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When is it equipment vs when it is you?

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  • When is it equipment vs when it is you?

    one of my range only pals stopped by last night. I showed him my new mk4 and he showed me his. He had spent a lot of $ on upgrades. A lot. Showed me some of his targets. Very nice but nothing to make a person question the guys honesty. So I thought, hmmm, upgrades work. But then he says now instead of once every week or two, he goes to shoot 3 or 4 times a week. So I'm thinking it's the practice that's done most of his improving . So, have you ever bought something that instantly improved your shooting? Has more practice shown you that you didn't need any upgrades?

  • #2
    There's several items I've purchased that helped my shooting. Most are pretty obvious:

    > Better scope - increasing magnification and clarity has greatly improved my rifle accuracy. I started hunting with a low cost 4x. That's fine for dropping a deer at reasonable distances but not the best for checking accuracy from the bench.

    > Testing different loads to find what shoots best in my rifle - again obvious

    > Improving the recoil pad on a heavy kicking rifle helped to keep me from developing a flinch

    > Wearing a shoulder pad for testing heavy kicking shotguns and rifles when at the bench also helps

    > Better quality shooting bags

    > Using a bipod when shooting from a bench

    > Upgrading / modifying triggers

    > Using better solvents for cleaning barrel fouling

    > Using a spotting scope reduces the walking back and forth to examine a target, thus helping me keep a lower heart rate

    > I'd like to think those Mark III upgrades you suggested have also helped.

    > Using photos to record my test groups. Then keeping detailed electronic records on range sessions. That way I don't forget what ammo works best and I don't inadvertently use the wrong loads on a hunting or range day.

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    • #3
      PH: All great points. I recently put a recoil pad on an '06 I've had forever because I didn't remember the kick being that hard, but you're right my groups with it are better than they ever were. I've done most the others you've mentioned since I was still a teen. (Bipod a recent change) Shooting/hunting magazines were my world as well as a father & grandfathers who placed shooting/hunting ability in high regard.(as well as fishing and general outdoorsmanship.)

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      • #4
        The bipod is a recent addition for me. I was sometimes stringing horizontally when using just a bag. A buddy of mine was a bench rest competitor when younger. He's the one who suggested the bipod. He also likes high magnification scopes for his hunting rifles. I've no doubt he can drop deer at 1000 yards plus. But, I'm interested in less than half that distance.

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        • #5
          I would say my shooting improved after I tried all different combinations of loads for each firearm, I finally settled on one hunting round and one target round for each firearm and then practiced with only those to get very familiar with each firearm. Know your weapon inside and out and you will do better with it. .

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
            Know your weapon inside and out and you will do better with it. .
            Something we all should always do but sadly I'm seeing it lacking more and more with the younger crowd. "Disposable and replaceable" seem to be how they view literally everything.

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            • #7
              The only thing that comes to mind was when I used an adjustable objective scope for the first time shooting our .22 league at 50'. Being able to turn the magnification up and have everything in focus was a real, well, eye opener.

              I think I've mentioned this before, in general having top shelf stuff may not make you great but having junk can be limiting. In your friends case it may be a chicken and the egg deal. If the upgrades increased his confidence and lead to him shooting more often then he did buy his way to improvement even if it was the practice itself that mattered.

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              • #8
                Being only a bow hunter/shooter, I can not give any info on this subject from the same level as others. But good shooting is the same median in both archery and firearms ! I am not a gadget person and simplicity of use is one reason I have gone the traditional instinctive route. Since there are very few ‘upgrades’ available in my elected form of hunting, and just plain enjoyment, I have found there is nothing that has improved my tighter groups of arrow placement better than good old time practice and having the feeling that the bow is a ‘part’ of me personally ! This has led to more confidence, and confidence leads to better shooting, and better shooting leads to more enjoyment, and thus a circle of happenings results. But, it is the original initial ‘practice’ that starts the circle and becomes the most of importance !

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                • #9
                  Bh75r: It just now occurs to me that while crossbow hunting is a tsunami down here in this region, up north my Michigan friends/family are going traditional recurve in a big way. Which is it where you are? Crossbows or recurves showing up more in a big way?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dewman View Post
                    Bh75r: It just now occurs to me that while crossbow hunting is a tsunami down here in this region, up north my Michigan friends/family are going traditional recurve in a big way. Which is it where you are? Crossbows or recurves showing up more in a big way?
                    Dewman, if it is not wheels, it is crossbows ! There is almost non-existent use of traditional equipment anymore. I will admit that there are a couple of good reasons for this, with number 1 being the time involved to learn traditional shooting, and number 2 being the limitations of the equipment in regards to distance of hunting shots. But, with that being said, I feel it is mainly due to the thought of hunter success, with other equipment being easier to fill a tag ! There is a renewed interest in traditional shooters for enjoyment, but not all are hunting in this manner. Glad to read your words about friends and family going trad.

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                    • #11
                      Bh75r: I believe the switch in my circle is due to an understanding that there just aren't any big mature trophy bucks to be had where they hunt. Spikes and does rule with an occasional basket rack so why not have some fun. Plenty of deer, many chances, just no bragging sized racks so why not. To be clear they aren't 100% recurve 100% of the time when in the stand but they are having fun.

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                      • #12
                        ......they are not 100% recurve 100% of the time..... !

                        Not too important at the start. As time goes on and familiarity sets in, as well as confidence in shooting ability, the use time will begin to grow. It is rather exhilarating to know you can do what not all others have the ability for ! What part of Michigan is your family from ? I live in the SE farm land area, not too far from Ann Arbor.

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                        • #13
                          I can think of two instances when an upgrade in hardware made a big difference.

                          The first was my first good shotgun. I'm kind of a long-arm, so switching from a short American shotgun to a long-stock Beretta really made a difference. There were times that I would feel like I mismounted the gun, was standing on my back foot, and shooting 2 feet behind the bird, but I would still get a solid hit. I think that's what a shotgun that suits you feels like.

                          The second was a semi-custom .45 suto I had made. Trigger, accuracy, framework...wow. I still consider that my most accurate pistol. 5.5 grains of a fast powder behind a 200 gr SWC, and I feel like I'm cheating.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                            ......they are not 100% recurve 100% of the time..... !

                            Not too important at the start. As time goes on and familiarity sets in, as well as confidence in shooting ability, the use time will begin to grow. It is rather exhilarating to know you can do what not all others have the ability for ! What part of Michigan is your family from ? I live in the SE farm land area, not too far from Ann Arbor.
                            Gratiot county. Short drive to the U.S. 127-57 intersection.
                            Last edited by dewman; 09-17-2020, 10:53 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I bought a used Dreamcatcher recurve a few years ago, and some cedar-looking carbon arrows to go with it. It is very humbling, to say the least. But it's pretty to look at and fun to shoot.

                              (I've since removed the finger saver things)

                              Comment

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