MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Breathing

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

  1. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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

    littletoes says "There is a point referred to as the "Normal Respiratory Pause", this pause is the best time to execute your shot." That is precisely what I practice. I originally learned to holding a deep breath half way through a deep breath/exhale routine. I've found that that creates tension within the body and tension adversely affects accuracy.

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

    Stand fully upright or lay flat on the ground and concentrate on breathing normally. A few deep breaths may help but don't overdo it or you'll hyperventilate - that make matters worse.
     
  2. littletoes

    littletoes Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying that you still "let out about half" of your breath? If so that is not what I was referring too.
    The natural respiratory pause I was referring to, is where your body is at its most natural point, when all normal air has been exhaled out of your lungs, without forcing all of it out.

    Do you understand?
     
  3. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    Yes, sir, I do understand. I apologize if my endorsement for your recommendation was somehow confusing. I believe what I said was that I originally learned to let out half a breath and hold it but have since learned that the natural respiratory pause is a superior technique.
    When I re-read my post I believe that's what I see - but I'm not perfect and perhaps my reading interpretation skills have become corroded over time.:)

    The second point I interpreted as having nothing to do with preparation for and actually firing a shot, but simply focusing on how to recover natural breathing rhythms after exertion (like when we've just climbed a steep incline at 8000 feet)
     
  4. 300rum

    300rum Well-Known Member

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    1.
    Having many many years of high performance shooting, breathing technique it becomes automatic reflex.
    I'm not even thinking or focusing on when I release the shot.
    there are 2 Shooting technique
    FIRST - take 2 inhale- pause - release the shot in less then 20 sec.
    (good technique giving you lots of time for controlling your hart beat. Eyes getting fatique after 20-30 sec and you have to repeat again if you did not release the shot)
    TIME CONSUMING - not as viable on hunting scenarios

    SECOND - take 2 inhale - then very slowly exhale- and when you are at the end of exhale - release the shot
    VERY FAST shooting technique, good for smokers persons (with small lung volume)
    Eyes VISION - Sharp all the time.

    2
    To control the hart beating -
    Use second Technique take 2 inhale - then very slowly exhale- and when you are at the end of exhale - release the shot
    if you can not control the adrenaline - TAKE 2 very deep INHALES - then - 1 half inhale - then - 1 normal inhale - then exhale slowly and release the shot at the end.

    with this technique you will notice your hart beating coming down from 90 all the way down below 60.
    Below 60 (for some just below 70) is the sweet spot for shot release. (due to bigger CALM Period or Bigger Pause between hart beating)
     
  5. Screwey1

    Screwey1 Well-Known Member

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    I slow my breathing as best as I can, holding somewhere in the middle of an exhale.
    Find heartbeat to be a bigger problem in prone position.
     
  6. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    I guess one more point is appropriate - more in the realm of ethics than breathing, but bear with me.

    If I'm WAY exhausted and breathing hard when that big trophy animal appears at long range, I have ONLY ONE OPTION - get closer and rest a while until I can take a shot that has little chance of wounding an animal such that it escapes and dies 2 weeks later of the wound. Only a clean kill is acceptable.

    This decision MUST be made BEFORE I can think about my breathing, target acquisition, and trigger sequence.

    I absolutely detest hunters who risk an unethical "kill", wounding an animal, making it suffer, because the "might" bag it. Even more so those that just go to kill and leave the animal "for the coyotes to eat". Leaving a carcass with lead fragments kills more animals than the one you shot, and ruins hunting for others. It also gives anti-hunters plenty of political "ammunition" against ethical hunters.

    Make the promises to yourself, "I will not exceed my abilities when hunting an animal, I will only hunt animals that are plentiful compared to the expected winter food supply / carrying capacity of the habitat, I will NEVER take an unsafe shot."
     
  7. Anschutz

    Anschutz Well-Known Member

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    I've been a target shooter for the past 8 years and did it in college as well. To calm your breathing you need good cardio. I like sprints and running as hard as I can for as far as I can. As for the cycle itself, in the field you may not have the cycle perfect and using your range breath in the field may throw off your NPA. I take a few deep breaths and then slowly exhale until the sights are where they need to be for the shot whether this is in the middle beginning or end of my breath. NPA is more important than perfect breathing.
     
  8. ShootnMathews

    ShootnMathews Well-Known Member

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    . Any proof of that?? Other than what the anti hunters claim, because 95% of what they say is pure BS. I know it takes a substantial amount of lead poisoning to even cause mental health problems. The amount of lead that would be absorbed by a bullet that took two days at most to pass through a coyotes intestinal track would be very minute. Did you know that the settlers used to eat off of plates made from lead?? Because it was cheap. They would literally eat small flakes of lead with every meal as their knives carved off pieces of food. And it took years of that to even show effects and I don't know of anyone dying from it. Did it cause some birth defects and mental issues? Certainly. Death, I'm pretty sure not. Check your fact before stating things like an ingested bullet will kill animals.

    I also know a guy who swallowed a fair sized sinker when the boat shifted as a kid. The doctor said to just let it pass through. And he did will no ill effects.
     
  9. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    Yes - I remember one of the few remaining California Condors died from lead ingestion back when there were only 6 mated pairs living in the wild. This was before the Department of Fish and Game stepped in and started the (highly successful) captive breeding program.

    Two other instances come to mind - dead coyotes found had indications of lead toxicity in their digestive tracts, probable cause of death or added stresses that contributed to death. Bullet fragments were found in the digestive tract of the other was cause of death.

    Some animals are more sensitive to lead toxicity than others. Mental effects are often somewhat or perhaps highly correlated to low-level, long term exposure to lead. Tetra-ethyl lead from leaded gasoline was a much more toxic form leading to mental problems, but guys who worked much of their life soldering radiators in poorly ventilated shops often had difficulty speaking complete sentences.

    I doubt a forum on the internet is a good place to start a discussion involving a lot of research in proving a topic one way or the other, and I realize that I have only given examples, not proof, but the preponderance of evidence would strongly suggest that you don't go inhaling lead fumes or swallowing bullet fragments.
     
  10. ShootnMathews

    ShootnMathews Well-Known Member

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    I agree a forum is no place to argue it. But I will say this and then no more, I happen to work with molten lead quite often so I am well educated in the effects of lead and the levels of exposure and all that jazz. And I don't believe for a second that condors and coyotes are being found dead from lead ingestion. My guess is those studies were done by the same hippies that are doing the bee sting tests on fish trying to prove that hooks DO "hurt" them. However, I am not a closed minded person,so I'll end with this, if a non biased respectable scientist came to me with definitive proof that the animals were in fact dying from lead ingestion it would only truly tell me one thing. There must be an incredible number of unethical, piss poor shot hunters in that particular area, to leave that many unrecovered animals for the predators to consume. I'm done now and will say no more on the matter.

    BTW I'm not saying any of this to argue or create enemies. And I hope you don't hold what I've wrote against me. But I said what I said because there is enough anti gun, anti hunting people out there lobbying against us and we don't need more fence riders reading posts like that and then climbing down on the side fighting us. So please don't take anything I wrote as personal or offensive.
     
  11. chip cochran

    chip cochran Member

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    1) optimum breath control is directly related to cardio fitness. You should be able to slow down a) the breath cycle, b) heart rate. This is learned by doing the work and practice, practice, practice. If you are going on a high country elk or caribou hunt, obviously you will need to get into physical shape. Scout snipers do lots of cardio work, running, crawling, climbing, etc. They also practice breathing and slowing the heart rate. Any long distance shooter should consider themselves at the least a student sniper. It will better prepare you for a critical shot more than anything else.

    2) When I need to get quick control of my breathing, say after a long hike up a mountain. I like to get prone, then take in two to five deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth) slow on the exhale, at the same time I focus on slowing the heart beat. I am huffing when I start, by that fifth breath I am slowed down. This is the time to set up for the shot.

    IF you are having trouble finding the natural pause of the act of breathing, you just have to focus on breathing. You will find that natural pause at the end of each breath. I like to release the shot just before that pause, it is when the body is most still and your eyes are still in focus. The shot release should also be more of a surprise, if you anticipate it, you will most likely miss your target due to a flinch.
     
  12. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    OK, so smear the reputation of those you disagree with, my point is that it is against the hunters' code of ethics to kill indiscriminately and leave carcasses in the feild. The worst of all is the image it leaves of hunters for the non-hunting public, and the political clout isuch behaviors give to the anti-hunting / anti gun elements to make the hunting community look bad. Just plain don't do it.
     
  13. akafarmer

    akafarmer New Member

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    my breathing is no problem it is my heart beat that makes my scope jump .
     
  14. NORAG

    NORAG Member

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    Topic #1:

    My optimal breathing control pattern during the actual firing of a shot consists of preparing to take the shot at the bottom of my exhalation (breathing out). I breath calmly and consistently for a couple of breaths and then intend to take the shot at the bottom of my third breath - unless my breathing is not under control by the third breath - in which case the intended shot is coordinated with the 4th, or 5th, etc. breath in which I have gained control of my breathing. What I define as controlled breathing is when I am able to breath in, then out in a steady and consistent manner.

    I had some long range tactical training with the US Army and without going into ad nauseum detail about connecting the mental and physical elements of breathing control, suffice it to say that taking the shot at the bottom of an exhaled breath - the point of normal pause - is when you're likely to have the greatest control because it is at that point that your heart beat, breathing, and muscle tension are all in sync and the least likely to cause an involuntary "jerk" during the trigger pull.

    I also practice to be able to "take up the trigger" during the phase of letting my breath out so that at the point that the trigger is ready to break, my breath is at the bottom of exhalation where my normal breathing pause is at.

    Topic #2:
    My suggestions for gaining control of breathing following exertion is twofold. First, practice good cardiovascular health by staying in shape for the type of exertion your likely to put forth. For the occasional hunter this means being able to hike around and up and down and not get so winded you have to stop and huff & puff. This can be especially challenging for folks who only get out to hunt one season or two each year.

    Poor or minimal cardiovascular health puts you at a disadvantage even before stepping out of the truck. So I have to robustly agree with Rogue that this is very important.

    My second suggestion is to practice, practice, practice. In the military we ran insane PT exercises while lugging our rifle on our backs, then we'd suddenly hit a spot where we had to drop, read the dope, and take the shot within a certain time limit (usually less than 30 seconds). This kind of drill forced us to practice getting our breathing under control as quickly as possible - while simultaneously acting as an intense cardio workout. I've been out of the military for almost 20 years now and I still run these kinds of practice routines to ensure that when I top out on a steep ridge - completely out of breath - I have the skill to drop into a stable shooting position and quickly get control of my breathing so I can take the shot.

    Less than a week ago I ran this practice near dusk and took two shots at unknown distance. The second shot came after a particularly challenging climb through brush and it took me 5 breaths to pull the trigger. Both shots were first-round hits. That kind of practice gives me the confidence to take LR hunting shots under exertion that I can be confident are ethical. Besides having the skill to fill the freezer rather than watching the elk trot away, being confident that my shot is an ethical one is of utmost importance!