Changing Angles When Practicing Snap Shooting
Changing Angles when Practicing Snap Shooting
Nevertheless the amateur who is desirous of acquiring practical skill should not stop where many of the professionals do, that is with targets thrown with great uniformity at a stipulated distance, but having acquired the knack of placing his bullets upon the mark when it is tossed straight up, it is now time to vary the flight. Have the assistant begin throwing the blocks across the gun from right to left. Misses will surely follow for a time, but by and by the marksman will begin to learn the new curve of flight, getting his rifle in front of the mark on its exact line of movement, when he can do this regularly it is only a matter of gauging the time to pull as before.
Now other angles of flight can be tried, as from left to right, incomers, or the helper can stand beside the marksman throwing the block straight away. As noted previously a point will always be found where the target is moving slowly while descending to cut the line of aim. I might say here that I have never yet seen a man who could do much with the target while it was rising. Such work would be contrary to the principle of the game, shooting with a still barrel, also fatal to the trick and knack of it.
When beginning practice with a new line of flight, it will generally be wise to return to the large target like the tin can, but the smaller blocks can soon be substituted again. The smaller the object shot at the greater the skill required to strike it, of course, and the man who can regularly hit a marble tossed up at forty feet is a dandy. Indeed, execpt for the sensation of the thing it is never worthwhile to shoot at objects so small that they would be difficult to hit if at rest. Rather ground yourself on variety of flights, the target being of moderate size, say two inches, and increase your distance from the mark as much as your skill will possibly admit. The longer the distance at which the mark can be struck, in the greatest variety of nights, the more beneficial the practice to either the shotgun shooter or the rifleman.
Having become expert at the tossed up targets, firing but the one shot at them, doubles might now be attempted, especially if the student is anxious to shine as an exhibition shot. Naturally for the doubles and triples speed must be developed. Rapid aiming not only for the first bullet but those following, would entail some sacrifice of accuracy, so return to the tin can again. When it can be struck from three to five times before it falls, replace with the smaller blocks as usual. The beginning of the rapid repeat work should be with the targets thrown straight up, afterwards all the various angles can be learned. I need hardly mention that the nearer the target gets to the ground, or the farther it has fallen, the more allowance must be made for its speed of movement, but the manner of holding is always the same—align the sights under and shoot with a still gun.
Bursting bricks and then the pieces, striking coins, bullets, etc., is merely a matter of long and hard training. It really seems that the crack fancy rifle shot can hit an object in the air about as readily as he could at rest. Very few of them, however, are able to make any practical use of their acquirements when it comes to game shooting.
Many would conclude that the men who can hit a bullet in the air would surely stop a wild duck or a quail, yet I have never heard of anyone who even claimed he could do it with any certainty. The secret of their failure in game shooting lies in the fact that their customary tossed-up target is governed by fixed laws, except as its flight may be disturbed by the wind, while the flight of the bird is controlled by its own will and none can foresee what it will do the next instant. At best very few birds fly in a straight line with unvarying speed which would have to be the case if they were to be killed with a rifle.
Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.
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