By Kevin Steffey, GJWHG Guest Contributor
The increasing popularity of long range shooting has encouraged optics and firearm companies to come up with new designs and products that make it easier for users to hit their targets. While these scopes and rifles are added with new technology and features, it is important for a shooter to understand the basics of shooting in order to eliminate any variables.
There is a lot of literature that shows you how to select the best caliber, rifle, and ammunition. These are essential elements if you are serious about shooting at long ranges. Long-range shooting requires skill that has to be developed over a period of time. There are a lot of things that need to be put under consideration when aiming at long ranges. Patience is the key to mastering this skill.
Nonetheless, here are useful long range shooting tips that will definitely help you hone your skills:
Fit The Rifle Yourself
This is one of the most important factors when it comes to accuracy in shooting at long ranges. Forgetting this step will probably mean that you ignore the rest of these tips. Shooting at long ranges heavily relies on establishing a consistent attachment to your rifle. Therefore, clean a rifle, fit it appropriatly, put it on your shoulder and head out for some shooting.
When aiming, make sure that the rifle is pointing roughly at your target, and the crosshairs on the gun are properly placed. If your rifle requires realigning, move your legs first and then twist your torso to the correct position. Also, you may need to replace and lift the bipod or rifle to get a better aim. Use a shooting rest to help steady your rifle and aim properly.
Make sure that your body position is also stable enough to keep your rifle steady. Often, long range shooting is conducted while prone. Your whole body should be entirely grounded, by laying both forearms and elbows on the ground. Your weaker hand should be used to support the rifle while your stronger hand should be positioned to pull the trigger. The rifle’s butt should be supported on your shoulder with the help of a backpack if necessary.
Have A Perfect View Through Your Scope
Focusing your eyepiece is entirely dependent on the user. This means that you should make the adjustments yourself, as opposed to letting another person do it for you. For best results on your focus, adjust the reticle while looking at a blank wall or the clear sky. You should also avoid looking at the reticle directly while adjusting it or you will have substandard results.
A common rule for long range shooters is never to take a shot unless your target is clear. Tunnel effect or shadows may cause a parallax error, which will make you miss your target. Ensure that your ocular lens and your objective lens are properly aligned with the rear lens.
Compensate For The Wind
Long range shooting in the wind is more of an art than a science. Long range shooting is an outdoor activity, and in a lot of cases, it is usually windy outside. A good shooter will know how to compensate for the wind strength and direction. This makes the sport quite challenging and fun. If possible, avoid shooting against the wind.
Make A Shot Without Any Movement
Normally, the trigger of a long range rifle is pulled with the index finger. The trigger guard must also be parallel to your fingernail. Pull the trigger while maintaining a fixed aim through the scope of the rifle. If you flinch or blink when pulling the trigger, you are likely to miss your target. Memorize where the crosshairs are located on the rifle in case the a shot breaks and you need to re-aim.
Hold Your Rifle Firmly
When gazing through the scope, your cheekbone should firmly slot in the stock of the gun, and your head should be upright and not tilted. Maintain a firm grip with your thumb to prevent it from injury, especially when you are using high caliber rifles that have heavy recoils.
Calm Your Body
A good shooter should know how to control their breathing. Breathing, as simple as it may sound, is a vital determinant of hitting your target. For more accurate shots, always pull the trigger at the bottom of your exhale because your whole body is usually relaxed at this point. It also gives you a standard reference point for the next shot you make.
However, you should not hold this position for too long. If the shot isn’t fired immediately, then it can cause fatigue and tension. Just take a deep breath and fire! This is something that takes a lot of time, but the end results are usually satisfying.
Use the above tips to improve your long range shooting skills, and eventually you will find yourself an expert. Always remember that practice makes perfect!
Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else, and occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. He is a founder at www.deerhuntingfield.com