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jeffdorr recently mentioned reduced range targets to improve one's shooting here in this thread. As he said there, I did a thread on my own forum awhile ago about this. In the interests of promoting marksmanship, I'll repost that thread here for you all.

In summary, I believe that marksmanship is the top priority for shooters, but has been lost over the years. A lot of people here will say "well duh!" but I'm here to tell everyone that slapping a scope on a rifle and poking holes in targets is almost never true marksmanship in the way that most people do it. Most shooters use the scope as a crutch to make up for their inadequacies and shortcomings.

Ask yourself this question: can you reliably hit a man-sized target at 300 yards using only iron sights?

Most people cannot. And that's why I created this thread on my own forum. If we are to be responsible shooters, true to ourselves and for the Americans, true to the Second Amendment, it's high time we see a return to the skills of our grandfathers.

The problem however, is increasing restrictions on where we can shoot. Back in the era of WW2 and Korea, which in my opinion, marked the height of marksmanship in America, it was easy enough to find a 500 yard range, or even a 1,000 yard one. You just went out in the sticks somewhere and shot! And while it's still legal in the United States to shoot anywhere outside of city limits with the property owner's permission, we shootin' Yanks have seen one of the downsides of our expansionism...There's just fewer places to shoot unless you know someone with land.

Thus, most of us are stuck with developed gun ranges, which are usually limited to 100 yards. For some, they're even limited to 50 yards or less! I don't know how many times I've seen guys here complain about being stuck with a 100 yard or less length range.

Enter the reduced target!

The idea behind a reduced target is to simulate the size of a man sized target as it would appear at a greater distance. For example, a man may appear to be a few inches high at 300 yards, so to simulate the size of a target at that distance, we simply do some basic math and make a target a few inches high to be placed at a shorter distance--commonly 25 or 50 yards/meters.

Doing so allows the people who are limited to pistol or 100 yard ranges to practice their long range marksmanship skills. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it allows practice without the effects of wind, drop, elevation changes and other variables that can make learning something exactly very difficult. Shooting reduced targets lets the shooter know when they made the mistake themselves and the missed shot was not caused by an environmental factor. Essentially, it's perfect feedback.

So I have gathered together several reduced military targets for the 25 and 50 yard/meter ranges. As Marines are the renowned marksmen of our Armed Forces, included are Marine Corps targets.

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Instructions: Fire 20 rounds in two minutes from any position, including from a bench. The rifle can only be supported by your hands--no rests, bipods, sandbags, etc. Slings are allowed and are encouraged. Magnification cannot be used, and it is preferred that only iron sights are used; non-magnified optics, such as red dots, are acceptable.

These targets were meant for the AR-15 platform, but one may shoot these with whatever rifle they have as long as they follow the above rules.


Use these instructions for the following targets:

USMC 300 yard E2 silhouette -- reduced for 25 meters (for yards, move it 6 feet closer)
USMC 300 yard E2 silhouette -- reduced for 50 yards
USMC 200 yard slow fire qualification target -- reduced for 25 yards
USMC 300 yard rapid fire qualification target -- reduced for 25 yards
USMC 300 yard rapid fire qualification target -- reduced for 50 yards

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For the next target, follow the same rules as the above, with one exception: fire 10 rounds in up to 10 minutes from the prone position.

USMC 500 yard qualification target -- reduced for 50 yards

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When printing these from Adobe Acrobat, be sure set "Page Scaling" to "None" on the print dialog page. Like this:



To be sure your targets are printing at the correct size, a 50 yard target will measure approximately 5.5" from top to bottom, and a 25 yard target will measure approximately 2.75" from top to bottom. If your targets are a different size, you will not have the correct simulated distance at the specified yardage.

Here is how the majority of "good" shooters will do at first:



Here are the desired result, after practice:



As I said above, shooting these targets will eliminate all variables except the guy behind the gun.

When pursuing any skill with the goal to achieve it to a high degree, one must proverbially crawl before they can run. Knowing how to range, compensate for bullet drop at distance or any value of wind are advanced considerations and all absolutely worthless if you don't posses basic marksmanship skill.

So I issue the challenge: anyone take any of the targets and follow the instructions for shooting at them. Scan or photograph your targets and post them here. If you can meet the criteria without aid of scopes or rests, using only your iron sights and body support in any position, you will earn the esteem of everyone here. There are no prizes and no expiration date; shoot the challenge whenever and as often as you like. This challenge is only for the honor of being able to shoot well.

So try it. It's not as easy and useless as it seems, and once you attempt this, you'll see exactly what I mean. It will be a humbling experience for most, and even frustrating. But only through accurate measurement of current skill can anyone expect to get better in the future.

Good luck!

ETA: I forgot to mention...Print the 25 yard target out and tape it up on the wall in your house so you can use it for dry fire practice. Dry firing is without a doubt, the single best way to improve your shooting skills, whether it be with rifles, handguns and whatever. Modern firearms can withstand having the firing pin dropped on an empty chamber, but bolt guns and old guns really ought to have a snap cap.

When you dry fire, please remember the following:

* MAKE SURE THE GUN IS UNLOADED! Check it, double check it, and check it again!

* Keep all ammo and loaded magazines away from the firearm when dry firing! It's second nature for a lot of us to just grab the mag and insert it without thinking about it.

* If possible, put the dry fire target on a wall that doesn't have anything behind it that really ought not get shot. ie: a wall adjacent to your neighbor's bedroom probably isn't the best place!

* If you leave the dry fire practice area, leaving your firearm unattended, then return, check your firearm's chamber again!

Dry fire practice is perfectly safe providing you use your brain and understand the potential destruction after a lapse in thinking!
 

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Hi

Great article Recoil.
Since I came here I never heard that someone is using irons for practicing. I believe that there is no better way to learn yourself to shoot than using irons. For the best results I would suggest using air gun rather than dry fire if possible or combination of those two (that would be best). I know I sound silly but air gun is the stuff.
Everything else Recoil said is just perfect! I mean everything is perfect I just wanted to add my opinion!
:roll:
 

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Great post Recoil, Maybe we could get the Mod Squad to make this one "Sticky"

Rigger
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Hi

slip said:
For the best results I would suggest using air gun rather than dry fire if possible or combination of those two (that would be best). I know I sound silly but air gun is the stuff.
I agree; air guns are good for short range practice, especially indoors.

However, the problem with air guns is, you don't have the same trigger pull or weight and balance that you get with a real firearm. That's why I say, if you're training to shoot real guns, practice with real guns. Use air guns only to supplement your training (ie: get some trigger time when the weather is bad, when you're stuck at home and can't get to the range, etc.).

As I said, a real firearm is perfectly safe providing you do your part. After all, they are merely inanimate machines that require our interaction and stupidity to cause any damage. We have safety rules for a reason!

slip said:
I mean everything is perfect I just wanted to add my opinion!
:roll:
No need to suffix your comments with that. Your opinion is welcome. :)
 

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Recoil said:
Modern firearms can withstand having the firing pin dropped on an empty chamber, but bolt guns and old guns really ought to have a snap cap.
Interresting read but I like to add rimfire rifles to this list of taking special care when dry firing. The only thing I know is that it isn't good for the gun because the firing pin will hit the back of the barrel.

Can someone tell me if it's good to use a fired cartridge in your rimfire rifle during dry firing? Does that eliminate the damage that would have been caused with an empty chamber?

Intresting read, thanks for posting Recoil.
 

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When I first tried the reduced targets, I thought, jeez, this is stupid. After shooting the first target, I thought there must have been something wrong with the rifle.After the third try, I thought boy, do I ever stink at iron sight shooting.


A few days later,I tried it again with improved ammo.I had been using cheap Wolf steel cased ammo.It improved a little. Very little . Nope, it was me being a poor marksman. With a 5.56 H-Bar AR, no less. Now, If I have a free moment,and the weather here permits, I go and shoot more reduced targets.If I didn't like to shoot, then I'm on the wrong site.So I shoot some targets, have a good time,and improve my marksmanship skills. It's a win-win situation.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #7
aixelsid1002 said:
It really showed your mistakes. I bought one few years ago to pratice the basics. It works!
Precisely! Shooting something so close makes it blindingly obvious when you screw up. You can't blame "flyers" on the wind or anything else. If the hole isn't on the target, in the X ring, it was your fault and yours alone.

Only through accurate measurement of current skill can anyone expect to get better in the future.

I do want to make it clear though, that these reduced targets are meant to be fired at with real firearms, and NOT air rifles. You are of course, more than welcome to shoot your air rifles at them...You'll just probably have to move them closer, which will screw up the simulated ranges though.

gunfan86 said:
I like to add rimfire rifles to this list of taking special care when dry firing. The only thing I know is that it isn't good for the gun because the firing pin will hit the back of the barrel.
Ah, good call gunfan...Thanks for covering me! :oops:

jeffdorr said:
When I first tried the reduced targets, I thought, jeez, this is stupid. After shooting the first target, I thought there must have been something wrong with the rifle.After the third try, I thought boy, do I ever stink at iron sight shooting.


A few days later,I tried it again with improved ammo.I had been using cheap Wolf steel cased ammo.It improved a little. Very little . Nope, it was me being a poor marksman. With a 5.56 H-Bar AR, no less. Now, If I have a free moment,and the weather here permits, I go and shoot more reduced targets.If I didn't like to shoot, then I'm on the wrong site.So I shoot some targets, have a good time,and improve my marksmanship skills. It's a win-win situation.
Well said Jeff. Thanks for adding your experiences.

Jeff's experience is precisely why this exercise is so important. :)

Only through accurate measurement of current skill can anyone expect to get better in the future!
 

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Re: Hi

slip said:
For the best results I would suggest using air gun rather than dry fire if possible or combination of those two (that would be best). I know I sound silly but air gun is the stuff.
Good point.
I use a Gamo 440 .177 with a fixed BSA 4x40mm (came with) to practice trigger pull as well as stability. It's a great little air gun that is fun to shoot. Helps keep the squirrel population under control too.

I just tried the 25 yard target with a Marlin Model 60 .22 LR in 10 shot groups (only holds 14+1) and my groups look a whole lot similar to that first pic.

I will definately continue shooting at these targets, mostly with the .22, but also with the AR-15 when its not wet/misting outside.

Thanks for the great post! :)
 

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I'm a lucky guy. I just found out last week that there is a shooting club with 500 yard rifle range all of 10 minutes from my home.
:D

They run a full schedule of NRA HiPower and 3 gun competitions + IPSC and the shotgun clay sports....leagues and all.

I see a big increase in trigger time in 2007!
8)

Merry Christmas Recoil!
 

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I think when there's no rifle available that target should be an easy hit with an air rifle like a [drool="RWS m48"]hunting rifle[/drool] or my Daisy Avanti target gun even at 25 meters.

The RWS simulates a regular rifle as good as anything that's not a rifle but still sends something out of the end of it too.

I'm gonna try it with a real gun asap anyway.
 

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One thing Recoil left out. (But I am sure he did so for a reason because most shooters here should KNOW this.) BUT, make sure you also do this with a properly zeroed weapon. Being the best marksman in the world will not matter if you do not have your weapon zeroed.
 

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Recoil,

Sorry to hijack your thread but I have a question for you. I am wondering if it would be possible to setup reduced targets for the 100 or 200 yard line that would simulate unknown distance shooting from 100-1000yds. I would imagine printing out random size targets and assuming the same height of target when ranging would work but if you could tell me approximatley how tall the targets should be to simulate 500yds, 700yds, 900yds etc I would appreciate it. With these basic target heights i could scale them up or down slightly to throw the range off to uneven increments, say 535yds and so on.

Thanks,
-Eric
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Emorse4487 said:
...if you could tell me approximatley how tall the targets should be to simulate 500yds, 700yds, 900yds etc I would appreciate it.
Well, it's not too hard to figure out, so I'll leave the math to you. :lol:

If you want to move the target away from you, out to 100 yards, just double the height of the 50 yard target (should be about 10-11" high).

If you want to simulate a greater distance, you'll have to figure out how much farther your simulated range is than 300 yards. For example, if you want a 600 yard simulated target, which is twice as far, you'll have to reduce the targets by half. If you want to simulate 800 yards, just do 800 / 300 = 2.7 times as far, so reduce the targets by 2.7 times.

You get the idea. :)
 

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Recoil,
That is basically what I did with your 500-yard target but it seems that the targets are too big. If you were to move the target back to the 100-yard line but keep the same dimensions it should simulate 1000 yards. The target is approx 2.25" wide at the shoulders, which would put the actual target size at 22.5" at 1000 yards. I don't know what the average width is for a male's shoulder but I am around 19.5" and I consider myself fairly average if not bigger than average. A .3" difference at 100 yards may not seem like a lot but it is the difference between a hit or a miss with a .30 caliber rifle. I haven't looked at the target at 100 yards yet but I have to imagine that it will also throw off my calculated range, which will defeat the purpose of using them for UD training. Is it possible that you have an actual full size USMC silhouette target on hand that you could throw me some dimensions so I can mess around with some target sizes? I would really appreciate it.

-Eric
 

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I really like how this thread has taken off :D
 

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Emorse4487 said:
Recoil,
That is basically what I did with your 500-yard target but it seems that the targets are too big. If you were to move the target back to the 100-yard line but keep the same dimensions it should simulate 1000 yards. The target is approx 2.25" wide at the shoulders, which would put the actual target size at 22.5" at 1000 yards. I don't know what the average width is for a male's shoulder but I am around 19.5" and I consider myself fairly average if not bigger than average. A .3" difference at 100 yards may not seem like a lot but it is the difference between a hit or a miss with a .30 caliber rifle. I haven't looked at the target at 100 yards yet but I have to imagine that it will also throw off my calculated range, which will defeat the purpose of using them for UD training. Is it possible that you have an actual full size USMC silhouette target on hand that you could throw me some dimensions so I can mess around with some target sizes? I would really appreciate it.

-Eric
For bench shooting that's a good idea, but from standing I know I couldn't hit that 20x in under a minute... most front sights would be far larger than a 2" target... but from a rest it would be.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Emorse4487 said:
Is it possible that you have an actual full size USMC silhouette target on hand that you could throw me some dimensions so I can mess around with some target sizes? I would really appreciate it.
I don't have one handy this second, but if I'm not mistaken, I believe they're 22" wide.

If you don't want to shoot at a target with a "full size" size of 22", then reduce it to your 19.5" if you'd prefer. I don't really want to get this thread off-track by debating a difference of 2.5", but you're more than free to make the target smaller. That's just a greater challenge for you, which is a very good thing and I'm glad you're thinking "smaller is better." :)

rawpower said:
from standing I know I couldn't hit that 20x in under a minute...
Read the rules again...It's two minutes. :wink:

And the rules say you're allowed to shoot in any position you like. You don't have to shoot off-hand. :)
 

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Recoil said:
rawpower said:
from standing I know I couldn't hit that 20x in under a minute...
Read the rules again...It's two minutes. :wink:

And the rules say you're allowed to shoot in any position you like. You don't have to shoot off-hand. :)
Sorry meant two minutes...
And I missed the part about any position. I've been doing off-hand. Thanks for clearing that up.

Great thread. :wink:
 

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Emorse4487 said:
Is it possible that you have an actual full size USMC silhouette target on hand that you could throw me some dimensions so I can mess around with some target sizes? I would really appreciate it.
When on the US Army sniper range at Ft. Stewart, when estimating range on the Iron Maidens they were 40" tall (belt line to top of head) by 20" wide (outside shoulder to outside shoulder). I have an E-type sillouhette (sp?) at home that I'll measure for ya tomorrow.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #20
rawpower said:
And I missed the part about any position. I've been doing off-hand. Thanks for clearing that up.
Yep, the idea is to focus on the relationship between only YOU and YOUR RIFLE.

It doesn't matter if you shoot prone, seated, off-hand, whatever. If you can make hits without rests, bipods, and other toys, your basic marksmanship skills are good because it demonstrates that you can put a bullet precisely where you want it, using only your irons.

I'll grant you that making hits off-hand is more impressive than from prone, but shooting off-hand is a skill unto itself. The focus is meant to be ONLY basic marksmanship, and if you suck at shooting while standing, then by all means, perfect your basics laying down!

There are a hundred ways to make this challenge harder, but difficulty isn't the idea...Getting the basics down is! Start from where you're comfortable, THEN throw in the harder stuff, bit by bit. :)
 
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