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Settling into a firing position

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Today was supposed to be Part 2 of the report on the BSA Scorpion 1200 SE, but I had an accident (actually a stupident) last night that prevented me from completing the test. I was slicing open a roll of bullet grease for my sizer/lubricator, and I slipped and cut my hand deeply. Today, as I was pumping the Hill pump to fill the rifle for the test, the wound reopened and I had to stop. Because the BSA fills to 232 bar and has a proprietary fill probe, I use the Hill pump because I don’t want to change out my more common Foster adapter on my carbon fiber tank since it fills most of the PCPs I own. Proprietary fill couplings are relegated to the hand pump.

This is also going to delay the next report of the Hatsan AT P1 pistol and the Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup rifle, as both of those PCPs also have proprietary fill probes and, of course, none of them fit any other gun — nor do they fit the BSA rifle! So, the only PCP I can report on for a week or 2 will be the Benjamin Marauder because it has a standard Foster fill coupling.

Today, I want to address the issue that blog reader Beazer brought up the other day when I talked about calling shots and following through. He mentioned that with his heavy-recoiling gas spring rifle, which he calls Mr. Nasty, he cannot keep the crosshairs on the point of aim after the shot fires. He wondered what to do about it. Let me pull a quote from his comment that explains everything well.

… should my sight picture return to p.o.a. after all the dust settles? Asked another way, if my reticle winds up off target, but my shot is close to on target, is something wrong in my shot execution?

Several other readers made similar comments about recoiling firearms. Obviously, this was a point that I failed to make in that report. Today, I want to set things right and talk about the ideal shooting position.

Let’s say I’m shooting at a 100-yard target with the open sights on a bolt action O3-A3 Springfield military rifle. This rifle is caliber .30-06, and it does recoil significantly. Nobody can hold the sights on the point of aim while this gun recoils. What I was trying to say in the report is that at the last instant before the shot fires, you look at your aim point reference for calling your shot. Someone else said it better — I think it was Fred. He says he takes a “mental snapshot” of the sight picture just before the gun fires. That’s a great way of saying what has to happen. No one can hold so still that they always know where the shot will go, but experienced shooters do watch their sights so they know where the gun is at the instant it fires. That tells them where the shot is going, and that’s how you call the shot.

So, on the O3-A3, I’m watching the front sight blade through the rear peep aperture, and I note the instant that the big service rifle fires. Of course, I lose all track of the target and sight picture after that. But if I saw where the front blade was at the moment of cartridge ignition, I know what I need to know to determine where the bullet probably went.

But what about what Beazer asked? Should the rifle return to the aim point after firing? In an ideal world, I guess it should, and maybe that’s possible for pellet rifles and rimfires more than it is for powerful centerfire firearms. The big kickers, like my .30-06, are going to push you around some, so don’t be surprised if you aren’t on target after the dust settles.

Instead of looking at it that way, I would like to turn things around and look from a different perspective. I would like to talk about how you settle in before you take the shot.

When I’m on a benchrest, or even when I’m in a seated or standing-supported firing position, it takes time for me to settle-in properly. I keep adjusting things until the rifle is aimed at the target when I’m completely relaxed. Don’t get confused — I don’t necessarily mean that I’m holding the rifle loosely. If the gun is a pellet rifle, I’m probably holding it loosely; but if I’m shooting a hard-recoiling rifle like a .30-06, you can be sure that I have the butt tight against my shoulder and the thumb of my firing hand is positioned to not break my nose when it comes back at me in recoil! Cowboy Star Dad told us that he’s learned to hold his .22 Magnum rifle firmly for best results, so maybe it’s only pellet rifles that are held loosely.

When I settle in the first concern is to rest the rifle as straight as possible toward the target. I’m now talking about looking through the sights and centering the rifle using them. If I’m using a rifle rest, that’s what gets moved from side to side. If I’m resting the rifle on my hands or directly on a sandbag, I put the butt to my shoulder and sight through the sights, then move the bag or my hands to center the rifle. If the rifle is handheld, my elbows also determine where it points; so once the gross corrections are made with the rest, I begin to make small adjustments of the elbows.

The object is that when I hold the rifle, the sights are aligned with the target so that when I close my eyes and relax, the sights remain aligned as before. I actually do this sometimes — close my eyes, take a deep breath and let it out, then open my eyes and see where the sights are. If they’re not aligned as I want them to be, I make adjustments to the hold and do it again. This works for rifles that are loosely held and for those that are held tightly.

I haven’t mentioned elevation yet, but of course that’s just as important as right and left. If I’m shooting off a rest that has a vertical adjustment capability, it gets adjusted up and down until the front sight is perfectly aligned. If the rifle is handheld, I do the same thing with my grip and the sandbag under it, if there is one.

One more thing
There’s one last step to this hold. That’s to touch the trigger and make sure the rifle doesn’t move away from the target as it’s squeezed. Sometimes this final step is the place where that last little bit of muscle tension gets revealed and corrected.

Do this for every shot
I know it sounds anal, but I repeat this process for every shot. You may think that a .223 Remington cartridge doesn’t recoil much; and in an AR-15 rifle, it certainly doesn’t — but even that pipsqueak cartridge moves the rifle enough to warrant this kind of attention, shot after shot.

If you’ll settle in like this for every shot, you’ll find that your groups grow smaller and smaller. You may already be using the artillery hold, but this procedure is part of it. I haven’t talked about this very much until now; but if you read my R1 book, you’ll see that I give today’s settling-in procedure the same importance as the artillery hold. This is what allows for calling the shot and for following through.

What about handguns?
Everything I’ve said today applies to rifles, only. Is there anything equivalent for handguns? You bet there is! There’s enough material to warrant at least one whole report of its own if there’s any interest among you readers. Today, I wanted to remain with rifles because there was so much to explain that I didn’t want any distractions.

A simple test to demonstrate the hold
I have an idea. What if I shoot 3 groups at 25 yards with the same accurate spring rifle? My Beeman R8 seems like a good candidate. From past tests, we know that JSB Exact RS pellets are a good choice for that rifle. One group will be shot using the classic artillery hold and the settling-in procedure I described today. A second group will be shot using the artillery hold without settling-in. I’ll use my muscles to hold the rifle on target, but I’ll use the artillery hold. Then, I’ll shoot a third group while holding the rifle like a deer rifle — gripping the forearm and pistol grip tightly and pulling the butt firmly into my shoulder. I promise to try to shoot my absolute best with each position. One 10-shot group should show a difference if I’m right about this. Boy, will I be embarrassed if I’m not!

71 thoughts on “Settling into a firing position”

  1. B.B.

    Another point I didn’t know about THANKS. I’m partial to pistols so would appreciate how it applies to them. Looking forward to a future report. Sorry to hear about your hand. Hope it heals quick.


      • B.B.

        Thank you Sir. I think there are quite a bit already. Hope it will result in your report on pistols cos they are hard to master, even air pistols. Mine has a heavy trigger which makes it harder. In anticipation here.


      • Yes, I would like to see the version about pistols. NPA with pistols has always been kind of a mystery to me since the pistol seems to be hanging out way in the breeze and takes some effort to hold in place.


  2. BB
    Man don’t get hurt. I hate hurt.
    No stitches I hope.

    Maybe you can make a adapter for your carbon fiber tank. I’m looking at doing just that so I can fill my air guns and my carbon fiber tank with the Foster fitting with out having to change things around for my Shoebox compressor.
    I just want to plug and play if you will. Maybe that would make for a short blog about lines and adapters for pcp guns. It can get kind of confusing when you try to get the fittings and adapters worked out. You really need to pay attention to get it worked out right.

    And now I’m more happy. I exactly do what your talking about (settling in) before I do my shots with my rifles.
    Kind of hard to do though when your pest controlling or hunting. Time seems to moves fast in those situations.

    And yes do a blog on pistols concerning settling in. I know I mentioned before that I like rifles but I do shoot pistols also. I just ain’t no good with them.

    I have a Crosman 2300 S with a red dot sight on it. And yes this one (Does Not) have the 1399 stock on it. It is still a pistol.
    I have been practicing at 10 meters with the gun using the Air Arms Field Heavy pellets at 10.34 grn.
    I’m getting .750″ groups with it firing 10 shots (a ragged .750″ group). I tryed the Superdomes and it got worse.

    So see I’m confused. Is it my hold, settling in (not very good with settling in with pistols or hold), or is it follow through or wrong pellet choice. Don’t the paper punching target guns usually use flat nose pellets also.
    Maybe I should be happy with a .750″ group ?

    The red dot is because of my eye sight not being as good as it use to be. And I have thought about a low magnification scope with a long eye relief but not sure how that would work out either.

    See BB I need some help here. Rifles I’m good. Pistols nope not so good.

    • GF1,

      Well, I guess I will do pistols. Yes, they are harder to shoot than rifles — especially the ones that take rifle scopes but have no shoulder stock. Well, I may have a fix for that!

      And yes, you should be able to put 10 shots into less than 3/4-inch at 10 meters with a 2300S. So we’ll work on that.


      • BB
        OK thanks. I know I will learn something.

        Maybe then when me and my brother shoot pistols I can give him a run for his money.
        He always has been able to out shoot me with pistols. But I can get him when we rifle shoot.

  3. Ouch! I have a few self inflicted scars myself.

    I will bet big money your groups will open up with different grips and whether you “settle in”. I could alter my POI almost 2 ” when shooting my Gamo CFX with an almost imperceptible change in pressure with my right thumb. That’s one of the reasons I stepped back from sproingers for a while. I had reached a certain level, but could not take it further. It was quite frustrating for me. Also, I wanted to explore SSPs and PCPs and on a low budget and limited closet space, it was time for the CFX to move on.

    • caveman,

      I suppose you could call it that, but I find that confusing. When I use that term I am thinking about pistol shooting and how I have to stand to be aligned with the bullseye.

      It’s probably just a difference of our outlooks on shooting that makes the difference.


      • B.B.,

        I first learned about NPA with rifle. Every great rifle shot that I’ve known finds their NPA. But, of course, I also learned it later when I got into air-pistol. I even try to find something similar when bowling, and I did when shooting archery. You always want to eliminate bias caused by misalignment.


          • B.B.,

            Right. I’ve seen that you’ve written about this very same thing in the past, just by a different name. However, NPA is what I was taught, and what I have consistently seen in literature. Not all shooters agree with it’s importance, but they are in a tiny minority. When you have disagreement like this, I tend to see it as an “advanced topic”, because advanced techniques are generally NOT universal, whereas almost everyone agrees on the same basic fundamentals.


  4. BB,

    hope you are healing fast. I absolutely hate cutting myself. A former wood carver, I use to get cut constantly. You get use to it, but it’s a pain as it heals. And it always happens to an important finger.. I use the “calling the shot” practice with my Sharps .45/70, because that rifle never stays on target after it goes off. Another good column, regardless.

    • westernPA,

      Funny, how as a woodcarver that most important finger status changes with which one you injured…. Same here. Many scars and it didn’t matter which part of my hand or which finger got it, that one became the center of attention as I tried to work around it. Finally got around to accepting the philosophy of, “No project is complete without spilling some of my blood on it….”


  5. I tought we would get a gnarly picture of the cut 😉

    Just like calling the shots and follow thru this settling thing all came to me when I got my first PCP.
    I finally understood! I knew what to do and how to do it.

    It’s like shooting a non-recoiling gun showed me what could be done.

    The down side is now I know I can do it so when I don’t and shots are going everywhere I know it’s all my fault. 🙁


    p.s. Count me in for the pistol version of this report!! I’m very interested.

  6. Hey BB,

    been there, done that even to the point of having to go to the ER! Hope you heal quickly. Regarding the Hill Pump and the proprietary adapter, I understand completely you wanting to keep the pump for those adapters. Isn’t that what Edith is there for? 🙂 Duck and cover, quick. Incoming!

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • Fred DPRoNJ,

      I’ve already volunteered for that, but Tom thinks I won’t be able to pump over 3,000 psi, which is needed to test the gun. I did pump up my Barnes Pneumatic benchrest gun to 3,000 psi…before, during and after matches…but I never had to pump higher than that.


      • Why don’t you just order this part:
        a bit of teflon tape and it would be good to go.

        I only have Hatsan and Crosman PCP’s so I had a Hatsan fill probe machined with the male foster fitting.


          • But with that small doohickey, you don’t change anything on your tank, you screw in your fill probe for the Hatsan or BSA in it and connect it to your tank with your foster fitting.

            My tank only has the foster fitting but I can refill both the Crosman and Hatsan.


          • + 1 on the adapter. I have them on all my proprietary fill probes. They snap on and off the foster fill connector on my carbon fiber tanks. Makes life easy for accomodating multiple proprietary fill probes. Life is too short to pump. I’d rather be shooting.


            • Kewvin,

              Yeah, if I owned these probes that would be okay, but I don’t. I get whatever comes in the box and use it for my tests, then send it back. And Evanix has changed their probes several times in the past few years.


              • B.B.,

                Just unscrew the adapter before returning the fill probe.

                Only trying to make your life easier especially considering your life threatening injury to your hand.


                • Exactly, you screw it on the Hatsan probe, when you’re done, you unscrew it and screw it on the BSA fill probe and so on and so forth with all those weird fill probe, the other end just goes in your female foster fitting on your tank. Couldn’t be easier, well worth the 10$ IMHO but hey, we’re not the ones doing the pumping. 😉


  7. I fully support any excuse that allows the dust to be blown out of that R8. However, I think for the proposed test an untuned, magnum springer would show more dramatic differences in accuracy when modifying the hold.


  8. B.B., yup still finding that a ‘firm handshake’ grip on the Savage is working best.
    But one thing that I can back you up on totally…I found out last week how one has to do EXACTLY the same thing everytime.
    Last week I put on a Kydex high riser cheek piece on the Savage to get a better line of sight with the scope. The factory Savage stock is fine for irons…but too low for a scope (IMO).
    So…went to the range to see if it affected anything as I had to drill holes in the stock, etc.
    Did my firm handshake thing…comfortably rested my cheek on the riser and five shots in a slight over 1″ group (100m) bang in the middle of the bull.
    Happy, happy, happy…as Si would say.
    Went to the next bull and first shot…bang on.
    Then decided that maybe if a firm handshake was better, a tighter cheekweld would be too.
    Everthing else the same….but the shot was a good 2.5″ to the right and high.
    Figured that had to be a flyer so tried again and that shot went to the same spot…nearly touching.
    My last two shots I did with a light cheekweld…and bang…back in the centre.
    Wow…these things are finicky.

  9. B.B.,

    I consider this process of settling in to be the same as finding your natural point of aim (NPA). Finding your NPA is more obvious when shooting standing with either rifle or pistol. But when shooting kneeling, for example, the process seems a lot more like refinement. It’s even more subtle when shooting prone. Now, I’m talking about shooting with a sling, except for offhand shooting.

    Finding your NPA, versus not, is the difference between shooting 10’s in the kneeling position and shooting even 7’s. I can’t imagine how someone could clean kneeling without first finding their NPA, it’s that important.

    When we talked about holding a rifle hard versus soft, I mentioned that in small-bore competition the gun is held tightly by a sling. What I failed to mention is that no matter the position, we try to relax our muscles. For instance, when shooting small-bore prone, there’s quite a bit of tension in the sling in order to hold the rifle up, but the hand at the hand-stop is completely relaxed, as should the rest of the body. We try to let bone and the sling provide all of the support. But whatever the case, no shot is taken until you’ve first found your natural point of aim.

    I personally see using a sling as being very similar to use a bag, if you do everything correctly, as I’ve outlined above. No muscle, relaxed everything, first find your NPA.

    Another very important point that is worth repeating is the fact that the follow-through should be a companion to NPA. Follow-through is how you check repeated check your NPA.


    • I’ve heard that a properly slinged up prone is supposed to be equivalent to a benchrest, at least in the sense that you are testing the gun and not your marksmanship. But I find that hard to believe.


      • Matt61,

        Yeah, I wouldn’t say that prone shooting is like shooting bench-rest. However, it is closer to true when you’re talking about shooting according to NRA rules versus the older ISF rules, where the jackets had to fit very loose, be fairly thin, not be stiff, and fit above the waist. Under ISF rules, there is nothing you can do to completely eliminate your pulse. With NRA jackets, the shooters effectively straps themselves into a thick, tightly strapped, jacket that prevents movement, and those jackets go both higher and lower than ISF would allow.

        I’ve never used an NRA jacket, but most competitors (my friends) in NRA matches did. In four position shooting, you wouldn’t see so many high 790’s, and even 800’s, if ISF jackets were required. Back in the 50’s, trigger pulls had to exceed something like 3 pounds, and yet top shooters shot scores very similar to modern day shooters.

        In my dreams, I’d like to see a new form of competitive marksmanship that was more like ISF, including the heavier triggers. THAT would really be something, and THAT would shot how good the marksman truly is. At present, the closest thing we got is pistol competition.

        So here’s what the NRA has done. With all the super stiff jackets being used today, which make a huge difference, instead of going back to more strict standards that expose the shooter’s weaknesses, or true strengths, they’ve opted to make the scoring rings smaller. I may be the only person who things this is a step in the wrong direction, but that’s what I think. I’d like to see competition where natural ability and hard work is required to master both the fundamentals and advanced techniques. I’d like to see competitive marksmanship reflect human ability, and not what clothes can do. But that’s just me.

        I know that some get excited about “better numbers”, and seeing records get smashed. That would be like allowing corked bats, and shortening the fences. Home-runs are exciting, but…


  10. I have two different ways I hold guns. If it’s bigger than a .22lr I grab on to that gun as if my life depends on it, and on a few occasions it has depended on it. If it’s a .22lr or less I hold it so light it can easily be taken from me. Mostly it’s balanced in my left hand and just touching my shoulder. My trigger never differs. From my hardest hitting Mossberg to my lightest pump rifle it is always just the very tip of my trigger finger in the trigger. I learned this in basic training decades ago. This prevents that trigger twitch that brings your shot off the target left or right. It takes practice but I have done this for so long it’s now a muscle memory and I do not have to think about it. then all I have to do is watch my breathing. Take a few deep breaths, hold the last one a few seconds, let it all out and hold it until the shot goes off. I’m always on target. Only reason I might miss is if my target moves unexpectedly. Then that shot will miss.

  11. One more thing. If we make follow-through a companion to finding our NPA, we gain focus on shooting through our wobble-area by keeping our sights aligned. More importantly, follow-through solves the flinching problem.

    Good shooting is about fundamentals, but great shooting is about lots of practice and improving upon our focus. Lack of follow-through ruins everything.


  12. B.B., got to watch those knives. I’ll put this in my category of things that can go wrong like having the recoil spring stop on the 1911 fly out and hit you in the safety glasses when disassembling. If you were using your ultra-sharp knives so much the worse. I nicked myself with one of my knives after sharpening and bled like a stuck pig. In connection with bad movies, I’m reminded of a samurai film I recently saw where one samurai makes a cut to the head of the villain with seemingly no effect. Then, the villain’s eyes get big as blood starts to seep from an orbital cut around his head…

    Yes, for my Mosin with the 182 grain bullet, there was no way to hold onto the sight picture after the discharge.

    Wulfraed, you’re right that there was no information about the type of metal that was twisted in the Viking swords. The principle they were trying to illustrate is that the twisting itself had some kind of strengthening effect similar to what you get with laminations. With six component bars the twisting gets increased by at least a factor of six and when you hammer them altogether perhaps there is even more higher-order folding. (Incidentally, I didn’t know the metal twisting for Viking swords was obscure. I just saw it in a randomly selected book. I don’t have any library on the subject like you.) By the way for Japanese swords, I wouldn’t say that there were just a “few” folds. Some claims have been made of over one million folds. On the other hand the powers of 2, f(x) = 2^x, shows that it only takes 20 folds to get there, so you’re right in that sense. Around their twisted core, the Vikings added on pieces to make the edge so I don’t know that they didn’t do some of the differential tempering and experimentation with different types of metal, but there is certainly no record that I know of and no indication that it was as extensive as the Japanese.

    If anyone is wondering, the “blob” still lives by dawn’s early light. I shot some astounding groups I may say with my IZH 61 the other night, as good as any I’ve ever shot. In rational terms, I would say the blob visual is a way of putting together parts of the shooting process that I had been working too hard separately. Focusing too hard on the sight wobble, for instance, was making me overly conscious of the movement and actually encouraging me to snipe. The blob image reminds me to integrate everything together. And it has some martial arts precedents. The samurai used the name “distant mountain gaze” to describe a sort of soft focus of the opponent that takes in everything. The Russian Systema masters encourage one to look over the head of the opponent to avoid tunnel vision (although I wouldn’t have the guts to try that for real). I suppose the thinking is that with too much visual focus of the wrong kind you foreclose the action of the subconscious.

    I like a clear, precise description of something as much as the next, but could it be that figurative language–rather than being a fantasy land–is the very tool for specifying certain subtle things that can’t be expressed any other way? There is already a tradition of this in shooting with the trigger that breaks “like a glass rod” or is “creepy.” These are all suggestive more than clearly descriptive. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these terms cluster around trigger control. Anyway, the spacetime “blob” of trigger movement and the “sqeeze event” of the shot cycle are working for me.


  13. BB,
    Victor touched on this, but I want to go a little farther.

    There is a danger, it seems to me, of confusing recoil with flinching. A .30-06 is not at all painful or hard recoiling if it is properly placed on the shoulder and the shooter does not fight the kick. Off the bench, with the front rested and the rear shouldered properly, not necessarily tightly, the muzzle lift is small but dramatic, and I’ve watched its effects many times through the scope during follow through — there is a strange “slow-motion” effect, probably the mind stretching out an abrupt event, then the rifle will go right back down almost exactly where it was. I guess technically you can not force it to stay on target, but if you follow through the best that you can and keep everything consistent in terms of hold, it will generally work out fine. I suspect a lot of the upward swing of the muzzle only occurs after the projectile has exited the barrel. Open sights are a little different, but I still prefer to keep them aligned during follow through; again it is not the act itself but the anticipation of the act that probably does the trick.

    Flinching, however, either in anticipation of recoil (once bitten twice shy) and/or from lack of follow through can throw even a .22 short FAR off target. I once spent an afternoon plinking with 12g slugs — that was fun (for me), but when I went back to my Hammerli 490 — my flinch was so bad that 10 meter target was hard to hit :)!

    Anyway, if your sights are aimed correctly and comfortably at the beginning of the shot and you keep the same “attitude” until the target is hit, it will almost certainly be a good shot. If you flinch and jerk after (you think) the gun has fired, it doesn’t matter how settled in the shot is — it will go off target a little or a lot. I prefer to think in terms of settling in for the duration of the shot, i.e., don’t just get relaxed, stay relaxed.

    • BG_Farmer,

      All well said! A buddy of mine set a world record in 300 meter shooting by pretending that he was shooting his FWB 300. He put his mind into a very relaxed state, pretending that there would be no recoil, allowing himself to execute the fundamentals perfectly. B.B., talks about being anal this way. That’s exactly what my buddy did. He repeated his shooting process exactly the same for each shot. That requires both discipline and focus.

      Chuck spoke of the “dreaded resolve”. That pretty much comes down to concentration and focus. Even knowing everything that you think you should know, you still have to put it all together. Only lots of practice will give you that maturity. I know from experience that when I would drop a point, it was because I lost focus. Even small mental distractions can do that.


  14. I have been involved with 3 position air rifle, for the last three years,, and it does teach you the value of doing everything the same way,, every time. The settling in that BB is talking about is what we, here call, “natural point of aim” We do it exactly as he mentioned,, especially the shutting of the eye. I do it a number of times with each shot. The artillery hold is pretty much standard, as the glove we where doesn’t allow for anything else. In prone and kneeling,, a sling and hand stop provide both a stable left arm while pulling the stock firmly into the shoulder.

    When you get to the point that, in prone, you find you have to shoot between heartbeats,, you are getting there. Then you have to perfect your trigger pull. It seems to be a young man’s( and woman”s) game,, most of those shooting at the elite levels are. In three years,, I have only managed to shoot one perfect target, while they expect it with every one. I am in awe.

    • Edlee,

      Thanks for chiming in on this! Can you please tell me which target is used for 3-P, and what is the course (40 shots in each position, 20 shots, or 10 shots)?


      • The target we are using at my club, is the AR-5/10. Some tournaments are using another,, similar target, that has the scoring bands slightly smaller. Either way,, the course of fire is two sheets ( each having ten record bulls) per position. Generally it is shot in the prone, offhand, then kneeling, order.

        You are allowed unlimited sight-in shots at the two center sight-in bulls,, but once you start on the record shots,, no more sight-ins are allowed in that position. Oh,, and all the sight-in shooting is done during your shooting time, ( 30 min for 20 shots for prone and kneeling and 40 min for 20 shots offhand.

        Sometimes I find it difficult taking that much time but the best shots seldom finish with more than a minute left. It is an addicting pastime. Much like golf,, you may compete with others,, but your biggest competitor is yourself.

  15. My understanding is that if you have a Foster fitting on your gun, you need the Air Venturi Female Quick-Disconnect Adapter, (1/8″ BSPP Male Threads, Steel, Rated to 5000 PSI) or equivalent on the handpump. And the male thread of that Adapter screws right into the threaded female fitting on the Hill handpump hose.

  16. B.B.

    I’m wondering how the above criteria can be applied to hunting cos we get only a blink or two to aim for the kill zone &^ squeeze off, most times, but I know if you don’t aim right you don’t hit.Am I correct to assume that we were talking all this time about shooting paper targets on a range or our backyards which is what most of us do. I mean NPA, sight picture & followthrough. Appreciate your advice.


    • Errol,

      I’m not a hunter, so I can’t speak to your specific situation from experience, but how you practice should matter in a hunting scenario such as the one you’ve described. If I felt that there was a high probability that I’d I need to take a quick shot, then I would practice taking quick shots. However, follow-through is still (always, really) critical to good shooting, so I’d factor that into my practice sessions. I think it’s worth considering that good shooting requires a cool head, no matter the situation. I’m not sure that anyone can just throw out all of the proper fundamentals and expect to hit anything reliably. So again, practice in a way that you think is realistic to your application, but work on integrating at least some of the elements of good shooting, like squeezing the trigger and following through. If you really feel that you have to rush to the point of jerking the trigger, then you probably shouldn’t have taken the shot.

      Here’s another thing to consider. We are actually faster when in a relaxed state. We slow down when we tense up. To prove this, take a stop watch and see how fast you can start the clock and stop it. You’ll find that the harder you try to do it fast, the slower your time will be. Practice taking shots in a relaxed state, fully conscious of what you are doing in terms of squeezing the trigger straight back such that you don’t disturb your sight alignment, and follow-through.

      Again, follow-through is the best known solution to flinching. I hope this helps.


      • Victor

        Thanks a Mil for taking so much trouble to explain. What you say makes a hell of a lot of sense. I guess there are no short cuts to being a good shot & all the basics have to be followed no matter what and we have to adapt as best we can. By the way I never rush a shot & jerk the trigger as that would be asking for a miss but I have to concentrate more & relax. Much obliged to you.


        • Errol,

          Don’t mention it. It’s my pleasure. When shooting good matters, one finds that at least half the battle is mental. It’s hard to shoot well when we are excited. It’s also hard to shoot well when we are distracted. Calm focus is the key. We can gain that with the right practice. Good luck!


      • Not really, BB. Shooting 3-P gives you practice in the 3 most basic ways most use while hunting. And in each position,, everyone of the methods you mentioned come into play. As one who has passed the time when I was capable of holding steady on a target while squeezing slowly,, ( the old idiom of being surprised when the gun goes off) I have learned that everyone has to develop their own squeeze. My squeeze may be a bit faster than someone else’s,, but I have know WHEN it is going to fire with any of the guns I use most often. I don’t call it jerking,, just an accelerated squeeze, so to speak.

        The natural point of aim one practices while punching holes in paper, will,, if done often enough,, will cause you to position yourself better without thinking about it, when in the field.

        My precision shooting has made me a better field shot than I was,, with both rifles AND shotguns. So it DOES translate to hunting.

  17. I do hunt and pest control at times. And I do try to follow all the fundamentals when I’m lining up for the shot.
    You just got to try to put things in place quicker.

    But If I don’t think that my shot is going to count when the trigger gets pulled. I (wont) take the shot.
    If I have time to set up for the shot then great. If not the critter gets off free this time around.

  18. BB, I recently viewed your video on the artillery hold and put into practice. It took some doing as I am left handed and it felt very uncomfortable but I stuck with it. It has paid off tremendously. I have been plagued by English Sparrows and wasn’t having much luck shooting them at @ 10 yards, the distance from my patio to bird feeders. I was perplexed? as I am not that bad a marksman. I did some research and that’s where I found your video. Wow what a difference! I am now back to a one shot one kill ratio. Thanks for the sage advice

  19. Hi BB. The thought that occurs here is that when you’re hunting, you can’t very well go through this settling process (at least in its entirety) and yet you must still maintain accuracy for a humane kill. Any thoughts on maintaining accuracy while hunting? Actually a good blog on hunting with air rifles would be one your readers would enjoy, I’m sure.

    • JW,

      Absolutely. In fact, I did a report on it. No, make that report(s).


      Your question is about settling-in, and not about the accuracy of the gun, but the 2 go together. My thoughts are to hold the gun as neutrally as you can and let it do its thing — providing you have a gun and ammo that will do what you want it to on the first shot.


  20. Accuracy isn’t really going to change.

    POA will change. You need to determine the spread of your POA with distance, and how the center of the spread (POI) changes with changes in range.

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