Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday Gunday: Accuracy is a Mounted Bayonet, Too

You know what I really hate?  Waking up with a spasming neck and a throbbing headache that ruins the entire day for me. I hate it even worse when I did absolutely nothing the day before (like, drinking or partying) to earn such pain in the first place.

Which is basically a long-winded way of saying "Monday's post is late because I felt like shit all day."

Following up on my previous bayonet-related post, the weather on Sunday was nice enough (neither too cold nor too hot) for me to take Izzy out to the range and see if the freshly-mounted bayonet would affect my accuracy. I was also curious to see if the rangemaster or his associates would hassle me for mounting a bayonet in the first place.

The answers to these pressing questions are "Yes, it did," and "No, they did not." I did get at least one incredulous "Is that a bayonet on your rifle?" asked by a fellow shooter, but when I explained how it acted as a counterweight to barrel whip he just nodded as if it all made sense. Honestly, I don't know if it really did make sense to him, or if he was just humoring the crazy chick with a rifle taller than she, but either way it doesn't matter.

I also find it very funny that whenever I offer to let people shoot Izzy, 90% of the time they say "Uh, no, thank you." You'd think I had asked them to shoot the .950 Nutpunch or something. Some days I worry for the state of modern American men.

(You want recoil? Apparently this gun broke that last shooter's second rib. Now that is recoil.)

But enough of this. You want a picture, I give you a picture.

The vital details:
  • Target was at 50 yards
  • 7x scope
  • bipod & bayonet mounted
The first two shots I took were ranging shots, and those are covered by the 2 leftmost orange pasters. The addition of the bayonet altered the point of impact, but consistently so. I eyeballed it at "about eight clicks to the right," adjusted my scope and took a third shot. That one is the bottom hole in the 8 ring. I adjusted the scope up a bit, and you can see the results.

(The third orange paster is just a spoiler. Not sure if I flinched, or sneezed, or someone startled me.)

I'm confident that the scope is properly sighted-in for 50 yards and that everything else is dependent upon my technique. I say that because I learned an important lesson while sighting it in.

It's common knowledge among Mosinistas that the trigger on the Mosin-Nagant is not what you'd call "elegant" or "smooth." In fact, "crudely functional" is probably complimentary, as it takes a surprising amount of force to pull it back and make the bullet go boom (this is known as "trigger break").

Well, as I was squeezing the trigger, I noticed that my sight picture was actually shifting to the side. This is what we in the gun community call "not good" and so I stopped to analyze what was going on. It turns out that I was once again giving it "too much trigger," i.e. my finger was pulling the trigger, and therefore the rest of the rifle, to the right. This was making the barrel actually shift to the left, and would have completely screwed up my shot.

Realizing what was going on, I adjusted my grip by sliding my hand as far down as possible, so that only the tip of my finger was on the very tip of the trigger, as opposed to having the pad of my finger resting in the curve of the trigger. On the down side, this made each trigger pull even harder, and uncomfortable.

Picture taken from Art of the Rifle. Please go here to read the entire article. It's fascinating and well worth your time.

On the good side, each shot was practically a surprise to me, which I've been told is the hallmark of a good shot. If you anticipate it, your breathing or your tension could alter your aim, but if you don't quite know when it's coming then you can kind of "fake yourself out" into making a good shot.

As you can see, it worked splendidly. Now all I need to do work on improving my technique, and then I can move on to 100 yards!

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