Caffeine and accurate shooting

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by Tartan_Terrier, Jun 14, 2009.

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  1. There have been a couple of occasions recently when I've been quite disappointed with my shooting, and not really known what the problem was.

    One thing I have thought about was that on both days I had had a fair bit of filter coffee. Could this be the cause of my (even) larger than usual groups?

    Does caffeine affect your shooting?

    How long before shooting should one abstain in order to avoid any adverse effects?

  2. It would make some sort of sense. I think the body takes as long to process caffeine as it does to process alcohol.
  3. I always have a strong black coffee before and during a days clay last i have an excuse for missing so many..cheers guys.
  4. JINGO

    JINGO War Hero Book Reviewer

    Im no gravel belly and im not sure about how it affects accuracy but i have been told that the Dutch Police conducted tests which concluded that Officers who had drunk coffee were significantly more likely to shoot when faced with rapid shoot/no shoot scenarios.
  5. Some swear blind about no caffeine as it makes you jittery, others avoid fizzy drinks because they makes you gassey. I find that I need a couple of cups of coffee to get going in the morning, especially because of the more social aspects of shooting!!!
  6. There was quite a strong old Bisley tradition that a few G&Ts helped improve shooting - at least until the PC spoilsports stopped that sort of thing. I suppose that the physiological effects of caffeine - a stimulant - may be the opposite of alcohol - a depressant?

    Perhaps there should be an Arrse shooting club experiment to compare the two types of beverage? Better not tell the NRA though....
  7. Well the bar in the lodge is open at lunch times .....
  8. I like the sound of that!
  9. Too much coffee does adversely affect gravel belly type shooting. But, on the other hand, if you are a several cups of tea/coffee a day type and you don't have your morning brew, you will be equally affected by its absence.
  10. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    That is a very good point.

    Target shooting for experienced shooters is about relaxation and concentration - assuming mastery of trigger control. Coffee is a stimulant that will not help this.

    If you are serious then no coffee except unleaded, but then you would be on a sport focused diet/training regime anyway if you are really serious.

    Have a cup of coffee (try bleifrei filter you might like it), skip the fatty food and nibble the minimum amount to keep going (hunger makes you more alert and improves concentration and reflexes).

    I have shot my consistently highest practice scores at my club on Thurs evening, as opposed to my other club where I practice on a Sunday morning. This is after a working day with 3 or 4 cups of coffee, plus the evening session is artificial light, dark wood safety screens and a table to lie on for prone - not ideal.
    Without adverse conditions I shoot between 585-590, and exceptionally up to 5 points higher. This is only my second season of smallbore, but I am being told to take it more seriously. If anyone has advice I am happy to receive it.
  11. Caffeine is a stimulant which can improve concentration and does improve reaction times; which, for snap shooting and reaction shooting (such as clays etc) is likely to add to your capabilities/ score. However, in too great a concentration, it will cause jitteryness and, as has already been described, a tendency to snatch, or take a shot too early.

    FWIW, my best target shooting scores were always achieved when relaxed and having done some breathing exercises first and, my best watch and shoot/ falling plate scores were when hyped up on caffeine and adrenaline after a good run/ double strength ratpack cofee!!! Hope this helps :D
  12. mwl946

    mwl946 LE Good Egg (charities)

    Took a group of cadets to CISSAM at Bisley two years ago.

    In practice, our best cadet's score in was 34/35 deliberate, 24/25 rapid, 25/25 snap.

    He decided he ought to "sharpen himself up" for the competition itself by necking two full cans of "relentless" - this kid never normally drinking any caffeinated beverages. Arrived on firing point shaking like an aspen in the breeze and proceded to shoot 27/35, 16/25 and w/o on snap! We had to run him round the ranges for the next hour before the remaining shoots in the competition. (still managed 8th place overall tho)
  13. Short answer - yes.

    Certainly, caffeinated drinks are a no-no for serious competitors - beyond a small cup of coffee at breakfast, say. So, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and a large latte are out; even tea should be drunk in moderation (yes, tea has caffeine).

    As ever, there will be people who maintain that they shoot perfectly well on the back of a couple of cups of coffee. Fair enough; but typically that will be in events where stability of hold isn't as important as reaction time (clay target) ability to judge a strong wind (fullbore TR) or a combination of both added to CV fitness (service rifle).

    I was briefly involved with some students who were trying to investigate the effect of caffeine on muscular micro-tremors (namely, increasing them) as part of their University degree. Unfortunately, the University decided that loading people up with large doses of caffeine could perhaps be regarded as "medical treatment", and that doing such things properly would take too long...
  14. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    As a completely random aside.
    I once knew a USAF pilot who had to compulsorily quit flying duty due to caffeine addiction. He used to get through 5-6 pints of coffee a day and could not quit.
    Normal bloke otherwise.
  15. Well if you want to try giving the stuff up be prepared for a nagging headache that lasts for about a week.

    Been there and got the empty paracetamol packets to prove it.