• Matt Part 3 of a 3 part Series

    “But Nate” you say “that entire math thing, carrying a calculator? All that seems like a lot of extra fuss and work, I shoot good enough and if I can’t laser it I’ll just go home.”
    O.K. smarty pants, what if your new buddy Nate had some tips to make this whole “longrange hunty shooty thingy” a little easier?
    First off let’s look at the math. What if you could carry a cheat sheet that had all of the mil readings and common big game animal dimensions already figured out for you? All in an easy to read format, check this out.
    Attachment 3827

    Problem solved. Thanks again Mr. Holland for letting me share your really neat stuff again.
    So now let’s work on the one thing that really plays a pivotal role in both getting a good MIL/MOA reading as well as your long range shooting precision, your shooting position. There are eight key parts of a steady position and in my mind the only truly steady position you will find in the field is the prone position.
    1. Placement of your non-firing hand: the non-firing hand needs to support the butt-stock of the rifle, and a balled up fist just doesn’t cut it. You need a sand sock or some other form of good support for the butt stock. By using a sand sock you can make precise point of aim changes that are very steady. The toe of the stock should rest on the support and should be completely clear of your non firing hand, NO SKIN CONTACT. If you tighten your hand around the sock, the sock gets taller depressing the muzzle. If you loosen your grip the sock gets shorter and elevates the muzzle. I have seen people use all sorts of gadgets and cool guy stuff to do this but I still prefer an army issue black boot sock filled with a 50/50 mix of rice and dried beans. Works great and in a pinch I can boil some water and eat the rice and beans. You generally need two, one about the size of a baseball, the other the size of a softball.

    2. Position of the rifle butt: your firing shoulder forms a pocket that supports the butt of the rifle. You need to tuck the butt-stock into the pocket created between outer top part of your pectoral muscle and your shoulder. To high and inside you get a bruised collar bone, to far outside and you get a bruised shoulder. Bone contact can also introduce a heart beat movement into the sight picture.

    3. Placement of firing elbow: Should be in a position that feels natural and comfortable. The elbow provides balance to the shooting position. If the length of pull is correct the upper and lower arm should be very close to a ninety degree angle.
    4. Placement of non-firing elbow: Since the non-firing hand is grasping a sand sock or support the non-firing the elbow should be at an angle and position that is comfortable to the shooter.

    5. Stockweld: In my opinion this is one of the most overlooked parts of a proper shooting position. Consistent stockweld is critical to accuracy. The contact between your cheek bone and the stock should be firm. You should rest on your cheek bone and have a perfect site picture. Use a cheek pad our get a stock with an adjustable cheek piece.

    6. Support: You should not be using your muscles to support the rifle. You should be resting on your bones and use artificial support i.e. a bipod or your rucksack for front support of the rifle.
    7. Muscular Relaxation: your muscles should be relaxed as much as possible.

    8. Natural Point of Aim/Body Alignment: The rifle should be an extension of your body. The sights should rest natural on the point of aim without any muscular influence. The way you check this is to get a good position with a proper sight picture then close your eyes and take two full breaths. When you open your eyes the crosshairs/ sights should be at the EXACT same point of aim they were when you closed them. If they are not you are using muscle to hold the rifle in place and not proper bone support technique. Under recoil the muscular tension will disturb the lay of the rifle and point of impact will change.
    A note on shooting heavy recoiling rifles from the prone position: Many people shy away from shooting large caliber rifles from the prone, but with the proper body position recoil is actually spread out over a larger part of the body and the force is more comfortably absorbed. If you lay down in the prone with your rifle you should be able to draw a straight line down the bore of the rifle then straight through your firing eye, shoulder, butt cheek, and knee then out the heel of your firing side foot. This places as much mass behind the gun as possible.

    If you use a proper steady position your MIL/MOA readings AND your shots will be more accurate.

    So now you have an accurate range to the target, you have good position, so how do we break a good clean shot? This is called the integrated act of firing. It is comprised of four key parts.

    1. Steady position
    2. Aiming
    3. Breath control
    4. Trigger control
    1. Steady position- we have already gone over this above but let’s review as it applies to the prone position. Your shooting position should be as low to the ground as possible; the lower you are the more stable the position will be. A straight line should be formed from the target, through the rifle and body. Your feet should be flat on the ground, if your foot is balanced on the toe of your boot the wobble of your foot from side to side will be translated to the rifle. The height of the buttstock is adjusted with your non-firing hand with the aid of a sand sock and the positioning of the elbows. You elbows are not held in place with muscular tension, but should rest in place using bone support.

    2. Aiming- this is composed of eye relief and sight picture. A good cheek to stock weld will ensure that both of these remain constant. No floating heads.
    Eye relief- keeping eye relief the same for each shot and shooting position is critical to proper shot placement.

    Sight picture-the tip of the cross-hair is in the center of the aiming area. Concentration should be on the intersection of the crosshair or the precise hold point on the reticle. Don’t focus on the target, stare intensely at the point of aim, this does two things.
    1. Your conscious mind can’t focus on two things intensely. If you’re focusing on the crosshair the unconscious mind must control the trigger pull making it an act of muscle memory. This helps eliminate recoil anticipation.

    2. The recoil will jar the optic nerve. If you are staring at the crosshair you get a flash image of exactly where the crosshair was located in relation to the target. This flash image is how you come up with your shot “call”.
    3. Breath control- breath control is an intentional pause in the breathing cycle to minimize the movement of the rifle while firing. Breathing causes movement of the chest, a corresponding movement of the rifle and the sights will result. To minimize this movement shooters must learn to control their breathing and extend the natural respiratory pause for a few extra seconds during the aiming and firing sequence. A breath cycle takes 4-5 seconds. Between breathing cycles there is a natural pause of 2-3 seconds. It’s during this 2-3 second time period that the sights settle on the natural point of aim and the shot should be taken. The pause can be extended but the first part of the body that is deprived of oxygen is the eye. A forced extension of the natural respiratory pause leads to a blurry sight picture.

    4.Trigger control-of the four fundamentals trigger control is THE most important. It is critical that the trigger is pulled in a manner that causes the rifle to fire without disturbing the lay of the rifle. Some tips:
    i. Grip of firing hand on the pistol grip.
    1. A firm handshake grip is essential

    2. The placement of the fingers and thumb should be in a manner that allows the trigger finger to contact the trigger naturally.

    3. Grip should be firm enough that the trigger can be pulled without disturbing the rifle.
    ii. Trigger finger placement
    1. Your finger should be placed on the trigger naturally. How your finger falls on the trigger depends on the size of your hand and how you grip the rifle. If you have giant meat hooks you may not be able to pull the trigger in a comfortable manner with the tip of your trigger finger.

    2. Placement of the trigger finger is correct, regardless of what part of the finger contacts it, when the trigger can be pulled without disturbing the sights.

    3. You should feel the flat part of the trigger contacting your finger squarely.
    iii. Techniques for proper trigger control
    1. Uninterrupted- you should apply constant pressure to the rear and maintaining focus on the point of aim. This focus and pressure should remain constant until completion of the rifles recoil to ensure proper follow through.

    2. Interrupted- used only when your position is unsteady causing the sights to drift. You need to control the wobble area by forcing it into a repeatable pattern, such as a sideways figure eight, with aiming area at the center. When the target is centered the trigger pull is short and fast. This is a difficult technique when the trigger is set below two pounds.
    So now you have a perfect shooting position, your fundamentals were perfect and you broke the shot perfectly. But somehow you still missed, how do we make a fast shot correction? Using the same reticle you used to range your target you can get an accurate shot correction.

    Attachment 3826

    What you see in the reticle is what you need to dial on the gun. Regardless of distance if you see 6 minutes in the reticle 6 minutes is your correction. The same goes for MILS. The above shot would be 1.75 MILS up and 1.2 MILS left. Dial it on and you’re good to go…….OR you could take the impact point, make it your new point of aim on the reticle and fire.…….Perfect second round hit.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. skipper's Avatar
      skipper -
      to RS2G
      thanks a lot for wrting this very interesting article
    1. Broz's Avatar
      Broz -
      Lots of good data Nate. Nice job putting it together!


    1. Oldtrader3's Avatar
      Oldtrader3 -
      Thanks for the good info guys. I tend to still use a lot of Kentucky Wndage which can get you into trouble.