May 26th, 2017

Novice Shooters Deserve Accurate Rifles Too…

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

On some internet shooting forums, self-declared “experts” advise new rifle shooters to stick to low-end factory rifles. These “experts” (many of whom don’t own a single really accurate rifle), claim that it will take years for a new shooter to learn how to shoot a rifle accurately. So, the argument goes, the accuracy offered by a precision-chambered rifle, with a custom barrel, is “wasted” on a new shooter.

We disagree with that viewpoint, at least when it comes to rifles shot from a rest. We’ve seen relatively new shooters, with help from a skilled mentor, do remarkably well with precision rifles right from the start. With a good bench gun, many new shooters can shoot well under 1 MOA on the first day. Certainly it takes time for a complete novice to learn how to handle the gun and to work the trigger smoothly. However, this editor has personally seen some inexperienced shooters try their hand at benchrest shooting, and within few month they are doing very well indeed at club shoots.

Accurate Rifles Reward Progress As Novices Build Skills

For bench shooting, we think a highly accurate rifle is a much better training device for a new shooter than a typical, cheap factory sporter. With a gun capable of 1.5-2.0 MOA at best, you can never really determine if a “flyer” is you or the gun. Conversely, when a novice shoots a gun that can put 5 shots through one ragged hole, if a shot goes way high or low, the shooter knows his aim, trigger control, or gun-handling is to blame. He (or she) can then correct the problem. And when the shooter does everything right, he or she will see a nice tight group on the target. The accurate rifle provides more meaningful feedback and it rewards progress. That helps the novice become a better shooter in a shorter period of time.

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

A while back, Forum Member Preacher and his “bunny hugger” niece from California proved this point. The young lady, with almost no shooting experience, took Preacher’s 6-6.5×47 and shot a sub-quarter-MOA, 3-shot group at 350 yards. Don’t tell her she needs to stick to a cheap factory rifle. Preacher reports: “My niece flew in from the west coast and came up to visit. When she saw a few of my full-blown varmint rifles, she wanted to shoot one. She did a super job even if she IS a ‘bunny hugger’. She pulled the 1.5 ounce Jewell on a few fired cases to check out the trigger pull and then got in behind the gun and put three shots into a 350-yard target with a one-inch circle.” We measured her group at 0.822″ (0.224 MOA). Don’t tell Preacher that accuracy is “wasted” on novices. He joked: “I sure don’t want her shooting at me ….”

Rifle Features BAT Action, Krieger Barrel, and Russo Laminated Stock:

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

For those who are interested, Preacher’s rifle features a BAT 3-lug action, 30″ Krieger 7.5-twist heavy contour barrel, and Russo stock (with clear coat by Preacher). Chambered in 6-6.5×47 Lapua, this gun “shoots the 108gr Bergers very well” according to Preacher. Yep, we agree with that — even when a novice “bunny-hugger” does the trigger-pulling.

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April 18th, 2017

Teaching New Shooters — CMP Training Resources

The CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) offers a wide variety of resources for novice shooters and juniors. These materials help novices learn basic marksmanship skills and get started in competition. Some resources can be downloaded from the CMP website, while others are available for purchase from the CMP E-Store. In addition, The CMP maintains a Coaching Resources webpage with dozens of informative articles. Here are some of the CMP articles you can find online:

teaching shooting positions youth junior

Videos

These short marksmanship trainging videos cover the basics of the Kneeling, Standing, and Prone postions. (NOTE: these are live links — videos will launch when you click.)

(more…)

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March 25th, 2017

Get Physical — Strength and Cardio Training for Shooters

In the archives of The First Shot (the CMP’s Online Magazine), SGT Walter E. Craig of the USAMU discusses physical conditioning for competitive shooters, particularly High Power competitors. Fitness training is an important subject that, curiously, is rarely featured in the shooting sports media. We seem to focus on hardware, or esoteric details of cartridge reloading. Yet physical fitness also matters, particularly for High Power shooters. In his article, Craig advocates: 1) weight training to strengthen the Skeletal Muscle System; 2) exercises to build endurance and stamina; and 3) cardiovascular conditioning programs to allow the shooter to remain relaxed with a controlled heart beat.

SGT Craig explains: “An individual would not enter a long distance race without first spending many hours conditioning his/her body. One should apply the same conditioning philosophy to [shooting]. Physical conditioning to improve shooting skills will result in better shooting performance…. The objective of an individual physical training program is to condition the muscles, heart, and lungs thereby increasing the shooter’s capability of controlling the body and rifle for sustained periods.”

CLICK HERE to READ FULL FITNESS ARTICLE

In addition to weight training and cardio workouts (which can be done in a gym), SGT Craig advocates “some kind of holding drill… to develop the muscles necessary for holding a rifle for extended periods.” For those with range access, Craig recommends a blind standing exercise: “This exercise consists of dry-firing one round, then live-firing one round, at a 200-yard standard SR target. For those who have access only to a 100-yard range, reduced targets will work as well. Begin the exercise with a timer set for 50 minutes. Dry-fire one round, then fire one live round and without looking at the actual impact, plot a call in a data book. Continue the dry fire/live fire sequence for 20 rounds, plotting after each round. After firing is complete, compare the data book to the target. If your zero and position are solid, the plots should resemble the target. As the training days add up and your zero is refined, the groups will shrink and move to the center.”

Brandon GreenFitness training and holding drills help position shooters reach their full potential.

Training for Older Shooters
Tom Alves has written an excellent article A Suggested Training Approach for Older Shooters. This article discusses appropriate low-impact training methods for older shooters. Tom explains: “Many of the articles you will read in books about position shooting and the one mentioned above are directed more toward the younger generation of shooters in their 20s. If you look down the line at a typical high power match these days you are likely to see quite a few folks who are in their middle 30s and up. Many people in that age range have had broken bones and wear and tear on their joints so a training program needs to take that into account. For instance, while jogging for an extended period for heart and lung conditioning may be the recommended approach for younger folks, it may be totally inappropriate for older people.”

READ FULL ARTICLE by Tom Alves

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March 17th, 2017

YHEC — Training the Next Generation of Hunters and Shooters

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Match

More new shooters. That’s what the shooting sports need to thrive. Today’s juniors are the future of our sport. Organized training programs teach youngsters safe firearms handling, marksmanship skills, and important life skills such as teamwork and goal attainment. One of the leading programs for young shooters is the Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). Designed to promote and encourage safe, lifelong hunting, the program has served over 1.2 million participants since inception in 1985.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Match

The NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge program helps kids 18 and under to learn hunting, marksmanship, and safety skills. From rifle, bow, and muzzleloader shooting, to wildlife identification, map & compass orienteering and more, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight skill areas. This is a great program for parents and kids who want to go on family hunts together.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Match

Every year, the YHEC has a major national championship. Participants compete with a variety of firearms types (rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader), and do other skills challenges including archery and orienteering. This year’s YHEC National Championship takes place July 23-28, 2017 at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. CLICK HERE for More Information.

This is an excellent video. Well worth watching, with impressive aerial photography.

Along with the YHEC Championship, the Whittington Center hosts many major matches each year. Founded in 1973, the Center offers ranges for every kind of shooting discipline, a firearms museum, guided and unguided hunts, plus an adventure camp for younger shooters. The Whittington Center has comfortable, modern cabins and RV camping zones for extended stays.

Article based on report in NRABlog.com.

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January 20th, 2017

Shoot Better with No Ammo at All — Dry-Fire Training Tips

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Kirsten Joy Weiss has created a useful video about Dry-Fire practice. Dry-Fire is a method of training without a live round in the chamber. Dry-Firing is effective, Kirsten explains, because “it eliminates all the extra noise and messages that you get when you fire a live round. Without recoil, without the sound of a shot going off etc., all you hear is the click of the trigger. This allows you to focus on your sight picture and your trigger press.” This the lastest installment in Kirsten’s ‘How to Shoot Awesomely’ series. Kisten says: “I hope it helps you, and keep on aiming true!”

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
If you are not doing Dry-Fire practice yet, then it’s time to start. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines, and very useful for F-Class. 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.”

Dry-Fire Training Can Benefit Benchrest Shooters
What about benchrest? Well, we’ve found that Dry-Fire sessions can even benefit benchresters — it can help reveal flaws in your trigger technique, or inconsistencies in the way you address the rifle from shot to shot. With the gun set up with your front rest and rear bag, if you see the scope’s cross-hairs wiggle a lot when you pull the trigger, you need to work on your technique. Also, dry-fire practice can help you learn to work the bolt more smoothly so you don’t disturb the gun on the bags.

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August 20th, 2016

Training for Long Range Shooting

Bryan Litz Video Long Range Training

In this video, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics focuses on training. Bryan says that training is key for success in Long Range shooting: “Training in the sense that you want to want to refine your fundamentals of marksmanship — your sight alignment, your trigger control. You should practice those things enough that they become second nature and you don’t have to think about them. Keep in mind, it’s not just good enough to train, you have to learn how to train. You need to learn how to practice effectively, to get the most out of everything you do.”

Bryan says that success in Long Range shooting is not just about the hardware. It’s what’s between your ears that really counts: “The most important element in Long Range shooting is your knowledge — your understanding and practice of fundamentals of marksmanship, as well as your understanding of ballistics. You have to be able to fire the rifle, execute good shots that will put your rounds on target, but you also need to make intelligent sight corrections that will accurately account for the effects of gravity drop, and wind deflection, to center your group on those targets”.

Litz Competition Shooting Tips

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

Bryan Litz Tips

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August 18th, 2016

Youth Shooting Programs — How to Get Your Kids Involved

4H National Shooting Sports Youth Program
The Camp Josepho Boy Scouts facility in California offers outstanding marksmanship programs.

Article based on report in NRABlog.com.
Want to get young people involved in the shooting sports? Through organized training programs youngsters learn safe firearms handling, improve marksmanship skills, and meet other kids with similar interests. They also learn important life skills such as teamwork and goal attainment. There are several youth marksmanship programs available. All these programs let you share your joy of shooting with the younger generation. Remember today’s juniors are the future of our sport.

NRA National Junior Shooting Camps

NRA Junior Shooting Championships
File photo from NRA Smallbore Rifle Championship

The NRA’s National Junior Shooting Camps provide high-quality training opportunities in rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines. Instruction is directed by highly qualified, top-level coaches. NRA offers camps for advanced and intermediate juniors. There are also Junior Olympic Shooting Camps, hosted by USA Shooting and supported by the NRA and the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

National 4-H Shooting Sports

4H National Shooting Sports Youth Program

The National 4-H Shooting Sports Program was created to teach marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more. State level 4-H clubs offer programs for individual training as well as team competitive shooting. There is also a National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship each summer which hosts Shotgun, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, Smallbore Rifle, Smallbore Pistol, Compound Archery, Recurve Archery, Muzzleloading Rifle and Hunting Skills events.

Boy Scouts of America

Youth Education BSA Shooting Sports Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) offers several marksmanship opportunities for new and intermediate shooters. Programs provide training for marksmanship badges and there are a variety of other competitive and recreational programs. Check with your local Boy Scout organization to learn about the range offerings for scouts in your region.

American Legion Junior Program

American Legion Junior Program

Thousands of male and female junior shooters have participated in the American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program, which has a perfect safety record. The Junior Program includes a Basic Marksmanship Course, Qualification Awards and Air Rifle Competition. To learn more, visit www.legion.org/shooting.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC)

The NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) program helps kids 18 and under to learn hunting, marksmanship, and safety skills. From rifle, bow, and muzzleloader shooting, to wildlife identification, map & compass orienteering and more, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight skill areas. This is a great program for parents and kids who want to go on family hunts together.

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program

From a young shooter’s first BB gun to sophisticated air rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, pistols, and rifles, the year-round Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program offers a pathway to excellence for young shooters. Qualification shooting provides incentive awards for developing and improving marksmanship skills. Progression is self-paced and scores are challenging but attainable. Performance is measured against established par scores and any shooter who meets or exceeds those scores is entitled recognition awards for that rating.

Brownells / NRA Day

Brownells NRA Day

Brownells / NRA Day events provide adults, youth, families, hunters, sportsmen, competitors – literally everyone – the opportunity to come together under a formal program to learn, experience, share, and grow in appreciation of the shooting sports. The event themes offered in the program are designed for discovery. They provide exposure to the many different activities available in shooting sports and offer participants the opportunity to explore them in a safe, controlled environment.

Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation

Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation

The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) offers a variety of fun, team-based shooting tournaments in both the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP). These programs are open to student athletes aged elementary through college.

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July 12th, 2016

Range Etiquette — Proper Practices to Follow at Gun Ranges

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

There are important safety and behavior rules you need to follow at a gun range. Sometimes bad range etiquette is simply annoying. Other times poor gun-handling practices can be downright dangerous. The NRA Blog has published a useful article about range safety and “range etiquette”. While these tips were formulated with indoor ranges in mind, most of the points apply equally well to outdoor ranges. You may want to print out this article to provide to novice shooters at your local range or club.

8 Tips for Gun Range Etiquette

Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog
Here are eight tips on range etiquette to keep yourself and others safe while enjoying your day out [at the range]. Special thanks to NRA Headquarters Range General Manager Michael Johns who assisted with this article.

1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

This NSSF Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules:

2. Bring Safety Gear (Eye and Ear Protection)
Eye and Ear protection are MANDATORY for proper safety and health, no matter if “required” by range rules or not. It is the shooter’s responsibility to ensure proper protection is secured and used prior to entering/using any range. Hearing loss can be instantaneous and permanent in some cases. Eyesight can be ruined in an instant with a catastrophic firearm failure.

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

3. Carry a Gun Bag or Case
Common courtesy and general good behavior dictates that you bring all firearms to a range unloaded and cased and/or covered. No range staff appreciates a stranger walking into a range with a “naked” firearm whose loaded/unloaded condition is not known. You can buy a long gun sock or pistol case for less than $10.

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all “range specific” rules/requirements/expectations set forth by your range. What’s the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass? Are you required to take a test before you can shoot? Don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions or tell them it’s your first time. They’re there to help.

5. Follow ALL Range Officer instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing/debating with a Range Officer is both in poor taste and may just get you thrown out depending on circumstances.

6. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. Shooters have the right and responsibility to call for a cease fire should a SERIOUS safety event occur. Handling/touching another shooter’s firearm without their permission is a major breech of protocol. Offering unsolicited “training” or other instructional suggestions to other shooters is also impolite.

7. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). The Range Officer(s) on duty will give instructions from that point and/or secure all firearms prior to going downrange if needed. ROs do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation, possibly in a stressful event; they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly so that they can then control the situation as they see fit.

8. Clean Up After Yourself
Remember to take down your old targets, police your shooting booth, throw away your trash, and return any equipment/chairs, etc. Other people use the range too; no one wants to walk up to a dirty lane.

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June 14th, 2016

Enjoy Family Fun at a Brownells / NRA Day Event

NRA Brownells Day event

Report based on story by Kyle Jillson for NRA Blog
Summer is the time of year to get outside and have fun with family and friends. A great way to enjoy shooting with friends and family members is to attend a Brownells/NRA Day. These fun events will be held throughout the summer, at locations across the USA. These events are designed for all ages — from youngsters to senior citizens. The activities appeal to all skill levels, from first-time shooters to seasoned competitors.

Brownells/NRA Day events are fun affairs, where participants can try out a variety of different shooting disciplines. Events are always a big hit and you won’t find people as friendly and helping anywhere else. Below is a complete list of upcoming July events. There are a variety of events, including Basic Firearms Training, Youth “SportsFest”, 3-Gun Experience, Hunter’s Event, Competition, and Shotgun. For more information on any scheduled event, visit the Brownells/NRA Day website.

NRA Brownells Day event

Find a Brownells/NRA Day Event Near You

NRA Brownells Day event

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June 3rd, 2016

David Spaulding Clears the Air on “Tactical” Training

David Spaulding Tactical Tacticool Firearms gun training

Are you fed up with all the “Tacticool” nonsense? Do you wonder about guys who are more into “macho” fashion statements than actually learning effective gun-handling skills? Are you tired of the whole “tactical lifestyle” silliness? Well so is respected firearms trainer David Spaulding. In this refreshingly frank and candid video, Dave speaks the “plain truth” about firearms training, pistols in particular.

Great “No-BS” Video — David Spaulding Calls Out Firearms Training Nonsense:

David Spaulding Tactical Tacticool Firearms gun trainingDavid explains that you don’t need to dress up like a Spec Ops Warrior. You don’t need a beard and you don’t need to wear tactical pants and combat boots. Jeans and sneakers work just fine.

David also says that too many people are caught up in hardware “one-upsmanship”. Get the pistol that works best for you — it doesn’t matter if it’s not the one used by Delta Force. Likewise, get the holster that fits YOU best, even if it’s not on the cover of Guns & Ammo magazine.

Most importantly, David says that, to be truly proficient with any firearm, you must TRAIN with that firearm in real life. Surfing the web won’t substitute for actual training time, David says. AccurateShooter.com agrees wholeheartedly — while this website provides a wealth of info on reloading, marksmanship, and other topics, you still need to get out to the range and train. There is no substitute for actual trigger time, preferably under the guidance of a competent mentor or instructor.

“The fact remains [that] if you really understood the psychological and financial trauma that occurs to someone when they take a life, you won’t want to do it. So the fascination with war-fighting, and gear, and killing people just does not make sense.

I’ll have people that contact me and say ‘What kind of trousers were you wearing?’ Who cares! They’re [just] a pair of pants…” — David Spaulding

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May 15th, 2016

Free eBook for CCW Holders from Beretta

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

Do you have a concealed carry permit, or do you plan to carry a concealed handgun in the future? Then you can benefit from Beretta’s FREE 15-page e-book, Ten Essential Tips for CCW Holders. This eBook, in handy PDF format, helps gun owners select an appropriate handgun (and holster), understand legal obligations and responsibilities, and train effectively with the firearm. This short eBook offers many useful tips to consider, in particular for gunowners who are contemplating the pros and cons of everyday carry for themselves.

Click here to download 10 Essential Tips for CCW Holders as a PDF

As the Beretta CCW booklet says, “Carrying a concealed handgun requires a certain amount of confidence. You need to be confident in your knowledge of laws and regulations. You have to have confidence in your accuracy, and you need to trust that you can carry a gun effectively, securely and comfortably. If a gun is a burden for you to carry, you probably won’t.”

Surprising Facts About Actual Defensive Handgun Use
You may be surprised to learn when and how handguns are actually used for self-defense. Most defensive uses are at very short range and the incident only lasts a matter of seconds. You need to be prepared, and train to be proficient drawing and aiming your weapon. And remember, shooting is a last resort, when a safe retreat is not available.

55% of gunfights take place in 0-5 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 5-10 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 10-21 feet.
95% of gunfights take place in 0-21 feet. (Source: FBI)
The average man can cover 21 feet of ground in 1.5 seconds.
The average gunfight is over in 3-5 seconds.
3 to 4 shots are usually fired.
Most gunfights take place in low-light conditions.
On average, one shot in four strikes someone.

Here are two (2) sample pages from Beretta’s CCW eBook.

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

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May 6th, 2016

SCATT MX-02 Electronic Trainer Product Test and Review

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens
by Tony Chow
In recent years, the use of electronic trainer systems has revolutionized training in all disciplines of position shooting. By capturing (and illustrating) key performance variables like the steadiness of a shooter’s hold, accuracy of aiming, and the timeliness of trigger release, these devices can offer tremendous insights into the strengths and weakness of a shooter’s position and technique, making high-level marksmanship training less voodoo and more of a science.

Until now, electronic trainers all suffered from one critical limitation: the inability to be used outdoors in live fire training. Now, however, SCATT has introduced the next-generation MX-02 electronic trainer, a product that can finally support outdoor live firing in broad daylight, as well as dry firing indoors. In addition, the MX-02 is the first electronic trainer to support centerfire rifles. It goes without saying that, when we at AccurateShooter.com were offered an MX-02 test unit to review, we jumped at the opportunity.

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens

READ FULL REVIEW of SCATT MX-02 Electronic Trainer

How the SCATT MX-02 Works
The SCATT sensor mounted on the end of the barrel has a digital camera that “sees” the black bullseye in the target, even in broad daylight outdoors. Using the bullseye as a reference, the SCATT software tracks the movement of the muzzle relative to the center of the target. The unit can plot these movements as a continuous trace, which appears on a monitor as a squiggly, colored line. Data points from the trace are also available in a tabular spreadsheet format. This allows the shooter to “crunch the numbers”, revealing strengths and weaknesses in his gun-handling and aiming technique.

In our testing, we confirmed that, like SCATT’s earlier indoor-only WS-01, the MX-02 offers excellent support for indoor dry-fire training, which will continue to be the primary means through which position shooters sharpen their fundamental skills. Since the new SCATT uses the same familiar Windows software for data capture and analysis as its predecessors, shooters and coaches upgrading to MX-02 will have no learning curve to overcome, and newcomers to the SCATT platform can tap into the wealth of institutional knowledge accumulated over the years by the shooting community on how to interpret shot data.

It’s in the support for outdoor live firing, however, that SCATT MX-02 distinguishes itself from its predecessors and the competition. Shot trace data captured by MX-02 during live firing turned out to be every bit as valuable (and revealing) as we had hoped. The ability to correlate SCATT tracing with real shots on target gave us a better understanding of the shooting process, and helped the reviewer, already a high-level smallbore prone shooter, uncover a significant problem in his shooting. SCATT MX-02’s outdoor capability is therefore an invaluable feature, particularly for experienced shooters aspiring to world-class performance.

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens

In summary, SCATT MX-02 is an outstanding product that delivers on its promises. We heartily recommend it, both for first-time users of electronic training aids, and also for those shooters who may wish to upgrade their current electronic training system. The MSRP for SCATT MX-02 is $1,799, $500 more than its predecessor, the SCATT WS-01, which is still available. In my view, the $500 premium for the MX-02 is justified by the MX-02’s enhanced capabilities, making it a better long-term investment.

Our complete, 3600-word MX-02 review of the SCATT MX-02 can be accessed through the link below. This full review contains many more photos plus detailed field test results. For the time being, the review only covers our experience with the product in smallbore shooting. An upcoming addendum to the review will include test results from centerfire shooting. Those attending SHOT Show in Las Vegas next week can examine SCATT MX-02 in person. SCATT will have the MX-02 on display at Booth 111.

READ FULL REVIEW of SCATT MX-02 Electronic Trainer

For more information or to order SCATT products, including the new MX-02, visit ScattUSA.com or call toll-free: 1-855-57-SCATT (72288).

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April 5th, 2016

Scouting on Target — The Marksmanship Merit Badge

Boy Scout Merit Badge American Rifleman

Last year 43,196 young Americans earned a very special marksmanship distinction. Can you guess what that was? Here’s a hint — the award helps a young person become an Eagle Scout. That’s right, last year 43,196 Boy Scouts earned the Marksmanship Merit Badge for rifle shooting. This is one of the toughest badges to earn, according to Scouting leaders, but it is still one of the most popular badges among Scouts — it fact it is the second most earned elective merit badge. Since 1910, over 350,000 Scouts have earn Rifle Shooting Merit Badges. Millions more have participated in Boy Scout Shooting programs. Merit badges are offered for both Rifle Shooting and Shotgun shooting.

Mark Keefe, editor of the American Rifleman explains: “According to Scouting magazine, the Rifle Shooting Merit badge was number two of the non-required badges earned by all Boy Scouts cross country last year with 43,196 Rifle Shooting merit badges sewn on sashes. Since 2009, again according to Scouting, nearly 350,000 Rifle Shooting merit badges have been earned. That’s a lot of merit badges — and a lot of .22 Long Rifle downrange.”

Boy Scout Merit Badge American Rifleman

The Marksmanship Merit Badge has been offered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) since the first Boy Scout Handbook in 1910. Keefe explains: “Back in 1910 to earn the ‘Marksman’ Badge of Merit, you had to ‘Qualify as a marksman in accordance with the requirements of the National Rifle Association.’ And NRA and the BSA of have had a strong partnership for more than a century, and both organizations remain committed to teaching firearms safety and marksmanship.”

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March 25th, 2016

NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course Now Available Online

nra pistol basic shooting training course

Do you know someone who wants to get started in pistol shooting? Here’s a new opportunity. The NRA now offers its Basics of Pistol Shooting Course in an online format. That makes it easy to cover the “classroom” part of the course on your own time. The $60.00 online course includes 11 step-by-step lessons (to be followed by live range training). CLICK HERE to enroll in online Pistol Training Course.

Train Online, Then Register for a Range Session
For the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course, Phase 1 is conducted in an online environment, completed on your own time (cost is $60.00, non-refundable). After successfully completing the online exam, students can register for Phase 2, the instructor-led training session. Phase 2 is conducted at your local range with an NRA Certified Instructor. You must successfully complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 in order to receive your NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course certificate.

nra pistol basic shooting training course

Designed and developed by experts to accommodate busy schedules, the web-based course takes a blended learning approach to firearms training with both online and physical components. Students have 90 days to work through 11 online lessons before registering for Phase 2, the NRA Certified Instructor-led phase at a local range. “America has more first time gun owners than ever and the NRA remains dedicated to being the number one provider of firearm training,” said Executive Director of NRA General Operations, Kyle Weaver. “Thanks to our online courses and network of more than 125,000 NRA Certified Instructors, it has never been easier to learn basic firearm skills.” The NRA offers other online training courses at Onlinetraining.nra.org. These offerings include a Range Safety Office (RSO) course, and a Range Development and Operations course.

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March 24th, 2016

Applied Ballistics Will Offer Three More 2016 Seminars

Applied Ballistics Seminars

After the success of its recent winter Ballistics seminar in Michigan, Applied Ballistics has decided to take its show on the road, offering additional Ballistics seminars in three different states (Texas, Michigan, and North Carolina). These three seminars will cover a wide range of topics, with the primary focus on basic to advanced ballistics principles as applied to long-range shooting. Registration is now open for the three (3) upcoming Ballistics Seminars:

1) Addison/Dallas, Texas, May 23-24, 2016 | INFO and Registration
2) Tustin, Michigan, July 18-19, 2016 | INFO and Registration
3) Sophia, NC, November 3-4, 2016 | INFO and Registration

This video explains the subjects covered by Applied Ballistics Seminars:

Ballistician (and current F-TR National Mid-Range and Long-Range Champion) Bryan Litz will be the primary speaker at the spring, summer, and fall seminars. He will present material from his books and the Applied Ballistics Lab, and he will discuss his experience shooting in various disciplines. The seminar will feature structured presentations by Bryan and other noted speakers, but a great deal of time will be alloted for questions and discussion. By the end of the seminar, participants should have a much better understanding of how to apply ballistics in the real world to hit long-range targets. Along with Bryan, other respected experts will include:

Emil Praslick III – Head coach of the U.S. Palma team and retired head coach of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Emil will discuss tactics, strategy, and mindset for successful wind-reading.

Eric Stecker – Master Bulletsmith and President of Berger Bullets. Eric will be presenting on precision bullet making technology.

Nick Vitalbo – Owner of nVisti Tactical Innovations and chief engineer for Applied Ballistics. Nick will discuss the state of the art in laser rangefinders and wind reading devices.

Mitch Fitzpatrick – Applied Ballistics intern and owner of Lethal Precision Arms. Mitch specializes in Extended Long Range (ELR) cartridge selection and rifle design.

Ballistics Seminar Topics

  • Trajectory Basics – zeroing, point blank range, danger space, incline shooting.
  • Wind – Mechanism of wind deflection, reading the wind, wind strategies, wind sensing gear.
  • Secondary Effects – Spin drift, Coriolis, aerodynamic jump.
  • Bullet Drag Modeling/Ballistic Coefficient – Definitions, testing, use.
  • Bullet Stability – Basic gyroscopic stability, transonic stability, limit cycle yaw.
  • Ballistic Solvers – How they work, best practices, demos.
  • Weapon Employment Zone (WEZ) Analysis – How to determine and improve hit percentage.
  • Optics and Laser Technology – State of the Art.

The seminars costs $500.00. But consider this — each seminar participant will receive the entire library of Applied Ballistics books and DVDs, valued at $234.75, PLUS a free copy of Applied Ballistics Analytics software, valued at $200.00. So you will be getting nearly $435.00 worth of books, DVDs, and software. In addition, a DVD of the seminar will be mailed to each attendee after the seminar concludes.

Applied Ballistics Seminars

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January 6th, 2016

Click No Bang — Dry-Fire Training with Kirsten

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Kirsten Joy Weiss has created a useful video about Dry-Fire practice. Dry-Fire is a method of training without a live round in the chamber. Dry-Firing is effective, Kirsten explains, because “it eliminates all the extra noise and messages that you get when you fire a live round. Without recoil, without the sound of a shot going off etc., all you hear is the click of the trigger. This allows you to focus on your sight picture and your trigger press.” This the lastest installment in Kirsten’s ‘How to Shoot Awesomely’ series. Kisten says: “I hope it helps you, and keep on aiming true!”

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
If you are not doing Dry-Fire practice yet, then it’s time to start. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines, and very useful for F-Class. 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.”

Dry-Fire Training Can Benefit Benchrest Shooters
What about benchrest? Well, we’ve found that Dry-Fire sessions can even benefit benchresters — it can help reveal flaws in your trigger technique, or inconsistencies in the way you address the rifle from shot to shot. With the gun set up with your front rest and rear bag, if you see the scope’s cross-hairs wiggle a lot when you pull the trigger, you need to work on your technique. Also, dry-fire practice can help you learn to work the bolt more smoothly so you don’t disturb the gun on the bags.

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December 5th, 2015

Sharing the Fun of Shooting is Rewarding for Young and Old Alike

Why I love Shooting Father Son

It’s important for all serious “gun guys” to share our hobby with new shooters. Sharing the fun with those new to the sport helps keep our shooting heritage alive. And going to the range is also a great way for family members and friends to spend “quality time” together. A father and son outing to the range can be very rewarding, as Forum Member Belton45 observed recently.

Forum Member Belton45 started a thread in our Shooters’ Forum, entitled “Why I Enjoy Shooting.” In the thread, Belton45 described a day at the range with his 11-year-old son: “My son wanted a nice gun like my PPC so I fixed him up a Krieger-barreled 223 AR. [The photo shows] my son shooting the newly-put-together AR. He had the best two small groups of the day with it. Smallest was this .295″ and one a little over .3″. He was very happy as I was also. He is 11 and loves going to range. I am pretty sure I was happier than he was. Although he had to call his grandpa and tell him. On the drive back home he was giving me pointers on how to shoot. He has been shooting with me for 5 to 6 years. He is definitely a good shot. He also shoots a MKIII .22LR pistol very well also. He thinks I’m the ‘coolest dad in the world’. He is a very hard working young man — he mows yards, gets good grades, and is very athletic. I could not be happier.”

READ ‘Why I Enjoy Shooting’ Forum Thread

Forum Member Tim B had a similar positive experience with his nephew: “I don’t have kids but feel that we need to keep alive the gun aspect of our heritage. I bought a .22 mag rifle and gave it to my nephew. He is a natural in my eyes. He loves that rifle more than anything. He has learned to read the wind and can shoot some tight groups with it. I recently let him shoot my AR I just finished building. The look in his eyes after shooting it was priceless. I hope to build him a very nice target gun someday.”

Forum Member Ray in Wenatchee also gave a young shooter a special thrill: “A 10/22 shooting teenager sideled up to me behind my Anschutz M1413 free style rifle and was amazed at my grouping. His dad had taken him down to do a little shooting, then maybe archery. I set him up on my Bald Eagle rest and let him shoot 5 rounds. [He drilled] a 5-round, nickel-sized hole at 50 yards. Both of them were still waving ‘Thank You’ when I left.”

benchrest school

As an eighth grader, Amanda L (photo above), attended a Benchrest Clinic in Southern California. She ended up shooting one of the small groups of the day, an impressive 0.163″. Who said short-range benchrest is just for pudgy old guys with cranky personalities? Amanda is living proof that precision shooting can be enjoyed by just about anyone, at any age.

And we can also help the sport by giving adult shooters the chance to try a very accurate rifle for the first time. Often, when a novice gets a chance to shoot a real tack-driver, he gets “hooked” on the sport. Forum Member LawrenceH writes:

One of the most fulfilling aspects of benchrest shooting, for me, is to get others interested in the sport. At my home range, most shooters have never seen a benchrest rifle, or wind flags. During range visits I get at least one person who comes over and asks questions about my gun and the flags. I will take a break from my shooting and talk with the interested shooter as long as they care to talk. I will then ask them if they would like to shoot a group with my rifle. More often than not they will say yes. The smile on their face when they finish their group and the cheer in their voice as they talk about how fun it is to shoot that rifle is enough to make my day. I got one guy hooked on the sport and made several friends this way. Being open and friendly with other shooters can go a long way toward sustaining our sport.

When I am at the range practicing, I do all I can to dispel the stigma that benchrest shooters are unapproachable or arrogant. My intention of being open and friendly with other shooters is to provide them the thrill of shooting a benchrest rifle and giving them the opportunity to find out what they can do with good equipment. In the process they will see that benchrest shooters are a good bunch of guys and that benchrest competition might be a fun endeavor. If they chose to pursue the sport, that is a bonus. In any case, it has always been a positive experience to share my knowledge and equipment with other shooters. It boils down to having fun and being a good steward of the shooting sports. I will continue to do my part and hope that other benchrest shooters do the same.”

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June 1st, 2015

Novice Shooters Learn Quickly with Truly Accurate Rifles

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

On some internet shooting forums, self-declared “experts” advise new rifle shooters to stick to low-end factory rifles. These “experts” (many of whom don’t own a single really accurate rifle), claim that it will take years for a new shooter to learn how to shoot a rifle accurately. So, the argument goes, the accuracy offered by a precision-chambered rifle, with a custom barrel, is “wasted” on a new shooter.

We disagree with that viewpoint, at least when it comes to rifles shot from a rest. Certainly it takes time for a complete novice to learn how to handle the gun and to work the trigger smoothly. However, we’ve seen relatively new shooters, with help from a skilled mentor, do remarkably well with precision rifles right from the start. With a good bench gun, many new shooters can shoot well under 1 MOA on the first day. This editor has personally seen some inexperienced ladies try their hand at benchrest shooting, and within a month or two they are shooting on a par with the “good old boys” in serious competition.

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March 28th, 2015

How It Works: Cut-Away Winchester Pump-Action Shotgun

Model 12 function shotgun cutaway see-through cut-away larry potterfield

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.
Model 12 function shotgun cutaway see-through cut-away larry potterfield

Here’s a close-up, showing how the bolt retracts to eject a round.
Model 12 function shotgun cutaway see-through cut-away larry potterfield

A round has been picked up from the feed tube, and then is lifted into the chamber.
Model 12 function shotgun cutaway see-through cut-away larry potterfield

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February 9th, 2015

“Aim Small, Miss Small” — Decreasing Dot-Size Training Targets

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 these targets.

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