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advice for new shooter


EC803
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I have a friend that is still relatively new shooter that is struggling to get better. They approached me approached me asking my opinion about them buying a very expensive scope "over 1509) yet they finish in the bottom 15% at matches and wouldn't practice with their new rifle last week because they "were worried about how much ammo they had" please tell me how you would reply to them asking advice about buying a high end scope or using what they have which is a Bushnell red dot and a new strike eagle on order!!! I don't want to give my response because I don't want it to sway anyone's comments. Thanks

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I prefer it when my friends spend the money on new toys, free samples.

From what I've seen, it's 100% normal for most people to have more or better equipment than they need. Pretty sure that's how gun builders, car dealers and banks stay in business.

Edited by MWP
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A lot of shooters think throwing money into equipment will make them better, mostly because someone much better than them is using said equipment. It is hard to get people out of that mindset and try to convince them that maybe a bit of practice is what they really need. Maybe explain to them that, yes.....Joe Shmoe wins every match with that scope, but he also practices and dryfires X minutes a day and shoots X days a week to get better and that is really why he wins.

"It ain't the race car, it's the driver"

Edited by scottlep
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A bit of instruction on the fundamentals and then lots of practice is the answer IMHO.

I shoot at an indoor range a few times a week and see all sorts of stuff like this.

There a couple of relatively new shooters that slow fire target shoot Glocks at 7 yds and the targets look like they were hit with buckshot. They have a friend that they feel is an "expert" and they have been working with him to improve their accuracy. So far the collective wisdom has come up with the following:

They need aluminum triggers because the stock triggers flex too much. You also definitely need a match barrel as the stock barrels lack accuracy. The trigger feel is lousy and they need trigger jobs. The sights are the worst and need to be replaced. A Tungsten guide rod and wolf springs are the way to go. You need to test different ammo to see which is more accurate at that distance. And the list goes on...

After all of the "accuracy improvements" to shoot at 7 yds, the targets still look about the same.

No mention of trigger control or dry fire practice...

The range can be an interesting place to visit. I'm not sure if I am more addicted to shooting, or observing!

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I know a lot of people like this. It's tough to change their mindset but you have to instill in them that without some sort of practice and dedication, no amount of equipment will make them better. Well, unless they are using a TrackingPoint :)

Anyway, it's their money so they can spend it how they want but be honest and tell him like it is, that's what friends are for!

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If that's $1,500, I believe it was Pat Kelley?? who said he wouldn't

pay that much for a scope, period, and he's an outstanding shooter. :ph34r:

Several years ago, I paid 1700 for used Swaro, shot it for a season and said good by.

Didn't do anything for me that I couldn't do for less money.

Edited by P.E. Kelley
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It used to be that "shooters" were self-actualized, self-sufficient and called a spade a spade. But the culture of the quick fix, learn to shoot on Youtube has crept in. The basics of safety, sight alignment even grip and stance can be taught on Youtube, but at some point, you have to practice (and correctly) to get better. There is a LOT of stuff sold in the gun market that is crap, and honestly, 99% of the game changer chants are empty. That is a framework for the advice I give to friends who are looking to improve and want to buy something expensive for competition...

If I WANT something new, I put it on a notepad on my computer. Also on that notepad is a reminder to practice and a listing of my shooting deficiencies. I see that everyday. If it stays on my "want" list for 6 months and I have crossed off a deficiency, then I might start to research buying it. 9 things out of 10 on the list never get bought, most because I remove them.

I offer to take them to the range for practice, most never go. $1500 of ammo is a lot of improvement, a heck of a lot more than a $3K optic, if they have good coaching. If you can be that coach, then do so.

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buying a very expensive scope "over 1509)

Not sure what "over 1509)" means?[/quote

Yes it was supposed to be 1500 dollars... I don't know exact price but I didn't want to try to spell sworovski. Lol

I really appreciate everyone's thoughts I totally agree with you pat and that is what I told "her".

That was kind of the point of me posting this I pretty much new what type of response I would get and ya'll didn't let me down. Often I'm kind of the bad guy by saying dont buy that crap spend your money on ammo and training and practice. Thanks again for all the responses!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've always felt that, if possible, it's best to start with the best than to buy cheap items only to upgrade them later. (I've thrown many a cheap red dot away).

If ammo is a concern, id tell him to dry fire and do so a lot. Even with a precision rifle. Practice dry reloads etc.

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  • 2 months later...

Modern guns will 99.99999999% of the time out shoot a new shooter. Nice/expensive gear never hurts unless it cuts into the practice/ammo budget. Shooting a few matches will show that. Also shooting will expose flaws and places to improve.

Also borrowing other peoples gear can let them know what is important vs having something with a large price tag. The most expensive gear is not always the best suited for a certain discipline.

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here's what I would tell him ...

" it's your money so you can obviously spend it anyway you want .... however, the way I see it you have 2 choices:

1) you actually want to get better in which case you should take that $1500+ and spend it on a class with a top instructor in your discpline and use what is left to buy all the ammo you can and start training

2) you only say you want to get better but don't want to put the required effort in to actually get better, in which case you should go ahead and buy the new scope and be happy with continuing to finish in the bottom 15% of matches you shoot ..."

Edited by Nimitz
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I tossed money at an SV, not thinking it would help me but because they are shiny and I like shiny things. The money was well spent, I got compliments on my groups on targets last match (not speed, I am molasses) and that is a huge improvement because I haven't slowed.

The only thing I attribute it to is the fact that because I am in love with that gun I show it 10x more attention. 2 hours after the background check I had 300 rounds downrange. 1000 the first week, up from my normal 300/2weeks. I had never dry fired, now 4-5 times a week if nothing more than a reason to touch it. Amazing enough (sarcasm) I go back to my old gun and it does much better as well.

I have no right to give any advice on this stage, but this is one time I got lucky for it to have unintended consequences that went my way.

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I have always taken the "buy once cry once" point of view. My gear will not be the reason I finish 10th instead of 5th. My gear is better than me and that's the way I want it. I also have a guitar rig that I could play arenas with and a motocross bike that could win a super cross race. But I also have plenty of ammo for practice and maybe that's where the line is...Im sure Jessie T or Patrick K could beat most of us with an M&P sport but there is a reason they use what they use...( besides being paid to do so).....

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I have always taken the "buy once cry once" point of view. My gear will not be the reason I finish 10th instead of 5th. My gear is better than me and that's the way I want it. I also have a guitar rig that I could play arenas with and a motocross bike that could win a super cross race. But I also have plenty of ammo for practice and maybe that's where the line is...Im sure Jessie T or Patrick K could beat most of us with an M&P sport but there is a reason they use what they use...( besides being paid to do so).....

I like how you think...in that having the best gear makes you the weak link. It's tough on the ego, but a good practice if one can afford the best stuff.

On the flip side...some like to have a built in (equipment) excuse for not performing well.

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