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Thread: Shooting Instructor

  1. #1
    Robert Murphy is offline
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    Shooting Instructor

    I want to shoot better. Many of us are self taught and have poor technique and bad habits. Are there any qualified off hand instructors out there? Willing to travel, willing to pay.

  2. #2
    John Bly is offline
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    Just follow my basic instructions 101 and you'll get better.




    Cap?n Bly?s Shootin? 101

    When ?arf yer bullets fly wide in the ditch
    don?t call yer Maynard a cross eyed ol? bitch.
    Thars things ye must pay heed to which,
    breathin? an? sightin? an? for Gawd?s sake don?t twitch.
    Hold ?er steady as she blows an? resist the itch
    to raise yer noggin to see forthwith.
    Let the smoke clear a lit?l an? recover a bit,
    now take a peek to see what yuv hit.


  3. #3
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    shooting better

    There are several published works that will help you- Steve Light- one of our great shooters- put together a complied gathering of his writings on the subject. Find a copy or glean thru past skirmish lines and follow his advice.

    One other way is to make friends with someone you see shooting well- most will share tips and techniques, watch the "good" shooters that are out there- many are capable and willing to pass on their knowledge.

    A lot of these men and women help with the recruiting events- that is a good place to learn as well.
    Mike Davenport
    5494
    DSR

  4. #4
    Jim_Burgess_2078V is offline
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    Shooting Instruction

    What works for some people in terms of form and comfort may not work for everyone. You do need to have a firearm that groups well and is zeroed in to start with. You do need to learn the fundamentals of marksmanship but after that it is a matter of practice and more practice. I try to attend every skirmish at Ft. Shenandoah. Each skirmish is practice for the next. Between skirmishes I'm shooting something else (black powder cartridge rifle, .22 rimfires or cast bullets in other rifles and handguns, etc.). I'd probably get better if I stick with one gun but so many guns, so little time. Practicing the fundamentals every week still helps a great deal.

    I shoot individuals to get a feel for the proper sight picture and practice. Given our classification system and the relatively few others who shoot individuals, it's not difficult for me to win medals even with a bad target. More people should consider shooting individuals. In the end competition will make you a better shooter. (This should be a talking point for recruitment.) You are probably already a better offhand shot than others who only shoot their guns bench-rested.

    Jim Burgess
    15th CVI

  5. #5
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    So here would be my advice:

    In my opinion, it's probably better to learn how to shoot with a modern rifle like a Ruger 10/22. Ammunition is cheap and consistent, you can load up a magazine of at least 10 rounds, which allows you to shoot 10 consecutive shots focusing solely on aiming and shooting and not loading or anything else. Also there is no recoil to speak of.

    Start by shooting off a bench. This takes most of the variables out of the problem. All you really need to do is pull the trigger slowly.

    Shooting off a bench rest at 50 yards with a Ruger 10/22 and iron sights you should be able to put all your shots in the size of a quarter.

    I was taught to shoot using the BRAS method:


    • Breathe
    • Relax
    • Aim
    • Squeeze


    Before shooting, take a couple deep breaths. As you aim, hold your breath. The movement of your torso from breathing will move your point of aim.

    While you are holding your breath and aiming, slowly squeeze the trigger. You don't want to jerk it. You should be mildly surprised when the gun goes off.

    Now, what they don't tell you is that in off-hand target shooting, you actually will have to "jerk" (or "smartly pull") the trigger on command. The reason is that all of us drift around on target while holding off hand. You'll need to pull that trigger as your sight drifts over the target. You just can't hold still long enough to slowly squeeze off a shot when shooting off hand (at least I can't).

    But when shooting off a bench, you should squeeze that trigger nice and slow until BANG it goes off. The entire time you are waiting for the bang you should be razor-focused on that front sight blade tip and the target.

    Shoot the same way every shot. Don't chase bullet holes. You are looking for the tightest possible group. So aim the same way, at the same spot, with the same sight picture, every shot. You can adjust the sights later to fix where the bullets are hitting. What you are looking for is a nice, tight group. This indicates that you and the rifle are doing what they are supposed to be doing - putting the bullet in the same spot every time.

    From there, do the same thing off hand. Your groups probably won't be as good off a bench. That is the challenge of shooting off hand.

    Your body can be a limiting factor here.

    Shooting is not, in fact, "easy". People will often comment, "How hard is it to pull a trigger?" But, it takes some measure of strength, stamina, steadiness, and hand-eye coordination to hold a rifle still long enough to get a shot off the same way every time.

    You do need to be able to see. If you can't, you aren't going to be a good shot. Modern optometry can help, as can aperture attachments for your shooting glasses. My eyes changed at 45 years of age. I don't see nor shoot as well as I did before that. It's hard for me to keep the rear sight clear. And yes, I understand that "your eyes can only focus on one thing at a time" but when you are young you can change your focus so quickly it's a moot point. As you age, seeing that rear sight gets harder and harder. The good news is you really focus on the front sight.

    You also need some amount of strength, stamina, and steadiness. Hold your hand out at arms length. You need to be able to hold it out there steady. If you've got "the shakes" (and I've seen this in old and young alike), you might not be physically able to shoot well. See a doctor if you have motor skill problems. You also need to be able to hoist that rifle up and keep it there long enough to get a shot off. And then do that a hundred times in a row, all day long. N-SSA shooting is an endurance sport. My shooting definitely declines through the weekend after a day of aiming, shooting, and jacking a ramrod up and down. Most of us older folks aren't as strong as we were in our youth. Weight training and exercise can go a long way here.

    Once you can do this with a modern, semi-automatic .22 rifle, then you will have convinced your brain that you indeed know how to shoot a rifle.

    Once you have convinced yourself that you now know how to shoot a rifle, you can move on to shooting other kinds of rifles, like muzzle loaders.

    All the same principles for accurate shooting apply.

    There are simply more variables to control for. Some can be eliminated.

    I only use commercially-purchased, known pure lead. I usually buy from a lead smelting facility in Troy, Alabama (Sanders Lead) that sells 99.997% chemically-assayed pure lead. Failing that I will buy from Rotometals. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard someone exclaim at a skirmish, "I guess I got some hard lead." Military muzzleloading rifles require dead soft lead to deform properly to take up the rifling and shoot accurately. Contaminates in the lead can result in harder alloy, which will make your accuracy inconsistent at best and cause wildly inaccurate tumbling bullets at worst. This is a variable you can control.

    For most of my bullets, I weigh them all and discard any that are outside +/- .5% of average. I've got a couple of molds now that drop so consistently I don't bother. This is a variable you can control.

    I use an electronic powder dispenser (RCBS Chargemaster Lite) so that every charge is weighed and so precisely consistent. I'll note here that the RCBS Chargemaster lite says not to use with black powder so if you decide to do so you do so at your own risk. I'll also note that I was able to use the Lee Perfect Powder Measure (also not rated for black powder) to consistently drop within a tenth of a grain if I did the same motion every time I operated the device. However you decide to do it, getting a consistent charge every single time is important to accuracy. There are folks who will say that it doesn't matter because every time you load a little powder sticks to the bullet, and a little sticks to the tube, and maybe a little bit misses going down the bore, etc. etc. etc. All all of this may be true. But your objective is to eliminate the variables you can eliminate, because all the errors compound on one another.

    You'll need to do a load workup to discover what the optimal charge is for whatever bullet you are trying to use. You may discover that a particular bullet does not work no matter what charge you put behind it. This can take months of work at the range.

    We had a fellow on our team years ago, Chuck Garvey, who put it this way, "If your gun can't hold a 4" group off a bench at 50 yards you don't have anything."

    The reason is, most of our N-SSA targets are 4" or smaller in diameter. If you want to consistently shoot clay pigeons, off a bench, your gun needs to consistently put targets inside a 4" circle at 50 yards - at a minimum. Otherwise you're wasting your time trying to hit targets off-hand in our kind of competition.

    Once you've benched your gun and found the load that gives you a tight group, and you've modified or adjusted your sights to shoot the point of aim you desire, after that, it's all on you to physically hold the gun and pull the trigger at the right time.

    A lot of this exercise is, for me at least, mental. I have to "believe in the gun". In fact, while shooting at skirmishes, in my head I often repeat the mantra, "trust the sights". You have to trust your gun. You have to know in your head that your gun shoots right, because you've done the bench work to prove it to yourself. For me, if I start doubting the gun, and trying to "adjust fire" ("chasing bullet holes"), the game is lost. Without confidence in the gun, you're doubting where to aim every shot.

    These are my opinions on shooting. Your mileage may vary. In the words of the fictitious Buster Kilrain, "There's many a man worse than me, and some better." I've been shooting regularly since I was about 8 years old. I've been shooting N-SSA competition for 12.

    My haul from last weekend:


    Last edited by Maillemaker; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:03 PM.
    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
    NRA Certified Muzzleloading Instructor

  6. #6
    Robert Murphy is offline
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    You guys are the best and I hear you! I have done everything suggested. My Tom Nixon 55 will shoot a 10X off the bench. My first shoot won 2nd place Expert Division with a Whitacre barrel.69 at 25 yards. My Anschutz 54 will one bole group at 50 yards from the bench. I have a 25ft airgun range in my basement. My personal best is 5 for 5 early this season. But I am not consistent. I am looking for a coach, military or Olympic style competition instructor. Someone who can watch me shoot and say ?You need to xyz?. And I practice before every match. Most of the time I circle the target. Yes I am 74, in good health, walk 3 miles with 3 lb weights to keep my muscle tone. I wear shooting glasses and watch my sugar. I joined the N-SSA for many reasons but before time runs out I want to be good at what I?m doing. Thanks for your advice.

  7. #7
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    Shooting Instructor

    Robert, record yourself at the range...you do not need to film were the hits are...you can call them out on camera. This way you can self evaluate your performance, depending on what you use to film...you might be able to slow down the footage for a better review. A basic red rider bb gun has an extreme trigger pull which helps you to concentrate more upon a target...before and after the shot.

    No caffeine before shooting...furthermore, you can try balancing your weapons.

    Other articles: Back to Basics - Stance and Aiming by Tom Wiegand, Consistency Counts by Tom Kelly, Keys to Good Shooting by Steve Light, Shooting for High Score by John Person, Flinching and Jerking by Dave France.

    All submissions are found within old Skirmish Lines...I hope this helps.

    Good luck.

    Keith A. Williams
    15th. Reg VA Vol Cav

    "A few profit - and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war." - Major General Smedley Butler - USMC

  8. #8
    Ben Knipscher is offline
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    Mental Management

    Mr. Murphy,

    Jumping in quickly with two things.

    Based on your comments it sounds like your challenge is neither equipment and ability to compete (you obviously have great equipment, and already know how what it takes to be a competitor or you would not be asking for a coach).

    Possibly, what you may be looking for is mental management, the last frontier in human performance.

    Lanny Bassham's book entitled "With Winning in Mind," and his son Troy's book "Attainment" form the basis for some very elite level organizations.

    Hopefully this link will work: https://mentalmanagement.com/product...inning-in-mind

    As you well know, once the equipment and training is set, then it really is between the ears..e.g. handling the stress, and honing the ability to be a competitor at the individual's standards.

    With respect to books and since you asked for olympic/military type of coaching. Everyone has their favorite, but I would like to pass this:

    Unbeknownst to many, the Russians were way ahead of everyone else at the Olympic level for years. The book in this link is super-detailed and leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. It is the information that the Army Marksmanship Unit built its program upon, which should tell one quite a bit since they are the best in the world at this.

    Hope it helps...it's old, but if you can obtain a copy, it is worth its weight in gold.

    https://www.amazon.com/Competitive-S...%27yev&s=books

    Cheers!

  9. #9
    John Maderious is offline
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    Shooting Instructor

    All good advice, but unless you have the very good luck to be one of the few naturally good shooters out there, the real key to shooting well is simple: it is WORK, mainly practice and lots of it. And when I say practice I don't mean plinking with yer buddies. Plinking is fun, but PRODUCTIVE practice is NOT FUN, it is hard unpleasant work and should be done very frequently. 99% of NSSA shooters don't have the time, patience or work ethic to become good shooters, so the first thing to do is ask yourself "do I want it bad enough to put the time, money and effort into doing it?"

  10. #10
    PoorJack is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Murphy View Post
    I want to shoot better. Many of us are self taught and have poor technique and bad habits. Are there any qualified off hand instructors out there? Willing to travel, willing to pay.
    In the Palmetto Sharpshooters, we have 8 NRA Muzzleloading Instructors, one of which was a USMC rifle instructor, and we work mainly with Scouts during the summer months. Yes, there is a fairly large element of offhand instruction going on when we're onsite with the kids. We don't just load a rifle, plunk it on a bag, and let the kid pull the trigger. We shoot only offhand. Much of what we teach is the basics since the 80/20 rule is quite operative here. In short 80% of your issues come from a few fundamentals being done wrong. Another thing I've noticed is that much of the literature on offhand shooting is based around centerfire and modern arms. Shooting our stuff can be quite different. Be ready to experiment.

    From my observations-
    Know your dominant eye
    Know your natural point of aim
    Keep yer noggin on the stock!
    Do NOT move your feet once you have your stance set.
    Hand placement on the wrist of the stock can affect trigger control! Be consistent.
    Trigger pull- some advocate slow squeeze but that works only if you're very, very steady.
    Follow through! Keep your head on the stock and ride the recoil. Don't start letting the gun down or look until the gun is out of recoil.
    Practice often. Quality practice beats burning ammo
    Dry fire- do it! Get a Shrader valve from a tire, cut off the "gromet" part where it goes through the rim. Use it as a nipple protector
    Consistency is King!

    A couple other things- when doing load development, bench technique can greatly affect results and Point of Impact. Get the best load your gun is capable of and that's what you need to practice with. Don't be complacent on component quality and don't be afraid to experiment to find better combinations.

    Look us up at Nationals. We'll be glad to share.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"
    Rudyard Kipling


    YadkinValleyRangers@gmail.com
    NRA Muzzleloading Instructor

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