Keep it Clean:
Ensure your rifle is thoroughly cleaned after each days shooting using a good quality solvent, brush and patches. Accuracy will degrade on most rifles after 20 shots. It is important to clean the entire rifle ensuring that the bolt face, locking lugs and recesses are clear of fouling and excess lubricant.
Patch it out:
Before each days shooting, ensure that you patch out your barrel, bolt and chamber, making them ‘dry’ before firing. This will allow the chamber to ‘grip’ cases correctly during firing and will remove another variable to overall accuracy.
Too hot to touch:
Ensure that your barrel does not overheat during firing, by ensuring sufficient time between shots, and also leaving the bolt open when not in use to allow cooling air to move through the bore. Points of impact are likely to change and damage likely to occur if you repeatedly shoot and your barrel becomes uncomfortably warm to hold.
Keep it warm:
Pre-heating your ammunition is a good way of decreasing vertical stringing of groups and generally increasing ammunition accuracy. Just keeping your ammunition in your jacket pocket is ideal for pre-heating. Warning, more is NOT better! Only pre-heat using body heat!
Do it by hand:
Hand loading ammunition specifically for your rifle will allow you to tweak loads to suit your rifle. This is the best way to achieve accuracy outside of rifle modification. Ensure you follow recognized hand loading data and manuals.
Mix your drinks, get a headache:
If you mix your ammunition with different projectile weights and different velocities, your accuracy will suffer. Even switching ammunition production batches can affect accuracy and points of impact. If you are going to change ammunition, thoroughly clean your rifle, so that the new projectile can lay a new fouling layer in the barrel, instead of running over the previous projectiles layer.
When taking up a firing position, ensure that you are comfortable, and in a stable position. Whether on the bench, ground or in a field position, a good test is to aim at your target, close your eyes and breath deeply for 5 seconds, then see if you are still aimed on your target. If not adjust your position and try again. There will be a sweet spot.
The F word:
Learn not to flinch prior to firing. Invest or make a ‘snap cap’ or dummy round and practice dry firing with a coin on the muzzle. Learn to touch off the trigger without disturbing the coin. Then, at the range, practice practice practice. If you are still having trouble, use a lighter caliber and practice until you no longer flinch, then move to a more powerful round. A .22LR is a perfect training rifle for this purpose.
Hit the books:
Educate yourself by studying how Ballistic Coefficients, Velocity, Altitude, Air Pressure, Up Hill/Down Hill, Temperature and Humidity all affect bullet trajectory , powder burn rate and accuracy. Remember a small difference at short range will be a huge difference at long range.
See straight, Shoot straight:
When looking through your rifles scope, ensure you head is correctly positioned behind the objective lens. To do this move your head away from the scope so that the image is at its largest size within the scope, then position your head laterally so that there are no black crescents on the edge of the image. Adjustments to the scope mounting may need to be made to make the new position comfortable again.
Always use only the very tip of your trigger finger (index or middle finger) to actuate the trigger. Ensure that no part of the trigger finger touches anything else. Likewise ensure that the trigger finger does not exert any pressure on the trigger except for straight rearward pressure.
Lean on me, NOT on the tree:
When in a field firing position, and using a stump, log or standing tree as a rest, ensure that no part of the rifle touches the rest directly. If the rifle is allowed to touch the rest directly, normal bodily movement such as heartbeat and breathing will be amplified by the hard to hard contact between the tree and the rifle. Accuracy will suffer. Try placing your hand in between your rifle and rest, or in many cases a sock filled with sand can be ideal and portable.
Tunnel vision helps:
Next time your at the bench or in the field and about to take a shot through a scope, try placing a piece of dark material over your head and the back of the scope. By eliminating the light coming in from the sides, you can maximize the light entering the eye from the scope. Thereby having the effect of making the scopes picture brighter and sharper. Be careful though, by covering the head, you may not be able to see to the left and rifle of your rifle and a dangerous situation could develop. Exersise caution and be sure your shot is clear of people and animals that may have strayed into your path.
Keep it steady Eddie:
When you are in the field or at the range, think latterally about what objects in your immediate vicinity you can use as a rest or to provide support for your body or firearm. If you are taking a standing shot, look at the trees, branches, walls and large rocks nearby. A sling can be looped over a tree branch for support, leaning your back against a large gum tree can steady your upper body for a shot. Use your brain. A good shooter is more than just a good shot!
Bull-Shitters are NOT Bull-Hitters!
When you are at the range or in the field, and a well wisher offers you some advice on your shooting style or firearm - listen carefully! Take in what they have said, consider it against what you know, compare it against the opinions of others and consult valid sources such as textbooks on shooting. If you are still unsure, ask the well wisher to explain the science behind their suggestion and see if they can! Then decide if the information that you have been given is relevent to you, and most of all - is correct! There is a huge amount of misinformation in our sport, much of it coming from individuals elected into positions of authority. Make sure what you have been told is correct, otherwise down the track you may discover that you have been given a whole lot of bull - and im not talking about the kind you find on targets!
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Accuracy Hints and Tips:
Note: These hints and tips are provided for informational purposes only. All shooting must be conducted in a safe manner complient with your State and Territory laws. If in doubt or you are unsure, dont shoot.