Major Problems

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Rangerpl, May 8, 2013.

  1. Rangerpl

    Rangerpl Member

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    At risk of being belittled and/or embarrassed, I'm sharing the biggest problems I am trying to overcome for long range shooting.

    1. Flinching. For some reason I developed a bad flinch and it's hard to shake. To confirm the flinch, while at a range, I had a friend hand me my rifle without me knowing if it was loaded or unloaded to which I would acquire the target and engage. I know that if it turned out to be a dry fire shot, the weapons should not move however, that is not the case with me and it's embarrassing and counterproductive. I have theories how it started, but nothing concrete. I need to figure out how to break this.

    2. Eyes watering. As I focus on the reticle and the target, I find myself trying to focus so intently that either I fail to blink properly or strain my eye and causing my eyes to tear up. This then causes the sight picture to distort.

    3. Breathing. I note that I tend to commit and un-commit my breathing rhythms while trying to obtain the perfect sight picture. To the point that I think I'm causing unnecessary and unnatural breathing rhythms. I suspect this has to do in part with #1 above and in part because of OCD to obtain the perfect sight picture.

    4. Trigger Squeeze. This seems to be directly correlated with all of the above. I understand that the 'shot' should almost be a surprise to me, but it’s that 'anticipation' that exacerbates all of the above.

    I've read through the forums on how to 'do it right' but couldn't find a post on how to stop 'doing it wrong'. LOL, I'm probably the minority in having these issues and I'm thick skinned and have a good sense of humor if you want to skin me up about it. I figure admitting the problem is the first step...right? Anyways, you don't know me and I don't know you so it really doesn't matter does it.. If anyone has any tried and true techniques on how to overcome or mitigate these 'problems', I'd be glad to hear about it and it would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

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    LOTS of people develop those issues. What you have now are "Bad" shooting habits and you are going to have to break them by developing "Good" shooting habits. No one can tell you how to stop doing it wrong. You have to start doing it right and it will take time and a lot of practice and dry firing.

    1. Dry Fire A LOT...dont just grab your rifle and start drying firing it over and over. Practice getting into the right position, getting comfortable, get on target, practice your breathing (while doing all of the above) and slowly squeeze the trigger. You have to go slow because you are trying to replace bad habits with good habits. It takes a while to get rid of a bad habit.

    2. When you are out at the range, have your buddy do the same thing that he was doing before. Give you the rifle without you knowing if there is a round chambered or not. In doing this, you have to treat it like you are going to shoot it at the desired target whether it is loaded or not. Do everythign like you did when you were practicing in #1. When you are ready to fire, take a breath and let it out, when you come to the natural respiratory pause (the place between breaths) start squeezing the trigger very slowly. If you need to take another breath, then leave the finger pressure on the trigger where it is and take a breath and let it out again and then start squeezing slowly again until the gun goes off. You can and will need to do this over and over again.

    With the eye watering thing, you are straining too much. Relax your face when you are looking through the scope. My bet is that you are closing your non dominant eye and flexing all the muscles in your face while doing so. This will cause fatigue in your face and eyes. You can practice relaxing the muscles in your face by just closing both eyes while relaxing all the muscles in your face and then just open your dominant eye while leaving the rest of your face relaxed.

    It will take some time and a lot of dry firing (more dry firing than actual shooting). The main thing is to not get frustrated with yourself. Its all mental. When you are down there pulling that trigger, just tell yourself that it doesnt matter if it is loaded or not. After time and practice, it will all become muscle memory for you and you wont even hardly think about it while you are doing it.
     

  3. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    One of things that helped a buddy of mine was to do a lot of precision shooting with a 22LR. He shoots a Savage TR that has a similar trigger and overall feel that resembles his larger caliber rifle. It really helps if you have easy access at home to pick it up and take a few shots every day. It particularly refines follow through, and trigger skills, both destroyed during filching..
     
  4. luke

    luke Well-Known Member

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    Something that helped me with my flinching is before I take a shot at the range I would get on target and dry fire four or five times. After that I would take a shot. Then start over and do more dry fire at my target before another shot. It took alot of time but I overcame my flinching. :D
     
  5. Rangerpl

    Rangerpl Member

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    Much appreciated gentlemen. I will incorporate your recommendations accordingly. I have got to overcome this to get to that 'next level'.
     
  6. LDHunter

    LDHunter Well-Known Member

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    A lot of people that think they're flinching because of recoil are actually reacting to the muzzle blast as much or more.

    I strongly suggest you use some very good quality hearing protection ALWAYS when around guns or you'll find yourself saying "huh" a bunch of times every day like I now do because of being around guns and shooting most of my life.

    Another thing you can do is have a strong talk with yourself... This sounds silly but you need to seriously come to terms with the fact that your rifle isn't going to hurt you and that you have nothing to fear if you take the necessary precautions and follow strict safety standards and use protective gear (shooting glasses and hearing protection etc.) religiously.

    Practice relaxing while in the shooting position. Take a full five minutes per shot and see just how relaxed you can get before you squeeze one off...

    Shooting is as easy as point and click but shooting well and accurately is an aquired talent that borders on art and remember that perfect practice makes perfect...

    It sounds crazy but it's a state of mind. You need to get in a "zone" that allows you to relax and focus and shut off the world for those few moments when you actually execute the shot...

    Bob
     
  7. Rangerpl

    Rangerpl Member

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    Concerns for hearing protection may be a potential underlying issue. I lost part of the hearing in my left ear as a mortarman in the military and have ever since been very sensitive to loud noises and fearful of losing more hearing. I have had issues in the past with my hearing protection 'moving up' when trying to get a good cheek to stock weld.
     
  8. Rimfire

    Rimfire Well-Known Member

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    A lot of good advice but first off it would help to know what cartridge you are shooting, and does the recoil physically hurt you.
     
  9. Rangerpl

    Rangerpl Member

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    Mostly my 7mm Mag (no muzzle brake) and a recently purchased .338lm (with muzzle brake). First shots are typcially pretty good which is obviously agreeable with most hunting scenarios; it's the follow-up shots that I start to have problems.

    Reminds me when I bought a horse as a young man and asked the cowboy "can you shoot off this horse?" and he quickly responded "yup" and with great delay followed up with "once".

    I don't feel that the rifles are hurting me, at least at the conscious level...
     
  10. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

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    i think the rimfire advise from an earlier post is good. spend alot of time behind
    a 22. just shoot at cans or whirley targets forget groups. dont try to be perfect just relax and enjoy it. dry firing in my opinion is mostly for those looking to (improve) their coordination especially the offhand position.
    you are concentrating too hard in my opinion. it aint hard and nobodys perfect.
     
  11. Shane1

    Shane1 Well-Known Member

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    The way you found it is a good way to fix it. Load or have someone load a couple dummy rounds. Mark them so you can tell them apart from live rounds. Take a friend and let them load it random with live and dummy rounds. Dry fire a couple times first then really focus on that trigger pull. Try not to focus on all problems at the same time it's too much to try and break all the bad habits at one time. It's a lot easier with a friend to help you in each area, they can watch you breath, your trigger pull, make sure your position is the same ect... you can relearn. Shooting rimfire a lot is also excellent. You can practice at home too, go threw all the steps and dry fire. I respect you more admitting you have a problem and asking for help then being the tough guy that can never quite shoot the way they think or say they can and always have an excuse for every miss. There are many too tough to ask. If you ever make it to Idaho I would be glad to help. If you need dummy rounds let me know I'll make them. You've made the next step in being great, good luck.
     
  12. CB11WYO

    CB11WYO Well-Known Member

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    The problems in points #2 and #3 of your original post are/were some of my biggest problems as well.

    I agree with what was said earlier about taking 5 minutes to relax on the gun before shooting targets at the range, it has worked well for me.

    I also then relax my face and shoot with both eyes open. I've only recently started doing this and it seems to help, takes a little practice to "see through" the double vision effect you get. I'm not sure about all the pros and cons of 1 eye vs. 2 eyes but it seems to work for me. Might be a good thread topic...
     
  13. Canadian Bushman

    Canadian Bushman Well-Known Member

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    I found it helps to dry fire. But you must make the scenario as real as to taking a shot as you can. If you can get into your "real shot" state of mind when practicing you can overcome your real hurdles. Just mindlessly dry firing wont help. Try very hard to make yourself belive its live rounds when practicing.
     
  14. Canadian Bushman

    Canadian Bushman Well-Known Member

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    Thats the only thing that has helped my flinching with big guns