Airgun Universe - Everything Airgun.

Becoming a Marksman

One does not become a marksman overnight. One must practice all the basic shooting skills on a continual basis to maintain top shooting ability.

If you are into shooting firearms, you might find that airguns are a bit more challenging to shoot than you expected. The pellet stays in the barrel much longer, making breathing and followthrough especially important.

Because of this, I would recommend that you purchase a low-powered, high quality airgun suitable for shooting indoors or in the backyard. This will allow you to practice without having to make a trip to the range. Here are the important basics of airgun shooting:

Your attitude in shooting is critical to your success. You must not allow yourself to become discouraged when you don't shoot as well as you want to. In each shooting session, your goal should be to improve your grouping over the last session. Don't be a perfectionist - focus on one aspect of shooting at a time until you begin to master all of them. You should be as cool and confident as possible. Take a few deep breaths and slowly let them out to relax.

No matter what position you are shooting from, you must be as comfortable as possible. Avoid squishing your abdomen, as this will affect your breathing and comfort. Keep your spine as straight as possible. Adjust your stock and sights so you don't have to strain to see through them. Your muscles should be relaxed as possible. Never try to rest your body on the joints, as they tend to move under pressure. For example, never rest your elbows on your kness when shooting from a sitting position. Instead, rest your forearms along the inner portion of the leg.

Breathing and Pulse Control
This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of shooting to master, especially when hunting. Part of the trouble is the fact that we can normally control our breathing, but our pulse is completely involuntary. Fortunately, we can use the natural lapses in our pulse to time our shots. It takes self control to reduce the effects of buck fever (rapid irregular breathing and racing pulse in the presence of your game).

If you have an airgun with a scope mounted, try the following exercise: Place a target 30 ft. away. Raise your gun and get the target in your scope. Take a deep breath from the diaphragm, not the chest. As you slowly let half of that breath out, place the reticle over the center of the target. You'll notice slight rythmic pulses as you do. That is your pulse. Now hold your breath. You'll notice a lapse in those motions. Your trigger pull needs to come in this time frame. Wait too long, and your sight picture will again begin to move.

Trigger Pull
One does not have to have a hair trigger to do consistent shooting. Some things you should look for in a trigger are a smooth pull, intermediate weight, and adjustable stops. You should pull the trigger slowly but firmly, keeping a proper sight picture. The firing should be a complete surprise to you, but should not cause you to flinch.

As the gun fires, continue to focus on your target. Do not move the gun until you have heard the pellet strike. Often, your first instinct will be to lower the gun to check the target. Doing so will cost you in accuracy. Also, avoid flinching. Flinching will often cause your groups to pull to the left or right.

This is by no means an exhaustive treatise on marksmanship. If you master the above skills, your shooting will improve dramatically. Don't stop here. Read all the information you can get on the subject. Especially study the science of shooting better known as ballistics. You don't have to understand all the math, but an understanding of the principles involved will help you considerably.