What makes a good marksman?

nealm66

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
707
Location
washington
I’m curious what gives some folks the ability to shoot extremely good. I got to wondering after I offered my neighbor and his 14 year old son to use my rifles to compete in our local 600 yard. The boy already competes in 4h in rimfire so I thought he’d do really good with my braked 22 creed since it has very little recoil and I thought the dad could use my hunter class 6.5-284 that has a brake. I set them up at 100 and worked out. There wasn’t any wind to speak of. I did my very best to spot any things that might be causing issues but in the end I would say they definitely would need a lot more practice or maybe there’s something more to it. I’d guess they were shooting 1moa which is ok but I couldn’t figure out how to get them shooting better.
 

belldar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
235
Location
SW north dakota
I would consider that pretty good for their first time with someone else’s weapons. When I work with new or seasoned shooters and they can keep it consistent that is good marksmanship in my eyes. Why do they need to shoot better than 1MOA? Where they happy with their shooting and enjoying it? Some get to caught up in what they think is acceptable accuracy instead of just enjoying shooting. I think there is nothing better than new shooters or first time long range shooters getting set up and ringing steel out to 800+. Can they get a group inside a quarter every time at 100 yards? Probably not, but when they ring that 12 inch plate at 800 the smiles on their face is priceless. Everyone has limits to what they can and or should do. Know your limits and you will be much happier, and if you aren’t happy, make yourself better.
To answer your first sentence is like anything else in life. Practice, time, willingness.
 

nealm66

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
707
Location
washington
They had a lot of fun and I had a lot of fun watching them and helping them and probably will still compete. Maybe I just had higher hopes that I could coach them in one outing into tighter groups. I’ve worked with a few new shooters that picked things up really quick and maybe that’s what got me wondering. Your probably right and just some more trigger time will do the trick
 

brcfo_outdoors

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
405
Location
Left Coast
When it comes to quality marksmanship, I am going to say that practice and experience trumps all. Just because someone is in 4-H, law enforcement/military, or has taken a class in no way makes up for time spent behind the trigger. I think the easiest way to confirm that is to look at ourselves and our own progress. Consider your skill level now and compare it to how you were 5 years ago, 10 years ago, etc. Certainly inherent skill plays a role as some people simply have a knack for shooting and others do not. I firmly believe that true marksmanship is a constant evolution of aspiring for precision, pushing one's boundaries, and learning from one's mistakes. While a 14 year old may show some skill and potential, they have to develop that over years to reach a level of excellence.
 

LVJ76

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
3,040
Location
Tucson, Arizona
I agree with the comments above. Practice is what's needed most and for their first time I say they did pretty good.

I've had first time shooters miss a 3" x 5" Javelina Silhouette at 60m with a 22lr. I've also had some shoot a sub half MOA on their first try at 100m with a 7mm-08.

Some shooters have natural talent and some need tons of practice.

So in my experience it varies from shooter to shooter. I say keep encouraging them.
 

338 dude

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
3,257
Location
Tn
I’m curious what gives some folks the ability to shoot extremely good. I got to wondering after I offered my neighbor and his 14 year old son to use my rifles to compete in our local 600 yard. The boy already competes in 4h in rimfire so I thought he’d do really good with my braked 22 creed since it has very little recoil and I thought the dad could use my hunter class 6.5-284 that has a brake. I set them up at 100 and worked out. There wasn’t any wind to speak of. I did my very best to spot any things that might be causing issues but in the end I would say they definitely would need a lot more practice or maybe there’s something more to it. I’d guess they were shooting 1moa which is ok but I couldn’t figure out how to get them shooting better.
Practice!
 

sierracharlie338

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Messages
1,111
Location
Texas
I think a lot of solid opinions have been stated so I’ll toss mine out there for a different perspective. I teach shooting part time and that is to all skill levels, newb to very advanced. I think it boils down to how people learn. Some people can be told something and they get it right away. Others, like my daughter, have to be told how to do it, then shown, then many many repetitions to really “set it in concrete”.

The biggest thing I have to remember when it comes to precision shooting is that my definition of acceptable accuracy is generally not the same as the hunter who maybe shoots 20 rounds a year. I’m a self admitted accuracy snob and I’m ok with that.
 

nealm66

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
707
Location
washington
I agree with the comments above. Practice is what's needed most and for their first time I say they did pretty good.

I've had first time shooters miss a 3" x 5" Javelina Silhouette at 60m with a 22lr. I've also had some shoot a sub half MOA on their first try at 100m with a 7mm-08.

Some shooters have natural talent and some need tons of practice.

So in my experience it varies from shooter to shooter. I say keep encouraging them.
This is what I’ve noticed as well. Probably something that practice can overcome but does make me curious. I wonder if the military has it figured out in all these years
 

LVJ76

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
3,040
Location
Tucson, Arizona
This is what I’ve noticed as well. Probably something that practice can overcome but does make me curious. I wonder if the military has it figured out in all these years

Not everyone is good at basketball, football or soccer or any other sport. Some are better than others no matter how much they practice.

Not everyone can be a good shooter either. That said, your neighbor and his kid have potental. And regardless of talent or not, practice is always needed.

I think that if you wear a uniform to protect our country you'd have to meet some marksmanship requirement, same for law enforcement, but I'm no expert in this subject.

Maybe some of our veterans or currently serving members can chime in on this.
 

nealm66

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
707
Location
washington
I guess the best way to find out is to let them keep trying. They have the competition once a month but only to members and non members can’t even watch. I’ll probably end up joining but don’t really like the range that much and the initial cost is $400. The other local ranges have the same competition but not during hunting season so maybe wait and practice for those. They really did have a lot of fun and so did I.
 

xsn10s

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Messages
3,127
Not everyone is good at basketball, football or soccer or any other sport. Some are better than others no matter how much they practice.

Not everyone can be a good shooter either. That said, your neighbor and his kid have potental. And regardless of talent or not, practice is always needed.

I think that if you wear a uniform to protect our country you'd have to meet some marksmanship requirement, same for law enforcement, but I'm no expert in this subject.

Maybe some of our veterans or currently serving members can chime in on this.
Darn it LVJ76 you drew me in lol. I'm a vet, non combat, and I used to train LE. I've helped train state, federal, and even college students going into LE. I've also helped coach a national champion in HS wrestling. And finally I helped teach in elementary school. The common link to all of them is positive re-enforcement. Especially in firearms, simply because firearms is truly a mental game. With kids it's even more critical. Be gentle and preplan the session. Make it fun. But above all make it safe. Don't let your standards apply to all people, except in the case of safety. Focus on the good things that they accomplish. And let them signal to you their level of proficiency they want to attain.
 

Recon$$

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
May 24, 2011
Messages
627
Location
NEW MEXICO
Milatary/LEO training asks you to do it all under pressure. It gets you good at operating under the pressure and making the shot. Personally I consistently just go through the checklists in my mind when I am shooting. But muscle memory is your friend when it counts. Whether it's the pistol range or a 890 yard shot. It's also just trigger time and practice.
 

del2les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
943
Location
South Central, CO
Usually, I boil it down to one word: Attitude - For it implies most everything included. However, here is one set of criteria that often I agree with.

The 5 Traits of Expert Rifle Shooters
To be a fine marksman you have to be in control of yourself.
  1. Diligence: You must practice regularly. The way to improve performance under stress is through constant drill and rehearsal. When it's for real, you fall back on what you have learned instead of succumbing to panic. At the U.S. Army Sniper School, the conventional wisdom is that you expend 5,000 rounds in practice for every round you fire at the bad guys.
  2. Cold Blood: This means you are not undone by pressure. In hunting it also refers to a willingness to kill. I think a good many cases of buck fever are caused by a reluctance to take life. Good shots do it impersonally; they don't relish it, but they don't shy from it, either. If you are able to kill with complete indifference, perhaps you should take up another sport.
  3. Faith: That is, faith in your rifle—and the way to become a true believer is to use a gun you shoot really well. Yet we often go astray. We read about which cartridges will do what, at which ranges. We obsess about making shots far beyond our practical limit. Then we go out and buy veritable cannons whose recoil and muzzle blast keep us from shooting as well as we can.
  4. Experience: A friend of mine who has been hunting for six decades and has the skills to show for it said that after you've taken 300 head of game or so, you start to calm down and figure out what you can and can't do. This is one part I can't help you with, but I hope you have fun figuring it out.
  5. Will: I've known at least two shooters who simply willed themselves into a state of excellence. A couple of weeks ago, I was shooting against one of them at a contest in which a perfect score is 50, and there are very few of those. I had a 48. So my competition sat down and stared at the ground awhile, thinking I know not what, but willing himself to beat me. And he did.
 
Last edited:
Top