The artillery hold

The artillery hold

by Tom Gaylord ©2009

Want to become more accurate with your spring rifle? Want to equal those unbelieveable groups others seem to get? The secret is in how you hold the rifle, and the name for the proper hold is the “artillery hold.”

I didn’t invent this hold. It was over a century old when I discovered it in the 1990s. But I did give it the name. I did so because I wanted to be able to discuss the hold with others and to teach it to as many airgunners as possible. Giving it a name gave it a life of its own, and now I see other airgunners passing it along to new shooters.

Put simply, the artillery hold means holding your air rifle so lightly that it can recoil in any direction it wants to. Since the pellet remains in the barrel a long time after the shot, this means that the muzzle will always be in the same place, shot after shot, because there’s no outside influence forcing it to go elsewhere.

When you fire a spring-piston gun, the pellet doesn’t start to move until the piston comes to a stop. By that time, the gun is already moving in recoil. It’s also vibrating in all directions. If you were to try to restrain it by holding the stock firmly, you would establish a vibration node that would send the muzzle to a different place. Since you can never repeat a hold exactly, you’ll throw your shots all over the place if you hold the rifle tightly. If you just let it float on your hand, it will settle down and start grouping to the best of its capability.

I’ve written about the artillery hold hundreds of times, but some folks don’t seem to understand what I’m saying, so I thought a video would be a better way to get the point across. Sit back and watch my brief explanation of how the artillery hold works.

Now, watch the video!

Click the play button below the video to start it. Make sure your speakers are turned on!

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