I squeezed in once last practice session today. Due to circumstances, this was my last chance to shoot before the competition on Tuesday next week. I only brought Heimdall, as far as rifles go, and focused on the four positions I plan to shoot on Tuesday. Overall, I feel much better than I did on Sunday, but there are clearly some things I need to work on over the long term to attain my goals.
First up, I adjusted the front sight down two clicks and took five shots at 25 yards to check zero. I used Federal XM855 shot off of a Caldwell green bag in the front and a Triad Tactical rear bag under the stock.. Go figure, the shots came in low, so I adjusted up two clicks again. I took one more shot, and was satisfied. Here is that group (five low, one higher after adjustment)
I then set up four diamond targets at 25 yards. I took a few dry fire practice shots at the start of each position, followed by 10 shots of the 855. I did not check targets between strings. In order, I shot offhand, kneeling, sitting, and prone.
Offhand was by far the weakest, and I think I’m just going to have to struggle with it for a while. I simply don’t feel very stable, and it shows in the target. Constantly holding the rifle up became fatiguing on my support arm, and I could feel it swaying everywhere. I also could not establish a good natural point of aim. I think I hit just about everywhere but the spot I was aiming for. The stance I posted a while back just didn’t work out. The rifle jumped up significantly every shot, and caused me to break cheek weld nearly every shot. Obviously, this isn’t going to work out. Back to the drawing board on this position.
Next up was kneeling. For comfort and consistency reasons, I like to use low kneeling. It took me a bit to settle into a natural point of aim, but I got there. I do feel that I was rushing the shot more than I should have. If I can maintain a good steady breathing rhythm and sight alignment, I think I will have this position down pretty well in the coming months.
Next was sitting. I really like crossed ankle style, which is a far cry from the first time I tried it. I brought my feet a little closer and found that the flat of my elbow settles nicely into a ridge in my knees. Overall, I feel very happy with this position.
Last was prone, where I used military prone style. I think I have established a decent way of getting the support arm elbow to flatten out. After adjusting my hips a bit to find a good NPOA, I went in. I did call one flyer low, I just lost my sight picture and squeezed the trigger at the wrong point in the breathing cycle. That shot appears as the low one. The rest of the group is just about as tight as the first sight in group, so I think I’m getting the hang of the position. I imagine that things would have gone better were I able to use a sling.
I did notice after shooting all strings that I the sights were probably a little low and left. That’s fine, I can adjust for that when sighting in with the M16A2 they hand me on range day. It’s kind of an advantage and disadvantage of not using my own equipment. The real goal is to work on the position and get the tight clusters, which I think I’m working towards. Whether or not these are good enough to get me in the top 10% on Tuesday, we’ll see. But, either way, I’m happy with progress.
I also brought along my Beretta 92A1 to just refresh myself on pistol shooting. It was very ‘meh.’ I’m clearly out of practice with pistol. My shots were certainly all “combat accurate,” but I don’t think they will win any awards.