Guest post today from Graduate Shootist.
Those of us who are serious shooters may sometimes forget just how much fun it is to blaze away at spinner targets or cans. A 525-pack of inexpensive .22 ammo will provide a whole bunch of entertainment, and may even hone your skills with a bit of pre-planning.
Case in point; the “Blue Marlin” M-60 shown here. Two things I really enjoy about it are its last-shot hold-open feature, and its utter simplicity. Yes, I own a tricked out Ruger 10/22, complete with two optical systems mounted in QD rings. And no, I’m not planning on any extras for the plinker Marlin. One change I did make was the installation of a fiber-optic front sight. My old eyes can grab that, which plays into the planning alluded to, above…………
Long ago, in a very bad place, I learned that answering hostile fire wasn’t easy in the dark. With iron sights any precise aiming was a no-go. Things have since improved, but even the best optical systems have limitations imposed by light and weather. So, sometimes, just a good gun-mount will have to do. With proper fitting, if your eye is right above the barrel, you’ll probably shoot somewhere near to where you’re looking. That’s the principle of effective shotgun wing-shooting and the same theory can be applied for close and fast rifle work. At the risk of incurring the wrath of every black-rifle shooter, I’ll state an opinion: The AR-15 platform just isn’t the best choice for this type of work (and, yes, I also own an AR-22). Great exhibition shooters like Topperwein chose trim semi-autos like the Winchester M-63. Tom Knapp shoots a Brno .22 WMR configured similarly. Remember, we’re not talking about optical sights right now; just plain and natural shooting. Such designs have lots of stock drop intentionally designed to locate a shooter’s eye closely above the bore. So, for anyone interested in fooling around with this, a plain vanilla .22 rim-fire is just the ticket…..
Start with a large target at fairly close range. I like an IDPA combat silhouette, which has an inner scoring circle. I bought the Marlin because of its folding rear-sight blade. With that down, mount and fire as soon as the stock hits your cheek, referencing strictly off your front sight. If you have a shot-timer set it for 2 seconds and shoot from only 10 paces. With OK gun fit you’ll probably see a group develop. Keep at it and incrementally reduce the par-time until you’re making hits within 1 second. With practice, you’ll become fast and surprisingly accurate. You can back up, switch to cans or better yet, shift to multiple targets. I have the luxury of a falling plate rack that’s equipped with 4″ steel disks. This array presents an opportunity to work on another rapid-fire skill; sear re-set (also known as prepping the trigger).
After breaking a shot, hold the trigger fully rearward, pause and ease it forward just to the point where you can feel a click. Squeeze shot two from that point. In our experience not too many people know this trick, which helps prevent trigger slapping and errant rounds. If you’re already on it, great. In that case you also know it’s a skill requiring fine motor skill, which is likely to erode under stress. So practice makes perfect. Using multiple targets you can start with just two, engaging the first while working on sear re-set as you transition to the second. Eventually, you can expand your array, which is why I like our 6-plate rack. When harmony is achieved the plates can be flattened at a speedy pace while maintaining a noticeably smooth sense of control.
On small-ish targets you might want to start with a complete front/rear sight picture, but don’t be afraid to eventually ditch that rear sight. You’ll probably shoot high if you just look over it, which is why I like a folding rear blade. Once you know where your bullets are hitting it’s time for moving targets like balls or ground-rolled fruit. Aerial targets are a hoot, but extremely dangerous without a safe bullet drop-zone. The can in the photo is a victim of repeat throws. We’ve been known to shoot at quartering incoming clay-birds, using our remote-control machines. It’s tricky but do-able, and it all boils down to practice.
I’ll generally take a “clip” over a tubular magazine, but for high-volume plinking the latter works great with a couple of pre-filled Spee-D-Loaders. Again, this is mostly about plain old-fashioned fun. With a bit of planning you can work on other skill-sets as well, thereby killing two birds with one……….bullet.
The Graduate Shootist