Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

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Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:22 am

Playing with some light loads in the .45 and finally got the flinch under control in slow fire.

Was all ready to be happier with a 78 the other day, then realized that the 75 I shot previously had not a single shot outside the 7 ring. The 78 had a 5 and a 6. Heck, I used to shoot visible misses at 50!  So yeah, I suck that bad with the .45 in SF, but noticeably less bad at the short line.

Now in general I'm going for all shots in a group that would fit in the black, and then consider score as of secondary importance. This powder shortage where I'm at has me chasing a new zero every couple of months (used up some partial cans this year, with an old one of Hi-Skor the last one for the BE loads, will get into that one probably by mid-summer).  Anyway, I'm wondering if this idea of reducing the wild shots to none per string is the right way to go.  For now at 50, I want nothing less than a 7. Will work on nothing less than an 8 when it gets down to only two 7s per string.

What makes me wonder is that one target recently was all around the 7 ring with only one ten, while this last one had eight of 'em in the black and those two shots that took me down 11 points between the two of them.

Only one of the two wild shots was on call. The other 8 shots were also on call. Pretty good for 9-ring ammo at 50, I think. Sorta.

Got my .22 scores barely up into the Expert zone back when I was 17. Want to get all three guns above 270 by this time next year. I suspect that resuming dry-fire 2x/week will un-twitch the wobble area like it did in standing with the smallbore rifle when I was in college. Call it the Zone or Zen or whatever, it cannot be put into words but it sure works.

So what's better to focus on, score or group size including all "flyers"?

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by Jack H on Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:21 am

Do you have a sense when things are not going right?  Then you put the gun down and maybe reflect some on a good shot?
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by CR10X on Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:11 am

What's better to focus on?   

Reviewing the last "acceptable" shot, focus on the next shot process that is going on right NOW. 

Do not focus on the past or into the future, but the present.  Eventually, the number of shots you don't find acceptable will diminish.  

I've noticed the number of acceptable shots in a string is directly proportional to the level of focus on the present shot.

"Just my 2 cents".

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by Dave C. on Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:32 am

The only shot that counts is the one in the chamber.

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by dronning on Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:07 am

Dave C. wrote:The only shot that counts is the one in the chamber.

Dave C.


+1  with what Dave C says, ALWAYS keep your focus on what your are doing.

Your focus should always be where you are in your shot process - nothing else.

Your groups reflect how well you did this.  They will give you feedback on grip, trigger control, sight alignment and even arch of movement.  This will tell you where you need to spend time training.  Practice at the range is applying what you learned or worked on in training.  Dry firing 2x per week will most likely only help you maintain.  Training for improvement should be 4-6 times per week even if you only do it for 15 min. each time.



The attached was sent to me it is a series of articles (12)** written by Ed Hall, I found it to be one of the best training guides because it breaks the shot process down so you can train and improve on each component.


**This series was originally written for and appeared in The Marksman, the monthly newsletter of the Twelfth Precinct Pistol Club, Inc., located in Harwood, Maryland.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:45 am

You can only shoot 1 good shot at a time.  Just like Cecil said, every shot that you shoot that you followed your process is a good shot.

You want to remind your mind about every good shot so you imprint that link between the process and "good shot".  That is key to constant improvement and executing in matches.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by BE Mike on Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:40 pm

What's done is done. Most of the best shooters don't react to a bad shot that was fired. They don't react to the X's either. They just seem to maintain their focus on their shot plan.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:14 pm

This is all being done with NO scoping of shots during the string. Guess I should have stated that I do not do the "usual" thing in slow fire practice right now.  I do track my calls and know when I have one out in the 6 ring. This string with the 78 had all but one shot on call.

Yes, I understand that during the string, the only shot that counts is the one being performed right now.

I also try to always be willing to stop the process and take a deep breath when things don't settle down during initial trigger squeeze.

The number of off-call shots is way down (was never that large anyway), and I'm starting to see the dot almost automatically seek the center during the squeeze several times per string.

My question is more about evaluating progress. This is a game of repeat performance, or averages, not just the one lucky shot.

Who's better--the shooter who plugs three in the five ring for the whole string for a score of 15, or the other one who shoots a seven and an eight for the same score but with one more miss??? Yeah, I vote for whichever one has the most of those misses at least somewhere visible on the target backer. But with two hits and all misses off the backer, vs. three worse hits and one fewer shot off the backer, which performance is better?

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by dronning on Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:14 pm

Neither is better.  One target isn't enough data.  As everyone is saying the one that knows what they did to shoot the tens and X's and focuses on that is doing better.  Repeat and reinforce the good let go of everything else.

I stopped paying attention to my score and now I ONLY track how well I followed my shot process.  Scores jumped about 7 points, groups have tightened up.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by james r chapman on Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:55 pm

I' rather have a half dollar size group in the seven ring so I can smack my scope base back into position like Zins did!
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:32 pm

THE SCORE WHETHER 15 OR 100 is NOT RELEVANT.

If the shooter's hold is an 8 ring hold, and they only gets 2 hits and they are both 8s or better. THOSE are "good shots"  It doesn't matter that the other shots were all off the paper.  We can't gain anything from those shots.

We all must focus on following the same process that got us the 2 eights and strive to shoot 3 the same next time, then keep progressing until there are 10 good shots.

I would much rather coach a shooter that can shoot those 2 good shots and knows that they executed them than one that hits all over the paper and hits 10 scattered scoring shots.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by CR10X on Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:56 pm

Sorry to drag this out, but the comment on not scoping is something to which I'd like to respond.   Now I'm talking training here, not a match, OK?   But I can't train if I don't scope each shot in the slow string training.   

I want to train myself to see, call and verify each shot and I mean to +/- 1/2 of a ring (10 in, scratch 10, mid 9, X, etc.).  Getting to the level of good consistent groups mean I need to use the trigger finger to complete the shot, while the wobbling dot is moving consistently towards the center and calling the shot as precisely as possible.  "Good" to me is not just on the backer, on the target, in the black or an X.   "Good" to me is calling the shot to the ring, seeing the dot before, during and after the the sear trips. Then the body and mind can work towards geting that wobble, trigger timing and group in the center.  But if I'm not seeing each shot well enough to call the shot precisely, then how am I going to know what I need to train on?  So I choose to scope each shot to help verify that shot matched my call (to the ring or less).  I really can't remember as well as I used to.  

A lot of things go hand in hand with shooting a good shot.  To me precisely seeing what is going on seems to be step one.  Of course step two is not jerking the trigger so bad and so fast that the eyes can't keep up with the dot and making that shot call very difficult.  I'm still working on that one sometimes........

Just thinking out loud.  And as always to each his own path to the center.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by BE Mike on Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:10 am

Cecil has been there and done that. He has wisdom to impart. I started out as a pretty poor pistol shot. I read as much as I could from sources like "The Pistol Shooter's Treasury". I regularly did exercises to improve my pistol shooting and regularly dry fired. There weren't any bullseye matches in my town so I couldn't really talk to any shooters. I really struggled with developing bad habits and then having to break them. The little input I got was from a well-intentioned  Marksman class shooter. He dwelled on his bad shots. It caused me to overthink my bad shots at the time. I did have some ah, ha moments. I remember one light bulb coming on when I shot a ten at 50 yards and realized that it was no accident. Up until then, I figured that I wasn't capable of deliberately shooting a ten. From then on I tried to analyze what I was doing to get that ten. I changed my training to focus on positive results and that was a turning point for me. It did take me a long time to make outdoor Master and get my Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge. I recon, I might have advanced quicker if I'd had a good coach and better 1911 and ammo. I guess what I'm trying to say is listen to the best shooters. Write down a shot plan. Develop a training plan and think positively. If you focus on the fundamentals, your groups will shrink. After your groups shrink, if the group isn't centered on the target, make a sight change. All this is assuming that your equipment is capable.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:48 pm

Thanks, Mike and Cecil.

My mental focus has been on trigger control and steadiness for every shot, carefully watching the dot (a new thing for me, I was previously only with irons) and seeking a clear mind to remember the call.

Those last two targets, nine out of each 10 shots was on call, both in direction and within the ammo/gun capability. I'm working through some so-so ammo right now. Gotta make empty brass so I can load some better ammo, ya know.

Will add to my mental processes (with the intent to make it all NON-verbal internally) an actual shot routine with more than just "breathe, extend arm and check safety off, sights on target, settle and squeeze".

But since both targets had me knowing what was right and wrong for the called shots, sounds like they are of equal training value. What's "better" on one is offset by what's "better" on the other.

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by Dave C. on Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:11 pm

Why are you watching the dot?

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:17 pm

Dave:

I watch the dot to

1. call where the shot should be going; and

2. to regulate the shot process. Dot input indicating the barrel pointing the wrong place and I either pause the process or abort the shot; and

3. keep my mind from producing a recoil-buck type flinch.

That's where my mental game is right now.

Now from my smallbore rifle days where NPA was literally a close your eyes and jiggle yourself, then open your eyes again exercise, there was some utility in watching how the front sight rose away from the bull for each shot, before even evaluating where the front sight fell back to after recoil. I could learn from those observations whether my position was still consistent or was being "muscled" towards the 10-ring. Tracking the same direction (if not straight up) and distance for every shot was a good thing.

But this pistol stuff, like shooting the rifle standing, is still too wobbly for me to get useful input from how the sights or the dot track during recoil. Fast two-handed shooting is a different thing, but that is not directed towards the same level of precision as the bullseye pursuits are.

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by BE Mike on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:57 am

Trigger control is everything. You must accept your wobble and have the guts to put pressure on the trigger while the gun is moving. Due to perceived constant movement (compared to iron sights) the dot is hard to work with as we age and our wobble gets larger. However, if we "area aim", in other words, avoid trying to pick off shots when the dot is centered, we can still get good shots. Trigger control is everything.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by Dave C. on Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:32 am

If you watch the target you will automatically center the target in the tube and your eye will be still as the target does not move.  
This makes it much easier to center your aiming area in the center of the target.  If you watch the dot it is hard not to chase the dot.  
The eye then moves to follow the dot, the target drifts from the center of the tube causing you to muscle the dot to the center of the 
target, if it is still centered in the tube.  As it passes the center your subconscious tells you to pull the trigger NOW!  
And another 6 is born.

Please sign your post.

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by Jack H on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:28 am

Describe for me the difference between motion of wobble and motion of moving the dot to center area.
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by james r chapman on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:13 am

Dave C, excellent advice..
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:31 am

Was thinking about this while brushing my teeth and realized that I mentally watch the dot while my visual focus remains still on the target. No jiggly pupil/shaky eye stuff going on. So my eye IS still and steady on the bull.

When I shoot the .22 with the irons again, I'll have to observe what I do there. Pretty sure I'm focused on the top edge of the front sight and follow it as it wobbles near the bull. I remember basically "applying" the aligned FS/RS unit to the fuzzy bull and squeezing when the wobble is pointed to where I want it, until it either breaks or something inspires me to abort the shot.

When moving the tube to the target, I extend out there in the general area, find the dot, and move it to the target. When the bull appears in the tube, my focus shifts to the bull. Wobble is different during that movement, as far as I can tell because the muscles are moving the whole arm group rather than just holding it out there trying to be still.

On target, the wobble has a diminishing arm component AND a hand/grip shaky component. A firmer grip seems to reduce the shaky part. That is the primary wobble area, pretty much the 8 ring at 50, but there is sometimes a slower whole arm/body sway.

I have not been dry firing much, but prior experience with all slow fire disciplines shows that my mind/body together essentially "learn" to hold more and more still, and eventually the trigger almost seems to trip itself when the aiming device settles down for a shot inside the black.

Irons stay aligned with the slow sway, but the grip/forearm shakiness jiggles the sight alignment. The more I dry fire, the smaller that becomes. The dot right now shows that my smallest wobble area for a few shots each string (2-5 lately) can reduce to the 10-ring. The whole 10-ring, which means ammo/gun can produce a 9 from what might be called a wide 10 about half the time.

The type of target that inspired this inquiry--one had five 7s scattered in almost all six directions, three 9s, and two 10s. Think that was with the .38 revolver, using a fat dot. That target, I think only five of them were truly on call, though two or three more shots were called correctly for direction but were twice as far out as I called them.

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by james r chapman on Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:04 pm

http://www.bullseyepistol.com/zinsdot.htm

I will go with Dave, and Brian on the dot, sorry...
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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:49 pm

Um, yeah, that's what I said.

And thanks for the link. I like how Zins thinks and writes.

Look at target, focus on target, dot wobbles inside my field of vision. I don't visually chase the dot like it's a bumblebee.

I mentally pay attention to the dot, but my rods and cones are fixed on the bull.

FWIW, and most likely nothing, the dot and bull are both in crisp optical focus but the dot seems to be about 3 feet closer than the target.

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

Post by BE Mike on Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:09 pm

Dave C. wrote:Why are you watching the dot?

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Re: Score vs. "Groups" (loosely defined...)

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