Training and Shooting
Relating Your Body to the Rifle
Follow these additional guidelines for finishing off your position:
- In every muscle of the body, use a very slight degree of muscle tension to help you remain still. This also gives you finer adjustment in your muscle control. By over-tensing or locking your muscles, you will tire quickly and start to tremble, reducing your hold. As such, muscle tension is slight and very close to relaxed.
- Note that muscular tension is not used to force your rifle on to the target. Your position should be set such that your natural point of aim is directly on target. Here's how you check natural point of aim: get into your position and get completely relaxed. Close your eyes, breathe deeply 2 or 3 times. When you re-open your eyes, you should still be exactly on target. If you have to use muscular tension to "muscle" the rifle on to the target, you are susceptible to muscle spasms or tremors affecting your shots. This is the value of a natural point of aim.
- Your head should be erect as possible. To do so, bring the rifle to the face by placing the rifle butt high on the shoulder. Raise the top of the stock above the shoulder and neck to a height where the eye and rear sight are on the same level. Never move the head away from the erect position, towards the rifle: always bring the rifle to the head.
- Cant the rifle towards the face, such that the proper sight alignment can be made with the head erect. The important thing to do is make the indentical angle of cant each time you take up your position. By varying the cant's angle, your shots will deviate all over the target. Also, remember to take into account that canting your rifle will have an impact on sight adjustment. For instance,when adjusting windage, you will also adjust elevation and vice versa. To assist you in duplicating your cant, you might want to consider using a bubble level to measure the angle.
- Eye relief is the distance from the eye to the rear aperature. This distance should be approximately 5-15 cm (2-6 inches.) Resting the eye against the sight may result in wear of the sight, damage due to the eye because of recoil, or in developing a flinch in response to recoil. Regardless of the result: don't rest your eye against the rear aperature.
- Changing the position of the butt plate against the shoulder or changing the cheek pressure on the stock can result in a large change in zero (point of impact). These changes affect recoil, which will determine the amount and direction of the rifle's jump. You must place and hold the rifle in exactly the same way each time you shoot, in order to duplicate your position's recoil pattern.
- Follow through on each shot. This is to say, maintain your position and concentration after the shot is released, such that you do not shift prior to the bullet exiting the barrel. Furthermore, by ensuring a solid follow through on each shot, you do not subconsciously move before the shot actually breaks.
- Set up your spotting telescope such that it does not interfere with your shooting AND when you look through it, your position should not change. That is to say, once you have set yourself up to fire and have adopted the correct position, scoping your target should not undue your work. You should be able to simply tilt your head towards the telescope and look through it to the target.
TargetShooting Canada - Copyright 2001: Patrick Haynes