MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Practice

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 Describe your practice preparation prior to a long range hunt.

    #2 Do you and your partner employ a dialogue during practice and during hunts? Please describe your range and field dialogue.

    #3 Describe your long range practice targets.

    #4 How many shots would you fire during an average practice session?
     
  2. Rimfire

    Rimfire Well-Known Member

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  3. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    To me the very most important thing is to have the gun dialed in out to 1K or more. This should be a reasonable cold barrel and should include groups at 100 yd, 300 yds, 500 yds, 800 yds and 1000 yds. I like to shoot at first light so the temperatures are cool and mirage and wind are low.


    About the only thing I insist on is the words “Going Hot”. This means that I have the correct sight picture and am going to physically touch the trigger. If I touch the trigger I expect to fire the rifle with five seconds.

    I use a wire frame from political campaign signs and a piece of cardboard. I make “+” signs on the cardboard using blue painters tape.

    I do not actually practice. I will go to a groundhog competitions or a F-class competition or I will go and “test” some bullets or I will go and shoot some critters, but I never just practice. While I am waiting on a barrel to cool I might run off 20 rounds of 22 rimfire or something.
     
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    #1 Describe your practice preparation prior to a long range hunt.

    Once drop chart is confirmed its all out in the field/mountains/canyons busting rocks at whatever distances the rocks happen to be. I even cheat a bunch by doing this in the summer at one of my honey holes.

    #2 Do you and your partner employ a dialogue during practice and during hunts? Please describe your range and field dialogue.

    I have a dialog printed that one of ya'll admin fellas posted. My partner is a numbskull who insists on not wearing muffs w/sound which causes major problems at times. Plus he's more intrigued by the vapor trails than anything else.:rolleyes:

    #3 Describe your long range practice targets.

    When at the range the targets are usually left over silhouettes. Followed by lava stones on the berms followed by green plants (great fun to chop off a thistle or some other noxious weed way out there - ya gotta hit the lava rock just below the base) or white spots on the lava flows.

    In the hills or along the Blackfoot or Teton River canyons anything that stands out and can be ranged, usually small marks on large boulders or small rocks on side hills.

    #4 How many shots would you fire during an average practice session?

    As bb says, as few as one to check cold barrel POI. I've found the one shot per day for several days to be of great benefit for getting a feel for the affects of the wind.

    I'm a fairly conservative shooter and try to shoot a few as possible for practice through any given rifle. I usually take at least two guns for these sessions to keep the barrels cold, not cool but cold. Two LR rifles maybe 6 shots out of the barrel burner and 10+ out of the 338 RUM. Sometimes a bunch fewer.

     
  5. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    I consider all my rifle shooting as practice for hunting. My local club has an official practice or a match pretty much every month and I make all of them that I can. Last year stunk because I had to work almost every weekend that a match was scheduled. Normally though - I shoot several prone, across-the-course and "tactical" matches every year.

    Today I headed out to the range with the .308, just to ring some steel. It was colder than I'd anticipated, 20's with a good little breeze blowing. Today, because of the difficulty in setting up targets farther downrange - I settled for 300 yards.

    [​IMG]

    Set up the target, hauled out old faithful, the "Green Machine" I've been shooting for a dozen years and a few barrels. It's just a little old .308/Rem 700 with a Krieger barrel and a McMillan stock. Nice, solid, dependable rifle.

    [​IMG]

    Target is a chunk of hard steel, 8x11, hanging in a little frame I knocked together. It's portable, and works fine as a target for any of my rifles.

    Deliberately, I set my normal 300 yard dope rather than adjust for the cool temperature. Wrapped up in the sling, proned out and sent the first 168 Sierra downrange. Immediately I saw the steel swing and the solid "thwack" of a good hit rewarded me. It was low on the steel, so I dialed up two "clicks" of additional elevation, loaded the magazine, and sent 5 more downrange in short order. Proceeded to do this several times, until I'd gone through 25 rounds and was cold enough!

    That's a pretty short practice session for me. Normally I'll stretch it to 600 yards, and normally I'll do a fair amount of shooting from sitting position, both supported and unsupported, and I even force myself to do some standing or offhand practice. I don't shoot a lot from the bipod or from a bench, simply enjoy the challenge of slinging up too much.

    I figure that if I can hit that 8x11 chunk of steel regularly, I'll have no trouble nailing a buck in the vitals.

    Regards, Guy
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
  6. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    #1 Have two identical rifles - one your hunting caliber and the other a .22LR (Yes, I have a matching .22 for every rifle). Shoot the .22 all winter to keep good shooting habits, and then practice up with about 200 to 600 rounds through the big rifle starting in February or March (if weekend range practicing) for the fall season. I consider a 3" group centered and repeatable to be acceptable for hunting large game, 1" for varmint (I can usually beat these by opening day, or I shorten my maximum hunting range). I try to get out any time it is windy to work on windage.

    #2 My archery hunting buddies are thoroughly versed in drive hunting signaling and communications. We all have topo maps, routes plotted, are fluent in American Sign Language, and we have radios for emergencies. I tend to hunt rifle season alone, unless I'm teaching someone.

    #3 My long-range practice target is a grid-type sight-in target with at least 5 circles. I stack two of them together, one on top of the other. I AM OPPOSED TO ORANGE TARGETS. WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO AIM AT ORANGE! I make sure there is a standard optic test pattern on the target as well. Two or three session before the hunt, I switch over to animal photos with heart & lungs printed - I try to get 7 or 8 different positions on the deer and bear, and about a dozen other critters. If I have an off-day right before the season, I don't hunt. I only bring 2 guns for one session, never more. The lessons seem to last longer that way.

    #4 I usually shoot from 2 to 5 boxes of the game rounds, so that's less than 100 rounds on a full-day at the range. I tend to shoot 200 rounds of .22LR's in the off season if I am not taking notes (working on instinct shooting) on each shot, only 20 to 100 rounds if I am taking notes. I try to get to the range about 40 times a year to keep my skills up for hunting out to 1,200 yards. If I don't get out that often, I limit my hunting range to 400 yards for most of my gun / scope combo's for that year. New combo's require more work.
     
  7. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    #1 Describe your practice preparation prior to a long range hunt.

    Minimum of one day each week for 3 - 4 weeks

    #2 Do you and your partner employ a dialogue during practice and during hunts? Please describe your range and field dialogue.

    Except for the very rare occasion, "dialogue" during hunts consists of hand signals and body language. Nothing sophisticated, we keep it simple.

    #3 Describe your long range practice targets.

    Long range practice targets (for hunting) consist of a wide variety of styles. The object is to provide an aim point and to place the shot within an 8 inch circle. If the shot is outside the 8 inch limit the rule is [that distance is beyond the allowable range for shooting at game during any hunt]

    #4 How many shots would you fire during an average practice session?[

    25 - 30
     
  8. 91redford

    91redford New Member

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    newbie here, had to take a second and say how cool these threads on skills are, i just bought a 308 and am setting up shooting targets in practice for elk hunting. the advise about shooting something other than an orange spot is smart...don't see to many red spotted elk around here..and all the other info...so thanks all! rf
     
  9. Jaxdialation

    Jaxdialation Well-Known Member

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    I practice exactly how I practice for a precision rifle competition.

    - Exclusively with the rifle I will use
    - Exclusively awkward positional shooting - NO Prone
    - Dope noted for every shot, as are weather factors.
    - 50 rounds per session - once a week
    - 50 dry fires a day - in all positions again, no prone
    - Steel targets out to 855 yards

    I commit to memory my max ranges for hitting a 6"x6" target for each position.
     
  10. NORAG

    NORAG Member

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    #1 Describe your practice preparation prior to a long range hunt.

    I practice year-round in all kinds of weather and in the type of terrain I generally hunt. Practice includes taking shots from known and unknown distance to practice calculating dope and placing first-round hits.


    #2 Do you and your partner employ a dialogue during practice and during hunts? Please describe your range and field dialogue.

    We keep it simple. If he's confirming my dope then I will call the dope and if correct he simply states "confirm". If his dope comes up different than mine then he states "not confirmed" and we might have a quick discussion as to the element that is different in our calculations.

    When dope is confirmed, he'll state "fire" when he is ready for me to fire. He then spots my bullet trace and confirms POI.



    #3 Describe your long range practice targets.

    Gallon milk jugs, steel plates, or paper targets are the fodder of my choosing. I like jugs because they are white and work nicely for low light practice. I also don't shoot at orange so paper targets are black on white or simply a white paper sheet with a bullseye cross drawn on it. I DO NOT shoot at rocks, trees, or other elements of nature as a target. I practice LNT (Leave No Trace) ethics in my hunting and my practicing.


    #4 How many shots would you fire during an average practice session?

    I might shoot as few as one shot, or as many as I like. I'm very familiar with my rifle and know how it shoots from cold bore to taking 50 shots in a row. I measure my ammo temp and calculate DOPE based on ammo temp rather than bore temp, which has proven to be accurate every time. In this way, it matters less whether I'm taking the first or hundredth shot, because I calculate accurate dope based on ammo temp and get LOTS of time behind the gun. That way, whether I'm taking a cold bore shot at an elk or taking the 10th shot in 5 minutes at varmints, I'm likely to get a first-round hit each time.