Thursday, January 27, 2005

Art of the Rifle

First of all these format is entirely inadequate to address the art of shooting. That said, I like to talk about shootin'... so I'll try it just the same.

What we're gonna cover today is basic accuracy, shooting technique, and what you should expect from your guns.

Lets start off with the basics. You want a new rifle. The question you need to ask is, what is this rifle going to do for me? Is it going to be a deer rifle? Target? Are you a sniper wanna-be? If long distance shooting is your aim, then we're probly gonna be talking about a bolt-action of some kind. Most likely you're gonna spring for a Remington 700, a Browning A-Bolt, a Winchester Model 70, or a Savage.

I am a huge advocate of Savage. They are simply the best guns you can get for the money. In fact, they are the best guns you can get for double the money, and in some cases triple.

What ever you decide on, out of the box, what you are looking for is 1 minute of angle accuracy. Now obviously there is some debate on how you arrive at that 1 inch. The sissies over at Guns and Ammo find the center of the group, then measure out from there. While real men folk take the distance between the the two shots that are furthest apart. What this means is, when Guns and Ammo says they shot a 2 inch group... by our method... that's acctually a 4 inch group.

So... My expectations of a new rifle are pretty simple... 5 shots at 100 yards. Then you find the center of each hole. The distance, center to center of the two that are the furthest apart should be 1 inch or less.

Now... Your new rifle is not going to do that with every out-of-the-box ammo you run through it. Some ammo it's gonna love, and some it's gonna hate. You have to find what it loves. Rifles are all different. Two of the same exact make and model will love different ammunition. This is why you don't see me making ammo recommendations for long distance shooting. What my gun likes, means nothing to you. Even if you have a Savage 99 just like mine.

So... you have your new rifle... and if you have any sense at all its a Savage with the Accutrigger, a on/off muzzle break, and controlled round-feeding... and if it is all that... then congratulations... you're the proud new owner of a tack driver.

The next step is to purchase several boxes of several different brands of ammo, in different bullet sizes and types. Set yourself up at a bench with a target 100 yards away... I'm assuming of course your rifle is already sited in...

Now its time to shoot.

First of all... I don't want to here any of this "I ain't no sniper" crap. Shooting is about technique and discipline. You can do it. I'll settle for nothing less, so save your excuses for the women's auxillary you nancy-boy.

Shooting is... unbelievably... similar to golf. You must not think about what you're doing. In fact, you shouldn't be thinking of anything at all. Your sub-conscience handles this sort of thing. You conscience mind just gets in the way. So make like Bane and empty your head.

We're gonna start with bench shooting. In this situation you don't shoulder the rifle. You place it on the rest so it practically stands on its own, and then you loving wrap yourself around it, pulling it tight. Site the target dead nutts center... and put your finger on the trigger. Inhale. Exhale... and now comes the important part.


I know you see it on TV. The headset says "CLEAR!" and the sniper jerks the trigger and the bad guy dies. That's the thing about TV. It ain't real. You NEVER jerk a trigger. Done correctly, you should be suprised when the trigger breaks.

But how do you accomplish that? Lets back up. We've inhaled... We've exhaled... our finger rests on the trigger...

Now imagine you're going to take the finger thats on the trigger... and bring the tip towards your nose. You gradually increase the pressure. A tiny bit of pressure at first. Now a little more... now a little more... a li**BANG**

See what I mean?

You should not know when the weapon will fire.

Shooting a high-caliber rifle at 100 yards is a joke. Those 1 inch groups I spoke of in the begining are just that... a starting place. If the rifle doesn't do that out-of-the-box... the rifle goes back in that box and back to the jerk who attempted to curse me with it.

A good rifle shoots 1 hole at 100 yards... in fact... it does 1 hole at 300 yards too. At 300 yards I don't shoot human silohettes. I shoot little life sized varmint targets... and then, only head shots suffice.

If I was going to shoot a human silohette... I'd want at least 500 yards... otherwise it wouldn't even be worth my time.

Here is some quick-hit advice:

- Spend at least half as much money on your optics as you do on your rifle. I recommend spending the same amount.
- The short magnums deserve the hype they get. Look at them hard.
- 300 win mag and up for serious long range shooting.
- Remington 700's look cheap. Buy one if you must, but know that JAC and I are going to make fun of you.
- Reliability and Accuracy are not mutually exclusive. Demand both.
- There is no such thing as an unloaded weapon.
- Never point a firearm at anything you don't intend to destroy.

We'll cover pistols sometime soon. Questions in the comments section please. I haven't setup my new email address yet.

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