Does prior shooting experince help?
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  1. #1

    Does prior shooting experince help?

    My recruiter told me that my past experince with firearms may acutally hurt me in boot camp, I was wondeirng if anyone could chime in if this was true or not. I don't see how this might be a problem though as I have done my best to eliminate any flinching I may have through extensive dry-firing drills. Anyways, this is incredibly important to me since I am going O311 and I do take marksmanship very seriously almost as much as I do religion (Just as important as being able to run 3 miles quickly or pumping out sit ups and crunches).

    I was wondering if anyone had any input on what I can do to become the best rifleman I possibly can be when I ship. I go shooting every Saturday except when there is a Pool function, some of my "routine" includes shooting from a bench to zero in (Boresight, 3-shot groups), sometimes I fire from a supported position from a bench at 100 yards on paper, but most of the time I shoot off-hand, on one knee, or prone at hanging steel targets. I do most of my shooting with one of my AR-15s (16 inch carbine length with back up iron sights) but I have been using my friend's government profile build (20 inch barrel with A2 buttstock and carry handle iron sights).

    How exactly does rifle qualification work in boot camp, and what kind of training/prerequistes would I need to go through or have to get that sort of "designated marksman" or equivalent position? I'm still in high school and I have both shot and cleaned my own firearms since the Summer of 2006, but I am always looking to improve. More dry fire drills? Practice more prone or standing? (I need to ween myself off getting the 2 inch groupings from a bench)

    Just for fun, my best 100 yard grouping with an AR-15:


    Building my second AR-15, started with the bare lower receiver, and a parts kit with the upper assembly already completed. 10 round magazines that are fixed or require a tool to dettach are required since I do live in California until something about the laws are done. (I push the takedown pin out and pivot the upper assembly out and load individual rounds into the magazine while its still in the well to load sort of like its a break open shotgun) :




  2. #2
    Marine Free Member Marine84's Avatar
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    Alrighty then.......................

    It's all of that snapping in trash and the way they want you to position your body that will get you. If you want to ween yourself off of that bench, practice from prone, kneeling and standing all the way out to 500 yards away from your target.


  3. #3
    It won't hurt you just as long as you're not stubborn and think you know more then the PMI. Just as long as you do WHAT you're told to do WHEN you're told to do it then you'll be fine. Just do what the PMI tells you to do and you'll succeed.


  4. #4
    Yes, it WILL hurt your more than likely. No matter how good you think that you may be (and hell, you MAY be descent) you can't shoot like a Marine. When you get to bootcamp, they'll tell you to FORGET! what you know, and do it their way.

    You best do that; otherwise (and no offense to any Marines out here -- I say this in reference to being a 'great shooter' as a civilian) you'll be unking or wearing a pizza box at best.

    Ex: My guide had (truthfully) won many state marksmanship competitions for his age range in places #1-3. He shot a 203 on the range. It's all or nothing. Marine Corps way first, oorah?


  5. #5
    The only sure thing is that if you don't do it our way, you won't score expert. The absolute best thing that you can do right now is stretching exercises that will limber you up for the shooting positions of sitting and kneeling. Once you get to MCRD, you'll be sitting cross-legged a lot (indian style). This is prepping you for the snap-in drills at the range.

    Having prior shooting skills can help and hurt at our range. I've seen it work both ways. However, more times than not, the high shooters in the series will have had little or zero prior experience. They didn't have bad habits to unlearn.


  6. #6
    Squad Leader Free Member thewookie's Avatar
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    I unked at boot camp, twice and they almost rolled me to another platoon. But I was good at everything else and they gave me one more shot, whew! My father had a Colt AR-15 and I shot it a lot before I went in. I have that AR-15 now, and I have Gunny Hathcock's signature on it! *he was hesitant to sign it, he didn't like the M-16A2 but I bugged him each time I went to go pick him up before he came to the range or spoke at graduation. Gunny Hathcock is the man, RIP Marine! Back to my point.

    My problem was that I didn't listen to my PMI's and I thought that I knew what was going on. I did good with my dad shooting cans back home? But I eventually put it all together at the 1st PMI school I went to in Hawaii while I waited for 1/3 to get back from the 1st Gulf war. Why they sent me I don't know but it was a great thing for me. When I got out I had 6 awards, and I could and probably still can shoot the lights out with just about anything you can hand me. That's not just my ego speaking, I worked very hard at that for many years. I've dry fired many more rounds then I've ever shot live, and I've put a lot of lead down range with various systems. So you can overcome bad or incorrect shooting habits that you might have, and learn to shoot our way. I personally think "virgin" shooters have it easier but it depends on who teaches you what.

    Snap in, Snap in, and Snap in. Marine84,Haffner and Sgt. V all said it 1st. Dry fire, not live fire is the key to marksmanship. Write that down. The more you understand the fundamentals dry, the better you can apply them when you're live. These aren't just cliches. And find a dry fire target that's about the same size as the front tip post from about 25 yards away, that's all the distance you need, something small maybe a quarter stuck to the barn or something, and honestly call each "dry" shot. And when you go to boot camp remember your PMI's have more knowledge then you, and your Dad, and you uncle Jim the Marine from Vietnam. Listen to your PMI's and do far more snapping in now, then you ever live fire. Learn our positions, and this information is easily available from the Internet. And then snap in.

    Here's something for you - most Marines, or just people in general, biggest problem is overcoming the anticipation of each shot. The brain, it has been shown, actually shuts down for milli seconds when the round is 1st fired. This is in part why most shooters drop rounds low, they mentally anticipate the shot, or "bang" and push the round down. Dry fire will eliminate this. You need to get your brain past the bang, dry fire. Focus on the front tip and slowly press the trigger to the rear, at a smooth and even pace. -That one is free


  7. #7
    Squad Leader Free Member thewookie's Avatar
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    Ooh, and I wouldn't be bragging too much on a Marine web site if you're shooting a 20" heavy barrel from 100 yds prone and getting a 2 inch group that's off right. I thinks it's good, but not worth showing us unless it's dead center and 1 MOA from 100 yds with that system. Just my thoughts.

    BTW, fix that weapon back to a regular version before you spend all this time snapping in. At entry level you're not shooting that weapon you're showing us so it won't do you much good to snap in with it. It will do some good dry, but nothing live. Fix it if you can, and dry fire from the Marine Corps standing and kneeling positions, it's not as fun or glorious as the prone position but it's much more useful, and realistic. Good luck.

    Finally, just wondering - is that one shot low right, your 1st shot and/or your "cold" bore shot? Thanks


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by thewookie
    Ooh, and I wouldn't be bragging too much on a Marine web site if you're shooting a 20" heavy barrel from 100 yds prone and getting a 2 inch group that's off right. I thinks it's good, but not worth showing us unless it's dead center and 1 MOA from 100 yds with that system. Just my thoughts.

    BTW, fix that weapon back to a regular version before you spend all this time snapping in. At entry level you're not shooting that weapon you're showing us so it won't do you much good to snap in with it. It will do some good dry, but nothing live. Fix it if you can, and dry fire from the Marine Corps standing and kneeling positions, it's not as fun or glorious as the prone position but it's much more useful, and realistic. Good luck.

    Finally, just wondering - is that one shot low right, your 1st shot and/or your "cold" bore shot? Thanks
    Yeah, that was my first shot, we all sort of mke the excuse that we all get a "Flier." Anyways, that was through a 16 inch barrel with the back up iron sights pictured, however I will have access to a 20 inch build with the carry handle once I get the upper assembly. I know flinching was a serious problem I had with pistols, but I do dry fire a lot with rifles since I don't exactly have a range in my backyard living in an incorporated area.


  9. #9
    Squad Leader Free Member thewookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ub3rmike
    Yeah, that was my first shot, we all sort of mke the excuse that we all get a "Flier." Anyways, that was through a 16 inch barrel with the back up iron sights pictured, however I will have access to a 20 inch build with the carry handle once I get the upper assembly. I know flinching was a serious problem I had with pistols, but I do dry fire a lot with rifles since I don't exactly have a range in my backyard living in an incorporated area.
    Yeah, after I went back and re-read it I realized a big old barn scenario isn't probably realistic. Try to find something, inside a garage, any small spot will work but you want to make sure your "target" (keep in mind this is dry.) is smaller in relation to the distance. If you can only snap in dry from 10 yards then use a dime. And if it's really close where you live then you might want to clue in your neighbors. But it will pay off if you do it right and do it regularly.

    And really, purge your brain of any knowledge before you go. Listen, you will learn so much if you listen to what they say. Don't tell them you know a thing, IMO, because they know guys like you and me, and we don't listen. So you could get tuned out quick. Do not underestimate what I'm saying and you'll be fine. Good luck

    That 1st shot you anticipated, typical, dry fire. Then you pulled it together for a nice grouping. But it's off right, could be the dope, or the dope. The weapon dope could be off right, if so adjust accordingly with the sights. Or the dope behind the weapon could be pushing the rounds right with your weak hand and a too tight, or incorrectly positioned sling. Or your natural point off aim is off, ooh boy don't get me going. More then likely it's the dope on the gun. Try that 1st.

    I hear PD's are complaining about a lack of rounds, or the price is higher since the wars begun. So don't go to the range today and dry fire instead


  10. #10
    Marine Free Member sparkie's Avatar
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    I was Captain of my High school rifle team for 3 years. Competition was 10 rounds of 22 at 15 feet. Scoring was measuring the size if the One hole. I was good. In boot , the best I did was sharpshooter. Whole different ball game.


  11. #11
    Squad Leader Free Member thewookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ub3rmike
    Yeah, that was my first shot, we all sort of mke the excuse that we all get a "Flier." Anyways, that was through a 16 inch barrel with the back up iron sights pictured, however I will have access to a 20 inch build with the carry handle once I get the upper assembly. I know flinching was a serious problem I had with pistols, but I do dry fire a lot with rifles since I don't exactly have a range in my backyard living in an incorporated area.
    Oh and the pistols, I don't want to get too complicated with you but they are a totally different animal to conquer (for most) then a rifle. And USMC doesn't pistol qual you at boot camp (I don't think that's changed) so leave the pistols alone and focus on dry firing with the AR-15. I used to dry fire in my room at the barracks, they didn't really like us taking weapons in the rooms but when we would be cleaning them I'd always make some time to dry fire and make sure it was functional, in my room with a dime stuck to the wall with some bubble gum.


  12. #12
    Squad Leader Free Member thewookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewookie
    I unked at boot camp, twice and they almost rolled me to another platoon. But I was good at everything else and they gave me one more shot, whew! My father had a Colt AR-15 and I shot it a lot before I went in. I have that AR-15 now, and I have Gunny Hathcock's signature on it! *he was hesitant to sign it, he didn't like the M-16A2 but I bugged him each time I went to go pick him up before he came to the range or spoke at graduation. Gunny Hathcock is the man, RIP Marine! Back to my point.

    My problem was that I didn't listen to my PMI's and I thought that I knew what was going on. I did good with my dad shooting cans back home? But I eventually put it all together at the 1st PMI school I went to in Hawaii while I waited for 1/3 to get back from the 1st Gulf war. Why they sent me I don't know but it was a great thing for me. When I got out I had 6 awards, and I could and probably still can shoot the lights out with just about anything you can hand me. That's not just my ego speaking, I worked very hard at that for many years. I've dry fired many more rounds then I've ever shot live, and I've put a lot of lead down range with various systems. So you can overcome bad or incorrect shooting habits that you might have, and learn to shoot our way. I personally think "virgin" shooters have it easier but it depends on who teaches you what.

    Snap in, Snap in, and Snap in. Marine84,Haffner and Sgt. V all said it 1st. Dry fire, not live fire is the key to marksmanship. Write that down. The more you understand the fundamentals dry, the better you can apply them when you're live. These aren't just cliches. And find a dry fire target that's about the same size as the front tip post from about 25 yards away, that's all the distance you need, something small maybe a quarter stuck to the barn or something, and honestly call each "dry" shot. And when you go to boot camp remember your PMI's have more knowledge then you, and your Dad, and you uncle Jim the Marine from Vietnam. Listen to your PMI's and do far more snapping in now, then you ever live fire. Learn our positions, and this information is easily available from the Internet. And then snap in.

    Here's something for you - most Marines, or just people in general, biggest problem is overcoming the anticipation of each shot. The brain, it has been shown, actually shuts down for milli seconds when the round is 1st fired. This is in part why most shooters drop rounds low, they mentally anticipate the shot, or "bang" and push the round down. Dry fire will eliminate this. You need to get your brain past the bang, dry fire. Focus on the front tip and slowly press the trigger to the rear, at a smooth and even pace. -That one is free
    I want to correct myself for the record, Gunny Hathcock didn't like the M16A1. He said when they 1st brought it into service in Vietnam it missed fired, and jammed up on Marines in the jungle mud environment. I also believe that he told me that he had it with him the day that he was burned, or his spotter did and it malfunctioned on him. It took me a couple of different occasions to finally get him to sign it. I'm not too electronic, i.e. have no digital camera but someday I might take a picture of it and post it. It's on the butt-stock and I've been careful not to ruin it when shooting it since, I've thought of getting it engraved or something to preserve it? He used a black Sharpie so it's not easy too see but it's there, no doubt about that!

    Semper Fi Marines


  13. #13
    I have a slightly different experience. I shot my whole life, have been doing competitions for longer than I can really remember, and I shot a 240 on qual day. (And didn't get Company high shooter, Series High shooter, or even Platoon High Shooter ~ my rack mate beat me!) I did run into a couple of problems. First, my kneeling stance was not allowed. I shot from a textbook olympic stance- but in boot camp you have to have butt to heel contact. It was really awkward to me and took a few days to get anywhere close to stable. Second, I shoot offhand from a modified Russian stance. It puts torque into your back to make the rifle stable. The PMIs and coaches didn't like it af first, because it isn't the Marine Corps technique. But, it was close enough that they let me do it, and after the first of hand string my coach told me I was fine to keep shooting like that.

    The Marine Corps teaches the basics of marksmanship better than anyone else in the world. If you go in with a closed mind you are hurting yourself. Shooting before you go to boot camp does cause problems for you because you will have bad habits that are impossible to break. Other times, you may think you know more than the PMI does. Simply put, you don't.

    If you're going to insist on shooting, get rid of any optics you have on your rifle. Ditch backup sights and get a detachable carry handle to put on your rifle so you're at least looking at about the same sight picture. Getting rid of the adjustable stock would be a decent idea as well. Ditch the bench, it is just about impossible to not shoot well using one. You won't ever be closer than 200 yards, so try to stop thinking you're doing well at 100. Stop complaining about a flyer. If you're groop isn't at 1 MOA it is because you did something wrong. Take responsibility for your mistake. Shoot from prone, kneeling, sitting, and standing. Use your sling for support, but not from a "shooters sling". And understand that probably 95% of the people on this site can outshoot you, so don't allow yourself to think you're shooting like a Marine.


  14. #14
    Squad Leader Free Member thewookie's Avatar
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    And since I'm waiting for college football to begin,,I would stick to basic USMC shooting positions, not paper target/competition shooting positions. I think the Marine Corps still needs to tweak the rifle qual a little bit more, too make it more realistic. Shooting prone, and with tight slings, and with shooting coats, and spray glue is all fine and dandy. I've done plenty of it, much respect for those guys. But when I've taken one of those guys to a IDPA match they usually don't fare so well, or as well. You typically don't engage the enemy from any of those competition positions or gear scenario's. Keep it real. Shoot standing, kneeling, iron sights, hasty sling, from a good balanced fighting position. Then later in life if you want to try that other stuff go ahead, it's tough. But for now learn the basics and stick to what is common and easier/more realistic to master. Just my thoughts,,


  15. #15
    It's an honor to be among such fine warriors. Truth be told, I graduated with the pizza box because I failed to adopt solid shooting positions. That sight moves a lot more than it has to when you don't have the right foundation.

    A year of hanging out with people like E4B and The Wookie will compel you to work harder. It absolutely SUCKS having to wear that pizza box. Thankfully, I ended up with 2 Awards.

    Hey, Wookie, bank loan officer? Sounds like it would be a tough bank to rob if you were packing at work. ha ha ha.

    Mike, can you please reconsider the picture on your profile? Honestly, it looks like something we'd see on CNN after another national day of tragedy. You get my drift?


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