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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 10/24/2003 3:47:07 PM EDT
I was out at the range today rezeroing all the members of the AR family from my safe when I discovered something pretty cool. My shooting accuracy was up, WAY UP!

When I first started shooting rifles a few years ago (I had been pretty much a pistol guy for a long time) I was quickly seduced by high speed/low drag items, especially cool scopes like the Aimpoint, ACOG and all the other goodies. All my ARs were flattops with a variety of optics and although I have an M1A Scout Rifle its' irons have always been a bit screwy so I count on an Aimpoint there, too. In short I zeroed in my scopes and shot from there. Fine.

Or was it? When I started shooting my precision AR (a Fulton Predator) this year I noticed that my groups often started out okay but quickly became spread and inconsistant. It soon became obvious it wasn't the rifle. It was me. I hadn't really spent time with the basics of marksmanship as much as I should of. If I wasn't shooting well I marked it up to a "bad day" or "the wrong ammo for this barrel" or something like that. Then I went in search of expensive solutions...

It wasn't until I had the most serious setup that I saw what was really going on. I spent more time chasing the reticle than working on breathing, or how to focus or a smooth trigger break. As a wise friend of mine put it, "Once you have the best equipment the only thing left to screw up is you!" Amen.

So I went out and picked up a CZ-452 Special for $195 at Gander Mountain along with four bricks of Federal hi-vel hollowpoints.



I spent early July to late September shooting nothing but this fine rifle. It has an excellent set of iron sights which I experimented long and hard with, finally setting its' index zero at 50 yds. Starting with paper targets but moving on to spinners, wood shims and, my favorite, golf balls along with going out on the occasional squirrel hunt I spent nearly two thousand rounds on mastering just this one rifle. Now, using iron sights and Wally World bulk pack ammo, I can shoot quarter sized groups all day long at 50 yds.

So today when I broke out the ARs again and set about sighting in their backup irons and optics imagine the suprise I got when I saw how improved my shooting was with these rifles. I've learned a valuable lesson here and had a lot of fun doing it. If you can shoot irons well, you can shoot anything well!
Link Posted: 10/24/2003 6:56:47 PM EDT
I have to say that you have hit on a good point. Sadly, there are way to many people who couldn't shoot a rifle without some sort of optics on it. Hopefully they will one day learn what you have.
Link Posted: 10/24/2003 7:43:15 PM EDT
DarkNite, Very well stated. The basics when properly mastered will always improve marksmanship and greatly enhance the shooting experience. But alas, my 50 year old eyes just cant see the irons anymore. About the best I can hope for is combat accuracy, not the tight groups I used to shoot. I am just about totally dependant on optics now, but I will take your message to heart and make a concious effort to practice the basics. Of course I will save plenty of ammo for fun-time once the serious stuff is done.
Link Posted: 10/24/2003 7:46:34 PM EDT
Thanks, VA. I'm not trying to get all preachy or anything but it was pretty cool to see how much improvement I had with a variety of optics on my ARs after a period of honing my iron sight skills. In fact now I'm getting more interested in a dedicated .22LR upper. Even so there is something to shooting a good bolt action with quality iron sights.
Link Posted: 10/24/2003 9:59:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dilbert_556: But alas, my 50 year old eyes just cant see the irons anymore. About the best I can hope for is combat accuracy, not the tight groups I used to shoot. I am just about totally dependant on optics now,
View Quote
Mr. Dilbert_556, Sir - I am very paranoid about losing vision quality as I age. I already reached 40, and I DID aquire the over-40 vision. However, I quess mine is not too bad because I can keep the front sight and target in fairly good focus concurrently. Two questions sir - 1) Did your vision get weaker even after the dreaded 40 vision ? 2) What optics have you found that aid your vision the best (shooting wise) ?
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 2:07:08 AM EDT
I’ve found that shooting a lot with my little Ruger 22/45 and Marlin 39A are probably the most helpful things I do. You can put 1000 rounds down range in an afternoon and you’re out… $16 There is no substitution for practice and those little 22s let you get a lot in at a really cheap price. And I’m only into the two guns $300, can’t beat it. I’m also looking forward to High Power Service Rifle matches helping my to get better. You’ve got to practice to be completive and the competition is all there on black and white. Besides, it’s a good excuse to get another rifle. Those little 22s are the way to go though. J
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 8:16:03 AM EDT
well I have me kids run 100 yrds and shoot their BB guns and I explain to them that when you shoot its not always get down take forever and shoot. usualy your running for your life breathing hard and you still have to maintain a level of accuracy no mattter how tired you are. They practce using irons,red dot and scope. and they shoot(at least the BB gun) every day. My youngest one 3 yrs old shoots every day as a reward for using the bathroom. If she wets her diaper that day she doesnt get to shoot with the boys. but the bottom line is you have to practice, in every position, and under harsh conditions not rain or snow I mean go and run a mile or so and go straight to shooting and see if there is a difference, there probably will be and work from there. FREE
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 12:21:32 PM EDT
Optics and the bench is the major problem with most shooters. They assume they need both to be able to shoot well. The most important thing you can do on the way to becoming a rifleman is to forget that a shooting bench exists. A rifleman has no need for one. He can zero his rifle from prone with a sling and shoot as well as some do with the bench. Also it is a myth that you need such good vision to shoot well with iron sights. The old Marine that taught me to shoot is 73 years old now and still shoots better than a hell of a lot of 19 year olds. He can't see too well but he can still win matches with iron sights. How does he do it? He knows how to shoot. The Marines used to teach their men to shoot and they did not teach them on the bench and service rifles do not have scopes. I just came from a local reduced highpower match where I shot a 98 on a 600 yard reduced target at 100 yards. I put 8 out of ten rounds in the ten ring and two in the nine. Ten rounds in a 1.5 inch group. I did this from prone with a M1a shooting Port ball ammo with iron sights. I did not come close to winning because in some circles this is not worth a damn. Good shooters shoot one MOA or less with iron sights and they can't see any better than you or me. All it takes is knowing how and practice WITHOUT THE BENCH.
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 1:24:52 PM EDT
Lots of dry firing. Slow, precise dry firing. Sight alignment is good, but a consistant smooth trigger pull is a major player in an equation. One of the best tools Ive learned? Video tape yourself shooting, watch it, and have someone else watch it. You can learn a lot about what you are doing. Having someone else at the range that can watch what you are doing helps too. I was having a particularly crappy day shooting close range CQB. My friend whos one of my departments instructors, was watching my targets. He stepped up along side me and was there all of 5 seconds before he told me "you're slapping the trigger - follow through." The rest of the day went great. Amazing how much that helps when your head isnt where it should be.
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 1:26:18 PM EDT
Vision is a poor excuse. You focus on the front sight. If you can properly focus on your front sight, your eyes are good enough. Aim center of mass of the blurry thing down range. Oh, dry fire, dry fire, dry fire.
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 2:47:10 PM EDT
Excellent advise, all! I'm putting together a dry fire "range" soon with reduced range targets along with a mat and a couple of chairs lined up with it.
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 3:24:38 PM EDT
For practice dry firing I’ve just been sticking a sewing pin in the wall with a big black head and getting about ten feet away. Using the pin head as an aiming point I think has helped me out quite a bit. Best regards, T
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 4:13:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/25/2003 4:23:09 PM EDT by Glockfan]
I use iron sights as a back up on my M4. I can shoot fine with them. But optics are definately better. Not so much for accuracy but for speed on target. SNIP Vision is a poor excuse. You focus on the front sight. If you can properly focus on your front sight, your eyes are good enough. Aim center of mass of the blurry thing down range. Oh, dry fire, dry fire, dry fire. END Agreed. I have poor vision without my glasses. Its something like 20/200. The front sight is about as far out as I can see. But I shot a 227 out of 240 on our qualification without glasses. I usually shoot about 235 to 238 so the loss of vision did not make much of a difference. Another point I would like to make is accuracy is important but speed is also. The trick is to hit your target as fast as you can make a good hit. Shoot as fast as you can as slow as you have too. If your target is a mans chest at 20 feet there is no point in shooting slow enough to make a one inch group. Conversly if you have a small target like a mans head at 200 yards you will need to slow down and make a good shot. Some people focus too much on shooting small groups and don't focus on speeding up there shooting. Pat
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 4:16:10 PM EDT
The best thing I ever did was have a friend critique me while I was shooting-just like Lumpy said. It wasn't an issue with an AR, but while shooting a shotgun I was slapping the trigger and anticipating the recoil. Having someone there to bring this to my attention has made me a much better shooter.
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 4:23:22 PM EDT
Dry firing and NOT shooting from a bench are good ways to improve your shooting skills. Also, if you can, take a class or two.
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 4:35:07 PM EDT
G35, My eyes have always been pretty bad. I am legally blind without corrective lenses, and they are as thick as coke bottle bottoms. Unfortunately they have continued to get worse the older I get. I use an Aimpoint on my carbine and a Leupold 3-9 vari-x on my SPR and hunting guns. The rest of you guys are a tough crowd! My problem is that if I focus on the front sight, I cant see the target OR the rear sight. But damnit, ya'll have got me thinking I may just be getting lazy. Tomorrow I am going to the range and my optics are staying home. I may not shoot moa, but it sure won't hurt to try.
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 5:27:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Dilbert_556: My problem is that if I focus on the front sight, I cant see the target OR the rear sight.
View Quote
Why are you looking at the rear sight?
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 4:01:25 PM EDT
I'm 52, had to start using the bifocals about four years ago, I can shoot my AR SP2 with a 4x colt scope hitting 4" 10 shot groups at 100 yds, can do the same or better with a 03A3, a 1918 Eddystone, M-1, and a MKIV .303 with iron sights. Cannot however do it with an 03. As previously said, concentrate on the front sight first, then center it in the rear.I pay more attention to position (most always shoot sitting), tighten down the sling, and really watch my trigger pull. Have selected the 03A3 for my deer rifle this year. Up to 250 yds I will have no problem. rk
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