Anyway, I took my place at the bench, got comfortable and began to shoot my first 5-shot group. Jim did me the courtesy of fiddling around with stuff while I carefully got my 5 shots down range. Now imagine yourself, shooting with Jim Carmichel for the first time. This guy has won practically all there is to win in the shooting game. I really wanted to impress him with a good group, so I really took my time.

When I was done Jim took a quick look downrange through the spotting scope. “Not bad,” he exclaimed. “Now let me show you how this is done.”

Jim got situated on the bench. Loaded the rifle and set 4 more cartridges within easy reach. He got on the scope, paused for a moment, and then preceded to unleash the fastest firing of 5 shots I’d ever seen. His hands literally flew across the rifle, loading and unloading as quickly as he could chamber a round. In moments he was finished.

“Take a look at that,” he said. When I looked through the spotting scope I could see my group on one target and Jim’s right next to mine on another. His group was easily half the size of mine.

As we walked out to pull our targets, Jim explained that one of the keys to firing tight groups is to get your shots down range before the conditions change. All of you benchrest guys know this, of course, but for those who may be trying to figure out how to get their groups to tighten up, getting them fired quickly (and consistently) is key. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten and it’s one trick I use today even when sighting in my deer rifles.

-Todd Smith