Caffeine and accurate shooting

#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?

Cheers
T_T
 
#2
It would make some sort of sense. I think the body takes as long to process caffeine as it does to process alcohol.
 

JINGO

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#4
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....
 
#8
4(T) said:
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....
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.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#10
stoatman said:
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.
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
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...
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#14
Gravelbelly said:
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...
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.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#16
Blogg said:
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.
You should have just selotaped some Nescafe granules to your bicep - works for smokers :wink:
 
#17
Alsacien said:
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.
It could be that by the evening, the caffeine has worn off, you're fully hydrated, your blood sugar is stable, and you've got an empty stomach because you haven't had your supper.

Correspondingly on a Sunday morning, you may still be slightly dehydrated from the night before, and you've just scarfed down a full fry-up :)

Alsacien said:
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.
If you're past the 590 mark with a reasonable degree of consistency, you should definitely be thinking of taking it seriously... that's up into Regional Squad territory. If you can carry those scores on to an outdoor range, and shoot them when it's a bit breezy, you could be looking at Home Country representation.

This weekend just past was the British 50m Championships - Mid-580s would have got you through the elimination round, and a 592 in the qualifier would have got you a place in the final (the top eight firers do another ten shots to decide the medals). But you'd have needed to beat a 598 to win it...
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#18
Gravelbelly said:
Alsacien said:
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.
It could be that by the evening, the caffeine has worn off, you're fully hydrated, your blood sugar is stable, and you've got an empty stomach because you haven't had your supper.
2 coffees in the between 1400-1600, shooting at 1900? Probably not worn off - but the hydration is a good point and very valid

Correspondingly on a Sunday morning, you may still be slightly dehydrated from the night before, and you've just scarfed down a full fry-up :)
hydration again, I will take this onboard, I never eat breakfast, just a coffee

Alsacien said:
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.
If you're past the 590 mark with a reasonable degree of consistency,
15% of my scores exceed 590, 70% high 80's, 15% ...well you know :wink: you should definitely be thinking of taking it seriously... that's up into Regional Squad territory. If you can carry those scores on to an outdoor range, I only shoot outdoor and shoot them when it's a bit breezy, consistent wind I can handle, swirling wind has resulted in my best disasters to date...you could be looking at Home Country representation.

This weekend just past was the British 50m Championships - Mid-580s would have got you through the elimination round, and a 592 I would be unlikely to pull a 592 out of the bag in a big competition - still get nerves in the qualifier would have got you a place in the final (the top eight firers do another ten shots to decide the medals). But you'd have needed to beat a 598 to win it...
Thanks for the feedback GB.
 
#19
Gravelbelly said:
[But you'd have needed to beat a 598 to win it...
I could have done that in the kneeling unsupported from 300 with a rusty old BSA Airsporter :D

Smallbore target rifle is puffy, they low down on padded mats and wear slings, balanced underpants and use £6k rifles that do the job for you

Don't even start me on bench rest shooters :D
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#20
Mighty_doh_nut said:
Gravelbelly said:
[But you'd have needed to beat a 598 to win it...
I could have done that in the kneeling unsupported from 300 with a rusty old BSA Airsporter :D

Smallbore target rifle is puffy, they low down on padded mats and wear slings, balanced underpants and use £6k rifles that do the job for you

Don't even start me on bench rest shooters :D

Mats are not allowed and its a 3k rifle. Thought straps of any kind were your thing :wink:

Where can you buy balanced shreddies from, I'll try anything for an extra point :?
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top