IMHO you are spot on Warped. The basics dictate everything. But the good observation skills (shot calls, condition changes, etc.) are the skills that confirm our training is helping and not just throwing lead at a target. Having equipment that is accurate to start (My new Savage Mark II TR) makes me try (and I stress try) to live up to the capabilities of the rifle. If I"m not honest with myself about what caused that errant round on that perfect 9 shot group with a flyer I will never be able to fix the problem.
As always a shooting buddy who is willing to watch your shot and break your balls when you jerk a trigger makes honesty easy.
100 rounds of Match Target 22 cost me about $10.00. 100 rounds of Hornady 123 gr cost me $100.00. The math is easy and then shooting my 22 " Css barreled Grendel and ringing the 6" gong at 500 yards makes all that practice worth it.
I'm working on it. I really like the idea of using the grid.
Originally Posted by LR1955
I also like the idea of using 1 inch dots on a target at 100 yards.
I am also going to start using 1/2" dots at 30 yards with an air gun, since that is way cheap, and I can do it in the back yard!
Outcome goal is to be able to consistently call my shots instantly, retaining the sight picture after the shot is fired. I've found this significantly harder with the 7mm than the .223 and Grendel, so I really need to work hard at it.
Originally Posted by bwaites
You will never be able to call perfectly but you can develop a pretty small 'call area'. It will be small enough to give you good enough feedback for your purposes and the accuracy potential of your rifle and ammo.
Take a look at http://topachievement.com/smart.html for the SMART goals outline. Note the terms 'Attainable' and 'Realistic'. The grid system will allow you to 'Measure' and give you the feedback that allows you to make your goal or goals more 'Specific'.
When guys write out goals, initially their outcome goal will probably be either too stringent or way too lenient. As a guy starts executing the process he has devised to attain that goal, the goal becomes more specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and the guy figures out how much time is really needed to attain that goal. Also, their processes change.
So, goals are pretty dynamic and do change as guys get better at a task. This is important to note as many guys refuse to change their goal or goals even when they know that the goal isn't quite right anymore. So, as you go through this, understand that if you need to change your goal or process, change it.
Calling shots is normally part of a process guys use to attain some other shooting goal they have. So, it doesn't need to be a specific, stand alone goal. However, if it seems important enough then it just may be a stand alone goal. I don't think you will need to spend a lot of time at it before calls become part of a process used to attain another marksmanship goal.
Originally Posted by warped
IMHO -- an excellent explanation plus the added benefit of a reason why calling shots is so important. BTW -- I emphasize that the shooter calls his shots to his spotter as that is the only way his spotter knows if the shooter broke a good shot or not -- and in which direction it went if the shot wasn't so good.
To carry on this topic for those who don't shoot with observers, in doctrine the observer gives the shooter an elevation or hold and a wind call which is normally a hold. If he sees bullet trace and it doesn't go where it should, the observer will question himself in terms of his ability to give a good wind call and or if the shooter milled the distance wrong. If the shooter calls a good shot and the bullet didn't go there, the observer knows there was a mistake in range estimation and or a wind call. Providing of course the shooter took the right hold or indexed the right elevation. The feedback via a call by the shooter allows the observer the ability to determine if it was just a bad shot or something else. Same when guys shoot team matches where a coach gives them winds. The coach needs to know the call or he can't determine if his wind calls were good or not.
I think the best way to teach someone shot calling is to place targets far enough out that they can’t see the holes. People will cheat if you let them, darn ego getting in the way again.
Then it’s best to start with a gun that shoots relatively flat, so the front sight stays put for just a tad longer to make it easier for people to see. With pistols, I think it helps to run a lighter recoil spring and mainspring and use 9 or .40 minor loads.
Then, run the drills late in the afternoon just before sunset so the shooter can see the muzzle flash. The muzzle flash works great because it makes a very nice silhouette of the sight picture right after ignition and is hard to not notice.
Give the shooter another target to write on where they thought the shot went based on that silhouette image. Then compare.
I think one of the harder things to teach is sight tracking (especially at speed), because it requires so much conditioning and is a skill that takes months if not years to develop. It took me a year to be able to improve my sight tracking ability from .25s splits and transitions to .20s (w/ a pistol).
The same idea on the 7mm you got to get practice at range, which will help you "know" your round at yardages and what characteristics your bullet will demonstrate in weather, wind, etc. Nothing will beat range time for you to call your shot at any range. Lots of practice....lots of fun, but required for good shooting
Originally Posted by BlueOvalBruin
Out of curiosity, where is your attention focused when you track at speed?
My eyes are watching the front sight, watching it lift and settle. My eyes are optically focused on the front sight while shooting (or the next target during transitions) but I wouldn’t say my mind is focused on it. I try not to think too much while shooting because it just interferes. My conscious thoughts are mostly about positioning and gunhandling and my subconscious takes over and drives the gun. At that speed (.20s splits) you’re not aiming per se but verifying hits through shot calling, accuracy comes through proper indexing and grip and of course trigger control. Sight tracking improves the index and lets me know if I need to make up a shot.
Sometimes I see targets that look easy (such as 3 wide open targets 2 yards away) and my conscious thought is “Wow, that’s way too easy, go faster!”. So the reaction is tense up and not see, the result is poor splits, transitions, and accuracy (since sight tracking went out the window).
Originally Posted by BlueOvalBruin
When you say "sight tracking improves the index and lets me know if I need to make up a shot", what do you mean by 'sight tracking' and 'index'?
The index is basically your hand-eye coordination, your ability to accurately point the gun (not aiming). The index is especially important with engaging targets (draws, after reloads, picking up targets coming into a position) and transitions. Point your gun at a target and look at a different target, then close your eyes and swing the gun over to the target you were looking at. If your index is good the gun should be pointing right at the A zone.
Sight tracking is watching the sights lift and settle with each shot. It’s different than aiming in that aiming is waiting till you have an acceptable sight picture and breaking the shot. Sight tracking is more like observation, you’re watching the sights and calling the shots while shooting but not necessarily waiting for a particular sight picture.
The shot calling aspect of sight tracking lets me know if I need to make up a shot. I can normally tell if I get a bad hit or a miss and sometimes I’ll shoot another one to make it up (if the rules allow it). Sight tracking is very helpful with shooting steel quickly. If you break a shot on a popper and wait to hear the ding and watch it start to fall before you move on you’re going to waste a lot of time. Instead, break the shot, then based on what your sight picture was, either shoot again or move on.
Sight tracking improves my index because pure point shooting isn’t precise enough for me. I can probably point shoot A’s out to about 4-5 yards but past that without visual feedback my hits will be all over the place. I can rip quick splits and transitions out to about 10 yards if I track the sights because I can adjust my index. If I draw down on a target and I see 2 shots go left I can adjust for a makeup shot and for future targets. I guess you can say it’s a form of aiming but not in the traditional sense. I try not to point shoot though because I’m not exactly a Grand Master and feel I will develop bad habits if don’t watch the sights at all times.