Mike Morton shares his expert advice when it comes to shooting accurately, an integral skill to level up those target shooting skills and hunt more effectively!
1. Keep it clean
Clean your barrel and re-lead it on a regular basis. It’s a process that’s often overlooked, but it can make a world of difference to accurate shooting.
2. Get reacquainted slowly
Take the time to re-familiarise yourself with a gun if you haven’t shot it for a while. While some airgun shooters will have only one gun, many people own several. Muscle memory is generally built up for the last gun you shot, so you may need time and practice to let your mind and body adjust if you switch to a different one.
3. Get close to your rifle
Get to know your rifle intimately, especially if it’s a new one. With the rifle uncocked, unloaded and pointing in a safe direction, learn how to locate the controls with your eyes closed, especially the safety catch and trigger. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the controls on your optic too. In a competition or hunting scenario, familiarity breeds content.
4. Stay calm
Don’t snatch your trigger, and do follow through your shots. It’s all too easy to get pumped up and and over-eager, but controlled breathing and a controlled trigger will really pay dividends.
Have fun and try to relax. While this is sometimes easier said than done, stress-induced tension is an enemy of accurate shooting. If you’re not in the right frame of mind, you’re unlikely to perform at your best. The antidote to this is to have a fun plinking session rather than taking on any serious hunting or target work.
6. Adjust to fit
Ensure your gun fits you as well as it can. If you have an adjustable stock, find the correct height of the butt pad. Alter the cheekpiece so your eye is perfectly centred behind your sights, regardless of whether you’re using irons or an optic.
7. Get rock-solid
Get yourself as stable as possible before taking a shot, and use aids such as a bipod, shooting sticks or a bean bag. Unless you are practising a stance, choose the most stable position available, which generally means prone, sitting, kneeling and then standing.
8. Experiment with pellets
Unlock the potential of your rifle by finding out which pellet it prefers. Test different types under controlled conditions and make notes as you go. Using the right ammunition for your barrel can turn a blunderbuss into a tack-driver.
9. Shoot often
Practise as often as you can. Technique can be finely honed by shooting little, but often, and dry-firing can also be beneficial if you’re shooting a PCP. However, shooting skills can just as easily be dulled by inactivity. Just get shooting again on a regular basis.
10. Know your trigger
Regardless of whether it’s a match-grade unit or not, learn how your trigger behaves. Find out exactly how much movement is required and how much pressure is necessary to release that shot. You should never be taken by surprise when your gun goes off.