Aug 27, 2008

Marksmanship Television

Here is a classic from the late Jeff Cooper.

As hunting season approaches, it is well to remember that it is not necessary to conduct all your rifle practice on the range. All sorts of things may be simulated at home, especially including the acquisition of position, bolt work, and the use of the sling.

One particularly good drill is to sit before the televisor with the rifle across your lap and to use the commercials for dry practice. Anytime a zero or an 'O' appears on the screen it is up to you to pick it up in your sights, press off a perfectly delivered simulation, snap the bolt and hit it again before it leaves the screen.

This is a very effective way to balance speed against precision, since you must not squeeze off a miss, but you do not know how long that zero is going to stay on the screen. I do not watch a lot of television, but I try to get in a couple of weeks of this every time before I go hunting.

Aug 20, 2008

Bench Rests and Hunting Rifles

Ever since I've been away on active duty I've spent more time shooting on public ranges then at home. Seeing the general gun owning public, as opposed to organized event participants, has been, um, illuminating.

This clueless obsession with the bench rest is depressing. A High Power shooter competes with a sub-MoA rifle, uses iron sights, shoots out to 600 yards and probably never bothers with a bench rest. I've seen countless hunters, who probably don't know what MoA is and will never shoot past 200 yards, never shoot on a range from any position off the bench.

I'll shut up and let Jeff Cooper take it from here:

Having nothing to lose, I am going to climb out on a loose limb and make a horrifying statement.

To wit: group size is spinach. Well, wash my mouth out with soap!

To a large number of smallarms enthusiasts in the world, group size is everything. If that is the way they want it, that is all right with me, but I must say that these people are devoting a great deal of attention to an essentially trivial matter. Certainly a very accurate rifle - or pistol - is a satisfying instrument to own and use. Whether it makes any difference in practical application is another matter.

Consider for a moment that group size is normally measured by group diameter from the impact centers of the two widest shots in the group. Consider further that even if that is a good measure, group radius is of considerably more interest, since group radius measures the distance between the theoretical point of aim and the worst shot in the group. And let us further consider that in any given group the majority of hits is likely to be located in the center of the group, so we can further cut down the "range probable error" to one-quarter of group diameter. In no case do we know of a man who can shoot well enough to appreciate that.

I was told recently by a colleague that he was attempting to do some head-size groups at 500 meters coming up summer. I responded that I had once shot an ornamental 500-meter group with an SSG, using 1962 Lake City Match ammunition, but that since I had shot it from a bench it did not really count.

I did not wish to hurt his feelings, but I do wish to point out that what the shooter can do from a bench is no measure of how he can shoot.

Aug 16, 2008

Keith Sanderson, Top American Rapid Fire Shooter

Keith Sanderson finished third during the first Qual event, first on the second Qual and was fifth in the final. The margin of victory was so fine that after 60 rounds fired, plus the shoot-off, less than four points separated the top five finishers.

Aug 13, 2008


From the Department of Optimism:
That which does not kill me only prolongs the inevitable

Aug 9, 2008

Olympics and Shooting

Olympic Shooting

The 2008 Olympics are upon us!

Be sure to keep up with the shooting events as they unfold. Just as important, learn more about the International disciplines and the history of the Modern Olympiad. The Olympics were founded by a Firearm User, champion marksman Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

Results and information is available at:

Aug 6, 2008

Firearms in Circulation

There was a "shocking" report about how only "10% of Americans own 80% of the guns in circulation".

I saw this broadcast and the only thing I could think was, "so what?" Pareto's Law would suggest something like that. Why are they surprised? It's a normal distribution.

As with any activity, the truly active are in a minority. How many guitars are in circulation? I bet the vast majority of guitar owners own one. Yet, a professional musician may own dozens or over a hundred. I'm sure "10% of Americans own 80% of the guitars in circulation" too.

The majority of gun owners are not active shooters. Perhaps they bought a rifle for the occasional deer hunt or for "self-defense" (but never bothered to learn how.)

If the media is whining because the active shooter/gun owner is a minority we need to remember that the active anti-gunner is a vastly smaller group. The large majority of Americans don't have a strong opinion and sit the fence. They don't join HCI or NRA.

If we accept the fact that there are 200 million guns in circulation, and also that about half of the households own at least one, and that number has been set at 80 million by various sources, we have a pretty simple equation. Eight million houses own 160 million guns. On its face that leaves 72 million houses that must be sharing the remaining 40 million guns. And that even leaves out the Republic of Texas, which is rumored to possess 1/3rd of all guns!

Logic, math, and facts have never been a deterrent to CBS or any other media outlet. The part that shocks me is that eight million/160 million thing. That's only 20 per household.

Sure wish the experts would give a breakdown of the 20. Couple of shotguns? A few 22 rimfires and a centerfire or two? Maybe a lever action woods rifle, a couple of open sighted 30s, and a few long range scoped magnums? 3 or 4 pistols, and the same number of revolvers? Add in a couple of hand me down heirlooms and you've got a well rounded household.

Consider the guitarist with a couple of acoustics, a Stratocaster or Tele for style, a pair of Les Pauls in his two favorite colors, a Jackson and Ibanez with modern "shredder" design, seven or eight string for variety, perhaps a BC Rich or Dean for something wild and a bass guitar for the low end and we're well rounded there, too.

Wonder if a "shocking" story of guitar economics is in the works, too?