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Education / Training Back to bullseye pistol shooting: Part 1

Back to bullseye pistol shooting: Part 1

This report covers:

  • Arkansas Airgun Show
  • Get in shape
  • Walk a mile
  • Back story
  • Upper body
  • Dry-firing
  • BUT
  • Summary

Arkansas Airgun Show

Before I start I need to tell you that I am getting ready for the Arkansas Airgun Show this Friday and Saturday. I have to work in a food drive at my church on Thursday from 9:30 to 1 p.m., after which I plan to go directly to Malvern. That means I have to get a couple reports in the bank, for Friday and Monday.

So my reports are going to be a little terse, so I can write many of them. If you have questions just ask, though on Thursday, Friday and Saturday I will be hard-pressed to respond.

Today’s report series was suggested by reader Hank, whose blog handle is Vana2. He lives in the cold Canadian north and is getting ready to hibernate indoors for several months, so he is turning his shooting vision inwards to bullseye pistol shooting.

As we saw yesterday, BB Pelletier needs to do the same thing — so he is, as well. Hank asked me to write a series about this, so I am. I am doing a very dangerous thing — training in front of you and allowing you to watch my progress. Some motivator, huh?

Get in shape

BB mentioned in yesterday’s blog that he is old, fat and squishy. Well I can’t do anything about the old — it just seems to happen. The fat I can work on, and so far this is where I am. More work to do.

But the squishy is something I can and do work on. In truth I look a lot squishier than I really am. When I walk with people I have to slow down to let them keep up with me because I walk for exercise. I have been doing this for more than 40 years, when I blew out my knee running a marathon. 

I used to walk three miles a day until I discovered that two of those miles were a waste of time. Instead I do a walking fartlek, which is Swedish for speed-play or running-playing. It’s a mixture of speed running mixed with moderate running to produce endurance. I use it for cardiovascular exercise. My resting pulse is 58-62 beats per minute, which always fools the people trying to take my blood pressure. I also have to caution them to watch the needle on the sphygmomanometer carefully, as my blood pressure runs around 120 over 70. Ten years ago it was 110 over 60. Some of that is hereditary, but a lot of it comes from well-developed collateral circulation, which the walking gives me.

Walk a mile

I walk a mile every day, and when I can’t I make sure that wherever I do walk is at high speed, to get the cardio in. At the SHOT Shows I walk 8-10 miles a day in the exhibit halls, and I make sure to pour on the speed whenever I can.

Back story

When I returned from Germany in 1977 I knew I was going to have to excel at the Armor Officer’s Advanced Course, so I started the first day I hit Fort Knox. I walked for three miles as fast as I could and gradually turned it into 5 miles of running. After finishing the course I was assigned to the Maintenance Department as an instructor. The department Sergeant Major took me under his wing and we started running 10 miles each day at lunch. That ended up in 1978 at the Cleveland Revco Marathon, which is where I blew out my knee. After that I was good for only a couple miles at best.

When I moved to Texas where the weather is civilized, I started walking three miles a day. Then my wife, Edith, who was also a runner, asked me why I didn’t try walking a fartlek. I did and the rest is history.

When I walk today I do 100-300 yards fast and then 50 yards at a regular (slow) walking pace. Fast and slow, fast and slow is the way to do it.  My course is one mile and I finish in about 20 minutes — so not that fast. But it works. I get my pulse up to 140 BPM during the exercise, which is good for me. That’s what helps keep my blood pressure low and my resting pulse slow. When I was in the hospital in 2010 I was setting off the alarm all the time because when I sleep my pulse drops under 40 BPM, which is their low threshold.

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Upper body

All of this is well and good for my heart, but it does very little for my upper body — specifically my core and my arms/shoulders. And that is what was off in my test of the Beeman P1. I need more strength and stability up there.

Reader Faulty Manuel recommended free weights, but I quit using them 6 years ago. I had used them for 20-25 years and saw very little results. I now want to use resistance bands because I see real results in a friend of mine from church. He uses bands only and he is ripped, plus his metabolism is running at peak performance. Part of that is hereditary, but part is not and that’s what I want to experience.

I will have more on resistance bands when I start using them. Now let’s turn to the topic of the next report in this series — dry-firing.

Dry-firing

Dry-firing is aiming the pistol and squeezing the trigger until it releases. Then noting where the front sight is, in relation to the target, when the sear releases The trick here is just like walking. You have to do it every day. I will begun with 20 shots a day and expend to 40 shots when I can. And, there is a huge BUT coming.

BUT

But — I plan to do my dry-firing with both my P1 and my FWB P44. I also will shoot the P44 for record when I’m satisfied I can hold steadier on the target. So, this series is going to be a big one. The P44 has the better trigger, better grip that I don’t have to let go of when cocking and loading and better sights. What I am really doing is tuning up BB Pelletier.

Summary

Okay, that’s it for today. That’s what I now do and also what I plan to start doing. Next time a first report on all of that.

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.

32 thoughts on “Back to bullseye pistol shooting: Part 1”

  1. BB,

    Isometric exercises are wonderful for creating muscle tone. Only once you have exceeded 20 minutes of exercise does your body shift from anaerobic mode (sugar burning) to aerobic mode (fat burning). So if exercising to lose fats you must exceed 20 minutes.

    Siraniko

  2. Hi everybody,

    I took out the HW45 yesterday and shot 6 targets with 10 shots each (with a dot sight). I shoot pistols one-handed because I find it easier to be consistent this way.

    This one is the best I shot. It was the 5th or 6th target. The first was terrible but they got better as I went on…

    Stephan

    • Nice shooting. How does the Target scan app work? For example, if you have created a 1/2″ hole by shot 8 and your 9th and 10th shot land somewhere in the hole, how does it know where it really landed?

      • Greco,

        if two pellets go into exactly the same hole, the app can’t know that (not that likely when I’m shooting a pistol). If they make an oval hole, the app often sees that, but it also get things wrong sometimes. You can move the detected hits though or even place additional ones if you know they are there. You could also shoot several targets and combine them into one score. I think the app isn’t perfect but it is pretty good and it’s a nice way to track your scores without stashing tons of paper targets.

  3. I shoot Bullseye almost exclusively any more. Lately, I use my Crosman 600 for 22 but still shoot 1911 for CF and 45. I highly recommend yoga for strength, flexibility [picking up brass], and balance [core strength]. I think it makes me a better shooter.

  4. BB,

    OK, working on squishy and tone is a good plan!

    For dry-firing practice I presume that should be done standing in proper stance and holding the pistol correctly. Maybe you could cover those basics so we can get started without developing bad habits.

    Would a 1/2″ dot on the wall (at eye level, about 10 feet away) be a good “target” for dry-firing practice?

    Hank

    • Hank,

      I had that 1/2-inch dot on my wall for several years. But I didn’t practice every day, which is the most important thing.

      I’ll have a lot more to say about it when I cover dry-firing.

      BB

        • Roamin Greco,

          Just make certain your gun is unloaded or in dry fire mode…7 years of BAD GROUPS if you shoot that mirror. I have read of folks using mirrors to practice their concealed carry draw…story goes that a guy shot the mirror with a .45 and the bullet traveled through 25 of his wife’s dresses…cost him BIG TIME!

          Seriously you will get more from finding your Natural Point of Aim by building your Position (your whole body from feet to torso) with your eyes closed, then raising your arm taking aim and opening your eyes.
          Foot shift (your non-dominant leg; usually your right leg) to correct left right misalignment. Amount of arm raise and wrist angle are the next items. I have read whole books on building your shooting position so that is a thumbnail of what B.B. can write for this Blog Series.

          I will say this: FRONT SIGHT FOCUS like you have never focussed before will be more important than looking in mirrors since you do this position build Everytime with: pro·pri·o·cep·tion
          /ˈˌprōprēəˈsepSH(ə)n/
          noun PHYSIOLOGY
          perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.
          “exercises to improve balance and proprioception”

          NOT Visual input about what your body position looks like.

          shootski

          • Yep, I thought of the 7 years’ bad luck as soon as I tapped on “send a comment.” And I’m horrified by that story about the .45. Lucky no one was in the closet, and only the dresses were perforated, although some wives would appreciate the excuse to go buy new clothes (as if they need an excuse).

            The concept of building a stance is fascinating to me. I have tried my feeble attempt at using that concept to shoot better off hand with a rifle, as advised by B.B. in earlier posts, but it is very uncomfortable for me. But perhaps that’s just trying to force joints into unfamiliar positions. I will be reading this series with great interest because with repetition, I am hoping the improved accuracy translates to better accuracy in the field as well as at the range.

  5. B.B.,

    You might enjoy checking out the Bullworker line of products. I have been using them for a few months and am getting good results. As a spring piston air gun enthusiast I get a kick out of the spring resistance mechanism of the Bullworker and the Steel Bow. For some reason they keep me engaged and I feel like there’s an air gun lesson somewhere in the workouts. Good luck with your fitness journey!

  6. B.B., I have a general question for you. It seems like when I shoot, my shots will gravitate to a spot and I get a group. Let’s say one day it’s in the upper right quadrant of the bull at 10 meters. Then the next time I shoot, same gun, same ammo (same tin), same hold, my shots will group somewhere else, like on the left side of the bull. I would have to go back and check notes and make sure no intervening sight adjustments were made, but that is my impression. Is that unusual?

  7. Good for you on the walking; my cardio doc friend says do that even if you can’t/won’t do other types of exercise. FM has found hiking very helpful in keeping the ol’ legs and body going. So, let’s keep on going and shooting ‘til we can’t do it anymore.

  8. Also helps your overall health and quality of life to slow things down a little and get off the Hamster Wheel of Life whenever one can; become more mindful and avoid excessive multitasking. FM finds airgunning helps him relax and be more focused and mindful.

    Wish FM had taken this pastime up earlier, but better late than never, goes the cliché.

  9. B.B.,
    I only shot Bullseye competition for a very short time. I used a Ruger Mark I that I purchased from my boss at work (we did the transaction right at work at break time; this same company also let us shoot our .22LRs out back…ah, how I miss those “good ol’ days!”). The gun did not have a bull barrel, so, on the advice of one of the older gents with whom I shot, I wrapped the barrel with about 8 ounces of solder…and that REALLY helped my recovery time in rapid fire shooting; it was an eye-opener for me to see the recoil of a simple .22LR target velocity load, which you notice a lot when the seconds are counting down till the electronic target turns sideways on you, LOL!
    Anyway, I was an amateur back then, not nearly one of the top shooters; hence, I plan to “set a spell” and “do some learnin’ ” from this set of reports. 🙂
    Take care & God bless,
    dave

  10. I did a search on P44 in your blog. I found four “parts” and the last suggested more were coming. Did you post any more parts on it? It looked like a fascinating bit of work.

  11. Hi!
    I just pick up a air dart gun with no crank handle and no trigger guard, not worried about the guard so much but the crank to pull back the piston. How would i go about having one made by the gentleman you had one made by. And what did you find out what it shoots for ammo? Hope this reaches you well and to hear from you soon.
    Thank you.

    E S

  12. ES,

    I don’t answer direct emails l;ike you sent.

    You need to find a machinist to make a crank. The gentleman I mention is no longer in business.

    BB

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