Long-range shooting takes skills and practice to make that bullet hit its intended target. In this article, we have 3 tips to help you improve your shooting. These are simple things that any shooter can do to make instant differences to improve your long-distance shooting.
1st Your Shooting position
Our first tip is one of the easiest things that any shooter can do to improve your long distance shooting. The way that we position the gun plays a large role in accuracy. When laying in the prone position we should be directly behind the gun versus at an angle to the rifle. This will allow the rifle stock to be located firmly against the shoulder. When the rifle fires the recoil will transmit directly through our whole body. If we are at an angle to the rifle when it is fired there is a chance that it can move down the arm. This can be painful as well as affect accuracy because the rifle can move before the bullet can clear the barrel.
The next item on the positioning is that the rifle is pointing directly at the target. All to often a shooter will place the rifle on the ground then get down behind it. But instead of moving the barrel over to get onto the target the shooter will try to push and hold their body over to get on target. This means that the shooter will be straining to get a good sight picture. When this happens, a shooter will usually relax as soon as they fire. The effect of this is the rifle will move creating a poor follow through.
What you should do is move the barrel of the gun so that it is pointing directly at the target. What you should be able to do is get into position behind the gun. Then close your eyes and reopen them. The rifle should be on target and you should not have to move your body at all. If it is not, then mover the gun until you can be on target when you open your eyes.
2nd Trigger control
Having a smooth trigger pull and follow-through will make a big difference in improving your long-distance accuracy. There are three main things to work on
- Slapping the trigger: This is when the shooter literally slaps the trigger with their finger. There is no follow-through, and it can cause you to lose a good sight picture in the process.
- To much finger on the trigger: We should have just the pad of our finger on the trigger. If your finger is curling around the trigger it can cause you to drive the shot to one side. What you should be doing is getting the pad of the finger on the trigger and then pressing straight back in a nice smooth fashion.
- Follow-through: When the trigger is depressed you should not release it immediately. Good follow through on the trigger is part of the entire follow through discipline of shooting.
By taking some time and working on how we depress the trigger we can tighten up our groups. With some practice and exercise improving the trigger control will result in improving your long-distance shooting.
3rd Breath control
As we breathe the rifle will move. This is a normal action as our chest will rise and fall with every breath. However, when we let the shot go in respect to our breathing cycle will play a large role in where the bullet will strike. Holding your breath to take the shot will usually result in a high hit to the target. This is because we tend to want to get the air out as fast as possible after the shot. When we breathe out our body will drop. This causes the barrel to rise during the follow-through. Depending on where the bullet is in the barrel when we breathe out it can affect the shot.
A better method is to breathe out just before you about to squeeze off the shot. You should be breathing normally while sighting on the target. The sight picture will be moving from 12 o’clock to 6.00 o’clock as breath in and out. Once you have made your wind correction and are aligned with the target, breath out and hold. Smoothly press the trigger. Do not immediately breathe in, instead follow through with the shot then breathe in as you release the trigger.
There are other breathing methods that can be used depending on the situation. This method is best when you are not being rushed to take a shot. Our bodies find it much easier to hold steady after an exhale versus an inhale. So, keep that in mind whenever you are taking a shot.
Putting it all together and improving your long-distance shooting
The next time you go out start to practice these techniques. Pick one at a time to work on. Dry fire practice first, then load up and shoot. Once you are comfortable with all three points individually start to bring them all together. Make sure to practice at short ranges first. A tight group at 100 will mean a tight group at 1000, so do not be afraid to work on the short game first.