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The Awkward Phase

I have to admit that I chuckled reading Robb’s post here, because it’s true.  I think it’s because we all go through that awkward phase when we first start shooting, where we’re trying out a lot different things and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.   Perhaps some people never really get beyond that awkward phase.

I myself have a tricked out HiPoint 9mm Carbine that I never shoot anymore.  I’ts from the awkward phase, complete with all the things Robb mentions, except that it doesn’t have particularly good optics.  I quickly figured out all the gadgety crap didn’t really help with the fundamentals of shooting, so I shed it.  I couldn’t shoot for shit then, and sometimes I can’t shoot for shit now.  But I’m better than I was.  I have a few guns I shoot regularly with optics, but I generally stay with iron sights.

This past Friday I took the PSL out to the range to shoot some 7.62×54 goodness at 100 yards.  The target was a standard 100 yard large bore rifle target.  I landed 3 in the 10 ring, 3 in the 9, two in the 8 and 2 in the 7, for a total of 87/100.  I’m not one to be satisfied with a B when I’m shooting a rifle with optics!  I’ve never been able to shoot the PSL all that well.  I do much better with small bore shooting, which means I need to learn to be better at managing recoil.  The PSL dishes out recoil in spades.  It’s also difficult to shoot if you wear glasses, because of the rubber eyepiece on the Soviet era optics doesn’t fit nicely over glasses.   I have a tendency to wince or flinch when shooting the PSL.  The flash from the mighty 7.62x54R fills the entire scope if you shoot it right.  Good rule of thumb is, if you see flash, you probably didn’t flinch.  I’m getting better at shooting this rather large rifle, but I won’t be happy until I can get all my shots in the nine and ten ring.

9 Responses to “The Awkward Phase”

  1. thirdpower says:

    I have an NDM-86 that I like to take out. It has less recoil than my k98 and I don’t notice much flash. What kind of ammo are you using?

  2. Sebastian says:

    Wolf brand, with the copper case. The PSL is a good bit different than the NDM-86, which is much closer to the Russian SVD. You’re lucky to have that :)

  3. Ahab says:

    I know this sounds backwards, but try shooting it less. Instead of running it in 100 round sessions, which is guaranteed to induce flinching, try 25-50 round sessions.

    The thought behind it is shoot it until you start to flinch, then stop. The next time you take it out, shoot it the same number of rounds that you did the previous time, plus 5. The theory is that you gradually build a tolerance for the recoil, etc.

  4. thirdpower says:

    Ahab’s right. From everything I’ve read on the class, after 20 shots, you start to lose grouping, even w. the good Wolf stuff.

    I got the NDM as a treat to myself after a case settlement over my dad’s death.

  5. AughtSix says:

    Are you shooting from a bench? (with or with out bags) Shooting from a bench with a full-power rifle cartridge with a (I assume) crummy trigger is about the best way to develop a flinch. You might want to try shooting prone with a sling… prone is a good bit more comfortable than the bench for recoil (especially if you’re using a rest on the bench) and shooting with sling’s a good skill to have. Also, even a hasty-sling seems to take up a good bit of recoil. (Or it’s because the rifle’s already pulled a bit harder into your shoulder, giving it less chance to get moving before it hits you)

    Blackfork can tell you all you want to know about a sling. He’s the Texas state high power champion, I believe. He’ll know a thing or two about slings. :)

  6. Robb Allen says:

    I shoot my M44 offhand, no bench, no sling. If it ever comes time to actually use her, I’m not going to be able to sit down and take aim.

    I can proudly say that at 50 yards I hit the target every time (and I only shoot 20 rounds a session). Even if I flinch, the SOB I’m aiming at is still dead or very, very, very wounded.

  7. straightarrow says:

    I shoot all four of my MNs over iron sights, however when I used to try sighting through glass I found I could remove my glasses and see just as well through the scope without them as I could with them. And I have a very strong prescription and lots of astigmatism. Give it a try. Only downside is to shoot the Russian scope you will have no eye protection.

  8. Sebastian says:

    I tried that actually. Through the scope it was blurry without my glasses. The Russians fix the focus on their optics out to infinity, so you can’t adjust it for your eye.

  9. Alcibiades says:

    This is why I support pink-colored rifles, in order to show up the tactical colors.

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