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First match of 2012 today.

2090 Views 15 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  mustanggt
Well I have not been to the range since November and I have to say I have had an itchy trigger finger. Today was the first match of the 2012 shooting season. I belong to the Long Island High Power Service Rifle league and we meet once a month at the Peconic River Sportsman's Club. I got hooked on service rifle matches last year and almost think its a sin to go to the range and shoot irons off a bench now unless of course your getting you zeros or dialing in a scope. I forgot how much fun shooting really is.
For a change, I actually got a good night sleep last night. I was only woken up once, one of the dam kittens had a ball with a bell in it stashed away where I could not find it and decided the two decided to have a hokey match in the dark at about 0430 last night. Non the less, shooting when you are well rested makes a huge difference, at leas it does in my case. Last night before I laid down I had everything in order, all I had to do was drag it all out to the car so when I got up this morning I was not in a rush and remained very relaxed. A gent I met on a local forum whom I help do a bolt conversion on his norinco showed up to observe. He is an appleseed instructor and a great guy. In fact there were was another guy observing as well, guess what? They are both going to be shooting the 14!!!!!! Hoorraaahhhh! There was one dude there on the opposite relay today who was shooting a preban SAI SM. I didn't get a chance to introduce myself because I had no idea who it was, all I saw was it sitting in the rack. I hope there will be more guys dragging there 14's out this year. I want to get squadded up with them as well as hit the range to practice. One of the dudes Paul, claims to have been on a Marine Corp rifle team when they were shooting the 14 in the 70's. I can't confirm it but after each string he would give me pointers, I am open to all and any critiquing. It looks like its going to be a good year!!
So after colors it was down to business. We shot a 200 yard NRA reduced corse. Starting off in the offhand I did well, the first string was either a 91 or 96 1x, I can't remember. I always get stoked when the sighters are two 10's. It has been two months since I shot and to be honest it was only my 5th mach ever. I was telling Nez (baman) that it was all over last season when I felt as though I was getting into a groove. I fell right back into place like we didn't even take a break so I hope to do much better this year.
Two areas I need to practice are slow prone and offhand. My second string in the offhand was in the mid 80's. The slow prone is where I am having the most trouble. As you are well aware this is the 600 yard target and it gets a little smaller. I do well in the beginning but towards the middle to the end of the string, I start to fall apart. I had back surgery in 91 to fix a busted back from a parachute accident with the division. Its not the spot that I had the surgery that bothers me it the arthritis in my neck that gets me and today my left hand cramped up real bad. So at around round 15-20 I couldn't keep it together and I shot one M, I knew it as soon as I pulled the trigger to, I smacked myself in the head with my right hand and I heard my two friends standing behind me start to laugh. So I managed to shoot a 434 3x. My goal this morning was to shoot a 440 or better so I feel as though I came close enough, wish i hadn't jerked that trigger and taken a miss on the 600 yard slow prone. So what I plan on doing to fix the slow prone is to spend some time on the matt either in the basement or on the back lawn when the weather gets warmer and suck it up and get used to being in the position. I think its the only way to fix the problem. I figure the bones will get used to being in the position and eventually it wont bother me being there for 20 minutes. I don't know what to do about the hand cramp, I think i was holding the rifle to tight, i tried a few rounds with my hand open, just supporting the rifle and it worked to get rid of the cramp.
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Warren,

Glad to hear you are out there doing it.

I always tell new shooters - practice prone, practice prone and then practice more prone till you can't do it wrong. With your mastery of the slow fire prone, the rest of the scores will pick up. Remember, at least 50% of the shots in the match will be fired on your belly.

Good start there buddy.

Nez
 

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82 - good on you! As Nez says, practice prone - although I found that the easiest for me. Off hand was my trouble spot.

I suggest that for new shooters, they watch TV while they are laying on the floor: on your belly, head up, supported by your arms. Like you see little kids doing. I think it helps build the neck muscles.
 

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You might want to try some indoor practice. With no live ammo in the room, get prone. Just pick a point to aim at, even a blank wall will work. Just try to relax. Keep the support arm well under the rifle, and relaxed. Stay there for 20 -->30 min. Discomfort and shifting NPA will show you whats wrong with the position. The amount of time will help train you body to be more comfortable.

Best
Art
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nez as usual your right and I didn't even realize it until you said it. Its all about the neck pain for me. I am going to squirm around on the floor until I have regained the flexibility. I am also starting a work out routine. I just dropped 20 lbs in two months and I am on a mission to loose at least another 10-15. Have to leave a little for coma protection. Loosing a lot of weight helped a great deal shooting in the sitting position. nez are you around tomorrow? Want to give you a call
 

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You'll never stop once you do, it is addicting. I see better results each time I go and always learn something new. I guess at some point my abilities will plateau but I am sure it will still be a challenge. Just grab the ammo and find a match its that easy. Good luck with it and have fun thats what its all about.
 

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+1 on the bench thing. It's boring now. I never head out to the range anymore without a shooting mat. I even bought myself a cuff sling! It's a new challenge and I like it. Doubt I'll ever get big into the NRA matches but I do my local low key makeshift matches and that's good enough for me.

Doing too much of the same thing just gets me bored of the sport. Not a big fan of doing the same thing over and over again. That's why I quit shooting trap. I was really good but I just got bored of it one day. Only time I break out my trap gun anymore is when I feel like a challenge and use my single shot for 5-stand. Now THAT is a challenge.
 

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82ndABN,
Always glad to see someone shooting High Power and some items that may be of help to you regarding prone/slow fire are as follows:

Assuming your mat has seams running the length of the mat, use those as guide to orient your mat to the target itself, look at target, place mat as squarely as you can to start with and at least you are pointing in the right direction so to speak. Sounds basic, but just the way I was taught some years ago. I have written on the front edge of the mat three notes, FOCUS, BREATH, and Natural Point of Aim(NPA.) as friendly reminders when I get in position.

Would assume you are using spotting scope and find that by determining the placement of the scope where I do not have any more movement than necessary to monitor shots in slow fire is a big plus. My scope/stand leg(one of them) is on the mat and have a black dot there so I can place it back to that preferred spot each time and again helps me orient myself. Having an angled eyepiece is a plus for when set up right, I can just look through the lens(left eye/right hand shooter) without moving my head and breaking stock weld of cheek. Big plus.

Everything is important, but that sling is at top of the list for me since I am going to be "in it" for up to 20minutes. Old timers used to say if the sling is not hurting your arm, it's not tight enough. Well, have not found that helpfull at all and it has to be snug, but having it super tight will definitely bring about fatigue to the shooter. I spent a lot of time figuring out just where the sling fit me and everyone is different and requires experimenting to find that adjustment. If you are using leather sling, mark on sling hole which seems best for you in prone(different spacing for other positions.) Once in position check that NPA by lining up on target as best you can and take right hand off of stock, shut eyes, count to 5 and reopen and see if there is any shifting of front sight on target. Some say use your belt buckle as pivot point and rotate body until the variance of sight picutre keeps your front sight on target when you do the eyes shut deal again. Back to the sling tension, I was told to try and have the sling just tight enough that when supporting the rifle the front sight will not drop below the target frame so you are not having to muscle the gun all the time to keep it on target. In other words the sling is supporting the vertical movement of the rifle. Skeletal structure, bones, don't flex as muscles do and if using muscles to constantly correct position, you will tire in 20 minutes of concentration.

Not easy to do, but once you have your sling set up to suit you, try loading each round without taking butt of rifle off shoulder. Each time you take that rifle down, you are starting all over again for each following shot and many do that and do fine, but I find by loading without taking rifle down helps a lot in scores. I am not smart enough to remember all of the above for 20 minutes/shots. Eye fatigue is a factor and try not to hold sight picture more than 3-5 seconds. If the shot does not look good, don't take it, lots of time left. I will look down at the grass, blink few times and avoid target fixation which does occur and shot will not be where you want it to go.

Certainly don't mean to preach to you, just some suggestions that have helped me over the years long range/600-1000yd shooting and as others have mentioned, with practice you will improve. It has been said that lots of shooters do very well at Off Hand, Sitting Rapid, Prone Rapid, but loose it on the long range/slowfire prone. Fellow by name of Jim Owens has some books out that are a great help in studying the basics of High Power and would suggest them to you. High Power great shooting sport and for those not doing it don't know what they are missing.
 

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MFD that is all great advice and I have heard them more than once from more than one person. My problem is my neck. I simply can't sit lay there holding my neck up not due to muscle fatigue but a bit of arthritis in my neck. So in order to relieve the pain I come out of position. I keep my left elbow in the same place but I remove the butt stock and with a twist to the left on the rifle and lay the left side of my face down on the butt stock. I agree that a super tight sling does not suite me either. One guy mentioned that to me after the match but it doesn't work for me. What I think will help is spending time in the position over and over so that I build up the muscle memory and figure out how to work through the fatigue. I do use the belt buckle idea and find in order to get my natural point of aim I need to place the matt on about a 35 degree angle to the target. As far as the sling holes go, its pretty simple, in the sitting I use hole two and in prone I use the holes marked 1. All great advice and I like the idea about placing the dot on the matt for the scope leg. Early on I was made aware of eye fatigue and not to look at the target ore thn a few seconds at a clip. Thanks for the great advice, I am taking notes believe me.
 

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Good deal! I got hooked on this sport back on '03 after wanting to do it since being a kid back in the 60s. Love every minute of it. As you progress, you'll get more critical of your performance and strive to perfect it through study and practice. Your biggest competitor is yourself.
 

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82ndABN,
Being 70yrs old I fully understand about the arthritis issue. Some will say "take the pain"
but those saying that are not hurting quite as much at the time. Hopefully with the practice you can overcome the neck problem, but would not overdue it for scores sake.
Based on our apparent determination I would say your scores will improve over time and for me anyway, I found that as time/matches go by you tend to shoot at certain levels of performance and then along comes a match and your scores jump up to the next level. Best of luck to you.
 

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When I was shooting a lot of matches, I always found prone to be ultra-comfortable. Very relaxed; no tension anywhere. Even with a bad neck.

Of course, after the 22 shots, my left wrist was definitely getting sore from being jammed up in a tight sling!

These days, prone is actually painful (I plan to practice more, tho).
 

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82ndABN,
Not easy to do, but once you have your sling set up to suit you, try loading each round without taking butt of rifle off shoulder. Each time you take that rifle down, you are starting all over again for each following shot and many do that and do fine, but I find by loading without taking rifle down helps a lot in scores. I am not smart enough to remember all of the above for 20 minutes/shots. Eye fatigue is a factor and try not to hold sight picture more than 3-5 seconds. If the shot does not look good, don't take it, lots of time left. I will look down at the grass, blink few times and avoid target fixation which does occur and shot will not be where you want it to go.

.
This is some good stuff, the full thread. I still struggle with 20 minutes of contorsion and holding my 40 lb. head of bone off the mat for slow prone. It should be the easiest position but is not for me. After about 12 shots I fade fast and usually just want to get done. Not good for scores. I think the advice of exercise and practice laying in position like a kid while watching t.v. is great. Can I ask if you guys maintain a data book? I know it is worth the effort but I am a right handed shooter but a left handed writer. I try to write with my right hand but no matter what have to pull my head off my stock and rebuild for each shot if using a data book.
If conditions are holding do you just keep shooting and not worry about saved time?
 

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82nd, good that you're out getting it done. I'm with you on the arthrits and neck problems too. Jim Owens is a good way to go. I have all of his dvd's and he demo's with the M14 as well. I just do my practice on my mat as if I was on the range and go through developing my routine that I have learned. It's more comfortable and dry fire practice, I believe, will translate to a better time on the range. Good luck and above all have fun.
 
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