Things I learned In my First Year shooting PRS

7mmMato

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Aug 4, 2019
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I have always shot quite a bit compared to the normal hunter/shooter. But mostly from the Bench. PRS opened my eyes to how little I knew about actually shooting.

1st for new shooter is equipment. Don't go whole hog find a decent consistent rifle Tikka CTR, Bergerra something along those lines or a good used rifle that is affordable. Make sure you are going to enjoy this sport before you drop the big bucks on custom build. I got lucky and found a used Tikka barreled action in 6 Dasher dropped it in a Bravo and it has shot very well for me.

2nd get good Dope. Find a accurate load and shoot it out as far as you can and record the Data. Then you can worry about your Solver whether it is Sterlok or 4 Dof or a Kestrel. I bought a Kestrel but use Sterlok Pro. Wish I had bought a cheaper weather station wind meter and just inputted the info into Sterlok. I see seasoned shooters struggle with there Dope the only time I had Dope issues was right after Kestrel updated the 4Dof my dope was off a couple of tenths had to readjust my setting to get it lined out.

3rd dry fire and practice building positions. Took me most of season to figure this out. Finally built some barricades and started dry firing every night. My score improved some but the biggest take from this was learning to get solid and shrink that wobble down and being able to see my misses so I could readjust and better yet pick up some wind reading skills. Earlier in the season I wouldn't have a clue so I would hold more then less and be all over the place. Once I started seeing my misses and know that I had a good hold on the target when I shot then I had good info to apply to my wind hold. When you are wobbling around 6 moa on a 2 moa target it is hard to tell if you missed from a wind call or a bad hold.

4th live practice don't burn all your ammo shooting prone. Go to the range with a game plan to shoot barricades and any other thing you are struggling with. Then and only then go shoot some prone long stuff. If you start off shooting prone next thing you know you have used all your ammo and you wont practice the hard stuff. Figure out that PRS barricade there is one stage at every shoot. I went from scoring 2-3 on the PRS barricade to getting 6-7 at my last few matches. Dont be scared to use a pump pillow if it helps you but you gotta practice with it to learn how to use it to help.

5th find a Magazine that feed reliably and take care of it. I see a lot struggle with mags and feeding. Nothing screws up a good run like a mag malfunction.

6th Glass Glass Glass. Spend all the time you can spare on your Bino's watch the wind and were others are impacting or missing.

7th watch the good shooters approach to a stage the Fast guys dont look like they are moving fast. But don't be afraid to do something different as what works for someone else may not work for you. Some people are more flexible or can just hold steady in weird positions that you might not be able to.

8th dont worry about getting all the shots off. I always rushed at first to get all the shots off per stage. I still timed out a lot but also missed a lot. I started trying to make a effort to get off 5 good solid shots per stage. My scores improved some and now I time out less as I have gotten better at position building.

9th Scopes this is wide open. Get the best you can afford. I shot most of the year with a Bushnell LRTS 3-12 I never felt underpowered and in fact I think it helped me a lot with finding targets. Practice finding targets you can lose a lot of time searching for the target. Eventually it gets to be second nature though occasionally you run across a stage that you still struggle with. When that happens dial that scope down and find that target you can hit those
600 yard targets on 8 power. I ended the season running a Strike Eagle 5-25 usually shoot it at 15-16x and find the 2 tenths holds to work nicely for me. Earlier in the year they would of just confused me.

10th Shooting bags. Just start off with a Game Changer or a Schmedium game changer. If you happen to not like it or run across something you like more they are easy to get rid of. I used a mini fortune cookie till my last shoot I borrowed a game changer and feel it is a lot more practical for me. Tried a schmedium and liked it even more so I purchased one of them.

Full disclosure a good match for me is hitting 50 percent so I hope I am not coming across as a know it all. Just trying to share my experience and what I found to be the most useful. This sport is crammed full of great and helpful people. Pick there brains but don't be a pest. Pull your share of the load on the squad chase brass, keep score, Spot don't be that guy that never helps.

And shooting rimfire matches is cheap way to get in some experience and they are a blast.
 

Dthomas3523

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  • Jan 31, 2018
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    Good stuff.

    And I promise you that a ton of this stuff with transfer. Be it hunting or if you work behind a rifle.
     

    Jallen015

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    Jun 17, 2020
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    With my first match in 3 weeks this is definitely helpful. There’s a couple of things left that I need to get (bag and binos to start)...

    Plus I’ll have to go to the range the day prior to work out my nerves.
     

    Jallen015

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    Jun 17, 2020
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    Take a moment after each stage and think about what you would have done different. First one is always overwhelming and full of adrenaline.
    Good luck and have fun!
    Thanks, I’ll definitely keep that in mind. I know @ACW39 is going to be there to keep me in check too. Plus I’m sure it will be a blast once I get passed the nerves.
     

    7mmMato

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    Aug 4, 2019
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    OP, great job pointed out things even experienced shooters struggle with.

    I know for me, as soon as that beep goes my brain goes blank and I feel like I’m 1000 mph... then the RO yells “TIME!”. Dang that was fast!
    Yea time flies by don't it. I noticed the more shoots I went to the better I got at thinking on the fly. Sometimes you just get locked in doing the wrong thing even when you know it is wrong.
     
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    MakeSawdust

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    Feb 25, 2017
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    OP, great job pointed out things even experienced shooters struggle with.

    I know for me, as soon as that beep goes my brain goes blank and I feel like I’m 1000 mph... then the RO yells “TIME!”. Dang that was fast!
    Dryfire a ton. Set up full blown stages and run them on the clock during dryfire. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on this sport and THE BEST money I spent to help my scores was a dfat. I used to be in a rush all the time. Setting your internal clock with dryfire will make you very smooth. I was using a bag that a squad mate wanted me to try on a 10 position 90 sec. Stage during a match. I dropped my mag accidentally in the middle of the stage fumble fucking with the bagel that felt stupid. I was rushing, but was able to still get off 9 shots with 9 hits and was squeezing the trigger on the last shot when time ran out. I could never have done that without a shitload of dryfire. There are a lot of guys that are way better than me. Most of them say when they get lazy with dryfire they can really tell.
     
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    Dunraven

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    Feb 1, 2019
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    One seasoned shooter recommended writing down your mistakes after the match, so you can learn from them, and hopefully not repeat them.
     
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    hereinaz

    I have no idea why I get these new labels...
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  • Mar 7, 2018
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    One seasoned shooter recommended writing down your mistakes after the match, so you can learn from them, and hopefully not repeat them.
    Write down the good and bad after every stage. You won't remember it all after the match is over.
     
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    MakeSawdust

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    Just writing it down won't do anything to help you, I'm sorry to say. Writing down the bad things will only lead you to focus on the bad and mindfuck yourself the next time you face the same scenario.

    If you want to win, you have to truly believe you can win. If you just like shooting, go to the range and shoot, compete, have fun. If you want to win there is a level of mental competence that has to be achieved. It is much harder than being physically able to hit the targets enough to win. I used to shoot 3d archery when I was a kid. I did very well on the state and regional level and eventually started talking to some pro shooters. When they told me they traveled 300 days a year I elected to stop pursuing it so heavily. Even at a young age I wanted to have kids and spend time with them frequently as my dad had done with me.

    I could make the shots to win a national level tournament for years. It was the pressure, and creating a process that worked, and being able to come back to the process mentally when a shot didn't break or the arrow fell off the rest drawing. Once I could hold it together mentally, winning was easy. I got used to winning certain size matches, then I would try to go to the next level. I would break down mentally again. If you want to win, and you haven't read Lanny Basham's book, With Winning In Mind, you aren't even trying.

    I will say, a consistent process is much harder to come to in prs. There is a lot of variability because it is so dynamic. That is part of what makes it so much fun, but also hard. One of the main things to stay focused mentally is to forget your bad shots. You don't need to repeat them. You want to repeat the perfect process to make a good shot. If you write down your failures you only have one option. You have to practice them in visualization, dryfire, and live fire until you cannot get them wrong. I you do not, most people create doubt and focus on not failing rather than on succeeding. Ultimately, they fail.

    It is okay to know your weaknesses and work on them. Ultimately, you want to break the game down into a bunch of steps and processes and work on all of them. The guys at the top have the drive, time, and money to do that. They also have what it takes between their ears. There are a LOT of great shooters that will not win a match because they can not do what they do under pressure. This is also why you see people go on tears. They are a good shooter and once they see themselves as a winner they get out of their own head and win. It also can work the opposite where a guy wins and thinks he has to do it again. Then he folds from the pressure he puts on himself to win again. The latter is how it works for me. I have to completely check out and focus on the process. I can not know what the score is. I can not know how many points I have dropped or how many stages I have cleaned. The instant I stop focusing on one shot at a time I am DONE.

    That is the long way to say that you should not relive your failures to a great extent. It will not make you better. Physically, maybe, but under pressure most people will mentally fold unless they completely fixed their failure to the point where they CANNOT GET IT WRONG. That takes thousands of repetitions and many of us do not have either the time, the money, or both to get to that point.

    Also, you have to focus on the game as a whole. When I started shooting PRS I was a good prone shooter. I liked to go to the range and shoot clay pigeons past 600 yards. Once I started competing I realized I needed to get better at barricades and positional shooting. I worked hard on that and it got to the point where I could clean most positional stages. I had stopped practicing from prone. From prone I was breaking bad shots and missing one or two targets on almost all stages that I should have easily cleaned. Not bad wind calls, bad shots. Bad trigger control, bad breath control, poor follow through, etc. You can't neglect parts of the game and succeed. The top guys are way too damn good these days.
     
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    hereinaz

    I have no idea why I get these new labels...
    Hessian
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  • Mar 7, 2018
    1,338
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    Just writing it down won't do anything to help you, I'm sorry to say. Writing down the bad things will only lead you to focus on the bad and mindfuck yourself the next time you face the same scenario.

    If you want to win, you have to truly believe you can win. If you just like shooting, go to the range and shoot, compete, have fun. If you want to win there is a level of mental competence that has to be achieved. It is much harder than being physically able to hit the targets enough to win. I used to shoot 3d archery when I was a kid. I did very well on the state and regional level and eventually started talking to some pro shooters. When they told me they traveled 300 days a year I elected to stop pursuing it so heavily. Even at a young age I wanted to have kids and spend time with them frequently as my dad had done with me.

    I could make the shots to win a national level tournament for years. It was the pressure, and creating a process that worked, and being able to come back to the process mentally when a shot didn't break or the arrow fell off the rest drawing. Once I could hold it together mentally, winning was easy. I got used to winning certain size matches, then I would try to go to the next level. I would break down mentally again. If you want to win, and you haven't read Lanny Basham's book, With Winning In Mind, you aren't even trying.

    I will say, a consistent process is much harder to come to in prs. There is a lot of variability because it is so dynamic. That is part of what makes it so much fun, but also hard. One of the main things to stay focused mentally is to forget your bad shots. You don't need to repeat them. You want to repeat the perfect process to make a good shot. If you write down your failures you only have one option. You have to practice them in visualization, dryfire, and live fire until you cannot get them wrong. I you do not, most people create doubt and focus on not failing rather than on succeeding. Ultimately, they fail.

    It is okay to know your weaknesses and work on them. Ultimately, you want to break the game down into a bunch of steps and processes and work on all of them. The guys at the top have the drive, time, and money to do that. They also have what it takes between their ears. There are a LOT of great shooters that will not win a match because they can not do what they do under pressure. This is also why you see people go on tears. They are a good shooter and once they see themselves as a winner they get out of their own head and win. It also can work the opposite where a guy wins and thinks he has to do it again. Then he folds from the pressure he puts on himself to win again. The latter is how it works for me. I have to completely check out and focus on the process. I can not know what the score is. I can not know how many points I have dropped or how many stages I have cleaned. The instant I stop focusing on one shot at a time I am DONE.

    That is the long way to say that you should not relive your failures to a great extent. It will not make you better. Physically, maybe, but under pressure most people will mentally fold unless they completely fixed their failure to the point where they CANNOT GET IT WRONG. That takes thousands of repetitions and many of us do not have either the time, the money, or both to get to that point.

    Also, you have to focus on the game as a whole. When I started shooting PRS I was a good prone shooter. I liked to go to the range and shoot clay pigeons past 600 yards. Once I started competing I realized I needed to get better at barricades and positional shooting. I worked hard on that and it got to the point where I could clean most positional stages. I had stopped practicing from prone. From prone I was breaking bad shots and missing one or two targets on almost all stages that I should have easily cleaned. Not bad wind calls, bad shots. Bad trigger control, bad breath control, poor follow through, etc. You can't neglect parts of the game and succeed. The top guys are way too damn good these days.
    Lots of good stuff that I agree with, but it's absurd to say you shouldn't write down the bad. Writing how you can improve is part of the process. It is how you mentally process what you write down.

    I did leave out that I practice and create checklists based on how I screw up. That is far more important than just writing it down. Practice, dryfire and lots of it off barricades and positions is HUGE.

    You write it down cause you are learning things that you didn't know. Before I started writing stuff down to practice, I would repeat a mistake, and think, I should have known.

    Winning is a mindset, and writing down what you did wrong and what you did right is a way winners improve.

    I mean, you can't fix what you don't know.
     

    7mmMato

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    Aug 4, 2019
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    Good stuff fella's I think writing down the good and the bad is a good plan. I know I forget a lot of times what I struggled with and what I did good. This sport definitely takes you out of your comfort zone every week.
     

    Dunraven

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    Feb 1, 2019
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    Lots of good stuff that I agree with, but it's absurd to say you shouldn't write down the bad. Writing how you can improve is part of the process. It is how you mentally process what you write down.



    You write it down cause you are learning things that you didn't know. Before I started writing stuff down to practice, I would repeat a mistake, and think, I should have known.

    Winning is a mindset, and writing down what you did wrong and what you did right is a way winners improve.

    I mean, you can't fix what you don't know.
    writing it down helps me reinforce in my mind what I should have done, and helps to plan for the next similar situation. never occurred to me that that could be wrong. don't have any trouble remembering the mistakes after a match either, tho there is plenty to remember!
     
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    MakeSawdust

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    Feb 25, 2017
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    Lots of good stuff that I agree with, but it's absurd to say you shouldn't write down the bad. Writing how you can improve is part of the process. It is how you mentally process what you write down.

    I did leave out that I practice and create checklists based on how I screw up. That is far more important than just writing it down. Practice, dryfire and lots of it off barricades and positions is HUGE.

    You write it down cause you are learning things that you didn't know. Before I started writing stuff down to practice, I would repeat a mistake, and think, I should have known.

    Winning is a mindset, and writing down what you did wrong and what you did right is a way winners improve.

    I mean, you can't fix what you don't know.
    Writing things down is fine. The problem is the way most people do it. For example, if you bomb a stage because you didn't follow through, most people say, " Don't hurry. I have to follow through." You should write, "I will see the bullet hit before I work the bolt." Then when you are practicing, make sure you see every bullet hit. If you are dryfiring, visualize the vapor trail going to the center of the target and the splash before working the bolt.

    If people are punching the trigger they will write down "Don't punch the trigger." You need to write down, "I will mate my trigger finger to the trigger, squeeze slowly, and hold the trigger to the rear until I see the shot hit. I will do it on every shot."

    The difference is focusing positively on the correct shot process that focuses your mind on the correct tasks to perform. Most focus negatively on the mistake and try NOT to make the mistake. What actually happens is you are focused on the mistake and not on the correct shot procedure. To win, the entire shot process has to be completely subconscious. There needs to be a few things to focus on. What makes prs so hard and so much fun is you have to juggle completing the course of fire correctly, finding targets, managing dope, building positions, spotting impacts and making corrections back to center, wind gusts (really only in certain conditions and at long range), etc. You have to do it quickly and safely 10-12 times in 90-120 seconds. What the top guys in the nation can do is truly amazing.
     

    hereinaz

    I have no idea why I get these new labels...
    Hessian
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  • Mar 7, 2018
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    Writing things down is fine. The problem is the way most people do it. For example, if you bomb a stage because you didn't follow through, most people say, " Don't hurry. I have to follow through." You should write, "I will see the bullet hit before I work the bolt." Then when you are practicing, make sure you see every bullet hit. If you are dryfiring, visualize the vapor trail going to the center of the target and the splash before working the bolt.

    If people are punching the trigger they will write down "Don't punch the trigger." You need to write down, "I will mate my trigger finger to the trigger, squeeze slowly, and hold the trigger to the rear until I see the shot hit. I will do it on every shot."

    The difference is focusing positively on the correct shot process that focuses your mind on the correct tasks to perform. Most focus negatively on the mistake and try NOT to make the mistake. What actually happens is you are focused on the mistake and not on the correct shot procedure. To win, the entire shot process has to be completely subconscious. There needs to be a few things to focus on. What makes prs so hard and so much fun is you have to juggle completing the course of fire correctly, finding targets, managing dope, building positions, spotting impacts and making corrections back to center, wind gusts (really only in certain conditions and at long range), etc. You have to do it quickly and safely 10-12 times in 90-120 seconds. What the top guys in the nation can do is truly amazing.
    I 100% agree. Shooting is a very mental activity.

    The mind can't tell reality from fiction. That's why movies still scare you.

    When we write it down and visualize in positive ways, out minds can't tell the difference. If we think negatively, it only primes us for failure.

    Good reminder.