Okay, Butch, here’s the practical stuff you can do to extract the most accuracy out of your springer.
- Make sure the stock screws are snug. They don’t have to be as tight as humanly possible, but if they are not snug, they can produce very erratic accuracy. Recheck them from time to time.
- Make sure that your scope mounts are snug to the dovetail on top of the receiver and around the scope tube. Recheck these also from time to time.
- Let your springer choose the ammunition. Test for accuracy off a rest at close range with several different round-nose pellets – 10 to 15 yards to start – and when you find some pellets that group well, move to longer range and test again.
- Use a soft rest like a rolled up jacket, towel, or even a pillow. I often use my field target bum bag on top of a couple of old boat cushions. Try to place the rest just in front of the trigger guard. Use the same rest all the time. Springers generally do not like hard rests and can display dramatic changes in point of impact if you change the type of rest that you use. I had a nicely tuned springer that was dialed in perfectly for shooting from a sitting position with the gun resting in the crook of my arms. When I tried shooting the same gun with my elbows resting on a bench, the point of impact jumped up by an inch and a half at just ten yards. In another dramatic example, a fellow beat me by a couple of points with his springer. I asked him if I could try his gun. Sure, he said. I could not drop a large target at ten yards with half a dozen attempts. He thought there was something wrong with the gun. He tried it and dropped the target immediately. Obviously, the way you hold a springer makes a big difference in the point of impact.
- Don’t pull the gun hard into your shoulder. Let it rest easy.
- Try to make sure that the gun in its rest is naturally pointed at the target. If you have to force the gun to get on target, adjust your rest until, as much as possible, your air rifle is aimed at the target without you having to “muscle” it into position.
- Stay focused on the target. If possible, rest the thumb of your trigger hand on the top of the buttstock and pull your trigger finger straight back toward it. The object is to make your trigger pull as straight back as possible and not to either side. Suck in a breath, let half of it out, and pull steadily, keeping the crosshairs exactly where you want them on the target until the shot breaks. Don’t yank the trigger.
- If, as you are aiming, you find yourself running out of breath and getting desperate to release the shot, stop, reset yourself, take a couple of breaths, and start over again.
- Follow through. Don’t move anything until you see the pellet hit the target. Maintain laser focus of yourself on the target throughout the entire shot cycle.
- Finally, if possible, move closer to the target. Nothing improves accuracy like getting closer! If you can reduce the distance to your pest birds by 15 yards, I think you’ll find it easier to hit the mark. (Butch, this is no reflection on your shooting skill, but a practical observation.)
Well, I hope this helps.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott