Guns > Rifles

Practical Riflecraft (Page 3)

Your hardware does little good if you don’t wield it ably. Merely pointing a rifle and pulling a trigger will not bring game to bag, despite what caliber you shoot, the price of your optic or the construction of your bullet.

How to Get There—Hold the rifle in both hands. Face downrange with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your weak leg and bend at the knee, place your strong knee on the ground, drop onto your strong heel and sit on it. Place your weak-side triceps over your weak-side knee cap. Hold the rifle in your weak hand and place the rifle butt in your shoulder pocket. Lean forward just a bit, let your weak-side triceps melt into your weak-side knee and let your butt sink onto your strong-side heel.

Advanced Tips—You may also drop your strong-side ankle to the ground and sit on either the outside or inside of it, whichever is comfortable. The problem with the kneeling position is your “chicken wing,” your elbow as it dangles out there unsupported.

Recovery—Rock forward, putting most of your weight on your forward (weak-side) leg. Bend your strong knee inward and forward, rock forward, and rise up on the ball of your strong foot. Rise to a standing position.

Offhand
I call the standing position for hunters the “offhand” position, mainly because it leads to a shot taken rather quickly. It is the least stable, and it should be used only at close range when there is no time for anything else. It can be quite effective. We’re interested in what works for hunters, not what works for competitive shooters. As such, don’t fire from the “blade” position, with your weak-side shoulder pointed downrange, as you would in competition. This will pull your shots right if heavy recoil is a problem. Instead, “square up” to the target.

How to Get There—Hold the rifle in both hands, face downrange and spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Move your strong-side foot back slightly. With your eyes fixed on the target, shoulder the rifle in one smooth motion.

Firmly grasp the fore-end with your weak hand, and with a firm grasp of the pistol grip with your strong hand, use both hands to pull the rifle into your shoulder pocket. Keep your support elbow beneath the fore-end to prevent swaying. This stance will send recoil straight back into your shoulder, and will keep your shots from straying left or right.

Advanced Tips—Always bring the sights to your eyes. Never lower your cheek to find stock weld or field of view through the sights. Don’t drop your head to find the sights as the rifle butt reaches your shoulder. Keep your eyes on the target. With practice, you can reliably engage targets out to about 75 yards in a snap.

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