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Single Action vs. Double Action

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by mikemyers, May 29, 2014.

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  1. murf

    murf Member

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    sd is standard deviation. a lot of shooters believe that a load shot through a chronograph with a small sd number will be more accurate than one with a large sd number. it ain't so. the only way to find out which load is more accurate is to shoot it and compare.

    you are basically correct about accuracy and precision. those are my definitions specific to shooting. the two words are synonymous, so there is no right or wrong.

    festina lente,

    murf
     
  2. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    In that case, I now understand. My group of 20 or 25 shots (either visual or CEP) gives me an idea of how well I'm doing (or not). It's probably not very useful in allowing me to learn, and telling me what to do differently. Not knowing any better, I've been doing this "my way" for several years now (although recently I changed to only 10 shots per target), and saving all my targets either as photos, or cut out and stored in a file folder along with the date and other info. I do know over time the targets are getting better. Part of that is most likely from all the reading I'm doing, but I think the biggest reason is 20 minutes every day of dry firing at home...... Anyway, after reading what you wrote about learning from each trigger press, I think I'll go back to using the "Shoot-n-see" targets, so I have immediate feedback for every shot.


    You must be a mind reader. Last night I started to write a summary of how I see all this, and one of the things I was puzzled about was what was which of these things is most important. I'll copy what I wrote here, if you want to read it and laugh over it, but it's not yet finished..... let me know if you want to see it.

    In the meantime, in my very un-educated explanation to myself, is that when I pull the trigger, the front sight "wobbles", I'm constantly trying to adjust to keep the correct sight picture. For me, that means the top of front and rear sights being level (easier for me to do) and keeping the empty space on either side between front and rear sights equal, (very difficult for me, but I'm getting better). From what you've just written, I can see that THIS is the biggest problem - pressing on the trigger. I also now realize that the more I dry-fire, the better I get. (By comparison, my Model 29, with 10" barrel and silhouette sights, is much easier to shoot well. It weighs so much, it has less tendency to wobble, it's so long it's easier to keep it lined up, and the trigger pull is butter smooth, and doesn't cause the gun to wobble because of roughness.) Thanks for pointing that out so clearly.



    Hmmm...... if I was a professional, maybe then I'd agree. Right now, I've learned that I don't need 50 shots to determine my group size, but for myself, 10 shots seems to give me a reasonable idea of how well I'm doing. Maybe when/if I get better, I'll feel differently.


    Wow! No kidding!!! All I can say is that in the unlikely chance I ever get good enough to "lose the aiming point", I'll be thrilled! I do understand what you're saying - if I shoot out the aiming point, and it's gone, then I have no idea where the next bullet might have hit. For that matter, when I used to shoot far too many bullets at the same target, ditto. Anyway, what you meant was crystal clear, and if I ever get that accurate (maybe with a bench rest???), I'll remember this.
     
  3. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    To me, that sounds so logical, it's almost obvious.... but every time I've tried a comparison, I found my grouping was better in DA than SA. I used to only shoot SA, and that's part of why I created this thread. Everything that I've done since then, has been based on what I've read here.

    My only guess as to an explanation of why I shoot better DA than SA is that in DA the gun wobbles so much more, I am constantly working at keeping the sights lined up correctly. In SA, I sort of line up the sights, and start applying pressure to the trigger, but the movement in the sights is so slight, I'm not doing as well at correcting them as when there's a lot more movement.

    In SA, the sights wobble because of my body not holding perfectly still.
    In DA, the sights wobble mostly because of my trigger pull.

    For reasons I don't understand, I can correct for the trigger movement caused wobble better than for my own body introduced wobble.

    Logically, I have this backwards, but every time I've tried a comparison, I found I was doing better in DA.......



    Oh, and lots of people in this thread have posted that you don't learn as much from SA as from DA, and that alone was enough reason for me to switch to DA.
     
  4. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator Staff Member

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    I largely agree. You may have to give the instructor some slack for the reason you articulated, plus 2 others: First, he (she?) is shooting a different gun and may or may not be a crack DA revolver shooter. That said, a good shooter ought to be able to produce reasonably good groupings, with your M28 and/or their gun of choice. Second, your M28 and/or the ammo may not be up to the task, which is why I intentionally wrote the above the way I wrote it.

    If they can only produce so-so accuracy with their gun of choice, then rationalize it away with the ol' "only need to be combat accurate" line, I'd look for another instructor.
     
  5. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    Maybe I'll pass, and just follow the same path I've been following, reading books, reading THR, practicing, and frequent trips to the range.

    I was just reading Ed McGivern's book "Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting". Specifically, I was reading Section 10, Shooting Revolvers Double Action. Lots of good advice there.

    He also wrote, very specifically, that given enough time to carefully shoot SA, it should be more "accurate" than shooting DA. So, despite my experience to the contrary, I was wrong in my earlier post.
     
  6. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    I read this many times, and then read more on the internet. If I shoot five shots, which land very close together, but inches away from the bullseye, according to this image, I am "precise", but "not accurate".

    I think that may be misleading. If I go to the range, I usually don't re-adjust my sights until I've shot at least 20 or so rounds. To me, my goal is to do what's shown in the image for "Not Accurate, Precise". Then I would adjust my sights to move the grouping to the middle of the bull, which is labeled above as "Accurate, Precise".

    When I think this through, I see it as the opposite..... if my gun is accurate, and ditto for my ability, and I get a very small grouping, reliably, I would consider that to be very accurate. It's a simple mechanical adjustment to put the holes over the bullseye.



    An hour ago, while looking for something else, I found this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVzSAm5VhfE

    Hickock 45 feels that we should ignore the "accuracy" in handguns, as they are almost always better than the people firing them.



    Final thought - after two months of searching, I finally found the web page I had found two years ago, that offers what I think is a great explanation of what we call handgun accuracy:
    http://accuracy.martinchick.com/handgun_rifle.html

    I think this is one of the best web pages I've ever read, in explaining what's going on with targets - and why it's foolish to think "I just shot a great target, with the holes overlapping, and now I'm all messed up because my nest target looks terrible by comparison". I understand this completely, but have never been able to explain it to someone else. They just don't get it.
     
  7. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator Staff Member

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    Hickok45's a plinker. His vids may be popular, but they contain nothing for the serious student. To compare the inherent accuracy of a Glock to an Ed Brown 1911 by plinking, for instance, is pointless, and the conclusions drawn worthless.

    Hickok45 also reiterates (what I believe to be) a few much-misunderstood concepts of handgun accuracy.

    Here's a multiple choice question for you: A shooter can shoot 25 yard groups that're just under 3", using a gun that's capable of 2".

    A. The gun is therefore more accurate than the shooter.
    B. The shooter is more accurate than the gun.
    C. The gun and the shooter are similarly accurate.


    When it comes to shooting, "accuracy" conventionally means "precise". Grammatically, conventional usage counts for a lot.
     
  8. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    The "accuracy" of the gun in a gun rest, includes tolerances in the barrel length and tolerances and machining, the shape and weight of the ammunition, and all the other mechanical parts that "control" where the bullet will hit, along with prevailing conditions including wind. More importantly, it includes errors in the alignment of all the gun parts at the instant the gun is fired.

    The "accuracy" of the gun while being shot, hand-held, now includes all of the above, and also the "accuracy" of the shooter's grip, sight picture, trigger pull, and so on.

    (Every time you add on another factor to consider, the "potential accuracy" should decrease.)



    Something I haven't sorted out in my mind, is the "random" effect. I used to think that if you did everything exactly the same, the bullets would land one on top of the other in a single hole. In the real world, I no longer think that's likely, and instead we would get a circle of a certain diameter that should cover all the shots. In your example, that seems to be a 2" diameter circle for the gun in a rest, and a 3" diameter circle for handheld.

    I think I might be able to answer your specific question if I knew all of the following:

    • How much variation in inaccuracy is caused by the shooter (1" )
    • How much variation in inaccuracy is caused by the alignment of all the gun parts at the moment the gun is fired
    • How much variation in inaccuracy is caused by the ammunition
    • How much variation in inaccuracy is caused by the barrel
    • How much variation in inaccuracy is caused by "random effects"
    If each of those was assigned a value, we could see which had the most effect, and therefore was contributing the most to the potential inaccuracy of the gun.

    I don't know enough about these things to give an answer. I'm not even sure there is an answer............

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't understand something. From everything I've read, we'll never get one hole on top of another. The distribution of bullet holes will be a circle of some diameter, definitely larger than the diameter of a bullet. I accept that. But, I must be missing something, as how would shooters such as Ed McGivern be able to shoot as well as they do? The only answer I can come up with, is that they are close enough to their target that this "random diameter" is still so small that it doesn't interfere with their ability to shoot so well. That, and because of their great skill, they only add a tiny bit of "inaccuracy" to the overall performance of the gun.
     
  9. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator Staff Member

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    Lordy, you're overthinking it. A, B or C. It's pretty straightforward.

    Tolerances, machining, etc are all part of the 2" inherent capability of the gun. Grip, sight picture, trigger pull, etc are all part of the shooter's capability. Together, they produce groups are just under 3".
     
  10. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    I know, or at least I'm as sure as I can be, that you are right. On the other hand, when I visit the range and look at the (lack of) ability of most of the people shooting there, I doubt they would see ANY improvement in shooting the Ed Brown instead of the Glock. The Ed Brown has more "inherent accuracy", but it's lost by the lack of ability of most shooters.


    In radio control car racing, one can spend $100 to buy a pre-assembled car, to drive around a race track. Or, one can spend $1000 to buy a professional precision r/c race car kit, with all the handling adjustments of a full-size car (shocks, suspension, alignment, etc.). 95% of the people who run these cars would not see improvements in lap times because of the "better" car. They'd probably go faster, meaning they'd just crash harder and more often. .....or in my words, you can buy speed, but you can't buy performance. That, you have to earn. The real trick is to learn how to drive.

    Put another way, a professional photographer will get better photographs with a $70 camera than most people would get from a $7,000 Nikon D4. Spending far more money for a "better camera" won't help most people take better photographs. The real trick is to learn photography.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  11. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    Yep, I always over-think stuff. OK, to give a simple answer, if the gun has a 2" diameter circle from "accuracy", and if the shooter only adds an additional 1", and if I don't count all the other stuff that is bouncing around in my mind, I would calculate the area of a 2" diameter circle, and then the diameter of a 3" diameter circle minus the area of the 2" diameter circle, and which ever was greater was the biggest cause of inaccuracy.

    Area of 2" diameter circle = 3.14 sq. inch
    Area of 3" diameter circle = 7.06 sq. inch

    Difference, 7.06 = 3.14 = 3.92 square inches

    So, the inaccuracy of the shooter is greater than the inaccuracy of the gun in this example, based on my criteria - area.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  12. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator Staff Member

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    Again, I agree...to a point. The marksmanship of most shooters isn't very good, so it's likely any gun will shoot better than them. This is why the "gun is more accurate than the shooter" oversimplication is so common.

    But that isn't to suggest the "gun is more accurate than the shooter" narrative is always correct or even helpful. For many, their marksmanship is good enough that the accuracy of the gun has a measurable role in what shows up on the paper. This where a decent shooter is.

    So you're "simple" answer is "A" (gun more accurate than the shooter)? Incorrect.

    You're correct in suggesting the accuracy of the gun (2") and that of the shooter ("X") are additive in some way. But they aren't directly additive. If they were, a shot that the shooter pulled 1" to the left would always be pulled 1" to the left as well. The accuracy of the shooter and the gun are independent of each other, so though the effect of the shooter may be to pull a shot 1" to the left, the effect of the gun can be to put the round anywhere within it's potential. The gun and shooter, then, are related by a Root Mean Square (RMS) relationship: The square of the gun and shooter are additive to produce the square of the final group size (^2 = "squared"):

    shooter^2 + gun^2 = group^2

    shooter^2 = group^2 - gun^2 = 2.8^2 - 2^2 = 8 - 4 = 4

    shooter = 2

    The correct answer is C. The gun and the shooter are similarly accurate.

    So, the shooter in this example is capable of 2". This is a good shooter. Give them a 1" gun, and despite now being only half as accurate as their gun, they'll knock nearly 3/4" off their group size.

    As far as "combat accuracy", the term doesn't really mean "I'm a pretty poor shot", which is how it often seems used. It means one still takes an aimed shot, but consciously allows their aiming area to up open so they can shoot faster. Those good runNgun guys you see on vids aren't just pulling the trigger as fast as possible and hoping for the best. Each shot is aimed, but they use all the area available to them to get a shot off ASAP. They're often fussy about the accuracy of their gun as well, since, by using all the area available to them, they need to know the gun isn't going to push the round outside that area, or into a (very) nearby No-Shoot target.
     
  13. David E

    David E Member

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    Point of clarification; a revolver doesn't have a recoil spring.
     
  14. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    This is where we differ. We both agree that the "accuracy" of the gun in this example, is a 2" group size (or as I put it, an area of 3.14 square inches.

    I think we both agree that for whatever reason, any shot fired from that gun in a rest, with that ammunition, can land anywhere within that circle. The furthest any hole could be from the center is one inch.

    To me, when we add in the shooter, the group size becomes three inches. That means the furthest any bullet can be from the center is now 1.5 inches., half an inch more than before. The group size is now 3", meaning the area of the group is now 7.07 square inches.


    As to which is more significant, it depends on whether we're measuring diameter or area.....


    .............but this is way too technical. I think we agree that for most shooters, the gun is much better than the shooter. I agree with you - for a VERY good shooter, he could easily be better than the gun, meaning he needs a more accurate gun.
     
  15. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    .........oops. My fingers typed "recoil", but I should have written "rebound". I do that far too often. I like to then tell people I got my mords wixed up or something....... Thanks!!!
     
  16. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator Staff Member

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    This is the common misunderstanding I was eluding to earlier.

    On one hand, everyone would agree the final group size is the combination of the gun and shooter, yet many go on to invoke an either/or relationship by assuming that since the shooter increased group size to any degree, the gun's more accurate. It's flawed logic because it demands the shooter to be perfect (zero inches) if they are to be as accurate as their 2" gun.

    Flip it around. A Scatt trainer shows the shooter to be a 2" shooter. Put a gun and ammo in their hand, and they shoot a 3" group. Ergo, the gun must be less accurate than the shooter? No. Final group size is the combination of the gun and shooter, and by a RMS, rather than an either/or relationship.

    BTW, if area works for you, then so be it, but "inches" is the convention. First, it's easier to measure, and secondly, "area", being proportional to the square of inches, distorts the true relationship between the gun and shooter.

    Any shooter interested in improving their marksmanship, whether master or novice, would be well-served by a relatively accurate gun. They need to know the point of impact will largely be a product of them, not the gun. Without this, it would be very difficult to improve because they'd never know what they did right and what they did wrong. Fortunately, most don't need a high-dollar match-grade target gun; an in-spec S&W revolver with decent ammo ought to be plenty accurate enough. My comment earlier about the accuracy of your M28 was simply to rule out that there might be something out-of-spec with your gun.
     
  17. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Agreed, 100%.


    I hear this all the time and it is pure nonsense. People that never test their handguns from the bench feel this way but it's heavily flawed logic. Firstly, the firearm is almost always going to be more accurate than the shooter. Secondly, a reasonably skilled shooter (or better) is ALWAYS going to shoot more accurately with a more accurate firearm. So to conclude that an Ed Brown 1911 and Glock have similar accuracy because it 'seems' that way in Hickok45's plinking is just plain wrong. A skilled iron sight shooter WILL see the difference at 25yds between a Glock capable of 3" from a machine rest and a 1911 capable of 1" from a machine rest.
     
  18. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    Put that way, it is obviously flawed logic, as if the gun has a certain accuracy, and the shooter has a certain accuracy, the total accuracy of gun+shooter would be more than either gun or shooter alone.


    Gee..... I think you've just given me an excuse to buy one of these:
    https://www.lesbaer.com/UMCPC.html
     
  19. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    Hi - your response snuck in while I was typing mine.... Do you think Hickok45 really means what he says, literally, or is he just showing something for the huge mass of people who are lucky to even hit a backing board, let alone a target? I agree with you he is "wrong", but I thought he was doing that on purpose, because of the people he was trying to reach.

    I think he probably just got tired and frustrated at listening to people who have no idea how to shoot complaining that it must be "the gun" when they miss the target by one or two feet.
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I think he does mean what he says but...."is he just showing something for the huge mass of people who are lucky to even hit a backing board, let alone a target?" is why no one watching thinks to question. Just read the comments section on his YouTube videos and you'll quickly figure out who his viewers are. Competitive shooters are not hanging on his every word for a newly discovered nugget of wisdom.

    Now, none of this is to deride Hickok45 for what he does, because I think his approach is great. He reaches a lot of people and the image he puts forth is very positive. He provides a lot of usable information and entertainment. He's a likable guy without any hint of ego or machismo. He's fun to watch and he gets to shoot some cool guns. I just wouldn't take the information presented out of context. It's not a clinic for bullseye shooting.
     
  21. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with everything CraigC wrote.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with Hickok45's vids themselves. The problem comes when people do take them out of context, especially newer shooters, and suddenly things become "correct", "wrong" or simply "doesn't matter" simply because Hickok45 said so. As CraigC indicated, his vids are entertaining, but they aren't clinics.


    You got it.
     
  22. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    If it's OK to ask, can I ask you which guns you prefer shooting with, and maybe "why"?

    I'm curious how often you get to shoot, and whether you practice dry-fire every day, but from what you've written, you are WAY beyond simply putting holes in targets. Any thoughts of shooting rapidly, or on multiple targets, is way over my head. I'm never going to make it into high school until I graduate grade school, and thinking about college is just a pleasant dream.

    I suspect that Murf would do all his own work on his guns, but do you also do that, or do you have a gunsmith do the needful? .........and even if Murf is as good as anyone at working on his guns, there had to be a time when HE was a beginner. I wonder how he learned.....
     
  23. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, it'd be easiest to answer your questions with My Story. Pull up a chair. ;)

    I shot a firearm for the 1st time 8 years ago at the tender age of 43. Fortunately, I somehow figured the fundamentals were important, so I spent my first two years doing nothing but practicing with a .22 rifle off a bench. Sight picture and trigger control. Period. I thought it was fun and was too naive to understand most thought was I was doing was exceedingly boring.

    At this point, I went to the range with a LEO friend of mine, and she brought her old service revolver (a 3" M65 I now own). 'Course, I cocked the hammer to shoot it, whereupon she harangued "just shoot it double action, you big wuss". I did, it was challenging and I've been intrigued with DA revolvers since.

    Shortly after this, I bought a 4" S&W 617 .22 and a 4" 686 .357 on the same day, and over the course of the next year, I spent my time, once again, shooting paper; sight picture and trigger control. Probably once or twice per week, with trigger pull dry fire in between range visits. Maybe not daily, but nearly so. I even kept my rimfire brass during these first 3 years, and one day, I dumped it all into a single box (pic below). I don't really know how many rounds I shot, but the box weighs about 35lbs.

    Eventually, I got the itch for a little competition to apply what I've been learning. My initial thought was bullseye competition, but nowadays, most shoot bullseye with a semi-auto. I discovered the best home for a speedloader-fed revolver was in runNgun competition, such as IDPA's Stock Service Revolver division, so I started there (along with a little USPSA and ICORE) and competed mainly in IDPA SSR for about 5 years using that 686 I bought along with my 617. I was going to the range to practice about twice a week ('bout 250 rounds per week) and shooting 2-3 local matches per month, and a number of big sanctioned matches. Range sessions involve shooting for pure accuracy, and running drills (see vid below) and focused scenarios to get speed (shooting and reloading) and accuracy up.

    I tried to dry fire regularly, but here, dry fire is more about efficient gun handling, reloading, movement and seeing what you need to see.

    I shoot an L-frame 686 best when things speed up, but enjoy shooting anything, and occasionally shoot an M&P40 in competition for a little break. I've spent a lot of time shooting that 617 .22 revolver, too. I have about 70k rounds through the 686 and 617 each, so though I choked when writing that check some years ago, they were among my wisest firearm purchases.

    Anyhow, this year, I decided to take a little mental break from handgun competition. I figured this would be a good time to work on my neglected rifle skills, so I bought a good AR15 and started practicing for High Power rifle competition. Just shot my 2nd match 2 weeks ago and it went well. Again, I try to get to the range about twice a week and dry fire regularly.

    I've done well in handgun competition and have a good start in rifle competition, and I sincerely believe it's because I put the work in and laid a good foundation in the fundamentals. Simply putting holes in targets, and doing it well, is not only a worthwhile endeavor in itself, it can pay huge dividends down the road if you ever decide to go beyond that. Lay a good foundation, and anything beyond that is do-able. The world's your oyster! :)

    Competition requires a lot from the shooter and the gear, and it can be tough on revolvers. Most revo guys I know don't have the luxury of having a good 'smith on call, so out of necessity, many do much of their own basic tuning and repairs. I've had tuning done by gunsmiths, but I, too, do my own basic tuning and repairs now. If machining and/or serious accurization's involved, it goes to a good 'smith. We all just sorta learned by reading the Kuhnhausen manual, getting the right basic tools, asking questions, then slowly and carefully jumping in, just like you did.

    Rimfire brass:
    rimfireBrass.jpg


    Speed drill:
     
  24. rvn67n20

    rvn67n20 Member

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    And having read this entire thread this afternoon...

    THIS thread is a great illustration of why THR is one of the best!

    Thanks to all, I've got nuttin' further
     
  25. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    The story is fascinating; you could easily write a book! I can imagine everything you're describing. You went from novice to expert in only 8 years??? Geesh, I've been shooting on and off since 1980 or so, and feel like I'm still in "first grade". What you didn't explain, is how you knew what the "fundamentals" were, to learn to to them so well? Did someone teach you, or did you get some of the books that were available, or did you just reason it out for yourself?



    The video - wow. Knowing now what I do from reading all the responses up above, I better understand that you're not simply "shooting fast" but (incredibly to me!) aiming each and every shot. In about the same time it takes me to pick up my gun, aim, pull the trigger, and get off ONE shot, you've shot each of the three targets twice, and then done it again! .....with a revolver!!! What I'm impressed with, even more so than the speed, is how "smooth" you are. No wasted motions. When I finish here, I'll watch it direct from YouTube, where I can play it back in slow motion.

    Watching your video now was the first time I've EVER stopped to think "hey, that looks like something I'd like to do". If I still lived in Michigan, the way I feel now, I'd be considering actually learning how to do it. One big difference between watching you and watching Jerru Mikulek, is you make it look like fun. I used to watch stuff like this on DirecTV, but it never seemed as enjoyable as watching this video. Thanks for posting!



    .......added later - I just played it back on YouTube at 1/4 speed. That slow, it's possible to see everything you're doing, aiming the gun for each and every shot. At 1/4 speed, it looks quite real, and something someone can actually do. Obviously, you have to be "good" before you can be "fast and good". :) ....if you've never tried it before, play the video, then go to the controls at the right, and change the speed to .25 or .5 to see what I mean.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
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