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Off-hand shooting - principles of (Read 7640 times)
Cat_Whisperer
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Werndl

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Off-hand shooting - principles of
Apr 1st, 2007 at 8:50am
 
OK, I'm working on moulds and seaters and they will take some time, SO what are the principles of GOOD off-hand shooting?  (And what one does to practice to improve.)

I use a position where I face about 90 degrees from the target with the target to my left.

Feet shoulder-width apart, work feet into a very comfortable stance/footing.

Back arched a bit to the back to place rifle over my center of mass.  (Less arch is needed the fatter I get.)

Left arm directly under the rifle, support as close to just in front of the trigger - either with palm rest, or finger tip support or just a vee support (with NO gripping muscle action).

Right arm horizontal with the ground, slight firm pull back on the stock into the shoulder.  With BIG bore, thumb to the right side of the stock.  

I build a rythm of breething deeply and loading, shouldering and shooting.

Target alignment is by lining up sigths as rifle comes down to target to keep shoulder-mounted time to a minimum.


That's what I  do.  How to improve?  Exercises?

Is using a sling legal?
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Cat Whisperer (trk)
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Brent
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #1 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 9:47am
 
Well, I think a lot of the details depends on how you prefer to hold a gun and how the gun fits you.  But that said, the best thing I ever did for my scores was to read a book.  Did more for me than even nightly airrifle practice.  I'm sure there are others out there, but I recommend
http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Mind-Mental-Management-System/dp/1885221479/ref=pd...

Garbe recently published an article on books of the same nature also.

Brent
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When lead is in the air, hope is in my heart ~MWH
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38_Cal
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #2 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 10:16am
 
Also available from Brownells, www.brownells.com, stock number is 960-100-000.  Same price, VERY gun friendly company...and proceeds will go (in a very small way) to help pay for my single shot addiction!

David
Montezuma, IA
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David Kaiser
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J.D.Steele
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #3 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 10:42am
 
First, do all the above while your eyes are closed, assuming as comfortable & muscularly-relaxed a position as possible. Now open your eyes and, without changing the way you're holding the rifle, adjust your feet position so that the sights are aligned with the target as well as possible horizontally. Adjust the vertical alignment by changing the length of the palm rest staff or changing the thickness of the vee support if it's something besides your fingers.

Do not swing your body or the rifle to align the sights, do this alignment only with your feet position, making very minor corrections until the sights align properly when you first open your eyes. Any correction applied with your muscles or with tension against them will result in a relatively uncontrolled muscular response when the trigger breaks, and thus a more-or-less inaccurate shot. Same with the palm rest and the vertical alignment, adjust the vertical by varying the length of the palm rest staff so that the sights are aligned when you open your eyes.

Do not close your off eye, the muscles will alter the vision in your shooting eye and tire it faster. Use a blinder attached to your shooting glasses over the off eye. You do wear shooting glasses I hope?

Do not eat anything for at least an hour before you shoot, your blood will be occupied with your digestion and it won't be available for your eyes and other muscles. 2 hours is better.

Do not attempt to make each shot perfect. Rather, IMO you should attempt to make each shot go solidly in the black, with no bad shots. This is old old strategy and is basic to consistent shooting. If you concentrate on making no bad shots, then eventually and gradually your groups will tighten and your scores will improve. Vary the size of your bulleye (or the range) so that you can keep almost all your shots in the black and, as your accuracy improves and your offhand groups shrink, you can decrease the size of the black to match.

A common problem is making the rear or front aperture too small, resulting in eyestrain. I choose apertures slightly more open than the minimum that's required for 'best & sharpest' sight picture, always. The eye will involuntarily change its muscle tension to sharpen its visual acuity according to the available light, and this tension will fade in and out as the body tires during an extended firing stroke of more than 2-3 seconds, requiring still more tension to correct. If the available light is greater, then the corresponding eye muscle correction tension is lower, resulting in less change as the tension fades in and out and thus less eyestrain.

Your groups will NOT suffer from a slightly larger aperture, I promise!

Focus your eye on either the front sight or the scope reticle, DO NOT focus on the bulleye.

All this is very basic, Good luck, Joe
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Schutzenbob
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #4 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 2:05pm
 
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Bruce P
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #5 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 5:07pm
 
I would say you are almost there Cat whisperer.

I would offer just a few last pointers.

No caffeine drinks prior to the match. Do not be distracted from the idle banter which one hears on every firing line. Try wearing earplugs, and over these wear a good pair of ear muffs. Almost totally eliminates all background noise. Now it's just you and the target.
When you step up to the firing line, Concentrated on the target, and eliminating muscle tremors. Breath control which you mention is important. Next cradle the rifle into position. Now while you're holding steady ease your finger onto the hair trigger. Next shut your eyes tight, and quickly jerk the trigger back!! hehehehe........

Well something like that anyway................

Bruce

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Paul_F.
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #6 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 5:48pm
 
I would only SLIGHTLY disagree with Bruce...

Go LIGHT on the caffeine on match day.. but if you're heavily caffiene addicted, going cold turkey on match morning is going to mess with your concentration.  Go LIGHT on the caffeine. Like half or less your "usual".


Also, Do tune our the other shooters, and don't start jacking your jaw before the string. Start getting into your own little "zone" a few minutes before "commence fire", and start visualizing perfect shots. Start paying attention to the wind... and stretch your muscles.

I don't like doubling up on hearing protection to tune out the world, however... Years ago, we had a couple premature discharges on the line in our Highpower program due to a couple shooters doing just that, and then NOT being able to hear the range commands. 


J.D. Steele is right on about your "Natural Point of Aim"... that should be first, last and foremost in ANY position shooting!  You should be able to totally relax, open your eyes, and be IN THE BLACK with your front sight. Any "muscling" of the rifle to get it pointed at your target is going to make you throw shots towards your natural point of aim.  If your rifle is pointed at the edge of the paper, you're going to start putting shots out that way!

Once you establish this natural point of aim, do NOT move your feet again until the string is done! 

Hope this helps!
Paul F.
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Cat_Whisperer
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Werndl

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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #7 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 6:19pm
 
WOW!

Excellent suggestions, references!  And more questions.

I understand the the 'natural point of aim' and finding it by closing one's eyes - and not 'muscling' the rifle.

Focus on the front sight?  I tend to switch focus from front to target and back - often.  Is it better to hold focus on the sight (peep sights front and rear on my practice rifle, will switch to scope early this summer).

Visualization - YES!  Cafene - I dropped it when I started taking blood pressure medication - it just didn't seem right taking that pill with coffee. Roll Eyes

:This reminds me of going over a couple of counties to a fellow reservist's range to practice for a 'Commander's match' with M16's.  The owner of the property asked me if I was going to shoot with them at the match.  I responded that I was shooting with them today and against them at the match.  We're still good friends.


Lots of stuff to review, THANKS!

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Cat Whisperer (trk)
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Cat_Whisperer
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Werndl

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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #8 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 6:22pm
 
Another question:

ASSUMING a rifle that will do MOA,  what is a GOOD and an EXCELLENT off-hand group size at 100 and 200 yards ?

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J.C.PEELE
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #9 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 7:12pm
 
Sir    Place a small stone under your off leg foot. It will change everything for you. Try it next time you shoot.
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #10 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 7:31pm
 
Cat_Whisperer wrote on Apr 1st, 2007 at 6:19pm:
WOW!

Focus on the front sight?  I tend to switch focus from front to target and back - often.  Is it better to hold focus on the sight (peep sights front and rear on my practice rifle, will switch to scope early this summer).



I've been taught that you should keep your eye FOCUSED on the front sight (be it a post or an aperture), but your attention should be on sight alignment and sight picture.

Also, the best practice I've ever found for offhand is a combination of live fire at the range, a lot of dry firing at home at a spot on the wall, and if you have an accurate air rifle to practice with. The longer barrel time with the air rifle will refine your hold and follow-through.  I never could afford a decent air rifle, but when I was shooting Highpower actively, I got a lot out of dry fire practice.  25-30 shots per session to develop the same endurance I'd need in a match (20 record shots).

Paul F.
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J.C.PEELE
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #11 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 8:26pm
 
Cows come cows go. the bull stays.
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Brent
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #12 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 9:09pm
 
Cat_Whisperer wrote on Apr 1st, 2007 at 6:22pm:
Another question:

ASSUMING a rifle that will do MOA,  what is a GOOD and an EXCELLENT off-hand group size at 100 and 200 yards ?




Who cares about the group, but the scores at 200 yds on the ASSRA/WSU/NMLRA target should be in the 220s for 10 shots to be "excellent" in my opinion.  If you can do better than that for 100 shots, you can win a big chunk of my money and a bunch of other's as well. 

Good is anything over 200.  While I can shoot a few scores in that range and even very occasionally into the rarified are of 220s, I am not yet a "good" shooter on average.  But I will be this year. 

At 50 ft using a .22, you need only look at the top 10 places in this year's WSU match to see what the good-excellent transition looks like.  You can see the scores at http://personal.adiis.net/tenx/2007_league.html

Overall, the real definition of good and excellent depends on what you want to do.  But shooting in the 220s at 200 yds or 245s at 50 ft will get  you entrance to the big boys' cave. 

Brent
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Cat_Whisperer
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Werndl

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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #13 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 9:56pm
 
Good info.  (I know I've got a LONG way to go.)
But how big are the rings ?
(Looking for a way to translate to different ranges - group size does that.)
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chrisj
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Re: Off-hand shooting - principles of
Reply #14 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 11:18pm
 
Just back from the monthly match in Davenport.

Apparently I do some things different.

I re-establish a new position each shot. My body changes through a match and my position has to adapt.  Keeping my feet in one position for a long time and the blood gets squeezed out, and my feet and legs get tired.  I also have to let my innards unwind between shots.

When my rifle is in position, I check the rear sight. When alignment of the rear sight with my eye is correct, I depend on my position to maintain that alignment.  (I shoot only with a scope, so that's the rear of the scope.)

When I am shooting well, as I bring the rifle to the target, my concentration shifts to the little white dot in the middle of the target.  The crosshairs move around in front of the target.  I am barely aware of the crosshairs, and at some time the shot goes off.  If the pattern of the crosshair movement is not what I'm used to, or centered to the right or left, or my mind starts to wander, I set the rifle down and start over for that shot.

Chris Jens
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