Shooting Skills: Get to Know the Precision Rifle

Shooting tips from Shooting Editor John B. Snow’s book

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This is an excerpt from Shooting Editor John B. Snow’s book, The Ultimate Shooting Skills Manual, which is available here. Keep an eye out for more shooting tips from his book here on the Gun Shots blog.Outdoor Life Online Editors

The defining characteristic of a precision rifles is the premium that it places on accuracy. Compare them to the regular sporter rifles commonly used for hunting or casual shooting, and you'll find that precision rifles are built to higher standards, using different components that are usually beefier and of better quality. They are engineered to be shot from solid rests, using either bipods that can be attached to the stock or some type of fixed support.

The optics mounted on them are also more advanced, with higher levels of magnification, specialized reticles, and more types of external adjustments. Some precision rifles are for military and law enforcement use, while others are for various types of target games. Another recent trend is the growing use of these rifles for hunting.

Here are a few things to look for when assessing a precision rifle.

A) BARREL
Heavy barrels are stiffer and take longer to heat up, both of which can improve accuracy.

B) MUZZLE BRAKE
Compensators help mitigate recoil and allow the shooter to spot hits and misses downrange.

C) BIPOD
A good bipod gives the rifle support, even on uneven ground. Some bipods swivel and pivot for shots on moving targets.

D) SCOPE
High-magnification scopes with external elevation and windage controls are used to fine-tune the point of impact for difficult shots.

E) STOCK
Stocks on precision rifles tend to be heavier and stiffer than on regular rifles. Special techniques are used to make a strong and secure fit between the stock and the action.

F) GRIP
The vertical grip gives the shooter better trigger control.

G) CHEEK PIECE
Adjustable components on stocks allow the shooter to fit the rifle to his or her precise dimensions.