Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 39 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Shooting Lessons

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Outdoor Life:

My first formal shooting lessons came at the hands of an old West Point Major and sniper instructor. Now, almost 30 years later, a young Marine Sniper taught me new and improved position and technique.

Rather than the classic, body-offset prone position that I’d learned during my youth, the Gunwerks instructor taught me to lie directly in line with my rifle, butt pad snuggled firmly into my neck-collar bone juncture. Legs should be spread wide, feet almost flat on the ground, with toes dug in slightly to give stability. The bipod is loaded (meaning forward pressure is applied), the rifle forming a sort of bridge between shoulder and bipod legs. As the chest settles ground-ward the bipod becomes loaded even harder and the bridge becomes very stable. The cheek is snugged against the riflestock. The free hand (left for right-handed shooters) rests under the butt stock, supporting it atop a rear bag. The cheek should stay snugly against the comb through the shot, eyes fixed on the target while the shooter re-cycles the bolt for a follow-up round.

Once you’ve established the general position, you need to eliminate muscular tension. Relax every part of your body, settling into the ground and the rifle until you are comfortable. If the crosshairs aren’t on target don’t muscle the rifle into place—rather, adjust your body until the crosshairs stay steadily on target.

Before you shoot, try this drill. With crosshairs on target, close your eyes. Take a deep breath, let it out (to respiratory pause), and open your eyes. If your crosshairs are off target, adjust your body and repeat until your back on target when you open your eyes.

Once you’re settled into position, crosshairs steadily on the target, you have to send the shot perfectly. Regardless of how accurate or expensive your rifle is, how perfect your position, how great your ammunition; if you jerk the trigger it’s all for naught. Here’s how to do it right.

Take a couple deep breaths, but don’t hold your breath. You should shoot during the natural respiratory pause that occurs when you let your breath drift out and stop naturally.

Place the first pad of your finger on the trigger, and press it straight back toward the butt of the rifle. Your finger should form a 90-degree angle at the second knuckle. Press, but do not jerk.

Don’t “flick the booger” with your trigger finger. Instead, keep your finger pressed on the trigger for one full second after the shot.

Keep your eye on target through the shot and spot your impact so you can make windage and elevation corrections for your next shot. Tip: keep your scope turned down between nine- and 12-power—it’ll give you a wider field of view, enabling you to spot your hits.

Good tips.  I’m not a bad shooter, but I could do better with what he’s described, and especially so with more practice.


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