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Normal Topic Does my firearm fit correctly - Part four (Read 532 times)
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Does my firearm fit correctly - Part four
Sep 2nd, 2018 at 10:54am
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How does one go about checking the fit of a firearm and identifying problems then correcting them?

There is some essential preparation. For this discussion, the subject firearm is equipped with a scope.

The very first step is to closely inspect and prepare the firearm. Have any faults rectified before attempting to address the fit. Ensure all fasteners are torqued to the correct tension. Pay particular attention to the scope. Incorrectly mounted or torqued scopes are the biggest non-firer cause of accuracy problems. Clean the firearm exterior (and interior if required), paying attention to removing any oils or other slippery substances from the areas of contact between firearm and body parts. Also, remove check/clean the suppressor if fitted then make sure it is also correctly tightened. Adjust/ tighten bipod to specification. If you are able, make up some dummy rounds to provide the correct weight in the magazine and provide the correct tactile feedback when working the action etc.

Step two. Find an assistant/observer who is familiar with the rules of marksmanship and has good clear legible handwriting. Book them in for several sessions of an hour or so. The process will involve a series of trial and error fittings with time between to make the required adjustments.

Step three. You will need a good camera capable of high-quality video recording, chalk, pencil or other erasable markers, protractor, scope level or cant indicator, dressmakers tape measure, non-marking adhesive tape, notepaper and a target/ aiming point. (Pattern paper - dressmakers) is very helpful but not essential. For later stages, a laser training system and an electronic target system is great but very expensive. A good spotting scope is always useful. A laser sight such as an X5 with a pressure pad switch can also be of great assistance. You will need all of the normal gear you would use the firearm with such as shooting mat, support bags or whatever so as to recreate accurately your intended firing configuration

For the first few sessions, you will need somewhere you can repeatedly mount and unmount the firearm but not fire it.  Later sessions will require firing and doing a and series of grouping practises.

Wear the clothes/ equipment you would normally wear when using the firearm (a change in clothing can change the firearm fit significantly).

The first step in testing the fit of the firearm is to ensure you can mount your firearm consistently.  If you cannot mount a firearm consistently in the same place, time after time, no one on earth can make a firearm fit you.  I am astounded at how often I have found that the shooter does not mount the firearm in the same place twice.  In such cases, the only option is to coach the firer mounting the firearm and then get them to practise and perfect this most fundamental and utterly critical drill.

It is important to understand mounting a firearm correctly is not as important as doing so consistently.  Consistent mounting, done well or otherwise, makes it is possible to fit a firearm.  It is preferable that the technique is correct but many excellent shots use incorrect but consistent mounting technique.  Inconsistency is the killer.

The key is practice.  You will need to ensure that your scope is correctly mounted, properly vertical and positioned for correct eye relief. Pick up and mount your firearm at every opportunity, until doing so is as natural as breathing.  Concentrate on getting the firearm into exactly the position in the exact same way each and every time. Start by doing it very slowly and checking you are being meticulously consistent with identical placement and method each and every time.  Ideally, your method should feel natural and comfortable. The firearm should come smoothly into place without conscious thought and should drop into the same place every time.  All focus should be on the target and the firearm should align itself with your eye naturally. 

All humans possess a natural ability to point, the fundamental ability of all catching and throwing sports.  If you look at the target you are able to point the firearm without any attempt to align it with the eye. Ideally, your stance would be open and relaxed with head up and eyes fixed on the target.  Mount your firearm without taking your eye off the target. The firearm should come to the face and smoothly fit into the shoulder at almost simultaneously.   

Lifting the firearm to the shoulder while dropping the cheek down to the comb is not natural pointing.  Try it.  Point your finger at something whilst simultaneously dropping your head.  You will immediately see that it is impossible.

Until you have mastered a good repeatable and consistent mount there is no point in trying to fit your firearm. Practice your firearm mount and you may even see some considerable improvement in your shooting.  Once you have burned mounting accurately into muscle memory and can do it identically time after time with absolutely no conscious effort you are ready to proceed to fitting.

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