Readers often ask for a good, authoritative resource on doping the wind and reading mirage. Many Forum members recommended M.Sgt. Jim Owens’ Wind-Reading Guide. With 22 sets of wind charts, this is offered for $12.95 as a printed book or in CD format. Owens’ Reading the Wind and Coaching Techniques clearly explains how to gauge wind speeds and angles. Owens, a well-known High Power coach and creator of Jarheadtop.com, offers a simple system for ascertaining wind value based on speed and angle. The CD also explains how to read mirage — a vital skill for long-range shooters. In many situations, reading the mirage may be just as important as watching the wind flags. Owens’ $12.95 CD provides wind-reading strategies that can be applied by coaches as well as individual shooters.
As a separate product, Owens offers a Reading the Wind DVD for $29.95. This is different than the $12.95 book/CD. It is more like an interactive class.
Played straight through, the DVD offers about 75 minutes of instruction. M.Sgt. Owens says “You will learn more in an hour and fifteen minutes than the host learned in fifteen years in the Marine Corps shooting program. This is a wind class you can attend again and again. [It provides] a simple system for judging the speed, direction and value of the wind.” The DVD also covers mirage reading, wind strategies, bullet BC and more.
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Even wonder how a pump shotgun works? Then watch this fascinating video from MidwayUSA. The operation of a pump-action shotgun is illustrated with a special cut-away version of a Winchester Model 12. The shotgun has been modified to reveal the inner workings. This cut-away Model 12 still loads and ejects dummy shells, but you can see how the lugs, slides, locks, ramps, springs and other internal parts work. You’ll be amazed how complicated this old pump-gun is. (The Model 12, Winchester’s first hammerless shotgun, is one of the most popular scatterguns ever made. Over 2,000,000 were sold.)
Skip Ahead to 3:00 to See Cut-Away in Action
To see how the Model 12 works, you can skip forward to the 3:00 minute mark in the video. The first part of the video shows how the Model 12 was “sliced and diced” to expose the inner workings. Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA explains that “the factories often used cut-aways as sales tools to show how a specific model operated”. In addition the U.S. Military used cut-aways for training purposes.
Here is the cut-away completed. Even the pump grip has been sliced to reveal the inner workings.
Here’s a close-up, showing how the bolt retracts to eject a round.
A round has been picked up from the feed tube, and then is lifted into the chamber.
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Jerry Miculek — that name is synonymous with revolvers. But Jerry is also one heck of a rifleman, as he demonstrates in this video.
Three Shots Standing at 400 Yards in 4.37 Seconds
For those of use who usually shoot from the bench, hitting a silhouette target at 400 yards from an standing position (unsupported) would be a big challenge. Here Jerry Miculek makes it look easy.
In this video, Jerry hits not one but THREE c-zone targets at 400 yards. And — get this — he does this in under 4.4 seconds starting with his rifle laying on a support. It took Jerry two tries (on his first run he hit 2 out of 3 in 4.65 seconds). On the second attempt (see video starting at 2:19), it takes Jerry just 4.37 seconds to shoulder his rifle, aim, and fire three shots, each hitting a separate steel target. Wow. That’s truly remarkable. Most of us would need ten seconds (or more) just to get the scope on the first target.
Trust us folks, this ain’t easy. It takes remarkable marksmanship skills to shoot with this kind of precision at this kind of pace. As Jerry would say himself, “Not bad for an old guy who needs glasses”.
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In most parts of the country it’s still too early for a prairie dog safari. Spring has barely sprung, and the critters haven’t come out to play. If you are missing the fun of a prairie dog hunt, here’s an arcade-type shooting game that lets you blast the critters to your heart’s content. Just use your mouse to move the crosshair and click to shoot. A hit on a can is worth one point, a hit on a prairie dog is worth two.
Hint: Try re-centering the crosshair after each shot — that way you never have to move more than halfway across the screen when the p-dog pops up. Go to it and have fun!
WARNING: LOUD AUDIO with SHOOTING NOISES!! If you click on this link, a page will load and very loud audio starts running automatically. If you are at work, turn down your speakers!
NOTE: When the new page loads, if you click “Play Game” the loud talking will stop.
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We know many of our readers live on farms or ranches. When driving around these properties you may want to keep a firearm handy for pest control or to deal with feral animals. If you live in the country, chances are good you have utility vehicles — such as ATVs, Gators or tractors — and transporting guns safely to allow for easy access is essential. In this video, American Handgunner magazine Editor Roy Huntington highlights some inexpensive solutions for safely transporting guns on various outdoor utility vehicles. Roy shows set-ups for an E-Z-Go Cart, a Honda 4×4 ATV, and a John Deer tractor. Of course, as Huntington explains, always practice the four firearm safety rules. Roy cautions that you should never transport a shotgun or rifle with a round in the chamber, and be very careful when getting in or out of the vehicle if you have a gun in your hands.
New Polaris ATV Features Non-Pneumatic Tires
If you’re thinking about buying a ranch or hunting vehicle, here’s something to drool over — the new Sportsman WV850 H.O. from Polaris. This hard-working ATV features non-pneumatic tires, which employ a lattice structure developed for the U.S. military. The Sportsman WV850 H.0. features 600-lb load-carrying capacity (on stout steel racks), power steering, and a massive 11.75 gallon gas tank. That’ll get you out into the backwoods!
American Handgunner video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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You’ve got to hand it to those crazy Canucks — they’ve managed to combine the quintessential Canadian sport, Ice Hockey, with skeet/trap shooting. This is just the thing to do with a good friend on a sunny winter’s day with snow still on the ground.
Watch Video — See Girl Shoot Clay Flung with Hockey Stick
Here’s how it works. A launcher is set up with a sheet of cardboard on a snow ramp. A clay pigeon is placed at the base of the ramp. Then the “flinger”, armed with a regulation hockey stick, sends the clay pigeon up the snow ramp and into the air. (Follow-through is important.) Then it’s just like regular skeet shooting. The shooter brings scattergun to bear and tries to hit the clay on the fly. With a good hit, it disintegrates in a black puff.
Kudos to Canada’s Danielle Bergen and her sharp-shooting friend for producing a great video. Overhead views were filmed with a camera-equipped flying drone.
Skockey in the Winter Olympics?
We wonder how this combo-sport was invented (large quantities of Molson Beer may have been involved we suppose). This new hybrid sport doesn’t have an official name yet. We suggest “Skockey” (“skeet” + “hockey”). Whatever you call it, we like this new sport. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Skockey in the Winter Olympics some day.
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“[Elite] shooters have this specific thing that happens in their brain when they are shooting well. Maybe you’d call it a ‘quiet time’. One interpretation is that it is a lack of self-instruction or analysis. Once you are an expert you really shouldn’t be [thinking] ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’.”
In this video from USA Shooting, a scientist uses brain wave (EEG) and muscle activity monitors to study the biomechanics and cognitive functions involved in competitive shooting. The study explores how elite shooters control their muscles and mind before executing a perfect shot.
In the video, USOC Sports Psychologist Lindsay Thornton works with pistol shooter Teresa Chambers to evaluate (and optimize) Teresa muscle and brain wave activity during shooting. One purpose of the study is to see how a shooter’s muscles function before, during and after a firing sequence. The goal is to use the muscles in the most efficient manner. This reduces fatigue and improves shot-to-shot consistency. Thorton says: “We are trying to define [muscle activity] efficiency with numbers so we can replicate that.”
Thorton is also exploring how a top shooter’s brain functions when he or she is “dialed in” and shooting most accurately. Thornton explains: “We are looking at EEG activity, which is brain wave activity. Research studies show that shooters have this specific thing that happens in their brain when they are shooting well. Maybe you’d call it a ‘quiet time’. One interpretation is that it is a lack of self-instruction or analysis. Once you are an expert you really shouldn’t be [thinking] ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ — everything should be pretty automatic.” Interestingly, the test showed a specific pattern of Alpha band brain waves right before a trained shooter breaks the shot.
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We recently showed a video of an incident at a pistol match that easily could have resulted in the death of a range worker. If you watched that video (it’s all over the web this web), you’ll understand that one momentary oversight is all it takes to put someone in the hospital (or the morgue). That’s why shooters should be prepared for the worst. Get first-aid training, and carry a basic first-aid kit whenever you go to the range.
Carry a Basic First-Aid Kit Shinnosuke Tanaka, reporter for RECOIL Magazine, offers some good advice: “OK, most of us have seen the [pistol match incident] video. YES, it is RSO’s fault not checking down range enough. BUT it’s your bullet that could hurt someone when it happen. So don’t let someone take care of safety for you, look around one more time after the command ‘Make ready’.”
Four basic firearms safety rules always apply. The Fourth Rule is: “Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it”. Shinnosuke adds: “My own fifth rule is ‘If there is doubt, don’t pull the trigger’.”
Shinnosuke cautions: “If you play with firearms you should know how to deal with gunshot wounds… Carry a simple medical kit. Here is my first aid kid, always carried on top of my shooting pack. Seek professional training and know how to use it. It’s your responsibility to stop the loss of your blood when an accident happens.”
Watch Gun Shot First Aid Video
If someone at a range is seriously injured by a gunshot, you should immediately summon emergency medical professionals. In addition, basic first aid can help stabilize the injured individual. This 55-minute video explains Basic First Aid for Gunshot Wounds:
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This video will give you chills (starting at about the 0:25 mark). We need to remember to follow all the firearms safety rules, and apply them all the time. At the range, all it takes is one brief moment of inattention to create a life-threatening situation. Never assume the downrange area is safe. Use your own eyes and ears.
This video shows a competitor shooting a stage at an action pistol match. He starts when instructed by the Range Safety Officer (RSO). But unbeknownst to both RS0 and competitor, a volunteer is downrange working on targets. Watch carefully. At 0:27 the shooter sweeps left to right, engaging a paper silhouette target to his right. Then, at 0:30, as he begins a mag change, his head turns downrange. A few yards away is a white-shirted range worker! The shooter yells “Hey what’s going on?!”
What’s going on indeed… The RSO should have ensured that nobody was downrange before the shooter even stepped up to the firing line. If other competitors standing to the side had been alert, they might have seen the worker changing targets and called for a halt. And the target-worker himself — even if he was wearing earmuffs, he should have noticed that live fire had commenced just yards away…
We also have to wonder about the stage design. This set-up made it very difficult to see downrange. The white panels (see 0:10-0:20) definitely hid the target worker from view. In hindsight, given the way the stage was laid out, this was truly an “accident waiting to happen”. It’s fortunate that no one got injured in this incident. But this chilling video provides a lesson to all shooters — “Safety First”.
How could this “near-fatality” have been averted? Post your comments below.
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In the above video, a spokesman for Horus Vision explains how and why scopes can experience zero shift. First, just cleaning the gun can cause a small shift in point of impact. Second, when you re-tighten rings and ring bases, this can cause a change in zero. Horus recommends that you use a torque wrench to confirm that you maintain the same torque settings each time. The same goes for action screw tension — tensioning your action screws can shift the point of impact.
Other factors that can cause a change in zero:
Dramatic ranges of temperature will change your zero, because the air density affects the velocity of the bullet. With increased temperature, there may be a higher velocity (depending on your powder).
Gun Handling and Body Position
You rifle’s point of impact will be affected by the way you hold the gun. A “hard hold” with firm grip and heavy cheek weld can give you a different POI than if you lightly address the gun. Even when shooting a benchrest gun, the amount of shoulder you put into the rifle can affect where it prints on paper.
Type of Rifle Support — Bench vs. Field
Whenever you change the type of rifle support you use, the point of impact can shift slightly. Moving from a bipod to a pedestal rest can cause a change. Similar, if you switch from a mechanical rest to sandbags, the gun can perform differently. That’s why, before a hunt, you should zero the gun with a set-up similar to what you would actually use in the field — such as a rucksack or shooting sticks.
Transportation of Firearms
Even if you don’t mishandle your weapon, it is possible that a shift of zero could occur during transport. We’ve seen zero settings change when a tight plastic gun case put a side load on the turrets. And in the field, if the turret knobs are not covered, they can rub against clothing, gear, storage bags, scabbard, etc. If the knobs turn, it will definitely move your reticle slightly and cause your point of impact to be off.
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You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.
The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.
External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.
Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.
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It’s rare when Soldiers and Marines agree on anything. But in this case, both Army shooters and Marine marksmen endorsed the electronic target system at Talladega. Members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) and the U.S. Marine Corps Service Rifle Team traveled to Alabama to test the Kongsberg electronic target system at the CMP’s new Talladega Marksmanship Park. Despite wet weather, the system worked well, allowing shooters to see their shot locations (and scores) instantly. At each shooting station a monitor displays the shooter’s target. Shots are plotted as contrasting white dots with shot values automatically calculated. Watch the video below to hear what the Soldiers and Marines thought of this high-tech system.
Video Shows Electronic Target System in Action
SGT Joseph Hall of the USAMU said the target system was “Super-smooth, super-quick. So far everything has been fantastic. We are saving a tremendous amount of time. There are no pit changes because everything is electronic. We are able to concentrate more on the shooting aspect… and less on … taking care of the targets and pit changes and relay changes. The relay changes here are just as simple as moving your equipment and the next guy getting on the line. The amount of time you’re saving is just incredible.”
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