The Goal

The Goal

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Proper prior preparation prevents...

It's been a while because of work, family and (to a lesser extent) running but today I made it out onto the range for the first time since I shot at Bisley in July. Actually, I must confess to being a terrible hypocrite because much as I go on about training, I've virtually not picked up a rifle since then either; and it shows.

While my core groups at 300x today were OK, I had a flyer at each range: one was definitely me, as I saw it go way left in the inner and the target came up with the spotting disc pretty much where I thought I had put it; the other I didn't see go, which worries me. On the other hand there are two handy potential culprits today:
  1. It's better when your foresight iris doesn't unscrew itself while you're shooting; and
  2. One of the pillars that holds your cheekpiece in place stops doing that

If it does this, don't shoot.
The good news is that I can fix both of these things very quickly and it was only a practice; this being what practice is for. The bad news is that its doesn't matter if it was an equipment failure, these are avoidable errors. Still, lesson learned. Move on.

To finish on a positive note, there were many things which went well today. I felt comfortable with the rifle and although my first few shots were wobbly (two V sighters in my first shoot, thank you very much) things started to settle down quite quickly. My routine seemed to re-establish itself quite quickly (see video below*.) My test ammunition also shot well, with both short range and long range loads going well.

I've got 22 days before the nationals at Trentham so I need to get on the case with the SCATT and the visualisation. Fortunately I only have 3 days left until I'm on holiday for Christmas and only another 3 days at work. I will inevitably spend some of this in a G 'n' T, wine and port-induced stupor but I do intend to spend at least some of it working on my game.

* Yes, I now have a GoPro. Actually, I have a SJCAM5000+ which is as good and about a third of the price. I'm going to work out if and how I can use it to learn more from my shooting training sessions. I apologise in advance if you see lots of short videos of me shooting from now on.


  1. Use of a video as a training aid: A very useful (though time-consuming) tool.
    My preferred location for the camera is on a tripod, about 3' high, behind and right of me (for a right-hander). This shows both horizontal and vertical movements of the barrel, your right elbow, and a reasonable picture of head position.
    1: Grab a screenshot of the frame before each shot releases, and put them into an animation - this shows up any changes in position beautifully (head or left arm wrt rifle, right elbow and trigger hand position, body movement on the mat, etc). Combine that with where the shots go, and there's masses of lessons to be learned, but it takes time to analyse properly.
    2: review each shot, and watch the tip of the barrel very carefully as the aim is being centered and the shot released. Again, combined with paperwork of each shot (record what you feel happened) can confirm positional issues.
    3: Timing and routine. It's a great tool to see if your pre-shot routine is consistent: shot-to-shot time; load-to-shot time; settle / last breath to shot time, etc. I found it very useful to do a time & motion study on every movement I made, ask the question is it needed, and cut it out if not. I can now shoot pretty damned fast, retaining accuracy and repeatability, as I don't do anything that I don't need...
    Hope this helps :)

    1. Hi Andy,

      This is interesting stuff, and very useful. I started playing with a borrowed video camera about three or four years ago, but had to give it back before I felt that I'd worked out how it was going to help me.

      I'll give your tips a go and see what I find useful. This will probably become the subject of one or more posts!

      Hope you and Hannah both have a great Christmas.


  2. I've been looking for an excuse to buy a Hero+ and use it in training. What stopped me was I hadn't yet thought up a good process for how I would use it and what I could learn. Andrew's ideas have just given me enough reason! Should be an interesting winter training period.

  3. I have ben using a camera exactly as Andrew says ever since digital cameras came out. While watching the shooter I wait until the shot is just about to go and take a picture. With it on te tripod it is very easy to just flick through the pictures to see exactly the things Andrew talks of. It is a great feedback tool for the shooter. Pictures do not lie.