First shot hits the bull, then-

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Gsyme

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My first shot, I have no expectations and it is so often a beauty- Maybe it's the clean barrel, maybe it's the clear head.
after that, I start thinking
and trying.

I've noticed this with other shooting
I've noticed this with my guitar-
Repeat performances are difficult to achieve
ah, practice, practice, practice.
 

oldwood

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Every time I go to the range , especially after a spell where I can't get to the range for a while , I have to teach myself how to shoot all over again. This has been going on for about the last 30 yrs. , or so. Hold the rifle with a firm grip , don't crane your neck forward on the stock , keep the rest 1/3 rd to 1/2 the distance ,or more ahead of the breech. There's a bunch of small things that will mess up a first shot. Was your barrel properly wiped out before the first shot , and what storage lube did you use. ??.
 

Gsyme

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Hi Oldwood, I'm so new, I haven' settle on a storage lube yet and I'm still under 100 shots. Thanks for asking. Trying different things. So far I have tried: olive oil, hoppes gun oil, WD40 and I just bought some Ballistol which I haven't tried yet. I run a dry patch and then burn a cap before I start shooting. But it's my first shot that seems to be the best - on average. It's those follow up shots that reveal my inconsistency.
 

oldwood

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Gsyme............. I'm a poor example to follow , in the case of storage lubes. I keep my personal m/l's in a gun safe in a dehumidified room. No rust forms. I clean after shooting w/ hot faucet water directly into the muzzle through a metal tubing w/ the dirty water flowing back out the muzzle , while the hot water warms the barrel hot to the touch. A few patches later and the bore is perfectly clean , and dry. Under these conditions , most any rust preventative will work good enough. After cleaning and application of a spray lube in the bore and another dry patch or two , I set the rifle muzzle down over night. One more dry patch and into the safe , until I can shoot again. If my first shot , or the subsequent ones are not where they are expected to be , it's most likely my poor shooting. At the range , I use a thin patch lube. Hunting , I use grease , but rub the grease into the patch to remove any excess. The minimum grease seems to add to shot to shot consistency. Hope this helps..........oldwood
 

dave951

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You haven't said anything about your load and your methodology after that first shot.

Till we know that, any comments are just guessing
 

gerryherd

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Well, for your first shot your muscles are less fatigued, you’re mentally more relaxed, etc. Try this: before raising the gun to your shoulder, close your eyes and raise the rifle to firing position. When you open your eyes, are you seeing a pretty good sight picture? Adjust your feet until you do. Then try again. When you’ve found a stance where the gun is pointing at the bullseye without having to force the sights there, scuff the ground so you can repeat that stance for all your shots. Try for consistency in procedure: stance, grip, when you take that deep breath, etc. If the shot doesn’t feel right or you’ve held too long, lower the gun for a couple of minutes.
 

GriscomRun

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Soooo, number two is a tad off. And on it goes you say. Hey, it's all good my friend. Just keep on going forward and learning as you go. Your practice will get you where you want to go. Do and Learn.

It's ALL marksmanship. You only get ONE shot ...... at a time. take that shot and make it good. Then it's gone and done.
Set up for another shot. take it easy, don't over think it, and make ti a good one. Learn to do this in 5-7 seconds. Do not hold your breath as you do this. Your body will react to this unusual lack of breathing rhythm.

Used to have a guy at my club who just had to comment on every shot he made. Didn't matter what he was using.
He was sooo tiring. Always some reason he didn't hit center - excuse, justify, excuse. But the thing is - it was every time that ass was there. We used to joke that that is why he was only the second best rifleman in PA.

DO keep things simple. Use a bench at 25 or 50 to find the load your rifle likes. Do start with a ball some 0.10 less than the bore. Like 490's in a 50 cal rifle. DO find the patch lube that is simple to use and works for you. When you're ready shoot offhand at 25 yds. Use a big target. It helps.

Investigate the PRINCIPLES of Marksmanship. It's always ALL about hitting what you aim at. Past sight picture, breath control, and pressing the trigger - find your natural point of aim. That's your stance or how you address the target. Practice that at home or anywhere. Mount, sight, and press. With your cap lock put a piece of leather over the nipple to protect it from the cock as it falls.
 

.36Rooster

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Instead of taking your time shooting slow and overanalyzing, spend an afternoon shouldering your rifle and squeezing that shot off smooth the instant you're lined up, and try practicing by drifiring on a spent .22 shell in front of your tv after you have verified your breech is clear obviously.

You'll find that you become familiar enough with the trigger and can take up all but the last fractional pound of trigger pull when the gun comes to your shoulder, and squeeze off the last tiniest bit of trigger weight with no movement of your rifle, just as your bead, rear notch, and target align.

You might find this works better for you; and that when you give yourself the time to think, you think too much and your shooting is poorer.
 

.36Rooster

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Its really not that much harder to shoot fast than to shoot slow. In fact, when shooting off hand, its a bit easier, as the longer you hold, the more you shake, and the harder you struggle to pay attention to the little details..


Just dont fall into the habit of just chopping the gun upwards and jerking the trigger....you still have to go through all the phases of your shot sequence in terms of proper form: eyes locked on the target, stance set from your feet up to your knees, rifle pointed towards ground and slightly left, torso in position to meet the gun preparing for the raise...then raising by moving your left arm forward slightly as your right hand on the gun's wrist follows, at which point the left arm will begin moving the rifle upward a bit just before it finishes its final forward motion, and the right hand also follows by moving the rifle's butt upward to meet your readily positioned shoulder. With eyes never leaving the target, the sights are raised into your field of vision just as the final bit of movement locks you into good shooting form; then you squeeze a bit of the trigger and hesitant just an instant to minutely adjust your sight alignment with the target (eyes still locked on the spot you want to hit) and then squeeze that last little bit of mustard from the trigger, and boom.

Think about the fluidity of a shotgunner. They dont chuck the gun up and pull, but it appears that way. But the good ones go through all the steps one -by-one in a fluid fashion.

I think your problem would probably go away after a few sessions with this method. This is actually how I shoot a rifle myself. I just clear my head and go through the motions above (rehearsed 1000s of times at home and while shooting). Its all about motion and muscle memory. I dont use any thought or analysis once my eyes are on the target and ive decided to raise my rifle and shoot.

The only thing i can add is that if you dont have a buckhorn rear sight, then get one. Because it is a must for sight acquisition with this method. A fine rear notch throws a wrench into the fluidity your shot sequence, and creates a hiccup, and is really not any more accurate than a buckhorn either...

Go have a boatload of fun on gongs, clay pigeons, and champagne corks for practice. It gets pretty addictive.
 
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Gsyme

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Thanks Rooster for the thoughts on fluidity. Reminds me a little of Hawkeye from the James Fenimore Cooper books. I will also look into the Buckhorn sight. I really don't like the notch the rifle came with and haven't yet decided what to replace it with.
 

stewart.leach

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I have coached junior shooters in a modern rifle discipline since 1985, and all I can add to the above is the importance of follow through. It is very important to maintain hold and sight picture as and after the rifle goes off. The best offhand shot I ever knew mounted the rifle carefully, then got his shot off in 4-5 seconds. The only part of his firing cycle that was leisurely was follow through.
 

.36Rooster

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Follow through is incredibly important. Everything else is meaningless without it. Same with archery, all the good form in the world won't help you if you drop your bow arm or lift your head on your release. The same rings true with a firearm.
 

Roundball 54

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It's hard to say what your problem is without knowing more about how much shooting experience you have. If you are able to make good first shots , l have to assume that you are using good basic fundamentals of shooting, site picture , trigger control, ect . on that first shot . After the first shot the process is breaking down . lf your rifle and load are capable of producing good consistent results then we have to look elsewhere to find the problem. Enter the mental
side of shooting . l think you may have already identified your problem. You stated that after that first good shot you start thinking and trying (harder l assume) . You my be putting to much pressure on yourself and trying to force the shots . Forcing the shot usually don't work out well when trying to shoot tight groups.
Try this exercise: Put up five sheets of blank computer paper or five blank paper plates no aiming points. At the distance you are comfortable with at making those good first shots . Hold your sights center of mass or as close to it as possible and break your shots. One shot on each of the five targets. This way you want be pressuring your self to shoot tight groups. This will kind of simulate a first shot on each of the five targets.
Pay attention to the others who have posted on this as there is some good advice here .
Keep us posted as to your progress. Keep with it and have fun .
 

ADK Bigfoot

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Many years ago someone handed me a Diana Grade Browning O/U Trap gun (unmentionable mentioned to make point, no offense intended.) I shot 50 straight with it. Well above my average.

I have picked up a new flintlock and shot the lights out with it first time out. This has happened more than once.

I shot a small bore match with another shooter's rifle as he was struggling. All tens and Xs.

Never has Round Two been as successful as the examples above. It is referred to in match shooting circles as "new gun syndrome." For your entertainment, here is a link to a discussion about the syndrome. "New Gun" syndrome...

ADK Bigfoot
 

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