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Thread: Practice makes perfect?

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Default Practice makes perfect?

    I responded in a recent post that the notion of practice makes perfect is fallacious. If your practice is wrong, i.e. gangsta-style, you'll never become proficient much less perfect.

    My needs in shooting are "real world" needs. Therefore my practice tends to simulate those needs. IME most shooters spend too much time shooting from completely supported positions, i.e. benchrest. If you are a competitive shooter that is one thing, but for others the primary platform for our gun's support is our physical bodies. I am not suggesting that shooting from a BR is worthless. It can be a valuable way to learn trigger control, proper breathing, sight alignment, etc., but it does a poor job simulating real world conditions IME. If you practice from a fully supported position for most of your shooting and then primarily hunt from less supportive positions I'd say you're practicing wrongly. Few shooters consider time while practicing/shooting. Unless you refuse to shoot an animal that is not asleep or expect a perpetrator to allow you to call a timeout until you’re ready, time is a factor that you must consider when practicing. Movement is another overlooked aspect of practice. IME as shots begin to ring out the game animals tend to make tracks. I’ve no experience at shooting at crooks, but my assumption is they will not stand still as I fire at them. Always shooting stationary targets will lead to undesirable habits as will remaining stationary yourself. I like nice weather, but I also know that hunting/self defense is not weather dependent. If you hunt in the rain/wind/sleet/snow/cold/heat then practicing in these conditions has its benefits. My local firing range is open from 12-6 p.m. so shooting light is normally very good, but I know that I’ll often shoot animals in poor light. It seems to me that practicing in less than ideal light is a good idea. Shooting at game animals normally elevates my heart rate, yet I normally remain calm during practice sessions. A little jogging in place can elevate your heart rate and make it a little more “real world.” I think one of the worst sins in “real world” practice is firing a shot and not immediately preparing for the next shot. This sin is followed closely by removing the gun from the firing position to reload, i.e. dropping the rifle from your shoulder to manipulate the bolt or work the lever, etc. Handgunners frequently make this mistake when cocking DA revolvers for every shot or emptying a pistol’s magazine and failing to drop it and reload quickly. My comment in the previous thread was simply that imperfect practice will not make perfect shooters. Heck even with perfect practice we’ll all end up short of perfect, but better practice can’t hurt
    IMO.

    Other thoughts?

  2. #2
    Member hooternanny's Avatar
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    Default pratice does make perfect

    and if you practice wrong you become perfect at doing it wrong. absolutley

  3. #3

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    Training horses and dogs taught me all I need to know about practice:

    The hardest lesson is learning when to quit.

    Always end their (or your own) practice on a good note, rather than keeping it up till fatigue or bad habits take over. Start the practice with good technique, and quit before you wear it out. If you can only manage half a dozen shots with good form and results before you start to go south, so be it. That's your practice session. Just add more fitness, reflex and dry fire practice before your next trip to the range. Improve your bod first, then let the range results tell you when it's time to quit each session.

    I have to go through this every year with my 7-pound 375 H&H. By the end of a couple of months I'm shooting 40-60 shots a session. But when I'm starting out each spring and the body is soft, not to mention the mind is thinking about the "bad" bite of that little terror, I usually don't shoot more than half a dozen shots. Same for double action practice with my 4" 629, come to think of it.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    I agree on practicing on moving targets. When my three year old boy is in a full sprint across the family room, I've gotten to when I can quickly draw a toy pistol and make clean head shot on him with a foam dart nine times out of ten before he reaches cover or exits the room.

    I also like shooting at aluminum cans at decent ranges. I seriously think that can be one form of good practice. The goal being, of course, to hit the can at first, but then also to cycle the bolt (in my case), reacquire the target, and hit it again as soon as it lands or stops moving. Helps me practice target acquisition and trigger control.

  5. #5

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    A local guy won the area league long range shooting title last year. I invited him on a saturday coyote hunt and he found out what seperates the men from the boys. He was shooting 10 yards behind everything. He emptied his gun on one running broadside and the I killed it with one shot at about 250 yards.

    Yup he smokes me at the bench everytime and it doen't bother me in the least!

  6. #6
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    Concur.

    "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. "
    -Vince Lombardi

  7. #7

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    I like practicing with the rifles I will be taking on a hunt. Don't know how perfect my practice is but I do hit what I am shooting at on my hunts. Guess I am doing something right.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    1Cor15:19:

    That covers it pretty well. You've mentioned things I hadn't even considered.

    I've been shooting more off-hand recently, and I've learned that I need LOTS of practice.

    The things I could practice with are
    Cast bullet loads,
    My 22 Rifle with a scope,
    Any fireforming loads.
    Shoot'em up loads that I want get rid of.
    I also have Snap Caps for dry firing, and running through the action.

    I find it reely hard to work a bolt action from my shoulder.

    I can't shoot a revolver DA, worth a hoot.

    I'm so used to my Single Actions, that I'd probably go on automatic and shoot SA, even if I had a DA in my hand. Gotta work on that more, I spose.

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    Default Snap Cap Idea

    Here's an idea I had, and one that I've used in the past.

    You make a dummy round, case with bulllet but no powder or PRIMER. (The primer pocket is empty.)

    Cut a chunk of rubber off of an old TIRE, the right size, and stuff it in the primer pocket. Make sure it fits tight.

    Tire rubber is hard enough to absorb the firing pin blow, and you have Snap Cap for shooting PRACTICE.

    That is absolutely brilliant, if I hafta say so myself.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  10. #10
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Here's an idea I had, and one that I've used in the past.

    You make a dummy round, case with bulllet but no powder or PRIMER. (The primer pocket is empty.)

    Cut a chunk of rubber off of an old TIRE, the right size, and stuff it in the primer pocket. Make sure it fits tight.

    Tire rubber is hard enough to absorb the firing pin blow, and you have Snap Cap for shooting PRACTICE.

    That is absolutely brilliant, if I hafta say so myself.

    Smitty of the North
    A chunk of pencil eraser works too.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you can’t tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

  11. #11
    Member jkb's Avatar
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    When I shoot a three shot group from the bench I fire in fairly rapid succession to emulate what the rifle will do in real conditions. I have never been able to allow the barrel to cool before a follow up shot. I almost never shoot offhand in the field, I always try to use something as a rest ie a tree or a pack.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    When I shoot a three shot group from the bench I fire in fairly rapid succession to emulate what the rifle will do in real conditions. I have never been able to allow the barrel to cool before a follow up shot. I almost never shoot offhand in the field, I always try to use something as a rest ie a tree or a pack.
    I always try to use a rest, but at least half the time I am deer hunting, some deer appears out of nowhere, and I have to shoot quickly before he starts to take off, or sometimes after he already has. Also, when hunting javelina or wabbit.

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    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Target shooters attempting to be food hunters always crack me up. haha. . . Site in with a steady "rest", practice freehand, shoot freehand.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MARV1 View Post
    Target shooters attempting to be food hunters always crack me up. haha. . . Site in with a steady "rest", practice freehand, shoot freehand.
    I sure you're right.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Great thread, and you nailed it whether you're talking about defensive shooting OR hunting. REAL WORLD practice makes perfect.

    If I had my perfect world I would have a range in the backyard and would be able to practice "livefire" handgun drills each day. (to include movement). Even to put on our classes we had to rent a seperate RANGE section to be able to work on drawstroke and movement drills. It's hard to get time with that at the range, let alone have the ability at home.

    One cool tool that I have found for handgun practice is this deal from Laserlyte. It's $99 but I'm thinking it could pay for itself in ammo savings and gasoline...maybe even your life.
    http://laserlyte.com/Laser_Training_...RO/LT-PRO.html

    Combine that tool with some type of moving TARGET setup (basement/garage/whatever) and you'd have a heck of a Defensive Handgun practice scenario.

    The other typical DEFENSIVE pitfall that I've seen is the "shoot and relax" situation you alluded to. The mag/cyl is emptied in practice...and the shooter treats the drill like it's over...instead of staying in "condition red" ready, and checking their six, scanning for other threats, etc. They lose the "combat mindset" at the end of the drill.

  16. #16
    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    I agree on practicing on moving targets. When my three year old boy is in a full sprint across the family room, I've gotten to when I can quickly draw a toy pistol and make clean head shot on him with a foam dart nine times out of ten before he reaches cover or exits the room.
    That's funny, I don't care who you are. (but then my sense of humor...)

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    when we go shooting, we try to find places that have 250-400 yards......we shoot from prone positions laying down with our packs or whatever we can find for support, off our knees while sitting, using our forearms, shooting from trees, and offhand.... For us , the range is only good for one thing, sighting in your rifle. We usually dont use paper targets either but rocks about the size of a heart work perfect, or balloons if we have em, and chew cans yea if you can hit a copenhagen can at 250 yards, you shouldnt have too many problems granted you do things right...great post 1cor15!



    Release Lake Trout

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    That's funny, I don't care who you are. (but then my sense of humor...)
    He gets me even more often. I'll walk into the kitchen to get something to drink, and all of the sudden, out of the pantry jumps Miles and blasts me right in the thorax, and then runs off to reload.

  19. #19

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    Agree 100%.

    If I have to defend my bedroom area in my house I would need to make shoots from a door at a 90* angle to the right. When practicing this at the range I made a startling discovery. Hot brass hitting a door jamb and flipping up in the air, all so gracefully, to eventually land on my head and neck makes for a very exciting moment!

    As stated, BR shooting is excellent for trigger and breath control exercise/practice/awareness. Otherwise, field position shooting consumes the majority of my range time. I also work on three shot, rapid-fire sequences while operating the bolt or lever without losing cheek weld and scope alignment. My range buds set up a deer target at various downrange positions. The shooters need to step out of cover, find the previously unknown target location and fire three killing rounds. Points are deducted for poor shots and unsafe methods. Winner gets to brag.

    I own a few Sigs so DA/SA strings are always shot. I also do a lot of DA only shots since this will be my first, and most important, shot.

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    He gets me even more often. I'll walk into the kitchen to get something to drink, and all of the sudden, out of the pantry jumps Miles and blasts me right in the thorax, and then runs off to reload.
    Cracks me up! Why didn't we have toys like that when we were kids.
    Not to hijack...but you have seen this MarineHawk?

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