Newbie feedback welcome!

seansmd

New Hide Member
Aug 8, 2018
37
6
8
#1
Hi Folks,

I am a newbie to long range shooting, I have a RPR 6.5CM, Vortex Viper GEN2 FFP 5x25x50, vortex precision rings, and shooting Sellier and Bellot 140g SP. Great conditions up at Los Altos today 2MPH wind from the 9 o'clock, 68 degrees, 45% RH, 44 DP, 27inHg, ALT 2591. Out of 15 3 shot groups, I only had 4 under 1 MOA. I have videos and shot pictures and I will post them as pairs. This feels like golf, initially I had a level of unconscious competence, and as I learned and more things rattled around my brain I got worse. Analysis paralysis, so to speak. I welcome feedback, to me it is like sunlight exposing the flaws and promoting growth. Hopefully I can attach the pics and videos as pairs.
 

fastfwd

Sergeant of the Hide
May 13, 2018
121
50
28
Silicon Valley, CA
#3
I'm a newbie, too, so take this for what it's worth.

I watched the Group 1 and Group 3 videos (Group 3 more carefully than Group 1).
  1. It looks as though your finger position on the trigger is different from what I've been taught. Your finger seems to be canted downward, maybe with the trigger shoe on the middle phalanx or in the crease between it and the distal, while I've been taught that the finger should be level, with the trigger shoe on the pad of the distal phalanx, which should be pointing directly to 9:00 so it's square to the shoe.
  2. Also, finger position on the trigger appears inconsistent: Sometimes I can see daylight between the fingertip and the trigger guard, sometimes I can't.
  3. I don't know how much travel your trigger has, so I can't tell from the video how you're pressing it. But it looks as though you're releasing it immediately after the gun fires rather than following through by keeping the trigger pressed while you spot your impact.
  4. I may be seeing it wrong, but it looks to me as though the trigger press isn't always occurring during the respiratory pause between breaths.
By the way, how is the Los Altos range? I'm in the Bay Area too, but I haven't been up there yet.
 
Likes: seansmd

seansmd

New Hide Member
Aug 8, 2018
37
6
8
#6
I'm a newbie, too, so take this for what it's worth.

I watched the Group 1 and Group 3 videos (Group 3 more carefully than Group 1).
  1. It looks as though your finger position on the trigger is different from what I've been taught. Your finger seems to be canted downward, maybe with the trigger shoe on the middle phalanx or in the crease between it and the distal, while I've been taught that the finger should be level, with the trigger shoe on the pad of the distal phalanx, which should be pointing directly to 9:00 so it's square to the shoe.
I agree, I saw that as well, I will pay attention with some dry fire and video to see if I can get a natural feel.
  1. Also, finger position on the trigger appears inconsistent: Sometimes I can see daylight between the fingertip and the trigger guard, sometimes I can't.
I was trying to pay attention to that but clearly not :)
  1. I don't know how much travel your trigger has, so I can't tell from the video how you're pressing it. But it looks as though you're releasing it immediately after the gun fires rather than following through by keeping the trigger pressed while you spot your impact
Again I was listening to the podcast and Frank was making this point on follow through, I thought I was but watching the videos it seems very quick.
  1. I may be seeing it wrong, but it looks to me as though the trigger press isn't always occurring during the respiratory pause between breaths.
This is something I have been trying very hard to do, even waiting to the next breath rather than rush the shot without holding breath.

By the way, how is the Los Altos range? I'm in the Bay Area too, but I haven't been up there yet.
My responses inline above.....
Los Altos is very nice not too crowded, $23, 100y is the farthest out. Where are you located, I used to go to Sunnyvale and it was way too crowded?
 

fastfwd

Sergeant of the Hide
May 13, 2018
121
50
28
Silicon Valley, CA
#7
Los Altos is very nice not too crowded, $23, 100y is the farthest out. Where are you located, I used to go to Sunnyvale and it was way too crowded?
Thanks! I live in the South Bay, work on the Peninsula. "Not too crowded" was exactly what I was hoping to hear.

I will pay attention [to trigger-finger position] with some dry fire and video to see if I can get a natural feel.
One thing that helped me a lot was replacing my Tikka's pistol grip with a Masterpiece Arms EVG; I think it'll fit your rifle, too. With the MPA grip, I find it difficult NOT to have my trigger finger properly aligned.

[Breath control] is something I have been trying very hard to do, even waiting to the next breath rather than rush the shot without holding breath.
So I watched the Group 3 video again, and also the video shot from behind, and now I see that you ARE firing between breaths. But it looks like you're trying to time the shot so it occurs exactly at the bottom of your natural breath cycle, either by starting to press the trigger as you're exhaling, or by quickly pulling it just as you finish exhaling.

I think your focus on not holding your breath is getting in the way here. It's true that you shouldn't pause your breathing for more than 5 or 10 seconds -- your diaphragm will spasm and mess up your aim -- but if you take a deep breath or two you should be able to pause for 2-5 seconds after exhaling with no discomfort at all. That's long enough to finish aiming and perform the entire trigger press from start to finish.

Thanks again for the range info. Maybe I'll see you up there.
 
Likes: seansmd

seansmd

New Hide Member
Aug 8, 2018
37
6
8
#8
Thanks! I live in the South Bay, work on the Peninsula. "Not too crowded" was exactly what I was hoping to hear.


One thing that helped me a lot was replacing my Tikka's pistol grip with a Masterpiece Arms EVG; I think it'll fit your rifle, too. With the MPA grip, I find it difficult NOT to have my trigger finger properly aligned.


So I watched the Group 3 video again, and also the video shot from behind, and now I see that you ARE firing between breaths. But it looks like you're trying to time the shot so it occurs exactly at the bottom of your natural breath cycle, either by starting to press the trigger as you're exhaling, or by quickly pulling it just as you finish exhaling.

I think your focus on not holding your breath is getting in the way here. It's true that you shouldn't pause your breathing for more than 5 or 10 seconds -- your diaphragm will spasm and mess up your aim -- but if you take a deep breath or two you should be able to pause for 2-5 seconds after exhaling with no discomfort at all. That's long enough to finish aiming and perform the entire trigger press from start to finish.

Thanks again for the range info. Maybe I'll see you up there.
I am south bay as well, Blossom Valley, right near Gunderson High School, let me know when you might head up. First time you have to do the "paperwork" so allow some extra time. They open at 9am, I showed up at ~9:30, walked on to the 100 yard range and there were 15 spots open.....
 
Nov 30, 2017
133
62
28
#9
Try different/better ammo. Hornady ELD-M (140 or 147 grain) is easy to find and has been consistent 0.5-0.7MOA in my two 6.5s. If you have to stay with sub-$1-per-round, try Hornady American Gunner 140-grain HPBT in the 200-round bulk pack - comes to about $0.75 per round with shipping from Sportsman's Warehouse.

Was your scope mounted with an inch-pounds torque wrench? Inconsistent/incorrect tightening of mounting screws can affect consistent accuracy.

I have found that experience helps me call my shots - I know whether I screwed up just as the shot breaks. ANY "twitch" is going to move your point of impact.

Good luck. My first thought is definitely try better ammo. My $0.02 worth is, we are engaging in an expensive sport. Buying a decent rifle and optic - your setup is capable of competent accuracy - and then feeding it cheap ammo is like buying a Porsche and putting Pep Boys tires on it.
 
Likes: seansmd

seansmd

New Hide Member
Aug 8, 2018
37
6
8
#10
Try different/better ammo. Hornady ELD-M (140 or 147 grain) is easy to find and has been consistent 0.5-0.7MOA in my two 6.5s. If you have to stay with sub-$1-per-round, try Hornady American Gunner 140-grain HPBT in the 200-round bulk pack - comes to about $0.75 per round with shipping from Sportsman's Warehouse.

Was your scope mounted with an inch-pounds torque wrench? Inconsistent/incorrect tightening of mounting screws can affect consistent accuracy.

I have found that experience helps me call my shots - I know whether I screwed up just as the shot breaks. ANY "twitch" is going to move your point of impact.

Good luck. My first thought is definitely try better ammo. My $0.02 worth is, we are engaging in an expensive sport. Buying a decent rifle and optic - your setup is capable of competent accuracy - and then feeding it cheap ammo is like buying a Porsche and putting Pep Boys tires on it.

Thanks, I have some Prime 130G Match showing up this week..... The scope is torqued to the specifications, and I leveled and did the flashlight to the plumb line trick. I think it is more me than the ammo, but will know soon when I run some of this match ammo.
 
Nov 30, 2017
133
62
28
#11
Thanks, I have some Prime 130G Match showing up this week..... The scope is torqued to the specifications, and I leveled and did the flashlight to the plumb line trick. I think it is more me than the ammo, but will know soon when I run some of this match ammo.
Prime should definitely do it. My Tikka likes it best of all the brands/weights/flavors I've tried. If your rig doesn't get consistent sub-MOA 5-shot groups with Prime, you might consider asking a "known good marksman" to fire a group or two. I've only shot one RPR, about 18 months ago, and the five rounds of Hornady 140gr ELD-M went through one not-very-ragged hole at 100 yards. Your RPR should be quite capable of sub-sub-1-MOA groups.

The Hornady American Gunner punches above its cost class... not sure I'd run it in a match but it's definitely good for practice. It groups under 0.75MOA in the Tikka.

I'm breaking in a new Bartlein-barreled custom in 6.5CM with under 100 rounds on the barrel, and I got multiple 3-shot groups (zeroing scope; otherwise 5-shot groups) 3/8 - 1/2" @100 yards today with H.A.G. It holds about a MOA at 500 in the few shots I fired at that range.

Good luck!
 
Likes: seansmd