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Shooting at a distance with IRONS.....!!!!

3233 Views 27 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Bubba FAL
How do you do it!!!

My Dad brother and I went to the range on Sunday and my dad and both brought our AR's. I was hitting all day at 50 yards w/o any problems at all (sand bags). I was "battle" zeroed at 50 so for a little fun I setup a little competition to see who could hit at 200 yards. Let me tell you it was not easy. Both AR's had iron sights, paper targets were side by side and were mabe 18"x18" in size and we were shooting from sand bags.

I got setup on the bench and when I sighted in I just aimed for "beige" blur as both targets were close enough that you couldn't seperate them let alone see any kind of orange to hit. So needless to say we each shot 10 rounds...and got 5 hits. Now not to brag but it looked like 3 of the 5 hits, according to the spotting scope, come from me :D but we didn't walk down after every mag to check so we wouldn't piss off the other shooters.

I adjusted a little bit for the battle zero since it was 200 yards and not 300 but I just don't know how in world people are hitting with iron sights. Is it just lack of instruction on shooting irons? I also checked and I was using the small peep.
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+1 on the Appleseed suggestion! If you can hit @ 25yds, you can use the same techniques to hit @ long range.

As a Highpower shooter, we have to use irons. Trust me, there are plenty of guys shooting Expert or higher scores. It's not magic, just finding what works for you (more on this later) and practice, practice, practice. Irons work - we shoot in all weather and I've managed to post some pretty good match scores when it was impossible to see through the spotting scope due to rain or other condensation on the lenses.

I have progressive astigmatism, but it's not as big a deal as you might think. Focus on the front sight post and place it consistently on the fuzzy grey dot on the target line. (Make sure it's the correct fuzzy dot!).

Some folks like a center hold, I prefer a 6-oclock hold (what the Marines call a "lollipop" hold) - the bull sits on top of the front sight post. This seems to be preferred when shooting targets with a black center.

Here's a secret - we cheat! By this I mean we tune our sights for our eyes. I use a .040" rear aperture on my service rifle and 6.8, a .046" on my M4-gery. This can be a handicap in a low light scenario, but that's what the big peep is for. BTW - flipping between the small and large apertures on the AR will change your POI.

The front post on all of my ARs is .052". Some of the AMU guys that have shot with us actually like a wider front post - say it's easier to center the target dot that way. They shoot better scores than I do, so I won't argue. FWIW - the standard post on an M1 is designed to be used as a basic rangefinder - if the post is smaller in width than the person in your sights, use normal sight picture, if not, hold higher.

Knowing your load ballistics will provide your "come-ups" or sight adjustments for various ranges. I zero my battle rifles @ 200yds, as this is the most common distance I shoot at. Depending on your sights/load, a 100yd zero may cause you to run out of elevation adjustment at extreme distance. Also, understand that if you have 1/2 MOA adjustments, the amount of POI shift provided by each click is multiplied by the distance (in hundreds of meters). For example, one click at 100M shifts POI by 1/2", the same adjustment at 200M shifts POI by 1".

After you get all this figured out, then you get to deal with deal with windage, which is a whole other discussion.

Hope this helps...
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Lollipop vs. Center Hold w/ Irons

No big trick here, it all depends upon how you've zero'd your sights. Use the same sight picture to set your zero as you will in shooting - come-ups are the same regardless of sighting method. Consistency is the key, build your positions, control your breathing & trigger squeeze and have at it. Dry-fire practice is essential. My wife & daughter think I'm nuts lying on the living room floor all slung up in my coat and "oven mitt" running through a dry-fire match, but it helps keep the various positions ingrained in muscle memory to the point where it becomes instinctive and helps maintain my firing cadence.

Don't let distance mess with your head. In Highpower matches, the centers of the targets are sized such that they appear the same to the eye regardless of distance. If you're on a reduced course, the centers are smaller on the prone targets to simulate the difference in distance. What can bite you at the longer distances is the wind.

Yes, the Offhand stage is the toughest - standing w/no support (sling). Last match, we had 20-25mph wind straight at us & my offhand target looked like I shot it with buckshot! It was not easy to hold steady against that kind of wind. Didn't bother me much the other three stages as I shot to average (87.5%), but it was one day I wished I'd have brought my 17.5# Service Rifle and not the 10# 6.8. Today was a different story as I put 3 of 4 rounds in a cloverleaf with the 4th round landing ~ .5" from the other three (burning up the last of my stash of the old blue-box SSA 115gr. match ammo). Two other offhand groups (with Remmy FMJs) were 9s & 10s, with two 8's opening up the second group. Now if I can only do that in the next match...

Also, many Highpower shooters (myself included) will fire their offhand shots as the front sight comes down on the target - similar to pistol shooters. Some will bounce once or twice to get settled first, but the shot breaks on the downward movement. The slow fire stages are where a two-stage trigger is most beneficial. Trigger pull must be >/= 4.5# to be legal, but this is aggregate across both stages. So, 3.5# first stage + 1# second stage is legal (and works well). Faster lock time also helps to make the rifle go bang right when it needs to (think Gisselle).

Highpower may not be as fun as a run 'n' gun tactical shoot (and can be downright frustrating at times), but you'll gain a great deal of proficiency with your rifle and confidence to make long distance shots.

Hope this helps...
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Art - Yes, I've read Zediker's book (original version). Curious to know if the new edition has significant updates to justify the cost.

Borderpatrol - your points regarding 6 o'clock vs center hold are well taken. A 6 o'clock hold is not so good for silhouette targets. I've tried a .036" aperture, but had issues in sub-optimal lighting conditions, particularly low light such as rain/fog (we shot year-round in TN, regardless of weather - exception for lightning) or shooting at shaded targets with full direct sun (one of the local ranges in TN faces West with a high tree-covered hill behind the target line, start time is 1PM - sun gets pretty nasty during the winter months by the time we're shooting slow-fire prone). That's my eyes, everyone's different.

BTW - should bring up another point. That 1# second stage I mentioned can be a real handicap when your trigger finger is numb from the cold. If you can't feel the trigger, you can end up pulling right through the second stage trying to take up the first.
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Bubba, have you compared your shooting at 100 yards with the shooting coat and sling and with shooting offhand in a combat style to see how different it was? How was your accuracy?
Paulo- In HP, slings are not allowed in the offhand stage so it's not a factor. Haven't really tried a combat style position in a HP match but since slings are not allowed, I don't find a combat style stance to be as stable unslung. The normal offhand position is pretty stable if you do it right. If I'm snap-shooting, I tend to drift into more of a combat stance and use a "hasty" sling arrangement. Either way, I tend to score better if I don't spend too much time worrying about taking the offhand shot, but rather just relax and shoot.

I'm kind of unusual though, being naturally left-handed & left eye dominant, but shooting right-handed/right-eyed. This does not work well when attempting to shoot with both eyes open for obvious reasons, and is why wingshooting is a waste of ammo for me. I've tried shooting left-handed, but it just doesn't feel right.
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