Never forget that a gun has the potential to produce serious injury or death in a single instant of carelessness. Make safe gun handling a habit to be followed at all times. After you determine that a gun is unloaded, continue to handle it as though it were loaded.
In selecting a safe direction, you must also take into consideration that a bullet can ricochet or glance off any object it strikes, and that bullets can penetrate walls, ceilings, floors, and windows.
By keeping your finger completely outside the trigger guard until you have aimed at the target, you guarantee that any shots you fire will go safely in the direction of your intended target.
Remember that a bullet can travel as much as several miles, so you should be certain of what your bullet could strike before you pull the trigger. Never fire at a movement, a noise, a flash of color, or a rustling bush without positively identifying your target.
With a little practice, duplex reticles can be used to determine holdover for long-range shots.
From the High Ground
Sniper Practice... Using LIVE Targets!
19 Jan 1997
In the Army, there is a commonly-held belief that you should "train as you fight." In simple terms, this means that soldiers should demand, expect, and accept "tough, realistic training" to better prepare themselves for battle with the enemy. Indeed, there is great emphasis placed on putting soldiers into environments and situations that very closely resemble the same ones they'll experience under hostile circumstances. However, safety is -- universally -- the overwhelming concern when planning a training exercise. Therefore, Army planners trade off some degree of risk (i.e., potential for injury) in return for an opportunity to develop and sustain the skills required for combat.
In support of the notion that you should "train as you fight," how do you practice sniping? Certainly, you can't go around picking off people that are several hundred yards away... I mean, it's just not socially acceptable. People will complain. The police will get involved. You'll need a lawyer. It's just not worth it, using your fellow humans as live targets just to gain some quality, meaningful, sniper practice.
How, then, does a sniper practice his shooting skills? After all, the targets need to be unpredictable, mobile, and engaged at distances that will challenge the sniper's marksmanship skills. The sniper needs an environment that will allow him to practice his shooting positions, both deliberate and hasty, while giving him an opportunity to hone his skills with a bipod and a sling. This environment should be free of unwanted distractions... like neighbors, police, jail cells, television news crews, and lawyers. Proper sniper training should also include range estimation, wind calculation, and land navigation. Undoubtedly, such training will take place "in the field," and this provides yet another - - and all too often, "overlooked" -- piece of training... packing JUST the needed equipment to accomplish the mission. As a sniper, at least as a military sniper, you're going to be humping your gear without assistance from gun bearers, water boys, and the like. You want it? You carry it!
So, once again, how will you "train as you fight" if you're a sniper?
Shoot prairie dogs.
I don't know of any other environment that provides as much potential for practicing sniper skills as shooting prairie dogs... unless you attend a special school like those run by Carlos Hathcock or John Plaster, of course. Shooting prairie dogs (it's really hard for me to call it "hunting") gives a sniper a vast assortment of "tough, realistic training" opportunities.
Packing. Sure, you might take your four-wheel drive vehicle, crammed full of guns and gear... but that's not the idea, is it? Why not take just the gear you NEED to take, and see what you must have and what you can do without? This can be an eye-opening experience in itself. It will, after a few times, teach you to put more time into your planning. Besides guns, ammunition, and cleaning equipment (to include brake cleaner, solvent, and lubricant) here are some things you might not normally think of taking along: your medication(s); a first aid kit; insect repellant; rain gear; food; trash bags; something to sit/lay/rest on; sun screen (lotion); head gear (appropriate for keeping the sun out of your eyes when you shoot, and for keeping the sun from burning your face -- and the top of your head if you're bald); a broken-case extraction tool in the appropriate chambering; a small set of gunsmithing tools that includes screw drivers and nut drivers; Loc-Tite; wire; tape; targets (for re-zeroing, in case "something happens" that requires it); a knife; warm-weather AND cold-weather clothing; maps of the area; a weather report for the duration of your field exercise; and. .. well, you get the idea. Except for the gun(s), you can (via careful shopping and packing) get all of these things, plus your ammo and cleaning equipment, into a rucksack.
Range estimation. The distances you will be engaging prairie dogs usually "start" at 200 yards... and then it REALLY gets interesting. You're only limited by how far you can see and how far your ammunition will successfully defeat the target. Bring a good pair of binoculars, yes, but not those heavy, industrial-size types. Just something you can pack, which will help you scan your sector for targets.
Wind calculation. "Test tube" shooters need not apply. If all you've ever done is shoot from a bench, over sandbags, with wind flags placed between you and your targets -- so you could shoot when the flags were down or "just right"-- well, just do yourself a favor and stay home. Shooting prairie dogs gives you a LOT of practice in judging the wind. Personally, I know of a couple of guys who, their last time out, were using what you might call "fence post hold." That is, the wind was so STRONG, and they were shooting at such LONG distances... they were spotting for each other using comments (in reference to the fences that bordered the ranches in the area, made of wooden posts and barbed wire) like "You were about three feet to the left on that last shot. Hold about two fence posts to the left, and about one and a half high... you'll get 'im." Seriously, folks, we're talking REAL wind and REAL distance.
Shooting positions. You can shoot anyway you want. With a sling. With a bipod. Standing. Sitting. Prone. Using the top of a fence post to help steady you. Laying over a rock. Leaning into the wind... yes, I said "leaning into the wind."
Marksmanship. You'll get a REAL chance to practice your marksmanship skills, especially if you're using a scope on your rifle... and, "trust me," you WILL be using a scope on your rifle! You'll get practical experience in things like mirage, parallax, leading your target, "sensing" your shot(s), trigger squeeze, breath control, cant (no, not "can't" -- I'm talking about tilting your rifle to one side or the other ), and ALL SORTS OF THINGS that make shooting prairie dogs interesting and challenging. I'm having a Vais muzzle brake put onto my .22-250 Remington-chambered rifle... not because the recoil is killing me, but because I can't "sense" my own shots after I've fired. Even though I try to "follow through" and keep the scope focused on the target, the brief jump of the muzzle from each shot keeps me from seeing exactly where my shots are going.
"Real World" Practice, on LIVING TARGETS!!! It is true that a prairie dog will let you take several shots at him before he gets fed up and goes down into the ground. However, when they're moving, THEY'RE MOVING ! They are unpredictable, mobile, and -- once they finally figure out that you're trying to kill them -- quite difficult to get a good shot at . Even under the best of conditions, they're not very big, and they are a long, LONG distance from you.
Socially Acceptable. You won't make any friends with the animals' rights groups, but... you'll make a lot of landowners and cattlemen happy. Prairie dogs carry diseases, make a lot of holes in the ground (a hazard to livestock and people), and eat a lot of grass. (Cattle and prairie dogs both eat a LOT of grass. Do you like steak? Hamburger? Want to make sure your local grocery store stays well-stocked with both? Get busy and start killing some prairie dogs!)
Also, you can do a lot of killing -- even wipe out entire "towns" -- and get away with it... legally! In fact, since you're generally alone, you can pretty much do whatever you want. You can stalk, build a hide, wear camouflage, and just about anything in which a sniper must be proficient . As far as appearance and behavior, there are no social pressures... because there's no "social." As a rule, there's usually no one around you for miles when you're shooting prairie dogs.
When you've grown tired of punching paper with that surgically-precise rifle of yours... and you're looking for a way to practice some of your sniper skills... give some consideration to prairie dog shooting. I don't know that it's all that "tough," but it's about as "realistic training" as you can legally find. "Train as you fight?" Shooting prairie dogs offers a lot of good, practical opportunities (i.e., sniper training) for any shooter who is willing to accept the challenge.
From the High Ground
Gadgets and Gimmicks
25 Feb 1997
Problem: Compensating for training and experience with accessories and new equipment
If you're "a shooter," and unless you're just awakening after having been comatose for the past few years, you've noticed the barrage of new gadgets and gimmicks that are intended to help you improve your shooting results.
To name just a few...
Moly-coating bullets (and lately, the bore of your weapon)
Generally, this involves impact-plating your bullet with molybdenum disulfide. This reduces the distortion of your bullet, all but eliminating the effects of the lands and grooves of the rifling on it as it travels through the bore. Commonly, this coating process reduces velocity and pressure, which allows a handloader to "up" the charge (two grains seems to be the usual increase) which maximizes the volumetrical "fill" within the case. Most shooters know that better results are obtained from rounds with cases that are nearly, if not completely, filled with powder.
A lot of attention has been, and continues to be, given to coating bullets with moly. Even moly grease can be used (CAUTIOUSLY!) to get positive results. Of noteworthy interest are the recent revelations about a slight "degrade" in accuracy. Apparently, while moly is a great idea, "better than sliced bread" and all that, handloaders need to concern themselves more closely with chamber pressure -- that is, keeping it high enough and consistent enough. The two "fixes" for this are either to use a smaller diameter of expanding ball on your decapping pin (or turn it down a bit on a lathe), or seat the bullet into the lands and grooves to allow the pressure to build a bit before the bullet really gets going.
If you decide to turn down the expander ball on your decapping pin by using a lathe, I'd advise you get about four of them (they're cheap enough that this won't bankrupt you) and turn them down by increasing amounts of increments of one-thousandth of an inch. Load five to ten cartridges using each pin/expander -- changing NOTHING ELSE in your loading process -- and see which one gives you the best results in accuracy. As always, consistent shooting procedures are required to ensure documentable and reliable data can be gathered.
If you choose to seat the bullet into the lands and grooves, you'll have to play around with varying the seating depth -- and again, change NOTHING ELSE in your loading process. You may run into some difficulty in this latter procedure, in that many of the rifles being produced today have rather long "free-bored" throats. You may have difficulty engaging the lands and grooves unless you go to a heavier bullet -- which, depending on your shooting needs, you may not want to do, or be able to do. Certainly, you could always have a gunsmith set the barrel back a little but, to me, this seems like a lot of trouble just to use moly-coated bullets. When it comes to machining, I always weigh the "possible" gains against the effort(s) required. I don't believe in making my life any more difficult than it is already.
Moly-coating your bullets might be nice and, sure, might get you some good results. However, let me remind you, that just a few short years ago, moly was NOT the "rage" that it is now (although, in the early part of this century, competitive shooters were using grease with their rounds -- but careless practitioners of this method caused accidents and the procedure was banned at most competitions). People like Lones Wigger, Carlos Hathcock, John Plaster, Craig Roberts, Dick Culver, and others have made a name for themselves in the shooting world WITHOUT moly-coated bullets. Don't let inaccessibility to molybdenum disulfide convince you that you'll never amount to much as a shooter.
I also mentioned that coating the inside of your bore is starting to become quite the rage among some shooters. The main problem with this process, as the debate goes, is how does a person ensure that the lubrication he's using to coat the bore will coat it evenly? Also, how does the individual know when it's time to coat the bore again? Is it better to wipe it into the bore with soaked patches, or to spray it down the barrel (and which end of the barrel, for that matter)? Shooters are experimenting with a wide array of products that are intended to be used to coat the bore of their weapons -- Teflon, graphite, moly, and a vast assortment of oils. One particular product claims to create a "film" inside the bore, which "permanently" stops metal fouling from occurring. However, this film breaks down at temperatures of 700 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, and is not recommended for semi-automatic weapons where shooters use them at a "normal" rate of sustained fire. This latter product has made several claims to improve accuracy that, as far as I know, are still unproven by independent testing.
Now, don't get me wrong. I think range finders are great. Especially when they work. Most especially when they work properly. The best I've ever used has been the Leica Geovid. However, I just can't justify the $3,000.00 price tag for my shooting requirements. And you know? What ever happened to good, old-fashioned, range estimation. You know, "training?" Something called "experience?" The lost art of "practice?" Hey, I think it's just marvelous to have a scope or other optical instrument that will give you the range to a target without any fuss on your part. However, Heaven forbid, what would happen if your range finder malfunctioned, got broken in transit, or you left it at home?
I think too many people spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME indoors! Computer games. Television. "Entertainment centers." Billiards in the basement. "Reading a good book." Part of the problem a lot of people have in this country -- in MANY aspects of their lives -- is that nobody seems to want to go "live" life anymore. They'd rather watch somebody else do it in a movie, or simulate it on a computer. Kids just don't seem to get outdoors much anymore, and they eventually turn into adults that don't seem to get outdoors much anymore. It used to be a fairly common thing for a "true" rifleman to accurately estimate his distance to a target. No, of course not with the precision of the high-technology equipment available today, but close enough to get the job done with certainty and confidence. When's the last time you went to the field WITHOUT your rifle and practiced your range estimation skills? It's hard to learn about "the great outdoors" unless that's where you are. Get out of the house!
What about in an urban environment? How do you estimate distance to a target? Well, if you did a thorough reconnaissance of area of operation , you ought to know the distance between telephone poles, how long city blocks are, how wide lanes in the street are, how tall each floor of a building is, the height of street lights, the height of fire hydrants, at what distance YOU can no longer read license plates, and all sorts of pieces of information that can give you accurate data in setting up a shot. A range finder can be a wonderful tool, but it can also be a crutch.
Lasers, holograms, and scopes with cute little electronic red dots
Murphy's Law of circuitry states that anything that CAN fizzle out, WILL fizzle out -- and at the worst possible time. If you're relying on electronics, don't forget to bring along "backup" power supplies (i.e., extra batteries). Especially if you're operating in extremely cold environments, battery life can be reduced dramatically in a short period of time; if you're using any type of optical sighting or ranging device to acquire or engage your target, ensure that you're prepared to replace a dead battery or two. And, be advised, batteries are items that you don't want to scrimp on, just to save a few pennies. There is a particular brand of battery that I'll always choose over all others -- and though I won't mention any names, I can tell you that it doesn't have a fuzzy little critter beating on a drum to help sell the product. And, yes, I have shopped around and compared.
There are, at this time, efforts to compensate for deficient marksmanship training with pieces of equipment. Optics that make it "easier" for GIs to aim, and fancy fire control systems that make it possible for even inexperienced riflemen to make incredibly long shots with surgical accuracy.
For many years, I was involved in training recruits to become soldiers. An ugly, thankless, laborious, and -- believe it or not -- sometimes "dangerous" job. Part of their training is, of course, basic rifle marksmanship (BRM). Kids coming into the military today, for the most part, have no concept of things like trajectory, drift, and drag. To most of them, "bullet drop" is probably the term they would use to describe what they do after they drop some portion of their ammunition ration on the firing line -- they "drop" and start knocking out pushups. Because kids are growing up in a world of electronic games, keyboards, and "simulated life," many of them are ignorant (not "stupid" -- there's a difference) of the simpler points of shooting. Drill sergeants and drill instructors in this country have my undying respect and admiration for the patience they must exercise in teaching these young men and women the basics of firing a rifle or pistol. Most of the time, the ones who stand out at the end of a day's qualification are (still) the "farm boys" who grew up using a rifle to hunt with and with which to keep the varmint population under control. Now and then, some "city feller" will rack up an impressive score, but that's a rarity. And always, you'll occasionally get the kid who's never shot a rifle in his life, and "cleans the clock." Again, that's pretty rare. In the Army, the worst you can shoot and still qualify is "marksman." Then "sharpshooter," and the best is "expert." Too many commanders place too little emphasis on excellence in marksmanship, and only concern themselves with ensuring that their company "gets qualified." The way things usually go, the majority of kids will make "marksman" (and about half of those just barely made THAT), quite a few make "sharpshooter," and a minor number will make "expert." I always made it a point to draw attention to the ones who made expert, because I think excellence should be rewarded.
Still, I have a serious contention with the way the Army teaches marksmanship during Initial Entry Training (IET, or "basic training"). The Army focuses on using pop-up targets at "known" distances, and scoring ANY hit that knocks down the target. The Army doesn't seem to place much importance, anymore, on "killing." Sure, they teach you to "hold center-of-mass," but they score anything that hits (as long as the target goes down). Further, there is no real effort to teach range estimation. I am in a qualified position to say, without reservation, that the majority of BRM training is specifically geared to qualify -- that is, instructors are "teaching the test." I know, I know... the unit is supposed to provide sustainment training. Yeah, right. Let me just mention, briefly, that there are many other things a company commander has to devote attention to besides marksmanship training. I'm not saying that marksmanship won't be trained, but I am saying that -- available time and resources not being what they used to be -- marksmanship just isn't likely to be given the importance that I'd prefer.
I'm not going to slam the use of bipods, but I'd like to tell you a little story.
Last summer, I was in South Dakota killing prairie dogs. I use B-Square Roto-Tilt bipods on my rifles, with extensions. During a break in the action, as I was getting ready to run a patch through the bore and do a little cleaning, the rifle I was using -- propped up on the fully- extended bipod legs (with extensions -- I like to shoot prairie dogs from a sitting position on the ground) fell over to one side, impacting the scope, when one of the bipod legs collapsed unexpectedly. I had to sight-in again, and fortunately I had everything I needed to accomplish this (I always try to go to the field prepared for the worst). Now, it was my own fault for having the rifle in such a position and for not being close enough to stop it from falling. However, the point is, that bipods can give you these kind of experiences. So can sling swivels that come loose.
Bipods seem to be one of the first accessories (other than a scope) that many people put on their rifles. I have always believed, and still do, that the best accessory to have on a rifle besides a good scope is a sling. I think that "the sling" is an underestimated and misunderstood tool of the trade. I also think shooters should learn how to "make do" with shooting sticks. Using bipods makes it too convenient to set the rifle down -- perhaps in an unstable position that isn't immediately apparent. With a sling, you usually either keep the rifle on your person or are very careful about where you lay the rifle down, or what you choose to prop it against.
Shooting sticks don't have to be "store bought" or fancy -- they just need to be functional. I'll bet a lot of you have never used them, but it's a part of your training regimen that you should practice somewhat regularly.
As for slings, I've always felt that using a sling the right way is somewhat of an art. In my early days of competition, I used to have problems shooting good scores from a standing position. One day, a member of my shooting team -- a former military sniper -- showed me how to cinch up the sling for shooting from a standing position. No one ever had before, and boy was I appreciative. My improvement was both immediate and obvious.
Pick up any gun magazine off the newsstand or at a bookstore, and you'll see a whole bunch of neat, whiz-bang, "nice to have" things to improve your shooting. Things to hang on your rifle's barrel, or scope, and things to carry attached to your belt or uniform. I get a lot of E-mail asking whether I think that such-and-such a gadget would improve so-and- so's shooting. People are so eager to spend their money, but most of the time they just don't have it to spend.
I'd rather see people get the best rifle, scope, and sling that they can afford, get -- or handload -- some quality ammunition, and practice their shooting skills. Really, you don't need a lot of gadgets and gimmicks to shoot well, and you're only hurting yourself if you get caught up in all the "hype" that accompanies the latest "new product." Too many people spend all their time and money on custom equipment, barrel freezing, barrel polishing, and other things... when they could - - and SHOULD -- be out at the range practicing position work and basic shooting skills. The more things you rely on to "help" you shoot, the more opportunities you will have for something to go wrong when you can't afford it.
From the High Ground
"Tics" -- That is, "Optics" and "Politics"
30 Oct 1996
First, I want to state up front, for the record, that I am not an expert in the area of optics. Specifically, I have never had a hand in the design, manufacture, or modification of a telescopic rifle sight. I do, though, know that LASER is rarely capitalized as it should be, given that it is an acronym, meaning "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." I've used "red dot" scopes. I've shot LASER-sighted weapons, used a Starlight scope on more than a few occasions, and "been around" a bit, where optics are concerned. Yet, again, I am NOT what I would profess to be "an expert" in the field.
I do know this, though. That there are certain politicians who would ban such sighting devices, if given the chance. If you read your European history, you'll discover that there was a period of time when optical sights, scopes on rifles, were forbidden.
Now, why do you think that is?
How good of a shot are you with "iron sights?" You might find out... you might HAVE to find out, in the not so distant future. The very reason for using a scope on a rifle, or any other type of optical sighting device, is the same reason that some politicians would ban their use. That reason being, of course, that such devices improve a rifleman's ability to successfully engage and destroy a target at a longer range, ideally keeping the shooter out of harm's way. Certainly, there are several iron sights on the market that are precise sighting instruments, truly marvels of precision engineering. All in all, however, they are fairly expensive (the better ones, anyway), and most shooters would not be likely to install them on their rifles. Regardless, shooters restricted to using iron sights would, for the most part, have their own "effective range" seriously diminished.
Ability is an individual thing, of course. I grew up using iron sights, both "open" and "closed," and it's not such a big deal to me to use them. I take exception, however, to the notion of being legislated into HAVING to use them. I'm talking about another "backdoor" attempt to implement more gun control. I can assure you that the same mentality that asks "Why do you need an 'assault' weapon?" will just as surely ask you something like "Why do you need a scope on that high-powered rifle?" and "Why do you need to shoot things that are so far away?"
Whether in real life, or in a fictional book or movie, assassins seem to favor rifles with scopes, sometimes with LASERs as well. At least, this is the perception of the American public. And it is this same perception that has led to measures like reduced-capacity magazines, outlawing silencers and, in general, banning accessories and even entire rifles if such items give the anti-gun public the notion that they are "evil." Solution? Ban them!
You folks with scopes made by Leupold, Swarovski, Zeiss, Schmidt & Bender, and other makers of quality optics, can easily attest to the fact that such products are not bought cheaply. Do you think, even for a moment, that if telescopic rifle sights are outlawed, that you would be compensated for the actual value (i.e., purchase price and modifications -- if any)? If so, then guess again.
Think about what your shooting "style" would be like without optics. Go ahead, think about it. Hey, I'm not saying you can't shoot accurately without slapping on a scope... but I AM saying that if you've come to rely on using a scope for your long-range engagements, you might not like having to do without one. Times are not good for shooters like you and me who take our equipment -- and ourselves -- seriously. People who don't share our enthusiasm for firearms and shooting, especially our interest in long-range target shooting, aren't very likely to ever understand, and they certainly aren't likely to become strong supporters of our Second Amendment rights.
Look at the strategies that have been tried by those who stand against us. Attempts to establish arsenal licenses, raise taxes on handloading supplies and live ammunition, impose fines for inadequate security measures, and threats of unwarranted searches have all been intended to chip away at us, bit by bit. The notion is, clearly, that if they can't get our guns, then go after the things that make our guns shoot -- primarily, ammunition and ammunition components. If you haven't noticed these tactics, you've been living in a cave, and it's time to come out into the sunlight with the rest of us.
In line with the strategy of going after things that make guns shoot is the idea of "regulating" our sighting systems, specifically those relying on optics. Left unchecked, this "future" will become "reality."
If you like shooting your rifle with a scope on it, vote accordingly in this year's election.
Remington Trigger Adjustments
14 May 2000
First, the disclaimer
In the U.S.A., we live in a litigious society, and for those of you who live in Rio Linda, that means fools will do really stupid crap, and then sue someone else, because "It's their fault, they made me do it!". For those of you that don't know what you're doing... STAY AWAY FROM TRIGGERS... you can hurt someone (usually someone else!)
Adjusting triggers is something that was once an expected job by the owner of a new gun, just like adjusting the seats in your new car.
But Remington (because of many lawsuits) takes a very dim view of adjusting their triggers... it's number "1" under Remington's "Felony list of no-no's".
Be advised, if you adjust the trigger, and send the gun back to Remington (in the USA) for repairs, they will charge you for a new trigger (they will NOT re-adjust the old one).
.. and finely, your mileage may vary according to road conditions. If you are new at guns, and lack experience to do internal minor repairs and parts replacement... this may not be for you. Do not do the following unless you are skilled enough to work on guns, and responsible enough to handle them safely. I'm presenting this information as "Information Only"... it is SOLELY your decision whether you have the skill and ability to use this information.
If you have an accident, it means that you weren't skilled enough, or responsible enough, so you shouldn't have done the following, so it's not my fault, neither this site!
Now on to the details
The Remington triggers are very good, except they come with a built in lawyer, and he weighs about 9 or 10 pounds.
You will need a bit of good quality gun oil (CLP or equivalent), and a set of small screwdrivers, and some white or red nail polish.
Remove the barreled action from the stock.
Looking at the gun and trigger so the safety is up, and the barrel is pointing to your right... the front of the trigger is to your right...
The three screws are as follows...
- On your right, (the front of the trigger) the top screw, near the action, is over travel...
- The bottom screw is spring tension...
- On your left side, (the back of the trigger) is the engagement screw.
First, break the white "Seals of God" and screw the three screws out enough so that you see several threads.
They may be hard at first, but they are NOT staked in place. The screws and trigger body are carbon steel, and may be rusted, or they may have a sealant on them. Just break them free. Drop a teeny bit of oil on the threads. Run the screws in and out several times until the oil is in the threads, and they turn freely.
OK, now down to business.
Back out the spring tension screw out until there is just enough pressure to keep the trigger forward, but it's very light (4 or 5 oz's) and easy to move.
Back out the engagement screw, (the single screw on the left) and the over-travel screw (the upper screw on your right) out, so there's play to adjust.
Close the bolt on a cocked pin (don't pull the trigger) and VERY SLOWLY turn the engagement screw (on your left) in until the firing pin drops. Back it out about 1/3 to 1/2 of a turn. With the firing pin down, you should now feel the trigger wobble back and forth if you pull it because there is excessive over travel.
Because the back surface of the trigger is NOT undercut, you have to adjust over-travel with the pin "down".
Now, with the firing pin in the "fired" position, screw in the over-travel screw until it "just touches" the trigger lightly, preventing the trigger from moving... back out the over travel screw 1/4 turn. Pulling the trigger now, (with the pin "down") you should feel just the "slightest" free movement.
Now turn in the spring tension screw (lower right) to a pull that you like... I'd strongly suggest a good trigger pull gauge, instead of guessing.
Cock the pin and try it... it should break like glass.
- Slam the bolt closed a dozen times, check to see if the pin dropped each time. If the pin drops, back out the engagement screw 1/4 turn, and do again.
- Cock the pin, set the safety, pull the trigger, release the trigger, and release the safety, a dozen times... if the pin drops, increase the spring tension (shouldn't be necessary, unless you're down around 10-15 oz's, and this trigger is not reliable at that light a pull.
Put white or red nail polish on the screws. Let dry, and put another coat on it again, and again.
There will be no "take up slack", this is a single stage trigger, and can't be adjusted to act like a two stage.
These triggers are easily capable of going to 24-26 oz's, and they keep the setting year after year, and I've never had to re-adjust one.
Around the Water Cooler: Unfamiliar Firearms
By Rich Grassi
Many of you reading this will never be in a situation where you have to seize a firearm - but you may. The reasons to do so vary. Perhaps you are a soldier, a private security contractor or a responsible armed citizen. During an encounter with a hostile, let's say, you are able to prevail. The perpetrator is down, not unconscious. His gun lays a few feet away from him. There are other people around.
Do you grab the gun? Do you order the offender, "BACK!" walk over and step on the piece? Do you kick it away . . . even if it's cocked? Do you pick it up and find you have nowhere to put it? Do you know how to safely handle that particular firearm?
Sometimes the toughest question is the most basic question: can you handle unfamiliar firearms? I'll tell you how needed this is. In the late 1990s our regional Major Case Squad - a multi-agency mutual aid arrangement - needed help arranging an hour or so of training for members at a monthly meeting. I got our department armorer to load up with various firearms and do a class on "Handling Unfamiliar Firearms." It was extremely well received and it was the most involved I'd seen M-Squad attendees get in a class.
We still need that training, apparently nationwide.
A few days ago, a flight attendant for Republic Airlines tried to get through security at Philadelphia to get to her assigned flight. She was found to have an "Airweight" Smith and Wesson revolver - known by the blogger to be one of the best self-protection guns around. A police officer - the agency that covers Philadelphia's Airport may or may not be the City of Philadelphia PD, I don't know - took the gun and it "discharged" when the officer attempted to unload it.
A DA revolver is one of the easiest guns around to deal with. Don't futz with the trigger nor with the hammer (if you can see it - some S&W Airweight revolvers are Centennial-style, with the hammer hidden inside the enclosed frame).
Refer to our photos.
This is a S&W double action revolver, a rimfire Airlite in this case. Note behind the cylinder is a cross-hatch checkered piece of steel affixed by use of a screw. That's the thumb latch. With the revolver pointing in a safe direction (one where an unintended shot does only minor property damage and
personal injury), press that latch forward using your thumb. Don't touch hammer or trigger. Press the latch forward, then press the cylinder (the round thing with the cartridges) out to the left side of the gun as we are behind it.
With the cylinder open, the gun looks like this:
Pointing the muzzle skyward allows gravity to intervene, usually dropping the cartridges (brass-colored things in the picture) onto the deck. Pick them up so someone doesn't step on one, causing a nasty fall. If one or more rounds fail to drop free, a press on the ejector rod (the thing sticking out the front of the cylinder) will push the rounds out.
Skill Set: Safety: Rule 2
Last week we discussed Safety Rule 1, which is treating every firearm as a loaded firearm. This week we're discussing Rule 2: Never point the muzzle at anything you're not willing to destroy. Firearms have one job, launching projectiles out of the barrel. They have no mind and don't care what direction they are pointing. Your job is to make sure the muzzle is always pointing in a safe direction.
The key to Rule 2, and all aspects of safety, is consistency. You must always be aware of your environment and what is a safe direction to point the weapon. "Safe" is normally with the muzzle of your firearm pointing down. (Safety on, finger off the trigger.) Even when pointing the muzzle down be aware that bullets can/will bounce off a surface. Make sure there is a backstop capable of stopping a round or a clear area in front of where the muzzle is pointing in case a negligent discharge were to occur.
Ultimately the environment determines what is a safe direction. I'm on the second level of a building, with a wooden floor separating me from the people in the building's lower level. Pointing it at the floor may not be a good idea because the bullet could easily penetrate the wood. I can point it at the wall, because the brick exterior would stop a round.
I'm not a big fan of pointing the muzzle up. What goes up comes down. If a negligent discharge does occur the bullet flies off into the sky. When it drops it can injure or kill. In Los Angeles, from 1985-92 one medical center treated 118 people due to falling-bullet injuries. Thirty-eight of the people died from their injuries.
Tactically, pointing the muzzle up is not a good idea because if the threat gets in tight and close, where we know most confrontations take place, they can pass and trap the muzzle or jam it into your head.
Keeping the muzzle pointing in a safe direction sounds simple, but it only takes a fraction of a second for this rule to be broken. The pistol is in your hands, the hands are connected to the arms, and the arms to the body. The body tends to follow the head. Something draws your attention, you look to the side, and at the same time the rest of your body begins to follow. Suddenly your muzzle is pointing in an unsafe direction. This is especially true with long-guns, which have more contact points with your body. Or, you're pointing the muzzle in a safe direction when someone unaware walks in front of you.
On a range Rule 2 is pretty easy to apply, but again always keep an eye on those around you. In a defensive situation, when mayhem is breakin' loose all 'round, it gets complicated quickly. You're moving, the threat(s) are moving, bystanders are freaking out, running everywhere, or frozen in place. Even though you're in a fight you still have to practice muzzle discipline.
You identify the target. You decide you're willing and ready to send bullets downrange. Now you put the sights on target. Until then, keep that muzzle pointing in a safe direction.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns," writes for several firearms/tactical publications, is an adjunct instructor with the F.B.I. and designer of the Shootrite Katana. (256) 582-4777 www.shootrite.org
Shoot Like a Sniper:
10 Tips to Help Your Long-Range
Article by James Hall
It’s not often that seasoned hunters would listen to a
26-year-old tell them how to shoot better. Heck, most of us kill whitetails
with guns older than that. However, Staff Sergeant George Reinas is not just a
young sniper for the U.S. Air Force. For the past five years he has been
instructing our flyboy snipers on how to shoot better. Here’s what you can do
to shoot more like Reinas and our military’s elite.
“The most important aspect of being on the range is not to
shoot but to collect data on the rifle. We record data with every shot, so we
know what our gun will do under every condition. We will then use this DOPE
(Data Of Previous Engagements) book as a reference before every shot.”
“Snipers prefer to shoot dirty guns. In other words, we will
not clean our rifles for 200 to 300 rounds. Leave that rifle dirty for the
Squeeze on the Pause
“I like to shoot on the respiratory pause on the down
breath. I take three deep breaths. Once I let all my air out on that last
exhale, that 1- to 3-second pause is the money spot where I want to take my
“Obviously you want to have a slow, steady squeeze to the
rear until your shot breaks. Certainly don’t jerk. But what many don’t realize
is that follow-through is everything. Once the shot breaks, continue that
squeeze to the rear and then release the trigger slowly to the front.”
Zero to a Higher Standard
“A lot of hunters settle for a gun that’s not quite zeroed.
Snipers do not consider a gun zeroed until we get three consecutive rounds
within a 1-inch square at 100 yards. Do not settle for less.”
Get Out of Sight
“Our primary role on the battlefield is reconnaissance and
intelligence gathering. In order to do this, we have to go to the extreme with
camo. We use handmade ghillie suits that incorporate natural vegetation from
the environments in which we operate.”
Study the Wind
“Remember, wind is never constant. The most important wind
consideration for a sniper is wind at two-thirds of the way to the target.
There can be multiple wind directions and speeds between you and a target. You
have to recognize these and make the right adjustments.”
Know Your Bullet
“We use 175-grain Sierra MatchKings, where the average
hunter is going to use some kind of ballistic-tip ammunition. These bullets
aren’t as accurate, so you need to do some testing and find the best bullet for
Learn From the Kick
“If you are shooting a .308, or something of comparable
recoil, the kick of the gun will tell you what you are doing wrong. Every time
a sniper shoots, he wants the gun to come straight back into him. The scope
should fall right back on target—that means your fundamentals are perfect.”
Dial It, Or Mil It?
“There are two ways to take long shots. For quick
engagements, we use a 500-yard zero and reference the reticle for the hold over
or hold under. However, if I want to take a 1,000-yard shot and I have time,
I’ll consult my dope and dial in my 1,000-yard range for a first-round hit.”
From the June/July 2012 issue of Outdoor Life magazine.
Photo courtesy of George Reinas