Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this book are those of the individual author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Crosman Corporation its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, Board members ,and/or sponsors.
Always point the muzzle of a gun in a safe direction.
When transporting a firearm, or transferring a firearm from person to person, always keep the action open. When receiving the firearm, always say “let me see the action.”
Always keep your finger off the trigger until on target and ready to fire.
When gripping a gun, always place the trigger finger along side of the trigger guard, not on the trigger. (This is called “indexing”.)Back to Top
It is desirable for a person with right eye dominance to shoot right handed. While it is possible to shoot well using the non-dominant eye, Olympic level coaches will tell you that no one has ever reached world class level by doing so. Since the dominant eye is a key factor in the task of aligning, and since aligning the front sight in the rear sight, and aligning the bull’s eye in the front sight is crucial to scoring well, the dominant eye must be identified before attempting to shoot.
If you find that you are looking through the hole with your right eye, this indicates right eye dominance. Aligning the hole with the left eye indicates left eye dominance.
If this process does not result in a definitive conclusion, consult an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or shooting coach.
Note: There are situations wherein a person who is normally right hand coordinated is left eye dominant. This is called “cross dominant”. If this condition exists, and shooting from the “dominant eye” side is causing problems, contact the NRA at 703-267-1428 or 703-267-1401 to request information on finding a shooting coach near you. If you are not an NRA member, request an application.Back to Top
Open the gun case. If the muzzle is pointed in an unsafe direction, close the case and reposition the case so that the muzzle will be pointed in a safe direction. Not at people.
If the action is closed, open the action before proceeding any further.
Grip the rifle by the butt plate and raise the butt so that the chamber is visible.
When it is determined that the chamber is empty, insert a safety flag (safety flags are commercially available, however, a piece of blaze orange plastic string used in a grass whip or weed whacker will work fine) grip the fore-end with one hand and the rear of the stock with the other hand and raise the muzzle so that it is pointed directly up in the air.
Carry the rifle in this position to the firing line or table for setting up the gun, and/or cleaning the gun.
Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection when shooting, or on a shooting range.
(Note: hearing protection is not needed for air gun shooting).
Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection when shooting, or on a shooting range.
(Note: hearing protection is not needed for air gun shooting).
This can be done by laying on the ground (same as shooting in the prone position; except the sandbag supports the rifle), or seated at a special table (called a shooting bench), designed for “Bench Rest” shooting in which case the fore-end would be rested on a sandbag.
The idea is to isolate each step in the sequence of firing the shot without complicating the task by trying to support the rifle.
When gripping the rifle in preparation for firing the shot ALWAYS place the trigger finger alongside the trigger guard until such time as sight alignment has been achieved and the rifle is pointed in the vicinity of the target. This is called “Indexing.”
After sight picture has been achieved, bring the trigger finger to bear on the trigger so that the trigger touches the finger between the tip and the first joint of the finger.
Interrupt the breathing cycle. (Stop breathing.)
When the “Hold” is satisfactory, (if using two stage trigger – take up first stage), begin constant rearward pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks.
DO NOT ANTICIPATE. Focus should be concentrated on sight picture, not the trigger.
Before trying a position, the shooter should be able to consistently shoot three shots at a bull’s eye and the shots are “grouped” tightly together.
The perfect “group” is to make one hole with three shots, however if the three shots touch each other that is a good indication that the shooter understands the sequence of firing the shot, and can now learn the different shooting positions.
If the “group” is not centered on the bull’s eye, and the hits are not hitting the center of the bull’s eye, called the “ten ring” don’t worry, this is a simple matter of sight adjustment.
The “group” can be moved up, down, left or right on the target by moving the rear sight up, down, left or right.Back to Top
Quality sights are calibrated so that there is no guess work. Moving the sight a specific number of increments (or clicks) will move the impact point a specific interval. (Check the owner’s manual.)
A “Spotting Scope” eliminates the need to walk down-range to physically inspect the target. The “Spotting Scope” should be placed on the non-dominant eye side and adjusted so that it is relatively accessible without contorting, twisting or disturbing the shooting position. Set the focus so that the small print on the target is readable.Back to Top
Three elements of good rifle shooting position are:
Implementation of each step must be performed meticulously. Repeating desirable performance and/or identifying problems can only be accomplished if the athlete is consistent in EVERY aspect.
“Shooters to the line”- It is safe to carry your rifle to the firing line (At this point the Certified Range Safety Officer (RSO) will announce the course of fire.)
“Is the line ready?”- Do you see a condition that might be unsafe, if so raise your hand (If the line is not safe, the RSO will announce that the line is not safe and the condition will be corrected before proceeding.)
“The line is ready”
“Load”- At this point you can load one round into the chamber (If after giving a command the RSO finds it necessary to rescind the previous command, he/she will give the command “As you were” – this means that you should undo the last command, in this case un-load the rifle.)
“Commence firing”– You can shoot
“Cease fire”– Immediately open the action, put the gun down, and insert the chamber flag. * Anyone can call “cease fire”, as a matter of fact it is your obligation to “YELL” “cease fire” if you see a condition that “might be unsafe”. If you call a cease fire, raise your hand so that an RSO can find you.
Always position the rifle so that the chamber flag is visible and the RSO’s can visually inspect the chamber. For air rifle, if there is a pellet in the chamber on the cease fire command, raise your hand and an RSO will clear the rifle.
If on the cease fire command, when you open the bolt and a live round does not eject, raise your hand immediately, do not try to eject the round.
“The Line is safe”- Do not proceed down range to change targets until the RSO has given the command: “The line is safe and you may go down range.”
“Cease fire”– continued
Do not handle the firearm or air rifle until everyone is behind the firing line and the RSO has announced: “It is safe to handle.”
Should it become necessary to break position for any reason ALWAYS LIFT THE BOLT.
When readjusting position or repositioning the spotting scope or just fussing and fidgeting – lift the bold and keep the rifle pointed down range toward the targets.
Whenever the rifle is placed on the ground, on a table, or moved from place to place, ALWAYS OPEN THE ACTION and insert Clear Barrel Indicator (CBI).
* A clear barrel indicator (CBI) or chamber flag is a plastic device (sometimes a piece of weed whacker plastic string) that blocks the action from being closed and prevents loading a round.
Some competitions use “International Range Commands.” Upon arriving at a shooting competition venue, take time to meet with a range officer, or range master or match director, and discuss range commands, protocol and procedures. Misunderstanding range commands could cost points and might also cause an unsafe condition.
“Relay number (#___), you may move your rifles and equipment to the firing line” Competitors bring rifles to the firing line, ground the rifles on assigned firing points with the action open.
Note: a bright colored weed wacker cord long enough to visibly protrude from the breech and the muzzle, referred to as a “CBI” (Clear Barrel Indicator) must remain in place until the range master gives the command “Your ten minute preparation period begins now.”
“Relay number (#___), the line is clear, go forward and hang your targets” Competitors go forward and hang targets for the stage (prone, kneeling, offhand) to be fired. No one may handle a rifle while personnel are forward of the firing line.
Note: Some ranges have installed electronic targets. There is no need to go forward of the firing line as the range master would skip over this command.
“Your ten minute preparation period begins now” During the preparation period, competitors may get into position, remove Clear Barrel Indicators (CBI) and dry fire.
Note: Dry fire is a process of closing the action and pulling the trigger without a cartridge or pellet in the chamber. In the case of airguns, air pressure or gas may not escape.
“This is the (specify prone, kneeling or off-hand) stage of the three-position event. Twenty shots (prone, kneeling or off-hand) total time (specify).”
"Load" (participants may load the rifle)
"Start" (participants may commence fire)
"Stop" (Participants must cease fire, open the action, insert CBI and ground the rifle)
“Five minutes remaining.”
“Two minutes remaining.”
When a competitor has finished firing, the rifle must be grounded with the action open and a Clear Barrel Indicator (CBI) must be inserted in the barrel. Competitors may make adjustments to the rifle or equipment and can step back from the firing line, taking care not to disturb other competitors. The rifle and equipment cannot be removed from the firing line until instructed to do so by the range officer.
“Stop, Unload.” Competitors immediately open the action. If a live round is in the chamber it will eject. If the round does not eject, or if, in the case of an air rifle where a pellet will remain in the chamber, the competitor must call attention to a range officer by raising a hand. The range officer will provide a pellet discharge container or clear the cartridge.
“Competitors, you may remove your equipment from the firing line.” - It is safe to carry your rifle to the firing line (At this point the Certified Range Safety Officer (RSO) will announce the course of fire.)Back to Top
Place the shooting mat so that it is at approximately a ten degree angle off perpendicular to the target. If right handed, the left edge of the mat should point to the right side of the target, and if left -handed, the right edge of the mat should point to the left side of the target.
Note: A good shooting mat will provide a moisture barrier between the ground and the shooter, padding for comfort, and a skid resistant surface in the area where the elbows rest on the mat so as to prevent slippage. If a shooting mat is not available, a piece of carpeting will suffice.
Set up the rifle for the prone position: If this is the first time you are shooting in the prone position, the entire session should be devoted to experimentation with settings for butt plate (vertical and horizontal), positioning of the hand stop/sling swivel, setting eye relief, adjusting sling, positioning cheek piece and selecting an appropriate front sight aperture. Once the optimum settings have been established, record the settings in your note book and refer to the notes prior to every shooting session. It might be necessary to fine tune the settings at each session, however, major adjustments will not be necessary if you do it right the first time. The objective is to set up the rifle so that the position is reasonably comfortable. In other words, the rifle fits the shooter.
Note: Front sight aperture - Start with a 3.4 mm aperture and experiment until you find the aperture you are most comfortable with. It is better to have an aperture that is a bit large, rather than too small.
The top of the butt plate should be slightly above neutral. The entire weight of your head should rest on the cheek piece. The proper combination of cheek piece and butt plate adjustments will facilitate sight alignment without forcing your head into and uncomfortable or unnatural position.
Note: Sight “riser blocks” are used to raise the front and rear sights approximately ¼ inch and the shooter should try a rifle with riser blocks and a rifle without riser blocks to determine which is best to achieve a comfortable and natural position.
This position requires a sling, hand stop/sling swivel and a glove.
Place the rifle on the right side of the shooting mat if right handed, and lay down on the mat on the left side of your body with your left arm extended so that you can rest your head on your left biceps. Roll to the right to face the target, bringing the right elbow in contact with the mat. Bend the right knee (approx. 45 degrees) so that most of the weight of your body is still on the left side. In this way, the weight of your body will not interfere with normal breathing.
Note: The arm that supports the fore-end (front part of the stock) should not rest on the point of the elbow. Doing so will affect stability and comfort. Extend the support arm far enough so that the support point is just behind the pointed part of the elbow.
Place the butt plate of the rifle in the recess between your collar bone and your shoulder joint. Be sure to position the butt plate in the exact same place every time you shoulder the gun.
Note: Do not remove the butt from the shoulder between shots, and position the spotting scope so that it is convenient and can be used without getting out of position or straining. The spotting scope is used to verify hits on the bull’s eye so that sights can be adjusted (zeroed).
Rest the fore-end of the rifle in the palm of your left hand and move the hand toward the front or rear until the sights are aligned with the center of the sighter bull’s eye. Moving the support hand forward on the stock will drop the point of aim and moving the support hand to the rear will raise the point of aim.
Note: The angle formed between the left forearm and the ground should not be less than 30 degrees or greater than 45 degrees.
While holding the point of aim on the sighter target bull’s eye, position the hand stop/sling swivel so that it is pressed tightly between the thumb (on the left side of the stock) and the forefinger (on the right side of the stock).
Note: Do not grip the fore-end, but curve the fingers so that they are parallel with the stock.
Now you are ready to adjust the sling until it is supporting all the weight of the rifle.
Note: Place the sling on the arm that is supporting the rifle, above or below the biceps, whichever is most comfortable and stable for you.
Fine adjustment to vertical point of aim is accomplished by shifting the hips forward or back, or with breath control.
Lateral point of aim is accomplished by pivoting the body around the elbow of the support arm.
Note: Be sure to adjust point of aim for every lateral (left or right) move on the target.
On most match grade rifles, the butt plate can be extended or contracted to make the stock longer or shorter. The length of the stock will affect the pressure of the butt plate in the shoulder and the angle of the shooting arm. If you don’t have a coach, just remember that all bones and muscles should fall in place as natural as possible without subjecting the body to contortions or stress.Back to Top
Three elements of good rifle shooting position are:
Set up the rifle for offhand by adjusting the butt plate, setting eye relief, and installing a fore-end riser block if necessary.
Note: The butt plate should be lowered far enough to align the dominant eye with the sights without tilting the head to the side. Sight alignment should be achieved by slightly tilting the head forward, coming to rest on the cheek piece. Move the rear sight forward or back as necessary to center the front sight in the rear sight with a quarter inch halo around the front sight. Under Sporter Class rules the butt plate must remain in one position for all stages of fire. Always refer to the official rule book.
Stand at approx. 90 degrees to the target, feet shoulder width apart. (A wide stance is acceptable, provided balance, bone support, muscle relaxation, and natural point of aim is maintained.) Knees remain straight, but not locked, and body weight should be equally distributed on both legs with the center of gravity directly over the ankles.
Hold the rifle at approx. 10 degrees to the body and place the butt plate into the shoulder.
Note: It is desirable to place the butt in the pocket formed between the collar bone and the shoulder joint, however, placing the butt on the shoulder joint or slightly outside the shoulder joint on the upper part of the arm is acceptable for air rifle and small bore rifle. Consistency is critical.
Grip the rifle, placing the trigger finger alongside the trigger guard. Cant the rifle into the face so that it is not necessary to tilt the head sideways to see through the sights.
Note: The face should always be flat to the target. If proper sight alignment cannot be achieved by dropping the head slightly forward to rest on the cheek piece, adjust the height of the butt plate accordingly. Place butt in the pocket formed between the collar bone and shoulder.
Move the hips forward far enough to put the center of gravity over the ankles.
Note: It will be necessary to lean back slightly to compensate for the weight of the rifle.
Turn the entire upper torso to the target (remember we started with the rifle at ten degrees to the target), and bring the support arm to bear on the hip or resting on the rib cage. The arm that is supporting the rifle should form a straight line to the ground with the forward leg.
Lateral point of aim (left or right) is adjusted by pivoting on the forward foot. Minor adjustments can be achieved by slight movement of the non-pivot foot forward or rear of the 90 degree line.
It might be necessary to make minor adjustments for every shot. When the sight picture has been achieved, look off to the side (without moving head) and let the position settle for five seconds, then look through the sights again. If the bull’s eye is not centered in the front sight, adjust the position laterally. If the point of aim is too low or too high, move the support arm forward or back on the fore end as necessary.
If adequate elevation cannot be achieved by resting the fore end on your fist and extending the fingers is not comfortable for you, install a fore end riser block. It is desirable to have a three position stock on the rifle for three position shooting.
Note: Sporter Class rules will not allow riser blocks. Always refer to the official rule book.Back to Top
Setup the rifle for kneeling position. Adjust the butt-plate, reach (length of stock from butt plate to the trigger), hand stop/sling swivel, cheek piece, eye relief and insert appropriate front sight aperture (suggest 3.6mm – 4.0mm).
Note: This position requires the use of a sling, kneeling roll, and shooting glove. A shooting jacket is desirable.
Place the kneeling roll on the shooting mat at approximately a 45 degree angle to the target. The sling should be positioned high on the support arm.
If using a shooting jacket button the top button, or top two buttons. This will allow more freedom of movement. Kneel on the *right knee so that the kneeling roll is directly under the ankle.
* Example for right hand shooter.
Note: Do not allow clothing to bunch up behind the knee. This will restrict circulation.
Sit on the “bottom” of the heel of the shoe (not the back of the heel) aligned with the spine (center of buttock). The right leg forming a 45 degree angle to the target and the left foot positioned parallel with the right leg, ten to fourteen inches apart.
Position the support arm on the left knee so that the “flat” area behind the elbow joint, mates with the “flat” on the forward portion of the left knee.
Natural Point of Aim is Critical. “Natural Point of Aim” is the point at which the rifle is focused on the center of the bull’s eye without the influence of any muscles whatsoever. Theoretically, if the shooter is in a proper shooting position, the sights have been adjusted so that the center of the sighter shots are centered in the bull’s eye, and the shooter has adjusted the position so that he/she has achieved a “Natural Point of Aim”, the shooter can be blind folded and score a perfect center shot. (Assuming that proper breath control and trigger control is employed as well.)
The angle of the support arm should form an imaginary straight line from the support arm wrist to the right ankle. The left ankle should be straight so that the lower left leg forms a ninety degree angle to the floor.
Note: Stability can be increased by turning the left foot slightly toward the right knee.
Re-adjust the hand stop / sling swivel so that the “natural point of aim” is the center of the target. Slight adjustments up or down are achieved by re-positioning the support arm slightly higher or lower on the knee. With experience, elevation adjustments can also be accomplished by interrupting the breathing cycle at different points along the exhale curve.
Lateral adjustment is accomplished by pivoting on the right ankle.
Keeping both shoulders “square” to the target, drop the right shoulder slightly (hunch). This is one situation when it is O.K. to “slouch”.
Place the ammunition block within easy reach so that it is accessible without breaking position.
Note: The spotting scope should be readily accessible without breaking position.
The position should be reasonably comfortable and above all, stableBack to Top
Three elements of good rifle shooting position are:
Simple rule: To move the impact point on the target to the right, move the rear sight to the right. To move the impact point on the target to the left, move the rear sight to the left.
Non-optical target sights have a rear sight aperture. These sights are referred to as micrometer adjustable iron sights or “peep sights.”
The micrometer adjustment is calibrated to “minute of angle” (MOA). One minute of angle deviation will translate to one inch at one hundred yards.
When a sight is calibrated to ⅛th MOA, eight increments (clicks) of adjustment will move the impact point one inch, if the target is one hundred yards from the firing point. Using the same example, a ⅙th MOA sight requires six increments of adjustment, ¼th MOA, four increments….and so on. If the target is fifty yards from the firing point, a ⅙th MOA sight will require twelve increments of adjustment to move the impact point one inch.
Most targets are also calibrated by “minute of angle.” The scoring rings on a one hundred yard target are one inch wide, (one MOA), and a fifty yard target has ½ inch rings.
However, be careful because there are exceptions, such as: International targets, sometimes referred to as ISU.
If you are in doubt, just rest the rifle fore-end on sand bags and fire a group of three shots, then introduce three increments of adjustment.
Repeat that process until you have a clear picture of how far the group will move with the three increments of adjustment. Put the information in your “Shooter’s Diary” and there will never be any guesswork.
Good quality rear sights have an adjustment knob at 12 o’clock (on top) for “elevation” adjustment (up and down) and an adjustment knob at 3 o’clock (on the side) for “windage” (left and right).
Note: Left hand sights have the “windage” adjustment at 9 o’clock.
The vast majority of quality target sights employ the “right hand rule” for adjustment. Turn the top knob clockwise and the sight will move down and the impact point will move down. Turn the “windage” knob clockwise and the sight will move to the left and the impact point will move to the left.
Note: To move the sight to the left on left handed sights, turn the “windage” knob counterclockwise.
Where there is a rule, there is usually an exception. To be absolutely sure, test fire the rifle on a rest or sand bag.Back to Top
Eye relief is the distance from your eye to the aperture of the rear sight.
Proper eye relief applies to aperture type rear sights with a globe type aperture front sight and telescopic sights. Eye relief is important to achieve optimum “sight picture”.
Some shooters are comfortable with the same front sight aperture for all three positions (prone, off-hand, and kneeling). I prefer a 3.2 prone, 4.2 off-hand, and 3.6 kneeling.
With practice and experimentation you will find the aperture that works best for you.
It is desirable to shoot with both eyes open. If a double image is experienced, install an opaque occluder on the side of the rear sight, to block the non-dominant eye.
An opaque occluder is a transparent material that allows light to pass through, but blocks vision.Back to Top
Scoring is the responsibility of the match officials. However, having a fundamental understanding of scoring can be valuable. Basically, if the edge of a shot hole touches a scoring ring, it will be scored as the ring that it touches.
There are a variety of devices that are used in scoring. Be sure that you understand the official rules of the competition before selecting a scoring gauge.
There are clear plastic “scoring overlays” with fine line circles representing a .22 or .177 caliber holes, plugs with a magnifier in a variety of calibers, “outer gauge” plugs, and a scoring gauge comprised of a clear plastic tube with a magnifier loupe at one end, and a clear plastic overlay at the other end.
Note: Competitors cannot handle their target prior to it being officially scored, however the competitor should carefully examine his/her target and record the unofficial score in their notebook. In this way, the competitor will be prepared to “challenge” if the official score does not correspond with the estimation.
When a competitor feels that any of his/her shots has been improperly counted, valued or scored, recorded or added, he/she may challenge. The challenge must be made within the “challenge period” as specified by match rules.
Good sportsmanship dictates that one competitor will not challenge another competitor’s target, unless the outcome of challenge could appreciably affect the results of the match in terms of the challenger’s standing. Knowledge of the rules could prove to be valuable. Purchase a personal copy of the rules for the discipline in which you will be competing, then study the rules.Back to Top
POSITIONS – Prone, Standing (off-hand), Kneeling, and Sitting
The basic elements require bone support, muscle relaxation and a natural point of aim.
For more specific details to achieve a correct position, refer to NRA Handbook “Rifle Shooting” Order code #EF 13180. ($3.75) 1-800-336-7402 extension 3
SIGHT PICTURE – “For a six o’clock hold, the bull’s eye should sit on top of the front sight like a pumpkin on a post” (illustration “B”) – “For point of aim hold, the desired impact should be aligned with the top of the front sight.” Adjust the position so that the bull’s eye is in proper relationship to sight alignment, bringing about a “natural point of aim.”
HOLD – “Allow the position to SETTLE DOWN until movement is minimized.” If hold is unacceptable, return to normal breathing and repeat.
TRIGGER CONTROL – “Smooth rearward pressure on the trigger.” The shooter should not know when the gun is going to fire. Anticipation will cause a miss. Concentration should be on the front sight, not the trigger.
FOLLOW THROUGH – Remain perfectly still for a few seconds after the shot breaks, during which time, focus on the front sight and CALL THE SHOT….. (Evaluate the hold and predict the result in terms of value and proximity). For example, 9 at 3 o’clock.
STRIVE FOR CONSISTENCY…Back to Top