Does a new rifle with all the marksman attributes make you a marksman? By Ed Hale

If you just bought a race car and drove it around, would that would make you a race car driver? Nope! What if you drove it in a bona fide race; Would that would make you a race car driver? Yes, I think so, but put Richard Petty in a good car and you in the best car and who has the advantage. I put my money on Richard Petty because he has real world experience behind the wheel. So lets put you in 100 NASCAR Races, does that change your experience? Sure does!

Shooting by the same token, like racing takes experience behind the rifle. If you have not been trained however you could turn out to be just a mediocre shot after years of improper practice and have ingrained poor habits.

For the hunter, there is more to learn than shooting at stationary paper targets. Wild game standing still may last long enough for a shot but may not. Some times we do dumb things like hunting with a trigger that is too heavy. I know I have done it. Heavy triggers are the bane of even a good shot because the tendency is to yank the trigger. Shooting your rifle often enough provides muscle memory for the trigger finger so you know where it breaks. Most hunting triggers are in the 3 to 5 pound range, don’t have creep or slack and are crisp to break.

The shooter most of all needs to know how to breath correctly hold and finish the squeeze of the trigger. I was taught to breath out slowly half way then hold it while finishing the squeeze but the longer the shot is, the more you have to plan the shot to account for wind. And on even further shots you may train to shoot between heart beats.

From a hunting perspective, knowing your limitations when out in the field can help with your shot decisions too and let game walk… to be hunted another day.

Recoil Management; Recoil can create enough pain to pull the is shot and miss or wound game. Shoot with a state of the art recoil pad that reduces recoil at least to 50%

So read up on shooting skills and perform perfect practice. I will too…

Axioms to remember:

Aim Small, Miss Small

One Shot, One Kill but on big game an insurance shot helps if game is still on its feet.

On dangerous game:they say in Africa; It is the dead ones that will kill you!

© 2016


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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game
such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.