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Getting back to fundamentals.

6116 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  subThermal
Hello everyone:

I'm a relative newcomer here and I do not want to cause any offense. So I will try to be diplomatic. And for me that is not always easy.

Anyway, is anyone here confused with the current equipment race? It seems that everywhere you go, there's some sort of super electronic this or that on a rifle. There are lasers, and aimpoints and flashlights and so on and on and on. And there are pic rails on receivers, on handguards and even rails upon rails. I really don't understand all of this stuff. Yes, I'm old and out of touch but if I had so many things on a rifle, I would not be able to figure out what to turn on. And with my luck all the batteries would be out. Maybe I don't get it but isn't the object of a rifle to have a simple well balanced instrument that can hit the target?

So, is it just me? Or are there any other folks here who long for a return to fundamentals? What's wrong with concentrating on the fundamentals of sight picture, breath control and trigger squeeze? It seems that too much effort is now spent worrying about gadgets. Now it could be that I'm wrong. Maybe these new gadgets have changed the fundamentals. Maybe anyone can hit with an Aimpoint. I really don't know. I am so electronically challenged that my new DVD sits still the box. I haven't figured out how to install it.

When I started out, I didn't have much money and I bought a surplus, in-the-grease military Mauser for about $60. I also bought a Lee Handloader Set for about $40 and that's how I learned to shoot. I loaded lots of centre fire ammo cheaply and my reduced loads allowed me to shoot without fear of muzzle blast or recoil. I gained confidence and I really began to understand my rifle. And in no time, I began to learn about using other center fire rifles.

I still like this simple approach. Now, I am not being critical of anyone, but I did see a new shooter ask for advice. And all the answers he got seemed to be equipment driven. Now please don't get me wrong. Without equipment our new shooter cannot learn to shoot. But I do think that our new shooter would be better served in buying a more affordable rifle so that he could afford lots of practise ammo. And I think he should also be encouraged to buy some basic handloading tools so that he can learn the full fundamentals of shooting. And he should start out with iron sights.

I also read here where someone wants to buy a .338 Lapua Sako TRG-42. Now I salute the man's desire to own one of the finest rifles currently made. I also admire the man's enthusiasm as well as his guts. ( My wife would kill me if I spent close to 4 grand on a rifle) But I'm genuinely puzzled as to why the guy would not be a handloader. To really learn about a rifle you need to handload for her. And handloading for the rifle lets you really know her. And when you know your rifle and spend endless hours at the range with her all things are possible. ( I wish my eyes were not betraying me, because I'm finally reaching the point where I might be able to properly apply the knowledge gained over the years.)

If you don't handload, you are really missing something. If you let me at your rifle with my dial calipers, Stoney Point headspace guages, etc.
I can tell you things about your rifle that you never knew.

Anyhow, I'm glad to be here and I hope that I've expressed myself in the right way. I don't want to appear to be critical of anyone. I'm not. I really admire the enthusiasm of everyone here. If anything, I'm just an old guy who's a little bit lost. I guess I long for a time in shooting that's gone by.

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Good post but you can't tell me you see something wrong with a setup like the one below. I agree not all that is needed but some can really help a beginner in the field. I personnally am a firm believer in learning with the basics first but if they want to go all out let them. More things for me too buy cheap when they can't figure it all out.

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No, you are not crazy. It really comes down to the fundementals of marksmanship. There are a few of us that do not care for the razzle dazzle and want a solid, accurate bolt action rifle, with a ruged and clear scope with a basic reticule that is functional (mil-dots are very functional wether you use the mil-relation formula or not, and its doesn't obsucre too much of the target).

But, when it comes to the marksmanship, you are right, start out simple, I generally tell beginners to get a nice .22LR and go learn to shoot, and then shoot small bore competition. There is no better, or affordable, way to learn marksmanship. After you become accomplished at doing that, then you will be ready for long range shooting, which WILL require different hardware.

Now, one thing I should point out on this site, when people say "getting into", or "want to start out", or "beginner", sometimes they are in fact accomplished marksmen, but are "Getting into" long range shooting, which is where you will sometimes see hardware based recommendations, as they need some pointers on the gear they need.

All and all, I agree.... it still comes down to the operator of the rifle.

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That rifle

Dear Flea:

That rifle is very impressive and I'm sure that there are highly trained marksmen capable of shooting that outfit to full effect.

But in all candor, there's no way that I could ever use such a thing. I could never figure out that trajectory computer and all that other stuff.

I see that gun as being a highly specialized small caliber piece of artillery.
I'm not even sure that I'm strong enough to carry such a thing.

I guess that today I'm just feeling my age. I'm so old that I remember when the word, "gay" just meant happy.

Oh well.....

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I feel that everyone should learn the basics of shooting but in sniping.....both military and law enforcement technology can save lives. If you can range faster....calculate quicker....and train people in less time I am all for it.

The problem stems when those rely solely upon the equipment and forget the basics. If someone wanted to start out with a setup like that I would laugh.

My electronic organizer tells me I don't have time for fundamentals! :wink: If you've been around the site, you'll see that I'm not very funny, despite my repeated efforts.

I think you'll see that the majority of the fellows around here agree with you, and when their advice is equipment-related, it's because someone asked an equipment question, like "What kind of rifle should I get for application X?" A number of other occasions has prompted discussion on form, loading, etc... the fundamentals you speak of. One of the best things of this web site (and perhaps to some green horns like myself) is that the populous here is very experienced with shooting and have the fundamentals covered fairly well. Thus, a lot of the discussions tend to be more equipment-related because so many of the participants within the discussion are already very skilled.

Although I'm painting a wide brush of the folks here at Sniper Central, I hope their modesty doesn't rise up and bite me in the ass. :wink:

I, on the other hand, know little to nothing and so take enjoyment in *all* avenues of discussion, because it's all new to me, and I believe there are a number of other people who might not speak so frequently who agree.

Just my ramblings on my perception of Sniper Central and its awesome population.

Scatch Maroo
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I will try to open my mind to new possibilities...

Now could we kick this off by having someone explain to me what all of the electronics do....


Now could we kick this off by having someone explain to me what all of the electronics do....
Um.... err.... Die at the most inopportune time?? :shock:

Unfortunately, many of these things are invading our profession, but I tend to still be old school. I had a hard time getting into the habit of taking a calculator in the field, I did not want to become dependent upon it because if it can break, it will!! Just a fact of combat. But, there isn't a lot you can do if you really want to use mil-dots. Of course, now we have laser range finders, which themselves are extremely useful for ACCURATE and fast range-e. Then GPS is helpful for navigation AND range estimation, then, for nighttime operations, NODs are great, and thermal has made it onto M24's and other sniper rifles. Illuminated reticules are nice for low light situations, and the scope still works even if the batteries die. Of course, in the field, you may also end up using radios (imagine that), laser designators, digital cameras, etc etc. For combat snipers, we too are moving forward with technology. But when it comes down to the time of taking the shot... its the man, a bolt action rifle, and a good, clear scope.

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i dont handload but i really should
and you are correct
the basic fundamentals are more important than all these uber sniper rifles with all the fancy stuff on them
these sniper in my opinion are for experienced shooters only
the best way to learn to shoot is to get yourself a decent rifle with iron sights it could be even a .22 semi-auto or bolt action
when you mastter breath control/sight picture get another rifle and try to master 100-300y then go for the long range stuff

in my opoinion it is best for yourself if you dont immediately spoil yourself with an expensive rifle but leave that stuff till you become more expeienced
i know people who can shoot thier uber rifles ok but thier groups with 'inferior' rifles look more like a shotgun's pattern with 5 rds of buck @ 40y than a 200y group with a precision rifle yet that same rifle is capable of shooting 1/2 moa
Most of the electronics is just crap you can go out and buy at REI or Academy. The PDA just has ballistics software built in for the specific cartridge (.408, but it can compute any I believe). You plug in the windspeed (up to 3 I think), tempreture, distance to target (via laser range finder, or mils), elevation, etc.

Tap a button and it craps out your scope adjustment.

Hell, my watch (I'm a watchaholic) can do most of the work needed. Tempreature, elevation, windspeed. And you can buy a cheap old palm and load ballistic software right into it.

But Mel is right, if it can break it will. I've fallen out of trees, almost drowned on several occasions, fallen off, rollen off just about everything you could.

Good thing about the cheytac intervention system is the PDA can also double as a GPS, and depending on the model pda, commos (albiet cell). So it saves a little room / weight in that respect.
electronics are fine
just know what to do without them!!!
im sure you learned a lot of that as a sniper on how to ajust for wind, pressure etc
if you had used electronics and they failed you would still be fine
i fear that a few generations from now we will only know about electronics and not know how to use guns without electronics
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