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MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Trigger Control

 
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Old 09-03-2007, 09:32 AM
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MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Trigger Control

I would sincerely appreciate the experienced shooters on this site giving me a few minutes so we can discuss some basics. Very simple. Please answer the following questions, doing so will provide info for new shooters and perhaps also for the experienced guys. Plus this will give me something to think about for the book I am working on.

#1 Describe what portion of the trigger finger touches the trigger. (My personal description is 'the trigger should be placed directly under the cuticle of the trigger finger'). Agree?

#2 Describe the position and tension applied by the thumb.

#3 Describe the position and tension applied by the bottom three fingers.

#4 Describe the importance of follow-through and how long you consciously remain on the trigger after the shot.

#5 Do you try to cup your palm if your stock does not have a palm swell? Some instructors teach that you should have "air in your palm", no direct contract with the pistol grip. Comments.

#6 Do you practice trigger control by dry-firing?

Last edited by Ian M; 09-03-2007 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
#1 Describe what portion of the trigger finger touches the trigger. (My personal description is 'the trigger should be placed directly under the cuticle of the trigger finger'). Agree?
Agree.
Quote:
#2 Describe the position and tension applied by the thumb.

With a thumbhole stock which I really like, it seems I can get a more neutral pressure that is more aligned with the gun. For guns that are heavy or have a brake and recoil is minimal I just lay the thumb along the top of the stock pointing toward the end of the barrel. For a light rifle with significant recoil, I wrap the thumb on around

Quote:
#3 Describe the position and tension applied by the bottom three fingers.
I try not to get a death grip on the stock so I don’t choke the life out of it but if there is a lot of recoil you got to get a good grip.

Quote:
#4 Describe the importance of follow-through and how long you consciously remain on the trigger after the shot.
I believe what Shawn Carlock said, if you think you might miss you shouldn’t shoot. Consequently, I never immediately move off of the scope nor make any movement until I am certain that the animal is dead or for some reason I need to shoot again. Most of my rifles are single shot so I am in no rush to move off the scope and chamber a new round. If I though I was going to miss then I would buy repeater rifles.

Quote:
#5 Do you try to cup your palm if your stock does not have a palm swell? Some instructors teach that you should have "air in your palm", no direct contract with the pistol grip. Comments.
I have no set preference for a palm swell nor air. My preference is for the pads for my three grip fingers to have contact and pressure. One of the problems I am having with the 40X factory stock is my trigger finger is winding up very, very, low on the trigger to the point it is making contact with the trigger guard and this is highly bothersome to my trigger pulling routine. I can hardly concentrate on the sight picture it bothers me so bad.

Quote:
#6 Do you practice trigger control by dry-firing?
No. I hate practice.
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:14 PM
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for the book I am working on. (I figured something was up. Its about time;))

#1 Describe what portion of the trigger finger touches the trigger. (My personal description is 'the trigger should be placed directly under the cuticle of the trigger finger'). Agree?

Agree. (after some anatomic study of my thumb)

#2 Describe the position and tension applied by the thumb.
I'm a stickler on this one. I build my own thumb holes with palm swells for both hands. When finished it amazes me how different the swells are on each side. How does one describe position and tension? Think of testing 'doneness' of a grilled steak w/pressure. I'm right handed. My right thumb muscle is medium well and the left is medium rare. It takes great attention to that difference to achieve similar accuracy when switching sides. Thumb tension is important!

My other LR rifle is one sided (lefty) and is designed with a straight/vertical pistol grip w/swell. The swell is the "indexer" for consistent thumb position. The forearm and elbow follow the thumb as indexed by the grip and swell.

#3 Describe the position and tension applied by the bottom three fingers.
With the vertical pistol grips and thumb holes w/vertical pistol grips, position of the bottom finger is against the small ridge that I build in to the grip with the thumb gently fitted into the thumb hole or thumb groove and very delicate three finger pressure kind of like gently squeezing a with a gentle straight pull back to the shoulder. Note, all of this after checking the "natural POI" that is, none of this moves the natural point of aim. If it does then the shot is being forced.

And, if your pinky is ever under the pistol grip, you have problems, IMO.


#4 Describe the importance of follow-through and how long you consciously remain on the trigger after the shot.

My next expected experience after the trigger clicks is seeing the impact of the bullet. What ever I do to achieve this experience must be follow-through. Mostly I concentrate on not blinking at the shot. I am on the trigger until its time to reload.

#5 Do you try to cup your palm if your stock does not have a palm swell? Some instructors teach that you should have "air in your palm", no direct contract with the pistol grip. Comments.

My opinion is that since one can't 'feel' air' is what drove the development of the palm swell. I have an very hard time coming to grips with a sporter stock.

#6 Do you practice trigger control by dry-firing?

Roger that, big time? I do way more dry firing that I do actual shooting. I have a 1200yd dry firing range in my back yard. That's where I imagine many different shots under all kinds of conditions. I've made some wonderful shots well beyond 1.2k with an empty 222.;) because it has the same well adjusted trigger as my LR guns.
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:33 PM
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The only place I feel confident about offering any advice is dry firing. I was shown this routine several years ago and it has helped me a lot. It is probably common knowledge for many here but I thought I’d share anyway.

Exercise 1. Have a buddy or preferable a video camera, assist you. Get into the prone position and acquire a target in your scope. With your buddy or video camera closely watching your dominant eye, squeeze off a “shot”. Repeat. Did your eye move? You would be surprised at how many people will blink or flinch their eye upon squeezing the trigger. Practice dry firing until there is NO eye movement upon the shot. (This works better if the shooter doesn't know that he is being observed for eye movement so that he/she is concentrating soely on the shot and not his/her eye. Be honest with yourself.)

Exercise 2. Once you have “mastered” exercise one and can confidently squeeze the shot off without any eye movement you can retrieve your friend or video camera. Repeat the same exercise but instead of focusing on the entire eye or eye lid, focus only on the pupil. Many people’s pupils will dilate upon the shot even if they aren’t blinking their entire eye. This is a subconscious “flinch” that can be unlearned with dry firing.

Exercise 3. Retrieve your buddy. While lying prone with the rifle supported in a shooting position (preferably on bags or bipod) have your buddy balance a coin on the end of the barrel an inch or so back from the muzzle. Squeeze off a “shot”. Did the coin fall? If it fell off due to flenching then try again.

The difficulty of this exercise can be increased or decreased due to barrel diameter and finish but the overall feel will remain. It is much harder to balance a coin on a thinly blued featherweight pencil barrel than it is an inch diameter parkerized barrel. Either way it can be done. For me, this exercise is much like sneaking a “dead” load into a gun to embarrassingly demonstrate to a buddy how much he is flinching.

These short exercises should be performed while holding the crosshairs on a target.

.

Last edited by Misfire; 01-07-2008 at 04:36 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2008, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Ian M View Post

#1 Describe what portion of the trigger finger touches the trigger. (My personal description is 'the trigger should be placed directly under the cuticle of the trigger finger'). Agree?

Nope... I think each person is built differently. I feel you need a consistient method. Whatever that may be. I have shot numerous rifles numerous ways. Muscle memory, being comfortable and consistient was the key.

#2 Describe the position and tension applied by the thumb.

Typically none.. just laying the thumb down is enough.

#3 Describe the position and tension applied by the bottom three fingers.

3 is the problem for me.. never do I use the pinky finger. That would apply torque as would your thumb. I use the middle 2 fingers and apply my pressure straight back into the shoulder.

#4 Describe the importance of follow-through and how long you consciously remain on the trigger after the shot.

Always follow through. pre-recoil sight picture, recoil, the post recoil sight picture corrected to the intitial sight picture. Let it happen... then recover.

#5 Do you try to cup your palm if your stock does not have a palm swell? Some instructors teach that you should have "air in your palm", no direct contract with the pistol grip. Comments.

See the 2 finger priciple described above. This "sir" pocket kind of happens naturally when you do this.

#6 Do you practice trigger control by dry-firing?

Why only trigger control, why not mentally go through the entire process.

just my .02
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:17 AM
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Re: MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Trigger Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian M View Post
I would sincerely appreciate the experienced shooters on this site giving me a few minutes so we can discuss some basics. Very simple. Please answer the following questions, doing so will provide info for new shooters and perhaps also for the experienced guys. Plus this will give me something to think about for the book I am working on.

#1 Describe what portion of the trigger finger touches the trigger. (My personal description is 'the trigger should be placed directly under the cuticle of the trigger finger'). Agree?

A: Experiment and see what works best for you. Putting my finger close to the first joint results in less movement of the rifle as I break shots.

#2 Describe the position and tension applied by the thumb.

A: I found placing the thumb on top of the action's tang works better for me. Read David Tubb's "High Power Rifle".

#3 Describe the position and tension applied by the bottom three fingers.

A: I have found that keeping tension to a minimum results in less movement when I break my shots.

#4 Describe the importance of follow-through and how long you consciously remain on the trigger after the shot.

A: Focus on watching the bullet strike your target as you break your shots.

#5 Do you try to cup your palm if your stock does not have a palm swell? Some instructors teach that you should have "air in your palm", no direct contract with the pistol grip. Comments.

A: Your hand should be relaxed, whether or not it makes contact with the grip.

#6 Do you practice trigger control by dry-firing?
A: Dry firing is a MUST.

Finally, there is no better sport to fine-tine your trigger control, breathing and wind-reading skills than HIGH POWER RIFLE SILHOUETTE, where no slings ortight vests are allowed as one shoots off-hand, standing on one's hind legs, at targets varying in distance from 200 to 500 meters. Small bore rifle silhouette is a more economic way of reaching your goal.

These are many things I've learned over the last 20 years, most of them the hard way. I really started improving after reading books by David Tubb, Margaret Murdoch, Lanny Bassham and other shooting greats and experimenting with their recommendations.

When you consider the money spent on gear, ammo, etc., spending another $150.00 on books to help you make good use of your gear is the best investment of all.

Regards,
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2010, 09:49 AM
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Re: MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Trigger Control

#1 Yes, that is how I shoot. Others may be more consistent with other methods. General rule of thumb is you should be pressing straight back with a prtion of the pad of your trigger finger.

#2 Thumb just gets in the way. I lay mine across the stock in a natural grip with minimal tension. I know of people who lay it on the side of the stock, the theory being as the gun rotates up and back the thumb doesn't get in the way of the natural motion caused by recoil.

#3 Bottom three fingers are pulling the rifle snug into my shoulder. I shoot a 300 WM and this helps me with follow through and watching my shots

#4 Follow through is needed to be consistant, and see your shots!

#5 Nope, feels like a handshake.

#6 Absolutely! Getting intimately familiar with the feel of YOUR rifle and trigger is the first big step. Dry fire lets you accomplish this, plus practice breathing, sight picture, and builds follow through if done correctly. Once you get familiar with your rifle try dry firing in field posistions.
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