bullseye shooting/slow fire

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piasashooter
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bullseye shooting/slow fire

Post by piasashooter » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:14 pm

I am seeking any help or advice on shooting slow fire(this question would be mostly for the bullseye shooters), I have always struggled the most with slow fire. The league I shoot in sends out weekly e-mails with the match results. I have been saving these e-mail since I started shooting, and recently went back and looked through all my scores. I was a little shocked at how well I shot timed and rapid, and how low my slow fire score were, back when I first started. I guess what I am saying is my slow fire scores were holding me back the most then, and still do. How do the best Bullseye shooters get there slow fire score up near there timed and rapid? Even the one high master shooter in my league usually drops most, if not all his points on slow fire. Why is it so difficult? :shock:

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Post by Bullseye » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:28 am

This problem comes down mainly to two reasons. One is the shooter is concentrating on making the perfect shot. Trying to do this often causes flaws to arise in one's technique. Two the scoring rings on a reduced indoor slow fire target are much smaller than the timed/rapid targets and this causes more lost points even when firing a reasonably good shot and striking the aiming black. Think about it, the lowest value in the aiming black on a timed/rapid target is a nine. Two thirds of the area on timed and rapid target's aiming black are valued at ten or better, not so on the slow fire target. On the slow target a little less than one third of the area results in no points lost; a big difference. On a slow fire target hitting the center ball can still result in a seven or an eight for the shot value. It doesn't take very many shots just a little off center to drop some serious points within the aiming black.

The idea of the smaller rings on the indoor reduced slow fire target is to better simulate the results one would normally achieve outdoors on a fifty yard slow fire target, where the rings are the same size as the closer timed and rapid ones but the aiming black is extended out into the eight ring. The aiming black is larger on the slow fire target to make the longer distance still appear the same to the shooter because the aiming black is optically the same size. This means at the greater distance, any angular error is magnified both by the longer distance and the numeric values of the scoring rings.

Most shooters drop points in slow fire because they're trying to keep all their hits in the very center of the target, basically over compensating. What must be achieved is the perfect shot release, but this is not as much aiming as it is trigger control. The hold doesn't matter as much on slow fire as it does on breaking the trigger correctly and maintaining a good follow through during recoil. All the aiming in the world is worthless if one squashes the trigger at the last microsecond before the shot breaks. Plus, it doesn't have to be very much of a jerk to result in a seven.

Then there's the time factor, I've witnessed some folks hold that pistol out for thirty or forty seconds just to break one shot. Where a whole string of shots would be fired in that same time frame in the sustained fire sequences. The longer the hold the greater the chances of an errant shot.

Many shooters discover that bullseye shooting is a lot like juggling. When one concentrates on raising a portion of their score the other areas tend to fall. The trick of the game is to find that balance to keep all the scores up at the same time. This sounds easy but it takes a lot of practice and conditioning to mentally and physically accomplish this goal.

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slow fires

Post by stork » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:21 am

Welcome to my world :lol: !!

I identify with the slow fire problem all too well. I too have struggled with slow fire seems forever. There was a time in 01-03 when the planets seemed to be better aligned for me. I had given up caffeine and I was shooting 22 and air pistol every day. 22 scores were in the mid to high 90's for slow fire, and ap in the 550-560's. I never did shoot a 100 but did manage a half dozen or so 99's and bunches of 98's. This was with a stock MKII with a dot and trigger tuneup (all stock parts, just polished). It had a silky smooth long-roll trigger that I just hated. In retrospect, it was teaching me to accept my area of wobble and follow through. It forced me to pull the trigger smoothly all the way through the break.

Then I acquired a High Standard and fell in love with the nice crisp trigger and of course had to get the Ruger set the same. I have never shot that good since (but I liked the triggers better, or at least my subconscious did).

One of my Rugers now has a very smooth short-roll trigger but I don't shoot it nearly as good as the long-roll. One big problem is the lack of time lately. I shoot once a week and then maybe 30-100 rounds. So I know the lack of practice is a major part of it, but until other things in my family calm down (my daughter had a preemie 1 1/2 years ago and last spring the same daughter lost her home in a flood) it will have to do. Family before play.

I know how to practice better now, I just need the time to do it and cut down or eliminate the caffeine.

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Last edited by stork on Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by piasashooter » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:20 pm

Thanks for the replies, I do agree the longer you hold on slow fire, the better the chance of a bad shot. I have been trying to speed my slow fire up a bit, and I think it does help. When you guys shoot slow fire, do you consciously apply pressure to the trigger when you decide it's time, or do the shots seem to break on there own. It seems like my best slow fire targets happen when I don't really think about when the gun will go off, I wouldn't say the shots are surprise, it's more like my brain goes into cruise control, and starts shooting 9's and 10's. When it happens, shooting seems so easy, even though it's like I am not trying. Simply not trying, however, does not work. I just don't know how to induce this state of mind, for each and every slow fire shot.

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Post by stork » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:37 pm

In full agreement with Bullseye on the rapid delivery of the trigger press, regardless of wether it's slow, timed, or rapid.

From what I've read & heard from better shooters, you're your steadiest from around 4 to 7 seconds and your shot should break between that time. If not (and you're shooting slow fire), put down the pistol and start your shot process over again.

In the book Gil Hebard sells (I think its called Bullseye Pistol Treasury or something along those lines) there are many articles written by national champions. One of them (Bill Blankenship I think) tells of a guage he rigged up to test his smoothness on the trigger. He found he was applying pressure, then when the sights didn't look the best he would slack off, then apply, then slack off again until the sear let go. When he worked on watching the gauge and steadily increasing the pressure his scores improved.

I've got two copies, both loaned out and for the life of me can't remember who I lent them to.

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Post by Bullseye » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:45 pm

One way to speed up your shot delivery is by using some initial pressure on the trigger. This is a method of applying a few pounds of pressure to the trigger as you're sights acquire, or reacquire, the target. Then as your refining the sight position your steadily adding more pressure until the weapon fires. This technique takes some practice because you want to accurately gauge how much is a safe amount of pressure without allowing the pistol to fire before everything is aligned. The challenge is to take up two to three pounds of pressure initially then linearly add constant pressure until the pistol fires. If you try to add linear pressure from the static state you end up with a lot of time expended until the shot breaks. With initial pressure first applied you cut the delivery time way down to about four to seven seconds depending on how much your constant linear pressure value is applied. The good thing with this method is you never get an exact amount of initial pressure each time. This means that you cannot anticipate when the shot will break and this reduces flinching. When you get good at it your sights will center up and align just as the shot breaks; and you'll know because you will see and feel it. Everyone knows when that good shot breaks, the trick is to get them to break consistently - Achieving consistency takes lots of practice.

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Post by piasashooter » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:37 pm

I own a copy of The Pistol Shooters Treasury, great book, and I have probably read the book three or four times. What I like about the book the most, is you get to read personal experiences and techniques from some of the best to ever shoot bullseye. For me it helps a lot to read about how even the best struggle with certain things, and that at one point in time they were like anyone else, just trying to improve as best they could.
When I shoot slow fire, and timed and rapid, I do apply a fair amount of pressure to the trigger, before it ever goes off. It really helps steady the dot, but like Bullseye stated, unless the final amount of pressure is smooth linear, shots can be anticipated, and end up off center. With slow fire I have never been able to effectively apply the final pressure, without anticipating. When I really try to, I flinch, some times so bad the dot leaves the paper, without the gun even firing. This has lead me to most often, "pull" the trigger, instead of a smooth linear pressure until it fires.
One thing I have noticed, at least with the shooters in my league, is that the best slow fire shooters, struggle most with rapid fire. Basically the opposite of myself, and many others. I was talking to one of the new shooters in my league, he has only been shooting about two years, but is already shooting master scores. He is one who shoots very good slow fires, and struggles most with rapid. He did tell me he also shoots air pistol, and free pistol, then I realised why he shoots great slow fire scores. I have heard a few people recommend air pistol for good slow fire practice. It's funny to here him say he shot a lousy slow fire, when it's a 93 or 94.

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Post by mark II » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:32 am

A friend of mine while shooting slow fire will fire two and sometimes three shots in a row if he follows thought good. It sounds funny when your on the line during slow fire and someone is shooting rapid fire but he is getting some good groups.
A note on holding to long. I was shooting a 900 about a month ago and had trouble with one shot. Brought it up, waited to long, it got bad and I put it down. I did this three times and finally on the fourth try I got the shot off and it was a ten. I felt a lot of presure doing that, that many times, but it was worth it. I score a ten but also an internal victory and a good leason learned.
A drill that might help is when you go practice is to shoot ten tens. They don't have to be in a row and it doesn't matter how many shots it takes. Over time It will take you less shots for the ten.
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Post by piasashooter » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:12 am

I have seen people I shoot with in league fire two shots, then set the gun down, as you described. I actually just shot in a 900 match yesterday, my league holds one 900 match each season for the league members. I was shooting pretty good, I had some targets with some loose shots, but was following them up some really nice targets. Then I kind of blew up on the national match course slow fire, and dropped twenty points. I tried to not let it bother me, I didn't really get frustrated, but the way my timed and rapid went after that, it was clear it effected me mentally more than I thought it did.

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Post by piasashooter » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:59 pm

Stork, what barrel length Ruger do you shoot? I have the 5.5, and like it, but am curious about how it would feel and differ, shooting one of the longer barrel models.

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Post by stork » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:59 pm

Piasa,
At the current time, I have 3-5 1/2" (1-stnd 5 1/2", 2-5 1/2" slab side), 1-6 1/2" standard taper, and 1-6" fixed sight. One of the slab sides was originally a 6 7/8" that I just couldn't develop a liking for, so I had it cut back to 5 1/2" and recrowned.

With the exception of the 6" fixed sight, all have dots on them, which I'm sure is why the 5 1/2" feels so much better. I also have several High Standard Citations, one with an 8" barrel that I occasionally shoot open sight. I absolutely love their triggers. However, a wild shot with the Ruger is a 7 or 8. The same shot with my Hi Standards is a 5 or 6. The shots that feel good with HS's are nicely clustered 10's, the "oops" shots get really wild. As much as I love the HS's I historically score higher with the Rugers, but with fewer x's than the HS's.

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Post by mark II » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:45 pm

I have a 7" barrel on my 41 with a dot and I wonder if I had a shorter barrel if it would cut down the spread of the "oops". Most Euro guns have short barrels.

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Post by charlesb » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:36 pm

My approach in the club matches, where we competed against ourselves was to just fire rapid-fire all of the time.

My theory being that instead of learning three shooting behaviors, I only had one to learn, and could concentrate on that.

More than a few of the fellows probably thought that I was a nutty buddy, but nobody complained.

Is it really according to Hoyle, though?

I got pretty good at it, after a while.

They used to call me "Salvo" as I would pick up the pistol, unload it at the target fairly briskly, and set it down.

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..Adding to the good stuff posted in this thread..

Post by paw080 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:42 am

Hi piasashooter, Tony come lately here; I think massive amounts of dry fire
will bring your slow fire score up. I also think training with a 10M match
air pistol will get your mind into slow fire mode. Scat training shows that
nearly everyone has a decent arc of movement. Yet we ruin good shots with
a trigger release that causes wrist instability. Another contingency is that we
are most stable only for a short period, seconds after entering the aiming area and
then stability comes apart about 8 seconds later. What this means is that most
of us should start pulling the trigger while lowering(or raising) the pistol into
the aiming area, and then start aligning and hold that alignment while in your
aiming area. With lotsa dry fire repetition, you will learn to unconsiously sustain
your trigger pull while consciously forcing those darned sights into alignment.
It's simple to describe, but difficult to acheive. :roll:

I have been shooting 10M air pistol matches(AP60) and 50M pistol for the last 4-5 years;
and I came back to Bullseye shooting since the end of December. Like most
of you, I find Timed/Rapid fire is easier than Slow Fire strings.

My scores for Rapid are in the middle 90's and I struggle to get lower 80s in Slow Fire .
Also, I'm shooting open sights only, because that way, I stay consistant with
the ISSF shooting rules requirement. I'm 70 years old and cross-dominant...
but that's no problem because excellent eyesight correction is available. :shock:

Tony

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One more thought..

Post by paw080 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:59 am

Hi again piasashooter, I forgot to mention that I do not put any pressure on
the trigger until I start to lower the pistol into my aming area. Then I continue
the pull until the sear releases ; after the shot, I still follow through for at least 10 seconds.

This is for Slow Fire, AP60 and Free Pistol. I was taught that taking up the first stage
and hesitating for the sight alignment stage will compromise your wrist stability.

Tony

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