On 4/17/12 I hit the range intending to prove that I had it down. I knew that I was not at my best, having tried to get in “shape” in a week, without getting quite there. At the range I did 16 reps, trying to do exactly the same thing as before. I used the same timer, the same person timing me, the same rifle, the same sight and magnification setting, and the same type of target (actually from the same box). My load has changed. The current load is 155/~3000. The old load was 185/2740. I hit on 9 out of 16 attempts (56% hit ratio, pretty close to last time). My average time for all 16 attempts was 1.49 seconds. The average time for hits was 1.57 seconds. My fastest time, on a miss, was 1.21 seconds. My fastest hit was 1.39 seconds. Three of my 16 shots (18.75%) were under the 1.5 second standard.
In the time I’ve been working on this skill since then I’ve made some changes to my technique. I’ve also put in a lot of time and effort into improving. Progress has not come easy from the work put in or the changes made. I realized that when I work the bolt, it feels like it’s pretty slow, and I can hear every click the bolt makes distinctly, but when I watch it on video it seems instantaneous. I realized that shooting the snapshot on 4/17/12, it felt like I was rushed for time it happened faster than I could register everything. When watching the snapshot on video what stood out was all the wasted time. I realized that I need to make the snapshot feel like my bolt technique feels. That means repetition.
I have video of every snapshot attempt I made on 4/17/12. I watched them for whatever I could pick up on and improve. I noticed that there was a definite lag as I obtained a sight picture. You can see me bring my cheek down and watch it slowly compress. In other videos, I noticed a lot of difference in my reaction time to the beep. In my fastest attempt I pretty much had the rifle in firing position before the beep was over, which I think is at 0.3 seconds. In some of the shots the rifle moves very quickly and explosively and the muzzle stops cleanly as the final position is realized. On most of the videos it looks like I’m trying to move quickly while immersed in viscous fluid, and the last three or four inches looks choppy and separate from the rest of the motion.
On 4/18/12 I started working on how to get an instant sight picture as the rifle comes up. The conventional wisdom states that you need to bring the rifle up to the eye. Yes, to a point. I tried taking it literally, which is how I roll. Unless I’m going to set the toe of the stock on my shoulder, that ain’t gonna work. So bringing the head down is a necessity. The trick is to bring in down right now and not to make it a 1., 2. type of motion. I think that will shave off another 0.2 to 0.3 seconds.