OUT-DOOR TARGET SHOOTING
IT is to be taken for granted, now, that if the young rifleman has followed the method outlined in the previous chapter, and has practiced assiduously, he knows considerable about shooting a rifle; can at least tell when he has held a bad shot or pulled a good one. After the amount of training he has undergone he might specialize at this time, taking up the match rifle or the army gun, but if his idea is to make an all round rifle shot of himself, especially a game shot, he will do well to continue his work according to instructions given in that chapter.
Very fair target work can be secured at distances up to one hundred yards from the .22 long rifle, provided the distance is measured or the sights are set exactly for the range, but we mean to go farther than that, shooting up to three hundred yards and farther. It follows that a new and more powerful rifle is in order.
Since the student has been accustomed to the .22 caliber only, it is not wise to make too radical a change, but he should be content with a weapon that, while giving a fairly flat trajectory and good accuracy up to three hundred yards, has practically no recoil. In such a weapon we have a number of cartridges to choose from. If from motives of economy or choice the marksman prefers to reload his own cartridges, I think there is nothing better than the .25-25 Stevens. In factory loaded ammunition of higher power, however, which are really better adapted to our present purpose, either the .22 Newton H. P. or the .25-20 H. V. ought to serve every purpose.
Having our rifle, it is a foregone conclusion that we will have to get out into the woods and fields where we can use it; the man who must shoot on a measured range will have his inning later. The regulation bullís-eye is two inches at fifty yards, three inches seventy-five yards, four inches, one hundred yards, six, one hundred and fifty and eight inches across at two hundred. There are finer rings inside the bull for match work, but the bull itself will do now.
Step or measure off the distance, put up a bull of a size in proportion to range with a good margin of white around it, and continue the work you have previously been doing with the .22 indoors, firing from the sitting, kneeling, standing, and prone positions.
The military and match style of rifle shooting is to change the sights every time the range varies, one elevation of back sight for one hundred yards, another for two hundred, etc., the effort being to have the sights so aligned as to strike the center whatever the distance. This is the right system of course for measured ranges, and it would be well enough to practice it for a time, marking the sight for one hundred, one hundred and fifty, two hundred, and two hundred and fifty yards.
It is well to have an assistant in this kind of work to spot the shots. Change positions frequently, firing a few shots off-hand and then sitting, kneeling, or prone, carefully noting the needed changes in elevation if any. When tired of shooting from a fixed spot, take the target from some other angle, estimate the distance, and then use the rifle to verify the judgment. The man who can keep in the eight-inch bull at two hundred yards, firing one shot standing, the next kneeling, the third sitting, fourth prone, keeping it up in rotation until ten shots have landed in the bull, has a very high order of skill so far as holding and pulling are concerned.
Attempting to elevate the sights and set them for the exact range will not do for the game shooter. In the first place it frequently happens there is no time; the shot must be taken instantly when opportunity occurs. Also the system of setting sights for unknown distance is the essence of guesswork.
Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.
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