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Aiming a snub nose. Help

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Yolomanolo, May 2, 2009.

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  1. Yolomanolo

    Yolomanolo Member

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    First of all, let me say that I am pretty new to guns in general. Always been interested, but was never introduced to shooting. I plan on taking some classes, and I am well aware that meticulous safety and practice is very important. Anyway, my first gun (a rather expensive birthday gift from a rather loving girlfriend) is a charter arms undercover southpaw 38 snub nose revolver. How does one properly aim a snub nose? I always thought that you line up the sights, make sure they are level with eachother, and you go from there. But for a rear sight there is a shallow groove traveling up the frame of the gun. The front sight is much higher than the rear groove. If I were to line these up and level them, wouldn't it cause my gun to point in a downward angel? Anybody want to help a novice? Thanks
     
  2. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    Go to the Range...set up a Bull's Eye Target at say, 15 or 20 feet...Aim and fire slowly, consistantly, however so...shoot several Cylinders worth...and then look at the 'prints' on the Target. (Do not pay any attention to where the Bullets are hitting while Shooting, merely, Aim, and fire consistantly...)

    This will tell you 'where' the Shots are going...albeit, if not telling you why or how.


    Same as any Arm...


    Too, differing Ammunitions/Loadings will go higher or lower with the same Aim.
     
  3. steveracer

    steveracer Member

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    I tell people to try to imagine that the front sight is attached to the finger of your shooting hand. Just use your finger to pull the front sight in a straight line right at your eye.
    Most of all, take your time and HAVE FUN! If it's like work, you aren't going to shoot very often.
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Yolomanolo,
    Welcome to the forum...

    Unlike semi-autos, short barrel revolvers have a heavy trigger. Charter Arms revolvers are even heavier than S&W triggers. Trigger control is key to shooting a snub nose revolver well. I would suggest buying a set of snap-caps and dry dire that revolver a lot at home. You will easily see what you are doing wrong because there's no recoil to move the gun, only your trigger pull. There are a few additional benefits, the trigger will smooth out some and your finger will get stronger.

    Don't get upset if you don't shoot a snub nose well in the beginning, almost no one does. Just practice a lot and do a lot of dry firing and you will improve quickly.

    Good luck, be safe and have fun...
     
  5. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    Go easy on yourself, snubs are difficult to shoot well, altho they can be suprisingly accurate, even at range.

    Trigger control is most important in a DA revolver, lots of dry firing will get you the feel for it. It took me a while with the 642 to get the feel of the break. Start at short ranges, and don't overdo it. firing a snub is taxing, and tired practice is bad practice.
     
  6. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    ...and...


    Keep both eyes open...focus casually on the front Sight, allowing the Target to be a blurr, aligning the Sights for the center of the 'blurr'.


    And firing slowly, double-action, with no care as for when a Cartridge will go off...but care in your pull-throughs being smooth, consistant, regular, and no jerking or movement which would compromise the Aim...no stopping or lowering he Arm to look and see how the Target Looks...just shoot the five or six consistantly, re-load, do it all again a few times, then examine the Target.


    Where the Shots go, is also effected by one's grip...especially if they are printing to one side.
     
  7. HammerBite

    HammerBite Member

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    Yolomanolo ...

    To answer your question, yes, with the sights verically aligned the barrel will be pointing slightly downhill relative to your line-of-sight. In fact, if you balance the gun upside down on a table top, resting on the front and rear sights, you will be able to see that the barrel is pointing slightly uphill.

    When a gun is fired, recoil and muzzle-rise begin the instant the bullet starts to move, and the barrel will have pitched upward before the bullet leaves the barrel. Gun designers know this and compensate for it when designing fixed sighting sysems.

    At reasonable ranges for a snubnose, that is exactly what you should do.
     
  8. captainamerica

    captainamerica Member

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    Using some snap caps in the cylinder for 500 to 1000 dry fires will give a tight or long double action pull some major smoothing out. And practice, practice, practice with live ammo on a consistent basis.
     
  9. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Member

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    My advice...

    Learn to shoot safely! Take a class aimed at your skill level and soak in the konwledge. Learn and practice until it becomes second nature.

    - Buy some quality snap caps (mine are made by Azoom, I think) and dry-fire with them a lot. Do it until the sights don't wiggle, then try doing it while balancing a coin on the front sight. Then go to the range and start shooting.

    - Focus on the front sight while aiming, but try to keep your eyes pointed at the target so you see one target and not two. Do it with both eyes open, no squinting. That rear notch may look too low, but keep the top edge level with the front blade and see if the shots go straight.

    - When shooting, take a deep breath, let half of it out, gently squeeze the triggger and let the KABOOM come as a surprise. Once in a while, have someone load your gun; have them load not just bullets but also some random snap caps. The sights shouldn't wiggle when you've pulled the trigger on a snap cap.

    - Don't try shooting too fast too early; after you slowly squeeze off one round, keep holding the trigger until you recover and re-align the sights, then release, and shoot again.

    Keep your goals simple at first. Start with big targets up close. Try some reactive targets for fun, like steel ones that flop over or cheap soda cans that explode when hit. :D As you gain in skills, take another class, try more challenging targets, and have fun.
     
  10. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    I became much more accurate when I finally quit trying to aim and just pointed my snubby at a target.
     
  11. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    I know...like Shooting Skeet...
     
  12. Mooseman

    Mooseman Member

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    Welcome to THR!:)

    Once you put some lead down range the advice your getting here will make more sense. Don't expect to be great at first, I sure wasn't with my snub.
     
  13. scottishclaymore

    scottishclaymore Member

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    Shooting a snub is more difficult that shooting just about any other kind of handgun. You have an extremely short sight radius and a long trigger pull that takes a lot of getting used to. As others have already said, dry firing with snap caps is recommended. The really good news is that, IMHO, a snubnose revolver is just about the most rewarding firearm to shoot well. Of all the handguns here at my house (and we have a few) I like shooting my snubby best.
     
  14. chriske

    chriske Member

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    scottishclaymore is absolutely right : snubs are hard but very rewarding to shoot well.
    Another extra is that once you can shoot a snub revolver double action really well, you 'll probably have no problem learning to master any other handgun.
     
  15. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I noticed the same thing as JimmyRay... was years before I did, though..
    Just point the dang thing where you want it to shoot :cool:
     
  16. Yolomanolo

    Yolomanolo Member

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    Thanks everybody for the advice. Been a hectic few days and would have liked to reply earlier. So I took my southpaw out just the other day. I set up a target first at 10 feet, then at 20. I put about 50 rounds through it at each distance. I did do much better at 10 feet, but it seemed as though my shots were low either way. I was lining up the blade with the short notch at the back. Perhaps ill try just pointing and shooting next time as some of you suggested. I will be buying some snap caps and practicing at home (with no live ammunition within a mile of me:))
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    And that's exactly what you want. The revolver will recoil and the muzzle will rise a bit before the bullet leaves the barrel, and put you right on target.

    Some revolver makers leave the front sight a bit too high. That allows you to adjust the sights for your own shooting style -- the bullets will impact a bit low, and you slowly and carefully take a bit of metal off with a file until they're hitting point of aim (remember, move the front sight in the opposite direction to the desired direction of change.)

    But first shoot the gun -- when in doubt, ask the gun. It will tell you where it shoots, if you let it.
     
  18. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    If you are going to shoot with both eyes open, you shouldn't focus on the front sight or else you will see doubles of your target. The general rule of thumb is...

    Aimed shots with one eye... focus on the front sight.
    Point shooting with two eyes... focus on the target.

    PS... trigger control is your best friend with a snubbie.


    ...
     
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    With training and practice, that problem goes away. I always shoot both eyes open (and have from time to time won money at matches.)

    As I got older, I became far-sighted in my right (master) eye and near-sighted in the left. I was able to retrain myself. By tilting my head slightly to the right, I get a crystal-clear sight picture with the left eye, and a clear view of the target with the right eye. With practice the brain superimposes the sights on the target.
     
  20. ReadyRob

    ReadyRob Member

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    Some of the things mentioned in this thread are current problems w/me also. So ... anyone w/advice please feel free to HELP.

    I am right handed and left eye dominate. I don't think I will live long enough to shoot w/both eyes open and hit a target. I use the Weaver stance, right arm straight (or nearly so) and sight down right arm, or at least by the time my eye is looking somewhere between elbow and right hand, I'm sighting down right arm. Right eye closed. Kinda hard to explain. It appears to me both eyes open shooters are not looking down (either) arm as much as the gun appears more centered (between eyes) than what I am trying to do.

    My groups are left of center (and a little high, not as much as 10 oclock). I have thought that I was going left because I was looking at front/rear sights on target not dead on, but off center.

    Any good books on the subject?

    Any advice appreciated
     
  21. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I'm right handed and right eye dominant, but as I grew older, I became near-sighted in my left eye and far-sighted in my right eye. With the right eye, I couldn't even see the sights.

    I retrained myself. And, BTW, I also use the modified Weaver grip, with the right arm straight.

    The trick is to slightly cock the head, bringing the left eye into line with the sights. Shoot both eyes open and you will quickly learn to superimpose the sight picture on the target (with my eyes, both sights and target are needle sharp.)

    Don't think about it -- but visualize what you want to see, and you will see it.
     
  22. ReadyRob

    ReadyRob Member

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    Thanks Vern, I'm going to the range tomorrow and will give it a try.
     
  23. indiandave

    indiandave Member

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    The type of ammunition you are using can greatly effect your point of impact. Snubbies were built to shoot 158gr LRN bullets. I find with my 642 homemade 148gr Wadcutters work well also. Try different loads till you get one that works.

    As others have said take some lessons or have someone who knows what they are doing help you. With some practice you'll be suprised how good you can get.
     
  24. jjohnson

    jjohnson Member

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    More Advice

    Oh, lots of good advice here! You guys are great!

    I've been shooting a revolver for 46 years now, and a couple of observations:

    If you're going to be shooting on a budget, do save your brass. You may want to get in on reloading at some point, which makes your practice much cheaper. You can always sell your accumulated brass on gunbroker.com or whatever.

    You may want to use the cheapest target ammo you can find. This is usually 148 grain wadcutters (the bullet is flush with the casing and has a flat nose).
    They're loaded to a lower power level than most other ammo types. This will make it easier to practice without developing 'flinch.'

    You can play with shooting styles. If this is your self defense weapon (which is what most snubbies are designed to be) you can practice with both eyes open and using double action. This is, after all, how you'd likely be using it for self defense. You can always shoot with one eye closed and using single action at paper targets at the range if you want to see how well you can shoot under the best of circumstances. If you're really into self defense shooting, you can also work on your draw also. IF YOU DO THAT make sure you're taking it slow and working with your snap caps before you ever use live ammo. Novices working on quickdraw with live ammo are almost as dangerous as shooting and drinking at the same time. The idea of this sort of practice is making sure that you can draw from a concealed holster without taking your eye off the target. You have to work on safe and smooth before you work on speed.

    Stick close to the forums here. You've already discovered lots of guys will be happy to help you, and your questions are always welcome.

    Be nice to that girlfriend. Women that'll buy you a firearm just because they love you are kinda rare. :D She might be a real keeper. :p
     
  25. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I recommend a lot of dry-fire. In this case, you're interested in learning the technique, not in improving accuracy -- that comes after you've mastered the technique.
     
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