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Education / Training Advanced accuracy tips: Part 1

Advanced accuracy tips: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

I want to share some accuracy tips I’ve learned over the years. These should be added to all the tips this blog has covered since it started. There are too many of those to recap here, but searching for them would be well worth the effort. You should look at the postings about scopes, scope mounting (including levels), anything about pellets and barrel cleaning. Today’s two tips cover all kinds of airguns.

Tip 1. Relax!
I don’t mean melt into a puddle…just relax before you take each shot. And, not just you – make sure the GUN is relaxed, too! What do I mean by that? I mean, make sure the gun is not being held in a cramped or forced position, that it can move in any direction after the shot is fired. This tip is especially good when shooting a spring rifle, but it also works for all other kinds of rifles and pistols. Here’s a good way to ensure that you’re relaxed with a scoped rifle.

After you are sighted on target, close your eyes and force yourself to relax. Now, open your eyes. Where are the sights aiming? That’s where your rifle wants to shoot! So, make some adjustments and try it again until your sights remain on target.

With a target pistol, you have to hold the pistol on target. Your shooting arm can’t be relaxed, but the rest of your body can be! So, do the same thing, but allow for the shooting arm. Get on target, close your eyes, relax and open your eyes to see where the sights are aiming. When shooting a pistol and when shooting a rifle offhand, I find that the position of my feet has a lot to do with where I’m aimed after relaxing.

When I want to make the best possible group, I always do the above, and I go through the procedure as many times as it takes. I stop going through this drill when I open my eyes and the sights are still on target. That can take over a minute per shot, especially if I have to move between shots to cock and load the gun.

Tip 2. Find the power level and pellet that your gun likes – and stick to it!
This tip applies mostly to those airguns with adjustable power, but all guns will have a favorite pellet. It has been my experience that each airgun with adjustable power has a spot or two where it performs really well. If you change pellets, the spot may change, too. Find the power spot for your gun and keep it there for best results. Also, find the pellet that your gun likes best, which I’ve covered in several past posts.

The shooters who are hung up on velocity have a hard time doing this. I have actually taken an “inaccurate” pneumatic rifle and shot a group nearly one-fourth the size the owner had been getting. I did it by turning the power down in every case. After the group was shot, the shooter told me he only wanted to run his gun on the maximum power setting. Fine – but don’t blame your airgun for your own failure to understand what it takes to be accurate. That’s like entering a draft horse the Kentucky Derby or pulling a wagon with a thoroughbred!

Here is an actual incident to support my story. I knew a shooter who wanted to get the most from his Sheridan Blue Streak. He sent it off to have the powerplant upgraded. When it came back, it was set to allow as many as 14 pump strokes instead of the factory-recommended 8. The shooter then loaded his rifle with super heavyweight Korean .20 caliber pellets that delivered over 20 foot-pounds when he pumped his gun as high as it would go. He shot 1-1/8″ 5-shot groups at 30 yards with this combination. With the same rifle, I pumped just six times and shot five Crosman Premiers into a 3/8″ group at 30 yards. That was with the upgraded rifle! The upgrade had increased the power, but the accuracy had been there all the time.

Crosman stopped making Premiers in .20 caliber a short while back, then they were persuaded to start making them again. The world supply is short as this is printed, but the Crosman domed pellet is close enough until Premiers come back.

I know Premiers work well in Sheridan Blue and Silver Streaks. I’ve never seen one that didn’t like them. While they may not be the absolute best pellet in these rifles, they will probably always be in the top five. I don’t have to waste my time trying hundreds of pellets for a Blue Streak, I stick with them until someone shows me something better.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

8 thoughts on “Advanced accuracy tips: Part 1”

  1. I will be selling my cf-x to buy the weihrauch hw97k.My cf-x has had about 2500 shots through it.It has no scratches.Ill sell it with a bsa 4×32 scope and a hard case.What is the lowest price I could sell this rifle for?

    If someone is interested please email me at hernan_classic@yahoo.com
    with your offers.I bought the riffle new from on january 2006.I have the manual,and everything that comes with it.

    CF-X guy(Hernan)

  2. Some more tips (although I suspect you have a bunch in your “kit bag”):

    1. Concentrate on the sights, not the target. This is something that one learns in shooting iron sights but many scope shooters don’t think this will work for them — it does. This is more mental with a scope than iron sights, but concentrate on the center of the crosshairs and not on the target. The effect is to reduce the movements you make to correct. This works even better for offhand shooting.

    2. Don’t be afraid to try modifications to your position. Try moving the position of the butt on your shoulder — a bit closer/farther from your neck may reduce pulsing. If you don’t try, you won’t find if you have a “sweet spot” for you and your gun. Similarly, try various trigger finger positions — I found that I shoot better with the trigger blade up against my first knuckle instead of on the ball of the finger.

    3. For pistol shooting, a recommendatation was to “guide the gun with the trigger.” This is more mental than physical with even a pistol but if one thinks about making adjustments to the sight picture this way, it helps with accuracy.

    4. If you can dry-fire your gun, try to do so without any movement of the sight picture during the “shot.” All target guns have this capability but not many “sporters.” Once you can “shoot” without moving the gun, even if the gun does recoil during the shot, your accuracy will be better because the pellet is long gone by the time the gun recoils.

  3. BB,

    this is a really good post. I hope you will proceed with this series. It is of great value, because it works. This is the only thing that is interesting for me.
    Yesterday I tried your first tip on relax and my groups shrank to two-thirds. Maybe it´s getting even better with your next posts.

    Thank You,


  4. Hi,
    I am only twelve, but when I go out to practice target shoot with my Gamo gun,when I am standing the gun seems to “wobble” from side to side and up and down a little, thus making it hard to get really good accuracy. If you have any tips they are appreciated a lot.

  5. Gamo,

    I have a Shadow 1000 mounted with a scope and it weighs around 7 or so pounds which is sortof on the heavy side for me. You should try differant holds on the forarm of the stock such as (if u are right handed) holding the rifle right after the trigger guard (the side of the trigger guard that is away from you) while resting ur left elbow against ur stomach. That technick helps to make it easier on ur arm. It really depends on what is most comfortable for you. But if you really want accuracy you u haft to steady it more such as shooting it off of sandbags.


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