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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1748
The four (4) major principles of accurate rifle shooting

A good friend of mine shared this with me. I thought it would be helpful to the folks who are still in the "learning stage", like me.

The four (4) major principles of accurate rifle shooting:

1) Position & Hold. Is your hold firm, comfortable, stable, wide or low? Is the weight of the rifle
going through your bones to the ground with little use of muscle?

2) Natural Body Pointing. Try this: When lying prone, shut your eyes and rest. Get the rifle
comfortable. Then open your eyes. Where is the weapon pointing? Move your body not the rifle
to get the rifle pointing in the correct direction. Why? Because under recoil your body will move
and unless it is naturally aligned with where you want the rifle to point the rifle will shift, moving
your point of impact.

3) Sight alignment. You want to hold the same sight picture every time. Make sure the rifle is
not canted left or right.

4) Release and Follow Through.

a. Check position.
b. Check alignment.
c. Check sight picture.
d. Pause.
e. Address the Trigger.
f. Respiratory Pause. Take two breaths and release half way & hold or whatever works for you.
Just Don't be breathing in & out at that moment.
g. Stare Through the shot (focus).
h. Break the shot (clean firm pressure, don't jerk! Only the Pad or Tip of finger on the trigger,
gun should "surprise" you when it fires).
i. Wait! Maintain stock weld with your cheek and breath control continue looking through the
scope (this is all part of the follow through).
j. Breathe.
k. Release the trigger.
l. Then cycle the bolt (if it's a bolt action) without lifting your head to view target. Continue to
stare through the scope in case you need a follow up shot. This eliminates "losing the target"
and doing the "Turkey Bobble" with your head looking for it.
m. Now you have completed the shooting cycle. Safety the weapon and then you can move to
another position or prepare for your next shot.

The instructors emphasized the need to follow each step in all four principles exactly the same
every time. They called it "Cloning the Shot". Thus developing your own personal pattern for

Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 361
The four (4) major principles of accurate rifle shooting

Just get a copy of the Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship Training. Everything you said and more. I use lot of it in instructing patrol rifle and precision rifle shooting.

Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3206
The four (4) major principles of accurate rifle shooting

The natural body pointing mentioned is nothing more than relieving all the tension in all the mussel's in your body. When you close your eyes and relax you let go of the tension and the mussel's re-direct to where they have no tension. It works in every position, not just prone. Learn to not fight your own body.

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
The four (4) major principles of accurate rifle shooting

I think these instructions prove that it's the human hand that make the most contribution to inaccuracy when shooting. Lean and practice what you've learned by these instructions and you will see dramatic results in accuracy.

Just consider that a lot of match shoots and sniper shots are made with Federal Match grade or various mass produced issued ammo, yet this ammo isn't specifically specially loaded for any particular one rifle, but when used in the right hands, rifle and ammo are capable of some supurb shots.

Great input Hiker Thumbs up