What I Re-Learned in 2017

As we come close to the end of 2017, many of us are already prepping for the 2018 shooting season.  I think that most of us can relate to all or parts of the following article contributed by Mike Glasman regarding his 2017 experiences:

What I Re-Learned in 2017:

Seems like every time I discover something that works I realize that I have heard it all before – all when I was first doing a lot of reading, and listening to experienced competitors when I was getting started. Here are some of the highlights. Note that this is for the AR-15 Service rifle and XTC competition.

  • Weighing charges to the nearest tenth of a grain (or less for some of you with scales that can do so) doesn’t buy you much, especially for short line loads. I have shot lots of good scores with +/- 0.3 grains of variation from desired charge weight loaded on a progressive press. I do measure individual charges for 600 yard loads; however, I accept +/- 0.1 grain.
  • By contrast, checking loads with a chronograph for consistency is productive. That’s how I found out that the primers I use give me a low standard deviation.
  • I used to sort brass cases by weight and learned quite by chance that that is a waste of time.
  • And then I started sorting my projectiles by ogive-to-base length for 600 yards. Well, after shooting a few good 600 yard scores with un-measured projectiles, I learned that was another opportunity to find more time to dry-fire.
  • Dry fire on a regular basis. Make time to do so. Related to that, shoot with an air rifle, too if you have one.
  • Clean magazines with brake cleaner (or similar solvent) to keep them functional. I lost points to a sticky magazine at Camp Perry. My new routine is to clean mags on a regular basis.
  • Keep your leather sling well-conditioned with a product like Turner Leather Dressing by the Pecard Company. It makes getting in and out of the sling so much faster.
  • Don’t waste a second of prep time. Be ready and on the line before the clock starts. Use the prep time to settle down, relax and build your position and NPA.
  • Run a timer for 200 and 600 slow-fire. You can effectively pace yourself when you know you have sufficient time to finish with a margin of safety.
  • Really, really focus on grip pressures and position consistency. By dry-firing a lot in prone I learned how to “figure out how to figure it out” and then how to replicate that condition for every shot.  It worked for me and my 600 yard scores have really improved as a result.
  • Your NPA will shift through slow-fire strings. Pay attention to your NPA as you progress into your string and adapt accordingly. Accept that NPA changes through the string; however, your adaptive changes to re-center should be small – just a slight movement of your foot or elbow. Just the same, be careful not to disturb your fundamental position.
  • Call your shots every time – record it or say it to yourself. And if you get that wild shot, you will not grab a handful of clicks, thus compounding your problem
  • When shooting at 600 yards, watch for the pattern in your pulse beat through your sights. Release the shot at the exact same moment in your cycle of movement for every shot. This, of course, means you have to pay attention to the front sight (or reticle).
  • And for me, if my sights move straight up and back down again through recoil, I know my position is where I need it to be. If not, I make small shifts in my position till I achieve up and back down . movement. And this all means you have to keep your eyes open and on the front sight (or reticle) through the shot.

Now, go dry fire.

-Mike Glasman