like a baseball hat. Brass will be flying all over the place and a baseball hat can keep hot metal from wedging itself behind your safety glasses.

Long pants are recommended especially if the indoor range has a steel backstop. Little pieces of metal will fly back and hit you... usually in the legs... they're very small and usually don't hurt, but some of them can be sharp and will draw blood.

Do as you're told. It's their house, their rules.

Have a great time.

Jason Demond
June 2, 2004, 07:31 PM

Red 8 ring 3 o'clock
Green 9 ring 6 o'clock
Orange 10 ring 7 o'clock
Blue 8 ring 10 o'clock

I thought you could use something for visual reference.:)

If you enjoyed reading about "Starting to shoot for real! Long winded anecdotal advice needed." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!