Sightings?

Ahab and Tam take on the most picked-over subject since 9mm versus .45ACP – point shooting.

Like most stupid debates, this one is replete with stereotypes on both sides. The point-shooters think the sight-shooters are warmed-over Bullseye enthusiasts who need ten seconds to break a shot, and the sight-shooters think the point-shooters are reckless idiots who practically hose their shots around with their eyes closed. Like most stereotypes, these are completely true in every particular…

For myself, I don’t think it’s quite so clear-cut. I’ve blathered on about calling your shots in earlier posts, and it’s simply not possible to call your shots without reading the sights. That said, if you’re presented with a close, wide-open target, you might be able to get your two A’s faster by pointing the gun and hitting the trigger twice. A common technique is to “look through the gun”, keeping your visual focus on the target, and press the trigger as the gun comes back down from recoil.

Unsighted or point-shooting is not a technique for general use, but it sometimes does have it’s place. For myself, I can hit A’s on open targets out to 10-12 feet. Any farther than that, and I transition back to the classic front-sight focus.

Brian Enos’ excellent book, Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals goes into extensive detail about sighted fire, unsighted fire, and all the vagaries in between. Go read it.

Busy Weekend…

This weekend’s been packed full of all sorts of shooty goodness. Saturday was a close-range hose-fest of a 3 gun match followed by a birthday party where I bid adieu to my 20’s. Sunday was a tactical rifle match with shots between 200-400 yards.  Keep your eyes peeled for pics, vids, and writeups later this week.

In the meantime,  I’m frickin’ dead.

-Justin

Practice Log – 10/25/2008

Place: The Range at NRA Headquarters

Gear: TSS 5″ Limited Gun, 100 rounds of .40 180grn. match ammo
TSS Benelli M2, 50-odd rounds of Fiocchi reduced-recoil slugs

Goals:More shot-calling practice, plus checking the sights on the shotgun.

I got to the range at around 1:00pm, then proceded to wait around for half an hour for a lane. I hate indoor ranges, but it was raining cats and dogs.

I ran about 100 rounds of single and two-shot calling drills, at 7, 15, and 25 yards. I’m still sitting at around 60% accuracy, better as the target gets closer. I noticed a definite tendency to pull shots low and left, which I called as centered. This tells me that I need to work more on refining my trigger pull, and that I’m not always seeing the sight lift during recoil. My Limited gun has a 1.75# trigger, and it’s quite sensitive to improper finger placement.

I also ran fifty rounds through the shotgun, in preparation for the shotgun stages at the Area 6. My shotgun is printing dead center at 25 yards, and about 4″ high at 50. I can generally hold five shots on the A zone at 50 yards, offhand. Not bad.

Results: More shot-calling drills. I also need to figure out some drills to help me focus on maintaining a continual sight picture.

I think that for the next few weeks, all my live-fire practice will focus on shot-calling and reading the sights through recoil. I want to develop a really good base in those two skills over the winter.

Weekend Angst

Sorry for the lack of updates.  Work has been kicking my ass for the past few days.

I had planned to run out to the Walnut Ridge multigun match tomorrow, but the match got called on account of rain.  Sigh.  Instead, I’ll probably spend the weekend fiddling with the new Dillon Super 1050, working up some .223 loads, and trying to track down a TacSol .22 AR upper.  Fun fun fun!

In the meantime, I’ve been a little remiss in updating the blogroll.  Check out NRAhab and Tam’s Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks.  Also, in the Shooting Links category, I’ve added Jake Di Vita’s blog.  Jake is a world-class IPSC shooter who posts a lot of training drills and other useful information.

October Prairie Dog Match

Ok, here’s the review of the Prairie Dog match I promised a few days ago.  This is a home-grown precision rifle match that involves shooting at small steel targets at distances between 200-400 yards.  The game is open to any rifle, but those who did well were running purpose-built precision bolt guns.  The course of fire consists of ten targets set out in the field.

The Course of Fire.  The targets themselves are too small to see from the firing line.

The Course of Fire. The targets themselves are too small to see from the firing line.

Below is an example of a target/indicator combination taken through the lens of the spotting scope:

The first target.  You can see the prairie dog target to the right.

The first target. You can see the prairie dog target to the right.

Here’s how the match works: the shooters form a relay on the firing line.  There are three staff members, one with a timer, one manning the spotting scope, and one recording the scores.  Once everyone is situated, the RO with the shot timer stands to one side of the first competitor.  When that competitor is ready, the RO sounds the timer giving the shooter fifteen seconds to fire one shot at the target.  A hit registered in the first ten seconds results is ten points, between ten and fifteen seconds a hit is five points, and a miss is simply scored as a zero.  After the first competitor has fired or his time has expired, the RO moves to the next shooter and repeats the process.  Once all competitors have had a chance to fire at the first target, they start over again at the second target, repeating the process until each shooter has fired at all ten targets.  After that, the process starts again until each competitor has shot the course of fire four times for a grand total of forty shots.  The best possible score would be 400/400 points.

The Range Officer with the shot timer.

The Range Officer with the shot timer.

The person manning the spotting scope registers whether the shot was a hit or a miss, and then the score is recorded by the guy with the clipboard (yours truly, in this case.)

Scoring registers a hit

Scoring registers a hit

Most of the competitors were shooting bolt-action rifles chambered in .260 Remington, .308, or .223.  A couple of AR-15’s were also on the line as well.  The Match Director was kind enough to let me shoot his rifle for this match, a custom-built bolt gun in .22 BR built on a Stiller action.  I’m thinking that the gear probably gave me a bit of an advantage.

A custom .22 BR rifle built on a Stiller Action.  The host of the match was kind enough to let me shoot this gun.

A custom .22 BR rifle built on a Stiller Action. The host of the match was kind enough to let me shoot this gun.

A single round of .22 BR. The cartridge shoots very well, and as long as you’re aware of the wind. It is more than accurate enough for this sort of match.

A single round of .22 BR

A single round of .22 BR

So, my final score was 305/400 which put me in 4th place out of 16 competitors.  The winning score was 360/400.  I’ll definitely be shooting this match in the future.  Stuff like this has gotten the gears turning for a precision bolt gun of my own.

-Justin