As an avid airgun hunter, I am always on the look out for tips and tricks to help me improve my shooting.
Although I have been shooting airguns for around 30 years, I find that there is always something to learn!
The advancement in technology and manufacturing airguns means that the guns are now being built to higher tolerances which make them more reliable, and in turn, more accurate.
To get the best out of these guns, we have to shoot them to the best of our ability, so every now and again I scour the internet on the lookout for any tips that might help to improve my shooting (which is already pretty awesome 😉 )
Here’s a few tips that I noted down on a recent search……Enjoy!
1. PELLET SELECTION
To find the right pellet for your rifle, and the purpose you intend, buy a selection of quality ammo and test each tin to see what the results are.
Give each brand enough shots to settle down in the barrel before committing the results to paper, too – and shoot at a reasonable ranges to reflect your own skill level and the furthest distance you’re most likely to be taking shot.
Ammo that groups well at a distance will do so at close range, but not necessarily the other way round – so always undertake comparative testing at the ‘long end’.
Some of the better pellets also come in a range of head sizes – 4.51mm, 4.52mm, for instance – so you may even be able to refine your choice further, once you’ve settled on a shortlist. Yes, that probably means there’s a lot of testing to be done – but accuracy doesn’t get given on a plate.
2. COLLARS AND RINGS
If your scope is parallax-adjustable (P/A), check its collar (or sidewheel) is set for the distance you’re shooting over – if it’s not, you could be shooting with parallax error.
And if you have a zoom magnification facility on your scope, be aware of which focal plane the crosshair is in.
Most are in the second focal plane, and they remain the same size regardless of the magnification setting; it’s only the target size that changes.
That means that the holdover reference point on the crosshair you’d use on, say, 5x magnification, will be different if you’re shooting at 10x.
It can all get a bit complicated – so pick a magnification setting that you’re comfortable with… and keep it there.
3. A GOOD REST
A solid rest is a must. After my gun is seated in the rest, and I’m about to line up my shot, I wiggle the gun around some to make sure it is seated fully and is not going to move when fired.
Then I line up the target. I like shooting 1/4″ dots at 50 yds. Aim small, miss small. I always hold in the same exact center of that dot if there is no wind. Doping wind is a whole nother’ story.
I pull the rifle back into my shoulder firmly, then release the pressure and let it sit firm, but relaxed into my shoulder. I use a light grip on the pistol grip and NO grip on the gun with my left hand. I ALWAYS make sure my grip is the same, and that the pad of my finger is the same on the trigger every time.
When the shot is lined up, I close both eyes for about two seconds and then open them again. If the crosshairs have moved from dead center of the dot I’m aiming at, that means that when I settled into position fully, that I had some kind of unwelcome tension on the gun or in my body positioning.
So I resettle and do it again until when I open my eyes, the crosshair is still where it was when I closed them.
4. BREATHING CORRECTLY
Now it is time for me to slow my breathing and zone in only on where I want the pellet to go.
When I am completely relaxed and breathing slow, I take up first stage on the trigger. I watch any movements of my crosshair, and notice how they rise and fall with my breathing. Next as I am ready to fire, and I’m just starting to exhale, I start a gentle, easy pull on the trigger’s second stage.
I increase pressure by miniscule amounts until about half of my breath is exhaled, and the trigger breaks.
If I am not “surprised “ by the trigger breaking naturally, then it means I pulled the trigger too fast. The center of that exhale and the breaking of the trigger MUST be timed right, BUT without me really having to think about it.
5. SCOPE CANT
A way here, for an estimated 30% of us, to reduce group size immediately. All you need is a small spirit level, a few feet of masonry rope and a brick.
Put the gun on a rest. With the help of the spirit level, make sure the action of the gun itself is absolutely level.
Now, at 10 yards or thereabouts (keeping in mind the focusing distance of your scope), hang the rope with the brick tied to the bottom. You’ve now improvised a lead (or plumb) – so if the wind remains below gale force, the rope will be vertical after waiting for it to stop moving, of course.
Now, with the action being level, line up the gun with the rope so that the rope coincides with the vertical line of the reticule. Check if your reticule lines up with the rope.
Now, check if your gun’s action is Still level.
If the reticule and rope are NOT in line, it’s time to loosen the mounts and rotate the scope so that its vertical reticule lines up exactly with the rope while the gun’s action is precisely level.
Now, bit by bit, tighten the mounts, while checking that the vertical crosshair remains vertical (lined up with the rope with the action level).
When that’s done, you’re set. Now attach the spirit level to your gun in such a way that it enables you to check whether your gun remains level as you get into your favorite shooting position.
It is very important that every shooter checks the placement of their finger on the trigger.
The finger should be placed in such a position that the shooter draws straight back.
It is also very important that the shooter maintains the same position throughout their shooting. If the shooter moves their finger too far inward, they will be shooting more to the right. If they move their finger too far outward they will be shooting to the left.
Although these shooting positions are minimal this will cause a shooter to loose critical points during a match. The next time you are out shooting, check this technique to see what you are doing and see if this improves your score.
There we have it then, a few tips from some of the experts in the Airgun field.
How is your shooting coming on?
Did you find this helpful?
What tips would you add to the list?