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Supported Shooting Positions

Because there's no bench in the field!

Supported Shooting Positions

Want accuracy? Cradle the rifle’s forestock in sandbags placed on a solid bench, carefully slide a smaller sandbag under the buttstock, and … wait … where would you find a range bench on a hunt? Benched firing is great for zeroing and load development but hardly practical in the field where accuracy matters most. What’s a marksman to do? Just stand and deliver like a proper minuteman? Firing from standing is an option, but few of us can be steady enough without a great deal of practice. Fortunately, we have supported positions that use the body itself for steadiness.

When low brush isn’t an issue, the prone position is a great option. (Photo by Oleg Volk)

The best known supported positions are prone and kneeling. For hunting, “Marine” prone with the strong-side knee brought slightly closer to the body elevates the rib cage for easier breathing while aiming. Sitting, either open leg or cross-legged (which seems more comfortable for me), supports both elbows, keeping the rifle extremely steady. Kneeling, sitting, and prone positions are quite steady but have the same disadvantage: they put either just the knee or the entire body on the ground, getting cold, wet, or muddy, and risking abrasion from sharp rocks or thorns. All of these positions take some time to assume. Shooting mats help, assuming you have one on hand.

Two types of supported shooting stances while sitting – open and crossed legged. (Photo by Oleg Volk)

If your knees permit it, firing from a squat can be as steady. With both feet flat on the ground, this position also gives two extra points of elbow support while keeping only the boots’ soles on the ground. Moving out of this position is a matter of just standing up straight. The forward lean of the squat also helps with recoil absorption.

Low and steady poses like these reduce the shooter’s visibility, but they also cut down the ability to observe game over ground vegetation. Even if the eye can see through grass, the bullet is likely to get destabilized by impacting even a slight barrier. As a result, getting low is often not in the cards. Fortunately, trees, walls, and other vertical objects can be used for support. Depending on the size of the support and the rifle’s weight, you may use … CONTINUE READING HERE.

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