Sunday, June 22, 2008

Learning To Squeeze

Here is a way to improve your rifle accuracy. Being a relative newcomer to big game hunting and shooting a rifle there is much to learn. I think one of the greatest challenges is learning to squeeze the trigger and not jerk it. Having been a shot gunner for most of my life I have learned that the two are very, very different.

With a shotgun one can get away with not squeezing the trigger in a smooth fashion. After all you are swinging the shotgun and tracking your target at the same time that you shoot. Not the case with a rifle. You need to be still and squeeze the trigger smoothly, while not anticipating the outcome. There are those experienced rifle hunters who are capable of shooting at a moving animal, although I am not one of them. One of the best tools I have used to teach myself to squeeze the trigger is using a compound bow with a release. Initially I purchased the bow as a back up in case I didn't draw rifle tags, and then the ODFW put an end to that. So I began learning to shoot a bow and it has been an excellent tool for me. With a bow looking through your peep sight at your target, you will know right away what you are doing right and wrong. A thing known as "target anticipation" is when one jerks or in essence flinches just before releasing the arrow. Using a release you will begin to learn the difference between squeezing, pulling or jerking the trigger. I understand you want to see how you have done, although you will not do well unless you stay focused on the task at hand. The first step is learning to stay focused on your target through your shot. . . following through after releasing your arrow. This will give you the optimal results. If you anticipate your shot you will lose your aim point through your peep. Do not move once you have your sight on your target. Let your breath out and slowly squeeze the trigger on your release. It will only take a few successful attempts to understand this and then it will be very clear as to what you will need to focus on. If you manage to stay focused and learn to squeeze the trigger, then the results will take care of themselves. When you are successful learning to squeeze the trigger and follow through, it is really exciting and definitely one of those "Ah Ha" moments.

Every summer now I practice shooting my bow and continue to mentally train myself to squeeze the trigger release. I really enjoy shooting my bow and find it quite meditative and an excellent confidence builder for rifle hunting. Make sure to get in plenty of target practice with your rifle too, before you go hunting. The more you practice the better you will become. Eventually one of these years I hope to actually go archery hunting. Til then, I will dream of stalking the wild ones with bow in hand.

4 comments:

Tom Sorenson said...

I, too, found that shooting my bow has helped me to become a better rifle shot - although I'm far from a good rifle shot, still! I have always shot my rifle better on instincts - when I have to make a quick shot and I just throw the gun up and shoot - but when I settle in and have time to squeeze the shot off, I flinch and jerk and do all the bad stuff!

On a side note - it's good to see another Oregon blogger! Technically, I guess I'm now an Idaho blogger, but I just moved across the river from Eastern Oregon this spring after having lived in Vale for 4 years (and 13 years before that.)

NorCal Cazadora said...

Lots of talk about bows all over the blogosphere these days! If I had a bow, I'd try this. But I don't even have my own rifle, so for now I'll have to remain content to take my boyfriend's rifel to the range and practice being zen with it.

Terry Scoville said...

Well I've been told that dry firing a rifle won't hurt it,(regarding trigger squeezing) although I'm not so sure about that. I know it can damage shotguns, hence my apprehension.

Blessed said...

I frustrate my husband on this point - I can kill with my shotgun on a regular basis, I can hit a target when shooting my rifle or my bow but when I'm shooting at game with my rifle I get jumpy and don't squeeze right - guess I need to find some more time to practice!

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