Focused on Fundamentals
My early shooting experiences took place in the state of Illinois. I shot a little handgun, a whole lot of shotgun, but no rifle. This was partly because in Illinois you can hunt big game (deer) only with a shotgun.
Some time ago, when a hunting opportunity in the state of Texas presented itself, I was told to bring my rifle. I opened up my safe, but I didn’t think they wanted me to bring my 10/22 to shoot an Axis deer. So I was loaned a rifle for the hunt. When I arrived at the hunt, my guide wanted me to “sight in” my borrowed rifle—which I think is code for “we need to make sure you know where to point that thing.” After two shots at 100 yards on the bull’s-eye, my guide had no questions about my abilities. The tanned Axis deer hide that now hangs on my office wall was just icing on the cake.
The awesome thing about the shooting sports is that the basic fundamentals apply to all firearms. The principles for shooting a .300 Winchester are essentially the same as for shooting a .22 Long Rifle. Look through the scope or sights, watch your breathing, perform a gentle trigger press and follow through with resetting the trigger and reaquiring your sight picture before you take your next shot.
As a new shooter or when teaching a new shooter, it is important to keep those basic fundamentals in mind. Starting a new shooter with a .22-caliber rifle is a great idea—there’s lots of painless practice, it’s inexpensive and it’s an awesome place to start building skills. From there the possibilities are endless.
Whether hunting or long-range shooting, rifles are a lot of fun. Being accurate with them, just as with any firearm, takes a lot of patience, but it all starts with mastering the skill of basic fundamentals.
Stay safe, shoot straight, have a ton of fun and remember, firearms safety begins with you.