The following guest  article was written and submitted by Bill Price

We welcome a variety of points of view on the subjects of shooting and marksmanship. Test them objectively on the range and let the results fall where they may.

Improving Your Marksmanship–On Your Own

 

by Bill Price

 

My firearms are getting lonely. They wait patiently (with my stash of ammunition) for ammo prices to get better, but I haven’t stopped shooting. Instead, I’ve taken up Airgun Shooting.

 

While I might enjoy some of the really fancy airguns, with the sophisticated “pre-charged-pneumatic” power source, my wallet and the increased practicality have kept me using CO2 guns and “springers,” the term for those guns which require one “pump” to cock a heavy spring which will then propel the pellet via an internal piston.

 

Springers are the most common moderately priced (and low priced) air rifles, and over the past few years there has been an increasing “power-race” among manufacturers to offer (sometimes by using a very lightweight pellet in their testing) the highest muzzle velocity. Like the fastest car in the quarter-mile, this tactic sells air rifles.

 

But you really don’t want a high-powered air rifle, with few exceptions.

 

If you want accuracy, you want an air rifle that shoots a 7-8 grain lead pellet at about 900 FPS or less. Usually, one that’s shooting as low as 600 or 700 FPS will be even more accurate. Most lightweight pellets have a poor accuracy showing.

 

And what you will soon learn about any airgun, when comparing it to a “powder-burner,” is that the range is much shorter, and the trajectory has a much more pronounced arc. So you won’t find a lot of 1000 yard airgun competitions. In fact, the holy grail of airgun shooting is a nice small group at 100 yards–but you don’t start there.

 

After two years of airgun shooting, I’ve finally achieved the first plateau in my quest to be a better shooter: a five-shot, one-inch group (actually closer to 3/4″) at 50 yards (from a bipod).

 

Other than the monthly gathering of “Field Target” shooters which I attend in warmer weather, I have only a few online forums and a few books (very few) from which to gather the information that might make me a better shooter. On the other hand, I can shoot over 50 yards in my own yard whenever I want, and can even shoot 10 yards from my living room to my dining room–this may vary from shooter to shooter based on one’s domestic relationship.

 

So I can often shoot 1000 “rounds” in a week. Can you? Would you get better if you could?

 

“Springer” airguns are hold-sensitive. You have only to look at a video of a Howitzer 155mm gun to see how their mount allows the gun to move freely during its recoil cycle. Springer airguns “kick” in two directions when fired–first aft, like a standard firearm, then forward (which is what destroys scopes which are not “airgun rated,” even if they can handle a high powered round). To make shooting a challenge, all of this happens before the pellet leaves the muzzle, so you’ve got a whole new ‘hold-skill’ to learn.

 

But each hour of each day you spend shooting (at a maximum of 2c/pellet) lets you learn, try, fail, succeed, and hone your skills until you feel you’ve earned some bragging rights.

 

“Newbies” are welcome on the forums, welcome in the airgun clubs you may find in your area, and welcome to contact me (chrodoc -at- gmail dot com) for any information. This is a “non-exclusive” club that is actively looking for new members. Please join us.

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