MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Breathing

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Ian M, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    #1 Please describe your optimum breathing control during the preparation for and actual firing of a shot.

    #2 Any suggestions on gaining control of your breathing if you are breathing deeply from excertion.
     
  2. Rogue

    Rogue Well-Known Member

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    Breathing

    The best way to control breathing during firing is to mantain a reasonable fitness level. Cardiovascular exercise and conditioning will strengthen your heart and lungs. It will improve the bodies ability to carry oxygen. This should be a year round program.

    Recovering from excertion is best achieved by slow deep breathing while standing. Standing allows the lungs to fully expand. The more air you get into the lungs the quicker you can recover.

    When ready to fire, take a slow breath, let it half way out, fire. If you can't fire prior to feeling short of breath, then breathe and repeat.

    Randy
     

  3. mikebob

    mikebob Well-Known Member

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    I take 3 deep breaths and on the last one i shoot just as i run out of breath. I do this in practice to. When laying prone without a rear rest your scope will move with each breath, it is very hard for me to stop half breath and do the same every time. If you shoot at the end of your breath cycle your flat the same every time, but dont go longer than 3 seconds out of breath or you vision start getting blurry.

    If you are exausted you can still shoot because your body is trained to take a deep breath and shoot at the end of breath cycle anyway.
     
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Short answer: Avoid excertion if at all possible.

    Long answer as it can never be avoided.

    1) I agree with Rogue on being in decent shape. bb has a good pointer on O2 transfer in his hunting article. I try to not get huffy and puffy if at all possible. I go very slowly during walk and stalk and very unsuccessfully try to not be tempted to "head them off at the pass".:( I have never ever been successful in heading them off or making a decent shot when I came close.:(

    My problem is that when shooting at an animal (a big animal) from a hide with everything fully prepared and just having awakened from a nap, my heart and breathing rate goes up more than most guys that have just jogged over the ridge.:( Even when I think that I'm calm and in control and really relaxed others mention my level of excitement before and during the shot.:(

    If exerted and breathing heavy I head for a tree or something use as a rifle rest, drop to a sitting position with the sticks or a prone position with the bipod.
     
  5. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I was taught to focus on the target and the “clarity” of the target using double aperture sights. You breathe normally until you have the correct sight picture and them you hold your breath and squeeze the trigger. If you are slow squeezing the trigger your sight picture clarity will deteriorate and you will need to breathe until you have clarity again and then begin your squeeze again.

    The way I was taught by my father and later by my coach was that total absolute concentration on the sight picture is necessary and nothing less will do. When I place the crosshairs on an animal I pretty much go into a controlled trance and everything is on automatic pilot except for the crosshairs. Every last ounce of energy and concentration goes to keeping the crosshairs on target while the trigger is squeezed. Somehow I cannot summons up the same level of desire when the target is paper, so I often just pull the trigger when things are sloppy and halfassed.

    Stay physically fit. The reason you are breathing hard is your body wants oxygen and you have not been getting enough exercise to have the lung capacity you need. If you don’t give it oxygen your sight picture clarity will be bad so you are up the creek anyway. Best thing is to breathe as deeply as you can like you were going to dive under water for a few minutes and then at the last few seconds hold your breath and fire. This will give you maximum oxygen for your blood system and to the brain in the shortest time and give the best sight picture and the least problem from your lungs.
     
  6. Weda

    Weda Guest


    deep breath half out and squeeze.... concentrate on your sight picture and target ( POA ) while squeezing. If you need to, take a deep breath and start over.


    Heavy breathing is part of hunting.... prior to a pre selected stopping oint I will breath deep while pressing my lips together on exhale to force my lungs to push air out. I will do this for 5-10 times prior to the pre-selected stopping point.
     
  7. littletoes

    littletoes Well-Known Member

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    There is a point referred to as the "Normal Respiratory Pause", this pause is the best time to exacute your shot.

    Not all can be physicaly fit all the time, yes it is best.

    With every breath, with every exhale, there is a pause, this same pause is when most of us talk, we don't talk as we inhale, normaly, and with practice, this same "pause" can be extended to 10 seconds. It takes training/practice.


    What is the "pause"? Its the time just after you exhale, and just prior to inhaling the next breath, THAT is the perfect time to pull the trigger, your heart is at its calmest, your pulse (all this can be perfected by position-another thread!).

    Clarity of the target can be blamed to the lack of oxgen to your eyes...this can be remedied by "blinking", if you are looking at your target, and it starte to "blur", you need to blink....simple? In other words, don't stare too long! ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  8. Russ M

    Russ M Well-Known Member

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    i have not been doing this for long so don't take this as sold ture but for me i have been finding that a slightly out of focus on paper targets has made it easier for me to keep the retical on target it is just something to try
    as far as breathing i have found that if you can stay calm, not get exited, and clear your mind of all else the slow deep breaths come more ezaly
     
  9. El Exorcisto

    El Exorcisto New Member

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    Everyone gets out of breath upon exertion, even marathon runners, so physical fitness isn't necessarily a viable option. Standing upright helps because your diaphragm isn't compressed, thereby limiting tidal volume. Another method mainly used in patients with emphysema/COPD is to use "pursed lip breathing." This is when you exhale with your lips partially closed, adding back pressure in your lungs. This increases oxygenation from the lungs to blood. Sticking to these two things will get you back breathing normally sooner and allow you to control your breathing however you want when you take the shot.
     
  10. rarusmc

    rarusmc New Member

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    Breathing:

    A shooter wants to have as little muscle tension as possible when firing a weapon. Because of this a shooter must establish a natural point of aim and FIRE DURING THE NATURAL RESPITORY PAUSE. Holding your breath actually creates tension in your body that can easily vary from shot to shot...which will kill accuracy since repition is the key to consistent shooting. Also, your eyes will begin to lose focus after 10-12 seconds when holding your breath. remember to exhale completly so your body is completely relaxed.

    So the 10-15 second time period when your eyes have enough oxygen to focus sharply after exhaling COMPLETELY is the best time to fire a shot. Remember to check your natural point of aim, relax your body to avoid muscle tension, and to focus on your sights to maintain a good sight picture. Do not forget to slowly pull your trigger to the rear...apply steady, constant pressure throughout your squeeze...avoid jerking your trigger or varrying the pressure/speed at which you depress your trigger.
     
  11. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    In the last several years, the top snipers are mostly letting ALL their breath out before squeezing the trigger, claiming better stability and fewer flier rounds because of it.

    It makes sense to study yourself at different levels of breath-in-the-lungs at trigger time and check your groups. Do it again the next day in reverse order to see if fatigue was a factor. This is an exersize for the .22 that matches your big rifle, the decision coming long before hunting season.

    As to staying in shape, if you don't, how you gonna haul all that moose meat out of the canyon?
     
  12. dbrow6272

    dbrow6272 Member

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    I totally agree with firing the shot on the exhale. I have intentionally watched the scope movement while sighting in. On inhale the scope moves low left, on exhale it centers again, that is when I start to squeeze. The shoot, as I have been taught should almost surprise you when it goes bang! I seem to shoot tighter groups, more accurately when I shoot in this manner, I believe this was Army training but don't know for sure. That was a long time ago and things get fuzzy as I age:)
     
  13. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    One more point to bring up is the magnification of your scope. If you are reaching out beyond 400 yards, you are probably up above 4x magnification. More magnification means more scope movement as you approach trigger time. If you are having problem with breathing movement, try zooming out a bit and getting used to aiming with less magnification. It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but stick with the idea for a while and see if your score improves. Backing off from 10x to 6x at 800 yards seems to bring down my group size, I'm about the same at 1,000 yards for 6x vs. 10x, and out at 1,500 I do better at 14x. It's an individual thing - some guys have dead hands and use 20x. My heartbeat is too powerful for 20x, but I still work at it to see if I can overcome my limitations.
     
  14. Steve Dunnington

    Steve Dunnington New Member

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    I always take my time to make sure my breathing is consistent and slow. When I hit the trigger I always do it after I've exhaled. Seems to work really well for me. :)