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How to become more consistent?

16065 Views 20 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  ColoradoKid
I was hoping I could get some advice on how to improve my consistency at the range. Some days I go and at 15 yards, where I do most of my shooting, I am always within a 4-5 inch area. Then I'll go again the next week and I seem to have trouble hitting a 5 inch area. I'm all over and I can't seem to concentrate enough to really improve. On a good day when I really focus I can shoot the small bullseyes out of my targets, which I'll post a pic of in a few minutes.

Are there any techniques I could use or reading I should do to improve? I shoot about once a week every week as the budget and work schedule allow. Do I just need to shoot more and be patient?
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These are the targets I use. I normally don't have any trouble with the center red ring but the smaller ones challenge me. (15 yards)
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Your post has a clue to the first step, concentration. Clear your mind of everything that does not involve making that one particular shot. Wondering what time it is, how great it is to be off work, or what to have for dinner has no place on the range. Clear your mind of the extraneous to focus on the necessary is key. Another way to improve is to pick up a set of snap caps to practice dry firing at home. Work on technique, a few trigger pulls done correctly will be much more beneficial than many pulls which become sloppy. I also find a BB or pellet pistol to be of benefit as well as being fun in its own right. These can even be used in the house with an adequte backstop. If a BB pistol, you can reuse the BBs for additional savings.
Snap caps should help because I seem to have developed a bit of a flinch when shooting full .357 loads. :? I've been loading random cylinders while leaving others empty and trying to overcome my flinch that way but I need to clear my mind as well. I usually shoot right after work and I'm still dwelling on whatever problems I had to deal with on the job so I think I'll wait until later in the day to practice. I'd rather not get a pellet gun because I'd have to register it and that's just a pain.
You sort of answered your own question about consistency. Focus on the job at hand, hitting the target. And practice all you can.
As far as flinching goes, I don’t think dry firing or BB guns will help the problem. Flinching is caused by at least one of two things. Sound and recoil are the two sources, which make us flinch. If I were you I would invest in some good hearing protection, if you haven’t already. Next when shooting "slowdown". Don’t just concentrate on the target, also make a conscious effort not to flinch. By slowly squeezing the trigger you will not have the opportunity to flinch.
Hope this helps.
:wink: :D
I use hearing protection rated at 31 db so I think that should be adequate. If you can recommend something rated higher I'll probably buy it. I really value my hearing and have lost some from before I got into shooting so preservation is a priority. I'll also try thinking more about slowing down. Thanks guys. :p
If your using various brands of ammo then you should try sticking with a particular brand of ammunition to keep your consistency. I have used many different brands of ammo with my Model 10 and have found that I am most accurate with Winchester brand ammunition. By the way, how did you lose some of your hearing?
I agree on sticking with one ammo for a while.



Hopefully you can get the drift of what I am saying. Plus, its fun.
Also, switch to 38 Spl until you attain the level of accuracy you want. The noise, recoil, and muzzleflash (yes there is a fair bit and it IS noticable even in a well lit range) of a 357 load is not conducive to good shooting. Plus 38s are cheaper and you can shoot more. Physical excercise will help too, particularly those that build hand, wrist, and arm strength. I am not much of a proponent in using empty cylinders to reduce flinching as it seems to cause the shooter to concentrate more on anticipating the shot than on the target. I feel dry firing regularly is much more successful as one knows there will be no recoil and steady repetion helps build up the muscles used to control the gun. As much of a pain registering a BB gun may be, in the long run it may pay off in added proficiency. As you have let it be known, you are planning on another gun in the near future. Maybe that that application would be the time to piggyback on a BB gun.
A .22 would allow you to practice a whole lot cheaper than a .38 (besides.... that's another handgun !!!). Either an autoloader or a wheelgun; but if you're shooting a wheelgun in the .38/.357, the wheelgun would be preferred for the .22.
These guys offer great advice,there is a wealth of knowledge in these posts.Besides the aboved mentioned posts if all else fails you can go to sportshooter.com and download the diagnostic shooters target,I became more proficiant with semi-autos from that chart.Drop-Shot
Thanks Drop-Shot I was just looking for it but sportshooter.com goes to the outdoorchannel.com instead. It looks like a useful tool. I'll give it a shot!
Ditto the .22 practice. There's no substitute for rounds downrange.
Focus and concentration is a big deal - and often I find my mind wandering too. It's hard to take it one shot at a time.

I also like practicing with a .22 - but we sometimes play a drill where you let your buddy load your gun ( and mix in up to 3 snap caps ) so you never know when or how many. It's amazing how well you can do when you really have to concentrate. It really makes you get into a zone and focus.

Ammo consistency is something else - and since I reload I can tailor it to whatever I want. But I know I'm getting a more consistent load that what is reasonably available commercially. Using my own loads tightened up my groups by maybe as much as 25% on some calibers - over some cheap ammo especially. But good .22 shells make a difference too - I have some of the bulk .22 ammo, Remington, and it's not nearly as accurate as the CCI Mini-Mag but it's a fraction of the cost and good enough for the grandkids to shoot.

You might even consider talking to your buddies about the triggers on your guns - and if they have any creep, etc having a good gunsmith remove all that. Over the years I've found I really like a trigger that breaks at about 3 1/2 lbs and no creep. The guns I shoot the best have the best triggers on them - wilson combat, Les Baer, Smith & Wesson revolvers ...... but you can make a Sig, Kimber, etc feel just about the same as a custom gun - and for me, it makes a big difference in the way I shoot it - especially if I move between guns and calibers during a range session.
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I've noticed a couple of things which effect my accuracy. First is my current stress and fatigue level. I've stopped going to the range when I'm just too tired to enjoy it, which means hitting what I want to. I usally try to go on saturdays now, when I have plenty of tiem and a good night sleep.

The other Problem I have is I switch guns too much. I try to change around and play with all my toys! Now I usually take one 22 and one target revolver per session. I have my carry gun and sometimes I'll shoot that at the end of the session.

I have also read that making notes about how you shot in a record and following stuff like sleep night before, ammo, caffine intake, etc can help you solve some problems. I have tried to dry fire practice a day or two before going to the range as well. That helps me alot.

best of luck.
Re: re: How to become more consistent?

BigDog said:
we sometimes play a drill where you let your buddy load your gun ( and mix in up to 3 snap caps ) so you never know when or how many. It's amazing how well you can do when you really have to concentrate. It really makes you get into a zone and focus.
brilliant! I never thought of something like that. Whenever I'm teaching a newbie to shoot every once in a while I'll slap a dud in the chamber to see if they have a flinch but I never thought of doing something like you just described. I can see how that could help ANY level of shooter to improve. I'm goin to give that a try.
I'm just getting started with pistols. But, I've shot target archery for a long time. I believe that you need a physical/mental checklist for every sport you participate in. For instance before you strike the golf ball you should do exactly the same sequence of moves and thoughts. Same for archery, baseball, etc. Watch the pros - they will always do the same moves before the action. If they get disrupted, they start all over from the beginning.

To be consistent you must do the same thing every time - including what you are thinking about. In archery, I would check my stance, then form, relax, focus on target, start pulling slowly with back muscles then focus on nothing but the target.

I'm trying to do basically the same thing with my new Buckmark.

Here are some targets that i find useful. You can down load them for free. They come in left and righ handed versions.

Follow these links:



These and the other great advice given by the other forum members, hopefully helps you in your quest to better shooting.

Great holidays, everyone. Jack :D
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