Target Shooting with a Rifle?
I get to be new at something again.
As many of you have read I picked up my first centerfire rifle a few days ago. Since then I've been trying to determine its inherent accuracy.
There is a problem. I can't seem to shoot a piece of a target, say, a bullseye. If I'm given a piece of paper, I will shoot within the confines of that paper, but I'm just no good when shooting something smaller, like a bullseye. This is with open sights.
Case in point:
I started shooting this target at 50yds using the green dot as a target. I plunked those three shots into the group that's circled. It measures less than an inch and I knew I threw the last shot.
After those three shots things went downhill. It wasn't the gun; I just couldn't see the green dot any longer. The white piece of 4x4" paper became my focal point. I managed to keep most shots on the 9x12" sheet of cardboard holding the paper.
But then, to make sure it wasn't the gun, I got out another 4x4" sheet of paper and put a playing card on it. I shot 9 rounds at it.
Eight of the nine rounds fired struck someplace on the paper, three striking the card that I was using as an aiming point. Notice how the hits are peripheral to my aiming point. However, all the rounds are in a smaller area than they had been on the previous target.
I don't know what to do about this. I'm sure that my rifle can cloverleaf at 50yds, but I've just always shot like this. I've never been able to wring out much of a rifle's accuracy on the bench unless I had a 'scope. It's not that I can't use iron sights; last year I was able to hit a running squirrel at 50yds with my .22, then when the bullet failed to expand probably due to the range, I shot it in the head at that range. That wasn't a big deal.
The bullseye, however, mocks me.
I have slight astigmatism and 20/30 to 20/40 vision in my shooting eye. They say it's just on the verge of needing corrected, and though I have a pair of glasses, I opt not to wear them as they're optional. I've found shooting with them doesn't much improve things anyway, and I actually go slower on the "action" shots.
I've practiced with open sights since I had my first BB gun, but it's unless anyone here has any tricks, I'm about as good as I'm going to get without a 'scope.
Eight Steady Hold Factors
Steady Hold Techniques
Obtaining and maintaining a steady hold is crucial to target acquisition. The proper sight picture cannot be maintained long enough to squeeze off a round if the rifle is waving around like a banner in a breeze.
Factors in obtaining a steady hold are:
1.-The butt of the rifle should fit into the pocket of the shoulder.
2.-The forearm of the rifle should lie across the heel of the left hand and rest in the "U" formed by the thumb and forefinger. Grip should be relaxed. Slight rearward pressure is applied, pulling the rifle butt into the shoulder.
3.-Lower three fingers and thumb of right hand are firm (not tense) around grip exerting steady rearward pressure to pull rifle butt into the pocket of the shoulder. Trigger finger is relaxed alongside (not in) trigger guard.
4.-Position of the elbows will vary according to shooting position. In the standing position the right elbow should be horizontal to the ground, the left elbow directly under the rifle.
5.-Use the Spot Weld on rifles that allow it. Place the right cheekbone against the right thumb as it wraps around the small of the stock. This locates the shooter's eye at the same place behind the rear sight each time the weapon is shouldered.
Use the Stock Weld on rifles with stocks where the length of pull or presence of a pistol grip preclude the use of the spot weld. Place the cheek directly against the stock. Be diligent to locate the cheek in the same location on the stock each time t
6.-Avoid tension. Muscles that are overly tense cause trembling. A firm grip rather than a desperate grasp, steady rather than strained pressure seating the rifle butt into the shoulder.
7.-Control your breathing. Take a deep breath as the rifle is brought into position. As the sights begin to come into alignment, let half to most of the breath out. Your rifle will be steadier at this point, and trigger squeeze may be executed.
The beginning shooter soon realizes that keeping the sights rock steady on target is an impossible task. Learning proper shooting positions, steady hold techniques, and shooting from a supported position or rest greatly reduce sighting error and wobble, but perfect alignment remains an ephemeral circumstance.
The novice attempts to deal with this by yanking the trigger at that fleeting moment that the sights appear aligned on target. Even if his timing is perfect, which is not likely, jerking the trigger will force the shot awry. The shooter who continues in this error will never be an expert marksman.
A marksman does not yank, jerk, or pull the trigger. He CONTROLS the trigger. Steady hold techniques aid in target acquisition, and as the perfect sight picture comes into view the marksman applies pressure to the trigger with a SQUEEZE of the trigger finger.
Should the sights drift out of perfect alignment, the pressure is stopped at that point, but not backed off. As the target is again acquired the SQUEEZE is resumed from the point it ceased.
This process of applying measured pressure to the trigger only while the perfect sight picture is in view insures that the weapon will fire while the target is acquired. There will be no jerking motion or flinch to destroy accuracy.
The marksman should mark the sight picture at the moment of recoil and be able to "call the shot" or tell exactly where on the target the bullet will hit.