Photo by Rab Cummings
When you’re hunting, using a kneeling or sitting postition is often the only practical way to get a shot at an animal. In these circumstances, a shooting sling is a real aid to accuracy.
How a Sling Works
The classic shooting sling is the leather Turner that is associated with the Springfield M1903 service rifle. It adjusts to cinch tight around the shooter’s upper arm and pull the rifle snug into the shoulder. The downside to the Turner sling is that it can take a while to deploy.
Modern shooting slings have quick-adjust buckles or elastic bungees to perform the same task as the Turner. Common to every shooting sling is that it forms the top of a triangle, with the other two sides being the shooter’s bent arm supporting the stock.
You want to build that triangle right above the knee, with the elbow positioned just in front of the kneecap. Done right, bones—not muscle—support the rifle.
Of all the fundamentals, the most important when kneeling or sitting is natural point of aim (NPA). With correct NPA, the rifle is pointed at the target, and the shooter’s body is “pointed” at the rifle. This means that the shooter isn’t exerting any muscular pressure on the rifle to aim it.
How to Practice
Developing proper NPA requires an inordinate amount of dry-fire practice. You master this in your backyard, not at the range. To check for proper NPA, build your shooting position, close your eyes, and go through a couple of breathing cycles. Open your eyes. If you’re on target, that’s great. If not, move your body and rifle as a single unit to make a correction and try again.
Once you’ve established good NPA, take stock of your body—the position of your feet, torso, and arms. Break the position and do the drill again. Eventually your NPA will get better. Do this break-and-build drill from the carry position you’ll use in the field.
With a kneeling or sitting shot, break the trigger at the bottom of the breathing cycle.
Don’t slap the trigger. Press it straight to the rear. Slapping will cause the shots to string out horizontally across the target.
Stay engaged with the rifle. Wait until the recoil is over, then release the trigger and run the bolt.
You want to be able to hit a 2 MOA target while kneeling or sitting. This means hitting a 2-inch target at 100 yards, a 4-inch target at 200 yards, and so on. Starting off, use a target that is 4 MOA or larger, and work toward this goal.
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