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The experiment has ended

1093 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Walking Point
I increased my monthly practice from 2000 rounds to 4000 rounds this year in an attempt to have that translate into improved match performance.

Although I've had a good time shooting during my lunch hour, as well as most of my free daylight hours, all that has happened is I exceeded my capability for "controlled" practice.

I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to undo the bad habits that resulted from this experiment. I had intended for all the shooting to be controlled, but the tendency to give up accuracy for speed(and maybe fun to keep me from getting bored) hurt me in the long run.

I've had to sweat blood just to maintain the results I was getting last year, and last year I was much more relaxed.

I knew this failure would be a good possibility, but it was harder to identify and accept than I thought. Luckily I've been casting bullets a lot in the last 2 weeks and have had plenty of time to reflect.

I'm going to drop back to 2000 rounds a month, but rounds fired in matches will now make up part of that rough total and most of the rest will be made up of cast bullet testing which should keep me busy for months.

I'm pretty sure I'm about as good as I'll ever get without resorting to some of the more "gamey" methods that I think I'll pass on for now.

Anyone who warned me earlier about increasing my practice to this level can now feel free to say "I told you so".
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Matt Burkett addresses this issue in the tip section on his Web site. In fact, I just finished reading it. Matt talks about tracking performance, alternating between burning it at some matches and laying back at others then track the difference, and so on. Jerry Barnhart also addresses this issue in his tapes, as does Brian Enos in his book.

As far as being ankle deep in brass with nothing to show for it, been there and done that. As soon as summer comes (schoolteacher here) I am going to triple my practice regime and I too will have to be vigilant not to slip into a rut.
Hope you won't mind if we sing the chorus, "practice doesn't make perfect but perfect practice does." I'd suggest that it might be worthwhile to take a class from someone like Greg Hamilton at www.insightstraining.com . His intensive handgun skills would probably help you get over the plateau and move to the next level. I'd bet that would be a cheaper & more effective alternative than just burning up a bunch of ammo.
Walking Point,

I purposely make a point of NEVER bringing more than 150 rds with me per range session.

This way, I know I have a limited number of rounds with which to concentrate on specific goals. I am not tempted to "waste" rounds with this approach. I try to make every shot count.

I was not one who warned you earlier, so I can't say "told you so". Wish I could
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I've been to a few schools, but they don't help. My actual problems(upon further reflection) are mainly associated with speed of movement between positions and a lack of desire to make dry runs through a stage holding my finger out like it was a weapon.

I don't buy into the training aspect of any of the shooting sports beyond general gun handling, but other than making sure I don't move past a target, I'd prefer to have them more of a "surprise", at least to the point that I haven't mentally killed them 100 times before I ever shoot the stage.

Bad knees and a replacement hip are not helping me keep up with the younger generation either.

I have no idea why I was working on my shooting skills, as that's my strongest skill, and exactly what's keeping me a strong competitor. I believe I was thinking an improvement in that area could help me out, but basically I've peaked and can go nowhere but down.

When they throw swingers, turning targets, longer ranges, and in most cases steel plates into the picture, then I can dominate that stage. Of course all stages aren't built for my strengths, so the overall win drops out of the picture quickly.

Needless to say I'm more heavily involved in IPSC than IDPA which is not at my club right now and I'm trying to shoot locally now so I can spend more time at home.

I may just give the competitive juices a rest when it comes to IPSC, and just shoot for fun. I still have two other events each month that are just basically unsanctioned IDPA matches, and in those the shooting skill seems to make up for the physical speed. IDPA will also be returning in the next few months anyway if things work out.

I haven't managed to win any overall matches this year, but I've steadily won the A class, so any damage done by stupid practice was minimal. That's in the IDPA related events.

The point about burning at some matches and laying back at others is something I tried a little last year. There are a few guys who are out there for pure fun, and I was becoming jealous as I was stressing myself out to attain the victory(winning is fun too).

I shot first in every stage on match, and took it easy. I had fun, but ended up in 4th position. A little too much relaxing that day.

I do know that when I manage to relax "the proper amount", then that's the key to a good finish. Anytime I try and MAKE something happen I end up in terrible position.

I'm not trying to bad mouth IPSC at all, as it's a lot of fun. It does appear to be more suited for the younger guys though.

Maybe I just don't want to accept getting "old and feeble", or I'm in denial that there are folks who can stomp me in IPSC. It would be easier to accept if I hadn't been stomping THEM in IDPA and am continuing to stomp them in the unsanctioned events.

Maybe I just wanted to vent a little and get it out of my system.

I will commit to only carrying 200 rounds to the range on any given day. That was working well before, and at least I kept up my careful dry firing practice at home. The ugly habit I was starting to develop was looking over the sights. I'll find out this Sunday if that's been worked out or not.
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Thanks for the discussion guys. Even though I'm one of the "relaxed, out for fun" kind of shooters I hope to someday be able to practice and build my skills up. Your comments will help me put together a plan to get better.

For now I just can't work in an hour-plus drive each way to a range for practice. There is a private range 10 minutes from where I work but the waiting list is long. I've been on the list for 4+ years and have another 4-5 years to go. Maybe then I can start practicing. For now I'll stick with the IDPA, (I Don't Practice Anymore) matches and see how it goes.

Good luck Walking Point! Hope things work out to your satisfaction.
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Walking Point, as you mellow with age and become less 'I gota beat them' you will relax and become a great shooter!(smile) I take 100 rounds per session because I am lazy and reloading is not fun, it is work. I don't compete but do attend school once in a while to be drawen back to safety issues and see what it is I have been missing. When the weather is just right I try to shoot at least 300 rounds per week. Watch that lead splatter, I now have to order my 200gr LSWC from Oregon Trail, bummer!
I'm one of those guys who may be shooting just to reload more. Now that I'm casting bullets I have plenty to do to keep me busy.

I love laser-cast bullets, but $58/1000 delivered for a 200 SWC was getting to be too much. I figure I must have paid for a new car for each of their employees over the years.

Now that I'm casting, my bullet cost per 1000 has dropped to between $4 - $6 depending on the alloy. It doesn't take long to pay for the casting equipment with that kind of cost difference.

If you aren't completely loyal to Oregon Trail, then cast SWCs can be had from $42 - $45 from several locations.

There's a thread in the Reloading forum listing sources.
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