The artillery hold

by B.B. Pelletier

I have to break in today for this subject because we have a reader who is getting very frustrated with his spring piston breakbarrel. I may have said these things many times before, but today I’m putting them all in one place so I will have a post to refer readers to in the future.

The artillery hold was first described by Tom Gaylord in his R1 book. The name comes from that fact that an artillery piece moves a lot during recoil, yet the gun is extremely accurate over a huge distance. In The Airgun Letter Gaylord said he got frustrated trying to shoot a Beeman C1 rifle accurately. The Beeman catalog said to hold the rifle firmly, yet he was spraying pellets all over the place when he did. So one day, he decided to hold the rifle as loosely as possible to see how much worse it would shoot. To his surprise, that rifle, which had been shooting half-inch groups at 10 meters, suddenly shot a group smaller than one-tenth of an inch. He tried it again and again and rediscovered a shooting technique that has been known for more than a hundred years. Only with a recoiling spring piston air rifle, the need for the loose hold is more important than ever!

How a spring-piston pellet rifle moves when fired
When a spring is fired, the first thing that happens is the piston starts moving. That imparts a recoil to the rear of the rifle, but since the piston is only a fraction of the rifle’s weight, this recoil is small. But when the piston comes to a sudden stop at the end of the compression stroke, the jolt sends the rifle in the other direction (moving forward) and is much larger. The pellet has not started moving while this is happening. It sits in the breech as pressure behind it builds. When the piston comes to a stop against a thin cushion of highly compressed air, the pellet is finally overcome by the pressure and starts moving. That reduces the air pressure so the piston can settle to the end of the compression chamber.

The shock of forward recoil puts the rifle in motion as the pellet starts down the bore. Also, the mainspring is now vibrating wildly and sending additional vibrations into the rifle’s mass. All of this is going on while the pellet is still in the barrel. It is physically impossible for a shooter to overcome these movements by holding the rifle tight, so Gaylord found that by holding it as loose as possible and allowing the rifle to move as much as it wanted to, the movements would tend to be the same every time. If you have ever seen a movie of a field artillery piece when it fires, you have seen the barrel of the gun move several FEET in recoil – yet the gun is accurate. That’s because the gun moves the same way every time. So wherever the gun carriage is pointed determines where the round will go. When you shoot a spring piston gun this way, YOU become the gun carriage. And you have to act neutral, so the gun can move the same way every time.


When a field artillery piece fires, the carriage remains in place.

How its done
Lay the forearm of the rifle on the flat of your open palm. Do not grasp the stock with your fingers or you create new nodes that dampen the vibrations of the rifle. Unless you can put your fingers in the SAME PLACE every time, you can never be accurate this way. Your shooting hand grasps the pistol grip of the stock as lightly as possible. Your trigger finger must squeeze STRAIGHT BACK. Rest the butt lightly against your shoulder. Do not pull it in tight. That is the setup for the artillery hold.

Part two – shooting
There is more to it than just how the rifle is held. It’s also important to “lay the gun,” which means to align the rifle, correctly. When you aim at the target, do so as relaxed as possible. Do not use your muscles to pull the rifle into position. It must lay there on target with no outside input. The best way to test for this is to align the sights then close your eyes and relax. When you open your eyes again, the sights should still be on target. If they moved off, the pellet would have gone in the same direction, had you fired. Realign the sights and go through the same procedure until the rifle does not move. When you get to that point, squeeze the trigger and fire. Do that five times in a row and you will get the best group you have ever shot with that rifle. All that remains is to align the sights so the pellet strikes where you want it to.

Where to put your off hand?
I’ve discovered that the best place for the off hand (the one that doesn’t contain the trigger finger) is just in front of the triggerguard. That gives the rifle a muzzle-heavy balance that seems to dampen any tendency to stray from the aim point. It may not always work, but most of the time it does – especially with breakbarrels.

Tom Gaylord didn’t invent this hold. He just gave it a name and described how to do it. When everything else fails, give this a try and see if you’re not amazed.

65 thoughts on “The artillery hold


  1. izzy,

    Well, yes, but nowhere near as necessary. The 61 is a very calm springer and it has a fixed barrel. With the right sights it can compete in NRA Sporter class competition.

    So only at longer ranges will you see any real improvement.

    B.B.


  2. I have tried the artillery hold several times, still I dont get any accuracy with my rifle (gamo hunter 1250 .22) this is my first one so i don’t have any experience either. when i rest the forearm on a pack of towels i can’t even shoot a 30″ board on 20 yards, it’s that of. I was trying this to sight in the scope, otherwise the gun is quite heavy.When i shoot kneeling it more accurate but i cant really hold it still because of the weight so sighting in isnt really possible because of human error. I read alot on the internet about the gamo 1250 and how to shoot best, it has even been suggested to clamp it like you would a .50 :). what would be the right hold for this rifle? i’m out of ideas.Maybe other pellets? the rifle really kicks too.


  3. Gamo 1250,

    This isn’t an easy rifle to shoot. It kicks hard and MUST be held in the artillery hold, to the best of my knowledge. Maybe some 1250 owners will share their experiences. I tested one years ago, but it was a .177 and the artillery hold worked well. Don’t rest it on anything but the flat of your open palm.

    Different pellets? Try JSB 15.8-grain Exacts and Logun Penetrators (20.5 grain) Also try the heavier Gamos. Something should work.

    Have you cleaned the bore yet?

    I know this is frustrating, but that’s also the fun of shooting airguns. Not everyone can do it!

    B.B.


  4. BB ,

    One question ……… you said :

    ….. I’ve discovered that the best place for the off hand (the one that doesn’t contain the trigger finger) is just in front of the triggerguard. That gives the rifle a muzzle-heavy balance …..

    To do that, my off hand has to be like Stallone’s. If you balance the gun at that point, thats about three quarters or more of the weight in front. Hard to do that without your hand trembling :)


  5. bb,

    No i haven’t cleaned the bore, i don’t yet have a cleaning rod, and since i live in Holland it’s not easy to come by. i will look after one. will the H&N barracuda 21,6 grain be any good in the 1250 ? haven’t tried it..YET!! btw, thanks for this priceless blog!! keep up the good work.





  6. Holland,

    If you have the full power 1250, then everything is okay. That is the gun I have been referring to.

    Yes, the H&N Baracuda should be good in your rifle. So should the 15.8-grain JSB Exact domed pellet.

    I think you found a clue when you said the rifle shoots better kneeling. You were resting it on your palm then.

    Try resting it on a bench, on the flat of your open palm placed just in front of the triggerguard. Rest your hand on those towels to hold the rifle’s weight. Be sure to try the sighting correction procedure I mention in today’s posting and make sure the crosshairs (or sights) are on target while you are perfectly relaxed. Hold the rifle as loosely as possible, barely touching the stock with your cheek. Don’t pull the stock into your shoulder. We want that rifle to move as much as it wants to.

    Try shooting a group like this, just to humor me. This procedure has worked for hundreds of new airgun shooters and it will work for you, too.

    B.B.


  7. About the hand shaking – I watched a show last night, I think it was American Rifleman or something and they were at a NRA rifle shooting event. They were shooting targets at 500 yards (powder, not air.. ;-), non supported!! Just hand holding in the position BB suggested, but standing and with their elbow locked against their waist / hip.

    BB – you had a post about cleaning the barrel of a new gun once with JB paste and a brush, but I think the instructions with my diana 48 said to not use a wire brush. Are you using a wire brush or is it nylon etc?

    Ozark



  8. I always hear about the artillery hold with reference to springers. Wouldn’t it work just as well with any device that propels a projectile down a barrel (PCP, multi-stroke pumper, or even a regular powder-burning firearm)?

    Is the improvement just more significant with a springer due to the variety of movements and the delay of getting the pellet moving? Even with that, I would expect the artillery hold to at least somewhat improve shooting with any gun but I never hear about it elsewhere.

    Roy


  9. Roy,

    You have guessed correctly that the artillery hold applies to all shooting, firearms included. In fact, in smallbore (.22 rimfire) target shooting, the artillery hold is used, though modified from what has been presented here. In smallbore there is more emphasis on the proper aim and on follow-through than on not touching the stock. Touching the stock doesn’t matter there because the bullet is already moving when the vibrations and recoil; begin.

    B.B.


  10. Hi B.B.,

    Good article. There’ve been lot’s of good articles since my last comment. Thanks!

    As I read the following, which I’ve quoted & ‘butchered’ for brevity, I recalled one of your previous postings on this topic, about closing and opening the eyes to check sight alignment.

    B.B. wrote, *in this blog*: “*Part two – shooting* …It’s also important to “lay the gun,” which means to align the rifle, correctly… as relaxed as possible. Do not use your muscles to pull the rifle into position… align the sights then close your eyes and relax… open your eyes again, the sights should still be on target. If they moved off, … Realign the sights and go through the same procedure until the rifle does not move…”

    In *a past blog*, “Teach a person to shoot: Part 6,” (http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006/09/teach-person-to-shoot-part-6.html) you wrote: “*Trigger work with the pistol* First, get into your stance. Raise the pistol with your eyes closed, and the sights should be on the bullseye when you open your eyes again. If not, move your feet until they are…”

    My question is something like this: When you wrote, “Realign the sights,” in today’s blog do you mean the shooter should perform a body position realignment somewhat like you described in your earlier blog about pistol marksmanship?

    I know there must be some differences in pistol vs rifle marksmanship, but it seems to me that effective body and target alignment might *not* be that difference.

    What say you?

    Cheers,
    GH


  11. GadgetHead,

    Good to hear from you!

    When talking about the rifle alignment, I am repositioning just the rifle, though that may involve me moving some of my body parts, as well. But it is the rifle I want to align.

    When aligning the pistol, I align my entire body, because I am an extension of the pistol when I hold it.

    I suppose these are similar effects, but the rifle should be as close to relaxed as possible, while the pistol and my body are stressed in several ways, holding it on target.

    Now a rifle shooter shooting three position 10-meter rifle will realign his body just as I have said to do for the pistol. The artillery hold is more for the benched rifle, though it does work in the sitting, kneeling and prone positions.

    B.B.


  12. Roy wrote: “I always hear about the artillery hold with reference to springers. Wouldn’t it work just as well with any device that propels a projectile down a barrel (PCP, multi-stroke pumper, or even a regular powder-burning firearm)?”

    Hi Roy,

    I’m no kind of expert, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend using a light or loose grip when shooting firearms pistols/revolvers in calibers above .22 rimfire.

    I’d recommend starting off with a death-like grip (with both hands) and working from there. The recoil and barrel flip of any particular pistol/revolver and ammunition combination can be quite… umh… surprising!

    I mean this ‘advice’ comment as a cautionary note, based on personal experience, more than anything else.

    Cheers,
    GH


  13. B.B. wrote: “When aligning the pistol, I align my entire body, because I am an extension of the pistol when I hold it.”

    Hi B.B.,

    Thanks for the kind word and the clarification!

    Cheers,
    GH



  14. Anonymous,

    I don’t know if my two cents will count for anything, but I experienced some finicky behaviour with my Gamo CFX .22. I know its a different rifle than your Hunter 1250, but maybe they share similar attributes, parts (barrel, etc.), behaviour.

    I went through my cache of .22 pellets and they only one my CFX liked consistently was H&N Field & Target (16.36gr), and the H&N Field Target Trophy (14.66gr) came in second.

    I shot Beeman Kodiaks (same as H&N Barracudas) along with JSB’s, etc., and they were all over the place. Only shooting at 30feet/10yards they were landing 3″-4″ from point of aim. I narrowed it down to the “possibility” that my gun did not like “thin” skirted pellets. Thats the only conclusion I could come up with for my situation.

    If you are trying to sight a gun with pellets it doesn’t like, you are in for frustration. Then again, its costly to have to purchase a slew of pellets to find the one it likes also.

    Take care.


  15. Hi GH,

    Point well taken. I had a friend who was shooting a “semi-automatic” Model 1911 .45ACP with a firm grip at a range one day. After the first shot, the gun just kept on firing until it emptied the clip and the muzzle was pointed directly overhead. IIRC, it was later found to have a broken sear.

    When you have a gun with a magazine and significant recoil, it pays to be cautious. You just can’t depend on a gun to do the right thing. Even with a single-shot rifle, recoil can be a problem if it has a scope mounted and significant recoil – I’ve seen more than one shooter with a goose egg on his forehead.

    With all that, I can still see some advantages to at least some modified version of the artillery hold for precision shooting.

    Roy


  16. BB,

    i was looking at the Webley tomahaw…

    Pyramyd ai said “Effective distance: 75 yds – 150 yds (depends on pellet and caliber)”

    My condor is not very EFFECTIVE at that range with a pellet but maybe with a bullet shaped pellet. The webly could not push that bullet 150 yards. 75 yards is pusing it already with any pellet. The key word is EFFECTIVE. I would put the effective range down at 50 yards maybe 60 for the webley. In that guns price range you can get a pcp for less money that can shoot to 80 yards with enough power for a ground hog. Need i say more?

    Sorry to exaderate this so much.

    -sumo




  17. Sumo,

    Have you personally killed a groundhog at 80 yds, and with what caliber PCP and which brand/model? If you have, then Wow!

    Thanks,

    -Joe


  18. Joe,

    not me but its been done. I have heard of shots well past 100 yards on groundhogs that have killed them without suffer. I take out my 22-250 if i want to kill a groundhog. If you are looking for a pcp gun to kill a groundhog at 80 yards get a condor in .22 caliber.

    Thanks bb.

    -sumo


  19. BB -
    I wrote a report on the centerpoint scope I just received from pyramid, but it didn’t show up here in the blog. Is there a length limit on the comments?
    Ozark




  20. hi i’m just wondering about this talk of gamo rifles. do they have barrel quality issues beacause a guy @ my range bought a gamo rifle (not sure which model) but it would not hit the paper @ 10m. if this is the case is all the technical talk on proper shooting going to matter with mediocre quality guns. i says this in the most respectful way.


  21. Here goes again… ;-)

    I said I would post my comments about the http://www.pyramydair.com/cgi-bin/accessory.pl?accessory_id=1657>CenterPoint Adventure Class 3-9x50mm Red/Green dual illuminated rifle scope with the Accushot 1-piece high mount. You have to get the high mounts with this large of objective. When I spoke to the lady at Pyramid, this was the scope she recommeded for my price range. This is my first real scope, so take my comments with that considered.

    BB has written about the droop issues with the diana guns and the need for shimming. I mounted the scope mount on the rail, using one of the small indents for the stop pin, which should fail according to BB (and others)’ findings. But.. it looks good.. ;-) I loosened the mount a touch, cinched down the stop pin in the front indent, and finally re-tightened the mount to the rail to tighten up the deficient stop. I think it’s fairly stable for now after a hundred rounds, but expect it to jump the track after a while. It doesn’t seem to be very complicated to drill a little deeper into the mounting rail to make a better stop.

    As far as shimming – I tried 35mm film, but it seemed a little small. I just cut a couple of plastic strips from the ring package I’m not sure how high it should be shimmed. Since we can adjust for elevation and zero the scope I figured we’re good. I suppose the shim is for when you run out of adjustment room?

    The scope is very clear and bright (as mentioned by BB). The reticle is well centered – but I find the red color is a little annoying from the contrast. Green seemed to be much easier on the eyes.

    Again, this is my first real scope, but I’m very happy with it and would say it’s a great bang for your buck scope!
    Ozark


  22. Ozark,
    The shim is so you can keep your scope near optical zero while having plenty of adjustment room with the scope elevation adjustment knob. I have both .22/.177 Diana 350M and first drilled the rearmost hole (where there’s a screw) a little wider and deeper on the rail, because it wasnt wide enough to accomodate the width of the stop pin on my bsquare 17701 1pc adj mount. Later I decided to hang the stop pin over the front of the rail, and that baby aint movin’. It’s possible that the Accushot stop pin may be actually shimming up the front of your mount if the indents are too shallow. Perhaps you can measure the length of the stop pin and the depth of the indents and then you’ll know for sure.
    If you can’t shim to your ultimate satisfaction, please try the 17701 bsquare adj 1pc mount. I’m extremely happy with mine on both of my Dianas. Awesome adjustability and quality. Straitshooters has ‘em for cheaper.
    –Dave Ennis


  23. Gamo accuracy,

    Gamo airguns have good barrels. They should be able to hold on less than the size of a dime at 10 meters. But the technique described here (the artillery hold) is absolutely necessary for accuracy with them and any other spring-piston air rifle.

    I don’t know why bthe rifle you mention can’t hit paper at 10 yards, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t the gun’s fault.

    There are more accurate spring air rifles, but all of them require the same technique to a greater or lesser extent.

    B.B.


  24. Hello B.B.,

    I don’t know if a blog would need to be written (or just titled with a description of what it is) to help keep the following information in a centralized place, but do you think it would be a good idea for us Bloggers to have a place to list our airguns and state which pellets we find work the absolute best in them?

    That way if someone was about to purchase an airgun or was experiencing accuracy issues, they could scan that specific blog looking for their model in the list from Bloggers, and looking for pellets multiple bloggers find consistency with for that model gun. It wouldn’t be a guarantee that the next person would experience similar/satisfactory results, but there might be consistency across shooters.

    Maybe it would be good for the person to list the manufacture date of their gun if they can determine it.

    Just an idea.

    Thanks



  25. squirrelkiller wrote: “…do you think it would be a good idea for us Bloggers to have a place to list our airguns and state which pellets we find work the absolute best in them?”

    Hi squirrelkiller,

    May be this is what you mean. Check out this URL… http://www.airguninfo.com/database.shtml

    …and then find the link “Airgun Performance Database – Airgun Expo” which goes to this URL… http://www.airgunexpo.com/airgundb/airgundb_list.cfm?

    Is this the kind of database you had in mind?

    Cheers,
    GH

    Note: If you’re reading comments in a smallish pop-up window the entire URL may not be readable because it doesn’t wrap around like most text. You may be able to grab’n’drag the edge of the pop-up window frame with your mouse/cursor ’till it’s wide enough to see the entire URL.


  26. Hi Roy,

    Good… glad you’re aware of what could happen, with firearm handgun recoil and a loose grip. There are a few video on YouTube showing people being unprepared for that.

    Some big bore PCP air rifle shooters have also discovered the hard way that checking for adequate eye relief, with telescopic sights, is important.

    Cheers,
    GH


  27. Hello GH,

    Thanks for responding and for the link, but I had seen that one before. What I see in “that” link is more of a gun analysis, and pellet speed and Ft/lbs analysis. There are few comments about accuracy, but mainly its speed/fps. Maybe I’m missing the assumption that the pellets being mentioned are implied to be accurate???

    What I was thinking is more of people listing:
    – this is my gun model/manufacture year
    – this is my normal distance/yardage for shooting
    – these are the absolute 1 or 2 accurate pellets I use

    We could list speed/fps along with the pellets if we have that data. It also doesn’t have to be a professional columnar format. We could each type it in like this, or something close to it:

    SquirrelKiller
    20-25yard distance
    Gamo CFX .177 – Beeman FTS (8.8gr), JSB Exacts (10.2gr)
    Gamo CFX .22 – H&N Field & Target (16.36gr), H&N Field Target Trophy (14.66gr)
    next gun
    next gun
    etc.

    That way it could be resident to the Pyramid Blog. A blogger could go there, and look for every mention of a gun across bloggers, and see if across bloggers one pellet is more likely accurate for a gun at a distance.

    Its just an idea. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel if its already been does elsewhere, I just haven’t seen it centralized anywhere. I’ve seen people question what others are shooting for there best groups, and thought it might be nice to group that info in one place.

    Thanks again GH and Cheers



  28. Dave –
    Thanks for the info. I’ll keep on checking, as long as I’m shooting good groups, I’ll go on the assumption that the shimming is satisfactory. You do bring up a good point that I may have shimmed up the front of the scope by retightening the front of the clamp after cinching down the stop pin.
    Ozark




  29. Hello again B.B.,

    Even if we just typed the “best/accurate” pellet information (like I outlined above)in the comments section of one particular blog title/subject that might be good enough.

    Thanks again


  30. squirrelkiller wrote: “…Maybe I’m missing the assumption that the pellets being mentioned are implied to be accurate?”

    Hi SK,

    That may be the case, but you’re clearly right about the nature of that particular database. It’s oriented more towards power issues than toward precision/accuracy, at specified distances, with particular pellets.

    I think you’ve got a good idea, SK. I don’t recall ever finding a database like you’re suggesting during my many Internet searches.

    The only other database-like web pages I recall which sort of fits this discussion is “AirRifle Reviews,” here… http://www.airgunsmith.com/cgi-bin/airgun_review/reviews.pl

    It has what appears to be a free-form entry which allows reviewers to write whatever they may think is important.

    As looks go, I personally like the rows & columns database appearance (as in the AirgunExpo.com example) the best. But, the technical aspects of hosting a functional database with that appearance is beyond my understanding.

    Cheers,
    GH



  31. BB, I enjoy reading your blog for the sheer amount of information it contains. However, you sure do quote Tom Gaylord a lot. ;-)

    Could it be that you’re just a huge fan of this man? :-P


  32. Resonation adjustment devices do affect spring piston guns, and it is possible to “tune” barrel vibration nodes for accuracy. The Browning B.O.S.S. has proved that many times.

    B.B.


  33. Tom Gaylord’s brilliant artillery hold comes very naturally after a small ammount of practice–I found myself using it without a thought as I had to think quick last week to bag my first Starlings. Even when shooting high in trees at 50+ yards, I was able to swing the RWS 350 .22 into the hold fast and accurately.

    Wearing a close-fitting shirt prevented the rubber butt plate from getting snagged on the fabric–something that can affect your accuracy and timing when hunting game with the artillery hold. Keep that butt plate OFF your body! it’s not going to slam you like a Mossberg.

    I let only the fleshy part between thumb and fore-finger lightly touch the back of the grip, with the rest of my fingers floating, with the exception of the trigger finger which is also touched very light.

    I absolutely love having to use this technique for springers–the satisfying feedback from the kick of a powerful springer, the harmony of becoming in perfect balance with the airgun is what I’m all about–and it shows in my accuracy.

    I had taken my video equipment to the country house to do an “out of the box” review of my new RWS 350, but I didn’t find the time. I’m by no means an expert on airguns, but I’m learning fast!

    B.B., do send an email if you think collaborating on some short video blog airgun reviews/techniques migt be something you’re interested in having here. It would be so helpful to have a Maestro’s input. I’ve appeared on television many times and I’m serious about this new hobby!

    Cheers
    Paul Capello
    paul@thebestcasescenario.com




  34. I would like to know you opinion on Mendoza rifles? I am waiting for my RM-600 .22 and I have read reviews by people that only own one or two air guns. I am curious how this gun will compare to others with similar features? Is Mendoza reputable? well made? long lasting? accurate? I tried 7 different online sellers and only one had any in stock so I know people are buying the, what do they think? Please if you have time let me know your thoughts.
    Your opinions go a long way in this hobby, your blog is regular reading for me now.

    Giancarlo Poli



  35. My experience with the hold of my break barrel airguns (bsa stutzen, weihrauch hw35, rws 350 magnum) is very similiar to the artillery hold. And I think it works really good.

    The front of the stock rests on a sandbag.
    I try to hold the gun as light as possible with my right hand at the trigger. With my left hand I grab the bottom of the stock (at the rear oft the stock, my hand is in some way formed like an “U”). The thumb of my left hand is pushed against my chest and the four other fingers rest on my upper arm.
    So when the trigger is pulled the gun can move forwards and backwards, but not to the right or the left. (because of three stable points: sandbag and my two elbows)
    I also try to avoid to focus to hard on the target, because then I tend to cramp. I mean not to wait to long and start thinking to much…

    I don’t know, if this technique is very professionel.
    But perhaps it could help some of you to get better results.

    What do you think about it B.B.?

    Regards

    Derek


  36. I am experimenting with a new artillery compatible bench rest. With the goal of aligning the gun so that I know its my hold that’s at fault!

    Here’s how I’ve achieved 6mm c-t-c groupings at 8.25 yards (in garage) with a 177 caliber RWS 350.

    I took two 6×9″ bubble mailers, the sort you use for mailing items that must be protected, like CDs.

    Take the first and role it into a tube, not too tight, not too loose. Take the second mailer and wrap it around the first. Once you’ve run out, remove the wax paper and attach the self adhesive strip to the mailer. This will form a double mailer tube.

    Place the mailer on a bench or other stable surface parallel to the target, i.e. wide as you look at the target.

    Before we continue, the first few shots will be off because of the next step in the technique.

    Find the balancing point by placing the gun on the tube and letting it rock towards the bench when unsupported. You want this to be about the same as gravity. Too little and the gun rocks back on firing, too much and you’ll be providing too much rear support with your cheek and hands.

    Finally, use your off hand to delicately stabilize the stock, no need to press against your shoulder as your hand and cheek will do the rest. Keep your touch light.

    Finally squeeze the trigger oh-so-carefully and you’ll begin to drive tacks.

    You may need to play with the balancing point a little depending on your gun. And you may need to look at your cheek and off-hand support hold as well.

    After just 30 shots I got my technique right and I was putting pellet after pellet through the same hole. I had to resight a little given the groupings.

    Knowing your balancing point (muzzle bias) and trigger pull is two elements you can practice without your off-hand and shoulder afecting your shot and confidence.

    PS. I used (yellow) paper covered mailers as I figured the wood stock and paper wouldn’t form a high friction surface.

    PS. Don’t forget to clean your bore as per BBs recommendation. I used a couple of dry cleaning pellets pushed through by hand with a cleaning rod and noticed an improvement in accuracy.



  37. Thanks for this. I'm a l-o-n-g time rifle shooter and was wondering why my first air-rifle was making groups that looked like a blast from a non-choked shotgun.

    I tried it, it worked, simple as that.


  38. Paulius,

    Thanks for telling us about your success. The artillery hold actually works for firearms as well, but only target shooters ever develop it. It's a rimfire thing, and also a long range (1,000 yard) black powder cartridge discipline.

    B.B.


  39. I have a new Beeman RC2 pellet gun. I have mounted the .22 barrel and have a target set up at 35 yards. So far I have been able to get satisfactory groups and have only fired about 100 rounds. I have blue set the scope screws and fire from a bench rest. The temperature in South Florida has been in the high 70's and low 80's this winter. Today the temp dropped into the high 50's. The groups dropped at least two inches when the temperature dropped. Is this possible?
    What sort of barrel cleaning kit should I buy? So far I haven't cleaned the barrel at all.
    I will try the artillery hold tomorrow but am most interested in the temperature difference in accuracy.
    Lawman


  40. Lawman,

    I'm assuming you have a Beeman RS2 not a RC2? If so, you have a spring gun with a scope mounted.

    If so, it's very common that POI (Point Of Impact) changes with a drastic change in temperature. The lubes (grease) inside your gun loose viscosity and slow down velocity is one potential reason. It's also common that the glass inside your scope will be affected by temperature change and change POI.

    Don't worry about cleaning your barrel.

    Worry about perfecting the artillery hold. There's a video on the Pyramyd Air website that's very helpful. At the top of this page on the right is a link you can click on that will take you to the Pyramyd Air website. Look for the videos. Also look for the link that takes you to the AIRGUN BLOG.

    You've posted your comment under an article that was published in 2007. Very few will see it here. On the current blog thousands of airgunners will see your comments and questions and will offer you help and share airgun stories.

    Hope to see you there.

    kevin


  41. Lawman,

    Don't do anything to your gun. A POI change always happens when the temperature changes if you use a scope. The optics are very temperature-dependent.

    Just re-sight for the new temp and continue shooting.

    B.B.,


  42. What about springer pistols??? I've found that the "artillery-hold" works fine for my springer-rifles, but finding the balance point and grip technique is not as easy on springer-pistols. I own a Browning 800 Express, Ruger Mark 1, Ruger Black Mark URX and Hatsan 25 Supercharger.



  43. I tried the artillery hold and quit using it. It is not a panacea for good accuracy because the torque from springer is extremely detrimental to accuracy. As a long time cast bullet bench rest shooter I’ve gone back to basic bench rest techniques using a rest with front and rear bags to test springer and pellets to determine accuracy. By resting the fore-end of the springer on the bag (a snug fit in the bag), against the trigger guard, under the spring guide, groups fired are far better than those using the artillery hold. In some instances point impact will be high but, surprisingly, with .177 pellets weighing 8 grs. and heavier point of impact differs little from point of impact when I shoot off-hand. Shooting off-hand the rifle is lightly but firmly with the heel of my hand against the front of the trigger guard. Since I am a leftie, I am further able to counteract torque to right by riding the top, right hand edge of the stock with the tips of the fingers on my right hand. In certain aspect shooting from a rest is similar to the artillery hold. It requires a light touch on the comb and butt of the stock, and both bags have to be in true alignment with the length of the rifle. It’s disservice to shooters to claim that the artillery hold is the only way to go. It is not and it discourages experimentation.
    Ron Fortier


  44. Bad editing on my part, can’t proof read my own work:

    I tried the artillery hold and quit using it. It is not a panacea for good accuracy because the torque from springers is extremely detrimental to accuracy. As a long time cast bullet bench rest shooter I’ve gone back to basic bench rest techniques using a rest with front and rear bags to test springers and pellets to determine accuracy. By resting the fore-end of the springer on the bag (a snug fit in the bag), against the trigger guard, under the spring guide, groups fired are far better than those using the artillery hold. In some instances point of impact will be high but, surprisingly, with .177 pellets weighing 8 grs. and heavier point of impact differs little from point of impact when I shoot off-hand. When shooting off-hand the rifle is held lightly but firmly with the heel of my hand against the front of the trigger guard. Since I am a leftie, I am further able to counteract torque to right by riding the top, right hand edge of the stock with the tips of the fingers on my right hand. In certain aspect shooting from a rest is similar to the artillery hold. It requires a light touch on the comb and butt of the stock, and both bags must be in true alignment with the length of the rifle so it can recoil freely. It’s disservice to shooters to claim that the artillery hold is the only way to go. It is not and it discourages experimentation.
    Ron Fortier


    • Ron,

      Welcome to the blog!

      You have read a very old article and have missed the several that have been written since — including tests I’ve done that demonstrate some spring guns do not require the artillery hold. The TX200 is one that doesn’t.

      But for a breakbarrel springer with any power, the artillery hold is still the best way to make the gun group.

      Please join us on the current blog located here:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/

      B.B.


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