Shooting Tips

deer_shooter

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2009
Messages
1,326
Location
Southwest Pa.
A couple of things I would recommend, and it is mostly to echo or expand on what a few others here have said.

1. Understanding Natural Point of Aim (NPOA) is a game changer. It sounds completely obvious, but having to "fight" your body position to keep the sights on target is going to degrade accuracy. The best way to discover NPOA, either at a hot range or dry firing, is to get into position, get your sight alignment and sight picture on the target, then close your eyes for a breath cycle or two. Don't shoot, just take a few breathes with your eyes closed. If you reopen them and you have an NPOA that is aligning you to the target, your sights should still be on the target (or very close to it). If you open your eyes, and you are off target, that means your NPOA wasn't aligned on the target. At the range, I usually check my NPOA before each course of fire.

2. Learn how to shoot sling supported. I have a collection of USGI cotton web slings, along with a leather "National Match" type. Either works just fine. You can get into a "hasty sling" supported position just as fast as a non-supported position. It just helps to snug the rifle up tight to your shoulder, and makes you and the rifle more of a single unit. Using a sling helps keep your body relaxed, since the sling is doing the work of holding the rifle tight to you. You should be able to open and close your support hand without affecting NPOA.

3. Learn shooting positions that work for you. For seated or kneeling (which seems to be the main topic regarding shooting positions), I have a few pointers. First is to get into a comfortable to you position. Some guys can shoot cross legged; others kneel, while others are seated with their legs partially extended and their knees bent. Personally, I can't hold a stable, cross-legged position. I can hold a stable kneeling position, so that's my go to. Next tip- avoid "bone to bone" contact. Place the point of your elbow on top of your knee cap. You'll feel the elbow sort of roll on the knee, and that's not stable, which isn't accurate. Now, slide your elbow forward, so that the bottom of your tricep is supported by the knee. That's a softer part of the body being supported by the bone of the knee. That is stable.

4. Good, frequent, dry fire practice is better than poorly done range days. You can practice just about everything other than shot follow through by dry firing. Shooting positions, breathing, sight alignment and sight picture, and trigger squeeze can all be done dry firing in the garage. Get the fundamentals down by dry firing, and watch how much improvement you'll see at the range.
Solid advice.
 

Cheater

Active member
Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Messages
162
The dry firing practice has been helpful for me. Might be a dumb question, but are there any negative effects to the firearm from repeated dry firing?
 

Oregon_Ryan

New member
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
10
Not a dumb question at all, but the answers are controversial. I’m going to say up front that no matter what I write, someone will have a different opinion. That’s cool and that’s how we expand our knowledge.

The more or less standard line I’ve heard on dry firing, is that for modern centerfire rifles dry firing will not damage the rifle. There are exceptions for older rifles and rimfires that I have heard, but nothing that I would say is concrete regarding damage beyond replacing a firing pin.
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
791
Location
Iowa
I dry fire with a casing.

Best advice I ever got was "mind your bones". No matter what position, if you reposition your body enough, you can get to where your bones support the weight of the rifle and not your muscles. You know you are doing this correctly when you relax your biceps completely and the gun does not move. Next, shift yourself so the gun points dead center on the target and you have to exert effort to move the sight picture off the target. That way when you relax you're right on and the only muscle flex you have is pressure directly away from your target to get gun snug in your shoulder pocket. If you are having to lift or push the rifle to the point of aim you are doomed. I am a pretty pedestrian marksman. However, I shoot offhand better than most using these principles with lots of practice.
 

hank4elk

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
3,360
Location
SW NM
BF has some good tips. How many of his podcasts/vid's are they shooting off packs,bipods/tripods,trees or knees.Prone.
Read some of the wise ones O'Conner,vanZwoll...& practice.
I can shoot as good sitting with a tripod or pack as I can off the bench,from practice. Same with the safari sling I use in some instances. Practice.
Stand next to the roof support at the range,a tree in the woods.Practice.
 

dragginwood

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
58
A couple of things I would recommend, and it is mostly to echo or expand on what a few others here have said.

1. Understanding Natural Point of Aim (NPOA) is a game changer. It sounds completely obvious, but having to "fight" your body position to keep the sights on target is going to degrade accuracy. The best way to discover NPOA, either at a hot range or dry firing, is to get into position, get your sight alignment and sight picture on the target, then close your eyes for a breath cycle or two. Don't shoot, just take a few breathes with your eyes closed. If you reopen them and you have an NPOA that is aligning you to the target, your sights should still be on the target (or very close to it). If you open your eyes, and you are off target, that means your NPOA wasn't aligned on the target. At the range, I usually check my NPOA before each course of fire.

2. Learn how to shoot sling supported. I have a collection of USGI cotton web slings, along with a leather "National Match" type. Either works just fine. You can get into a "hasty sling" supported position just as fast as a non-supported position. It just helps to snug the rifle up tight to your shoulder, and makes you and the rifle more of a single unit. Using a sling helps keep your body relaxed, since the sling is doing the work of holding the rifle tight to you. You should be able to open and close your support hand without affecting NPOA.

3. Learn shooting positions that work for you. For seated or kneeling (which seems to be the main topic regarding shooting positions), I have a few pointers. First is to get into a comfortable to you position. Some guys can shoot cross legged; others kneel, while others are seated with their legs partially extended and their knees bent. Personally, I can't hold a stable, cross-legged position. I can hold a stable kneeling position, so that's my go to. Next tip- avoid "bone to bone" contact. Place the point of your elbow on top of your knee cap. You'll feel the elbow sort of roll on the knee, and that's not stable, which isn't accurate. Now, slide your elbow forward, so that the bottom of your tricep is supported by the knee. That's a softer part of the body being supported by the bone of the knee. That is stable.

4. Good, frequent, dry fire practice is better than poorly done range days. You can practice just about everything other than shot follow through by dry firing. Shooting positions, breathing, sight alignment and sight picture, and trigger squeeze can all be done dry firing in the garage. Get the fundamentals down by dry firing, and watch how much improvement you'll see at the range.
Thank you. Exactly what I was looking for!
 

dragginwood

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
58
Appreciate all the feedback and tips! Been to the range every week, and will be implementing a lot of this. I can already realize some of the things I'm doing wrong before even heading out, mainly moving the rifle where I want the shot to go, rather than getting proper alignment and a Nautral alignment. Hoping this pays dividends. I'll hopefully be posting an antelope and an elk with double lung hits in a couple months!
 

dragginwood

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
58
I don't think position shooting is practiced enough anymore. Sitting should be fairly stable. Cross your legs in front of you and left elbow rest's on the left knee, right on the right. That's not quite all though. Once your there, get a good hold on the target and shut your eyes and completely relax, completely. Then open your eyes and look to see where the rifle is pointing. If no where you were aiming, you need to adjust your body. Your getting a strain on your lower back mussel's and need to relieve it. Move your body on the ground, if I remember right, shooting off to the left move your body a bit clockwise. Once you have that stress in your lower back removed it become's a much better position to shoot accurately. It work's in every position. I tried using a bi-pod just a little, hated it. never could hold the rifle as still as simply using good posture. I think, don't know, a problem is the body works one way then you add a point out front where pressure is placed upward on the stock without any other change. One more suggestion to shooting, get a decent military sling and learn to use it. When using one, your arm will go through the sling and then wrap it one more time and hold the rifle near the sling swivel. You should need to push a bit with the arm through the sling and you end up getting very steady. Sling when ready to shoot should be very tight.

Trigger squeeze. In position with the gun up, get someone to balance a quarter out on the muzzle of the barrel. The drill is to dry fire without making the quarter fall off the barrel! Take's some practice.
I agree with this, based on my limited experience.. There are only 2 stations at my local range which position shooting can be practiced. I have spent enough time at the range that the officers know me by name and I've yet to see another person utilize one of these stations. To be fair, prior to joining this forum I hadn't thought much about shooting from position either. I certainly didn't know that not shooting from a bench was permissible at the state run range, and only discovered after inquiring. Happy to be learning more and more every day..
 

rwc101

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Messages
187
Location
Laramie, WY
My accuracy improved (a bit) when I switched from the 5lbs factory trigger pull weight to 2lbs. Something to consider if yours is heavy.
 

Don Fischer

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
782
I dry fire with a casing.

Best advice I ever got was "mind your bones". No matter what position, if you reposition your body enough, you can get to where your bones support the weight of the rifle and not your muscles. You know you are doing this correctly when you relax your biceps completely and the gun does not move. Next, shift yourself so the gun points dead center on the target and you have to exert effort to move the sight picture off the target. That way when you relax you're right on and the only muscle flex you have is pressure directly away from your target to get gun snug in your shoulder pocket. If you are having to lift or push the rifle to the point of aim you are doomed. I am a pretty pedestrian marksman. However, I shoot offhand better than most using these principles with lots of practice.
It's not the bone's, it's the muscle's. you have tension in the muscle's and you get a good sight picture and close your eye's and relax and the muscle's will pull you off target if there's tension. main muscle for doing that is lower back. use any position you want and get your whole body pointing at the target. Close your eyes and relax and the rifle will drift off target as the muscle's in the lower back relax. You could still shoot and maybe well but you'll do your best if your not stressing a muscle. You'll also find position shooting that the higher off the ground your body get's the harder for you to shoot accutately. As you go up from prone, point's of contact with the ground change. Prone your whole body is on the ground and the rifle is supported by your elbow' and hands. Get to sitting and your going to have the heaviest part, your butt, solid on the ground. Your elbows are now higher off the ground and supported by your knees.Get to kneeling and one foot is flat on the ground, the other probably supported by your knee, one elbow is supported by a knee the other by pretty much thin air. The best position is prone but for hunting it just doesn't always work that way. Problem being grass and brush on the ground. Sitting is next best, your above the ground clutter and have both elbow's braced on your knees. I can't cross my leg's to shoot sitting anymore but that will be the steadiest. For years I used a cross of sitting and kneeling. my left knee was up and elbow supported and I sat on my right foot, t was very strady. Bone's and muscles don't work well enough anymore. Good thing about getting the stress out of your body is you learn soon to do it without thinking about it. You simply drop into the right position without thinking about it, at least that worked for me.

I might add one more thing. I've seen people shooting prone that keep their leg's to close together. Don't do that. spread them till your conformable and you spread the base of your body out and make's for a more solid rest. Consider, if you could lay completely flat on the ground your body would be in the best position to support anything. Unfortunately that would be a very hard position to shoot from.
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
791
Location
Iowa
It's not the bone's, it's the muscle's. you have tension in the muscle's and you get a good sight picture and close your eye's and relax and the muscle's will pull you off target if there's tension. main muscle for doing that is lower back. use any position you want and get your whole body pointing at the target. Close your eyes and relax and the rifle will drift off target as the muscle's in the lower back relax. You could still shoot and maybe well but you'll do your best if your not stressing a muscle. You'll also find position shooting that the higher off the ground your body get's the harder for you to shoot accutately. As you go up from prone, point's of contact with the ground change. Prone your whole body is on the ground and the rifle is supported by your elbow' and hands. Get to sitting and your going to have the heaviest part, your butt, solid on the ground. Your elbows are now higher off the ground and supported by your knees.Get to kneeling and one foot is flat on the ground, the other probably supported by your knee, one elbow is supported by a knee the other by pretty much thin air. The best position is prone but for hunting it just doesn't always work that way. Problem being grass and brush on the ground. Sitting is next best, your above the ground clutter and have both elbow's braced on your knees. I can't cross my leg's to shoot sitting anymore but that will be the steadiest. For years I used a cross of sitting and kneeling. my left knee was up and elbow supported and I sat on my right foot, t was very strady. Bone's and muscles don't work well enough anymore. Good thing about getting the stress out of your body is you learn soon to do it without thinking about it. You simply drop into the right position without thinking about it, at least that worked for me.

I might add one more thing. I've seen people shooting prone that keep their leg's to close together. Don't do that. spread them till your conformable and you spread the base of your body out and make's for a more solid rest. Consider, if you could lay completely flat on the ground your body would be in the best position to support anything. Unfortunately that would be a very hard position to shoot from.
We're talking about the same thing. When you have your skeleton positioned correctly, there's no need to tense your muscles while shooting. Likewise, shooting with tensed muscles just means you are supporting the gun and/or your body with muscle tension rather than with gravity naturally pulling your bones to rest against each other and the ground. Aids like stick, pods, or the frame of a pack are little more than extra "bones" that contribute to a stable shooting surface.
 

ImBillT

Active member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
648
I wish I had specific technical advice, but I really don’t. From a practical standpoint though, I’d say three things.

1. Practice off-hand, and seated, but without support, using a .22lr. That’s how I got good at shooting off-hand, and I really need to renew that skill set. It’s easy to go through 500rnds a weekend and fairly cheap too.

2. Get a good trigger. Light crisp triggers help A LOT when shooting with little to no support.

3. Figure out how to get more stable using your limited support, whether that’s a pack, leaning on the side of a tree or post, shooting sticks etc. A sling can help. Often using a sling to create some tension between your trigger hand and the hand that’s holding the gun/support really helps. Using some pressure with your lower body helps as well. An example would be rather than leaning back against a tree, to actually press lightly against the ground with your feet so that you’re slightly pressing against the tree.

Shooting completely unsupported is different from number three. In the case of number three, some pressure against very stable supports helps you benefit from their stability. When shooting unsupported you need to find a more natural and relaxed position. I still think that being able to shoot well when completely unsupported somehow carries over when shooting with unusual and/or less than ideal supports. I thinks it’s probably related to learning to recognize when you’re stable enough, and learning how to prevent your trigger pull from disturbing your aim.
 
Last edited:

dragginwood

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
58
Cheers for all the tips guys. Still have some fliers to dial in, but shooting monumentally better. 12 shot grouping with 4 fliers.(All shooter related)

Really appreciate the tips. All of the books I have talk about comfortable shooting position but not natural point of aim.

165gr Nosler Partitions
44gr Varget
CCI 200s

Hope to have a full freezer and some great memories made this year.
 

Attachments

Top