Enhancing accuracy

Adjusting trigger pull to 2.5-3 pounds can improve accuracy.

Every sportsman or woman should be interested in improving their accuracy to become a more ethical hunter. Gallons of ink have been spilled on the subject so I might as well add my two cents.

Modern firearms have come a long way. Modern techniques have allowed manufacturers to make claims of rifles capable of sub-1-inch groups at 100 yards. The one component they still struggle with, thanks to the legal minds among us, is the trigger. The trigger on a hunting rifle should be set to a crisp, clean let off around 2.5-3 pounds of pull for good accuracy. While many rifles today say they are adjustable, I have not found that to be the case. The little adjustment screw goes in and out, but the trigger pull hardly changes at all.

I know, I know, you get great accuracy with the trigger that you have gotten used to. You can get used to driving a GMC Gremlin, and it will get you to work most days, but a Dodge Viper does it a whole lot better. Get a good gunsmith to do a trigger job, or if you are smart enough to change a tire, get an aftermarket trigger to drop in. Either costs less than $150, and you will be amazed at the change it makes in your shooting.

The second important thing you can do is to tighten up the nut behind the trigger. Yes, the nut is you. Contrary to popular belief, good marksmen are not born, they are made. Let me crush yet another dream. You can’t buy your way to superior marksmanship with new gear and gadgets any more than you can buy a pair of Air Jordans and become the next MVP of the NBA. Yes, some folks have better eyesight and reflexes, and quality gear does help, but practice is what brings home the bacon.

There is no substitute for practice. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. You can dry fire practice by making absolutely sure the rifle is unloaded and then practice aiming, squeezing the trigger and cycling the action from different field positions. It is amazingly effective. Larry Bassham won the Olympics back in the ‘80s without firing a shot within four months of competition because of consistent dry fire practice. It doesn’t harm centerfire bolt, pump or semi-auto firearms. It will damage rimfires or guns with exposed hammers like revolvers or lever guns. Dry firing is a good way to expose and treat flinching. Balance a dime on the end of your barrel. When you can squeeze the trigger without the dime falling off, you are doing well.

Follow through is just as important in shooting as it is in basketball. Don’t jerk your head off the stock to look at the results of the shot. At the shot, your finger should remain on the trigger, ride the recoil impulse and return the rifle to target. Only after you are again aiming at the target should you move to cycle the action.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas at shootingthebreezebme@gmail.com.

Rod Carpenter is a husband, father and hunting fool.


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