600 rounds well spent

I reserved the training bay at the local indoor range last night and put about 600 rounds of .22 down range:


I had noticed something when I watched Master and Grandmaster class shooters. When they transition between targets they move the gun much faster than I do. Why don’t I do that?

I set up the simulated steel challenge stage with paper targets with the largest possible angle I could get in the range and still keep the bullets in the berm from 30 feet away:


The stop “plate” is the center target so I could test shooting left to right and right to left. And a secondary test was an order of shooting question I had wondered about for years (1, 2, 4, 5, 3 versus 1, 2, 5, 4, 3).

First I shot as I normally do and found the order of shooting didn’t make any difference. And although it was more comfortable for me to shoot left to right it didn’t make a measurable difference in my time. It was always between about 4.6 and 4.9 seconds.

I tried swinging the gun faster between targets. Maximum acceleration then stopping on target long enough to fire an aimed shot then maximum acceleration to the next target. I found it took me quite a bit longer to get the gun settled on the target compared to the way I usually do it. The end result was that I ended up with essentially the same times.

But I kept trying. At about 300 rounds my time just dropped by a full second. It wasn’t gradual. It was just the same as usual on one string of fire and the next was a full second faster. It continued to be in the 3.6 second range and when I sometimes messed up with a target acquisition and it took something like 4.5 seconds it seemed like forever. 4.5 seconds a few minutes earlier would have been a good run.

I pushed a little harder and even had a few runs that were in the 2.8 to 2.9 range. That’s almost two seconds off my previous times. That a reduction of about 40 percent! I backed off some so that I was consistent and was steady at about 3.6 seconds per string. I continued shooting until I ran out of time trying to condition my brain and muscles to make this a comfortable habit.

My gun got so hot I couldn’t hold onto the barrel and I found out when I cleaned it tonight the front sight had come loose. The heat had probably degraded Loctite on the threads.

The gun also got quite dirty on the outside as well as the inside:


I’ll find out at the steel match tomorrow if the training stuck. If it did and I can shoot as fast and accurately tomorrow as I could last night I will be very pleased.


3 thoughts on “600 rounds well spent

  1. Want to improve your game?

    1) Practice more
    2) Do they have matches where you play for money? Any tournaments? Enter those.
    3) Find the place with the stiffest competition and practice with those people.
    4) Practice until you can beat the top people.
    5) Practice every day, or almost every day. Practice for hours. Do the same shots over and over again until you do them perfectly without really thinking about it.
    6) Try to play against the top people for money. The “top people” and money aspects are important (because the top people usually play even better when it’s for money).

  2. I like Jerry’s method, move the gun as fast an necessary to keep a tempo on the trigger. Go watch some of his videos. My fastest steel times are always when I set a tempo on the trigger and make the gun be over the target with the hammer drops. Of course it sometimes comes off the rails. That’s when you know you are going fast enough.

  3. I’m looking forward to the results too.

    I know I had a total time for the five stages of 69.something for rim fire and, IIRC, 82.something for center fire. This is an average of about 14 and 16.5 seconds per stage. Compared to the 13.01 and 16.07 seconds per stage at the last match I went to. But they aren’t directly comparable.

    I suspect the practice didn’t make much difference. Most of the stages weren’t dependent upon large transitions and I had trouble doing rapid shots on targets close together. I practiced for the wrong type of courses of fire.

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