All of the articles on standing earlier in the month presented my thoughts on the subject as I see it at this time. Something I haven’t really shared much of yet are my results over the time I’ve been focusing on standing. That’s part of what I do on this blog, so I drew up some graphs and prepared some photos.
I also kept some brief notes of what I was noticing at various times. You can correlate that to how I was shooting in some cases.
I started on an approximately 4” target at 50 yards on 11/8/14. I wasn’t shooting well, and wanted to have more confidence in my ability to keep all my rounds on target, so I moved forward to 35 yards on 11/15/14. I made it to the range almost every week, and moved back 5 yards every time, reaching 50 again on 12/15/14. You will note in my graphs that from 11/15/14, my performance was pretty consistent in terms of angular measurement until 12/15/14.
On 11/30/14 I began testing a more target oriented standing technique, primarily for purposes of comparison, shooting one group of that just prior to my normal, more practical version of standing. In the following graphs, the target version appears as a green line while my normal stance is represented by the blue line.
Following are my raw notes and group photos. I had to edit my notes a bit for language and so someone other than me could understand them even marginally. The notes towards the end were inserted after the fact:
11/8/14 shooting notes
Dry standing was golden for two weeks prior in dry fire. Live fire was either a mind&%$#, or my muscles were pre-fatigued and shaky. Move forward to 30 yards with same target. Continue weight training for now. Holding exercises on off days. I’m looking for 100% hits at 50 yards, but will settle for 30 yards for the moment.
Standing good to go on garage dry-fire target, mirror aim from end of hall. Move farther back.
After muscles have recuperated recalibration of the position (steadiness) is possible. Smaller targets work better (aim small miss small). Hold the forend delicately like a pencil. Being stronger will be awesome; the LW carbine feels like I could really shoot well with it.
This target was the plateau mover for me.
Moved forward to 35 yards instead of 30. 35 was good. Follow through is difficult. Learning to disregard the shot is important. My shots were very rapid, several shots to one hold. How much better could I have done lowering the rifle each time? 35 yards, aimed at the top of the white ‘6’ ring on the top of the RifleCraft scoring target.
My extreme spread on that second target confirms what I’m seeing in dry fire- a maximum radial deviation of approximately 1 mil when I don’t let the live fire psych-out get me. Move back to 40 yards next time.
–How to average my performance to see if I’m meeting my “average performance” goals?– Probably a rolling average period of 2-4 weeks
Dry fire standing in AM. Very good. Better than ever. Most, if not all, were within a half mil in any direction (1 mil diameter).
More intensive weight training has made me shaky most of the time. It seems that muscle fatigue is the biggest culprit, then it takes a half day or so to re-tune my steadiness and coordination (and followthrough) to regain. Friday morning felt really good, I would say just over a half mil deviation in any given direction. Friday evening I went hard with the weights. By Sunday I felt good but was not very steady. The rifle is feeling lighter.
On 11/23/14 I practiced dry firing. I found that getting a good grip with the pistol grip fully seated into my hand really helped. A command break did not seem to hurt things vs. a slow surprise break, so long as I really had my NPA.
Hold the handguard delicately like a pencil
Don’t use more tension than needed
Two weeks off had me confused about where my zero was.
I didn’t have any practice notes for this period. The presence of a target position means that I had done my thinking on balance on Friday 12/5 and integrated it into my position. The posts on balance were effectively my practice notes, although obviously heavily edited.
Live fire- I took my time. I had to intentionally slow myself down and lower the gun after no more than two shots. I think I may have taken three in one hold at one point. Oops!
Target postion- I probably spent a full two minutes finding my NPOA. The firing part was easy.
While the goal is to have all 10 in the black by at least half a bullet diameter (center in or touching) I also like to know that I’m pushing myself just a little bit, and consider that a good enough target to move back the next time.
My position seemed loose and sucked until I starting putting some hardness and intent into my press and follow through.
The one on the right was shot #1. The ones on the bottom were also before I started on the hard follow through. I don’t know about the one on top, if it was prior to the hard follow through or just an anomaly during. I would like to think it was the former.
Unfortunately, what looks like a sight zero error was probably not.
I notice that I let a lot of good shot opportunities pass me by while I’m in my hold. My current learning point is to be ready on the trigger as soon as the gun is up and ready to fire. If should be taking the first acceptable shot I see.
There was an approximately 7-10 mph wind. I’m not worried about bullet drift at this range, I’m worried about the steadiness of my hold. I parked my vehicle next to me to block it, which worked pretty well. Not exactly practical, I know, but neither is this group shooting in standing. The sun was also peeking over the vehicle at me, so I put a backpack on top to block it. Good enough.
The ‘target’ group pretty much went off without a hitch. I was happy to see a return to the 5.5ish MOA extreme spread from before. With the ‘practical’ standing group, the third shot, which was the upper left, was a horrible shot and pretty much felt like the end of the world. It was the third shot from that hold, and my stability was degrading. I failed to check the status of my balance, and should have just lowered the muzzle and took a few seconds for a break.
In the next installment I’ll smooth up the results and analyze things a bit.