Two year ago, I met a man who promised to teach me to shoot. I mean, really teach me. Not like the guys at the rifle club I'd been attending for 6 months who helped where they could, but really got me no-where. All my kit, at this point was provided by the Army cadet Force.
Two years, and almost £2,000 later, I still don't own everything I really need to be a good, independent, shooter, but here's a list of things to start you off, or, as I like to call it;
The list of things that will keep you poor if you choose to pursue this fine sport
Well, were you planning on throwing rounds at the target?
Instead of gripping the furniture of the gun tightly, a handstop, (which can be in several shapes, but for the time being imagine it as a cylinder) is placed on the underside of the rifle to stop the hand from sliding forward and improving grip.
Butt-hook or plate (possibly multiple).
The butt on most rifles is shaped with a slight curve to help it stay in the shoulder, and is known as the butt plate. An improvement on that, however is the butt hook. Okay, grab your right shoulder so your thumb is in your armpit. That is where a butt hook would go, wrapping around your shoulder as the result of numerous metal adjustments and attaching to the rifle in the same way a butt plate would.
Most .22 shooting is done un-scoped, meaning the sights instead comprise of two parts, the foresight and the rearsight. The rearsight is in essence an expensive hole that you look through.
Colored filters for rearsights.
As an advert for an opticians has probably told you at some point in your life, everybody's eyes are different, and everybody's eyes prefer looking at things through a different colour or tint. Some prefer clear, while I prefer green indoors and yellow outside.
The second part of the sighting system, these consist of a foresight tunnel to shut out light with a (often) circular element inside.
Foresight spirit level.
Indicates whether you are holding the rifle at the angle that you normally hold the rifle.
Colored/ different sized foresight elements.
As with colored rearsight filters, some people may use different coloured foresight elements. Equally, some people may use foresight elements in different sizes.
An eagle eye provides is a small lens the fits within the foresight tunnel and provides magnification. Club level competitions and even some national competitions allow it as the magnification is on the foresight, making it not technically a scope, however most high level competitions do not.
So, your hand's resting on the handstop, and from the handstop comes the sling. It wraps around the back of your hand and connects to the outside of your bicep, holding your arm in something like a right angle and taking the weight of the rifle. It is anchored to your arm courtesy of the...
The jacket both acts as a anchor point for the sling, but also is made of thick material to help support your prone position.
Your left hand is covered in a padded, hard, often fingerless glove. If you think about it, that hand will be taking the weight of most of the rifle; you want it to have some sort of protection.
Tinnitus is bad.
Most casual level shooters simply close the eye through which they are not looking through the sights, however this causes two problems. Firstly, the clenching of the left eye takes muscular effort, and in shooting, muscular effort is bad. Secondly, having one eye closed and the other open can distort your balance. An eye blinder blocks the eye while still allowing light to get to it, so you can shoot with both eyes open.
You lie on this. Has a grippy bit for elbows, and a padded bit for your body.
You remember when I said you can't shoot with a scope on your rifle, right? Well this isn't on your rifle; it's a spotting scope. Think what you see bird-watchers using. It allows you to see where your rounds are hitting the paper, and allows you to sight in.
Common brands include Eley, RWS and Lapua, with pricing ranging from around £3.50 to £15 for 50 rounds, depending on the quality. Obviously, the more expensive the better, however for a beginner, the difference in your group size will likely not be noticeable.
Rifles can be dangerous. They shoot holes in things. To insure safety, rifles must be unloaded upon leaving the firing point, and placing a breech flag in the barrel in place of a round demonstrates that it is such.
Dry firing a rimfire weapon can cause serious damage to the firing pin. Therefore if you want to practice your trigger technique or position without expending any ammunition, you have to use a snap cap, or drill round. Snaps caps are plastic and fit in the end of a barrel as a normal round would.
Depending on your rifle's attachments, Allen keys might be needed to alter the handstop, the position/angle of the butthook, or your foresight. What they will definitely be required for, however, is adjusting the bedding bolts of the rifle, or the bolts that hold the action into the stock.
For altering the things your allen keys wont.
A torque wrench tells how many newton meters you are putting into a bolt. Bedding bolts are designed to be at a set tension- tighter will damage the rifle, and looser will cause inconsistency in your shots.
Once you've got your rifle properly set up to you (which can take a considerable amount of time), you want to make sure you can always get it back to this state. Measuring distances such as the height of the butt-hook, the handstop position, and how far forwards your rearsights are allows you to set up your rifle in the exact same way every time it gets taken apart.
Bore-gel is a solvent solution used to clean the inside of the barrel. The barrel is first treated with bore-gel to loosen lead build up, and then dried to remove it.
A rod roughly a meter long that is put down the barrel to clean it.
Cleaning brushes and Jag.
These are different attachments for the cleaning rod. Most common are a soft brush, a copper brush, and a jag, which sections of cloth are wrapped around.
Following cleaning, the rifle is oiled to prevent rust and to lubricate.
Cloth used to clean the rifle. Small sections can be passed down the barrel attached to a jag.
Gun safe (location dependent)
If it's not become apparent by my spelling of 'colour', my use of the £ sign, or my mentioning of the ACF, I live in the United Kingdom, where it's the law that firearms have to be kept in a suitable safe. Ammunition has to be kept separately, and as my gun safe didn't have a separate compartment for it, I also needed an...
Ammunition safe (Location dependent)
A small, digital safe like those that can be bought from most supermarkets should do the trick.
Carrying all them tools, your ammunition, spare parts and other ancillaries is much easier with the aid of a tool box.
This is to carry kit such as your jacket, sling, glove, any jumpers you wear when shooting, bottled water, ear defenders, eye blinder and score-book if you have one. You could go the whole hog and just have a wheely suitcase to carry this and the contents of your tool box, but I find prefer to have them separate. You may disagree.
Carrying case/bag for rifle.
A hard sided rifle case can set you back at least £100, but rifles can cost several thousand, and especially when you travel a lot, you do NOT want it getting damaged in transit.
Phew! Well that was a lot to type, and probably even more to take in. Feel free to message me with questions if you have any.