by B.B. Pelletier
This posting was requested by a reader who asked for more on general airgun accuracy. Specifically, he wants to know how to breathe, follow-through and double-tap with a semiauto air rifle.
Controlling your breathing is as important for airgun accuracy as it is for firearms. And, there is only one way to do it. Before each shot, breathe deeply several times to oxygenate your body (don't hyperventilate!). As you're ready to take your shot, breathe deep one last time, let out about half (until you feel relaxed) and hold your breath to take the shot.
You have about five seconds before an oxygen deficit starts your heart pounding harder. This is the best time to let off the shot, while your body is relaxed and calm. If you can't shoot in five seconds, relax your trigger finger and start the process all over again.
Follow-through is important in golf, baseball AND airguns!
Follow-through means keeping your sights on target after the shot has been fired, and it's one of the MOST important accuracy tips! By following through, the shooter ensures that the gun is not moved before the pellet is out of the barrel. Poor shooters will quickly raise their heads from the sights when they think the shot is off. Eventually, this becomes an anticipatory flinch that begins while the pellet is still in the gun. When this occurs, the target is hit only by chance.
When you follow through, you start seeing the sight picture the moment the shot was taken. This lets you know how the sights were aligned with the target when the pellet took off. You can even begin "calling" your shots when you can do this. All great shooters do it; poor shooters never do it. Follow-through is one of the distinctions that defines an accurate shooter.
Secrets of a good double-tap
A double-tap means two quick shots fired in succession from a semiautomatic weapon - usually a handgun in a tactical mode. I haven't heard the term used for airguns - but, why not?
There are precious few true semiauto air rifles. There's the Drulov DU-10 Eagle, the IZH Drozd and, in a month or so, the new Nightstalker from Crosman. I'm going with the Drozd, partly because more people will have one but mostly because I have zero experience with the Drulov in rifle form. As a pistol, the Drulov trigger pull is so light that it probably isn't a big issue.
The semiauto pellet-firing Crosman Nightstalker will soon be available here.
The difficulty with a double-tap is gun control. The gun moves with shot No. 1 and should be brought back to target before shot No. 2 breaks, or you'll throw away the shot. It's easier to control a rifle than a pistol, which helps, but control is still the name of the game.
The secret to semiautomatic rifle control is adopting a stance and hold that tends to return to zero after the shot. For shot No. 2, you'll resort to instinct shooting rather than aligning the sights because of the speed of the shot, so returning to where you started is all-important. If you're unable to rest the gun, then the best stance is to lean into the gun.
Those are my tips. Write if you want more.