Frank Higginson is a top shooter of all time. He still holds records from 1970's. He is a nice guy, easy going, and the finest instructor I have ever met. He has a way of teaching in terms that we can understand.
Scores are the result of groups. Everything we shoot on paper is the result of how we performed on the firing line. We are concerned with how our shots are grouping. Obviously the smaller the group, the better shooting you are doing. I will try to put into writing the proven techniques of a National Champion... -ML
Safety is most important to the shooting sports. Ear protection and Eye protection are mandatory. Commercial glasses from an optometrist are fine. Good glasses are important. If you've bought the standard shooting glasses, hold your glasses out in front of you and look though the glasses at an object. Move the glasses slowly up and down. Is the object clear or distorted? If the object is clear your glasses are okay. If the object is distorted then you'd better buy a good pair of glasses. If you use a "red dot" sight a little darker lens than needed will make the dot look sharper.
There are three types of ear protection; Sponge, Molded, and Outside ear protection.
The Molded earpiece also can have an Amplifier build in with a sound cut off.
Wearing Two ear protectors can help you focus due to the extra noise reduction.
In cold weather warm up your ear protection by body heat. Place the sponge or molded ear protectors in your pocket. Place the outside ear protectors on your leg before the match.
One set of Ears and Eyes are given to most people DON'T LOSE THEM.
STORAGE OF EQUIPMENT
Don't store equipment in hot areas or areas subject to fluctuation of temperature. Near the furnace is not a good idea.
Do not store guns in a gun sock.
Hard plastic covered cases can be a problem if moisture was introduced into the soft foam inside.
A Dehumidifier is perfect to get rid of moisture in a humid area (New England)
Desiccants are very good.
22 ammo is not sealed, and most commercial ammo is not sealed against moisture.
Keep equipment out of direct sunlight, the metal of the gun can get searing hot, and the heat can effect the accuracy of the ammo. Always cover your equipment from the sun.
Cold guns will attract moisture, including inside the gun, i.e., springs, hammer, etc.
Your scope in cold weather to hot temperature will fog scopes, shooting glasses.
Wood also absorbs moisture, grips, wood shooting box.
Always check your guns once a month for rust. Take your grips off to check for rust.
Lubrication is very important in a match pistol. A good inexpensive thin oil will do, because you use a lot of it. FP-10 firepower and the other synthetic gun lubes are not necessary. A lot of oil doesn't mean you should dunk the gun into a bucket of oil either. A lot of oil on the rails works well. Oil attracts unburned powder, so it stands to reason that you don't want to get oil into the inner workings of a match firearm.
Breakfree has polymers in it that aren't any good.
Hoppes #9 lube oil is very good.
Remington oil turns to varnish.
Gun Slick isn't any good because it has graphite in it that will wear the parts you put it on, must people put it on the hammer, sear. What a surprise it must be to ruin a good trigger job.
Oiling the case of the top round on the magazine won't hurt unless you are shooting a high power round. The pressures will escape past the case instead of the case stopping the gasses. It can very dangerous.
If it works for you use it, if you are shooting high power the results can be dangerous.
Should you get caught in a rainstorm or high humidity, WD-40 works very well to remove moisture. You must lube the gun after using WD-40.
Don't use Gun Scrubber on wood.
Never vacuum primers and powder as the primers may explode and start a fire. (not to mention they are kinda loud when they explode.)
Always wash out black powder cans when they are empty. Throwing black powder in the trash is very dangerous.
The body is a machine. Your body gets hot and cold. When your body gets hot you perspire, hot weather makes your hands swell. When it's cold weather your hands shrink. The point being if you are using orthopedic grips, the grips may be too big or too small, depending on the weather. I recommend stock grips.
CARE AND CLEANING
You must use a good cleaning solvent. When you are using a good cleaning solvent, use good ventilation so you don't get poisoned.
Don't dip the brush into the solvent jar or you will contaminate the entire bottle. Use a "jag" and dip the cloth wrapped around the "jag" and then dip it into the solvent.
Use a good bronze bore brush. One good trick I use is, take a shotgun 12 gauge cleaning rod and brush and run it up and down the barrel. Of course you will have the barrel out and laying down on a table. Place your hand on top of the barrel and press down. With the other hand run the brush up and back through the barrel.
Don't use a stainless brush.
The best cleaning rod to use is a stainless steel rod with a Teflon coating.
The second best is to use a Polished one piece steel rod.
An Aluminum is good to use as long as you make sure no oxidation has occurred on the rod as aluminum oxide can form on the rod making it an abrasive.
Don't use fiberglass, plastic or wood rods as contaminates can be stuck to them.
Clean your rod every pass and run the rod straight though the barrel.
You don't want to wear the barrel because of hitting the barrel with a cleaning rod.
Don't let Hoppes soak into a stainless steel barrel as it will eat it up.
Sweets solvent is a good gun cleaner, you must use a good oil after cleaning.
Stay away from flashy gimmicks. The Lewis lead remover and the steel wool pad are good if you want to remove some lead, but you will not be able to clean the lead-copper out of the corners of the lands and groves.
Look for a gray steak in a 22 barrel, this means your barrel needs to be cleaned. 22's should be completely cleaned every 6 months.
Any perfectly clean barrel may throw off your first shot. (Not in the usual group.)
Machine rests are very useful but the machine rest may not be as accurate as shooting from your hand.
Use lens tissue for glasses and scopes and use lens cleaner.
The dots on the glass of scopes are oil spots.
Keep your glass carrying case clean so you don't scratch your shooting glasses.
You can use soap to stop your glasses from fogging.
Glasses that change tint should be left on the shooting bench before you go down range to score targets or the tint will be too dark for the next stage. These Glasses aren't any good as rapid weather changes.
A good designed box fits the equipment you carry. Keep the gun box clean, and always check the hardware on the box. Check the strap, hooks, handles, scope brackets. Always keep a plastic bag that will cover your box during a rainstorm inside the shooting box.
Clothing should be loose fitting and comfortable. You will need rain gear due to the weather. You should shoot in long sleeve shirt and pants. Shoes should be comfortable and should have flat soles. Never wear new shoes until they are broken in. Never wear sandals, fire ants love sandals.
Bug juice-Suntan lotion-Earplugs- Scope, Tools to adjust sights and tighten scopes. Garbage bag to cover box in case of rain, cut out front and rear of bag so you can see through scope. The garbage bag can also make a poncho for you if necessary.
CLEANING THE BARREL
Due to progress, we don't have to clean barrels as soon or much as Black powder. This is due to smokeless powder. Use a hard lead bullet and use good alox on bullet, 50-50 mix Bees wax and Alox mix.
Clean the barrel after shooting lead than switching to copper. Use a dry brush than follow up with a clean cloth to clean the barrel.
Always shoot though a dry bore
HOW TO SHOOT
Now the stuff you have been waiting so patiently, how to shoot Hi Master scores.
The next paragraph is the MOST important to precision shooting.
Memorize the above paragraph. This is the secret to precision shooting.
#1 states "See the front sight (dot)" I mean don't just look at the front sight (dot), See the front sight (dot). Is there a scratch on the front sight? Does your red dot look sharp, or is there a "tail" off it? Some shooters will purposely put a scratch on the front sight to give themselves a focus point to see, If they see the scratch, they are Seeing the front sight.
#2 states Move the trigger straight to the rear. This seems simple enough, but the hard part is really #3 Both must be done at the same time.
The above is a must do.
O.K. you memorized that part and you will never forget it and do it every time, Right? Well, here are more tips that will move you to a better performance.
The "dot" shows where the barrel is pointed.
The Dot must be centered in the scope as well as centered on the target. The Dot in the scope may look different at different times of the day, it's your eye that's changing during the day.
It doesn't matter if you like the dot bright or light, Whatever works best for you. The Dot may look square or triangle, or round, your eye sees it that way. Another person can look threw the same scope and see a different "dot" than you do.
Magnification causes "parallax" so don't use any magnification. Parallax is the difference in apparent direction of an object from the viewer when looked at from two different positions. In other words if the scope is on an angle and you see the "dot" dead centered, and you break the shot at that instance, the shot will not hit where the dot was centered.
To help your concentration and not be distracted by the shooter next to you, by their movements or their brass whacking you, Blinders on the side of your shooting glasses and an opaque milk color patch on your non- shooting eye helps. Wearing the patch on your shooting eye is not a good idea, and wearing patches on both eyes doesn't help at all except if you want some sleep.
You are the only person on the range!!!! Don't concern yourself with the problems of the other shooters, you are the only person on the range. If you lend your screwdriver to a shooter, what will you be thinking of, Shooting or the screwdriver? You will be thinking about the screwdriver!
You go to a match to win it. Accept your wobble area and shoot within it.
Shooting, You learn more about yourself than any other sport.
CHECK YOUR GEAR
Look for cracks or shiny spots on the magazines near the top of the magazine (see picture). If you see any cracks the magazine is broken. If you see any shiny spots near the top of the magazine, it is worn out.
Check the extractor on a High Standard to be sure it is clean and sharp. If the High Standard barrel is tightened by a screw, make sure the screw is tight. If the barrel is a push button, any time you bang the push button check to make sure the barrel is tight.
Check scope mounts and be sure scope mount screws are tight.
Check your 45 firing pin block for a crack. If you see a crack replace the block.
Look for a gray area on the slide, midway between the ejection port and the front sight.
Check the gun box hooks and latches for damage or if they are loose.
Use one magazine
When the command "Is the line ready?" is given, if you are not ready say that you aren't ready very loudly. Yell "NOT READY!" The line will wait for you. Once the command "ready on the right?" is called, it's too late to stop the line.
10 ROUNDS IN 10 MINUTES
Always shoot in a cadence. Slow yourself down and shoot in 1-minute intervals. If everything is working smooth you will be in a cadence. If you run into trouble take a break, there isn't any hurry. Keep your sight alignment. Allow yourself to move. Do not be dead still. The only person who doesn't move is dead. Accept the wobble area. Allow the gun to move around.
GRIPPING THE GUN
How do you hang onto the gun? Pick up the gun in your non-shooting hand and stuff the gun into your shooting hand. Then extend your fingers around he grip. The grip should be natural and comfortable to you. Grip equally with your four fingers. (Your four fingers do not include your trigger finger.)