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Follow the shot through!

Part of the guru grumbles.

This is a technique malady that strikes from the most basic of beginners to the 
prime examples of A and master grade shooters.  I saw an example of it at the 
weekend, when one of Westy’s best shooters was lifting his head at shot release. 
The same guy had been battling an inexplicable loss of form for about three 
months, and was at a loss to explain why.
The same old gambit appeared, I think the barrel is shot which may well be the 
case because it does have a life in excess of 4,500 rounds through it, but I saw 
just one shot release and it was very obvious that the follow through was 
suffering severely.
I quietly mentioned this to him, and his next shot saw a very stable head 
position as the release sequence accumulated. The result was a smack in the 
middle Vee Bull.
Please bear in mind that this is just not an isolated case, because my work with 
the NSW State team indicated the problem was much more prevalent than I would 
like.  Even at that level, with a team full of Queen’s winners, there were 
instances of the shooters practically breaking the position down with the bullet 
still in flight. (It was that quick)
Over my years of watching top flight shooters perform, I can tell you that no 
single shot is complete until the projectile is into the stop butts and kicking 
up dust!
So, what is the tell tale? The best indication of the problem?
Well there can be quite a few indications but the most important is the case 
where the group expands, and those inexplicable fours (or worse) appear on the 
plot sheet.  This then leads to shooters questioning their gear, and many a 
barrel has been replaced prematurely because of lack of follow through. It also 
leads to lack of confidence, and a general feeling of stuff it, I’m going 
fishing. I have seen this lack of confidence myself, and I vividly remember 
questioning my pet small bore rifle, and asked the great Tolly to shoot it for 
me.  The result was a 200x200 with four tiny groups. So I can tell you it can 
happen to anybody. (The following weekend I went to the Victorian small bore 
championships and won it hands down.)
So, how can we detect, and correct the problem?
If there is an inexplicable fall in form, and the groups are getting bigger, 
largely indicated by a Vee count falling to the 3’s and 4’s or worse, there 
could well be a follow through problem.  
It is up to the shooter to analyse this, and the simplest way to detect if there 
IS a follow thru hassle, is to simply leave your face on the cheek piece while 
all the recoil is dissipated.  Keep watching the sights until all movement of 
the rifle ceases. You can bet your bottom dollar this will make a difference!  
Once the rifle stops after the recoil, then you go about the fundamentals of 
reloading, spotting, using the plot sheet or whatever your personal techniques 
have developed.
In all cases of follow through techniques, it is important to stay relaxed while 
the shot is completed. In fact, all shooting relies on this.
I will leave the club to think about this in Guru Grumblings.

Guru.

Last Modified -  12:11 8 Feb 2008