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View Full Version : Off-hand dry-firing practice, any one?


tteng
01-29-2009, 9:34 AM
In lieu of range trips (for me about 1-2 times/mo), I found this is next to the best thing.

Recently I've been dry-firing about 20-min a day (after that my support hand starts to weave). Basically, I draw a black dot, about 0.1" dia, on a white board. Stands about 8' away, which gives me about a 4-MOA target. I'm about two weeks into it. The first couple days, my shoulders and lower-back muscles are sore. However, recently I found my hand-eye coordination and muscle-memory are getting better (have not had the chance to validate it though). The rifle, a replica 1860 Henry, is about 9lb and comes w/ a peep-sight and set-trigger (which is fortunate for me, all my other rifles have heavy trigger break).

My questions,
1. What's the best way to line-up your target? I'm going for a 6-o'clock hold (dot on top of post). I've tried 6-12 up, 3-9 sideway, and diagonal 6-9. I'm right-handed.

2. Do you use a fast coarse-move (have the dot within your sight picture), and a slow fine-move (lining it up). Or, do you use one continuous move?

3. How many 'good-clicks' do you go for a day? I do about 50-100 clicks a day, and 1/4 of them is probably good.

4. When/where do you have the trigger break? And how important is follow-through (do I continue the motion after trigger break?)

5. I also found my first 10 or so clicks are bad, then my muscles starts to settle down. Is this common?

alpha_romeo_XV
01-29-2009, 11:53 AM
I guess there are many silhouette or across the course shooters that practice dry fire regularly.
I sight at a SR target reduced for 50ft air rifle and have that much distance to dry-fire both indoor and outdoor. ~20 shots 2x week.

Iíll shoot matches for high power service rifle and match rifle, and then also some rim-fire reduced silhouette. Each match uses a different rifle and sights - so the technique varies for each.

High power your shooting coats makes a big difference, hopefully youíve got a good one. Resting the rifle butt on your range stool between shots helps me a lot too.
For SR with front post sight, I go center of mass and pull 2nd stage of trigger as soon as its in the black coming up from below. Unlike 6:00 hold in other positions.
For MR with front aperature sight, I go for as steady a center hold as I can get and with a 13# gun and 2# 2nd stage it works surprising well, I can get mid 90ís on a calm day Ė avoiding any caffeine.
For Silhouette itís quite different, no shoot coat allowed at all, and I use a 18x scope. You really see the cross-hair wobble, so just I try to develop a consistent motion to work from. I can only get steel about 40% so far. Toughest are the little chickens at 27 yards for me. I haven't shot full distance high power silhouette yet.

I definitely donít want my first shot for score to be without both dry-fire warm up and some sighters (if allowed) to warm up.
I get much more neck fatigue in slow prone than I do in off-hand.
And a strong cross wind when on the line adds another big challenge to deal with that can only be learned by practice, if at all.

30Cal
01-29-2009, 1:09 PM
I'm confused by your description of movement. If the sight is moving as you break the shot, you'd better be sure it breaks on it's way into the target and not on the way out.

Make absolutely sure you are reinforcing good habits and not bad ones. You should never ever accept a bad shot while dry-firing. I put the gun down and start over a lot when I dryfire. Stop when you start to tire. My goal is to make 100% good shots during the time I allot myself. Quality, not quantity. If you're having a below average day, then practice something else. One good shot in 20 minutes is infinitely better than 5 good ones and 15 bad ones.

If you aren't training to reject bad shots, then you are going to accept them.

tteng
01-29-2009, 2:57 PM
http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa120/chingyitsai/SUC50725.jpg


Thanks for the tip about taking bad shots.

Flying Bones
01-29-2009, 8:23 PM
I'm confused by your description of movement. If the sight is moving as you break the shot, you'd better be sure it breaks on it's way into the target and not on the way out.

Make absolutely sure you are reinforcing good habits and not bad ones. You should never ever accept a bad shot while dry-firing. I put the gun down and start over a lot when I dryfire. Stop when you start to tire. My goal is to make 100% good shots during the time I allot myself. Quality, not quantity. If you're having a below average day, then practice something else. One good shot in 20 minutes is infinitely better than 5 good ones and 15 bad ones.

If you aren't training to reject bad shots, then you are going to accept them.

I really like what you have to say here. I have no idea what's right and wrong but this is what I have sub conciously tried to do, now I'll be sure to make it a priority because it makes great sense. Thanks.

Francis Marion
01-29-2009, 10:17 PM
For offhand practice, consider why you're practicing- is it for a specific course of fire or is it to improve your marksmanship in general? Devise drills that serve your purpose.
In general, I don't want to acquire and maintain an offhand position for an extended period. Standing demands a lot from your muscles compared to sitting and prone, and so it's prudent to make the most of the time in position.
So many variables to control.
Address the target at a comfortable angle, at 90į or so. Many ways to hold the rifle; practice those that work best with your body type, rifle, and purpose, and master them.

You can run through a checklist as you dry fire:
Acquire sight picture.
Respiratory pause at the end of your exhalation.
Focus your eye on the front sight.
Squeeze the trigger. (no dragging wood.)
Hold the trigger back; call the shot.
Inhale, repeat.

You can deliver two or three well aimed shots from standing without breaking position, if you fire one shot per respiratory cycle.
After two or three shots, pivot the rifle downward from the shoulder to a low ready position, and rest your muscles, reoxygenate your body and eyes.
Wind, muscle fatigue, etc. can and will challenge your ability to take well aimed shots.
At those times, lower the rifle and pass a few respiratory cycles in the low ready, and try again.
If you have the luxury of plenty of time for your standing shots, build your position, initiate respiratory pause, and squeeze the trigger. If you have not touched off the shot in 6 seconds after initiating squeeze, abandon the effort- rest two breath cycles in low ready and try again.
The time spent dry firing, with conscious effort towards practicing sound shooting technique, will pay off noticeably at the range.

rayra
01-29-2009, 10:32 PM
muscle-memory shouldn't really be playing a part, in a manner of speaking. You aren't supposed to use shooting positions that rely on muscle tension, because then muscle fatigue can screw up your aim. The Marine Corps focused on bone support and proper body alignment when I was in. You shouldn't have to muscle the rifle onto the target at all. 'At rest' is should be aligned with your target properly. If it isn't, readjust your entire position until it is.
And to a good degree this is also true with the Offhand / Standing position they taught. Your muscles are only minimally involved.

Beyond that, the best test for your shooting position and bone support was to get in your chosen position, get on target, then close your eyes take a big brath and exhale. Reopen your eyes and see if you are still on target. If you've aligned your body properly and used bonen support instead of your nuscles, the rifle should be right back on target after that full breath. You close your eyes during this so you don't subconsciously cheat your aim onto the target as you move with your breathing.

we dry-fired / snapped-in extensively during initial rifle training, everyone in a school circle of sorts all sighting on a series of scaled down targets spraypainted on stacked 55gal drums. Seemed like we did it for hours.

Lastly, on the issue of long range marksmanship, we were taught not to fight ore try to force the sights on-target. Especially after a long practice session, fatigued, or during a long hold waiting for the wind to settle. We were taught that rather than fighting the natural wobble / wander, to actually work with it and steer it a bit. As your sight invariably moves, try to get it oscillating in a pattern that centers on the target. And only apply pressure on the trigger as you are crossing into the target. Don't rush it, stop pressure as you wander back off the target. Eventually the trigger will break while you are ON target. Never rush off the shot.

The Marine Corps taught me to consistently hit a torso target at 500 meters with a rattle-trap M16A2 with these methods, and I tied the Series high shooter on Qual day.

And before you spend a lot of hours engraining your habits, you better make sure they are good ones, that your technique actually lends itself to the desired results in live fire, or you'll wind up having a helluva time unlearning it.

Francis Marion
01-29-2009, 11:22 PM
[QUOTE=rayra;1967805]...The Marine Corps focused on bone support and proper body alignment when I was in. You shouldn't have to muscle the rifle onto the target at all. 'At rest' is should be aligned with your target properly. If it isn't, readjust your entire position until it is. ...
Beyond that, the best test for your shooting position and bone support was to get in your chosen position, get on target, then close your eyes take a big brath and exhale. Reopen your eyes and see if you are still on target. If you've aligned your body properly and used bonen support instead of your nuscles, the rifle should be right back on target after that full breath. You close your eyes during this so you don't subconsciously cheat your aim onto the target as you move with your breathing.

...QUOTE]

That's a gold nugget called 'natural point of aim'.
Any shooter can generate smoke and noise. But to shoot well, at some point, you have to acquire a knowledge base of fundamentals of position, technique, and theory.
If shooting is a worthwhile pursuit, it's worth doing well, right?
To sharpen you up, and so that you can teach your friends and family to do the same. Although not everybody can join the Marines (and I suppose they like it that way!), just about everybody can attend an Appleseed clinic and learn a large measure of rifle basics: from how to take a bone-supported prone and sitting position, how exactly to fire each shot, sight adjustment in minutes of angle, with skill drills and diagnostics.
Dry firing does help attendees; the dry fire crowd turns in sub 4 MOA groups on demand: from field positions, under time pressure, with imposed mag and NPOA changes.
That's impressive, and easily within reach with coaching and practice. I'll even say that capability should characterize the majority of rifle owners.
California will host nine Appleseed clinics all over the state on the weekend of April 18-19. Why so many? To honor and remember the patiots who died on April 19, 1775, so that we can enjoy Liberty.
Why shouldn't your fine rifle have a proficient rifleman for an owner?
Great event for families- ladies and kids pay range fees only.

tteng
01-30-2009, 9:48 AM
Gold mine of knowledges here. Thanks gents.

dchang0
01-30-2009, 10:04 AM
Gold mine of knowledges here. Thanks gents.

There's even more at the Appleseed shoot. I'm going to the March one in Corona again--will keep going until I qualify rifleman and then qualify on all of my semiautos one by one. You'll learn a ton in person and can ask questions of all the instructors.