Author Topic: Questions after the event  (Read 1494 times)

Offline cosgrove

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Questions after the event
« on: October 28, 2012, 06:04:42 PM »
Hi folks,

First off, a big thank you to the people that put on October's Ramseur Appleseed. I had a great time, and I learned a lot. I was there shooting my AR15 (S&W M&P 15 Sport micro review: a great deal, my first rifle, I love it, no problems so far at all) with iron sights and a web sling. I believe in mastering my iron sights before moving onto using a scope, but I'm sure I could be persuaded with the right factual argument against that position. I do have a few follow-up questions that I would appreciate some help on:

  • Sling tightness. I know it's all about consistency and NPOA, but how tight is tight enough? Parts of my left index finger eventually went numb because of how the bottom edge of the hand guard (stock A2 hand guard I believe) was pressing into my palm due to the pressure from the sling. It's feeling better every day, and I shot with a glove on yesterday. Shooting with a glove was comfortable, and I don't think it made the numbness any worse, but I'm still waiting to feel back to normal. I guess to put an exact question out there: what should the angle be on my support arm between my forearm and upper arm in the prone position? If I'm able to lay my support arm triceps flat on the ground with a tight sling, would this provide more stability or is that a sign of poor form and I should try to stay on my elbow?
  • Muscle use. While finding NPOA, am I relaxing my entire body (besides the stuff keeping my cheek weld in place) and letting the sling support everything? If I do that, I think the pressure from the sling on the front sling mount of my rifle cants the rifle a little (rotation around the axis of the bore). Fixing the cant would involve muscle. Also, I think I read somewhere on one of Fred's sheets to pull the rifle back into the shoulder. Doing so would obviously involve muscle as well. Should I try to find a different sling mount that would allow the sling to pull the front mount in a different way? What about pulling back into the shoulder?
  • Dry fire practice during prep time. With my rifle, I'm charging it while dry firing with my trigger hand. Doesn't this reset my NPOA? Or is the point of dry fire practice during prep time to get better at rapidly acquiring NPOA? If so, I missed that point in the instruction.
  • What do you change while standing to make minor adjustments in order to find NPOA? I feel like bringing the feet too close together raises the chance of losing my balance.
  • Iron sights and blurry targets. I understand the idea of focusing on the front sight. What's the best way to align your sights on the target though? I've been focusing on the target, bringing a blurry front sight onto it, then focusing on the front sight for the shot. Small targets (or large targets at range, for instance the 400 yard silhouette and "head shot" target for AQT at 25 yards) are incomprehensible and I find myself firing at where I believe the target's position is on the paper instead of the target itself. Is that the best way to do it?
  • Coming back with the RWVA membership. I didn't score rifleman, and I heard something about coming back to an Appleseed paying a reduced cost if you did not score rifleman and have an RWVA membership. Are there more details on that somewhere?

Thanks again for the great time, and I appreciate your input on my questions.

Offline Transform

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Re: Questions after the event
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 05:56:21 AM »
You ask some very good questions cosgrove, I'm looking forward to hearing some of the answers.

On sling tightness, going numb is never a good thing, for your shooting or for your health. No matter what the technical answers might be, it's up to you to change what you're doing if it injures your body. Although shooting positions aren't meant to be comfortable, there's a huge difference between uncomfortable and damaging. Numbness, like pain, is often one of your body's ways of warning you that it is being damaged.

On muscle use, I can't answer your question (yet), but I can tell you that I've watched an instructor modeling NPOA actually drift off to sleep during a rather lengthy explanation of NPOA. Neither he nor his rifle moved at all.

On RWVA membership, it's a great way to support Appleseed but the ROC program you're asking about was ended a month ago. I'm hoping it will be revamped at some point, but that's not likely before you and I have both earned our Rifleman's scores! Even at full cost, Appleseed is still the least expensive high quality instruction available.


Offline ItsanSKS

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Re: Questions after the event
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 08:31:31 AM »
Cosgrove-

Glad you had a great time at the Ramseur Range.  Count yourself as lucky- most Appleseeders only hear bits and pieces of the Legendary pop up range!

My comments below, in red.
Hi folks,

First off, a big thank you to the people that put on October's Ramseur Appleseed. I had a great time, and I learned a lot. I was there shooting my AR15 (S&W M&P 15 Sport micro review: a great deal, my first rifle, I love it, no problems so far at all) with iron sights and a web sling. I believe in mastering my iron sights before moving onto using a scope, but I'm sure I could be persuaded with the right factual argument against that position. I do have a few follow-up questions that I would appreciate some help on:

  • Sling tightness. I know it's all about consistency and NPOA, but how tight is tight enough? Parts of my left index finger eventually went numb because of how the bottom edge of the hand guard (stock A2 hand guard I believe) was pressing into my palm due to the pressure from the sling. It's feeling better every day, and I shot with a glove on yesterday. Shooting with a glove was comfortable, and I don't think it made the numbness any worse, but I'm still waiting to feel back to normal. I guess to put an exact question out there: what should the angle be on my support arm between my forearm and upper arm in the prone position? If I'm able to lay my support arm triceps flat on the ground with a tight sling, would this provide more stability or is that a sign of poor form and I should try to stay on my elbow?
First off, we teach *snug*, not tight.  If you are losing circulation in your hand after only a few minutes, you've definitely got that sling too tight.  A good shooting jacket with pulse pad, and a proper shooting glove will help minimize the effects of a tight sling, but for field shooting, you certainly don't need it that tight. 
A good starting position for the sling tension is to keep your support arm locked into a 90* at the elbow, with the web of your thumb and forefinger directly at the sling swivel.  The length of your rifle and the length of your arms will dictate what index your body must take to make this happen.  Place your support elbow directly under the rifle.  (with your AR pattern rifle, place your forearm directly alongside the magazine)


  • Muscle use. While finding NPOA, am I relaxing my entire body (besides the stuff keeping my cheek weld in place) and letting the sling support everything? If I do that, I think the pressure from the sling on the front sling mount of my rifle cants the rifle a little (rotation around the axis of the bore). Fixing the cant would involve muscle. Also, I think I read somewhere on one of Fred's sheets to pull the rifle back into the shoulder. Doing so would obviously involve muscle as well. Should I try to find a different sling mount that would allow the sling to pull the front mount in a different way? What about pulling back into the shoulder?

If you are using a 'hasty' sling, then the sling may be too tight.  If you are using a loop sling, and getting a cant while relaxed, the rifle is improperly positioned in your support hand.  Follow these steps to remedy:
create a "V" with the index finger and thumb of the support hand.  Center the rifle in the middle of the "V", with your support hand directly against the sling swivel (a glove, even of the garden variety, *really* helps for this, as the sling swivel may 'bite').  With the rifle now centered in the "V", allow your support hand to relax, with the weight of the rifle resting (centered) on the bones of your wrist.  If done correctly, the rifle should lie naturally on the 'life line' of your support hand.
The trigger hand should have a firm, handshake grip on the rifle, pulling it smartly into the shoulder pocket.   

  • Dry fire practice during prep time. With my rifle, I'm charging it while dry firing with my trigger hand. Doesn't this reset my NPOA? Or is the point of dry fire practice during prep time to get better at rapidly acquiring NPOA? If so, I missed that point in the instruction.

Charging the AR-15 rifle from prone, with the trigger hand, shouldn't automatically mean loss of NPOA; but to get there, you'll need to practice, and *really* focus on efficiency of movement.  Try this:
Find and verify NPOA from the prone position.
Dry fire the rifle, following the six steps of firing the shot.
Maintaining elbow placement (both support and trigger sides), use the support hand to rotate the rifle toward your trigger side, while maintaining stock placement in the shoulder.  Activate the charging handle.  Replace trigger hand on grip of rifle.  Reacquire cheek weld.  Verify NPOA.  If you have lost your NPOA, find out why- did the stock move in your shoulder pocket?  did your trigger elbow move/roll?  did the rifle slip in your support hand?  Did you place your head in a different spot on the rifle?  Remember: Consistency is the key to accuracy.  The more you can build that prone position *exactly* the same, every time, the better your groups will be. Once you've mastered charging the rifle without losing NPOA, it's time to learn how to do it with magazine changes, too.  I'd practice that one at home, with empty mags... Took me nearly 2 months of daily practice to do it, now it's second nature.


  • What do you change while standing to make minor adjustments in order to find NPOA? I feel like bringing the feet too close together raises the chance of losing my balance.

First, build your position as follows:
Hasty sling! (you did learn how to use the Hasty Sling in standing, right?)
Body indexed 90* to the target, pointed toward your trigger side.  Not 45, not 50, not 75; 90*  Shoulders should be squared up, head and spine fully erect.  Upper torso should not be leaning back or forward.
Feet shoulder width apart, maybe a little more.
Knees slightly bent.
When shouldering the rifle, bring the stock to meet your cheek, rather than vice versa. 
MINOR adjustments to your NPOA can be made by ever so slightly moving your trigger foot.  Once you get locked into a proper standing position, you will notice that even the smallest movement of your trigger foot will dramatically shift where your rifle is pointed. 


  • Iron sights and blurry targets. I understand the idea of focusing on the front sight. What's the best way to align your sights on the target though? I've been focusing on the target, bringing a blurry front sight onto it, then focusing on the front sight for the shot. Small targets (or large targets at range, for instance the 400 yard silhouette and "head shot" target for AQT at 25 yards) are incomprehensible and I find myself firing at where I believe the target's position is on the paper instead of the target itself. Is that the best way to do it?
Emphasis added.

The "Best" way to do it is the way that ensures that you get consistent hits at 500 yards.  If the way you are doing it works for you, with your eyes, then yes. 

That said, the method you describe is *similar* to, but not exactly the method I use:
First off, I shoot both eyes open; this may not work for you if you require your non-dominant eye to be closed.
Prone position, Stage 4- 400yd silhouettes.
Breath in; sight dips well below target; eyes seek out target I wish to engage, completely disregarding sights of rifle.
I check alignment of my sights for windage at this time- am I left or right of the target- if need be, adjust.
Breath out, *very* slowly.  As sight moves toward the target, I again verify windage, ensuring that my sight is coming up directly below the target I wish to engage.
As my sight reaches the target, I pause my breath.  I then focus solely on the front sight and begin to squeeze the trigger. 


  • Coming back with the RWVA membership. I didn't score rifleman, and I heard something about coming back to an Appleseed paying a reduced cost if you did not score rifleman and have an RWVA membership. Are there more details on that somewhere?
The program you are referring to was called the "Rifleman Opportunity Card".  Sorry to say, we retired that promotion at the beginning of October - you just missed it!

Thanks again for the great time, and I appreciate your input on my questions.

One of the surest ways to improve your marksmanship between this event and the next is to dry-fire.  If you don't do it, I can almost guarantee that you will walk away from your next event without a patch. Start by practicing your weakest position(s), building them up in comfort and stability.  Be sure to 'fire' each shot by the numbers.  When you get to the point where all of your 'shots' are called good, start adding transitions and mag changes. Don't start by trying to be fast- you'll just fumble and flop around.  Start slowly, paying careful attention to each movement that is required for YOU to get into position.  Economy of motion is the name of the game.  Slow is smooth; smooth becomes faster with practice.   Practice until you can drop into seated/prone position, 'load' your rifle, and 'fire' a good shot all within 10 seconds.  Once you've gotten to that point, it's time to head to the range, and try it on a timer, with live ammo.   

Point of note regarding transitions- every person has *their* degree of index.  We teach that for standing, its 90*; for sitting and prone, it's somewhere between 30-45*.  It is imperative to find YOUR index.  It is that number which dictates your NPOA.  IE: if you're body requires a 38* index to target in sitting position, and you sit down at 40*, you now need to shift 2* to be on target.  That shift is WASTED MOVEMENT.  When you drop into position, you should already be on YOUR angle, and therefore you need not shift *onto* the target, as you'll already be there.  In practicing your transitions, take great pains to start the transition exactly the same, every time- especially the way your feet are positioned.  As you begin your descent, note how changing your foot positioning can modify the direction you are facing once you get into position.  Your initial NPOA is determined by the angle you take to the target, modified by any change in direction caused during your descent to the ground.   

Range trips should be used to verify what you've been working on during dry-fire practice.

Hope this helps,

-ItsanSKS
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Offline cosgrove

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Re: Questions after the event
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 09:54:24 PM »
Thanks a ton, Itsan! I think our instructors recommended that people there for their first shoot go with the web sling format the entire shoot, adjusting length if necessary in standing. They did indeed show the hasty and mentioned that people coming back should try it if they'd like.

I'm certainly dry firing at home trying to find what works for me, concentrating on being consistent. I also agree: "slow is smooth; smooth is fast." One follow-up question to anyone that would like to weigh in:

Quote
Place your support elbow directly under the rifle.  (with your AR pattern rifle, place your forearm directly alongside the magazine)

If I have a 20 round magazine and it does not impede placing the rifle above my support elbow, should I? Or is the 'directly below the elbow' for traditional stock rifles like the 10/22? I understand that it's nigh impossible with a 30 round magazine in an AR pattern rifle without digging into your forearm.

Offline ItsanSKS

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Re: Questions after the event
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 11:58:14 PM »
Quote
Place your support elbow directly under the rifle.  (with your AR pattern rifle, place your forearm directly alongside the magazine)

If I have a 20 round magazine and it does not impede placing the rifle above my support elbow, should I? Or is the 'directly below the elbow' for traditional stock rifles like the 10/22? I understand that it's nigh impossible with a 30 round magazine in an AR pattern rifle without digging into your forearm.

Traditionally stocked rifles that have a protruding magazine also have this problem, so no, it is not specific to pistol-gripped rifles.

The point of having your support elbow directly below the rifle is to allow the front sight to track straight up and down through the target; if your elbow is too far to the outside, your sight will move at a diagonal as you breathe; therefore, proper elbow placement has been achieved when the following circumstances have been met:

- Sight moves straight up and down with respiration
- Support elbow does not move under recoil. 

Additionally, the 'point' of your elbow should not be the point of contact with the ground- there is a flat spot toward the outside of your elbow, and this makes a more consistent (and less painful!) contact area.  Some stretching of the support shoulder muscles may be required to consistently get that flat spot onto the ground, directly under the rifle.
"Those who would trade an ounce of liberty for an ounce of safety deserve neither."

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Offline TreadwCare

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Re: Questions after the event
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 11:25:37 PM »
Great thread.  Learning a lot from the replies.

I also had some numbness from the sling, but I didn't have much besides a shirt between the sling and my arm.  Got quite the nasty bruise - that I was totally and shamelessly proud to show off to the wife  ;D

But, I get why they put the pulse pads on the shooting jackets now.  Speaking of, anybody know a good source for a shooting jacket?  Been looking around the web some and there seem to be a few options, but they are all over the place price wise.  Hard to tell quality without being able to check one out in person.

Oh and kudos for working all weekend with an AR!  I have one, really enjoy it, but I doubt I'd have shot the AQT particularly well with it first time out.  It was hard enough with a 10-22!

Offline 2 clicks low

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Re: Questions after the event
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 11:50:48 PM »
The place to have a shooting jacket made is:
https://sites.google.com/site/madebymcron/home
They are hand made to order using the best materials available. She will customize to your specs. Very reasonably priced with an unbelievably quick turn around for a custom article.
I am a happy customer and know many others. Never heard a bad word.
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Offline TreadwCare

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Re: Questions after the event
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 10:51:56 AM »
Thanks 2 clicks, those look great, and I love giving the business to a small business/made in America shop.  I definitely had not found those in my searching, word of mouth, as usual, is the best advertising.