How to hunt tundra swans

Outdoor Life - - CONTENTS -

Truth is, ARS vi­o­late some of the ba­sic pre­cepts of ri­fle ac­cu­racy, and if you’re not aware of the AR’S pit­falls, you’re go­ing to end up with more Hail Marys than Hell Yeahs!

“The way an AR is put to­gether, with the hand­guard af­fixed to the re­ceiver, cre­ates a point of flex that will cost you ac­cu­racy if you’re not care­ful,” says Glen Seekins, the owner of Seekins Pre­ci­sion.

A LIGHT TOUCH

SEEKINS BUILDS some of the most ac­cu­rate gas guns around, and puts them through the wringer him­self in long-range tac­ti­cal matches against shoot­ers who are mostly us­ing bolt guns.

The main rule, Seekins says, is that less is more.

“The less in­put you give to the ri­fle while shoot­ing, the more ac­cu­rate it will be,” he says.

In prac­tice, what this means is that you want to keep the pres­sure from your cheek and hands on the gun to a min­i­mum. Don’t bear down with your face on the stock, and avoid try­ing to force the ret­i­cle onto the tar­get by push­ing the ri­fle around with your hands af­ter the ri­fle has been po­si­tioned. In­stead, po­si­tion the ri­fle so that its nat­u­ral point of aim is on your tar­get, so you aren’t torquing it af­ter the fact.

US­ING A BIPOD

THE NOR­MAL way to shoot a ri­fle with a bipod is to load it by putting for­ward pres­sure on the butt pad with your shoul­der to take the play out of the legs. With a bolt gun, I typ­i­cally tell my stu­dents to use about 5 pounds of pres­sure—which trans­lates roughly to the force re­quired to hold a book in place were you to place one be­tween your shoul­der and the stock.

With an AR, how­ever, this is too much. “You es­sen­tially want to let the ri­fle free-re­coil when shoot­ing,” Seekins says.

TRIG­GER SMARTS

ARS ARE among the most er­gonomic firearms made, and with their easy-to-grasp pis­tol grips, you’d think you’d want to wrap your hand around them when shoot­ing at long ranges. That, how­ever, would be a mis­take, ac­cord­ing to Seekins.

Most pre­ci­sion shoot­ers—even those run­ning bolt guns—place the thumb of the trig­ger hand along­side the grip, rest­ing it gen­tly against the stock.

The pad on the trig­ger fin­ger, as al­ways, should be cen­tered so that it is in the mid­dle of the face of the trig­ger and goes straight across the trig­ger at a 90-de­gree an­gle with re­spect to the axis of the bar­rel.

This is a crit­i­cal point be­cause trig­gers have a lot of slop and play to them. If you don’t be­lieve me, check the trig­ger on your fa­vorite ri­fle right now and you’ll see that it wig­gles like a loose tooth. So un­less your fin­ger is dead cen­ter on the trig­ger and moves so that it comes straight back­ward, you’ll end up putting side­ways pres­sure on it when shoot­ing, lead­ing to poorer ac­cu­racy.

Fi­nally, rest the tips of the other fin­gers on your shoot­ing hand against the front of the grip, with a slight amount of rear­ward pres­sure to seat the stock against your shoul­der.

THE MEN­TAL GAME

ANOTHER PITFALL with ARS is their high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines. With 20 or more rounds at your dis­posal, it is easy to get lulled into a sense of com­pla­cency. Af­ter all, if you miss with one shot, you have so many more at your dis­posal, right?

This is a dan­ger­ous mind­set and needs to be avoided.

Men­tally shoot the gun as though it were a sin­gle-shot, and fo­cus on get­ting a hit with each press of the trig­ger.

MAG­A­ZINE IS­SUES

HERE ARE a cou­ple more tips to con­sider with your mag­a­zines. Don’t load your 20-rounders to full ca­pac­ity. With those last cou­ple of rounds, the spring in the mag­a­zine will be fully com­pressed, which puts ex­tra pres­sure on your bolt, lead­ing to more drag, less con­sis­tency, and po­ten­tially de­graded ac­cu­racy. Also, be aware that with your last shot from a mag­a­zine, when the bolt locks back, the ri­fle has dif­fer­ent har­mon­ics since it’s only ex­pe­ri­enc­ing half the re­coil cy­cle, which can al­ter your point of im­pact.

This is a lot to keep in mind, but these de­tails will help you make a shot when it counts most.

Tips for long-range ac­cu­racy: 1) Rest your thumb along­side the pis­tol grip in­stead of wrap­ping it around the grip. 2) Don’t lean into the bipod when go­ing prone. Keep it neu­tral. 3) Avoid load­ing your mag­a­zines to full ca­pac­ity, to pre­vent ex­cess bolt...

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