Training and Shooting
Prone Rifle: Free, Standard and Sporting
Follow these guidelines for the Prone Position for Free and Standard Rifle: (based on the case of a right handed shooter.)
- The shooter is lying directly behind the rifle with a very slight angle between his body and the rifle target line.
- The right leg is drawn up and both feet are pointed toward the right.
- The shooter lies to the left of the line of fire with the body forming a 5 to 15 degree angle from the line of fire.
- The body is not twisted, but is stretched out and relaxed; the spine is straight.
- The left leg is straight with the toe turned inward and the heel should be outwards.
- It is immaterial whether the heel is on the ground, or, if the leg is not limber enough, it is up in the air.
- The spine and the left leg normally appear to be a straight line.
- The right leg is drawn up so that it is angled away from the spine at approximately 45 degrees.
- The right knee is bent so the lower leg is almost parallel to the left leg.
- The toes on the right foot are pointed outward.
- Note: By drawing the right leg up, the body is turned toward the left side, freeing the chest and stomach from the ground. This makes it unnecessary for the body to raise and lower during the breathing cycle. Now much of the body weight is on the left side, and the aorta, the main artery from the heart, is thrown away from the spine so internal pulse beat is not transmitted directly to the bony portions of the body. This results in less movement of the body and the rifle.
- Also: If the knee is brought up too far (90 degrees), too much pressure will be placed on the left elbow.
- There is a thirty degree angle between the ground and the left forearm which is the minimum allowed by the rules.
- The left elbow is not directly under the rifle. It is slightly to the left of the rifle.
- When viewed from above, the left leg, left side, shoulder, elbow and wrist, all appear to be a straight line.
- Note: If the left elbow is under the rifle it forces the arm to come in and then go back out, which will not provide a stable hold.
- The left hand does not grip the rifle. It is relaxed in supporting the rifle.
- The rifle rests well over the heel of the hand and is not positioned towards the base of the fingers.
- The left hand is fully forward against the forend stop or sling swivel.
- Note: This is very important. Any tendency to grip the rifle with the left hand in an effort to keep the rifle from moving or sliding must be avoided. The reason is that when a shot is fired, the muscles automatically relax which would cause an involuntary movement of the rifle. There should not be any tension in the left arm muscles.
- The rifle is supported entirely by the sling, which may be high or low on the upper arm.
- The right elbow is placed a comfortable distance away from the body and supports very little weight.
- The right arm is merely a support to allow positioning of the right hand to the trigger.
- The right hand may grip the stock with any degree of pressure desired by the shooter.
- Note: The important point is that it must be consistent for each shot. The degree of pressure is usually guided by the pressure needed to activate the trigger. A light trigger requires a lighter grip on the stock than a heavier one.
- The thumb may be over the stock or along side.
- No attempt should be made to guide the rifle with the right hand.
- The trigger finger should be clear of the stock or trigger guard so that when pressure is applied to the trigger it is not applied to the stock as well.
- The butt plate is held snugly into the shoulder and located in the same place for each shot.
- The head is as erect as possible.
- The cheek pressure is merely that required to support the weight of the head.
- Note: The neck muscles should be relaxed and neither forcing the head down nor holding it up.
- Also: The prone position is so steady that it may be said to have a single point of aim.
- The position should be oriented so that the natural point of aim is directly in the 10-ring.
- Small horizontal changes may be made by moving the right foot to the right or left.
- Very fine elevation changes can be made with breath control.
- If greater changes are needed because the rifle is not lined up with the target, then the entire body must be moved using the left elbow as the pivot point; or the sling, forend stop, or position of the butt should be readjusted.
- The shoulders should be approximately level in height and at right angles to the spine.
- Note: If the right shoulder is too high it may be caused by the right elbow being too close to the body or the forend stop or swivel being too far forward.
Here are the differences for the Sporter Rifle Prone Position:
- Note: The position must compensate for the absence of sling and the rifle specifications that are markedly different from the Free Rifle (lighter weight, heavier trigger, stock dimensions, non-adjustable butt-plate.
- Bone support is used to the fullest possible extent to keep muscular effort to the minimum, thus providing stability without tremors from muscle tension.
- As the rifle is supported by the left hand and right shoulder, the left elbow must be more directly under the rifle than when the sling is used.
- The left elbow should be noticeably to the left of the rifle, as a vertical forearm will result in an unstable position and induce wavering from side to side.
- The left arm, spine, and left leg should be in a straight line. To achieve this line and correct placement of the left elbow without undue muscle stretching or strain, the angle of the body to the line of fire is generally slightly greater than when a sling is used.
- The right knee should be drawn up only to a point where upper body weight is evenly distributed on each elbow. This will keep the shoulders at an even height, and allow the right arm to provide a bracing effect in conjunction with the right shoulder.
- The rifle butt must be placed well inside the shoulder, and-as high as practical so as to locate the eye directly in line with the sights.
- Resting the weight of the head against the stock comb further stabilizes and anchors the butt into the shoulder.
- Care must be taken to avoid cheek pressure against the stock other than what is required to support the head and relieve any strain on the neck muscles.
- The right hand grasps the pistol grip with a firmness related to the required trigger pressure.
- The thumb should go over the top of the grip, if the shape of the grip and the size of the hand will allow it to be done comfortably.
- The hand must be far enough forward to allow the finger to be placed in the correct position for trigger control.
- The left hand is placed slightly ahead of the point of balance of the rifle.
- Note: If it is placed too far forward the arm muscles will be called upon to support the rifle while in an extended posture. This will induce fatigue and pain.
- The rifle must be supported, as much as possible, by the bone structure, and this support reinforced by a steadying muscle pressure with the muscles in a retracted state.
- Note: If the hand is too far to the rear, the shoulders and chest will be raised with an uneven weight on the elbows.
- The rifle is placed across the heel of the hand and the base of the thumb, to take advantage of bone support.
Reference: Todd, A.R. (Technical Director). National Coaching Certification Program: Rifle Shooting, Level 1 Technical Coaching Manual. Gloucester, Canada: Shooting Federation of Canada, 1984. This manual and many others can be obtained very inexpensively from the Shooting Federation of Canada. For contact information, please visit the Shooting Organizations section.
TargetShooting Canada - Layout Copyright 2001: Patrick Haynes