Range Reports

Range Report, 6 July 2014

After my performance in the squatting position during my last trip, I wanted to come back and spend more time working on it. I practiced quite a bit around the house, making sure to put my right elbow in front of my right knee rather than on top of it.

For this trip, I took 60 rounds of Independence xm193 55gr ammo. I only shot 50 of it, as my wife came along to take pictures, and I wanted her to shoot a bit as well (and she continues to impress!). I thought that Sunday on Independence Day weekend would be busy at the range, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that we were the only ones there. It was overcast, 67 degrees, and a slight breeze at our backs. I chose the 50 yard range today in order to have a better chance spotting my own hits through Ascalon (the only rifle I took today). I took along the Turner sling today to see how I liked it compared to the TAB I’ve been spending a lot of time with.

After confirming zero, I set right into it. Here are a few photos of the position.

Of particular concern to me is the width between my feet. The position felt stable enough, but I wonder if it could be made more so by widening the feet. I noticed that I was relatively stuck as far as elevation went, and I had some difficulty raising my NPA above the lower targets.

I fired two five-shot groups.

These are certainly nothing spectacular, but they are better than the last attempt where I barely even hit the paper. In order to meet my accuracy goals, I need to be keeping my shots roughly inside the 9 ring of this target at this range. As you can see, only one (maybe three if i count those touching the line) of these shots met that standard. I chalked this up to a bit of rust (on both position and other fundamentals, like breathing and NPA), and moved on to practice some more and see if I could settle into a groove.

I fired a five shots each from sitting and kneeling positions. Since sitting was my best position last time, I thought it would go better than it ended up today. Here are two photos of the position, and one of the target.

Kneeling was the worst, though. It has been a continued struggle to find a good position for my right foot. Due to a sprained big toe, I find it very uncomfortable to use the high kneeling position, which means I tend more towards the low kneeling where I turn my foot sideways and sit on the heel. However, I find that this brings my NPA too high for targets that are relatively low in front of me. My left foot is tucked close to the body, which makes my knee taller and further exasperates the NPA problem. Of the five shots, one totally missed the target due to careless trigger discipline on my part. It still hit the berm, thankfully, but it was a reminder to actually fully remove my finger from the trigger until I’m actually ready to take another shot. I have no photos of the position, but here is the target.

At this point, the sun was breaking through the thick marine layer and beginning to heat things up. Wearing my hoodie was becoming uncomfortable, and I could feel my focus waning. The last two groups were done rather hastily in order to wrap up the range session, but I can’t complain too much. I fired ten more shots from a squatting position, and am much happier with the result. The two that are outside the black were called, but that doesn’t make them OK. I rushed them and squeezed before I had a good sight picture and stable breathing.

The last one is from the military prone. I was surprised to find that with the sling, I noted much less muzzle jump and crosshair movement on the target than when I was confirming zero with the bipod. That tells me that my bipod position is sloppy, and needs work. I also believe that I have the Turner AWS sling set correctly for prone, but it is probably too long for the other positions. I did not adjust it at all while shooting other positions today. Doing so very well might have improved my groupings from the other positions.

Comparing the Turner AWS to the TAB that I’ve been shooting, It’s a bit of a tossup. I find that the Turner feels stiffer and more secure when settling into position, but that the TAB is easier to adjust and get in to or out of. I wish I had a sling that combined the easiness of adjustment of the TAB with the nice grippy-ness of the Turner.

For any of you pros out there, any advice on the positions is appreciated. I am mostly attempting to teach myself through books, pictures, and video and have no source of decent feedback.

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3 thoughts on “Range Report, 6 July 2014”

  1. As far as the sling adjustment goes, your experience echoes mine. Prone requires the longest loop length, which can be a bit too long for higher positions. I usually prefer one hole tighter on the M1907 style sling for sitting vs. prone. And that small adjustment can make a big difference in support. I believe going that last little bit shorter in the loop can add up to 20-25% more steadiness. Remember that you should be able to go ‘dead limp’ and still have the sling and your bones hold everything up and on target. Sometimes going limp is tough, because we are so conditioned to doing work with our muscles. Make sure your support arm and hand are really, fully relaxed. An aggressive forward lean of the upper body helps here in sitting/kneeling, with no stomach/back muscle tension. Your crossed-ankle sitting looks pretty good, see if you can lean into it even more (loosening your belt a notch or two helps).
    In a field/hunting rifle I usually leave the sling adjustment more toward the sitting loop length because terrain features, vegetation, etc. can deny you prone more often than not.

    For kneeling, pushing your front foot out forward further will lower the support side knee thus lowering your muzzle.

    Good final group from squatting there.

    When you get through the Appleseed shoot you’ll find yourself much more consistent, especially with NPA, trigger, and breathing, and have a better handle on the positions.

    Keep plugging away.

    Pete Lessler

    1. Thanks, Pete. I’ll be experimenting more with shortening the sling a bit. I think my main driver for not doing so is more laziness than anything. The Turner AWS sling grips the hooks really well and it takes a bit longer to unhook them and move them. But, honestly, that’s a terrible reason since it still really only takes 10 seconds or so. I should follow the advice I’ve seen elsewhere and just mark the appropriate setting for each position.

      1. 4 minutes of angle or less from squatting/kneeling, 3 MOA or less from sitting, and 2 MOA or less from prone, all with a good tight loop sling.

        Getting very familiar with your desired sling tension is a plus. That does not differ between positions, but the loop length to get it will. Also remember that you can ‘cheat’ the tension either way while in position by moving the sling loop higher or lower on your upper arm as a quick tweak. Up makes it tighter, down makes it looser. The sling should always be as high up as you can get it to give it maximum leverage against the back of your support hand, but there’s occasionally a need for a last-second improvement without taking the time to get out of position.

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