Question on prone shooting position

9H_Cracka

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Mar 15, 2005
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Wigger changed my smallbore prone position Tuesday night. As much as I like the straight legged position, he had me modify it. Still lots of spread between my legs (left basically straight) but he had me bring my right knee up to flatten out my right foot on the inside of the foot and leg. He was trying to shift more weight onto my left elbow and left side. Not a true "cocked knee" per say but some bend and flattening on the inside of the leg. It was effective at reducing the muzzle movement when the shot was fired and overall reduced my shot dispersion. In other words, the group got tighter and more predictable.

In smallbore we look at the direction, duration, amplitude, and pattern of the muzzle during recoil. The 22 lets you do that. Very cool.
 
Apr 9, 2006
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

The prevailing wisdom seems to be "straight behind the rifle" when shooting prone with a bipod. In another thread, one went so far as to say you should have the "bore's axis aligned with the spine". Perhaps they meant parallel with the spine. I'm curious what "straight behind the rifle" means to those that advocate it.
 

Lindy

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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Not.

Think of a set of parallel bars used in gymnastics. The bars are parallel to each other, i.e., <span style="font-style: italic">next</span> to each other, and pointing with identical orientations with respect to a compass.

Draw an east-west line 6 inches long in Los Angeles.
Draw an east-west line 6 inches long in Tidewater, Virginia.

Those lines are pointing in the same <span style="font-style: italic">direction</span> - but they're not parallel.

Assume for purposes of discussion that your target is at twelve o'clock. The bore of your rifle is pointing at the target at twelve o'clock.

Your body is <span style="font-style: italic">behind</span> the rifle, not alongside it, but is also pointing at twelve o'clock. So, it's not, strictly speaking, parallel. Both are aligned in the same direction. And your spine is offset to one side by the distance between your spine and your shoulder pocket.

And, yes, I'm a word weenie. It's a gift...

 

Lowlight

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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Here is what straight back behind the rifle with your spine parallel to the bore looks like for you guys that don't seem to be able to grasp the concept.

I used a stick figure so nothing is lost in translation.

 

Unsichtbar

Online Training Member
May 19, 2008
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Question supported prone, if the rifle barrel moves on recoil say up and right, would the NPA correction be to move your butt to the right. If barrel jump was left is the correction to move your butt to the left.

Also if the rifle muzzle recoil is straight up but too far is the correction more or less pressure with the rear hand stock.
 
Jun 10, 2004
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Louisville, Kentucky
Re: Question on prone shooting position

Keep it simple. Shoulder the gun, square sight picture through stockweld, and then, adjust your body, rather than steer the sight, to establish a relationship between sight and target. The position should be comfortable and muscularly relaxed while maximizing bone/artificial support.

Shooting from a position where the gun has been steered usually results in the gun moving back to NPA upon trigger pull completion. Our brain then tells us to relax. Thing is, the bullet's still in the barrel. Adjusting NPA to the target and remembering to follow through help assure more predictable results.


Also, to get the most predictable results, it's not just NPA that matters, but rather, taking into account all of the elements and factors of a steady position.

When exact, the factors of a solid position: butt to shoulder, grip, non-firing hand, elbows, and stockweld will contribute to consistent control of the rifle during recoil, appointing a limit and pattern to the recoil. What pattern of recoil: up, sideways, back, or whatever is moot. What's important is that the recoil has a pattern. Don't underestimate the importance of this stuff. For example, just a few thousands of an inch inconsistency in elbow placement alone will be worth almost one MOA of change at the target.







 
Jul 12, 2008
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Southern State
Re: Question on prone shooting position

Just curious: How do you guys handle back of neck muscle tension when shooting prone?

I've tried several different bipod heights, elbow positions, cheekweld adjustments, body positions, etc...still get some.
 

Sterling Shooter

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Jun 10, 2004
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Resting the full weight of the head on the stock comb will help, and, after a few dozen sessions of prone position shooting, at some point, you won't think about it. Also, you may attempt to get a lower gun position. This may not be possible however without a 3 way butt in addition to an adjustable comb.
 
Jul 12, 2008
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Southern State
Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sterling Shooter</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Resting the full weight of the head on the stock comb will help, and, after a few dozen sessions of prone position shooting, at some point, you won't think about it. Also, you may attempt to get a lower gun position. This may not be possible however without a 3 way butt in addition to an adjustable comb. </div></div>

Yes, the "full weight" contact actually feels better and reliefs muscle stress on the neck. I'll also try the lower gun position.
Thank You sir!
 

Arch

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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Some of these threads become 45 minutes of good reading, and remind me somehow of this flip type book I have of Mickey Mantle in which each of 100 pages or so has a single frame of him starting with walking to the plate and ending with the ball going over the outfield wall. When you grip the spine tightly, and let the pages "flip" by quickly, it is fluid and alive and the Mick shows why is name is legendary. It also causes a zen-like feeling.

My biggest weakness is lack of practice, and this has caused some less than stellar moments on the range. For that, I have tried to make better use of my basement and backyard.

 
Feb 12, 2009
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Lots of good information in this post. I am a new F/TR shooter and came across this site looking for tips. I always wondered why my sight picture always moved to the left after the shot broke, now I understand why. Even though it moved to the left a bit, I could still see the hit on the berm downrange(600yds), is this good or bad? Always looking for more good advice.

SY
 

Greg Langelius *

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Aug 10, 2001
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Lower is better. This is usually achieved with as far forward a grip on the forend as is possible. This can put additional rotational strain on the left shoulder.

The cocked leg/bent knee can help rotate the upper body somewhat more counterclockwise so the supporting elbow is easier to rest on in a truly vertical position. If you can achieve his without the bent knee, and without fatigue, then the bent knee is unnecessary, but I can't, and neither can a lot of folks I've trained.

A lot of this parallel stuff runs counter to my own training, which dictated feet separated by about 18" and a straight line combining the bore axis and the right thigh, then raising the right knee to rotate the upper body as above.

My Instructors at Parris Island were clearly suffering from HICF (High Intensity Control Freakage), but I try not to do that. This stuff about there being only one 'right way' goes against my grain. As an Instructor, my goal is not to bend the learner to my will, but rather to help them find the most natural and fatigue free way to deliver repeated accurate fire indefinitely. For me, the NPA's the thing, to paraphrase Shakespeare; and if it isn't truly relaxing, comfortable, even capable of surviving a catnap; it's not truly natural.

Much as I try to bring the boreline into alignment with my spine, thats not my true NPA. It's that left elbow. It's not really comfortable until I swing the bore to the left, maybe 15 degrees or so. The number of degrees is not as important as getting to the angle where the wobble dies down, and the cocked right knee can erect that left forearm truly vertical, well and truly relaxed into the sling.

Notice I said nothing about any bipods. That's an entirely different position, and it's already been covered, ad nauseam.

Greg
 

TCA4570

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Dec 24, 2008
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Johnny5</div><div class="ubbcode-body">For those who are more educated/experienced on the subject than I here's the problem.

I have traditionally (and been taught) to shoot supported prone with my shooting side (right) leg cocked up a bit to relieve pressure on the chest and reduce the effect of heart beat etc... To get comfortable and a NPA The rifle points a little to left of center line. Now I get plenty good accuracy when I shoot prone however when the rifle recoils it always ends up pointing a little left of POA (not enough to lose the target out of the scope but enough let's say 4-6 MOA). I have tried shifting my alignment with the rifle every which way and can never seem to overcome this problem.

Now I've been experimenting with different positions lately for shits and giggles and have found that when I shoot prone with both legs straight and toes out that the rifle crosshairs barely come off target at all (< 1 MOA). However I am definately more aware of my heartbeat but I'd say it effects my POA by < .1 MOA. Accuracy doesn't seem to be effected much if any other than a different POI.

Any opinions or similar experiences? How does everyone else position themselves?

-John </div></div>

I saw Greg just posted, and thought I should see the beginning.
(yes I will keep reading)
Shooting long range is not the same as crawling up to something with a 22.
Legs and toes out great.
Which ever hand, try to keep muzzle to toe in line.
Bag your gun, to find ways to fix other problems.
(thanks for the readin)
 

9H_Cracka

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Mar 15, 2005
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Greg Langelius *</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Lower is better. </div></div>

Over-generalizations are just that - over-generalizations.

The position height is matched to several things. One, the body dimensions of the shooter. Two, the ergos and adjustability of the weapons system. Three, the field requirements - target angle, terrain in between shooter and target, need to engage multiple targets at different places relative to the shooter, and concealment requirements.

I generally work backwards from head position whenever possible when trying to establish a prone position for myself or others.
 

9H_Cracka

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Mar 15, 2005
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Here's an example on working with head position as the starting point. This junior shooter, one of the top in the state, upgraded to a dedicated prone rifle for the upcoming junior olympic tryouts. We made sling, handstop, cheekrest, and position changes until he was looking basically out of the center of his eye socket. Once there, we made some other tweaks to get is left elbow under the rifle, his shoulders more level, and cant out of the rifle. (pic taken this evening)

 

9H_Cracka

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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Another note on this pic - trigger finger. We adjusted the shoe placement so that when he was pressing on the second stage he had the middle of his first pad parallel with the face of the trigger shoe. In this pic he has just made contact with the shoe and will next press through the first stage. As he is not resting on the second stage yet, the finger angle is not yet at 90 degrees to the rifle. A few millimeters of movement (thru the first and onto the second stage) and he will be at 90 degrees.

Once at that point, the shooter becomes "dead" if you will, with the only physical action being a very gentle increase in pressure on the trigger while paying attention to how the shoe feels in the indent of the skin. The shooter is saying to himself, "pressure pressure pressure pressure" until the trigger breaks. There is to be no side pressure, either direction, into the finger. The shooter stays "dead", breath held, trigger held to the back, until after the front sight returns to the target. A secondary read on call is made based on the sight movement (amplitude and direction) and where it settles after recoil.
 

Grump

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Oct 23, 2008
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Three questions:

How much of this recoil left thing is caused by the recoil torque on a right-hand twist barrel?

I ask this because IME, recoil on the right shoulder goes right if I'm way slanted to the bore.

Next, how far can a shot get thrown at 100 yards if the rear bag is a bit soft? I'm getting some mystery high and high-right shots with an M1A and it's driving me nuts.

Finally, how much of this "drive the rifle" to see impact stuff depends on a heavy rifle?
 
Jun 10, 2004
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Louisville, Kentucky
Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Grump</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Three questions:

How much of this recoil left thing is caused by the recoil torque on a right-hand twist barrel?

I ask this because IME, recoil on the right shoulder goes right if I'm way slanted to the bore.

Next, how far can a shot get thrown at 100 yards if the rear bag is a bit soft? I'm getting some mystery high and high-right shots with an M1A and it's driving me nuts.

Finally, how much of this "drive the rifle" to see impact stuff depends on a heavy rifle?</div></div>

It's good you're wondering about it all; but, you need to manage your thinking. Start by recognizing that recoil must be controlled in a manner so as to make it consistent in velocity and direction. You do this by adjusting your natural point of aim and by honoring, to a molecular level, the factors of a steady position.
 
Jan 28, 2010
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Ridgefield,Connecticut
Re: Question on prone shooting position

I place a small square sandbag (its about 6x6x1)under my chest, I get to keep my legs straight and notice reduced heartbeat. It gives my chest area a little more support where it comes up to the stock
 
Sep 3, 2008
45
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LA, CA
Re: Question on prone shooting position

Well, after reading this, and a few other similar threads, I decided to try taking Lowlight's advice with my .22 "sniper trainer" (w/ bipod). I've been shooting with the butt in the pocket of my shoulder, the rifle angled off to my weak side, and my right leg drawn up very slightly to relieve pressure on my ribs (I think my ribcage and pelvis were intended for someone about 6 inches taller than I am). This has been very stable, and very comfortable. But every time I would break a shot, the reticle would take a drunkards walk and end up someplace different. Requiring me to reestablish NPA (or apparently not-so-NPA) each time.

Lowlight's way feels all kinds of wrong, but damn does it make a difference. The day was gusty, and I had to move my scope back 1/4 inch, the comb up a bit, and I never did get comfortable, so my groups were nothing to write about. But the recoil movement was much smaller and much more consistent, and always ended up near or at the point of aim. The eye opener was a shot that felt like a good shot, the recoil was minimal, and dead vertical, but I couldn't see a hole. I didn't think I jerked it, and the wind couldn't have blow it clean off the paper. Turns out, the hole was hidden behind the crosshairs.

My head was canted a bit, my neck not quite relaxed, resting the butt against my collerbone bugs me, and I still can't get my left shoulder to relax. But I'm a believer now, and will keep working on it. Thanks to all of you, especially Lowlight.
 
Feb 8, 2010
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Bensalem, PA
Re: Question on prone shooting position

I do the method of legs straight and in line with the rifle, stock on my collar bone very close to my neck, head resting at a slight angle on the stock, and staying as flat as I can depending on the terrain. I have also tried a method fir myself because I also had the problem of the sights moving left of the target. I started putting the stock on my shoulder but not driving it into the stock. I just plant it enough to feel the stock against my shoulder but do not apply any kore forward pressure. So far it is working well and shrunk my groups a bit.
 
Jan 19, 2010
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Well <blush> here is a good example of what all of you are talking about and I'm trying to fix. Heavier recoiling centerfires are a nice way to magnify errors to see them, aren't they? I video myself since I get to see if I'm anticipating recoil, not following through etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yqe_Kts6Qo0

Kat Girl
 

doc76251

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Dec 5, 2003
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Kat,

Excellent vid!!!!

In your case I would say you need to pre-load that bipod a bit more but only after you tighten that swivel with a pod lock. The legs are also way too tall (unless you couldn't see) for your figure (sorry, couldn't find a better word).

I didn't see you anticipate but there is no way in hell you could follow through after that rifle jumped up and left 2" and twisted on the pod.

Cheers,

Doc
 
C

captrichardson

Guest
Re: Question on prone shooting position

Thanks to everyone for all of the great feedback.

It was great to get "both side of the story", some people seem to forget that no everyone shoots off of a sling, or vice versa not everyone shoots off of a bipod. Obviously what works well for one, may not work as well for all.

Also love the "instructor kicking your feet around" comment, brings back a lot of memories from going to different training events and having an "instructor" kicking my feet and legs around to try and get me into the "optimal shooting position", key being whatever they used or felt was optimal!

Best of Luck,
M Richardson
 
Oct 1, 2008
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Milton, FL
Re: Question on prone shooting position

Shoot in whatever position gives you the most consistency. To me it doesn't matter where the gun recoils to, as long as the results on the target are good.
 
Mar 3, 2010
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Parallel to the bore axis is...well...parallel to the bore axis just as Frank illustrated. It doesn't matter if the spine is behind the rifle. If the bore and spine were pointed in the same direction the imaginary lines created by both would eventually meet.
 

GUNZ n AMMO

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Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Lowlight</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Here is what straight back behind the rifle with your spine parallel to the bore looks like for you guys that don't seem to be able to grasp the concept.

I used a stick figure so nothing is lost in translation.

</div></div>

I have tried all sorts of position which are all uncomfortable for me, but this position above gave me the best results. I use a very small sand bag between my chest and the ground for a slight elevation of my upper body and not use too much lower back muscles.
 

Lindy

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Mar 26, 2003
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

The thing is, my experience has been that straight behind the rifle is sometimes not enough.

Sometimes the body must be angled toward the shooting side so the rifle does not move to the side during recoil.

One does not have to resort to theory, though. Practice will suffice. Simply experiment with that angle between the rifle and the shooter until the rifle stops moving laterally under recoil.

Believe the rifle.
 
Mar 3, 2010
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Lindy</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The thing is, my experience has been that straight behind the rifle is sometimes not enough.

Sometimes the body must be angled toward the shooting side so the rifle does not move to the side during recoil.

One does not have to resort to theory, though. Practice will suffice. Simply experiment with that angle between the rifle and the shooter until the rifle stops moving laterally under recoil.

Believe the rifle.
</div></div>

I'll buy that. Taken one step further, believe what works for you whether it be angle, rifle height off the ground, eye relief, LOP, etc. I have to bend some of the "<span style="font-style: italic">general rules</span>" just due to a big chest/shoulders.

I think I read Frank mentioning the "Zen moment" ...when you find it, you'll know it, and it doesn't need to fit anyone's mold.
 
Nov 7, 2009
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Lowlight</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Here is what straight back behind the rifle with your spine parallel to the bore looks like for you guys that don't seem to be able to grasp the concept.

I used a stick figure so nothing is lost in translation.

</div></div>


I take it lowlight must like to keep things simple. I like it.

After reading this tread this stick figure pretty much sums up all the different descriptions of squared up on the rifle.

I'm not sure I'm that square or being that square will work for everyone but it gets the point across.
 
Feb 6, 2011
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

You'll actually want to listen to your beats per min......
that way you can properly focus on breath holding...when shooting.
There are 3 methods to do so.
Unless you're shooting a semi-auto small caliber at moving targets ; this should be used for most bolt action rifles
 

Lowlight

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Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: NestingFeint02</div><div class="ubbcode-body">You'll actually want to listen to your beats per min......
that way you can properly focus on breath holding...when shooting.
There are 3 methods to do so.
Unless you're shooting a semi-auto small caliber at moving targets ; this should be used for most bolt action rifles</div></div>

If you are holding your breathe you are wrong.. you break at the natural respiratory pause which does not mean hold, it mean natural pause. Holding your breath starves your body of oxygen and the first thing effected are your eyes.

You don't hold your breath driving, you don't hold your breath banging a nail, and you certainly shouldn't hold your breath banging your wife. So why do it just because you're shooting a gun. -- Breathe it's not only a good idear it's the law.

And before you tell me that you can hold it for 3 to 5 seconds, trust me, you have no clue what 3 to 5 seconds is.

if your heartbeat is getting in the way, you're holding the rifle too tight or your not breathing.
 

Lindy

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Re: Question on prone shooting position

Not to mention that technique hasn't a prayer of working when you've just run 400 yards flat out with all your gear, your heart rate is 150 bpm, you're gasping for air, and have less than 30 seconds to make a shot.
 
Sep 5, 2010
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West Harrison, Indiana
Re: Question on prone shooting position

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">When you do it right, the Zen moment is seeing your shots at 100 yards impact on the paper. Then you know your position is right, your fundamentals are right and you're doing it correctly.

Being straight behind the rifle is the first step, loading up the bipod with your core weight is another, trigger is another, spine, shoulders, etc...</div></div>


I've been shooting/practicing for about nine months now trying to get good enough to try shooting F-class. I have been spending more of that time reading and learning how to produce hand match grade hand loads and making sure my gear is solid. I'm done with that now and it's time to focus on the weakest link; me! I am mostly shooting at 200 yards and my rifle recoils off of my shoulder and typically ends up about two to four feet left of the target. I shoot five round groups and they almost always average 5/8 of a minute (1.3" @ 200)+/-.

I am trying different positions hoping to achieve Frank's "Zen moment"

I am shooting prone with a bipod, monopod, 17.5 lb GAP built 308 with a 8x32 NF and a an 1.5 AICS with comb spacers for exact, repeatable height adjustment after cleaning.

After all that preface, here's my question: If I can achieve and reproduce a set-up which does manage the recoil and allows the reticle to return to the bull after recoil, will there be a noticeable tighten of the group? I have always had the feeling that the rifle recoiling differently off of my shoulder is the main reason for loose grouping. I have hit a plateau and am hoping that this will make a decent improvement.

I know that my rig is capable of better than 5/8 MOA and I am dying to get my ability more in line with it.

This has been a great thread! Thanks to all of you who have shared your thoughts. It's great fun to listen, learn, try new things and see the results.
 
Feb 8, 2011
5
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68
Alabama
Re: Question on prone shooting position

New to prone and this discussion of positions so what is NPA?
I can't seem to find any comportable position that aligns my head with the scope. Had to get the rifle on a front rest a foot tall to even be close. Are there any videos that discuss this topic in detail?
 
Nov 16, 2009
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Spring, Texas
Re: Question on prone shooting position

NPA is your natural point of aim. get behind your rifle, and get proper scope alignment, then close your eyes for two breathing cycles and when you open your eyes you should still have proper view through your scope. If you have any shadowing your npa is off.
 

9H_Cracka

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Mar 15, 2005
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Re: Question on prone shooting position

NPA = Natural Point of Aim.

Depending on the style of shooting you are doing - sling/coat or bag/bipod, the position and achievement of NPA are accomplished in different ways.

Sling/coat 100% relies on relaxation with the exception of grip pressure, which is isolated to the firing hand wrist forward to the fingers, versus bag and bipod has very controlled use of muscle in both hands, shoulders, and neck in order to produce repeatable pressures on the rifle. When executing the latter, one's goal is to produce repeatable pressure on the rifle regardless of the shooting position you are in, making the rifle recoil the same way so that the POI (point of impact) is consistent regardless of position.

Lowlight has done several videos illustrating the last part of the information above.
 
Feb 8, 2011
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68
Alabama
Re: Question on prone shooting position

thanks for the help- where do you learn this stuff with no one able to show you? Seems this thread is a good starting point though.
 
Feb 8, 2011
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Alabama
Re: Question on prone shooting position

This is also why a half breath is more stable when shooting than a full breath, the lung is not as tense and will not transmit the pulse as well because it&#146;s soft(er).

Cheers, Doc
[/quote]


This stuff is great help. I have no fundamentals as it applies to prone. Other than deer hunting not much time spend with a rifle but now at 60 suddenly wanting to get involved in f-class prone (bipod and rest). I have a 308 and could use some help with setting up my body position for the shot. If I read your post right it sounds like the shot is taken at half exhale vs full. So much to learn.
 
Jan 17, 2011
614
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USA
Re: Question on prone shooting position

Mdevers49 are you saying that stopping your breath half way through is correct? If so .. how do you stop at the exact place each time. If you dont stop at the exact place each time that affects your alignment of your eye to the reticle and throws off your body off balance. By shooting at the bottom of your natural breathing cycle you can repeat it each time as it is natural and your body relaxes into it. If you relax and breath normally you wont transfer any energy or shift in a negitive way. You also need to control the trigger so that it is a sqeeze.

You should try some dry fire practice at a target and see if the reticle moves off the target when your trigger breaks. If it does then you are not in the correct possiton or you do not have a natural point of aim. you should listen to Lowlight and Lindy they know what they are talking about.

I am not sure what you are saying, but the more I read it over and over I think you have it wrong.
 
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