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Bullseye Self Test

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Post by mikemyers 4/18/2019, 10:37 pm

I was thinking it would be nice to have some kind of "Bullseye self test", with which we could do a few rather simple things, and find out if we're doing as well with the fundamentals as we think we are.  Something anyone can do, in a safe environment of course.  Some of the things I thought of, include:

1) Stand in front of anything you're going to use as a target, maybe a real target at the range, or maybe a painting on the wall in your dry-fire area.  Line up looking at the target, positioning your feet, etc., close your eyes, raise the gun as if to shoot, and open your eyes.  For me, the gun is never aimed "at" the target - it always needs some adjustment.  (How close is close enough?)


2) Load up a few magazines with 3 or 4 rounds in each, but make one round just an empty shell case.  Mix magazines up.  Shoot as normal.  When the "empty" comes up, does the gun remain stationary?  (If not, work is needed.)


3) Not sure if this is even valid, but I read where people shoot a magazine, and find the shell casings in a rather small area.  If one finds the shell cases all over the range near them, does that mean something needs attention?



I'm sure there are more things that can be added to this list.  Maybe others can add to it.

I've also noticed that when I go to the range, most everyone is shooting "slow fire".  Rarely is anyone shooting "rapid fire".  Then I read how people (myself included) can struggle with rapid fire.  That got me to wondering if I'm doing things backwards.  Maybe I should ONLY practice rapid fire at the range.
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Post by zanemoseley 4/18/2019, 10:59 pm

I believe what you're describing is a bullseye match. Seriously you can't fake your way through a 270 shot 3 caliber match at 25 and 50 yards. Determining exactly where you lack is the hard part, most people struggle with some degree of flinch and trigger control issues. You're making it harder than it needs to be. Shoot more, strengthen fundamentals then see your score improve, your "test" score just went up.

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Post by mikemyers 4/18/2019, 11:06 pm

Actually, I wasn't describing a bullseye match - wasn't thinking of that.  I was thinking of the people at the range where I shoot, who would all like to be better at bullseye, and who may sometimes go to matches, but maybe not too often.

I think it's nice to have a yardstick to tell how well you're doing.  That's what I was thinking of when I wrote the above, but I completely agree with what you wrote, for people who are getting "scored".

I was thinking of something "easier", not "harder", but that's just my own point of view.  My own definition of bullseye includes both competitors, and the guys at the range just shooting at targets.
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Post by dronning 4/19/2019, 2:21 am

When you go to the range are you training or shooting? 
Training:
https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t5966-usmc-pistol-team-workbook 
^^^^training to improve!

Your#'s
# 1 is done by every shooter (or should be) every time they grip or regrip the gun.
# 2 is a common training method called the ball and dummy drill used if you are working to eliminate flinching or improve follow through.

#3 could be an indicator of either a bad ejector OR if the gun is solid it could be an indicator you are flinching or limp wrist-ing.
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 5:04 am

Sgt. Keith Sanderson's advice is that training, etc., happens in dry-firing.  That's where you learn "what to do".  When you get to the range with live rounds, you are there to practice what you have learned.    ....that's mostly what I've been doing, but his ratio of one live round to 100 dry-fire rounds is difficult for me.  If I shoot a box of 50 rounds of ammo, that means 5000 rounds of dry-fire.  So to answer your question, if I go to the range it's for shooting.  (I think I'll keep track from now on, and see what the ratio is for me - maybe 20 to 1 is more accurate.)

You wrote "# 1 is done by every shooter (or should be) every time they grip or regrip the gun."

Not sure if you meant that literally; if so, I've been doing this wrong forever.  Did you really mean that every time we grip or re-grip a gun, at the range, we should close our eyes as we raise the gun to the target?     .....I do that in training, at home, but never thought to do so at the range during a day's shooting.  

Regarding the "ball and dummy drill", yep, to eliminate flinching or limp-writing, but I'm guessing that most people aren't aware they're doing either of those things - the drill isn't so much to eliminate that problem, as to make people aware that they have the problem.

Regarding ejected brass, my Les Baier threw the spent rounds maybe fifteen to twenty feet, but they were mostly pretty close to each other.  Most of my guns (or really, me shooting my guns) has different results, with rounds spread all over.  I guess when I get home, I need to look into that.


Thank you.  I thought I understood what I meant by what I posted, but now I see there's a lot more to it.  Maybe I should just accept I failed my "bullseye self test", and I need to consider what you wrote to do better.
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Post by dronning 4/19/2019, 8:05 am

Yes you should check your position EVERY time you grip or regrip your gun. You should also dry fire a couple of times too.  This is a check that you haven't corrupted your stance/grip...  If you have a couple of bad shots in a string before you ungrip the gun check your natural point of aim - it might give you a clue.

To be a world class champion 1,000 to 1 dry to live fire sounds about right (see my signature).  Remember shooting was one of Keith's primary jobs while is was with the AMU.  Dry fire training doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't train at the range. 

Your LB is ejecting brass 15-20ft away!  Wow how hot of a load are you shooting??  Seems pretty far to me.
- Dave
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 8:24 am

dronning wrote:......Your LB is ejecting brass 15-20ft away!  Wow how hot of a load are you shooting??  Seems pretty far to me......
Standard 230 grain Winchester White Box ammo, no idea of the load.
This was with the standard 18 pound recoil spring that came with the gun.
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 8:31 am

dronning wrote:Yes you should check your position EVERY time you grip or regrip your gun. You should also dry fire a couple of times too.  This is a check that you haven't corrupted your stance/grip...  If you have a couple of bad shots in a string before you ungrip the gun check your natural point of aim - it might give you a clue.......
I thought I knew how often to do this, as it was how I was setting up my stance.  I never even considered what sounds so obvious to me now that you've said it.   If it was in the shot plans I have read here, maybe it was worded in a way that I didn't understand.  Regardless, will do that from now on.  So, as you put it, EVERY time I grip or re-grip, close eyes, raise gun, check.  

Curious, when any of you are at the range shooting, practicing, whatever, how often do you dry-fire?  Every few minutes?  Once in a while?  At beginning of session (which is what I've been doing)?
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 8:39 am

dronning wrote:...........To be a world class champion 1,000 to 1 dry to live fire sounds about right (see my signature).....
I suspect that was a typo?   Did you really mean 1,000 or 100 ?

I currently go to the range around three times a week.  Let's say I go through one box of 50 rounds for 38, or perhaps 200 rounds of 22.  

Shooting 50 x 1000, or 50,000 rounds at dry-fire would take me more time than I have for dry-fire.  Sort of precludes sleeping, cooking, eating, washing, and everything else I do.  If shooting was my job, and I was going to going off to a major championship, and if my goal was to win.....    I could then maybe see myself doing what you have in your signature.  But 1,000 to 1 ---- hard for me to accept, if I fired any quantity of live rounds.
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Post by DA/SA 4/19/2019, 9:09 am

mikemyers wrote:Curious, when any of you are at the range shooting, practicing, whatever, how often do you dry-fire?  Every few minutes?  Once in a while?  At beginning of session (which is what I've been doing)?
When I go for Sunday morning "Church" I dry fire ten times then live fire a shot and scope it to verify I called it correctly. Repeat until I am satisfied with my performance and shots are landing where I want them to, then work on other "things".

Dry fire meaning slow fire. Raise the pistol and dry fire one shot with proper follow through and lower the pistol.
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Post by dronning 4/19/2019, 9:39 am

mikemyers wrote:
dronning wrote:...........To be a world class champion 1,000 to 1 dry to live fire sounds about right (see my signature).....
I suspect that was a typo?   Did you really mean 1,000 or 100 ?
Exaggeration for effect - that's why I pointed you to my sig.
Keith went 6 months between events shooting less than 500 rounds of live fire, he dry fired a bunch.

It's quality first, once you have quality dry fire "shots"  then add quantity to build muscle memory.  If you are having trouble dry firing correctly then DO NOT do huge repetitions until you have corrected the issue because all your are doing is training your subconscious the wrong way to do it.

- Dave
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 9:58 am

dronning wrote:.........If you are having trouble dry firing correctly then DO NOT do huge repetitions until you have corrected the issue because all your are doing is training your subconscious the wrong way to do it.......
The problem with that is if I knew I was doing something incorrectly, I wouldn't be doing it.

I used to keep my left thumb in my left pocket.
Brian said to put it inside my belt buckle.
It took well over a week to replace the old habit with the new.
Sort of proves your point.

This forum has been very helpful in allowing me to read things that tell me I'm doing them incorrectly also, and I change.  I think there used to be more people asking for help, but maybe it just seems that way.  

So many things I KNEW I was doing correctly, as that's what I was told to do, only to learn that there are better ways (as in following Brian Zins advice).  There are so many people here in these forums that suggest things, and most of the time, I'll either ask, or follow the advice.
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Post by dronning 4/19/2019, 10:27 am

mikemyers wrote:
dronning wrote:.........If you are having trouble dry firing correctly then DO NOT do huge repetitions until you have corrected the issue because all your are doing is training your subconscious the wrong way to do it.......
The problem with that is if I knew I was doing something incorrectly, I wouldn't be doing it.
There is NO WAY you can "do it correctly" simply because you KNOW how to do it, otherwise we would all be High Masters.  How many 100-10X's have you shot??  See my point, perfect practice yields perfect results (eventually)!

By the way there are many High Master that keep their hand in their pocket.

The journey (process improvement/execution) based on target results looks like this. An over simplification!
1) All shots on target backer.
2) All shots in scoring rings.
3) All shots on repair center.
4) All shots in the black
5) All shots 9 or better
6) 1st cleaned Target
7) Improve X count
Cool 10X

- Dave
One last point when your subconscious controls the process things become much easier.  Stinkin' Thinkin' gets in our way.
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Post by Allgoodhits 4/19/2019, 8:33 pm

Shoot groups.

Are the groups basically round?
Are the groups in the desired aiming area?
Are groups getting smaller?

If your groups are round, then the shots are breaking pretty clean. In other words good trigger press.

If your groups are in the desired aim area and they are round, then trigger press is good and zero is good.

If groups are getting smaller and in desired aiming area and they are round, then you are achieving all you can at the time. Stop measuring success by the score. Do the above three things and the best score you are capable of will be happening. Improve on any one of the areas and the score will go up. Improve on two of the three even better. Improve on all three and keep building on that, you will be a champion.
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Post by bullseye67 4/19/2019, 9:48 pm

Good evening,

The concept of a self-test, in and of itself, isn’t a bad idea or ideal. 

I have a standard practice routine I go through almost everyday.

Coffee and breakfast then head to my 10M air pistol range in the basement.

I do 200 dry fire with my 45ACP. Then if my wife isn’t back from driving our son to school. I dry fire my Pardini with the Reddot until I hear the garage door opener.

I then take a coffee break and discuss what’s on the agenda for the day. If there’s nothing much to do.

I head back down and practice with my LP50. I try to get a minimum of 10 sets of timed and rapid. I use the Bullseye range commands app on my phone. I am always trying to get the timing down and steady clean trigger pulls. I then do some reloading or other related activity until lunch.

We shoot league Monday and Wednesday. Other evenings I have a Laserlyte setup on the same 45ACP that I dry fire. I will practice with it or more pellets with my son if he’s not busy with other activities.

Partly, I just love to shoot, the rest is a personal challenge. I am trying  to get back to shooting the scores I shot when I was younger. 

Do I self test? Yes...absolutely!!! 

Do I get corrections by another club member that shoots Internationally...Yep sure do!!

Can I pick up my pistol dry fire a couple of times, load and close my eyes raise pistol and fire a round and hit the black? Yep...sure can!!!(while keeping eyes closed)

Can I call my shots accurately? Yep..sure can!!

Can I do the 10’s only drill and get 9/10 10’s?? Yep..sure can!!

Can I shoot 7-10’s 2-9’s and a......4,5, or a 6?? Yep...sure can!!

Does any of it change my desire to get a perfect target? Nope!!

I practice lots so I can improve. Sometimes my monthly average is only 2 points better...but it’s better. Last year, 2017 my average for the year was 506/600 in ISSF. 2018 my average was 519/600. So far in 2019 I am at 528/600. It’s a long process to perfection with many hard fought mental battles. 

I do know if I don’t dry fire my scores will reveal the truth!!

Have a HOPPY  Easter...
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Post by rreid 4/19/2019, 9:57 pm



1) Stand in front of anything you're going to use as a target, maybe a real target at the range, or maybe a painting on the wall in your dry-fire area.  Line up looking at the target, positioning your feet, etc., close your eyes, raise the gun as if to shoot, and open your eyes.  For me, the gun is never aimed "at" the target - it always needs some adjustment.  (How close is close enough?)


The most important part to me is having the sights aligned when I raise the gun.  The "aimed 'at' the target" part can be adjusted by moving your feet.  First, try raising the gun on a blank wall.  You want to see the sights aligned or the dot in the center of the tube.  If it's not right, rotate the gun slightly in your hand.  Don't bend your wrist to line it up.  Once you have your grip figured out, you can work on getting lined up on the target. Rotate your feet for windage.  For elevation, move your feet closer together or farther apart.
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 10:09 pm

Allgoodhits wrote:Shoot groups.

Are the groups basically round?
Are the groups in the desired aiming area?
Are groups getting smaller?

If your groups are round, then the shots are breaking pretty clean. In other words good trigger press.

If your groups are in the desired aim area and they are round, then trigger press is good and zero is good.

If groups are getting smaller and in desired aiming area and they are round, then you are achieving all you can at the time. Stop measuring success by the score. Do the above three things and the best score you are capable of will be happening. Improve on any one of the areas and the score will go up. Improve on two of the three even better. Improve on all three and keep building on that, you will be a champion.
That's what I was looking for, something that re-assures a shooter (in my case, me) that I'm doing the best I can with my current ability at that moment in time.

(You ask if the groups are getting smaller.  Hard to answer, as five or ten years ago my groups were much smaller.  Getting older, and having cataracts repaired messed with my ability to shoot. Also, all that time I was shooting with two hands.  Too bad I didn't start to shoot one-handed 30 years ago.)
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 10:16 pm

bullseye67 wrote:.........The concept of a self-test, in and of itself, isn’t a bad idea or ideal. ......... I have a standard practice routine I go through almost everyday.
.........
I don't think I could ever do as much as you're doing, but the idea of a standard practice routine seems like a great idea.   I have one, but only for each part of the "session".  To make up a full routine, so one or two hours every day I'm doing the same thing, can only help.  Far better than my randomly doing bits and pieces of my routine, as in whenever I have some time.

(My condo is 9 flights up, but I put blinds on my windows so nosy neighbors from across the road won't call the cops on me if they see me "shooting".   Sounds silly, but I read in the paper where that actually happened to someone.)
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Post by mikemyers 4/19/2019, 10:23 pm

rreid wrote:The most important part to me is having the sights aligned when I raise the gun.  The "aimed 'at' the target" part can be adjusted by moving your feet.  First, try raising the gun on a blank wall.  You want to see the sights aligned or the dot in the center of the tube.  If it's not right, rotate the gun slightly in your hand.  Don't bend your wrist to line it up.  Once you have your grip figured out, you can work on getting lined up on the target. Rotate your feet for windage.  For elevation, move your feet closer together or farther apart.
Far, far better than what I've been doing.  I guess I need one or more daily practice sessions for just doing that, over and over.


I used to do this at the start of a practice session at home, then simply try to re-orient my feet and body the same way.  Obviously, not good enough, after reading what's been posted here.  I will split it into two parts, as you suggest.  Until now, I always was aiming at a target.  Makes sense to first make sure the gun is sighted correctly in front of my eye, and after that, that it is aimed at the target.  How many days/weeks/months/years did it take you to get this to work to your satisfaction?
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Post by Allgoodhits 4/22/2019, 1:58 pm

mikemyers wrote:
Allgoodhits wrote:Shoot groups.

Are the groups basically round?
Are the groups in the desired aiming area?
Are groups getting smaller?

If your groups are round, then the shots are breaking pretty clean. In other words good trigger press.

If your groups are in the desired aim area and they are round, then trigger press is good and zero is good.

If groups are getting smaller and in desired aiming area and they are round, then you are achieving all you can at the time. Stop measuring success by the score. Do the above three things and the best score you are capable of will be happening. Improve on any one of the areas and the score will go up. Improve on two of the three even better. Improve on all three and keep building on that, you will be a champion.
That's what I was looking for, something that re-assures a shooter (in my case, me) that I'm doing the best I can with my current ability at that moment in time.

(You ask if the groups are getting smaller.  Hard to answer, as five or ten years ago my groups were much smaller.  Getting older, and having cataracts repaired messed with my ability to shoot. Also, all that time I was shooting with two hands.  Too bad I didn't start to shoot one-handed 30 years ago.)

Sometimes, slowing down the rate of group enlargement as we age may also be a success.

Having said that, few people wobble so much that they cannot shoot good shots. What we do, to the wobble in the process of pulling the trigger is probably the biggest problem that we all have. The trigger finger is the eraser of all good things in shooting, unless we learn to master that. IMO we need to learn to let the gun fire, as opposed to making it fire. Steady gradually increasing pressure on the trigger and the gun will fire. Trust that and you will be amazed at the results.

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Post by rreid 4/22/2019, 8:54 pm

mikemyers wrote:
rreid wrote:The most important part to me is having the sights aligned when I raise the gun.  The "aimed 'at' the target" part can be adjusted by moving your feet.  First, try raising the gun on a blank wall.  You want to see the sights aligned or the dot in the center of the tube.  If it's not right, rotate the gun slightly in your hand.  Don't bend your wrist to line it up.  Once you have your grip figured out, you can work on getting lined up on the target. Rotate your feet for windage.  For elevation, move your feet closer together or farther apart.
Far, far better than what I've been doing.  I guess I need one or more daily practice sessions for just doing that, over and over.


I used to do this at the start of a practice session at home, then simply try to re-orient my feet and body the same way.  Obviously, not good enough, after reading what's been posted here.  I will split it into two parts, as you suggest.  Until now, I always was aiming at a target.  Makes sense to first make sure the gun is sighted correctly in front of my eye, and after that, that it is aimed at the target.  How many days/weeks/months/years did it take you to get this to work to your satisfaction?
It took 5 years or more to realize I had been doing it wrong.  I went to a Zins/Moody clinic in 2012, and when Brian and Andy went around the room helping each student with their grip, it was like a light came on.  I suppose I worked on it in dry fire and range practice for a few weeks, but it was pretty much an immediate improvement
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Post by mikemyers 4/22/2019, 9:32 pm

rreid wrote:It took 5 years or more to realize I had been doing it wrong.  I went to a Zins/Moody clinic in 2012, and when Brian and Andy went around the room helping each student with their grip, it was like a light came on.  I suppose I worked on it in dry fire and range practice for a few weeks, but it was pretty much an immediate improvement
Curious, what were you doing wrong, and how did they change it?  .....and once you learned, how long did it take you to automatically grip the better way?
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Post by Allgoodhits 4/23/2019, 8:53 am

My shooting background for decades always originated with gun in a holster. In those events which had much reduced or no time limit, then acquiring as good a grip as you could from the holster and then running with it, is all you could do. Yes, most times I got a good grip, sometimes not so much, but you had to run with what you got. Also, most all of those gun acquisitions from the holster were freestyle thus two handed if you wish. I non-ideal draw grip could get aided by the support hand.

However, last year when I ventured into BE I was not critical "enough" of the "need" for a perfect grip, every time. I incorrectly thought that there is sufficient time to move the gun to the desired aiming point if the grip or stance was off just a bit. I struggled. I would shoot a good target, then a target far from good. Very inconsistent, in both SF and sustained fire.

I recently attended a class put on by Camp Valor Outdoors with Jon Shue and William Bethards. So much was soaked up by me in this class. What I got most out of the class were three things.

One, do everything exactly the same every time. If in doubt at all, put the gun down and start over, if possible. Bethards said it like this. Unless you start each shot process at the same point, you will never get over the hurdles. He explained the track hurdler. The starting point must be exactly the same each run. The hurdles must be exactly the right height and exact same distance apart, or the world class hurdler will falter. It must be the same.

Two, the grip must be perfect before and during every shot. (Starting point for the hurdles). The position must be perfect for each shot (Height and spacing of the hurdles) and you must follow your proven shot process for each shot.

Three, the grip pressure must be very tight. I specifically asked how tight? As tight as you can was the answer by Shue. He claimed he doesn't know what 70% or 90% is, but he knows how tight as tight as he can is. Yes, sometimes the gun will shake when gripping this tight. They both claimed the shaking is probably not as bad as you perceive it to be, and regardless, the shot error will probably be less, shot after shot, shaking due to tight grip, than it would be with poor or inconsistent grip.  I have amended this a tad to as tight as I can, yet still maintaining an acceptable aiming area.

The above class was just a week or so ago, and I immediately started applying the above elements with much more thought and focus. The single thing which seemed to give me the best immediate positive result change was the grip. I had in the past accepted an acceptable grip, which is not acceptable if one wants to excel in BE/PP. The grip must be very, very firm and perfect each time. By the way, same very, very tight grip when shooting the .22 as with the .45. Why make it different, you want it to be always the same? This has worked for me. I will continue working it this way.

Martin
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Post by rreid 4/25/2019, 8:33 pm

mikemyers wrote:
rreid wrote:It took 5 years or more to realize I had been doing it wrong.  I went to a Zins/Moody clinic in 2012, and when Brian and Andy went around the room helping each student with their grip, it was like a light came on.  I suppose I worked on it in dry fire and range practice for a few weeks, but it was pretty much an immediate improvement
Curious, what were you doing wrong, and how did they change it?  .....and once you learned, how long did it take you to automatically grip the better way?
I started out gripping the gun with the bore in line with the arm and shoulder, as some instructors say to do.  It was pointed out at the clinic that the sights don't align with your eye unless you bend the wrist slightly.  The angle of the bend can't be duplicated consistently, so it's better to start with a grip that aligns the sights with the eye.  It didn't take long to make the change.
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Post by mikemyers 4/25/2019, 9:49 pm

rreid wrote:........the sights don't align with your eye unless you bend the wrist slightly.  The angle of the bend can't be duplicated consistently, so it's better to start with a grip that aligns the sights with the eye.......
I've read in several places how it should be done, but you are the first person who posted the details of the reasoning behind it.   Makes sense.
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