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It`s never a dull time to “sharpen up” mastered shooting techniques and start preparing yourself for a new hunting season. And however simple and obvious it does sound, but it is always a good idea to start with the “basics”, in order to improve your shooting accuracy and gain professionalism. So how can you improve your shooting accuracy? If you ask for advice anyone professionally engaged in shooting/hunting business – they would answer, that “accuracy” – is a composite concept of quite a few basic techniques, which need to be mastered. PODAVACH have closely investigated this question and gathered some best and efficient advises on the subject of ACCURACY.
Standart prone position: lay the body straight besides your rifle, gun is sitting right in a little pocket of your shoulder.
Once you get the most stable platform, in the position you`re are in, you need to worry about sight alignment and sight picture. If you set the scope properly on your rifle, you should be able to rest and relax completely on the rifle in a stable position and be able to look through the scope properly. A lot of people think, that you don’t need a sight alignment with a scope and that it only applies to iron sights. That is just NOT TRUE. Setting the parallax correctly and having a proper sight alignment in a scope – might be the most crucial thing you can do to improve your shooting accuracy, otherwise, your sight alignment could be canted and the reticle could look like it`s on the target, when it is not.
What is parallax?! Parallax is the error you see when the focal plane of the target and the reticle are not on the same plane, it can be seen when you move your head while looking through the scope and the aim point on the reticle moves around on the target. Reticle needs to be EXACTLY where you want it to be ON THE TARGET.
Okey dokey, so how to detect it? First of all, you need to look at the scope`s shadow! When you`re looking through your scope and move your eye off the center – you`ll start to see black spots on one side or the other. Don’t worry - those things are helpful, as they let you know whether you`re looking through the scope straight or not, and you need to make sure you are! Sighting in or zeroing your rifle means aligning the sights, so that your aim is as accurate as possible. Be sure to take the time to sight in your rifle every year before you head out for a new hunting/training season.
National Shooting Sport Foundation gave a valuable explanation for how to zero a rifle in an easy two-shot system, that can help you get right on target.
So, explain to your friend/instructor the picture of the shot you seeing in the scope and guide him/her verbally with the directions to make clicks/adjustments on the scope elevation and windage regulator, so the crosshairs of your scope will be set right on the bullet hole you’ve just made on the training target.
Now you have that scope crosshairs perfectly centered on the bullet hole. Its time now to take the second shot.
Although, sometimes it can be difficult to focus between the target and the reticle even with the parallax adjusted properly. In that case, professionals recommend you focus only on the reticle – reticle is something you can control and take care off. Focus on a crisp clear reticle in a stable platform, and all there is left regarding improving rifle accuracy – is trigger control.
Now trigger control. It is pretty straightforward as long as you think of it, as a continuous process, and not just one thing that happens. To give a visual example – imagine you drawing a line in a dirt. To do it, you have to apply a constant pressure to your finger, as you`re drawing the line straight back. The same analogy with pulling the trigger: you`re in a stable position, lined up with good side alignment, focusing on the reticle and you place the part of your forefinger on the trigger, start that steady build of pressure till the rifle goes off and… continue adding that pressure for a few more seconds – then you can release. So, as the rifle goes off, continue “to draw that line”, adding some constant pressure to trigger even after the shot was fired. This technique ensures a good follow-through you need for the shot accuracy. That FOLLOW-THROUGH does:
Apart from everything, getting yourself a “gunpowder afterburner” is a validated tip for increasing shooting accuracy.
In out-of-field conditions to master a decent follow through, practice DRY FIRING! So, firstly, always make sure your GUN IS UNLOADED. Keep in a shooting position as you would, have your proper hand placement on the side, get into the gun and slowly press your trigger. You have to get used to recoiling process. Here is a COOL TIP to make dry firing practice not so boring: take a quarter or a dime, put it on the end of the barrel, get your gun into position and try to execute that trigger, while making sure that quarter/dime does not fall off the back of the barrel.
And just keep dry firing... Why? Dry fire practice is going to help you have a proper hand placement and a steady trigger pulling – things that primary affect the accuracy of the shoots you make.
And the last advices for today will be regarding building fast and effective sight alignment and conditions to put yourself while training for improving your shooting accuracy.
For an experienced gun owner and a shooter is it clear, as a sunny day, that establishing effective sight alignment FAST – is important. It is “basic”, but when it comes to locking your target really fast, as it is on the move, there won`t be an extra time for you to think about the wright head position, hand placement and gun alignment – all of it must come HABITUALLY and by foremost – PROPERLY. You don’t think how to hold a spoon while eating, right? The same thing with a gun. And there is no better thing to do to establish the proper rifle handling as practice, practice and practice. But while practicing, you gotta GIVE YOURSELF CONDITIONS. Now, what does it mean: it`s not hard just to stand and simply shoot a target – anyone could do it. If you don’t give yourself conditions to train for – are you actually getting better at anything? Accuracy is a such thing, we should always train to higher standards of, but it is also not right to dwell only on accuracy, while bypassing the idea that we need a speed to go along with it. It is as simple as that – fast accuracy will always beat slow accuracy. Yes, time – accuracy - speed are contextual, but the “GOLDEN BALANCE” needs to be found between how fast you shoot and how accurate that is.
For example, set yourself a goal to shoot a certain target at certain distance in a few seconds, than just simply stand and shoot - try to push your speed and have a balance of speed and accuracy. Or give yourself some moving conditions, for ex. running up 50 or 100 meters, getting into a position and taking your shots. Whatever it the “condition” is – be purposeful, give yourself an objective, identify that one thing that will lead you to becoming a better shooter and focus on it. So, start giving yourself conditions of accuracy, speed, ammo, your gun being set up properly, movement conditions to get better at shooting. Pay attention to those things in particular, push yourself to the next level and you`ll become more accurate shooter faster, if the conditions you giving yourself are realistic and apply.
And lastly, TRAIN YOUR EYES. A good hunter is an accurate shooter with a nicely developed marksmanship, which means you can hit your target accurately and consistently. Experienced shooters/hunters are able to quickly isolate one bird from the whole flock, and hold their attention on to it (the bird) or even concentrate on its beak. Such exercises improve your eyesight, and an eye, like any other muscle – can be trained. Here are some eye – training techniques. Next time when you`re training and, for example, shooting some glass plates – try to concentrate on the edges of the plate, not on the whole thing. Walking along the street or a farm, at a convenient occasion, make a visual 'lead' of a pigeon, crow, goose, while concentrating your attention on their beak area.
Shooting with both eyes open is also a great eye - training technique. Doug Koenig, a champion shooter, simply explains that shooting with both eyes open gives you a depth of perception and a speed for target to target acquisition. There is nothing wrong with shooting traditionally – closing off one eye and aiming with a dominant one, but when you`re shooting fast-moving targets – it takes a while to refocus. So where does the focus goes? The shot is going to dictate where the vision focuses and it obviously is – on the target.
Marksmanship is a skill that can be developed and must be maintained. Proper fundamentals, technique and practice will make you a better and accurate shooter, and that is what the Podavach BLOG sincerely wishes for you.