Learning to shoot in the Flint Hills of Kansas



  • DRY FIRE

    From sitting position with .300WM(24) and Harris 13-26 bipod. Eight 1/4 inch dots, 25 feet, 2 rows of 4 dots each. Two shots on each dot.

    Trying to make sure I breath without any pause or interruption (still not happening 100% of the time).

    Trying to make sure my eye never comes off the target. I still "auto-jerk" my eye off the target to look for the bipod after many of the second shots, when I need to move the bipod. But, I do not need to look for the bipod. I know exactly where the bipod is. This is just a variation of "Prairie Dog" to be avoided.

    Also trying to make sure I am focusing on the reticle and not the target.

    Using my support hand under the stock, about where the rear bag would be, to help steady the gun during the running of the bolt. This action REM700 LA runs smoother than the new REM700 LA, but closing the bolt still takes a bit of force.

    ==
    EDIT: BTW, reading FM 3-22.9 C1, 10 Feb 2011, "Rifle Marksmanship M16-/M4-Series Weapons", figure 4-18 actually shows that we should hold our breath, those words are used, when reaching the bottom of the exhale. Says the shot must be released before the solder feels discomfort. I had forgotten that we were trained to hold our breath! Maybe, we weren't in the Army I was in, but this recent FM says "hold your breath" in plain language! I am trying hard to NOT do that !!! :)

    M8iTLY2h.jpg

    Trying to NOT do that ^^ ... even though I've been doing it for a looooong time ...



  • 2018-06-06
    1530-1600
    90F
    10 MPH ESE

    Goal: dot drills 100yds

    Environment: Warm, sunny, Breeze from 30 degrees of bullet path.

    Equipment: 6.5G(18), 4x5rd mags 123 ELD, Atlas Bipod

    Activity:

    First round hit. I already thought the Atlas bipod was making a difference.

    Then neighbor drove up behind me so I got up to talk first cease fire. He thought I was laying in the road/drive way (on my land) dead or in trouble :)

    Around round 5 wife walked into the firing line heading to the green house causing a cease fire.

    Around round 10 guinea walked into the firing line another cease fire.

    I had a tight deadline of 30 minutes (to set up the firing position, in my road/driveway, so I can't leave anything there ... and to setup the targets ... and to shoot and then to take down everything) so I was rushed, then had the interruptions. And those are good also, but not assisting in optimizing the methodical practice I am trying to focus on right now. So these shots were rushed, no breaks, just bang, bang, bang. So in that sense, I would consider this to be the least successful dot drill attempt I've made in the past 2 weeks, since setting up in this way and using the 6.5G(18).

    JUFTWez.jpg

    But the good news is:

    The lo-pro goggles continue to protect the eye. I even see a layer of "stuff" accumulating on the lens, which I need to clean off.

    The atlas bipod seems to help. Even with the rushed shots I got 2 real hits, 5 tags and 15 misses.

    What needs work is the right hand most set of dots 5, 10, 15, 20 .. from day to day those dots get the worst misses. I'm thinking that is position.

    So, need to slow down and setup the position correctly for each shot. That definitely did not happen today. Otherwise, I'm wasting time.

    Oh, those "ragged" hits are due to the number of staples under the target. And a hit near one of those can break the paper.

    And from a strategic perspective, again, getting in to the rhythm of doing this everyday, is perhaps most important. And just that aspect feels good.



  • Ordered a second Atlas Bipod today. It is another "B10", which I think is the same model I already have, which gee, I probably got 5 years ago?



  • 2018-06-09
    0900-1000
    70F
    10 MPH SE

    Goal: dots at 100yds

    Environment: Sunny, hot, breeze from 45 degrees off bullet path

    Equipment: 6.5G(18), L&S 3-18x T3, 4 mags of 5 rds each, 123 ELD. Atlas bipod.

    Activity:

    Sun in my eyes, trade-off cooler. I could barely see the orange dots. "Barely" means I can see them to an extent greater than "unable to see".

    dgV40gn.jpg

    I didn't realize it until later, but the big problem with this run was the suppressor came loose, at least by about shot 11, so that sort of invalidates the second half of this one. I've gone from one extreme to the other. The suppressors were getting stuck. I was having to use heat gun to get them off. So, it was suggested to use anti-seize paste, which I am. But now they come loose. Though not all of them. I will have to clean off the paste and reapply a smaller amount.

    Score: 3 hits, 3 tag, 14 miss



  • 2018-06-10
    0900-1000
    70F
    15 mph SE

    Goal: dots at 100yds

    Environment: Sunny, hot, breeze from 45 degrees off bullet path

    Equipment: 6.5G(18), L&S 3-18x T3, 4 mags of 5 rds each, 123 ELD. Atlas bipod.

    Activity: Sun in my eyes bad. Could not see the targets. Went and got a dark light jacket and threw that over my head and the scope. That cleared up the image massively.

    qGQ4wMR.jpg

    I tightened up the suppressor, but I also changed the bipod. During yesterday's shot at one point I stood up and checked the bipod and the right leg was 2 inches behind the left leg relative to the target. I was wanting to see if the "anti-pan" feature of the Harris would help.

    Today's score: 5 hits, 5 tags, 10 misses. But, I think that might be mostly due to the suppressor not coming loose.

    One thing I was happy about today, was two hits to finish. It seems, in previous efforts, the finish is weak.

    ==
    Strategy: Well, I have finished all the 123 ELD. I have 100 x 123 AMAX, 200 x 130 Berger Hybrid and 250 x 123 SST. I think I will shoot up the 123 AMAX and then retire this upper to the parts box. I am getting out of the 6.5G caliber. I like the external ballistics. Pretty close to my old Sig 7.62(16) with the 168 SMK, but on small frame lower. But the depth and breadth of the factory ammo supply is insufficient. I decided 9 months ago to switch to the Berger 130gr bullet with the Federal load. I've been able to get exactly one case of 200 rds. Can't find it in stock anywhere. I always knew that was the weakness of the 6.5G, but it has gotten to the point where I am done. Eventually I will rebuild as a 5.56(18) with a proof barrel. I'm on a "light is good" kick for my dmr-ish rifles right now. And I might build a large frame 7.62(18) next year. With a proof barrel.
    But once this 123 AMAX is done, then I will switch to the 5.56(18) for a while. I want to do an extended bake off between two flavors of 77gr, the IMI which runs 52 cents per round and a custom load for the 77gr which runs 62 cents per round. I have been shooting Black Hills load of the 77 SMK, but accumulating the BH load of the 77 TMK. But those run around $1 per round and I'm not sure they are so great either. Black Hills has a name, but I'm not sure the quality is there any more.
    And then once that 77gr bake off is one, I will finally get back to the 7.62(22) rifle I shot at the class. I have about 225 rds of M118LR left in the case I brought to the class, will shoot those up and then on to the Federal GMM 175gr. That should be around 1 August. Due to the grass in the pasture, I will spend much of the summer shooting dots. My 425-770 yards shooting area is shut down due to the vegetation. All I have left is the 50-500yds area, but off tripod only. And then the 25, 50, 100yd area right near the house, where I can shoot prone, if I lay in the (private) road.
    The Tikka .22lr(18) is still awaiting release, sitting on backorder at Brownell's. The Athlon Argos awaits its horse !!

    ==
    On the .300WM(24) I've been shooting 220gr OTM Barnes load and love that ammo. But it is $250/rd. I have 440rds of it, but would like to shoot it more. I've tried the 190 SMK Blackhills load and the same bullet with the Federal GM load. The Federal GM 190 SMK is $1.34/rd so thinking of trying a case of that. At almost half the cost, that would get the .300WM(24) out of the closet and into the field !!

    As to the Barret .50BMG(32) ... thinking of selling that. It is a hecque of a challenge to learn recoil management for the beast. And If I had the time I think it would be the perfect critter to shoot to learn lots about recoil management. If there is ANY crack in your position. That gun will find it !! :D

    But, realistically, I have plenty to learn without trying to add that to the list. I need another scope. I now have 6 rifles and only four scopes, so I will sell the Barrett and get another scope.



  • 2018-06-14
    0830-0900
    70F
    10 MPH SSE

    Goals: 3/4 inch dots at 100yds

    Environment: Hot sunny, breeze from 60 degrees off bullet path. Sun in my eyes.

    Equipment: 6.5G(18), 4 x 5rd mags of 123 ELD, harris.

    Activity: Used light jacket over head and scope to shield out sun. Used lo-pro eye pro to block suppressor "crap" from getting in eyes. The strong odor of the suppressor crap is almost stiffling under the hood, but that is better than getting it on my eyeballs.
    Could barely see the green and pink dots. The orange dots were easier to see this morning. It is often the opposite. Slight difference in angle of sun can change the contrast !
    I send the 1/2 "official" black dots to wife (the printer) but have not received them back yet. I do believe the black dots will be higher contrast in more conditions and thus easier to see.

    Today, I ran the dots in "normal" order from left to right and top to bottom, ,so I will not number them when I shoot them in this "standard" sequence.

    8T8Z5nw.jpg

    The score was:

    6 "solids" (center of the bullet hole inside the outer edge of the dot
    5 "tags" (the bullet touched the dot and pushed it in. Note there was one case where the bullet curled the dot outwards a tiny but (#8), I counted that one as a miss .. when in doubt, I rank the shot at the lower score level).
    9 "misses"

    It's too bad that my situation results in sun in my eyes for this activity, but so be it. This is the only spot I can think of where I can get semi-flat and shoot at 100yds and have a decently safe backstop and area behind backstop. And the morning is the least hecque-tic time of the day, since for my day job most of the people I work with are on the West coast. But bad conditions are really the norm, so bad conditions are not bad. I know we would prefer to remove variables for dots and I remove some with this setup, but not all. All variables cannot be removed in my situation. :)



  • Yesterday, I did something different. I've noticed my morning shooting is sometimes affected by the sun as I am shooting to the East and the sun is rising to the East-ish.
    The primary effect has been that I can barely see 1 or 2 of the dot colors.
    So I wanted to test my primary 4 scopes to see what differences I could see between them in these conditions.
    These are:
    L&S Mk6 3-18x T3
    XTR2 3-15x scr-mil
    XTR2 5-25x scr-mil
    NF 7-35x T3

    I added the sunshades onto all the scopes that have the, all but the Mk6.

    I used the light jacket over my head and the rear of the scope as I've been doing when shooting.

    the two aspects I was able to clearly distinguish I will call "clarity" and "brightness"

    Mk6 3-18 clarity (moderate), brightness (high)
    3-15x clarity (high), brightness (moderate)
    5-25x clarity (high), brightness (moderate)
    7-35x clarity (high), brightness (high)

    One variable was that I did this about an hour later than I'd been shooting the previous several sessions and that put the sun higher in the sky and so, I could see the target very well with all four scopes. Today, there were no issues seeing any of the colors of the dots.

    Why was the mk6 less clear than the xtr2 scopes? Possibilities include the mk6 having more "grunge" on the glass. I've been shooting it outside a lot since the class and the others have been sitting in the house after being cleaned. The mk6 was the only scope without a sun shade. Maybe the diopter or parallax are still a bit off for the mk6. The mk6 diopter is the hardest diopter to adjust I have ever encountered. I did adjust it recently, but then adjusted it back. So I think it is as good as I can get it and same with the parallax. So bottom line, I am not sure why the mk6 is less clear, but it was distinctly less clear. I find it hard to believe the mk6 glass is less clear than the burris glass, but that is another possibility as well.

    But again, during this test, none of the scopes had any issues seeing all the dots.



  • 2018-06-16
    0800-0830
    70F
    15 MPH SSE

    Goals: dots at 100yds

    Environment: Hot and humid, breeze from 60 degrees off the bullet path. Sun rising to the East clear skies.

    Equipment: 6.5G(18), EDL 123, 4 mags 5 rds each. L&S 3-18x T3, harris, jacket over scope and head. lo-pro goggles, 2xtab gear bags.

    Activity: Checked the suppressor, part of each shoot until I get it adjusted to stay on better.
    This was first run of the 1/2 dots. The results were a massive "failure". The issues identified were a great success!

    DhmUnkL.jpg

    0 hits
    3 tags
    17 misses

    In all cases, I could see a yellow "film" over the image in the scope, with bright sparkly dots. These were effects from the sun entering the objective, I presume. I'm not shot much directly into the sun, I usually shot to the North with the Sun to the South. But not this summer with the dots. Shooting East in the morning into the sun.

    After about shot 8 IIRC, things "fuzzed up" a lot. The "soot" coming back from the gun/suppressor gets "channeled" more by the jacket acting as a hood. The odor is very strong and I think it builds up on the lens of the goggles. So I took the googles off and wiped them off a bit.

    One pattern I notice is in dots 9, 10 and 14, 15 over on the right side of the target, the "way low" misses are consistent at least for those shots. That looks like NP problem to me.

    After about 2 more shots after the cleaning things fuzzed up bad on the image. I could not see the dots for the whole 4th row, 16-20. I could sort of see a fuzzy line for dots 11-15 and used that line to extrapolate where the 16-20 dots were. By the time I got to 20, all I could see was a white rectangle (the target sheet) so that one was a WILD guess as we can see (barely taged low right corner of paper).

    Also having trouble loading the bipod. I will switch back to atlas. I now have 2 atlas bipods.

    So, action items include switching the bipod, trying to work out a way to mitigate the sun, soot visibility issues and focusing more on NP for all dots.



  • 2018-06-17
    0930-1000
    70F
    15 MPH SSE

    Goal: dots at 100yds

    Environment: About 90% cloud cover, did not have to use the jacket as a sun shield, could see the dots fine. Breeze 60 degrees off the bullet path.

    Equipment: 6.5G(18), 4x5rds 123 ELD, lo-pro goggles, atlas, 2 tab gear bags

    Activity: Still struggle a bit getting the 2 tab gear bags to work, one if flat, the other rest of top of the first canted back at a 45 degree angle to mesh to the 45 degree to the rear angle of the CTR butt stock. This provides 90 degree angle of mate. I use support hand thru the loop on the upper bag.

    Around shot 8, the image fuzzed up. I finally realized it is sweat/fog inside the goggles !!! I can try anti-fog juice to mitigate that. These are vented lo-pro goggles but they've never worked very well. I need these around here for riding the 4-wheeler, especially at night lights out with NODs on my head. Lots of crap flies up and bangs into my face, like rocks (this is the flint hills) . so the eye pro essential when riding 4-wheeler. So better ones are high on the list!

    WRgHUpf.jpg

    Again, I note shots 9,10 and 14, 15 have same offset.

    Results were a little better than yesterday's disaster, but that's not saying much.

    tags count = 3 (shots = 6, 13, 20)

    hits count = 2 (shots 16, 18)

    misses count = 15

    Action items better lo pro goggles. Slow down, rebuild posn for each shot to try to improve the NP issues.

    I have 40 rds of eld 123 left, so then will be putting this upper on the shelf.



  • 2018-06-18
    0800-0830
    70F
    15 MPH SSE

    Goal: dots at 100yds

    Environment: Clear skies, sunny, hot. Breeze 60 degrees off bullet path.

    Equipment: Equipment: 6.5G(18), 4x5rds 123 ELD, lo-pro goggles, atlas, 2 tab gear bags

    Activity:

    results:

    tag 6, 8, 10

    hit 9, 18

    15 misses

    fETq4uG.jpg

    So similar results from yesterday but different circumstances.

    On a scale of 1 to 5 ... if 5 is "Could not have a clearer image of the target" and 1 is "cannot see the target" ... today averaged about a 1.5

    Dots 4 and 5 were obscured by fogging up of the goggles. So I went and got plastic shooting glasses instead. They have some micro scratches, but still much better.

    For the most part, I could see the rows and columns if not the individual dots and I could extrapolate dot position. The yellow "film" with the bright glare dots was present for all shots. I did not use the "hood" today.

    I still see pairs of shots with patterns indicating NP issue. Especially on the right side of the target. This is because I tend to rebuild more went restarting on the left since I am also doing a mag change.

    If I am going to rebuild for every shot I need to wear the knee pads because I am on gravel and it is "bumpy".

    ==
    Strategy: I have 20rds of the ELD left, so one more shoot with the 6.5G then I will put that upper on the shelf. I am thinking of switching to the 7.62(22) bolt gun next. The gun I used in the class. I want to see how much difference that scope makes and how much difference it makes shooting a bolt gun versus a stoner.

    I still have reasons to shoot the 5.56(18) ... but I will insert at least a week of the 7.62(22) with the LC M118LR 175 SMK in between the 6.5g(18) and the 5.56(18) for some "non-stoner" practice.

    The Tikka .22LR I ordered back in early April is still on backorder with Brownell's. Hopefully it will be released this year.



  • 2018-06-20
    0800-0830
    60F
    5 MPH SW

    Goal: dots at 100yds

    Environment: We had rain yesterday, desperately needed. And overcast today and cooler. Barely a breeze from the SW.

    Equipment: 7.62(22), M118LR 175gr SMK, NF 7-35x T3, Atlas, monopod

    Activity: So switched guns today.

    0_1529515249546_ea73428f-089c-4694-8e02-81d3fa261e39-image.png

    I have decided to go with Greg's standard of just counting tags and hits together. For my goal, "1 moa by end of year" counting the tags as hits on either 3/4 or 1/2 inch dots works.

    So got 5 hits today and 15 misses.

    I rebuilt the position completely prior to each shot.

    In the cases where the shot went thru the dot cleanly I used the "just let it happen" strategy of breathing and trigger squeeze. For the others I used the "try to time the shot to the exhale point of the breathing cycle.

    I think this means trigger control issue, a.k.a. last minute jerk of trigger.

    So, I will separately get some more .308WIN dummy rounds and hide those randomly in the magazines (once I get some magazines :D ) and then randomly select those, in an attempt to detect and mitigate this trigger issue.

    I think the parallax still might not be perfect but I cranked up the magnification to the point where, though I still see reticle movement due to breathing and heart beat, the movement stays within the circle of the dot.

    I checked the Atlas bipod from above prior to round 1 and round 11. At round 11 the legs had gotten off a little bit. So the atlas has pros and cons ... better for loading, but the legs can get off from where they should be.

    There where three times today where after I completely getting behind the gun and touching the trigger etc. That the center of the reticle was pointed exactly as the center of the dot. Three cases of 100% NP preservation. The others required some tiny adjustments.

    At least maybe the diopter is set correctly on this scope. I spent 2 days setting it so it danged well better be !! :D



  • ==
    2018-06-21
    0800-0830
    60F
    15 MPH W

    Goal: 100yd dot drills

    Environment: Partly cloudy, breeze from 190 degress off the bullet path. Sun angle causing visibility issues on the green dots. On a scale of 1-5, green dots were 1.5 (barely) visible. Cooler due to a little more rain last night and some clouds.

    Equipment: 7.62(22), 20rd M118LR 175 SMK, atlas, monopod.

    Activity: First round hit for once. But then a bunch of misses. Counting "tags" as hits, there were 7 tags/hits today, 35%, up from 25% for the previous 2 days with this setup. Rebuilding position after each shot. A few shoots had significant left movement of the barrel, which I am pretty sure means right shoulder refused.

    kQ7mn6o.jpg

    ==
    100yd dot drill issues:

    01 - Position
    Are my shoulders squared off at a 90 degree angle to the barrel? That is, am I directly behind the gun? This is impossible for me to tell without either a second person or some sort of special tripod, camera, gun-level display unit that can show me my shoulder position while I am behind the gun. Or else a second person with a camera. Some mornings I rebuild position after every shot, after first setting up gun NPA. Other mornings I rebuild after every 2-3 shots. At the very least, I rebuild after each 5rd mag change. Sometimes the barrel moves left after the shot and that is evidence that my firing shoulder is slightly refused, but it is not something I have learned to detect yet on my own. Sometimes I think I can feel my muscles stretching on one side of my torso more than the other and then I try to "straighten out" to relieve that tension, but I am in the early stages of detecting this. But I am hopeful that over time I WILL be able to tell if I am off center.

    02 - Cheek/stock
    I am not sure the cheek/stock is perfect. I was straining my neck muscles and I could detect that, so I raised up the adjustable cheek piece and now I do not detect that straining. So maybe I am good, but I am not sure.

    03 - Bipod
    The harris is difficult to tell when "the slack is out". The Atlas is great on telling whether the slack is out. But the atlas legs have play in them and the tension comes loose adding the awful "pan" feature. These attributes result in the atlas legs not always being 90 degrees to the barrel and hence contributing to poor NPA.

    04 - Rear Support
    The tab gear bags I've been using (I have two of them) never seem to be at the right height to match the bipod. So I have to compromise them and tilt them sideways (fore and aft) and such and I'm sure that weakens the position. The monopod feels sturdier, but it digs holes in the ground that are not aligned with NPA. Also it contacts softer and stronger pieces of ground (rocks) which also throuw off the NPA.
    I feel like the rear support is a major contributor to misses.

    05 - Diopter and Parallax
    With the L&S mk6 3-18x T3 I really struggle to set the diopter. It is just hard to move at all. I called L&S and they said "try harder". I used a channel lock once and it still would not move though it marred the bluing. Without being able to set the diopter, not sure I can get the parallax right either. I think they are "close" but not sure they are as close as they can be. And to some extent this is true for all my scopes. I am not confident I can set diopter or parallax on any scope. It wasn't an issue prior to shooting dots. I would get the "close enough" and hit the targets. But, in calculating the "moa" size of the targets I've been shooting for the past 5 years, they range between 1.4 MOA and 4+ MOA ... so I've never really tried to shoot sub-moa. Trying to do so is exposing at least small issues on all fronts. I suppose that makes sense, but I am still grappling with it! :)

    06 - Breathing
    I am caught between two directives ... let the shot be a surprise ... time the shot to go at the point of completion of the exhale cycle. I've been taught both, but I cannot do both at the same time. I seem to get better results with "let the shot be a surprise, but perhaps that is because I am "jeriking" the trigger, ever so slightly at the last millisecond. Currently, I am going with that assumption. I think this does not happen when I use the "let the shot be a surprise" rule. So I ordered six more dummy rounds and will try a program that involves mixing the dummies and the live rounds in to the shooting to see if that helps.

    07 - Trigger
    I was getting 50% to 55% "hits" (hole touching the dots) with the 6.5G(18) ... now with the 7.62(22) I am at 25% for the first 2 days at 35% for the third day. That's about where I was with the 6.5G(18) at first. But why do I start from "scratch" with each gun?
    The trigger in the 6.5G(18) is a 3 lb timney "drop in" ... The trigger in the 7.62(22) is a timney 510 but I do not know the setting. It seems stiffer. Several times I find myself pulling on it a long time and nothing happens. And I checked, and the safety WAS off :D ... so this one might be set to 4 pounds. I guess I need to check it.

    08 - Shooting in to the sun.
    Today, I could barely (1.5 on a scale of 1 to 5) see the green dots. That is one advantage of the black dots, they are easier to see in lower visibility conditions. I am shooting into the sun in the morning.

    Not sure what I'm forgetting but these are the ones I thought about today !!!
    And they are not in any particular order !



  • @kansas said in Learning to shoot in the Flint Hills of Kansas:

    06 - Breathing
    I am caught between two directives ... let the shot be a surprise ... time the shot to go at the point of completion of the exhale cycle.

    Not sure who taught you to have it be a surprise, but that wasn't me.

    We teach to release the shot at the bottom of the natural respiratory pause, and I also teach to "let it happen, don't make it happen."

    This takes practice. It goes far beyond the mechanical reduction of "flinch" or anticipation. It has a massively deep zen-like affect on your ability to produce honest shots which are in tune instinctively with your subconscious mind and it's control of the timing as well as the hold of the shot. Conscious thought is the enemy of this process.



  • [quote]Not sure who taught you to have it be a surprise, but that wasn't me.[/quote]

    The Army I was in did ... they told us (when shooting longer distances) to "squeeze slowly and be surprised" ...

    ==

    But the current version of FM 3-22.9 C1 tells the reader to hold their breath at the bottom of the exhale (see charts in post several days ago ^^ ) ... that is a new and different idea than what I was trained to do in the Army I was in.

    ==

    @orkan do you think it is better to TRAIN with a heavier trigger than you would use when shooting for the record?



  • In re-reading my "issues" list it occurs to me that I might be giving the impression that I am "frustrated" by the dot drills and that is not the case. In fact I feel almost like "liberated" by the process. I am enjoying it and I try to be as relaxed as I can be when out there executing.

    One might wonder why I could be shooting scoped rifles for 5 years and never try to shoot targets outside the 1.4 MOA to 4+ MOA size range? I think it is because I was so focused on learning to see (observe) and move (stealth) in my environment, that I only spent about 1/3rd of my time on "marksmanship" and the other 2/3s on "field craft" ... and I do not think that was wrong. I spend a lot of time stalking critters I never shoot because I enjoy that practice.

    But in the past year, shooting on my land mostly between 500yds and 750yds ... at 12x24 steel and or mice, coons, opossum, yotes ... except for wind .. it has started to get "easy" ... so I finally realized it was time to take the "marksmanship" aspect to the next level and focus more on that.

    So for me it is just a matter of priorities.

    But for the rest of this year ... I think I want to at least spend 50% of my time on marksmanship and 50% on field craft ... I'm currently on track to get a round count of ~4,000 this year, up from average around 3,000 in previous years. But in Q2 I have increased that even farther and could even hit 7,000 if I can afford the ammo. And maybe most of that will be dot drills, though some of it will be wind practice and some of it hunting/critter control. But from a round count perspective I would expect 90% of it to be dot drill at this point. And once the Tikka T1x .22LR arrives round count should increase further on the dot drills.

    One cannot improve except by finding issues and resolving issues and I am enjoying that journey and expect to be doing that the rest of my life ...

    :)



  • Well, I finally got over 200rd count in one week ...

    7LvQV9mh.jpg

    Some extra zeroing related to shooting buddy coming out this week. And it will be a "double" ... he was here Sunday night and he will be back Saturday.

    Things we did Sunday night. I walked him through the class material related to the zero force position. He fired 10rds with the magneto speed, 10rds zeroing without the magneto speed and then one 20 rd dot drill. This was with his .308WIN(20) that I had setup.

    I got him to stand up after each shot, discuss, what he did and then rebuild the position for each shoot. It took a while, but that's basically how we did it in the class, so I was trying to replicate.
    I'm sure one problem he has is similar to mine in "refusing the right shoulder". But he actually bends his spine. So from the center of his back down to his toes, his position his fine, but from the center of his back to the top of his head, his is oriented to the right with an angle in the middle of his back! I don't think I was doing that :)
    I had to correct this several times. He gets down in the right position, but then "adjusted" himself into a non-optimal position. I think he is having trouble judging exactly how much offset to allow for when laying down behind the rifle.
    He got some consistent results (low and left with over half the rounds) with the dot drill. So that was something.
    I think we will repeat this exercise exactly when he is here on Friday.

    ==
    We also zeroed some carbines with thermals on them. And we need to do a bunch of co-witnessing of lasers. And I'd like to do some pasture shooting and a night walk with most of the gear. We haven't done one of those for a while.

    ==
    Still no sign of the Tikka .22LR being released.



  • Oh, while James was shooting, I was dry firing off the tripod at 100yds with the 7.62(22) bolt gun. I want to try a dot drill like that. I hope I don't do as well with the tripod as I do prone, but watching the reticle while I was dry firing, it might be close.



  • Variation on the dot drill today. Still 20 rds of M118LR 175gr SMK for the live rounds ... but mixed in 7 dummy rounds. I got 4 of the Magpul 10rd AI mags so now have 1x5rd and 4x10rd. So went 5+5+5+6+6 with a total of 27 rds ... 20 live and 7 dummy mixed in. I put them in a box and closed my eyes when pulling one out and loading into the gun.

    KKQC1pW.jpg

    Got 9 of 20 "hits" on these 3/4 inch dots ... the best I'd got to with the 6.5g was 11 of 20.

    After each "miss" I would do extra dry fires with how ever many of the dummies I had already fired at least once which were laying beside the gun. So I did a total of about 30 dry fires.

    And I can say that "trigger control/anticipation/flinch" is the number 1 cause of misses. So that was a leap forward in the diagnosis process. Not saying the other 100 problems are not there as well, but in terms of contribution to misses, the "flinch" problem is #1 (I use the nastiest word on purpose :) ).

    The second problem I will call "position". I think it is caused by my difficulty in getting the rifle at the right height. I have been unable to successfully use the tab gear bags to get the right height on the rear. Part of that is me. My neck does not want to "crane" at a 90 degree angle, so I need to be up a little higher than 6 inches on the bipod and aligning height on the rear. So one tab gear bag upright is too low. And one tab gear bag on its side with another on top is too high. And the monopod is probably not very stable on real ground (maybe monopods work fine on benches, but I have found no benches on my land so far). I ordered a "Warhorse Commanche" bag and I will try that soon. But as to contributing to misses, I would say "flinch" is 70% of the problem, "rear support/height" is 20% of the problem and "all else" is the rest of the 10%.

    What does a "flinch" look like? Eyes fluttering is one aspect and barrel moving is the other. And within "flinch" I might carve out another 10% I just remembered. ANd that is actually trigger control. Unless I think about it, I am not pulling the trigger straight back each time. And that matters. Also within "trigger" I need to relax the trigger hand ... and often need to let go, make sure I have NPA and then re-engage with the trigger hand to make sure I'm not shifting the NPA. I was shifting the NPA some today with this issue.

    But I think the big breakthrough was adding in the dummy rounds to detect "flinch" and mixing in the dry and live fire closely together. I think there are two parts of the "flinch" problem. One is the conscious brain and one is the sub-conscious. For the conscious I can just pretend every shot is a dummy round. And that helps a lot. But for the subconscious I think it will take continuous (never ending) mix of the live and dry fire to reduce and keep reduced the issue.

    But that is fine. I already knew I grow my flinch by shooting large caliber rounds and I reduce my flinch by dry firing, but now I know, I can reduce it more rapidly by mixing the two together.



  • If the grass is too high to go prone on the ground. Try improvisation !!!

    KVv1VsQ.jpg

    That is shooting buddy James on his 7.62(2) I set up for him ... a wally world rem700 with an L&S 6.5-20x TMR a harris and an omega (all spare stuff from my parts box). We had just spent ~2 hours walking him through the zeroing and dots drill process ... for 40rds ... then another 20rds on the steel at 500yds. It was definitely "low light" given that the targets were in the tree line in the shadows as the sun dipped beneath the horizon. Interestingly after the sun actually dipped below the horizon, we could see the targets slightly better as the "sun in our faces" aspect was gone.

    I'm about to go try this myself. Though it is morning now so the sun should be off my right shoulder.



  • 2018-07-01
    1000-1200
    70F
    5 MPH WSW

    Goal: Steel at 500yds.

    Environment: Forecast has been rain for past 24 hours, though we have only gotten about 30m total in three batches during that period. But this morning we have been overcast. I first measued the wind from "One Tree Hill" which is 1285 ASL and 450yds West of the 500yd FP. One tree hill is much higher ground than the ground to the East or West, so a West wind will be felt more. Our wind mill is aboout level with my eyeballs up on this hill and its tower is 60 foot high. From the Turtle Creek bridge I have to cross to go up this hill from the human area, there is about a 75 foot climb in about 150yds.
    Low: 6.0
    Avg: 7.9
    Hi: 10.6

    Equipment: 7.62(22), NF 7-35x T3, M118LR 175gr SMK, Harris, monopod, kestrel, LRF.

    Activity: Moved to 500yd FP and setup.

    OyzayiY.jpg

    The cows heard me and proceeded towards me expecting some range cube treats, which they often get when I am out. So I altered my expecations such that I would be waiting about 30min for them to be around my location before moving off.

    ==

    2g45OoE.jpg

    That's "grandma" and "horns" staying cool under the trees while the others mill around waiting for the treats that did not come this time.

    ==

    I did another wind check and got:

    Low: 1.6
    Avg: 4.1
    High: 8.6

    84EI8in.jpg

    The gun is pointing at the target and the wind is coming from 310 off the bullet path.
    There are trees over about 90% of the bullet apth, but those trees are below the bullet path for about 80% of the journey.

    So, I decided to start off holding 4 mph which is right on the first wind dot.

    I had forgotten the magazines, so I had to single shot the rounds. Nothing wrong with that, it slowed down the pace and gave me time to think more about each shot.

    Shot# / wind hold mph / clock direction of round strike from center of aiming point / distance of round strike from center of aiming point in inches

    1 4 4 3
    2 4 9 4
    3 2 2.5 4
    4 3 11 2
    5 3 3 7 miss
    6 5 3 4
    7 6 3 4
    8 6 7 3
    9 5 4 4
    10 5 4 4
    11 4 3 4
    12 5 2 3
    13 6 11 2

    kdEJa7x.jpg

    Switched to shooting for the FACE

    14 5 4 2
    15 5 3 4 miss
    16 6 11 1
    17 6 12 1
    18 6 9 4 miss
    19 4 11 3
    20 4 2 2

    Results/Summary

    Shots 5 and 15 had flinch issues sufficient to cause miss. I think most of the rounds impacting to the right side of the aiming point were affected by flinch. The aiming point for the first 13 rounds was the center of the black splotch. The aiming point for the FACE was the center of the face.
    I measured the face, it is 6x6 inches as I expected. I measure the rest of the target, it is 11 and 13/16 wide and 23 and 9/16 high.

    This is the first time I have tried aiming for the face only and I think it is a good thing to do. This gives me a 1.146 MOA target at 500yds without having to buy and mount another target !!!

    (I got the idea from Greg shooting FACE at 1,000yds ... that would be a half MOA target at that distance. I think Greg shoots the same sized IPSC-D targets I shoot)

    I was holding 2.9 mils for elevation for every shot as well as for the wind. I'm zeroed at 100yds and shooting "no dial" style.



  • @kansas The C-zone IPSC targets I shoot are 12" wide and 24" tall, including the 6" head. Looks to be similar to what you've got going on there.



  • 0_1530978905846_cf76153b-dacb-4b47-98e2-def9c0500978-image.png

    Since trying to increase my weekly average of live fires from 50 to 200, starting back in week of 25 March ... the average is standing at 96. The average for dry fires is standing at 40. Now that I've integrated dry firing in with the live firing, the dry firing avg should rise. To further increase the live fires I need to do two sessions per day instead of one. And that will have to be first thing in the morning. Cogitating on that.

    Trying to sell Barrett. That will get me another scope. Then I can set that up on the .300WM and dry fire that in the house. So getting a scope that will parallax down to work in the house is a parameter. Believe it or not, the NF 7-35x will do it. Maybe not perfectly (this is at 10yds) but really close ... and close enough. I had no idea it would do that until I tried it.

    Still don't have the Tikka .22lr ... guess that hasn't been released yet. Hopefully by the end of the year.



  • Hum, doesn't look real FAST ... but at least interesting !

    oclOoKi.jpg

    Always interested in seeing people's tripod techniques.



  • I’ve use this technique with a sling before from a tripod to kill two coyotes one time. It actually works pretty good and really steadies up the shot. I just unhooked the rear portion of the sling and then wrapped it around the tripod leg pulling down no the from of the rifle. It really locks everything together nice and tight.



  • Way less convoluted method is to hook up between your belt and the hook on the tripod plate. With the leveling base that guy is running, that wouldn't be desirable... but hooking up to the tripod leg up where it connects to the body would still be a much better idea that the mess I see in that picture.

    Putting all that torque into the rifle rather than the tripod? Uh... nope. No thx.



  • "Still don't have the Tikka .22lr ... guess that hasn't been released yet. Hopefully by the end of the year."
    I inquired about one last week and October was the answer I got. Don't know if there is any merit to that date.



  • Oh boy ... cattle / hay work is really chewing up the time this summer ... we split our herd and put the pregnant females in one pastures (4 miles away) and those headed for the sale barn in the near pasture ... we will also get another 10 adult females for the near pasture.

    y1eoKbX.jpg

    25 head in the corral ...

    from left to right ... the crew ..

    VP8F7Hh.jpg

    Jana, neighbor, horse breeder, cattle worker ...

    Dr. Karl from the vet service preparing his potions and elixirs ...

    JD, my pasture partner ...

    The "chute" ... the blue widget to the right, is where we run the cows for their exams ... they are in the outer pen, barely visible to the right.

    ==
    So we moved the 13 pregnant females over to the new pasture ... and 11 calves and "grandma" remain back in my near pasture ...

    And we are trying to bale up as much hay as we can before it fries ... we have had no rain in 2 months ... so between the cattle and the hay, the shooting has gotten reduced ... I've been shooting a bit at night ... doing groups ... comparing the PVS-30 to the UTC-x off the tripod at 100yds ... and the UTC-x is averaging 10% higher scores so far ... this is with the 5.56(18) off the manfrotto.

    Went to the eye doctor ... he says my vision is still 20/20 ... which I find surprising ... I might have higher tolerances than the machine ! :)

    But mostly around here ... it is HOT HOT HOT ...

    Hope everyone else is having a better summer :)


 

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