Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to shoot standing by Carl Benosky

I copied this off of the US Rifle Teams forums, and it rings true for me.

How to shoot standing by Carl Benosky
Shooting consistently good standing is a matter of rounds down range, with thoughtfully executed goal.

But first, your hold will determine the success you will have.

#1 your hold has to be 10 ring to shoot 10’s. This means that there should be a reasonable amount of time (enough to get a shot off) that your sights are within your best hold. No attention should be paid to the sight when they are not in the middle, it’s wasted energy. My best hold is within 5 seconds after I first look though my sights. I’m ready to shoot the shot at that time. If the gun don’t stop I don’t shoot…I start over.

#2 the shot has to be executed with the gun sitting still within your hold. If the gun is moving…it’s most likely moving out, and you've missed the best part of your hold.

#3 recognizing that the gun is sitting still and within your hold, with lots of training (dry fire or live fire) will initiate you firing the shot. It’s not subconscious to me, but it’s close.

#4 don’t disturb the gun when you shoot the shot. That being said, I don’t believe in ball and dummy rounds drills and being surprised when the shot goes off. I consciously shoot every shot. Sometimes they are a mistake and I over-hold, but the more I train the less of these I get. If I get a dud round my gun will dip. This is very noticeable to me when shooting pistol. I can shoot bullet holes at 25 yds, but if I’ve miscounted the rounds I’ve fired out of my magazine, my pistol will dip noticeably…so do the pistols of the best pistol shooters I’ve watched and shot with. One might call this a “jerk”, I call it “controlled aggressive execution…executed consistently” :smile: . I don't believe you can learn to ignore recoil. You must be consistent in your reaction to it.

#5 know your hold and shoot within it. The best part of my hold is about 4 inches. When I get things rolling I recognize a still gun within my hold and execute the shot. I train to do this every shot. Close 10’s are acceptable Mid-ring 10’s are not. If my hold was 8-inches I would train the same way. Shoot the shot when it is still within the hold, and accept the occasional 9 but not accepting the shots out of my hold.

#6 rounds down range. I shudder to think the amount of rounds I've fired standing in my life, and it still takes a month of shooting standing before Perry to be in my comfort zone. That month before Perry I shoot about 2000 rounds standing, 22 shots at a time. It peaks me at just about the right time.

This is a picture to what I believe it takes to shoot good standings. I hope it gives some insight, understanding, and a roadmap to your own success shooting standing.

Good Shooting,
Carl does seem to know what he's doing.(ed.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Maryland State Service Rifle Championships 2013

I shot the Maryland State Service Rifle Championships over 2 days. For the first day (9/21) I got up at 5am, ate a bowl of oatmeal, and drove the 2 1/2 hours to warrior mountain. I was on relay 3, so I went to the pits first, and fired standing 3rd. I ate a sandwich in the pits, but I got hungry with low blood sugar about 5 shots in to standing. I was a bit of a wobbly mess, so I did not do very well standing that day. I did have a nice sitting score.
Rapid prone, I wasn't sure if my elevation should be 23 or 20. I went with 23, right 2 plus a little left for the wind, and ended up with a good group high left. The next string I went down to 20, and was centered low. Go figure.
I got rained on in slow prone, and that caused some problems. Actually, for the first couple of shots, the rain helped me focus on the front sight, and I shot x's. After that, the gun got slippery, and I had a hard time getting a good cheek weld, and holding position. In the end, I did at least shoot my classification.

Last First Stand X Sitting X R prn X S prn X Score X Percent
McGinnes Michael 174 3 196 5 184 0 179 3 733 11 91.6%

The second day (9/22) was the EIC match. I slept in a nearby hotel (7 C's Lodge, pretty nice), and only had a 20 min drive to the range. Nonetheless, I just felt crappy that morning. I'm not sure why.
So I'm relay 2, so I'm shooting 2nd (which I prefer). When I mounted the rifle for the first shot, it was all over the target. At that point, I should have taken the rifle down and started over, but instead, I shot a miss. That's right, my very first shot was a miss, and I knew it as soon as I pulled the trigger. I figured my day was pretty much over, but I kept it together and finished standing with an 82. I really do need to write down a shot plan for standing. It needs to include finding my balance in my feet, relaxing my legs, and relaxing my upper body, shoulder, and arms. I need to practice at least 22 rounds a day.

Sitting, I had a good position, and not to much pulse. I took it one shot at a time--breath, front sight, squeeze-- and shot a 98.

Rapid prone, I had a pretty good position. My goal was to break every shot in the X, and get a nice small group so that I could confirm my zero. I ended up with a good group, but a little too much to the left on the 9-10 line, netting me a 96. Which means I'm going to 600 down 24 points. That's not actually too bad, but it doesn't leave much room for error.

Then, I had a phenomenal stage and string in slow prone. For the first string, I really wanted to try to break clean shots, so that I could adjust my zero as needed. I decided to be brave about spinning the knobs as long as I broke a good shot. I helped to focus on each shot, and keeping focus on the front sight while I squeezed the trigger. The second string in particular I took shot by shot. I finished with a 92 and a 99, for a stage total of 191--personal bests for string and stage. As a result, I have the beginnings of a shot plan for slow prone. Roll left, place rifle in shoulder (high), establish cheek weld with nose in charging handle, roll right and place right elbow, lift and reestablish cheek weld. While looking at grass, relax left arm, relax shoulders. Breath, sight picture, front sight focus. I also have a new no wind zero (NWZ): Right four clicks. I started and ended with the same elevation, with a little fiddling in between.

I ended up with a 467, which I knew was good-- and gave me hope of getting EIC points -- But I hadn't realized that that was a person best for a National Match Course. I ended up 5th, 5 points and a few X's out of the money. In other words, if that first shot had been just a six instead of a miss, I would have finished 3rd, taking home a bronze and 6 points. As it was, I didn't even get first leather. Still, lesson learned: never give up.
Other lesson learned: if my wobble zone is the whole target board, take the rifle down and start over.

After shooting the Maryland State Service Rifle Championships at Ft. Hill/Warrior Mountain, I need to update my personal bests, and goals (new PBs in bold):

Personal bests to date:
Standing 97/100; 191/200 (spring league, M4)
Sitting 100; 196
R. Prone 100; 195 (2012 Creedmoor Cup)
S. Prone 191 - 5x; 99 - 3x(?) (MD State SR Championships)
Navy total: 474-11x (spring league, M4)
NMC total: 467-8x (MD State SR Championships)
800 Agg : 750 (2012 Creedmoor Cup)
Best Ball (NMC): 488

Standing: Clean, regular 90s.
Sitting: Regular cleans
R. Prone: Regular cleans
S. Prone: Clean string, 195, regular 90s ea. string.
NMC Total: 475, regular 470s.

Last First Stand X Sitting X R_prn X S_prn X Score X EIC_Ranking
Podshivalov Roman 96 1 100 1 99 2 191 6 486 10 Winner
Bloss Tim 94 1 97 0 97 1 191 4 479 6 Second
Read Justin 92 2 96 2 96 1 188 5 472 10 Third
Thomas Alex 91 1 94 0 96 2 189 5 470 8 High_Junior
Lechliter Leah 85 0 96 3 98 2 188 4 467 9
McGinnes Michael 82 0 98 1 96 2 191 5 467 8

Monday, May 13, 2013

Juddgernauts - Spring League 2013

It was a good year. We were the second place Expert team, missing first place by 4 points (5582-90x to 5586-81x). Spring League Team Results
On the last match of the series, I set some personal bests:

97-2 / 100 Standing
191-4x / 200 Standing (first time breaking 190 offhand).
Navy Match: 474-11 (second Master score).
I also broke 1400 for the league (1500 agg).
2013 - 1403.025
2012 - 1394 
2011 - 1351

My off-hand was much improved. I did not do as well as normal in the rapids. Slow prone was a little improved. If I can maintain my slow scores,
I need to work on improving my rapids so that I can regularly shoot 98+, that get's me to the 480s.

Personal bests to date:
Standing  97/100; 191/200 (spring league, M4)
Sitting  100
R. Prone 100; 195 (2012 Creedmoor Cup)
S. Prone 186 - 3x; 94 (RC200), 95 (RC100)
Navy total: 474-11x (spring league, M4)
NMC total: 455-6x
800 Agg : 750 (2012 Creedmoor Cup)

Standing: Clean, regular 90s.
Sitting:  Regular cleans
R. Prone: Regular cleans
S. Prone: 190, regular 90s ea. string.
NMC Total: 475, regular 470s.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Aug. Fun Match; Personal Bests

At this months Fairfax Rod and Gun club "Fun Match," I shot a personal best 761-17x for the match, my first Master level score. Extracting stages of a National Match Course, this would be a 471, also a personal best. I also had personal bests in standing, sitting, and rapid prone.

I shot the first relay on target points 14 and 15, paired with Greg Spitzer. These TPs have the targets in the shade through sitting, with dappled light in prone when the sun was out. It was partly cloudy. I was shooting using my new short hood and .46 aperture, Creedmoor 50 coat, and a web sling. First shot was at 0900, and we shot until we finished all stages.


I fired a personal best tying 95-2x in the first string, and a personal best 186-3x for the stage. The ground is flatter and more even than Quantico or Perry (no grass), but I still ended up with my feet closer together than normal to find a good spot. Rear foot was still tilted back a little.

Success Analysis

The first string seemed easy. I had a good NPA. I consistently placed the buttstock in the same place, with the toe just inside the humeral head, near the top. I brought the rifle down and set-up, feeling my position, before looking trough the sights (thank you, Olympics). I also shot with a relaxed diaphragm (thank you, Jeter). The larger aperture allowed more light, which seemed to make it easier to focus on the front sight.

Solutions Analysis

I'm looking for a solution to fatigue and loss of focus during the last 5 shots of a 20 shot offhand string. I think the problem was aggravated by trying to record my own score, and keep score for my partner.


I fired a personal best 5x clean on the first string, and finished the stage with 200-9x, my first double clean sitting.

Success Analysis

Felt easy. I kept a front site focus, I took a breath on each shot, and exhaled relaxing the diaphragm each shot. I called a couple of shots high and low, but all were in the 10 ring.

Solutions Analysis

I'm looking for a solution to my magazine hitting my sling. I think I need to get my sling higher on my arm, and more outboard.

Rapid Prone

I fired a personal best 196-2x for the stage.

Slow Prone

We were pair firing and scoring, which meant I had to break position to record Greg's scores between shots.

Success Analysis

I kept Greg's scores in my head if it was an X or 10. I wrote it down and forgot about it if it was anything else. I shot a reasonable score on the first string. I finished the stage with three 10s, and three Xs.

Solutions Analysis

I am looking for a solution to getting myself into a stable prone position, with a good NPA; and keeping or getting myself back into a the same position through the stage. A stable prone position allows me to relax my left arm and hand, and right shoulder. It also allows me to get on target without muscling the gun.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

CMP National Trophy Matches at Camp Perry, 2012

For those he don’t know, the CMP National Trophy Rifle Matches have been held at Camp Perry, Ohio every year since 1907. Camp Perry is an Ohio National Guard base, and was home to German and Italian POWs during WWII. The huts that housed those POWs still stand to this day, although somewhat worn by time and weather.

I ended up staying one of those huts with Jason and Charley, two other VFEMI shooters. I could not have had more fun. Well, not in a week when I'm getting up at 5AM every day, and giving up caffeine, alcohol, and sarcasm. Our hut came with a gnome. 

Monday: Presidents 100

I started off really well with a in the President's 100 with a 93 in Off-Hand (very happy). We went to 300 prone, and I shot a nice tight little group at 6 O'clock in the 8/9 border for an 86. I was a minute and a half low for some reason. The targets were backlit, and it was overcast, so it might have been the light. Some people say you just shoot high at Perry because of having blue-sky instead of a berm and the targets are high relative to the shooting positions. Who knows? Anyway, at 600, there was some wind, and I shot at the low end of my normal range (88) for a total of 267-- which put me solidly in the Secretary of the Treasury's 600.

Tuesday: NTI - F-Bombs Ahead

When we got to the line at 0-dark thirty, it was just starting to sprinkle and the wind was blowing like hell. It looked like a storm was blowing in, so we didn't know if we were going to shoot, or how we were going to shoot. By the time we started, though, it had blown past us and turned into a nice morning. I started off AWESOME in off-hand: 10, 10, 10, (this is easy!) 9, (Ok, I still have to focus) 10, 7 ( WTF?), black (I can't see!). My aperture had come loose, and was flopping around in the hood. I got the aperture out of the hood, and figured I didn't have time to try to get it back in, so I kept shooting. I actually could see the target OK, but I didn't really get back into my zone, so I ended up with an 85. (so I dropped 4 points with the first 6 rounds, and 11 points with the last 4 rounds. There was a pair of 6s in there somewhere. Ok, 85 is not good, but it's not death either. 
I got down in sitting. My head wasn't really where in needed to be, but the position felt good: Bang, bang. Reload. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. I counted 10 rounds, and I thought about giving the trigger one more squeeze, but I didn't for some reason. I had time. When the targets went down, I looked at my bolt. It was, strangely, closed. And when I opened it, there was a bullet inside. Fuck. It came up an 88, with a saved round. I figure I need a 470 to make the cut, and I am down 27 after two stages. Double fuck. But, there is still hope. Never give up. 
We move the 300, and rapid prone. The sun is now out, and on the face of the targets. I estimated that there was about a minute of wind from the left. Now I have to decide if I was low Monday because of the light, or because "It's Perry." I decide it was mostly the light, so I just use my normal zero. I shoot a nice tight little group about a minute out at 3 O'Clock, because I never actually put the wind on the rifle. I still managed a 93.
We move on to 600 prone, and holy fuck, we got the wind something terrible. It was a switching, gusty 5-10 mph wind. It just pushed me all over the target, and I didn't have the confidence to chase the spotter. I would shoot a 7, not change the sights and shoot another one right next to it. I'd finally change the sites, and the wind would change direction, which I would discover when the next shot was a 7 out the other side. Tuesday night, we drank. Not much, but enough.

Wednesday: Hearst Doubles

It's a fine morning. We are sharing the firing point with Team Remington. I'm partnered Jason, and we are both a little hung over. I start by shooting two 7s. It's going to be a lovely day. After that, I start to get my groove on, and end with an 88. Not bad, considering I started with two 7s. And hey, my aperture didn't fall out.
By the time we get back to 300, our hangovers are gone. I'm ready for 300 rapids, and the targets are backlit, but it's not overcast. I take a wild guess and come up a minute. I'm in there, and come away with a 99. Not. Fucking. Bad.
Before we shoot at 600, I score for Team Remington, so I get to look through the scope for 23 minutes watching the mirage while listening to them discuss what it means. This is the best wind reading lesson ever. By the time it's our turn to shoot, I not only have a good starting wind call, but a good idea on how to read the changes through the scope. Plus, the wind is being kind to us. There was one 7 that I knew was bad as soon as I sent it, but everything else was 9s and 10s. I was actually seeing that I was stacking them up on the right side of the 10 ring, and came left a quarter to correct. It was awesome.  I ended up with a 93, for a total of 280. Our team finished 101st.  If I'd shot these scores in prone on Monday, I would have made the President's 100.


President's 100
300 Prone
600 Prone
Elevation 1.5 minutes low due to overcast / back-lit targets
The wind something terrible
85 - 1
88 - 3
93 - 2
162 - 1
428 - 7
10,10,10,9,10 - aperture falls out. D'oh
1 saved round. In other words, one more squeeze would have made that a 97 or 98.
Got the elevation. Failed to add wind.
OMG, the wind.
Hearst Doubles
88 - 2
99 - 4
93 - 1
280 - 7
Notes . top 28%
Hungover. Started with a pair of 7s, then things started coming together.
Good coaching and wind call. Added a min of elevation for backlit target
Bam! Watching Nate and team Remington call wind was very helpful. Calling wind for my partner helped me. 
Nice score. Quite happy. Take best ball standing from p100, and I'm in the P100 with a 285.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring League 2012 Results

I finished 5th Expert out of 20 in this year's Fairfax Rod and Gun Spring League. Those first two matches put me on a different level. I had been shooting low expert scores before (450), and both of my first two matches were pushing 470. To my mind, around 470 you are in the hunt for EIC leg points.
After Match 3, I thought there was a good chance that I would finish 3rd. I was already 5th, and when I shot a 456 in the last match, I figured I would pass two of the guys in front of me, and only Jeff and Tom would finish ahead of me. I did pass those two shooters, but John Eckenrode made up his missing match 3, and James LeCroy had an outstanding match 4 to come out of nowhere and pass me by one point.

Total Competitor Match 1 Match 2 Match 3 Match 4 Low
1433.031 Browning Jeff 453.005 479.007 475.010 479.014 453.005
1421.025 Eckenrode John 461.000 481.010 471.006 469.009 461.000
1414.032 Edmonston Thomas 480.012 470.014 458.012 464.006 458.012
1395.024 LeCroy James 460.007 457.006 454.004 478.011 454.004
1394.022 McGinnes Michael 469.009 469.006 439.003 456.007 439.003

Creedmoor Cup 2012

I shot an 800 agg saturday, and the EIC match Sunday the 2012

In the 800, I finished 13 out of 55 Expert; 71 out of 173 overall.
Standing 182 - 2  -- Xs and 8s.
Sitting  194 - 4
R. Prone 195 - 7 -- Includes my first Rapid Prone clean on the second string.
S. Prone 179 - 1
Total    750 - 14 -- 93.75%, two points shy of a Master score.

In the EIC match
60 out of 112
McGinnes, Michael (147246)
Standing  88 - 0 -- Not great, but if I shoot the other stages really well, I'm still alive. Down 12, I figured I could drop another 14.
Sitting   94 - 1 -- Ok, and not the end of the world. Down 18, leaving 7.
R. Prone  95 - 2 -- Never give up! Down 23, I just have to shoot a great prone. I can do it.
S. Prone 171 - 3 -- I forgot to change elevation, so the first shot went into the dirt.
Total    448 - 6 -- The last leg went for a relatively high 475-10x.
Without putting a shot in the dirt, I would have finished around 45th.

Personal bests to date:
Standing  95/100; 185/200
Sitting  100
R. Prone 100; 195
S. Prone 186 - 3x; 94 (RC200), 95 (RC100)
Navy total: 469-9x
NMC total: 455-6x
800 Agg : 750

Standing: Clean, regular 90s.
Sitting:  Regular cleans
R. Prone: Regular cleans
S. Prone: 190, regular 90s ea. string.
NMC Total: 475, regular 470s.

Pictures from the Pits

Someone photographed my 200yd Rapid Sitting target from practice this weekend. Not my best target, but fun. It was up in the carrier when he took the shot, so I used Photoshop to correct the perspective.
Here's the original:
and the 300 rapid target:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring League 1 and 2, 2012

Spring league 2012 at Fairfax Rod and Gun has started, and I'm off to a fantastic start. In the first match, I shot my first clean Sitting (or clean anything else for that matter), along with a 182 (92,90) standing to finish with a personal best 469-9x. That's one point shy of a Master class score, and in the neighborhood to earn some leg points toward going distinguished. Second match was 3/25, and I shot a personal best 94-1x standing on the first string, and a 91 on the second string for 185-1x standing. On the first string I started off with something like five 10s in a row. I tried to stay focused on one shot at a time, but my head got the better of me, and I dropped two 8s and two 9s in the next five shots. I had a lot of pulse sitting, and ended with a 98-3x sitting, and a 98-1 rapid prone. I need to focus on position consistency in slow prone, and see if I can tighten my groups vertically. I was shooting with 19 clicks of elevation, and I think 21 clicks would have better centered my group and gotten another point.