Fundamentals problem or normal?

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Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by LongSlide on 9/8/2013, 10:30 am

I seem to have a tendency to shoot left and low, which I know is a common problem for new, right-handed bullseye shooters.  I've been trying to fix this with dry-fire (lots and lots of it -- my wife thinks I'm a nut) and regular range practice (200 - 400 rounds per week).  I also have adjusted my rear sight to compensate on my longslide, thinking that some of it was how the gun shot one-handed vs two-handed.

However, I went to the range yesterday with a new gun (iron sights) that I plan to use for eventual CMP competition.  I found that the tendency to shoot low-left reappeared one-handed but not two-handed.  I brought the target in from 25 yds. to 10 yds. and fired two strings of 5; all 10 shots hit low-left (scaled for distance) into a circle of less than 1" no matter how hard I concentrated on the sights.  I mean, I really tried to control the trigger and sight alignment!  So, I adjusted the rear sight to recenter and moved the target out to 25 yds., shot 2 strings of 5, getting a score of 91.  Which is about what I shoot with my longslide using light SWC loads.

When I compare the two guns side-by-side, I find that the sights are adjusted similarly and, whatever the issue, I'm at least doing it consistently.  Which now has me wondering:

  • Is this normal for right-handed bullseye shooters to have their rear iron sight adjust to the right and up a little;
  • or am I masking a fundamentals issue, e.g. pulling/pushing the sight with trigger press, improper grip not controlling recoil, etc.


In my dry fire, I don't see the sight dip like this, so if I'm doing it, my mind is masking it. 

Thoughts anyone?

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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by SteveT on 9/8/2013, 11:29 am

The difference between POI for 1 or 2 handed is insignificant. The most likely cause is you are jerking the trigger. You must make sure your trigger pull is the same in dry and live fire. Ball and dummy is good for this.

It is possible your trigger finger placement is different and that is shifting the POI.
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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by AllAces on 9/8/2013, 1:25 pm

I agree with Steve, jerking the trigger either in anticipation of the recoil, or stabbing at the trigger in hopes of getting a shot off when the sight is aligned with the target. It could also be tightening of the fingers in anticipation of the recoil. I find some shooters have a normal grip until just before the shot, then they try to squeeze the oil out of the grips. A couple other reasons, the overall grip. If you are shooting a 1911 with flat, stock type grip panels, try the Brian Zins grip (http://www.brianzins.com/2010/06/11/grip/comment-page-1/). Weak hand, wrist and arm muscles. You need a firm grip with enough endurance to consistently grip the pistol for 90 rounds. Send me a PM and I will email you my exercise routine for both upper and lower body strength. Keep doing the dry fire, daily, looking for movement of the front sight. Finally, at the range, have a buddy load a dummy round randomly in the magazine. Start firing the five rounds and watch the front sight. My bet is that when you encounter the dummy round you will see the sight jerk.
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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by LongSlide on 9/8/2013, 3:01 pm

I got to thinking about Steve's comment about the finger placement, jerking the trigger, and tightening the grip.  I find that my low-left is too consistent for random jerking and intermittent tightening, although I certainly don't hold myself above reproach in those matters.  Even at 25 yards, when I shoot low left, most shots of a string of 5 are either touching or just separated on 45-degree line from the X -- it's kind of crazy to see that target after target.

And I looked at Zinn's grip and it is the grip I use; I recognized every word he wrote and the picture was exactly what I use.

So then I went back to the comment about finger placement and my thoughts turned to the triggers on the 3 guns I've been using for this.  The first is my modified SA longslide with a long, Videki speed trigger.  The second is an RIA 9mm with a medium Greider trigger I've been using for dry-fire, and the new RO with a long 3-hole, flat profile. 

Well, I think you see where I'm going with this... I just tried dry firing each side-by-side and I find that the medium trigger puts the flat Greider face just past the distal joint on the tendon, while the long RO trigger is past that into the fleshy part if I don't make a conscious effort to adjust my hand to move the contact point.

When I dry fire the RO trigger in the same spot as the RIA trigger, there is no sight movement.  If I grab the gun and the trigger face ends up a little further out (seems to be the natural point of contact) it does push the front sight.  I'm pretty sure I didn't notice it with the longslide because it's trigger has a rounded profile which feels good on the finger while the RO's square corner of the profile digs in a little.

It's not conclusive, but I think it's worth putting the $40-$50 into it to get two medium Greider triggers and install them to try out.

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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by Rob Kovach on 9/8/2013, 5:05 pm

x2 for the ball and dummy drills.  I agree that it is unusual to do the same amount of jerk to the point that you have a group--maybe your overtravel adjustments are off?
It could be a consistent follow through issue where your trigger pull justs moves the muzzle a little as you move the trigger to the breaking point.
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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by LongSlide on 9/8/2013, 5:57 pm

I'm all up for the "ball and dummy" drills and will do those too.  Even if the length of pull on the trigger is a contributing factor, there may be other issues too.

But I am going to try the medium triggers in the RO and longslide; they're already ordered from Brownells.

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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by AllAces on 9/8/2013, 6:20 pm

Here's a couple of other suggerstions:

1. In practice, shoot 5 or 10 rounds per numbered target; keep the targets and measure the diameter of the group size in mm; plot the group size in a spreadsheet; set a goal to reduce your group size to something you think is achieveable.
2. Keep a notebook for each practice and match; record the weather conditions; how you feel physically; stance used; ammo load; recoil spring; dot or sight adjustments; changes in grip or sighting; group diameter; etc. Some of this info may help with determining what works for consistent performance (you & the gun).

Oh, and keep us informed of your progress.
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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by AlexAlphabet on 9/8/2013, 9:01 pm

I have huge, down and left problems. Dry fire works great for me but my brain knows the gun is empty. Last time at the range I had a friend load 5 rounds total, but mixed in dummies.  Oh what a mess. It was like it was trying to help push the rounds down range.
I keep practicing ....

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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by Bullseye10X on 9/9/2013, 12:06 am

I have the same problem.  For me, it's because I was jerking the trigger at the moment (my hands shake a lot) the dot settled over the X ring.  Two things helped me with this.  

One, I put more emphasis on CONSISTENT smooth trigger pull, which can only be done by practicing, and two, I installed the Volquartsen trigger and sear in my gun.  Since the break is lighter and smoother, its much easier to get off the shot without the gun moving (me jerking the trigger).  I have a slight pre-travel, but I stage the trigger, and CONCENTRATE on a smooth and gentle pull.

Bottom line?  Like LongSlide, I was grouping my shots 4-inches low and left.  With the hardware upgrade and putting more emphasis on trigger control, now I am grouping them in the black.

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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by KCKral on 9/9/2013, 6:40 am

If you're shooting low and left consistently, adjust your sights so your group is hitting the 10 ring.  Continue to work on your drills and exercises, and as you learn better trigger control you will notice that you will have to make adjustments to your sights to correct for your improvement.

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Re: Fundamentals problem or normal?

Post by LongSlide on 9/22/2013, 1:38 pm

This is the first group I shot after replacing the trigger in my SA RO with the medium Greider and adjusting the sights back to mechanical zero -- 25yd timed fire: 92 2X  Smile  ammo was 230gn PowerBond Plated RN, 4.9gn BE.


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