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June 06, 2013
Shooting Tips: 8 Mistakes that Rob Rifle Accuracy - 1
If you’re struggling to shoot small groups, it might not be the rifle. It might be an error in your setup or execution. Learning to recognize subtle mistakes will help you to shoot without excuses and give every rifle it’s fair shake at the range.
There is skill involved in all types of shooting, but generally, rifle accuracy from a bench rest is about consistency and eliminating outside influences that limit the gun’s capabilities.
Once you learn to recognize these 8 overlooked mistakes, you will see better results on target.
1. Improperly Mounted Scope
It helps to start with quality bases and rings. Then be sure and level the gun in a vise and level the scope before securing it. Use a torque wrench to tighten screws to the manufacturer’s specifications.
2. Unstable Rest
If you shoot prone often, it’s fine to sight in from a stable bipod. Otherwise, a heavy bench rest is best.
3. Shooting in Bad Conditions
4. Inconsistent Shoulder Pressure
“You want uniform shoulder pressure,” says Darrell Buell, a long-range shooting instructor and captain of the U.S. F-T/R rifle team. “Some guys prefer a lot of shoulder pressure. As long as you can calibrate it and make it the same every single time you’ll have success.”
5. Inconsistent Trigger Pull
“The ideal trigger pull is more of a trigger press,” says Buell. “If you’re thinking ‘pull,’ too may people actually ‘yank.’”
Learning to press a trigger—moving it straight to the rear without disturbing the sight picture—takes practice, either with live rounds or by dry-fire practice. You should be able to take up all the slack first, so at the exact moment you want to fire you can break the trigger.
“The idea is to pull that trigger and have as little external influence on the rifle as possble,” adds Buell.
6. Too Much Barrel Heat
If you aren’t patient enough to wait on the barrel to cool, take along a .22 and plink between strings. Shoot in the shade when possible, and use a portable fan to blow air across the barrel if it’s really hot.
7. Lack of Follow-Through and Focus
If that doesn’t work, try role-playing to sharpen your focus. Imagine you’re making a perfect shot on a 6x6 bull or 175-inch whitetail. Or shoot a smaller target that requires greater concentration. You’ll learn to pick an impact point, not an impact area.
8. Using the Wrong Ammo