A short story about the bottom line, with help from some LR Hunting Regulars

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Ian M, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    One thousand, nine hundred and eighty seven yards away a six by six finishes raking a small pine tree and stands broadside, peeing on his back legs for a few seconds.(I put this in for Darryl C.). Five hundred and thirty yards from your blind a huge Alberta whitetail buck leaves the shadows and approaches a scrape (for Dave King...). Four hundred yards away a wary coyote sits on his butt and yaps at you (been there a few times, right Tim Behle). Two hundred and seventy five yards across an arid pasture a gopher stands up and munches on a weed (this probably takes place in sunny Alaska, back of Brent's house...). One hundred yards away your target has four shots in one hole and you chamber shot number five (sound familiar, both Chris's). At forty yards you can hear the pounding hooves as a seven by seven elk gets your scent and charges away through the poplars - in moments he will cross a cut-line and you will get one shot (suspect that this is one of Jerry Teos recurring dreams). At twenty-five yards your target has nine bulls-eyes - you place the tenth .22 long rifle match cartridge into the chamber (Steve Shelp has probably been in this situation a few times). The setting sun hi-lights every whisker on the bloodsoaked face of the huge black-maned lion as he holds down a huge impala with one taloned paw while he pulls the willing lioness into position for a Kalahari-quickie, as Len positions the 600 mm Nikon for the shot of a lifetime...(gotta include something nice about the boss, right!) [​IMG]

    All of these situations share one simple requirement - a well-aimed shot. All of these situations are doable if the shooter has good equipment and adequate skills. All of these situations can result in a lot of joy, pride and satisfaction. They can also become bad memories in a heartbeat. One miniscule movement, applying a few pounds of weight on the trigger sends your bullet on its way. The result can be a grin or a frown, simple as that.

    Trigger control, the process of causing the trigger to release a shot properly, is the final act in the aiming and firing of the rifle (or any firearm). We might describe trigger control as breaking the trigger smoothly and following through. Trigger control is an absolute necessity if we want to shoot well.

    How does one master trigger control? One piece of advice is - do not jerk the trigger. Jerking the trigger is one of the most insidious reasons that our shots go astray. Insidious because in the excitement of getting the shot off we frequently jerk the trigger without realizing that we have done the nasty deed. How many times have you heard someone say that he had a good shot but hit "just" over, under, behind or where-ever. He probably jerked the trigger.

    I have found that regardless if my target is a steel plate at 1000 yards or a balloon at 100 yards on my electronic moving target system, trigger control makes for hits. ALL types of shots require a smooth trigger let-off and follow-through. There is only one way to achieve trigger control and that is by shooting, the more the better.
     
  2. Boyd Heaton

    Boyd Heaton Well-Known Member

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    Ian,it's funny you said the 100 yard thing.I shot these group's about an hour ago.The one on the left is ten shot's.The one on the right is 6 shot's.Can you guess which one is number 6?????? [​IMG] .Did'nt shoot the other 4.No need....... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

  3. Darryl Cassel

    Darryl Cassel Well-Known Member

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    Ian

    That makes me want to send afew rounds 1500 to 2000 yds downrange at my property tomorrow.
    That is of course, if the weather holds and we don't get the rain we are suppose to get.

    Will have to wait and see. I'm getting cabin fever.

    Have to haul corn to the deer from the sportsman club tomorrow, may as well include some shooting too?

    I'll be sure to work on my trigger control.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Later
    DC
     
  4. Steve Shelp

    Steve Shelp Well-Known Member

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    Ian,
    Haven't fired a round since deer season which isn't much being it only took one shot [​IMG] .
    I use to shoot an indoor 50ft rimfire league from the offhand postion, to pass those long snowy PA winters, but that's the extend of my competitive rimfire experience.
    But it's funny you bring up rimfire with my name, because I'm a very firm believer in practicing with a 22 to keep your edge on trigger control finely tuned. I tried to wear out my dad's 22 growing up and shooting almost daily with it. Where we lived I could shoot almost 360 degrees around our house without a problem. And lord knows I've sent a round or 2 down my own 22 since leaving home.
    When I got out of the Marines fter 4yrs, I wore a 4th award rifle and 3rd award pistol expert badge on my uniform and fired on our detachement's rifle/pistol team and went to the division matches one year down at Camp Lejuene's Stone Bay ranges. The reason I bring this up, is because of the big emphasis the USMC puts on your rifle qualification status (or it seems it use to) to even stay in the Corps. If you went "unq" (short for unqualified) on the rifle range in any one year, don't expect to be on the promotion list and you probably wouldn't be able to re-enlist. You were basically on your way out. But yet you only went to the rifle range to practice proper marksmanship and qualify once a year. You got 4 days of dry firing and a couple of across the course matches to get tuned back up from being rusty for a whole year and then it was time to qualify on the fifth day. For an military organization to put such a high emphasis on marksmanship, their once a year marksmanship training lacked big time in my opinion.
    Yes we fired our weapons several thousand times in field training for night fire and various training exercises, but it wasn't scored or anything. So it wasn't marksmanship training per-say. Just hit that area target(read as a burned out tank hull or something) out there 300m, learn your field lessons for the day, and get back to the rear for a shower and some good hot chow..... maybe [​IMG]
    I kept telling fellow Marines that had a hard time qualifying to go out to the local public firing range and rent a 22 and practice. I worked with one Marine doing this and he qualified something like 20 pts higher the next time he qualified with his M16 after shooting approx 1 full brick of 22 shells with my coaching a week before he was due to get out to the range. Was the 22 he practiced with anything like the M16? ......not even close. But the basic principles still applied to both rifles. Breathing, trigger control, etc, etc, should be instinctive when you're on top of your game. And that only comes by practicing correctly and A LOT, just like you said above. It's trigger time and there is no substitute. I think the 22 is way under-rated in this department by the general shooting/hunting public and unfortunetly the USMC as a whole (outside of any of their organized competition teams) in my opinion.

    My $.02 worth. But it's time to try and get back in the groove though, because match season is fast approaching. I can't complain about the job taking shooting time away in these tough times though..... I still have a job so I've got to appreciate what I have for now.

    Steve

    [ 02-22-2003: Message edited by: Steve Shelp ]
     
  5. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

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    I shot a group yesterday, one of the smallest I shot in fact, I pulled on the last shot, only I pulled it into the group this time! [​IMG] I know that shot would have opened the group by half an inch at least! I pulled low left and the shot hit high right!

    That was the only shot I broke, that I noticed, that wasn't clean in 27 rounds. Sometimes you get lucky. I hate my 3.5# trigger, better than it was but still horrible.

    I shot a poor bird at 250 yards with my brothers 10/22 a few weeks ago. He told me he was seeing the bullets through the 32x Pentax and to try it and look for myself. It took a few rounds to see them but I walked them into the "feathers", yep at 250 yards with a 22. They couldn't believe it, neither could I!

    I had alot of practice that day with a scope that turned into a giant peep sight when the battery went dead on the Aimpoint 2000. That was fun, not too hard, but definatly challenging.

    I agree, without perfect trigger control you're simply wasting your time.

    Get the best rest you can get, squeeze without torquing the gun, be surprised but follow through.

    I get alot of my practice from mainly working up loads in several rifles, trying to make sure the load is the one producing the error and not me. I've just ended up being a better shooter as a result. If I had always just went out to plink, I doubt I would have learned the things necessary to break a shot the right way. The aim to shoot the tightest groups possible at LR has always made me double my efforts too.

    My wife used to always ask me why the groups on my targets (just under moa) I came home with weren't good enough, she sayed they looked fine and asked, what more could better groups do for me. Well needless to say, she can explain to anyone what moa means now, and why a 1 moa gun just won't always do at long range, even on moose. She has a pretty thurough understanding of ballistics by now as a result of my brainwashing [​IMG], you know I have to explain all this stuff to her so she understands why I need all the new expensive toys. [​IMG]

    Trigger time is what she needs most. Most her time has been spent in Brents classroom [​IMG], but she applies it at the range and kind of sees things in perspective more and more every time out.

    I like your story Steve, that's pretty interesting. You'd defintely think they'd give you all the time in the world to practice shooting, more than most people get to shoot anyway. I never would have guessed it.

    Oh ya, Boyd, you want to stop posting groups like those, my wife sees those while I'm on here and she'll laugh even harder at mine! [​IMG]

    No seriously, she says you're a damn fine shot. [​IMG] I do have target envy though. [​IMG]

    [ 02-22-2003: Message edited by: Brent ]
     
  6. FatBoy...

    FatBoy... Well-Known Member

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    I get to see just how badly my trigger and breath control has degraded since Mid-December tomorrow.

    We're shooting a 1K prone/F Class match in the morning and I plan on load testing in the afternoon. I can't wait to be behind a trigger again. It's 308 and 6.5x284 all day tomorrow [​IMG]

    From the little bit of dry firing I've done in the last couple days,, it's gonna be an interesting day. [​IMG]

    FatBoy...
     
  7. Tim Behle

    Tim Behle Well-Known Member

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    Ian,

    I've been practicing a different type of trigger control the last two days, and it's killing me.

    Javalina season opened yesterday. I haven't seen a Javalina in two weeks now. But the danged coyotes the last two days keep walking out in front of me. 4-600 yards most of them. They pose for several minutes, then slowly wonder off.

    I almost lost control this morning. I watched a pair of them work their way across the field past me. I held the crosshairs on one's shoulder for several minutes. I even got the safety off and felt the coldness of the trigger under my finger. If I'd had anything else in the chamber but a 162 AMax, she'd be sitting on a fur stretcher right now, but I hate the way those Amax's treat fur, and let her walk away.
     
  8. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    Attention Admins: Please Delete
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  9. Tim Behle

    Tim Behle Well-Known Member

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    I never have been very good at dealing with temptation.

    This morning, I am sorry to admit, I gave in.

    But in my defense, I swear that coyote was suicidal. She'd have been disappointed if I hadn't shot.

    I had sat in my seat about as long as I could. The warm sun felt nice, but I was cold setting there. So I decided to make my way down the fence row and see if I could spot something from a different vantage point. I made it a couple of hundred yards, then decided to head back to my seat. As I turned around. I saw her. She just stood there looking at me from the brush, just over three hundred yards behind me. At first, I wasn't even sure it was a coyote. It's not like them to hold still being that close after I have just moved. I took the rifle off of my shoulder and looked through the scope. Yep, it was a coyote, and she just stood there looking right at me. She didn't move as I laid down into a prone position. I just watched here for a little bit. Then my thumb found the safety, she started to turn to leave, then turned back towards me.

    I couldn't help myself. I put the cross hairs on her nose, and my finger on the trigger. A second later, the rifle boomed, and I heard the responding WHAP!.

    It took her low in the chest, heart shot. She made it all of sixty yards before piling up in a bush.

    Now if I could just catch sight of a Javalina. [​IMG]
     
  10. Mysticplayer

    Mysticplayer Writers Guild

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    Ian, How did you know that about the elk? Have another about a big bull moose stepping out at the edge of a marsh at 500yds. Also, finally seeing a legal buck at long range.

    This year has been great for weather where I live. Been able to get out with lots of shooting. I try to get out once a week but sometimes more. My recent new baby girl should have hindered me more but she is such an angel and easy to take care off...more trigger time.

    However, there has been limited time in the shop so my RUM stock just looks at me. I hope to get to that soon.

    I used to do a lot of silhouette shooting and offhand shooting was a no brainer. Comes in really handy when shooting hyper active bambi's. Having stopped that a few years ago, I can really see my shooting degrade. It is just so much more work to get that reticle in the right place when the trigger breaks.

    For those who also hunt on foot, give silhoutte shooting a try. With rimfire, it is cheap and really easy to do. Great practise and lots of fun. Of couse, pop cans off a fence post works just as well.

    I think this form of shooting does more to teach you proper technique then any other form appropriate for hunting. I do a lot of shooting off a bench and know that I still get good results even though I am sloopy. On my hind legs, I just get a clean miss.

    When you get too good with pop cans at 40yds, try shotgun shells, then rimfire cases. That's right, hitting a spent rimfire case at 40yds off hand. Not easy but definitely possible. When you can get to the shotgun shell, any big game is really BIG game.

    Rimfire shooting is the best and most economical way to get trigger time. You can do this anywhere and on any range. If you shoot out to 200yds+, it will give you lots of training for reading the conditions too.

    In North America, we are truly blessed in our ablility to shoot and hunt. Let's get others involved and spread the fun...

    Jerry

    PS Ian, thanks for all those pleasant thoughts and comments. It really must be cold where you are... [​IMG]
     
  11. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Minus thirty-seven this morning, I shot at the range yesterday in minus 42 windchill - had the place all to myself.
     
  12. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

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    Ian... you are absolutely insane my friend!! [​IMG] Your cabin fever
    must be REAAAAAAALY, REAAAAAAAALY bad! [​IMG]

    It was +44 degrees yesterday and still holding today. It got cold last night though, it went down to 36. [​IMG] It is supposed to be warm all week so this will be nice. Hope it warms up for you soon.
     
  13. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR> Kalahari-quickie <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ian

    Can I use that line and pretend it is my own, please?
     
  14. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Len,
    It's all yours. Wouldn't that be a great image for the cover of National Geographic...

    I once took a nice set of photos of a big whitetail buck humping a receptive doe. Only problem is that he got on the wrong end. Must have been the first attempt of the year and he had forgotten a few things.

    While I am on the subject of wierd wildlife images, ever hear of oral self-masterbation or oral stimulation (can't remember what the correct scientific term is). Photographed that one time also. Big buck was skylined on a knoll about 20 yards from me. Did himself right in front of my Nikon. Kinky rascals those whitetails!
    What they hell the above has to do with LR hunting I am not sure, but... [​IMG]