Follow Through

This is an essential part of each shot you take, not for what you do during it but what you prevent by going through the act of follow-thro ugh.

First, a definition. Follow-through is a process by which the shooter maintains continuous concentration and nonreaction after firing a shot so he develops a mental and physical habit of allowing no disruption whatsoever at the instant of shooting. It's as if he didn't even fire a shot.

The significance of follow-through becomes more apparent when you realize that .022 of a second passes between the trigger releasing the sear and the firing pin actually striking the cartridge's primer. And a further .002 second will pass while your .308 bullet travels down the 24-inch barrel. If there's any slight movement of the rifle during this period, the crosshairs will no longer be exactly on target as the bullet exits the muzzle.

One friend has urged me to bring this point home to my students by having them fire a black powder rifle, in which the delay between pulling the trigger and the weapon firing is much longer and the movement effect far greater. His point is well taken, though I doubt we'll don our buckskins and fire Kentucky long rifles to prove it.

What helps me to maintain myself right through follow-through is thinking about the target and lying very still after firing, then regaining focus in the scope. I don't even ease the trigger forward until then. It's like I'm frozen in time.

Although the chart on page 180 suggests that the shooter eject his cartridge and rebolt the rifle during follow-through, it's more exact to say this comes a second later. The same goes for calling the shot to your spotter, which trails follow-through by a second.

Follow-through wraps up all the steps and components of the integrated act of shooting, which by now you should respect as a whole complex set of things to remember and apply during practice fire. To apply these in the correct place, and in perfect synchronization, is the mark of a precision rifle shooter. They're used for every shot you fire, time after time.

During each practice fire session, I emphasize one shooting component for special attention, such as breathing. I'll pay particular heed to breathing during each shot and ask my spotter to observe and coach my breathing. Any other detectable errors are diagnosed and corrected, too, but this heavy emphasis in one area helps me hone that skill.

To ensure you have a real program of honing the integrated act of shooting, we've created a special place to log each session's emphasized skill right on your record book page.

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Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

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Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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