November 22nd, 2017

How Quick Are You? Take the Reaction-Time Test

reaction time test

Precision rifle shooters don’t have to hit a big-league fastball, or launch a top-fuel dragster in the blink of an eye. Nonetheless, reaction times are important in our sport — both for competitive shooters and hunters. Want to catch that prairie dog before he slips down his hole? You’ll need to be quick. Want to win at short-range benchrest? Then you’ll need to watch your windflags and respond quickly to a change. Miss a major wind-shift and you could ruin your whole weekend.

Here’s a fun test of reaction times from HumanBenchmark.com. The way it works is that, after clicking “Start”, you wait until the background color changes from red to green. The instant you see green, immediately click your mouse. The average (median) reaction time is 215 milliseconds. Hint: If you keep your finger “preloaded” in contact with your mouse button you can shave some milliseconds — but don’t “jump the gun”.


CLICK HERE to Take Reaction Time Test…

reaction time test

Tips for Faster Times
Here are three tips to speed up your reaction times:

1) Respond to the color change (by itself), rather than wait to read the word “CLICK!” after the box shifts to green.
2) Try focusing at the corner of the box, rather than the center. This may help you react “without thinking”.
3) Have your index finger “poised and ready” over the left button–you can shave milliseconds by very slightly depressing the button before you actually click.

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November 13th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 2017 600-Yard Nationals in Memphis

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Executive VP
The 2017 IBS 600-Yard Nationals were held October 20-21 at the Memphis Sport Shooting Association (MSSA) Range. There was a good turn-out for the event, with 80 shooters. Conditions were challenging Saturday afternoon — strong winds that put some shooters right off the target. But those who mastered the conditions earned glory. The “Top Gun” at this year’s Nationals, earning the title of IBS 600-yard National Champion, was Andy Ferguson. In winning the Two-Gun Overall, Andy turned in a truly dominant performance, recording First Place Score in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun classes, along with second in HG group and fourth in LG Group. Finishing second Overall was Gaylan Breyans, while Jim Bauer was third.

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Top Shooters (L to R): Steve Wilson, Scotty Powell, Seth Wooten, Gene Ford, Lindsey Talley, Andy ”Who” Ferguson, Gaylon Breans, Jim Bauer, Justin Dale, Darrell Jones, James Lederer, Robby Miles, Jeff Godfrey, Jason Wolfe, Mike Hanes. NOTE: CLICK PHOTO for large image of top shooters.

Top Ten Competitors
IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR


CLICK HERE for Complete 600-Yard IBS Nationals Results »

Today’s 600-yard benchrest rigs are capable of remarkable accuracy. Even with tough conditions in the afternoons, there was some pretty impressive shooting. Out of 640 targets that were shot by 80 competitors there were 27 scores of 50, 56 groups of 2” or less, 14 of 1.50” or less, 3 groups of 1.25″ or less, and one of 1” or less. See the FULL Results for more details.

Demonstration of Winning Form — Smooth and Fast
How do you win a 600-Yard National Benchrest Championship? Here’s a video answer to that question. To see how a top shooter handles his rifle on the bench, watch the short clip below of Two-Gun Winner Andy Ferguson shooting one of his targets with his 6BR Light Gun. Andy demonstrates smooth “table manners”. He keeps his head down, running off five shots in under 15 seconds. Note how well the gun tracks, returning to Point of Aim.

Match Winner Andy Ferguson Drills Five Shots in Under 15 seconds with his Light Gun

Notably, Andy won the match shooting the “plain vanilla” 6mmBR Norma — not a Dasher, not a 6 BRX, not a 6 BR Ackley. The parent 6mmBR cartridge can still do the job, particularly in the hands of a smooth shooter like Andy Ferguson. At the Memphis range, the usual strategy is to shoot on the sighter gong just before the switch to the record and then fire all shots on the record target as rapidly as possible to stay in the same wind condition.

600-Yard Benchrest Competition — The Basics

Two Classes — Light Gun and Heavy Gun
For those that are not familiar with this 600-yard Benchrest competition, the equipment rules are the same as for 1,000-yard Benchrest. There are two classes of rifles. The Light Gun (LG) rifles are limited to 17 pounds with no stock width or buttstock angle restrictions. The front and rear of these rifles must rest on sand bags. The rear bag may not have any provision for aiming the rifle.
Heavy Gun (HG) rifles have no weight limit. Like the LGs their stocks are not limited as to width or butt stock shape. HG rear sand bags may be supported by “mechanical” rests. Return to battery rests are not allowed for either class. Both HG and LG classes may use muzzle brakes.

Match Procedures at Memphis
In 600-yard IBS Benchrest competition, targets are measured for group size and there is also a score value based on shot placement in the target rings. Prizes are awarded for group, score, and combined. Before the first record target of an Aggregate, the sighter period is six minutes. For subsequent targets in that Agg, it is reduced to two minutes. At the end of sighter period, upon command, shooters have 10 minutes to complete their record target. Aggregates consist of eight targets. Shots that do not print on the target result in that target being disqualified (DQ), as well as the applicable Aggregate.

At this year’s Nationals, shooters rotated four benches to the right after every pair of targets was shot, continuing that rotation through both days. LG was shot on Friday, HG on Saturday. Thanks to an efficient target crew and recorded match commands, shooting was over by 2:25 pm both days.

Equipment List for Top Ten Shooters

The Top Ten Shooters all ran 6mm cartridges (6BRs and Dashers) loaded with similar components. All of the Top Ten who listed their components ran Varget powder and CCI 450 primers in Lapua brass. BAT Actions were predominant, and both Nightforce and Sightron scopes were popular. The top projectiles were Vapor Trail 103s and Berger 105s.

Top Ten Equipment List
IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR
CLICK HERE for longer Equipment List.

A Well-Run Match
According to all reports the entire event ran like a well-oiled machine. The target crew was quick and skilled and all of the other details were handled efficiently. Prizes and trophies were in abundance. There was even some originality. Much to everyone’s amusement, instead of the usual (boring) plaque or trophy for the Two-Gun winner, a professional wrestling-style Prize Belt was awarded. Great idea! Showing off the Champ’s Belt is Two-Gun winner Andy Ferguson (Right) with past Shooter-of-the-Year Richard Schatz.

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Andy Ferguson Prize Belt Two Gun Winner

Wicked Winds Challenge Shooters on Saturday
The conditions were variously described as “horrible”, the “worst for any match on this range this year”, and so on. Conditions were worse on Saturday than Friday, blowing like stink by the end of the day. Friday morning it was cool, humid and breezy, with a wind speed of a little over 3 mph. By mid-afternoon, when the match finished, it was 20 degrees warmer and the wind had increased significantly to about 9 mph. Saturday morning was warmer, less humid, and the wind speed was about the same as Friday afternoon. But by mid-afternoon, at the end of the match, the wind was blowing 15 mph having peaked an hour earlier at 17 mph!

IBS 600 Yard nationals benchrest Memphis Range wind 6mmBR 6BR

Doing a little research on the Berger Bullets website, with a 105gr VLD running 2950 fps, and a 15 mph wind coming from 5 O’Clock, the bullet deflection at 600 yards would be over 17.5 inches. There were a fair number of shooters with good records that missed targets.

Good Deed by Match Director Mike Moses
Match Director Mike Moses “paid it forward” this year in Memphis. Mike learned that his friend, bullet-maker Bart Sauter, had invited a young barrel-maker, James Lederer, to the Nationals. As this would be Lederer’s first 600-yard experience, Bart was going to lend Lederer one of Bart’s rifles. But it had another maker’s barrel installed. Mike decided Lederer should, fittingly, use a barrel Lederer made himself. So Mike then chambered up one of two Lederer barrels Mike had recently purchased, and fitted it to one of his own rifles. Mike then fire-formed cases, worked up a load, and assembled ammo for the match.

Mike prepared three complete rifles (and ammo) for the match — one for himself, one for his daughter (Lindsey Talley, ace photographer), and one for James Lederer. It’s hard enough to prepare a Nationals rig for one shooter. Mike did it for three people, PLUS he ran the match.

How did it work out? James Lederer finished mid-pack on Friday, and put what he had learned to good use on Saturday, taking a solid fourth place in Heavy Gun.

Both Bart and Mike have been impressed with the quality of Lederer barrels. James has several years’ experience working for a well-known barrel-maker before designing his own computer-controlled cut-rifling machine, and opening his own one-man shop.

Bauer Power — Jim and Sally Bauer at IBS 600-Yard Nationals

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

Jim Bauer sends 5 record rounds down range with his “Eagle” HG in Maxi-Tracker stock.

Sally Bauer shoots sighter rounds with her Stars & Stripes HG Maxi-Tracker.

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

The Bauers have a great transport set-up, with custom, slide-out rifle carriers fitted to their van. You can see the two Heavy Guns featured in the videos in the lower drawer.

The Memphis Sport Shooting Association Facility
The Memphis Sport Shooting Association operates an impressive facility with ranges for rifle, pistol, and shotgun. The 600-yard benchrest range, with covered firing line, is nicely sited, with thick stands of trees left and right. There are 24 very solid concrete-top benches. Plentiful rain and sunshine provide ideal conditions for trees and grass. For those of us in the arid West, the Memphis range seems green and lush. The trees on either side offer some (but obviously not complete) protection from wind.

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy
2012 Photo by Birdog for VarmintHunters.com.

The range was built on land that had been an across-the-course High Power range, and the raised berms for intermediate firing lines are still present. That makes the wind bit more “interesting” when head- or tail-wind angles prevail. There are no pits. For each bench, at 600 yards, two record targets are posted one above the other with a 20” square steel sighter gong directly below. The sighter plates are repainted throughout the day during target changes. CLICK HERE for a 360-degree video view of the range from the covered firing line.

To the IBS Membership — Thanks for Helping with Match Reports
Putting together these match reports for the IBS page on Accurateshooter.com is challenging and enjoyable work. The hard part is coming up with pictures and videos. This time I have been lucky and I am thankful for that. The best part is that I get to talk to some very fine people. Thank you all for taking the time to make my work possible. I appreciate it. — Boyd Allen

Credit Randy Dawson (Birdog) for most of the images and videos used here.

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November 6th, 2017

Specialty Targets Help You “Aim Small, Miss Small”

Right Click and “Save as” to download printable PDF versions of target.

In the hit Hollywood movie “The Patriot”, the hero Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson), tells his sons: “Aim small, miss small”. That advice was given to help his sons survive encounters with the British redcoats, but the “aim small, miss small” mantra can benefit target shooters as well.

We have found that novice and intermediate shooters can often improve their accuracy simply by using targets with smaller, more precise aiming points. Inexperienced shooters can benefit by starting with a large-size aiming circle, and then progressing to smaller and smaller target dots. This lets the shooter increase the challenge as his gun-handling becomes more steady and his aim improves.

Here are two rimfire training targets with “big to small” target circles. Start with the largest circles, then move to the smaller ones in sequence. This systematic drill provides increasing challenge shot-by-shot. Novices often are quite surprised to see their accuracy improve as they move from bigger to smaller aiming points. That provides positive feedback — always a good thing.

Right Click and “Save as” to download printable PDF versions of target.

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November 4th, 2017

Fundamentals — Sight Alignment and Trigger Control

Marksmanship Fundamentals iron sights USAMU

This video from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit focuses on two key fundamentals of marksmanship: 1) Sight Alignment; and 2) Trigger Squeeze. This video can assist any Service Rifle or metallic sights shooter. The USAMU instructor explains: “You’ve probably heard a lot about fundamentals — Breathe, Relax, Aim, Squeeze… Well that gives a shooter a lot to think about. Here we teach two main firing tasks: 1) align the sights, and 2) squeeze the trigger without moving the rifle. This allows the shooter a much more simplified format.”

The following tips are transcribed from the video:

Task One: Sight Alignment
Sight alignment is the process of putting the tip of the front sight post, the rear aperture, and the shooter’s eyeball all on the same plane. It’s very important to maintain the tip of the front sight post centered in the rear aperture. Just .002″ of deviation can cause a miss at 300 meters. Allow your eye to do its job. While firing, the focus should remain on the tip of the front sight.

Task Two: Trigger Control
Your second firing task is [to] fire the rifle without moving it. This is done through proper trigger control. You’ve probably heard a lot of words about trigger control — “surprise break”, “snatch”, “pull”, “squeeze”… well we teach one thing here: “smooth”. No matter the speed at which I engage the trigger, it’s always going to be smooth. Imagine trying to pull the trigger straight through the rear of the buttstock, holding it to the rear while the gun recoils. It’s important to constantly engage the trigger, never letting your trigger finger disengage from the trigger while firing. This is achieved through natural trigger finger placement.

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October 29th, 2017

Wind-Reading Tips from Champion Shooters

Shooting Sports USA

The digital archives of Shooting Sports USA magazine (SSUSA) features an Expert Forum on Wind Reading. This outstanding article on wind reading starts off with a section by ballistics guru Bryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting. Then four of the greatest American shooters in history share their personal wind wisdom. Lanny Basham (Olympic Gold Medalist, author, Winning in the Wind), Nancy Tompkins (Past National HP Champion, author, Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting), David Tubb (11-Time Camp Perry National Champion), and Lones Wigger (Olympic Hall of Fame) all offer practical wind-reading lessons learned during their shooting careers.

CLICK HERE for Full Article in Shooting Sports USA Archive

CLICK HERE to Download Article Issue in Printable PDF Format.

Whether you shoot paper at Perry or prairie dogs in the Dakotas, this is a certified “must-read” resource on reading the wind. Here is a sample selection from the article:

Shooting Sports USA



Visit www.SSUSA.org

Shooting Sports USA magazine (SSUSA) has a modern, mobile-friendly website with tons of great content. Log on to www.ssusa.org. There you’ll find current news stories as well as popular articles from the SSUSA archives. The SSUSA website also includes match reports, gear reviews, reloading advice, plus expert marksmanship tips from the USAMU.

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October 28th, 2017

Shooting Range Safety & Etiquette — NSSF Video

Safety Video NSSF Indoor Range Etiquette

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created a new Range Safety and Etiquette video. This 8.5-minute video is intended to promote safe practices, especially at indoor ranges. In the video, the moderator list the basic rules of gun safety, before covering key range etiquette topics such as range officer commands, how to uncase your firearm on the range when you first arrive, and what to do if a firearm is accidentally dropped. There are also safety tips specific to handling both semi-automatic handguns and revolvers.

Basic Gun Safety Rules — Uncasing Firearms Safely — Basic Range Etiquette

Safety Video NSSF Indoor Range Etiquette

BAD RANGE BEHAVIOR — What NOT to Do at the Range
Based on decades of shooting, indoors and outdoors, here are the five most problematic behaviors we’ve seen at indoor ranges.

1. Loading weapons BEHIND the firing line and then “sweeping” other individuals while approaching the indoor shooting bay.

2. Turning the handgun sideways while trying to clear a malfunction or insert/remove a magazine. This will point the muzzle at a fellow shooter. Or, after shooting a gun, the shooter fails to clear the weapon and then places the gun on a bench, chair, or range bag near the shooting station with the muzzle in an unsafe position.

3. Reacting unpredictably when firing a high recoil handgun. We’ve seen people take a second shot by accident with the muzzle way off target.

4. Not obeying range commands — in particular continuing to shoot during called cease-fires.

5. Poorly aimed shooting that hits target frames or carriers, causing ricochets.

Why This NSSF Video is Important
“More than ever, NSSF is focused on helping our industry better engage their customers. Paramount to that is ensuring all shooters have a pleasant and safe experience every time they head to the range for a practice session,” explained Zach Snow, NSSF Director, Shooting Range Services. “This is particularly important for those coming to firearms ownership and the shooting sports for the first time, and this video will go far to making that first time on the range safe and fun for everyone.”

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October 26th, 2017

After 37 Shots — Claimed ‘World Record’ 5000-Yard Hit

5000 yard ELR world record .408 Cheytac Charlie Melton

An American shooter has hit a 40″ square steel target at a distance of 5000 yards (2.84 miles). This has been hailed as a New Long Range World Record. That’s quite a feat… except that it took thirty-seven (37) shots to put one .408-caliber bullet on the steel target (by a whisker). Is that really good shooting — or just a lucky impact? (The 37th shot just barely hit the right side of the 40″ x 40″ steel plate). This purported “Long Range World Record” was shot on September 30, 2017.

Should we acknowledge this as a meaningful record? Is this a noteworthy achievement or just a stupid stunt? Watch this video and decide for yourself:

ELR at 5000 Yards — World Record or Just a Lucky Shot?

5000 yard ELR world record .408 Cheytac Charlie MeltonThe Firearm Blog explained: “After shooting through three [10-round] batches unsuccessfully, Charlie Melton connected on target with his 7th shot in the fourth batch; round number 37. According to some number crunching … the bullet that finally connected on target was likely in flight for 12.816 seconds!”

Can this lucky shot really be claimed as some kind of meaningful record? Our friend Dennis Santiago, a Service Rifle competitor, and very brainy guy, observed: “Ha! 37th shot works out to a 2.7% probability of hit single-shot. That figure … fails the test of operational viability. Any hits are incidental within the beaten zone. It’s a gimmick.”

And William W., a retired military ordnance specialist, stated: “Dispersion and random Circular Error Probable (CEP) says if you fire enough shots, you will eventually hit what you are aiming at. It could have taken one shot or one hundred or more. Do the math for a radial error of .05 MOA at 15,000 feet and see what comes up. This is what we call ‘hardstand dispersion’ which only accounts for the gun and ammunition bias. Add environmental factors and CEP gets much bigger. A true test is a series of shots that strike the target, not a holy poke.”

Shot Made with Armalite AR-30 Fitted with 31″ Barrel Chambered for .408 Tejas
The lucky shot (37th attempt) was made by former SEAL Charlie Melton of Charlie Mike Precision. He was shooting an Armalite AR30 rifle with 31″ Pac-Nor barrel chambered for the .408 Tejas, a 50° wildcat based on the .408 Cheytac cartridge. The bullets were 420 grain solids launched at 3065 FPS.

Rifle: Armalite AR-30, with 6 oz. Jewell trigger
Barrel: 31″ Pac-Nor chamber for .408 Tejas
Bullet: 420 Grain Monolithic (solid) Bullets – 3,065 FPS
Bi-Pod: Shots Gunsmithing Bipod for Armalite AR-X
Optic: Nightforce NXS 12-45x56mm fitted with Charlie TARAC Prism (see below)
Rings: Ivey Adjustable Scope Rings

5000 yard ELR world record .408 Cheytac Charlie Melton
Photo by Brad Stair of Performance Guns

Innovative Elevation Booster — Charlie TARAC Prism System

The Charlie TARAC Prism from TACOMHQ helps ELR Shooters hit very distant targets, by elevating the actual target image, effectively augmenting the scope’s internal elevation adjustment. The latest TARAC is an adjustable unit that adds up to 120 MIL of elevation to any scope. Current high-end scopes typically offer around 30 MIL of vertical. With the Charlie TARAC fitted to the scope’s front objective, you can add +120 MIL elevation.

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October 24th, 2017

Get Four FREE Downloadable Halloween Targets

free halloween spooky target pumpkins
Click above image for full-size version.

Halloween is next Tuesday, one week away. It’s not winter yet — so why not head to the range and shoot some Halloween-themed targets this upcoming weekend. The folks at the NRA Blog have created a series of “spook-tastic” Halloween targets. Writer Kyle Jillson says, “In addition to stocking up on candy and finding great costumes, we thought you might like to have some fun at the range, so we created these spooky targets for you to use.”

Just click an image to launch its full-size version. You can then download the target and print it out on regular 8.5″x11″ paper. Now you have fun Halloween-themed targets to bring to the range this week.

Pumpkin Patch Target | Pumpkin Antler Target | Turkey Target | Pig Witch Target

CLICK EACH Target to Download Full-Size Version

free halloween spooky target pumpkins

free halloween spooky target pumpkins free halloween spooky target pumpkins
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October 22nd, 2017

Kirsten “Carves” Halloween Pumpkin with Volquartsen .22 LR

Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

Halloween is just nine days away… so we thought we’d share the seasonal spirit with our readers. In this video, our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss shows off her impressive trick-shot skills. To help celebrate the gouls/goblins holiday, Kirsten “carved” a pumpkin using her semi-auto Volquartsen .22 LR rifle. Kirsten had to send a lot of rimfire rounds into her orange friend. It turns out the little .22-caliber bullets worked better on exit than entry — Mr. Pumpkin’s posterior side was more impressive than his front. But overall, the effort turned out very well indeed, as you can see. Nice job, Kirsten.

On inspection, Kirsten found that the most impressive Jack ‘O Lantern face appeared on the reverse side of her pumpkin. The “exit wounds” were better than the entry holes.
Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

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October 20th, 2017

13,000 More Crossman Air Rifles for Army JR0TC Program

crossman challenger pcp air rifle u.s. army jrotc trainer contract

Crosman, the world’s largest airgun manufacturer, has again been awarded the contract to supply Sporter Class air rifles for the U.S. Army JROTC program. The Army will purchase more than 13,000 Crosman Challengers, adding to the more than 4,000 rifles the Army purchased in 2016. The Challenger air rifles will be built at Crosman’s headquarters in Bloomfield, New York.

The Challenger PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) Air Rifle is the preferred .177 sporter class air rifle for competitive marksmanship programs throughout the country, including the Marine Corps JROTC, Army JROTC, Air Force JROTC, Navy JROTC, American Legion, and 4-H. The Challenger is a three-position competition rifle that features a fully adjustable stock, a two-stage, adjustable match grade trigger, a hooded front aperture sight, a micro click, adjustable diopter rear sight, a patented ambidextrous pull bolt, and a floating Lothar Walther™ barrel.

“The Crosman Challenger has long been the preferred air rifle for coaches from a variety of marksmanship programs,” said Jennifer Lambert, VP Marketing & Product Development for Crosman. “We’re proud that the Army JROTC chose to continue our partnership and we can’t wait to see what new championships and records their cadets will achieve.”

In addition to airguns, Crosman sells Lasermax optics and laser aiming devices, and Centerpoint archery products. Crosman is a subsidiary of Compass Diversified Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CODI).

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October 15th, 2017

Sight Picture Options for Iron Sights

Iron sights picture metallic sights USAMU

In an article for the CMP Online Magazine, SSG Tobie Tomlinson of the USAMU Service Rifle Team explains the various sight alignments employed by iron sights shooters. Tobie writes: “There are a myriad of sight picture options that shooters have used to great effect over the years. The sight picture that allows you to consistently shoot the smallest group, with a minimal shift in zeros, is the correct one. Remember, for any shooter to be successful, consistent sight picture must be complemented by front sight focus and sight alignment.” CLICK HERE to read FULL ARTICLE

Center Hold
The front sight is placed directly in the center of the target. A center hold is great in different light conditions. On a bright day the target appears small. On a dark day the target appears large. In [any] light conditions the center of the target is always in the center. A shooter who has problems with elevation shots in various light conditions may benefit from a center hold.

6 O’Clock Hold
With the 6 O’Clock hold the front sight is placed at the bottom of the aiming black. For many shooters, this hold allows precision placement of the front sight. The ability to accurately call your shots will come with time and experience. Light changes, which alter the appearance of the target, may affect shooters who utilize the 6 O’Clock hold.

Sub 6 Hold
The sub 6 is just like the 6 O’Clock hold, only there is a small line of white between the front sight and the aiming black. Many shooters have a problem determining the exact 6 O’Clock position with their front sight, but by using a sub 6 or line of white they may be able to better estimate their hold.

Frame Hold
With the frame hold, just like with the other holds, the front sight is in the center of the rear sight. The front sight can then be placed at the 6 or 12 O’Clock position on the frame when there is no visible aiming point. This hold is typically reserved for foul weather and poor light conditions. By placing the front sight at the top or bottom of the frame, a shooter may hold better when there is little target to see. It can be difficult to hold a tight group this way, but it may add more hits in bad conditions. This technique is normally applied when shooting longer ranges such 600 or 1000 yards.

CLICK HERE for more articles from The FIRST SHOT, CMP Online Magazine.

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October 13th, 2017

Three Champs — Bernosky, Tubb, Whidden — Talk Wind Reading

wind reading John Whidden, David Tubb, Carl Bernosky

In this article, three great champions reveal their wind-calling secrets in video interviews. We first published this “Three Champions” story a few years ago. If you are a competitive shooter, and you want to learn more about reading the wind, you should watch all three of these interviews. These guys are among the best shooters to ever shoulder a rifle, and they have much wisdom to share.

At the 2010 SHOT Show, we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (10-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion and 7-time Nat’l Long-Range Champion), and John Whidden (5-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.

We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself: “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Editor’s Note: These interviews were conducted before all three men won their most recent National Championships so the introductions may list a lower number of titles won. For example, John Whidden won back-to-back LR Championships in 2016 and 2017/

Top photo courtesy Rifleman’s Journal.

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October 9th, 2017

Mental Marksmanship — Visualize Success for Better Scores


In this video, Anette Wachter (the 30CalGal) offers tips for shooting from bipod.

Anette Wachter Mental Game VisualizationOur friend Anette Wachter, aka “30CalGal”, stars in a smart video from NRAWomen.TV. In this episode of Tips & Tactics, Anette talks about the “mental game” in competition. Specifically she explains how to “visualize success”:

I have found that a lot of my success in competition has come through what I call a ‘mental rehearsal’. I actually visualize every stage of the match and I visualize the success of the match and winning the match.

I actually visualize that round going downrange into the target, and the target coming up with a dead-center ‘X’. I visualize this over and over. If you visualize success you will achieve success.

Visualization is a process of mental preparation that is done before you get to the range. Many of the greatest shooting champions have used this technique to get ready for big matches, and to optimize their performance during record fire. If you want to enhance your “mental game” through pre-match visualization, we strongly recommend Lanny Bassham’s book, With Winning in Mind.

As a competitive smallbore 3P shooter, Bassham developed a mental management system. Using this system, Lanny Bassham won 22 world individual and team titles, set four world records, and captured an Olympic Gold Medal in Montreal in 1976. His techniques have been embraced by professional and Olympic athletes in many sports. With Winning in Mind covers a complete system of “mental management” techniques used by Olympians and elite champions.


About 30CalGal
Life is short. Go Shoot! — Anette Wachter
Along with being a talented competitive shooter, Anette has her own Gun Blog, 30CalGal.com, and she writes for several gun publications including GunUp Magazine, Shooting Sports USA, Sure Shots Magazine, and Wide Open Spaces. She also designs and crafts custom jewelry items, sold through her AW Collections webstore.

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October 7th, 2017

F-Open Nat’l Champ Talks Wind Reading and Cartridge Choice

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
“A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold.” — Jay Christopherson, 2017 F-Open Nationals Second Place.

In this 15-minute video, Team Lapua’s Erik Cortina interviews Robert Mead, the 2017 LR F-Open Champion. Robert (Bob) discusses his wind reading techniques with Erik, and the newly-crowned F-Open Champ explains how to set up a reliable wind zero. Bob also discusses cartridge choices in F-Open. He admits the straight .284 may be the tightest grouping 7mm cartridge, but he has used the 7mm RSAUM for a decade now. He believes the RSAUM may the best cartridge for 1,000 yards in 7mm, all things considered (grouping ability, ballistics): “To me it’s a light magnum, it’s capable of high speed, yet burns less powder than your regular magnums. [But] it’s a finicky cartridge — you’ve got to do a fair amount of load development.”

Every serious F-Class competitor should watch this video start to finish:

Credit Erik Cortina for video and the photo of Robert Mead with trophy above.

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October 7th, 2017

Family Fun — Free Printable PDF Fun Targets from NSSF

Sometime it’s fun to take a break from competition and just go out plinking with family members. During plinking sessions, you can try out a variety of non-standard targets — these “fun targets” create more interest, especially with youngsters. Here are six FREE fun targets from the NSSF. These (and other examples) can be downloaded as PDF files for easy, scalable printing. Shown are six fun targets: Alien, Goofy Gopher, Orange Clays, Fish in a Barrel, Cans on Fence, or Bacon Xs. To download any of the targets, right click and “Save Link As”. You can also click on the six targets and they should open up in most browsers if you have the PDF reader installed. Have Fun! MORE Targets HERE.

Orange Clays

Fish in a Barrel

Cans on Fence

Bacon Xs

Download FREE Bullseye Targets Too
The NSSF also offers conventional bullseye-style targets on the NSSF Targets page. Here are two, high-contrast printable targets. With five (5) bullseyes per sheet, these are good for load development. They also work well at short range for pistol shooting.

Permalink Handguns, Shooting Skills No Comments »
October 6th, 2017

Mad Minute Marksmanship — The One-Minute Lee-Enfield Drill

Lee Enfield Mad Minute one-minute rifle drill British Army Gary Eliseo Dennis Santiago
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

Our friend Dennis Santiago was a technical advisor for History Channel’s Top SHOT TV show. One of the notable Top Shot episodes involved the “Mad Minute”, a marksmanship drill practiced by the British Army in the decades preceding World War I. Dennis observed that the Top Shot competitors didn’t fare too well in their “Mad Minute” attempts, not scoring many hits in the alloted one-minute time period. That prompted Dennis to give it a try himself — seeing how many hits he could score in one minute with an authentic Lee-Enfield rifle. So, a while back, Dennis ran the drill at a range in California.

Dennis, an active high power rifle competitor and instructor, enjoyed his “Mad Minute” exercise, though he assures us that this takes practice to perfect. Dennis tells us: “Here is a ‘Mad Minute’ drill, done using a period correct Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No.1 Mk III rifle and Mk VII ammo. I got to the Queen’s Regulations (15 hits in one minute) on the second run and put a good group on the target at 200 yards. This is ‘jolly good fun’ to do every once in a while. This is ‘living history’ — experiencing a skill from a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.”

Dennis Does the Mad Minute

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IV
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IVLee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle (1943), courtesy Arundel Militaria.

“Mad Minute” was a pre-World War I term used by British Army riflemen during training at the Hythe School of Musketry to describe scoring a minimum of 15 hits onto a 12″ round target at 300 yards within one minute using a bolt-action rifle (usually a Lee-Enfield or Lee-Metford rifle). It was not uncommon during the First World War for riflemen to greatly exceed this score. The record, set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall, was 38 hits. (From WikiPedia.)

Want to See More “Mad Minute” Action with a Modern Tubegun?
In 2012, Gary Eliseo ran a “Mad Minute” exercise using a modern, .308 Win Eliseo RTM Tubegun of his own making. Gary ended up with 24 hits on a bull target set at 300 yards. (Gary actually had 25 hits in 25 rounds fired, but the last round hit just after the 60-second time period expired.) Note how Gary pulls the trigger with the middle finger of his right hand. This allows him to work the bolt faster, using his thumb and index finger. CLICK HERE for Eliseo Tubegun Mad Minute story.

Watch Gary Elesio Shoot the ‘Mad Minute’ (Starts at 4:47 on Video)

NOTE: In an interesting coincidence, Dennis Santiago was actually in the pits pulling targets for Gary during Eliseo’s 2012 “Mad Minute” exercise.

History of the Mad Minute
Commentary by Laurie Holland
The original military requirement of the “Mad Minute” saw the soldier ready to fire with a round in the chamber, nine in the magazine, safety on. This course of fire is still followed by the GB Historic Breechloading Arms Association and other bodies in their recreated “Mad Minute” competitions.

The first 10 would go quickly, but reloads were critical, this not done by a magazine change as Gary did with the RTM or in a modern tactical or semi-auto rifle, but through slick use of ‘chargers’. It is this aspect which fouls so many of my colleagues up as it is very easy to cause a jam and a large part of 60 seconds can go in sorting it out!

Charger clips were selected for those that just held the rounds firmly enough to stop then falling out, were sand-papered and polished with a stove / fireplace polish called ‘Zebrite’ so that the rimmed rounds would slip through the clips like corn through a goose.

lee enfield 1916 rifle

If you’re unfamiliar with the cock-on-closing Enfield action, it seems clumsy. With intensive practice it is very smooth and can be operated incredibly quickly. The trick is to whip the bolt back onto its stop and initiate a rebound movement that takes it and the cartridge well into the chamber thereby reducing the effort required to close the bolt and chamber the round.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills, Tactical 2 Comments »
October 3rd, 2017

How to Hold a 1911 Correctly — Tips from Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett is one of the world’s best handgun shooters. A multi-time World Champion, Todd knows a thing or two about semi-auto pistols, particularly 1911s and 1911-based raceguns. Jarrett holds four World titles, nine National titles and has won more than 50 Area championships, as well as many other action shooting events. Jarrett is the only USPSA Triple Crown Winner and he holds four USPSA National titles: Open, Limited, Production, and Limited-10. Jarrett revealed in an interview that between 1988 and 2001 he shot about 1.7 million rounds during practice: “I had a gun in my hand for two hours every day for 10 years to develop my skill level”.

In the video below, Todd explains how to get the proper grip on your handgun, and how to employ a proper stance. We’ve watched many videos on pistol shooting. This is one of the best instructional videos we’ve seen. Todd explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the key elements of grip and stance. One very important point he demonstrates is how to align the grip in your hand so that the gun points naturally — something very important when rapid aiming is required. If you watch this video, you’ll learn valuable lessons — whether you shoot competitively or just want to have better control and accuracy when using your handgun defensively.

Related Article: Thumbs-Forward Shooting Grip for 1911s
“Shooting semiautomatic pistols using the thumbs-forward method really becomes useful … where speed and accuracy are both needed. By positioning the thumbs-forward along the slide (or slightly off of the slide) you are in essence creating a second sighting device: wherever your shooting thumb is pointing is where the pistol is pointing. This makes it incredibly fast to draw the pistol, get your proper grip, and press forward to the target without needing to hunt around for the front sight.” — Cheaper Than Dirt Blog, 9/13/2010.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
October 1st, 2017

Report from F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
“A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold.” — Jay Christopherson, F-Open Second Place.

The 2017 F-Class National Championships in Lodi, Wisconsin are now history. Hail the new Champions: Robert Mead, F-Open (1582-68X) and Ian Klemm, F-TR (1557-56X). Hosted by the Winnequah Gun Club, the Nationals drew about 75 F-Open shooters and 45 F-TR competitors, down from last year. In F-Open, Robert Mead shot brilliantly in tough conditions to finish 14 points ahead of his closest competitor, AccurateShooter.com’s System Administrator Jay Christopherson. Erik Cortina was just one point behind Jay, but Erik had the high X-Count for the match at 71X.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
Photos of Robert Mead and Ian Klemm courtesy Erik Cortina.

In F-TR, Ian Klemm also won by a margin of 14 points. This was an impressive win by Ian, given the challenging winds and weather. F-TR runner-up Todd Sanders also shot remarkably well, considering he is a relative newcomer to F-Class. Forum member KyBountyHunter observed: “Outstanding shooting this week gentlemen, in some of the most challenging conditions that I’ve seen. Congrats to all the winners. Ian — fantastic job taking First Place (well deserved) [and] special congrats to Todd. For this only being his second year in F-TR, he’s going to be force to be reckoned with for a long time!”.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux

CLICK HERE for Match Results. Sorry — no equipment list yet.

Final Results for F-Open (TOP 10):
1. Robert Mead: 1582-68X HM
2. Jay Christopherson: 1568-59X HM
3. Erik Cortina: 1567-71X HM
4. John Myers: 1558-64X HM
5. Pat Scully: 1558-50X HM
6. Larry Bartholome: 1554-55X HM
7. Robert Sebold: 1554-41X HM
8. Steve Harp: 1553-58X HM
9. Jeff Hopkins: 1551-49X MA
10. Lou Murdica: 1550-46X MA

Final Results for F-T/R (TOP 10):
1. Ian Klemm: 1557-56X HM
2. Todd Sanders: 1543-43X MA
3. Brad Sauve: 1542-44X MA
4. Laura Perry: 1539-46X EX
5. Daniel Pohlabel: 1534-49X MA
6. Josh Moore: 1529-37X EX
7. Ken Klemm: 1528-38X MA
8. Bob Lorenz: 1525-47X EX
9. Raymond Weaver: 1522-36X HM
10. Alan Barnhart: 1521-31X HM

Strong Performances by Members of Team Lapua-Borden-Brux
Jay Christopherson posted: “A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold. This was a great end to the 2017 competition season for me as I managed to hang on by the skin of my fingertips to win Silver at the 2017 F-Class US National Championships (F-Open).” For the record, Team Lapua-Borden-Brux ended up with all five present members of the team in the Top 8 of the Grand Aggregate.

Jay Christopherson (2nd, 1568-59X, Silver)
Erik Cortina (3rd, 1567-71X, Bronze)
Pat Scully (5th, 1558-50X)

Bob Sebold (7th, 1554-41X)
Steve Harp (8th, 1553-58X)

In team competition, Team Lapua-Borden Brux won the F-0pen Long Range Championship as well as the Mid-Range Championship. Jay told us: “That was some outstanding shooting by great team members. I’m really looking forward to the 2018 season.” Erik Cortina added: “So proud of our team. We conquered the 2017 LR National Championship as well as the Mid-Range National Championship. We could not have done it without our sponsors: Lapua, Borden Actions, and Brux Barrels.”

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux

In the F-TR Team Competition, mighty Team Sinclair triumphed yet again, winning its 10th Long Range National Championship. Team member Paul Phillips offered this interesting factoid: “This year we won with the original four members we had in 2004 plus Dan Pohlabel. It’s pretty awesome to be shooting with the same guys for 13 years! What a great run since 2004.” And those same four also all hail from Midland, Michigan (Midland County Sportsman’s Club). Team Sinclair still holds the 4-man Team 1000-yard National Record. Shown below, L to R, are team members: Daniel J. Pohlabel, Paul Phillips, Raymond Gross (Coach), Brad Sauve, and John Droelle.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Team Sinclair F-TR
All Team Sinclair members use identical hardware: McMillan XiT stock, Kelbly Panda action, Bartlein barrel, Nightforce scope, and Phoenix Precision bipod. All shoot Berger 200-20X bullets in Lapua brass.

The One that Got Away — Almost Matching F-Open 20-Shot Record
Erik Cortina shot a superb 200-16X during the competition (see electronic target scoring screen below). That was just one X shy of the current 200-17X National Record. Erik observed: “So close, yet so far. Almost matched the National Record of 200-17X but shot a ten on my very last shot. Everything felt good but luck was not on my side.”

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux


File photo from Lodi at past F-Class Nationals.

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 26th, 2017

Rimfire Challenge World Championship — For the Whole Family

NSSF Rimfire Challenge 10/22 M&P .22 LR ruger browning buckmark Alabama

What is the most family-friendly shooting discipline? It just might be the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. NSSF took over the Rimfire Challenge in 2014, replacing Ruger as the sponsoring organization. Now more than 400 Rimfire Challenge events are held across the country each year. The matches are designed to encourage family participation in a friendly atmosphere. Entire families, both oldsters and youngsters, can have fun shooting together in a supervised setting. You don’t need expensive ammo or hardware, and the primary focus is on having fun and enjoying the comraderie.


CLICK HERE to REGISTER | CLICK HERE for Match Results

The NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship will be held October 13-15 at the Cavern Cove Range in Woodville, Alabama (near Huntsville). There will be five “tune-up” fun matches on Friday, October 13, followed by the main matches on Saturday and Sunday. This year there will be 14 total stages (7 handgun and 7 rifle).

Demonstration Sessions with Guns and Ammo Provided
During the Championship weekend there will be free demo programs. That gives visitors some trigger time even if they are not an official competitor. At last year’s NSSF Rimfire Challenge Championship in Alabama, Smith & Wesson was on hand with demo rifles and pistols. See the action in the S&W-produced video above. At the October event, attendees were able to try out the Smith & Wesson® SW22 Victory pistol and the M&P 15-22 rifle.

Competitors will be challenged with rimfire pistol and rifle stages at the Cavern Cove Competition Range in Woodville, Alabama (near Huntsville). Like all NSSF Rimfire Challenge events, the sponsors encourage both novice and experienced shooters to participate. In fact, for many shooters the Rimfire Challenge Championship may be their first-ever major competition.

Guns of Choice: S&W M&P 15-22 and Browning Buck Mark

If you want to shoot both Limited and Open class, a very good rifle choice rifle is the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. The feel, weight, and controls will be familiar to any AR owner. These 15-22s have been refined over the years and now are very reliable. Shoot it in Limited Class with the standard iron sights. Then fold down the sights and attach a 1-4X optic to shoot Open Class.

Smith Wesson M&P 1-22

Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15-22 Sport MOE SL model (Magpul Original Equipment Slim Line) has been upgraded with a more comfortable handguard, an improved grip, and an adjustable Magpul buttstock. It is offered with Flat Dark Earth (tan) furniture (shown above) or dressed in matte black.

Browning Hunter Buckmark 7.25

For pistol competition, we recommend the Browning Buck Mark Hunter. This has a nice set of iron sights, and you can fit a red-dot or pistol scope on the integral Picatinny Rail. The Hunter model, shown above, has a long, 9 3/4″ sight radius with bright fiber-optic sights. It’s also handsome with matte black finish and real Cocobolo grips. Another good choice is the Buck Mark Contour URX stainless with a 7 1/4″ slab-sided heavy barrel.

The Rimfire Challenge is all about shooting fast, so rapid-fire reliability is critical. The Buckmark is one of the most reliable semi-auto pistols ever made, and the ergonomics are great. You can find Buckmarks starting at $249.99 with the current Browning Bucks Rebate.

Rimfire Challenge Rules and Course of Fire

The NSSF Rimfire Challenge offers Open and Limited (iron sights) Divisions, plus Special Recognition sub-classes (Lady, Senior, Junior, Youth and Cowboy/Cowgirl). To learn more about rules, courses of fire, and the upcoming Rimfire World Championship, visit NSSF.org/Rimfire.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge Basics

The Rimfire Challenge is a two-gun event so you need a rifle and a handgun (which can be either a semi-auto pistol, or revolver).

  • There are two divisions: 1) Open — Any firearm (pistol or revolver in handgun class) with scopes, optical sights, light gathering scopes, battery powered optics or lasers; and 2) Limited — Pistols and rifles with iron sights, adjustable metallic sights, and/or fiber optic.
  • Bolt-action rifles and lever-action rifles are allowed, but self-loading (semi-auto) rifles are most popular because they can shoot quickly.
  • It is suggested that your firearms hold at least ten rounds each, as there is no reloading allowed during the actually stages.
  • It is a good idea to have five (5) magazines per gun (5 each for rifle and pistol). That way you don’t have to reload between stages. If you have a 10-shot revolver, you can reload manually, or use speed loaders.
  • At Rimfire Challenge Matches, each competitor gets five (5) runs through each target stage.
  • Eye and ear protection is required on the range at all times. This is true for spectators as well as competitors.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge Courses of Fire | NSSF Rimfire Challenge Rulebook

Many different stage designs can be employed at Rimfire Challenge matches. Here are two examples from the NSSF Rimfire Challenge Suggested Courses of Fire:

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 23rd, 2017

Sling Thing: Dennis DeMille Explains How to Set Up Your Sling

Dennis DeMille Creedmoor Sports Rifle Sling video training set-up
Dennis DeMille shows a young competitor at the CMP Western Games how to adjust his leather sling.

Setting-Up a Leather Service Rifle Sling for Competition
So you made the mistake of disassembling your leather service rifle sling, or are intimidated about how to use one? In this Creedmoor Sports InfoZone video, Creedmoor G.M. Dennis DeMille explains how to set up and use a sling. The covers the basics — Dennis starts with a totally disassembled leather service rifle sling and shows you how to set it up properly.

Tip: “Many shooters shy away from using a leather sling because they have never been taught how to use one. That’s unfortunate. In my opinion a leather sling offers more support than a web sling, which is important when competiting with the heavier than normal rifles.”

Configuring the Sling for the Standing (Offhand) Position
In this second in a series of Creedmoor InfoZone videos on the setup and use of the leather service rifle sling, Dennis DeMille details how to configure and best utilize the leather service rifle sling while shooting from the standing position.

Tip: “Putting the Frogs in different hole will change the amount of added elevation a sling provides.”

Looking at Sling Types — Comparing the Features
In this video Dennis showcases a large variety of shooting slings. He explains the strong points of each type so you can choose the sling best suited to your discipline and shooting style.

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
Once you know how to set up your sling properly, you’ll want to practice. Dennis DeMille stresses the importance of dry-fire practice with sling and shooting coat. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

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