Advanced Marksmanship Stock Weld & Follow Through

Sterling Shooter

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Consistent stock weld and follow through are essential to good shooting, the former, assures perspective of aim has a corollary to the rifle's zero; and, the latter, assures recoil is contained within an appointed limit. Yet, from reading posts here for several years, I've not noticed this topic. Seems to me, something so important to good shooting would be a highlight of this section.
 

dc45

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

While shooting the Smack-the-Smiley postal match yesterday I found myself contemplating the same subject... I find my crosshairs come back very close to the center of the target when I am shooting with a sling, which tells me I have a good natural point of aim. When shooting a .308 off a bipod and bean bag, my return to POI is not as consistent as with a good slung up position. In my case my crosshairs usually settle after recoil about 10 MOA to the left of my target. Furthermore, working the bolt from the bipod tends to disturb my crosshair position more than from a slung up position. When I trained at Rifles Only, they advocated getting directly behind the rifle with the bore’s axis aligned with the shooter’s spine. Maybe I could shorten my length of pull so I can get the rifle to recoil off the bipod with the same precision as with the sling. Has anyone else worked this problem out?

Cheers,

DC
 

bsh12960

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

I have found that totally relaxing my facial muscles on my cheek weld makes a big differance for me. When I first started shooting competitions, I would tense up and almost squint for some reason. I broke myself of this and am shooting much better.
I also feel that follow through is very important and am consistently trying to find the correct position behind my rifle.
I think these two thing are almost "tricks of the trade" that take some time and some good listening skills to learn.
 

Sterling Shooter

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

Relaxation is essential to good shooting. It's a concept which, apparently, you're coming to recognize. Also, know that the stock-weld placement must be consistent, to provide for a specific perspective of sight alignment to be maintained. Without a consistent perspective of sight alignment, you could be aiming exactly, yet, not be shooting to the zeroed condition established by another perspective of sight alignment. An 8 lb. chipmunk cheek, along with control of the hand-guard until recoil subsides will also help appoint a limit to recoil divergence.

It's good you're discovering concepts important to good shooting, like comfort. Most folks I see shooting at the range don't have a clue to why, even with their awesome equipment, they still can't shoot a decent group.
Of course, these folks usually confuse executing the firing task with knowing how to shoot. That's to say, since they think they already know how to shoot, having the meer understanding of the necessity for aiming and pulling the trigger, they're not analyzing their shot calls with any thought for shooter error. Instead they blame it on equipment, or non-existent wind.
 

Whiskey 2-1

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

I often find that cheek weld is an often overlooked reason for zero deviation from day to day. I have been helping several new (to precision and competition) shooters over the last year and this has come up several times. I have used instances from my own learning path to help them see the importance of cheek weld.

First, I have found during slow paced, prone matches (F class) that my vertical spread is most often due to change in cheek weld. Before I was more attentive to this, I would have a distinctly high or low shot that was called center. The next round I often noticed that my position felt "lower", "more solid" or "just better" than the errant one. I also could look back and recall that follow through on recoil was not as clean. When settling in for the next shot, my cheek would notice a difference. The shots where I didnt have solid cheek pressure down on the stock were both errant and poorly controlled in recoil for follow up and spotting. Once I started paying more attention to feeling the same relatively heavy cheek pressure on the stock, not only did the shots tighten up, but I was more comfortable after long strings of fire. I was likely holding my head up to some degree. This is something I still catch myself doing from time to time, though usually I catch it before the shot now.

Second, while shooting the bull at my local shop, a buddy and I were talking about getting in some bowhunting soon. He and his girlfriend are competitive bow shooters. He mentioned that he has a tobacco zero and a no-tobacco zero for his bow. His zero changes when he has some snuff in his cheek because even that small change in his facial shape throws off the relationship between his release hand and his jaw. So, being curious, I tried this on my rifle at the range. Not being a dip man, I chewed up some dried venison sausage and tucked it in on the right. I alternated groups with and without the venison and sure enough it threw off my cheek weld. Just shows how a small change can give big results.

As for stock placement, this one took me a little longer to learn. I did not pay special attention to this until I was shooting service rifle regularly. I was having some trouble with my 600 yard slow fire stage- much to the amusement of the regulars who shoot F class with me. Luckily, one of the Distinguished, HM, P100 shooters decided not to shoot that day and did a little coaching with me. I had inconsistent stock placement throughout the long stage and was causing errant shots. After indexing my coat and quite a bit of dry firing, things tightened up. Master scores soon followed.

Get down on the gun, relax, be consistent, and "drive the rifle through recoil" (Jacob Bynum 2006)

just my thoughts...
Sean
 

45.308

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

This is a very good subject for me and probably the two most poor mechanics I have. Relaxing and concentrating is very hard for me. I am to a point from my past, very aware of my surroundings so when shooting with others, I cannot give myself attention and always have my eye on what going on around me.

I am trying to distinguish between too much pressure and too light on my stock. Too much and I am tense and jerk. Too light and my stick I guess moves as the bullet goes down the bore. I never put thought into check weld but doing my best to get that fatt check. When I get it right, I admit I do OK but I want to do it right 100% of the time. I also discovered my eye relief was off and I was reaching my head to get sight picture. Now that I moved my sight back, when I lay my check, 75% of the time is same spot and my neck is not stretched.

I still have issue with follow through. It is quite easy for me to pick up making this mistake.

Now I have switched to prone for most of my trigger time shooting alone, I am very tense trying to load the bipod, I was digging my toes into the snow, ice and dirt to push forward, check weld is off and I am struggling again. The good thing is, I am getting less rifle hop which means easier to keep check weld and staying on target.

Thanks
 

Luke

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I find my crosshairs come back very close to the center of the target when I am shooting with a sling, which tells me I have a good natural point of aim. When shooting a .308 off a bipod and bean bag, my return to POI is not as consistent as with a good slung up position.</div></div>

I have noticed the same thing. When using my bipod off of a hard surface it usually bounces off center a good bit. It is better when shootin off of semi-soft dirt but still not perfect. When I was stationed at Fort Bragg and had 100 yard range right down the street I would sometimes only take 5 rounds with me and practice my prone w/sling position, taking my time and making those few rounds count. I had excellent success with this and would nearly always have a dead center cold bore shot after taking 10-15 minutes to get into position and dry fire. In the prone position with sling the rifle would recoil, and then immediately settle back on my original POA and I would find a nice little hole in the center of the bullseye. Very satisfying.
 

ubet

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

Reading this helped me out a lot shooting today, wind screwed me nine ways from sunday, but from reading this, it really helped me manage my recoil, which has always been a problem for me, and allowed me to think more about placing the bullet.
THIS should become a sticky i think.
 

CavalrySoldier3ACR

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

Stock weld and follow through are indeed exceedingly important to good consistent precision marksmanship. A good training aid is to practice with a precision air rifle. The air rifle will force you to concentrate on your follow through, since the pellet is traveling down the barrel so much slower than a bullet travels down a barrel. Failure to follow through with an air rifle, will cause you to pull your shot.
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

If you really want to learn follow through, try a percussion sidelock muzzle loader.

Clack..., wait for it..., Kaboom!

A patched fiftycal lead ball and 25gr of Pyrodex RS Select at 25yd, that's a follow through training regimen (without the purple shoulder..., sidelock rifles can have the <span style="font-style: italic">weirdest</span> butt configurations...!). The more rounds you fire, the slower the ignition becomes...

Greg
 

Tripwire

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Greg Langelius *</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If you really want to learn follow through, try a percussion sidelock muzzle loader.

Clack..., wait for it..., Kaboom!

The more rounds you fire, the slower the ignition becomes...

Greg </div></div>

If you are having those problems with a percussion sidelock, then you need to familiarize yourself with between shots maintenance...specifically bore swabbing and nipple picking.

I'll refine your example just a tad; enter the good ol' flintlock, if you want to experience the absolute NEED for proper follow through..........

HPIM2706.jpg
 

Chilo

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

Although you experienced shooters know this, it was a real revelation to me how much more relaxed and therefore consistent I am with both eyes open vs. only dominant eye open. Similar to the post about tobacco in vs. No chew. Under higher magnification, the target in the scope is almost always darker than my left eye sees around the scope (right handed shooting). It is sometimes difficult to force my left eye to stay open when the light entering it is so much brighter than the light entering my right eye. However, if I do keep my non shooting eye open, my face relaxes and my groups tighten significantly. The better the glass, the smaller the difference, but it is still noticeable to me.
 

JimGnitecki

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Re: Stock Weld & Follow Through

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Chilo</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Although you experienced shooters know this, it was a real revelation to me how much more relaxed and therefore consistent I am with both eyes open vs. only dominant eye open. Similar to the post about tobacco in vs. No chew. Under higher magnification, the target in the scope is almost always darker than my left eye sees around the scope (right handed shooting). It is sometimes difficult to force my left eye to stay open when the light entering it is so much brighter than the light entering my right eye. However, if I do keep my non shooting eye open, my face relaxes and my groups tighten significantly. The better the glass, the smaller the difference, but it is still noticeable to me. </div></div>

So getting used to both eyes open is worth the difficulty of doing so, I take it? Funny how you posted this here, and I had just asked the question on a different thread on this very forum!

Jim G