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Precision rifle trigger control: break and pin or break and “freeze” (stop)? Login/Join 
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted
Update: After seeing the video that offgrid linked below, I realized that I misinterpreted the video I reference in this post. I will leave my comments alone in this post, but I was confused about what I was seeing and hearing.

Some time ago I thought I had learned that the proper method for precision rifle follow-through was to pull the trigger all the way to the rear and “pin” it there after the shot broke. I have been doing that since and it seems to have helped my accuracy. One YouTube video that I just saw, however, seems to recommend trying to stop the trigger’s rearward movement as soon as possible after the firing pin releases to minimize overtravel.

The rifle being demonstrated in the video was an Accuracy International and it seemed the trigger had more overtravel than my primary precision rifles do. With mine I can’t really tell much difference in the two techniques as far as where the trigger stops. In fact it’s difficult to stop the triggers’ rearward movement before they have reached the limit of their travel.

I am curious, though, whether other shooters make an effort to cease the trigger’s movement as soon as the firing pin is released or whether they pull it all the way back to the mechanical stop.

Comments?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,




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Posts: 43978 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I try to learn the individual triggers on every rifle I own. FWIW, I was taught to cease the pull immediately after the break. I confess I dont always do it and with some rifles the break is very close to the pin.


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Posts: 12113 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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YooperSigs, you were taught wrong!

sigfreund, suggest to watch videos of Olympic, Palma, High Power shooters/competitors.... They'll all have the same trigger control/follow through. Build pressure on the trigger, break, continue to hold pressure on the trigger...

I was taught a trigger drill several years ago by a USA National Palma Team shooter. Finger on the trigger say out loud pressure, pressure, pressure as I build pressure on the trigger, trigger breaks, continue to say pressure, pressure, pressure holding the trigger to the back with that same pressure. Still to this day I do this drill when dry-firing. I will not take pressure off the trigger until I see the impact.

Trigger control/follow though... is the stuff a couple of my LR shooting buddies talk about, focus on, watching others shoot.... Shot a few matches with an US Olympic Team Smallbore member, National Collegiate champ.... Friend and I talked about lets watch her trigger control. Her trigger control was exactly as described above.
 
Posts: 3029 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by offgrid:
watch videos of Olympic, Palma, High Power shooters/competitors....


Thanks for jumping in so quickly. I have watched many videos, but not of those competitions. Something else to occupy my house-bound hours. Smile

You confirmed what I thought was correct and, as I said, what seemed to help my own shooting. When I learn of differing opinions, though, I usually like to determine if there’s any validity to them (unless they’re obviously wrong, of course Wink ). In this case I’m pretty sure I understood what the guys in the video were claiming, and although we know the Internet is full of BS, they seemed to have the credentials for their views to be worth considering.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
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Posts: 43978 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Let me see if I can explain the way I look at this.

Marksmanship consists of aiming the rifle at the target and then pressing the trigger without disturbing the sight picture. Easy peasy. Right?
The reason it's not that easy is that we are always moving, or worse, getting ready to move.

Our friend offgrid does a great job explaning his method. The main aspect of his example is that there is not change in the movement when the trigger breaks, and his finger is not getting ready to change what it's doing.

I always like to watch the top shooters in F-class shoot during a match. The main takeaway is the total lack of movement leading up to the shot, during the shot and during the followthrough. The followthrough is a critical part of marksmanship.

When you're in position, your body should not be tense in any way. I make sure (or try as much as possible) to be completely relaxed when I am looking at the target through my riflescope. If I have to stretchm, bend, hold or anything apart from total relaxation, I will try to find a way to eliminate that. When I press the trigger, I know exactly when it's going to fire and, I am not surprised by the shot. And I just stay in position, motionless while I count 1, 2. Then my finger comes off the trigger and I use the back of my thumb to open the bolt.

Tt is my belief that if you move anything immediately after the shot, you are training you body to do that. Your body will tense up somewhere during the shot because muscle memory says you do something right after that and your muscles are getting ramped up for what's to come.

One of those things is trying to control your trigger finger and get it to reverse course right as the shot breaks. What you want to do is continmue the mothion you started and keep pressing that trigger. The finger should be the only thing moving when the trigger breaks and it's not changing direction.

I realize that's very different from shooting ARs and other semi autos. Thankfully the trigger of my F-TR rifle is very different from an AR or other triggers. On the other hand I shoot my F-TR rifle far more than any other of my rifles so their triggers feel very weird to me.

No tension, no movement, not change of motion, no anticipation of anything. When I manage to do that, I am usually quite pleased with the results. When I depart from that, stuff usually shows up on the target.
 
Posts: 3258 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Thanks for your comments as well, NikonUser.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
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Posts: 43978 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UnZ0OePE5HA

Frank’s good example of trigger control/follow through. Note he doesn’t let go of the trigger and stays on his scope until he opens the bolt. Lack of movement as NikonUser described. Jeff’s not so good control!

Frank makes an excellent point about “getting away” with poor trigger control shooting prone, start to hurt ya shooting positional. I saw that at a local 22 match yesterday, guy does OK prone, falls off quickly shooting off of a tripod standing and sitting. With how long 22 bullet stays in the barrel....

Frank’s suggestion of filming yourself is a good one.

I shot a match with Frank about 10yrs ago. It was after the trigger control lesson from the Palma shooter. Had a high awareness of trigger pulling, watching other. Frank’s rigger control was the same as his video.
 
Posts: 3029 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Raptorman
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I was taught to follow through as the rifle recoils.

Was never allowed a rest to steady the rifle, only my knee or arm with the sling as a brace.

We DID get to rest the rifle on a jacket draped over a utility pole on the ground when shooting prone for the longest shots, but we never got a fancy bench or leveled bipod.


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Posts: 32343 | Location: North, GA | Registered: October 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Thanks for the follow-on, offgrid, and that video. I realized that the video I referred to in my original post was by the same people and therefore I misinterpreted what I was seeing and hearing there. The “freeze” part in that one wasn’t guidance to stop moving the trigger as soon as the firing pin released. What confused me, I believe, was the part about not “driving” the trigger.

The video you posted made Frank’s comments clearer and his and Jeff’s demonstrations eliminated the confusion I had about the earlier video. In any event all the discussion has confirmed what I had understood before to be the proper method of trigger control and reinforced it for me.

Thanks again to everyone.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43978 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had quite a few years of shotgun competition before I initially dabbled with precision rifles. I shot a lot of sporting clays competitions and rose well through the ranks. I developed the ability to shot true pairs very quickly, which can be a challenge with O/U shotguns. Looking back, I tended to slap the trigger. I honestly believe trigger slapping is a large factor in why so many shotgun competitors flinch. Well, that and the recoil of a couple hundred 12 gauge shells per day.

When I started competing with rifles locally, offgrid and Alpine sort of took me under their wings. Lots of guidance with matches, procedures, equipment, and shooting techniques. One of the first technique issues they helped me sort out was trigger control. Slapping didn't cut it. Pinning the trigger to the rear worked. Attending classes from Rifles Only and Frank Galli also helped. By the way, Frank Galli was an instructor at Rifles Only for quite a few years, and thus their methods are virtually the same.

quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:
I realize that's very different from shooting ARs and other semi autos. Thankfully the trigger of my F-TR rifle is very different from an AR or other triggers.

I have come to believe that ARs should be shot in the same way as bolt actions. AR triggers tend to be heavier, with longer travel and longer lock time. There are many items moving before the bullet exits the barrel -- metal and gas. Thus, an AR is very unforgiving for even slight infractions on good technique. Thinking this way has IMO improved my AR accuracy quite a bit. I still can't shoot an AR as accurately as a bolt action rifle, but maybe someday....

In multi-gun competitions I see a lot of AR-15 and AR-10 guys who just crank rounds out at high rates. Often takes them a few rounds to hit each target. Such shooters often have poor trigger control, with lots of slapping going on. At offgrid noted -- pin the trigger to the rear until the impact on target has been observed. Then re-set the trigger. The bolt on an AR cycles quickly -- there's plenty of time to prep the trigger for the next shot.
 
Posts: 6951 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Good additional comments, fritz.
You are one of the people I always hope will contribute to these discussions.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
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Posts: 43978 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:

I have come to believe that ARs should be shot in the same way as bolt actions.



My buddies and I have a saying "shoot your precision AR like a bolt gun". That's describing trigger control, not getting off sight picture until see impact... Same trigger control/follow through as bolt gun trigger. Hold trigger to the rear see impact, reset, repeat.
 
Posts: 3029 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I thought I would come back and recount my latest travails and experiences. All due to this thread.

As some of you may know, for the last 8 years or so, I have been the match director for the 1000 yard matches, TSRA and other events. I noticed a marked decline in my scores during that period of time. My shooting was going to sh*t. Even if someone was standing in for me while I was shooting, my focus was not on the target, I was always listening to other shooters around me. People were so used to me being the MD, that they would come directly to me even as I was shooting, to tell me of their issues instead of talking to the person calling the match. As soon as I was done shooting my string, I would collect my stuff and then address the various issues waiting for me.

All that stopped a few months back when I thankfully passed the baton on to another sucker good person. I had to got threw a couple matches telling people, rather rudely at times, to take their problems to the MD, not me.

After reading this thread, I went to my local range (not the one where I compete) and I setup my smartphone to video me during a string. I knew my form had gone to sh*t, I needed to see how bad.

It was horrid. It was inconsistent; sometimes I would do a good trigger press and decent followthrough for a few shots, then I would be slapping the trigger and pushing up the bolt right after the shot took off. It was bad.

So this past weekend, I shot a 3X20 @ 1000 match and I totally focused on my shooting. I was squadded with two good friends and I stayed at the firing point the whole time. Nobody bothered me with MD stuff.

I concentrated on my followthrough. I pressed the trigger and held it back and forced myself to stay in position for a count of OneThousandOne, OneThousandTwo, OneThousandThree. Then I would open the bolt and look at the screen (etargets).

The change was, in a word, dramatic. My first match of the day saw me shoot a 196-10X. The four nines were due to me not quickly identifying the subtle change. But I got 10 X-ring shots out of 20 rounds fired. That X-ring is 5 inches (sub-halfMOA) at 1000 yards. My last 7 shots were 10, X, X, X, X, X, 10. Out. That's 5 Xs in a row flanked by a 10 on either side.

My second string was worse because this is where, (all together now), I started doubting myself. And sometimes, I would revert back to slap and jerk. (That's what I call it: slap the trigger and jerk the bolt.) When I did pay attention, I would do great. I collected another 7 Xs.

During the 3rd string, I had a biden moment at the beginning and was turning the elevation knob (the ELEVATION knob) the wrong way. Within the first 7 shots, I lost 10 points, four 9s and three 8s. Then on shot 8, I found my setting and proceeded to shoot the last 13 shots clean, collecting 6 more Xs along the way. I had 23 Xs for the day, out of 60 shots. With a .308. Just goes to show how insidious degradation of marksmanship can be.

The third relay was a bear for everyone. The wind was twitchy and everyone was losing points. My two firing point mates were F-Open guys and one of them was the winner for the day (he's a great shot.) He dropped 4 points on relay 3. The other guy is also a high master in F-Open and he actually shot an 8 during match 3. It was that bad, and yet, after my biden moment had subsided, I shot 13 consecutive rounds, to the end, without dropping a point.

So, I want to thank sigfreund for starting this excellent thread and offgrid and fritz for contributing such excellent information. I may be old, but I'm not completely senile yet, and this old dog can [re]learn new tricks.

I'm off to the Nationals in Indiana next weekend, with a smile on my face.

Finally, before some smart donkey mentions it: yes, I am now rethinking the A-tips. I do know that bad marksmanship accentuates the issues with very heavy bullets. I also know that my marksmanship sucked big time when I was trying out those bullets. I am fairly good at math and 1+1 does seem to point to 2.
 
Posts: 3258 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Thanks for those excellent reminders.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43978 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:

I do know that bad marksmanship accentuates the issues with very heavy bullets. I also know that my marksmanship sucked big time when I was trying out those bullets.


Because of longer time traversing the bore?


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Posts: 12624 | Location: Florida | Registered: June 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RichardC:
quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:

I do know that bad marksmanship accentuates the issues with very heavy bullets. I also know that my marksmanship sucked big time when I was trying out those bullets.


Because of longer time traversing the bore?


Correct, and also they knock the snot out of you.
 
Posts: 3258 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by sigfreund:
Thanks for those excellent reminders.


Yeah. It seems my wind calling skills are ok, but I just kept getting these LDD (Liquor Dance Dance) (apologies to our moderator) shots out of nowhere. What was once inexplicable is no longer so.
 
Posts: 3258 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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