Author Topic: Rifle Skills  (Read 7910 times)

Offline LodeRunner

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2017, 01:10:53 AM »
I'm a pretty good shot with pistols and shotguns but there's a big hole in my gun game. I've never really developed the "rifleman" skill. Yes, I have an AR with a red dot and I can make hits. But I want to be the guy who has pinpoint accuracy at range.
...
What I could use is a book or books about developing the skill of shooting. I'm not looking to be an expert shooting a .338 Lapua a mile (though I respect you guys). I need something to get me off training wheels and strong in fundamentals. When I did shoot pistols a lot I did drills and dry fire daily. When I got into shotguns I did changeover drills and sight picture work. I want the drills and practice that will make me solid with a rifle. And I want to avoid bad habits.

Any ideas? I'd love to hear them.

Start practicing from day 1 with a proper rifle sling. 
Start with 2 exercises, both in the prone -
 -- work on breathing - 1. inhale normally, 2. exhale half,  3. pause breathing and squeeze trigger, 4 finish exhale
 -- work on your natural point of aim 1.aim, 2.close your aiming eye for 3~5 seconds, 3.when you open it are you still aimed at the same spot?
Advance to dry-firing your rifle in the prone, doing the 'penny trick'

To diagnose breathing and/or trigger-squeeze problems, use a cam-corder and a "laser boresight" in a dark hallway (outside after dark is even better - set up for 50~100 meters if possible).  set camcorder on tripod to record the target from a distance of 5 to 8 feet.  turn on the boresight laser and put it in your chamber.  Get into the prone and do dry-fire exercises while aiming at the target...10 to 20 reps, not more.  Stop and review recording to see what results your actions created.  Do another set and try to feel the errors you saw in the video.  Work the errors out of your autonomic behavior by repeating this exercise, several sets each day, until corrected. 

If still having difficulty after 5 days, go back and look at your point of aim - is it really your natural point of aim, or are you 'forcing it'?

Do all of this before you start wasting ammo.

Cheers
/LR

Offline James1979

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2018, 10:02:59 PM »
Check out the Leupold Academy if you wouldn't mind traveling to Oregon for a week.
https://www.leupold.com/leupold-core/core-communities/optics-academy/precision-scoped-rifle-1-psr-1
Looking good scope.

Offline James1979

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2018, 06:47:44 AM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noGN55b-kVI  This guy is spot on on everything except for when he says to load the rifle bipod.

 :) :) :)

Offline David in MN

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2018, 02:11:46 PM »
OK. I did my first day of dedicated rifle work. This was VERY new to me. I've done 3 gun and the like but to do dedicated long range shooting with bolt actions is different. I got set up and organized and then did some stretching and breathing just to loosen up and get a feel for my muscles. Luckily, it was a rainy day (off and on) so the only other people on the range were two young Army Reserve guys who were eager to get outdoors and shoot again. They hadd some nutty guns (including a suppressed .22 rifle and CCI quiet ammo that was so mild you could hear the hammer drop). We got along very well and it was a pleasure to shoot with them. Meet some of the nicest people shooting.

Beyond the gun talk, I first zeroed my .22 rifle to 50 yards. I'm starting slow here so bear with. It took about 5 shots to get to where I really debating changes. Again, I'm no expert who could do it in 2. I will confess I used a shooting rest, seen here:

http://www.championtarget.com/shooting_gear/shooting_rests/premium.aspx

and it really helped me as a newbie. Coming from the pistol world, I usually trade a little precision for speed and having shot shotgun exclusively for a couple years you get into the "close enough" mindset. I have a big lack of confidence with a high power scope and tring to match point of aim with point of impact is not quite in my wheelhouse. But I did as taught and managed my breathing and trigger pull. I got it done.

Then I moved up to my .308. I have a scout rifle (it's my transition rifle) so it's only a 4 power scope and I decided to try and get it 1" high at 50 yards. This took a few tries. I'm not going to lie, the increase in recoil made me wonder if I was jerking the trigger so I reshot a couple of tries. After about 8 rounds I was about .75 high and I decided it would do for today. It had stopped drizzling and I wanted to pull my target and stay dry.

I fired 13 shots in 90 minutes. That was hard. The pistol guy who lives in my head screams to shoot more and I think I overcompensated by slowing down radically. As often as possible I would put the gun down and relax. No need to rush. I know if I move too quick I'm going to make mistakes. And I'm there to learn and create good skills.

I had fun. It's its own unique creature. If I run into those Reservists again I'll buy them a beer for being so nice and letting me check my target frequently. They were so good to shoot with. When I got back to the clubhouse I met up with George, our resident expert in long range shooting, and he wanted to inspect my targets. He said I did "alright for the first try" which is high praise from an opinionated Vietnam vet.

I'll start pushing out to 100 next time with the confidence that I can zero at 50. I'm not sure where I'll go with the .22 but I for sure want the .308 a little high (not decided yet) at 100. I really feel like I'm picking up a new skill. I hope that I pick up better shooting habits that translate to other weapons. I'll keep posting progress (if people like this). Maybe I'm convincing someone like me to give this a try.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2018, 06:14:02 PM »
Second day of dedicated rifle shooting... 100 yards...

Interestingly, the .22 went really well. By the ammo data I had I knew I would be about 6" low at 100 yards so I put a sticker 6" high and shot out the bullseye. That felt good.

I then moved to my .308. I should at this point thank a certain member of my gun club for coaching me up. How should I describe him? He's a 75 year old Vietnam vet who believes the meaning of life is a .338 Lapua and while he votes conservative I'd wager he couldn't pass a drug test. Anyhow, under his eye I got behind the gun and after a few shots I dialed in the scope to be perfectly 2.5" high at 100 yards.

Then something odd happened. I discovered that a .308 bolt action has very little recoil. Once I got "on the gun" and positioned correctly it didn't bother me in the least. To give the back story, I've always feared rifle recoil because growing up the only rifles made available were military surplus with steel butt plates in calibers like .45-70 and .30-06. Even my first proper rifle (ARs don't count) was a Mosin and I can't cheekweld it for the life of me. Discovering that getting a proper rifle fit to me without brutal 1800s technology was a real thought shift. I don't have to be in pain to shoot a rifle. I was happy to hit the 300 yard gong shooting standing.

I'm really getting in to the rifle game. Focus on the stance, the breathing, even the pulse. The process is very fun. I like shooting very few very accurate shots. The engineer in me loves that it is a stack of skills that culminate in a hole on a target where you intended it to be. I'm becoming a technician of the rifle and I am having fun. I'm sad it took to age 37 to learn but maybe it's just the right time for me.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2018, 09:53:50 AM »
Excellent.

Last weekend I did nearly the opposite kind of shooting.  Took a combative carbine (AR15) class lead by local cops.  I was the only student without a drop leg pistol holster.  I shot over 500 rounds of .223.  It was tiring, as we repeatedly changed positions, dominant hands, failure scenarios etc.the first shooting we did was to zero from the bench at 25 yards.  I was 2 inches low (expected for a 100 yard zero) but had an .25" group.  Big deal, 25 yards from a rest!?  Well that was the best in the class aparently.  I later learned for effective "fighting" I cannot take such careful aim, but instead need to be fast and close enough.

And to tie into TSP, I ran into Heavy G (299 Days author) while I was there.

I'm up to my neck in hobbies, but I can see the appeal of really diving deep into precision rifle shooting.

Offline archer

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2018, 12:21:18 PM »
Excellent.

Last weekend I did nearly the opposite kind of shooting.  Took a combative carbine (AR15) class lead by local cops.  I was the only student without a drop leg pistol holster.  I shot over 500 rounds of .223.  It was tiring, as we repeatedly changed positions, dominant hands, failure scenarios etc.the first shooting we did was to zero from the bench at 25 yards.  I was 2 inches low (expected for a 100 yard zero) but had an .25" group.  Big deal, 25 yards from a rest!?  Well that was the best in the class aparently.  I later learned for effective "fighting" I cannot take such careful aim, but instead need to be fast and close enough.

And to tie into TSP, I ran into Heavy G (299 Days author) while I was there.

what company was this done thru?
I'm up to my neck in hobbies, but I can see the appeal of really diving deep into precision rifle shooting.

sounds like a fun class, almost wish i had an AR so I could take the class.
I'm glad HeavyG was there, I was wondering if he 'disappeared'.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2018, 03:58:21 PM »
Excellent.

Last weekend I did nearly the opposite kind of shooting.  Took a combative carbine (AR15) class lead by local cops.  I was the only student without a drop leg pistol holster.  I shot over 500 rounds of .223.  It was tiring, as we repeatedly changed positions, dominant hands, failure scenarios etc.the first shooting we did was to zero from the bench at 25 yards.  I was 2 inches low (expected for a 100 yard zero) but had an .25" group.  Big deal, 25 yards from a rest!?  Well that was the best in the class aparently.  I later learned for effective "fighting" I cannot take such careful aim, but instead need to be fast and close enough.

And to tie into TSP, I ran into Heavy G (299 Days author) while I was there.

I'm up to my neck in hobbies, but I can see the appeal of really diving deep into precision rifle shooting.

I've done a couple AR classes and one tactical shotgun course. Yeah, those guys throw serious lead. It takes a certain mindset to think that you are "laying fire" on a target and using the weapon like a WWI machine gunner. In particular I got to watch a Chicago PD display of why the shotgun IS the dominant weapon. While watching 3 guys weave in and out of each other they used nonverbal cues like pointing upward to reload and I swear I have never seen a more intimidating use of firepower - in a good way. It was the early 90s and these guys were all Korea/Vietnam vets and they were intent on showing that a well heeled unit didn't need an MP5 (it was the 90s) but could be dominant with the humble shotgun. I feel the same way about the AR. As a marine trainer taugh me when I installed the red dot, "put red on bad and depress trigger. If bad is still bad depress again."

It's been really fun to shift to slow shooting with a bolt action. 6 months ago if I was told I'd be dropped in the middle of a Wisconsin wilderness and I could take only one gun it would have been the beloved shotty. Today I'm starting to see the value of a .308. If nothing else at least the scope is a valuable survival tool. And while I can't rely on the drumbeat of an AR or the scatter fire of a shotgun I am really embracing the rifle as a stout defense tool. Thoughts are shifting.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2018, 09:26:54 AM »
So true.  Laying down cover fire only works if you have fellow good guys who can advance on the bad guy.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2018, 08:34:49 AM »
I had a 200 yard range day. After I settled in on the bench and took a few shots to zero (I want the gun perfectly zero at 200) I shot two rounds that almost touched both less than .125" from dead center. I was pretty proud.

Now bear in mind I'm not a rifle guy. I'm sure plenty of you could do better but I'm learning the skill and I did that with a .308 scout rifle with a 4x scope. I then started shooting from a standing position which added some slop but I'm working on it.

I hope in writing this I'm encouraging those who aren't up to snuff with a rifle to give it a try. It's a lot of fun and super rewarding.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2018, 07:28:25 AM »
Good stuff, David. Thanks for sharing your progress!

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Rifle Skills
« Reply #41 on: August 15, 2018, 02:33:26 PM »
David;

Jeff Cooper's Art of the Rifle (a book) had a number of drills that are structured for the building the skill level of the centerfire rifle shooter.  I can't recall them but some of them are in this blog and are along the same lines.
http://artoftherifleblog.com/rifle-ten/2012/06/rifle-ten.html
http://artoftherifleblog.com/the-townsend-whelen-challenge
That blog itself appears to have some good material in it: http://artoftherifleblog.com/reference-section

A field and stream article with some rifle drills:
https://www.fieldandstream.com/eight-rifle-shooting-drills#page-4

I am glad to hear you are finding it rewarding.  I am working on getting a Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle and will probably be working on my general rifle skills as well.