So you’ve just about had a full year of shooting. You go from shooting 2-3 matches a month to maybe 1 a month. You go from crisp spring/summertime weather, to bitter cold grueling winter weather. Oh those winter time shooting blues.
So now what? Do you sit there and daydream about past matches and what you should’ve done different? Absolutely not! Put down the oatmeal, get off your hiney and grab your rifle!
Wintertime always gives me the blues because I like being outdoors. However, I do not like to be shivering, cold or my feet replaced as ice. Wintertime is great time for indoor dry firing. I know you’ve heard this from me before, but dry firing is a great way to practice. Since I shoot in tactical precision rifle matches, I like to make barricades in my house and practice utilizing my rifle in odd, uncomfortable positions. Oh I use the back of my couch, grab a few chairs from the kitchen or use the end table (with a heavy quilt placed on top of course). I live in the country on open land, so I pick something at distance out my front windows and practice getting on a barricade, placing my crosshairs on the target and pulling the trigger. I use the Bushnell Elite XRS 4.5-30 with the G2 reticle. Dry firing at distance gets you in the practice of using the parallax and the power of your scope. I also play like I’m in a match and I will practice using holdovers with my reticle as well. I watch my heart rate and breathing and practice slowing that down while my eyes are on the crosshairs. Steady makes perfect! Some of the matches have you shooting from barricade down to prone back to barricade. This is a great time to practice that.
Other things I like to practice indoors is dry firing off hand. I practice going between standing, kneeling, sitting and prone. This also give you great practice using your sling. I use the Armageddon Gear precision rifle sling. And of course on days where it may be a little warmer outside, I take my gear out and practice there.
Another great thing to do is read. I utilize The Ultimate Sniper manual, written by Major John L. Plaster, USAR Ret. Lots of great tips in there that you can correlate over into competition shooting, like reading mirage, wind, etc.
Want to get practice on milling targets? Then try out Shooter Ready. You can learn the basics like range estimation, holding for wind, etc. Its a great program that I use regularly. It is a realistic training simulation which graphically displays how wind, altitude, and temperature affect bullets of different calibers in flight. You are not only learning something on this program, but it is a lot of fun!
This year, 2016, I will be shooting for GA Precision, on their shooting team known as Team GAP. I will be switching calibers (I’m going with the 6CM) and will be shooting with a Manners stock. I see a lot of practice ahead of me, both in the house and out! I of course will only be using the best cleaner and lube on the market for this bad boy, my Hoppes 9. I will be using my Bushnell Elite 4.5-30 with G2 reticle and will also be running with all my Armageddon Gear (precision rifle sling, data arm board, fat bags and rear bag). And did I mention daydream? Yes, I will drift away to sleep at night counting the hits with every “ting”.