2009-11-09 01:45:04 UTC
education from magazines and the internet. So I thought I would post
some of what I have learned from experience. This is a few common
mistakes that I see in shooters all the time, and some of the ways I
learned to fix them:
You need to keep that rifle stable. That means everything -holding- it
must be stable. Every time you bring your gun up to your shoulder it
should point in the same place relative to your upper body. The trick
here is to find what I call your "natural aim". Stand in front of a
blank wall, bring the gun up to a stable shooting position, then mark
on the wall where the aim falls. Do this several times (with your feet
in the same place) until you have a clear pattern on the wall. That
will be your natural aim and will be the most stable. Do this in the
different positions; standing, sitting, kneeling, prone, upside-down,
whatever. If you have a buddy handy, have him push/pull then release
the muzzle while your eyes are closed; your body should spring back
without any effort on your part. Once you have found your natural aim,
move that aim by pivoting at your legs, hips, waist or whole body, NOT
your shoulders or arms! BTW, it's a good idea to find your natural aim
on a regular basis because it will change over time.
Trigger Control. Most shooters already know about this subject but the
term is kind of a misnomer: what you need is 'trigger FINGER control'.
If you can't squeeze the trigger without losing sight alignment then
you don't have finger control. The common mistake is to go with a
lighter trigger but that's often just a kludge. You need to train your
trigger finger to be relaxed while the rest of your hand is clenched
around the grip. And to pull the trigger straight back instead of the
natural motion to pull it to one side or the other. AND to move that
finger without contracting any muscle in your hand that will change
the pressure on the stock. Test your finger control by watching your
sight alignment while pulling the trigger -harder- than it takes to
release the hammer. If it moves off-target then you need more control.
I hinge my finger at the middle knuckle and it works great; YMMV. And
BTW, a lighter trigger is good for accuracy -ONLY- if you already have
good finger control!
Practice, practice, practice. There is no substitute. Even if you do
everything the wrong way or are genetically predisposed to shooting
bad, practice will only lead to improvement. Of course it's better to
practice doing things the -right- way, but un-learning bad habits can
be harder than learning new ones, so practice whatever works. The
point is to commit everything to muscle-memory, then practice on a
regular basis so your muscles don't forget.
It happens with everybody: your game steps into your field of view,
your adrenalin starts pumping, everything you learned and practiced
rushes into your head all at once and you ultimately miss the shot. I
call that "over-focus". Learn to clear your mind of all distractions,
even when the source of distraction happens to be your full attention.
My method is to count. A steady "one.... two.... three.... four....
five.... six.... " for however long it takes. But use whatever method
works for you. Sing a song, poke yourself with a stick, go visit your
'happy place'.... whatever. It distracts your mind and let's your
muscle-memory do what you trained it to do without micro-management
from your brain. You can practice this every night since the same
method is often recommended to help get to sleep when the mind is
hyperactive. Well, maybe not poking yourself with a stick, but you get
Practice shooting live game by shooting at a 55-gal drum bounding down
a hill (you'll need friends, barbecue & beer). This exercise will turn
most paper-target shooters into blubbering idiots. The first -several-
times I tried this I couldn't hit shit. Got a lucky shot once in a
while but that's it. Then I put the rifle down, sat back, watched the
drum as it went down the hill and had an epiphany (which I won't tell
anyone because you really have to experience it yourself). I rarely
miss a shot anymore. I've taken a few friends out to 'shoot the drum'
and the same thing happens -- it's fun to watch their reaction when
they reach the epiphany stage!
Another common mistake is inability to judge distances. Shooting at
the range is -WAY- different than shooting in the woods or even a
field, and what looks like 100 yards at the former might set you too
high or too low in the latter. Lighting can screw you up, too. The
best thing I learned is to take walks in different places, stop once
in a while, spot a 'target', estimate the distance, then pace it off
and find out how bad you missed. I've found that this takes constant
practice because my eyes are getting worse as I get older. At least
once a week for me.
Those foam-rubber ear plugs make great muzzle plugs. Don't worry about
pulling them out, you can shoot right through them and they won't hurt
accuracy one bit. But they might have an effect with a really small
bore, I don't know because I never tried them with anything smaller
than a 6.5mm.
Anybody else got any tips? Might as well make this a party.