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Teaching Preload in Oregon

Knowledge Vault Updates

Well, it’s about time for us to be able to add more material to the Knowledge Vault. We do apologize for not adding video material, but the web designer we recently fired did not want us to add anything for some unknown reason. Man, are we glad to see him in our rearview mirror. Our new designer has taken over the ship and we will be building a much better framework and adding some new features. It should be complete in about three months.

Soon, we will be adding a huge amount of hunting ShotKam video footage, along with kill shot reviews for each game species. They will be separated into left to right, right to left, outgoing, and incoming. On our last trip to Argentina, I shot outgoing shots on doves on two hunts. And I got some great shots on one of the most misunderstood shots in the field.

Coaching in Oregon

We are leaving Oregon and the Grants Pass Shooting Club. We had a great time and had some students even come for all three days. On the last day, we were shooting some long, high crossers left to right off a scissor lift and all were blowing them up.

Several things came to the surface when we moved up closer so the targets were more overhead like a tower shot. We went through the “hands together and feet together” routine. (by the way, there is a new NSSF tip on this that just went up on their website) Although each student said that it felt awkward, it really did make shooting high birds easier and much more consistent.

The other big thing we noticed that morning came from shooting high birds. Starting the muzzle really high (and in some instances a little over the line) really makes picking up the line on tower birds so much easier, especially on the cross-eyed birds.

Rick Carter, who is left-handed, was having some trouble making the high angle shot make sense to him. I explained if he would start the gun in the picture with a really high hold point, the brain will have already merged the images from each retina with the gun in the picture and the confusion would go away.

It’s the same thing we would show you on long crossers when you must see the bird across the barrels. When faced with this dilemma, if you see the bird across the top lever when you mount, then the gun is in the picture for so long that it seems easier for the brain to combine the images into one that makes sense. If you insert the muzzles at the last instant on a long bird, it’s sometimes confusing to the brain when it tries to combine the two retinal images into one image because they are so different. This is huge.

The other thing about tower birds is that they are really missed offline more than behind once the shooter understands that all tower birds take lead. When you start the muzzle up on the line and let the bird come to you, then the gun becomes the line reference and the line becomes straight and easy to stabilize.

It’s amazing how the brain will take over when the target comes to the gun and corrects the lead as the muzzle speed is adjusted to the bird’s speed. Simply amazing – and at a great distance too. We were shooting one bird at 75-plus yards and it was a full-on crosser. Full choke, too.

The Importance of Preload

We also worked on the preload for most of the weekend. The importance of the preload became more and more evident as the targets’ trajectories changed.

One of the students was Lonnie, the 14-year-old son of Denise, who ran the facility for the Friday and Sunday session. He had the typical slash and flip of the muzzle that kids have, but he was very open to change. It surprised me how quickly he transitioned to the OSP system.

However, it wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that he understood the importance of the preload. His “POP” was a real learning situation for all the shooters in the group. Lonnie was shooting the long 75-yard crosser and would inconsistently hit and miss. Hit, hit, miss, miss, miss, hit, miss, miss, hit, hit. I did not pull when he called for the bird and asked him what his preload was. Then came the blank look. Well, DUH!

So I gave him a preload. Left of the barrel, let it come, and same speed at the end. He loaded two. Smash…miss. He loaded two more and called for the bird.

I did not pull, and he looked at me. There came that look again. “What is the preload?” I asked. Nothing…

So I gave it to him again. “Left of the barrel, let it come, same speed at the end.” Smash…miss. I loaded two and called again. I did not pull. When he turned around he said, “Left of the barrel, let it come, same speed at the end.” Smash. He stopped and said, “Left of the barrel, let it come, same speed at the end.” Smash.

It then dawned on him, the rest of the group, and the spectators how important the detailed preload is.

On every shot, I explained it this way: There are thousands of pictures in your brain, and shooting without a preload requires the brain to go through all the inventory to pull the right picture to put on the target in 1/3 of a second while the target is coming to the breakpoint. When you preload the shot, the brain doesn’t have to search anything except those things that are similar to the preload, making the end product more consistent and easier for the brain to calculate the lead and line. It really is amazing.

I never stop being amazed at what that brain can do when given the correct preload and good visual information, as well as how important “same speed at the end” really is.

No Better Service than Krieghoff

My Kreighoff had a problem on Saturday while Jim was shooting it. It fired as he closed it! I don’t know if he had his finger on the trigger when he closed it, but it was a little hard to open. So I’m on my way on Tuesday to see Pam and Mike at Alamo Sporting Arms to get ‘er fixed. I noticed it was hard to move the top lever a couple of times, so I’m sure it’s a fixable problem – especially for Mike.

This is why we always say it’s gonna break. And when you buy a sporting gun, buy service, and there is no better service than Krieghoff. None. Zero. Nada. Period.

Oh, and by the way, it took almost no time to fix. It needed the sears adjusted. No big deal. Krieghoff’s service: unmatched.