New Shooter: Target Feedback

If you’re new to shooting you might wonder how someone can look at a target and tell you what you’re doing wrong even without seeing you shoot.

As with anything that takes some skill – knitting, baking, woodworking, reloading ammo, or shooting – the more you do it, the more you see the patterns.

What are you seeing on your targets?

Share your latest target here and the Community will give you some suggestions.

You don’t have to be new to shooting to put a target up and get some feedback!

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This is from my range day last Saturday. I’m very new to the AR platform (and rifles in general), and I really don’t know what I should be expecting. I suspect some of the shots to the right are due to me (not just the bullets) being buffeted by the wind.

62 gr 5.56 @ 100 yards. ~18mph wind from 8:00, 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 7000’ above sea level. Target division marks are 2" apart.

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This was the feedback I received from my friends. :wink:

This would have been more helpful when I was starting out.

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Scope or irons? What distance are they zeroed for?

You’re not going to get THAT much movement even from a full value 2X wind, so you’re probably right you own some of the left right. As @45IPAC questions what type of sights are you using? A 4 MOA red dot 0X up to 3x “somewhere” in the middle of the target will net you a group similar to that. Irons will also buy that for you if you never shot them before. If you were adjusting your sights during the string all bets are off.

One other point that I seem to make once a quarter or so is that if it is a brand new tube (gun/barrel) you can expect to put 50+ rounds down the pipe before it starts to settle down and get accurate. That is ONLY if you DON’T CLEAN the barrel. Clean the bolt, clean the carrier, clean the outside just DON’T put anything in the bore. If you have to do SOMETHING pull a dry bore snake down the tube ONCE and be done with it. You can thank me later.

I’m digging that you are keeping track of the atmospherics, most new rifle shooters would say it was sunny and the wind was blowing from the left.

Cheers,

Craigf6

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2 MOA Red Dot + 3x Magnifier (Romeo & Juliet), zeroed for 100 yds, though I’m not experienced enough that I’d bet much on my zeroing.

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Thank you. Just the kind of stuff I want to know. I’ll thank you again later too.

Only 150 rounds so far.

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When your tube settles down and you are able to make repeatable roundish groups THEN worry about dialing in the optic. Right now you are close enough to make a hit and that will do.

On a practical note: Give yourself something to AIM at, you can’t see those lines even at 3x so you are aiming at the middle of a big white target. You have a 2 MOA red dot, print out a diamond (square on it’s point) that measures 2.1" across the flats of the square and stick it in the middle of that target. An MOA is 1.047" at 100 yards 2MOA is 2.094" at 100 yards so round it off to 2.1" because red dots are fuzzy. Try and keep the red dot inside the diamond when the trigger breaks. You may want to go up to 2.5" depending on how fuzzy your red dot is. I suggest diamonds because when the sight picture flashes in your mind at the time of the shot it is much easier to record than trying to figure out if you were shading a circle in a circle, straight edges work better with a dot and crosshairs.

Keep recording your atmospherics and get a note book (dope book) to record EACH shot you take for accuracy. I have dope books that go back to 1987 that I still refer to for certain rifles and a particular ranges.

Cheers,

Craig6

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Again, thanks. Just read about DOPE books last night in one of Chris Sajnog’s books. Seems straightforward, without that data, everything just becomes a jumble of guesses.

And a quick edit, this is what I use for my P320, a little blue diamondish tape in the center works well. I’ll definitely add the black diamond to my bigger target.

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@Craig6 hit the nail on the head. I’ll add this. Shoot the rifle from a rest, a sled would be best. Take the human aspect out of it as much as possible. Once your sure of the mechanical accuracy, then pick it up, and shoot standing. If you are target shooting, remember to take a deep breath, then exhale, and take your shot in between breaths. It limits your chest/shoulder movements, and your heart rate slows a little. Both of those things will affect your aiming. The shots on your targets that are just barely off center, could be that 18 mph crosswind. The ones farther over, not as much. Yes, it’s a lightweight round, but, at 100 yards, it is still well beyond supersonic. It’s a fraction of 1 second for it to make that trip. I also recommend downloading this

It’s very helpful, and pretty accurate IMHO.

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@45IPAC & @Craig6 thank you both, I sincerely appreciate the advice. I have an MTM shooting table on the way (more stable than the baggable camp table I’ve used), and a CTK Precision rest, but my initial zero was before I had sent anything down the tube, so @Craig6’s advice about letting the barrel settle down, then checking my grouping, and then dialing in the optics is especially noteworthy.

Darn it, now I’ll have to go out and do more shooting. :wink:

And I’ll have a look at the Hornady Ballistics app.

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These are from a cold bore, on a brand new rifle. I cleaned it with a bore snake, then a couple passes with a patch. Laser sighted in my living room. It’s a 4H rifle, so they shoot 25 feet starting out. I plugged my info into the Hornady app for 17 yards, since the kids also shoot 50 feet. These were at 30 yards.

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When you look at this, it’s really amazing what a rifle in the right hands can do. I’ve been going over the basic ballistics calculator in the Hornady app this morning. I could happily get lost awhile in the math of it all.

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You think ballistics math is fun, wait till you try scope math!

Cheers,

Craig6

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1 click=1/4 inch at 100
1 click=1/2 inch at 200

Unless it’s a Rimfire scope
1 click=1/4 inch at 50
:persevere::persevere::persevere:
I’d like to buy a vowel.

Or an MOA scope or a Milradian scope.

At 100 yards it doesn’t matter much but the difference between MAO and IPHY (Inch Per Hundred Yards) really starts to stack at 500 and further. Having been a scope monger for a high end scope company I speak all three languages and can do the ranging conversions from Mils to MOA or IPHY. The difference between IPHY and MOA seems small 1" or 1.047" but at 500+ yards the ranging measurement is now 5" and 5.235" which again seems small until you consider that you need to dial on multiples to hit the target. For ease of math lets say you need 10 MOA up (or 40 clicks). If you use IPHY your coming up 50" but in MOA you are coming up 52.35". The more elevation and wind you need to dial on the bigger the error gets.

Then there is the whole scope calibration thing. I have two top shelf (for the time ) 6.5 X 20 EFR Leupold scopes that I thought I paid a lot of money for in about 1993. I calibrated them on a stupid accurate rifle at 100 yards and the result for my “MOA” scope I was getting 0.89" per MOA (4 clicks) which meant that for every MOA I dialed on I was loosing 0.157" in elevation for every MOA I dialed on. So if my ballistics program said I needed to dial on 10 MOA to make a 500 yard shot I would be short 1.57 MOA X the 500 yards (5) I was shooting at the result is that I would be hitting 7.85" low.

As I have thought about it, this is probably the reason ballistic computers received such a luke warm reception in the “hunting” world. Until I wrote my own ballistics program and KNEW the math was right I never bothered to check and see if the equipment I was using was giving me what I expected. It seems that prior to CAD/CAM the finest TPI (Teeth Per Inch) you could mill into a 1/2" cylinder was 82 TPI (IIRC it’s been a while) which came “close” to 1" at 100 yards. There is a whole lot more math in scopes than most folks give credit for.

Cheers,

Craig6

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Terrific reply, helpful too.

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Although I too practice to attempt to get the most accurate groups possible, this Gentleman at 100 yards would have decidedly killed any assailant with any of the shots shown in the pic.

He needs to tighten things up, for sure. But, he’s still on target. I’d serve with him any time.

by Ex-Marine Infantry Company Commander, Vietnam era.

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@david670, thank you. I am sincerely honored by your comments.

I believe that your post was the most mean spirited post I’ve ever seen on a bulletin board intended to encourage shooting.

Briefly, if this Gentleman is even here and engaging us in an attempt to improve his skills he should be honored, welcomed and ASSISTED (LIKE MOST OF THE OTHER RESPONDENTS TO HIS POST) rather than condemned with crap like “you suck”.

It just ain’t funny, jackwad.