Sunday, January 30, 2011

Aim small, miss small.

I’ve been taking my Crosman pellet rifle out for a little recoil therapy in the eveninigs now that it’s not dark at 5:00. I love that I can be outside shooting less than 10 minutes after I get the urge. Being a n00b, I love that I can practice the four rules without worrying about being *that* person at the range. And in the event of a catastrophic failure of the 4 rules, it’s unlikely I’m going to do all that much damage.

So, I set up along the garage and at a range of 25 – 30 feet I can work on using those strange things called “sights”. (The closest thing I’ve got on my flintlocks is a bayonet lug. The matchlock takes a plug bayonet, so I don’t even have that.) The problem is that my Crosman has a lovely fiber optic sight that appears bigger than the thumbprint sized targets I’m aiming at so I end up having to guess at the last second. My groups at that range are averaging 1 ½” – 2” per 5 shots, but I’d really like to be able to see what I’m trying to hit.

Does anyone have any low cost suggestions?


  1. You might want to try adjusting your sight picture.
    The point you want the pellet to impact should sit on TOP of the front sight, not behind it. Presuming the rear is adjustable for elevation, you should be able to tweak it in.
    I had the same problem @ Appleseed w/my fiber optic front sight on my 10-22; the "behind the sight" picture was fine for minute of chipmunk, but not so good for "aim small"...

  2. What DT said.
    If your rear sites can't be raised- and looks don't matter, a piece of black electric tape pinched onto it's self over the rear site,,,and a judicious bit of snipping should have you hitting right above the site.

  3. Since I'm tending to hit a tiny bit high anyway, that might solve the problem. I'll try again on Tuesday.


  4. If you're hitting high, then you need to lower the back site (with a file?).
    Think of it as a lever with the front site as the fulcrum.

    I usually aim so my target is sitting right on top of my front sight.

  5. Here's a little explanation about the differences between a "center hold" sight picture and a "6 O'clock hold";

  6. Yeah, the only problems with the 6 o'clock hold are:

    1. They presume your target will ALWAYS be the same relative size (2" at 25 feet, 4" at 50 feet, 8" at 100 feet, etc., it's all gonna look the same size -- 24 MOA, which means you'll zero to hit 12 MOA higher than your point of aim). If the relative target size changes, you end up missing again, as the displacement you've adjusted your sights for is no longer valid. Switching to a 1", 25 foot target with the previous 12 MOA offset means your groups will be hitting about halfway from the center of the target to the top edge. . . you'll have to either adjust the sights (fine if you have NM sights on a Garand, not so great with your typical non-target sights), or start applying elevation hold overs and unders -- which means you can't use the neat 6 o'clock hold anymore. . . only since you've learned the use of the rifle with a 6 o'clock hold,you'll have zero practice in centerholds. . .

    2. They presume the distance will always be the same. If the distance changes, you'll have to either adjust the sights (fine if you have NM sights on a Garand, not so great with your typical non-target sights), or start applying elevation hold overs and unders -- which means you can't use the neat 6 o'clock hold anymore. . . only since you've learned the use of the rifle with a 6 o'clock hold,you'll have zero practice in centerholds. . .

    3. It trains you to hold under the target. Under stress, NOBODY rises to the occaision -- they plummet to the level of their training. Even if you INTEND to shoot "center chest" or "center of mass", you will end up programmed to shoot at the 6 o'clock position of teh visible target.

    6 o'clock holds are great for dedicated bullseye shooting, where you will ALWAYS be shooting at a known distance, always have the opportunity to readjust sights when changing distances, with dedicated equipment that really isn't going to be used for anything else and is equipped for readily repeatable field sight adjustment. It is fantastic for making tin cans dance.

    If the front sight post is obscuring the target, then the problem is you are actually hitting LOW, since completely obscuring the target means you are aiming at the TOP of the target area (i.e., a "12 o'clock" hold), yet still lands them in the black. The front sight post needs to be lowered (or the rear sight raised) until the target is split in half by the top of the post. You're still tied to that distance, but making adjustments from there is easier than trying to apply those adjustments from a 6 o'clock hold, especially if your targets may come in different sizes.

  7. Geodkyt- I don't remember her saying she was going into combat shooting....

  8. Hmmph. . . I could have sworn I posted a reply long before now. . .

    Kurt --

    The 6 o'clock hold is ONLY appropriate for a narrow set of curcumstances, including user adjustable calibrated sights that can be quickly readjusted to account for range chnages, etc, that use a front sight post. If you AREN'T doing KD bullseye on regulation targets with a front sight post, 6 o'clock hold is simply a bad idea.

    The 6 o'clock hold is great if you are shooting in the "combat" derived bullseye games, like High Power Service Rifle. Of course, some of the very best "service" competitors don't use a 6 o'clock hold, either. Nor does it work as well with a ghost ring sight (which is common to US service rifles, and is a favored sight for Appleseed shooters bulding a "Liberty Training Rifle"), as the natural tendancy to center the front sight in the rear ring without thinking about it can cause one to unconsciously treat the TARGET as part of the sight post, especially when you have a classic "lollipop" 6 o'clcok hold going.

    However, the majority of non-service rifle formal bullseye competitors don't even use a conventional front sight post -- they use globular sights, with replaceable front sight inserts. This type of sight DEMANDS that you you centerhold techniques.

    Nancy is using a Crosman 760P -- which has a sight that is not finely adjustable (the rear sight can be set for one of three or four rather crude elevation steps, the front sight is a nonadjustable plastic post about 1/8" wide.)

    She is thinking about shooting Appleseed -- which uses non circular scaled targets (if you stick with teh 25m scaled AQT "short" course). The rifle she will likely be using has a ghost ring rear and a scope -- she will likely be using the scope.

    In other words, neither her current equipment, planned future equipment, nor planned course of fire are condusive to a 6 o'clock hold technique. . .

    The 6 o'clock hold technique is NOT the "default" hold technique, nor is centerhold a "combat" technique. 6 o'clock hold is a VERY specialized technique for ONE specific type of shooting, generally the variations of that shooting derived from "combat" rifles.

    Whereas centerhold works very well for most everything. . . including combat shooting (such as her defensive carry pistol).

  9. I want to thank everyone for their comments -- I have found the 6:00 hold to be very helpful in that I can now *see* what I'm aiming at and where the resulting hole shows up. I'm finding this very helpful. I will worry about *where* I'm pointing later, once I'm actually hitting what I'm actually pointing at.

  10. It's a known fact that no matter how it happens the only thing that counts are hits. If you are hitting the target you are doing what you should be doing.

  11. Here is a much better explanation of the 6 o'clock hold than anything above. It explains how the 6 o'clock hold works at all distances without adjusting the sights. I found it very useful.