Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Practice Makes Better

In my previous post I mentioned that I was practicing to make up for my bad luck. I am concentrating on marksmanship at the moment. I have a problem though. The closest public rifle range is an hour and a half away and it charges 12.50 an hour. The cost per hour is not as big of a hindrance than the three hour round trip. When I want to go to the range I have to take a half day off work and (between fuel, ammo, and range fees) spend almost $100. I generally only go three times a year to make sure everything is still sighted in correctly.

To make up for this I have made an air rifle range in my back yard. Air rifles have come a long way in the past few years. I have two high performance air guns. The one I am currently using is the Benjamin Sheridan Trail Np in 22 caliber. It is an amazing rifle.

Poodle not included
It is capable of one hole groups at 20 yards, so it is more accurate than I am. The shrouded barrel makes it very quiet. The impact of the pellet impacting is louder than the report of the rifle. It is scary how powerful it is. The one squirrel I killed last season was taken with this rifle. At thirty yards it made an impressive entry and exit wound. It is perfect for backyard shooting.

In Virginia it is legal to shoot an air gun on your property as long as you make a reasonable effort to keep the pellet from crossing property lines. I made a silent pellet trap that works great.

It looks ugly, but is effective. Kind of like a three legged poodle.
 I use a variety of things for targets. Paper targets are boring and I usually just use those to sight in and practice precision. I like shotgun hulls, but they are too big for real practice. The steel targets you see above are great, but at 20 yards only the chicken is a challenge. My favorite targets are pennies. They are cheap, only a penny each, and they are the perfect size for a good challenge. Speaking of cheap, I can buy more pellets than I can shoot all day for less than five dollars.

And they look cool when you hit them
Shooting an air rife is not the same as a regular rifle, but I believe it is better than nothing. The Benjamin Trail weighs somewhere between 8 and 10 pounds, so it builds strength. Trigger control and breathing is still being used. I have seen a marked improvement since I started practicing with it.

The only challenge is finding time to do it. My wife works nights. I keep the girls (a 2yo and 8mo) from 5 till bed time. Then there is the house to clean and the dishes to wash, plus other household duties. Everyone has this problem. Priorities and life get in the way of what we want to do. I was planning to shoot some tonight, but a thunderstorm rolled in. Oh well, some practice is better than no practice.
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