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Target air rifle zero shifting.

We've covered many reasons for changes in the striking points of bullets. However, this subject would require book-length application with endless illustrations to be covered. The purpose of our treatment is to make average gun owners, the general public, all consumers, hunters, the sporting goods fraternity and gunsmiths more aware of these endless possibilities.

Average airgun (pistol or rifle) customers consider airguns to be a semi-toy for young boys. Today there exists a category of superbly accurate air rifles and pistols that extends far beyond this. These are used in worldwide Olympic contests. They are so accurate that many shooters proclaim them to be more accurate than the finest .22 target rifles, (within limited range), at 10 meters indoors, where wind can't affect the 7-1/2 grain pellets.

Even so, these wondrous target air rifles and pistols are still subject to zero change factors! Similarity to powder weapons is surprising. Different pellets make big differences as do bullets in powder weapons. Mechanisms that fail to provide uniform air pressure from shot to shot, can be equated to varying powder charges. Barrel cleaning is important, as is lubrication of the mechanism in accordance with the factory-supplied instructions.

Recoilless Factor Amazing ! Recoil in hunting rifles can cause changes in the bullet impact point, due to the shooter's variations in the way the weapon is held, or the manner of rests that are being used. Most hunter-type shooters lack the refinements of training that benchrest and competitive target shooters must learn. They too often "MUSCLE" their weapon into shooting position, and the resultant relaxation instant with the trigger pull/squeeze, allows the aiming point to follow this in a split-second motion that is scarcely detectable because recoil blends everything into its motion.

The recoilless factor of the high-tech competitive Olympic-type air rifles permits a trainee to see errors to the tiniest detail, provided they leave their eyes open in order to detect proper follow-through. Every shift in position can alter that follow-through, hence the area where the bullets strike, causing what might be erroneously taken as a change in the zero setting of the rifle. This can range from a gentle occasional flinch, (which many experienced shooters still experience in spite of all their practice and training), to a heavy jerk of the trigger that sends bullets hither and yon! Practicing with a recoilless air rifle allows shooters to see for themselves ! An example of condemning a high quality M-52 Winchester .22 LR target rifle as inaccurate, came to my shop when I was establishing an NRA smallbore rifle club. Our new shooter was convinced his rifle was shifting zero. I talked him into allowing me to load his rifle for every practice shot. I warned him that I would sneak in an empty now and then in order to watch his physical reactions.

After 5 loaded rounds were fired with poor results on the target, I inserted the first empty. When he "pulled" the trigger, not squeezed - one of his feet came off the floor. It was obvious to him. He recognized his horrible flinch. This was several years ago when we didn't have recoilless air rifles and I was not aware of the tremendous training potential that they provide.

Barrel Time ignored

It takes a bit of time for a projectile to leave its launching area. In rifles and pistols this is the barrel length and the "time" it takes for a projectile to pass through it. Follow-through with air rifles and pistols is more critical than with high-velocity powder weapons. But, the basics remain. It's so relevant that perfect follow-through without flinching can have a tremendous effect on accuracy. Once you master this, you'll be in line for superior performance. You'll virtually eliminate those zero-shifting problems (short of mechanical possibilities). Recoilless air rifle training enables you to see your errors. From there you can more efficiently train yourself for better shooting.

Use Sight Adjustments

Adjustable sights were made to be used . Average hunters use their sight adjustments to zero their rifles or pistols for the ammunition they happen to have. They may or may not stick with that load. Zero changes can easily occur here. We suggest that shooters stick with one manufacturer and bullet weight of ammo for sight-in. Then, if changes are made in ammunition components, new sight adjustments are mandated.

Gunsmiths as Shooters

I'd like to emphasize the "Gunsmiths as Shooters" caption. I fear that many new gunsmiths are far-removed from competitive shooting and all the knowledge that can be derived from this ... and the tremendous help it can be to your business. Gun owners appreciate gunsmiths who know from experience and are fully capable of stepping out there and shooting with you.
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Title Annotation:Holding Zeros, part 3
Author:Schumaker, William
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Words:786
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