Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How To Avoid Embarasing Yourself At The Shootin' Part Of The Blogmeet, Part One.

It seems that some blogmeets have shooting involved, no not the kind that would happen if the laws were to change and us righties got within range of the Koskids (bottom photo), but shootin' at targets or tin cans, etc. Some of us would LIKE to shoot but for one or another reason, don't. Perhaps it's a case of living where gun ownership is difficult, perhaps it's a lack of finances, perhaps there are other reasons.

The bad news is that there is no substitute for practice. There are ways to limit the shame, though. There are some tricks.

First, start with your brain. Not everyone bringing a shootin' iron to a meet has your best interests in mind. If you are familiar with cliches there is: don't run before you learn to walk. Do not grab the gun with a barrel the size of a sewer pipe. It is impossible to shoot well when you have a flinch. Save the earghesplitzen loudenboomers for the end of the session. I've been shooting some fifty years now, I still save the big loads for last.

Make sure you are wearing ear and eye protection. Every Cowboy Action Shoot I go to I get some birdshot or bullet fragments bounced back on me. It seldom breaks the skin but would not be good for my eyes. Even a .22 pistol will damage hearing.

Shooting starts with your hands and feet. You should start with your feet about shoulder width apart with your weak-side foot slightly forward. (See second photo from top)Now, take the shootin' iron and put it firmly in your strong hand, the back of the butt should not be against the web of the thumb but should be in the meat of the palm (see third photo from top).

Your trigger finger should be off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Then, just the tip of the finger goes on for any shootin' iron with a light, single action pull. Double actions require more of the finger on the trigger (See fifth and sixth photos).

The weak hand wraps around the strong hand (fourth photo). There are two main shooting stances, the Weaver Position and the Isosceles. In the Weaver your elbows are slightly bent, this helps absorb recoil. The body is at an angle to the line of fire, the weak side foot slightly forward. (Fourth Photo again)

The Isosceles has the arms straight out, although the elbows still aren't locked, the body is more or less square with the line of fire. Note that in a scenario with several targets we will almost naturally flow from Weaver to Isosceles or vice versa as we switch from target to target.

Now, the sights. The rear sight is a notch, or groove. It may be adjustable, it may be fixed, that doesn't matter unless it's your gun. I get downright testy when someone messes with the sights on my guns. The sight picture should look like a picket fence. There should be an equal amount of light showing on the front sight and the front sight should be even with the top of the rear sights. The target is balanced on top of the front sight. Our eyes are not able to focus on the rear sight, front sight and target so focus on the front sight. The target will be slightly blurry, that's okay.

Now, hold the gun, close your eyes and bring the gun up to firing position. Open your eyes and look through the sights.If the sights are not on the target, move your feet. Repeat this process until you raise the gun and your sights are on the target. Now you're ready to shoot. Finger goes on the trigger, press and "click". Watch the sights. If you are jerking the trigger they'll go away off. A good trigger pull the sights will barely twitch.

Okay, now load 'er up and make some noise! Note, when I was learning to shoot the rule of thumb was that it takes five thousand rounds to make a pistol shooter. With the modern shooting schools this number is much smaller but still the only real way to be a good shot is to shoot. Back when I was shooting competition I would shoot one day, handload ammo the next, then shoot, then handload. Every day got some dryfire practice.That is what it took to be at the top of my game. After I gave up competition I went to shooting once a week, my scores dropped about 10-20 percent. Now, of course, since the stroke, I can't hardly hit a bull in the butt with a base fiddle. Still, I'm a better shot that 99% of the criminals out there because I've learned the fundamentals.

Since there is nothing about rifles in this post the top photo is of a rifle, specificly a Ruger 10/22 with a Shilen Barrel and Hogue overmolded stock, plus a lot of internal parts like trigger, sear, etc. How to turn a $100.00 used rifle into a $400.00+ tack driver in one fell swoop. If you REALLY need to hit something, grab a rifle.

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