Prone Shooting Question


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prid93
March 8, 2011, 01:22 AM
I recently joined my college's air rifle club. All of the shooting is done from 10m wish very high end Anschutz air rifles. The rifles are between 8.5-10 lbs in weight. I have very little experience in shooting from different firing positions as all of the ranges near my house require you be seated while firing. I am having a TON of trouble keeping the rifle where I want it. My first 10 shots go right where I want them, but after that the groups start to open right up. My left arm keeps buckling and swaying (I am right-handed,) and a lot of this is probably due to my rather low amount of strength in that arm. Is there anything I can do short term to fix the problem (i.e. instead of gaining muscle in my left arm, which I plan on doing.) Also any explanations of proper prone shooting technique would be great!

As a side note: I will be attending an appleseed event in hopes to learn better shooting technique, but cannot attend until mid April due to my being in school.

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Dimis
March 8, 2011, 02:32 AM
are you allowed to use sandbags bipods or other rests?

if your shooting with your support elbow on the table and holding the rifle up your going to have wobble and buckle untill you build up that motion

but if your allowed to use rests i always place the forend (not the barrel) on a bag or bipod adjusted to a comfortable high for myself place the butt of the stock in my shoulder with my fireing elbow and forearm laying as flat as i can on the table my suppert hand is crooked back to the buttstock under it with elbow and forearm as flat as possable and this allows the support hand to gently manuver the gun leaving the fireing hand to just fire
this translates well to my prone possition as well

also dont try to muscle the gun where you want it to go
try moving yourself into possitions that naturaly point at your target

try aiming at your target then closing your eyes (while pointed safely downrange and preferably unloaded) count to ten and reopen your eyes
if the sights moved off target re possition your body so that the gun wants to be on target

below is a picture of a guy shooting similar to my prone

MtnCreek
March 8, 2011, 09:28 AM
also dont try to muscle the gun where you want it to go
try moving yourself into possitions that naturaly point at your target

try aiming at your target then closing your eyes (while pointed safely downrange and preferably unloaded) count to ten and reopen your eyes
if the sights moved off target re possition your body so that the gun wants to be on target

What he said.

Is a sling allowed? If so, a quality (and properly used) sling should make for a more rigid stance. If you try a sling, use a glove on your support hand so the sling doesn't pinch it too much. There are probably some army or usmc publications available on the net showing proper tech of sling shooting.

prid93
March 8, 2011, 09:36 AM
Thanks for the tips. I will try and keep these in mind during practice.

No form of rests are allowed. I did use a rest as I was getting used to the rifle itself, but that was purely for helping me adjust to the feel of the rifle (and my personal position when using the rest was right along the lines of the picture you have).

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 09:37 AM
If this is the same sort of prone shooting that we did in NRA 3-position smallbore when I was competing in college, the more you try to use your muscles to support the gun the worse you're going to do.

(No, bags and bipods are certainly not allowed in position or smallbore prone competition.)

Your entire support comes from properly adjusting your sling and hand-stop and then allowing the bones in your arm to form a sort of inverted truss with the taught sling as the lower (well, upper actually) chord. Your bones won't compress and the sling won't stretch so they form a rigid triangle which provides all the support you could need. This is all helped by a properly fitted shooting jacket, the ubiquitous sweatshirt underneath, and a shooting glove to keep your support hand comfortable.

You need to make sure you're aligning your body correctly to achieve a natural point of aim. Again, you cannot muscle the gun around. It MUST be aimed directly at your target when in a completely rested position. If you have to push or pull or lift the gun to get the sights on target, adjust your position until you are dead on with no muscle input.

Then, the corrections to move from bull to bull are made with very minute body position and breath control changes.

Of course, also remember that you should not be lying flat on your stomach. Bring your strong-side knee up, bent, to about a 45 deg. angle to get your weight off your diaphragm.

This is stuff you coach should be covering with you.

prid93
March 8, 2011, 09:39 AM
Is a sling allowed? If so, a quality (and properly used) sling should make for a more rigid stance. If you try a sling, use a glove on your support hand so the sling doesn't pinch it too much. There are probably some army or usmc publications available on the net showing proper tech of sling shooting.

I do believe a sling is allowed, although what I saw people using was a sling that only attached to a front swivel and went around the supporting arm/hand. It wasn't connected to the rifle at a rear point. I'm sure someone must have one that I can use and help me with the "and properly used part."

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 09:43 AM
I do believe a sling is allowed, although what I saw people using was a sling that only attached to a front swivel and went around the supporting arm/hand. It wasn't connected to the rifle at a rear point. I'm sure someone must have one that I can use and help me with the "and properly used part."

That's right. The sling only attaches at the adjustable hand-stop mounted to the rail on the forestock. The loop in the sling goes above a button, hook, or loop just below the shoulder on the support arm. The sling should be adjusted so that when you swivel your support arm through in the proper way, it forces your support arm into a VERY tight triangle.

The same basic sling form is used to support the gun in kneeling and offhand as well.

prid93
March 8, 2011, 09:45 AM
You guys are being a great help and I really appreciate it.
Sam, just so happens the first week I take part is the first week in awhile the coach could not be present...go figure. Unfortunately, since my school does not have classes next week there is no meeting until the following Monday (and the unfortunate part is the no shooting, not the no classes :D.) I will be practicing over the week with a .22lr though and will hopefully get a good amount of time in.
Thanks again for all of the quality responses.

Add: Since I will not be using a traditional sling would it be possible to use a sling of similar design on a rifle such as a savage mk II for practice?

chrome_austex
March 8, 2011, 10:05 AM
A sling is a big deal, abd properly tightened you wont be using any muscles in that lwft arm anymore..

Sure you can practice with a sling on your savage, i'd recommend it!

The competition slings are sort of silly imho, but they do work... So does a 1903 sling, or a GI web sling, but the latter two can be configured to do double duty as a carrying sling and as an arm cuff accuracy device.

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 10:15 AM
Sure you can practice with a sling on your savage, i'd recommend it!


Agreed. It won't be quite as satisfactory as the adjustable hand-stop mounting point on a competition rifle, but practice is a good thing!

henschman
March 8, 2011, 10:27 AM
The cheapest sling you can get that can be used as a loop sling (attached to your support arm) for practice would be a GI web sling, M-1 and M-14 issue. I see them all the time at surplus stores and gun shows, or if you want to order online, you can get them from the Appleseed store or e-bay. They are $12 from Appleseed.

Then look for some good videos on how to use the GI web sling on youtube. I know there are some videos made by Appleseed folks that will show you how to rig this sling up properly for the loop configuration.

You do need 1 1/4" sling swivels for a GI web sling.

This is almost certainly not the exact type of sling you will be using for competition (I actually don't know what type is used), but it does the same thing. It would be easy enough to put on your .22 for practice.

And as for some tips on the prone position, here are some quick "steady hold factors:"

1. Forward hand open and relaxed, with your elbow planted under the rifle
2. Sling snug, and high above your bicep on your support arm
3. Trigger-side knee pulled up high (to get your diaphragm off the ground)
4. Stock properly pocketed between your collar bone and shoulder
5. Turkey neck and cheek weld (neck stretched as far forward as you can, head resting on stock on the hollow of your cheek)
6. Trigger finger not "dragging wood," aka not touching the stock of the rifle -- only making contact with the trigger on the pad of your finger.

I definitely recommend the Appleseed. You will learn sling use, solid positions, NPOA, and all kinds of other good stuff, much of which will be applicable to your airgun shooting discipline.

And remember... marksmanship is not just a sport, it is a heritage. It is fun to game and compete, but if we want to keep our heritage of marksmanship, you have to not only learn it yourself, but pass it on to others. Have fun!

WNTFW
March 8, 2011, 11:51 AM
"This is stuff you coach should be covering with you."

Absolutely! What has the coach done so far to guide you? No matter what you are going to be dealing with him.

In Prone try a few things.

Make sure the left elbow is either under the rifle or slightly to the right. Being left should be less stable. You have to try it. Reverse for right hand.

Try resting the fore end on the heel of the palm as close to you wrist as possible. You want to remove the movement of the wrist both up/down and side to side. Depending on the elevation the stock may even ride on the inside of your wrist. Placing the fore end between your wring and middle finger and remove your palm from the equation may help. You will notice if you want to cant the rifle it shows up more. Sometime I shoot from the vee between the thumb and fingers. But I shoot an air rifle with no sling and vary a lot of things, including where I am located on the ground. This makes me have to get NPA reestablished. I have to semi establish NPA any way due to breaking position to pump the rifle.

I practice different methods as I am still learning the basics. It mostly the basics you need to worry about.

Shoot with no air in the lungs and try to get all the right hand stuff consistent. Shoulder pressure, grip pressure, cheek weld need to be consistent. Holding a shot for too long is a killer. As you get better you will find you recognize when it is time to capitalize on the great sight picture you are seeing. You know it is as good as it gets and won't get any better, only degrade with time.

Put some faith in your coach. Give him a chance to prove himself. I would love to be able to shoot a high end air rifle and be coached even for a few minutes.

prid93
March 8, 2011, 01:51 PM
WNTFW,
Thanks for the tips. It was my first time with them yesterday (shame I didn't find out until the second semester that they existed,) and the coach wasn't able to make it (we had extremely bad weather overnight into the morning.) I have a very fortunate opportunity to take advantage of, and I do intend to take full advantage of it.

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 02:06 PM
prid93 where do you shoot? I might have competed at your school back in the '90s.

Coal Dragger
March 8, 2011, 02:10 PM
prid93,

Sounds like your coach is holding back, or not very knowledgeable.

When shooting from prone if you are not using a sling to assist you then you are wrong. Use a shooting sling (loop sling around your support arm above the bicep/upper tricep), make sure it is adjusted tight enough that you have to very firmly place the butt stock into your shoulder. Properly adjusted it should feel like the sling is locking the stock into your shoulder. The downside is that during a long shooting session your left arm will go numb, deal with it.

Keep your support arm as squarely under the rifle as possible, and try not to shift your elbow around on the ground since it will mess up your natural point of aim. Same for the elbow of your shooting arm, place it in the same place every time for every shot. Consistency is key.

Bring your knee on your dominant side (shooting hand side) up even with your hip to get your diaphragm and major pulse point off the ground.

Just take henschman's advice since he seems to have the basic fairly well covered. Some other things to play with would be the front sight apertures, until you find one that is the perfect size for centering your target. Also don't hesitate to use a shooting coat if available, they really make a difference especially when using a tight loop or match sling.

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 02:12 PM
Sounds like your coach is holding back, or not very knowledgeable.


Look guys, he's already explained THREE TIMES that he hasn't had a chance to even MEET the coach yet. He just started and the coach wasn't present due to bad weather.

prid93
March 8, 2011, 02:14 PM
The shooting takes place in the basement of a building called "The Armory" on our campus in Troy, NY.

Add: Formally the building is known as "Robinson Sports and Alumni Center"

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 02:21 PM
Ahhh, the son of an business acquaintance of mine goes to an engineering school in that town. Cool.

prid93
March 8, 2011, 02:22 PM
Would that school happen to be Rensselaer?

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 02:23 PM
Yup!

prid93
March 8, 2011, 02:27 PM
Cool! Tell him to join the air rifle club! ;)

Sam1911
March 8, 2011, 02:28 PM
He would probably be most interested!

prid93
March 22, 2011, 03:20 PM
Hey all,
Since you were nice enough to give me your help, I figured I would post my first target that I shot for score. I was a little inconsistent for most of the target, but the bottom three groups were my last three shot and I'm happy at the consistency I produced for them. 5 shots per target...all shot prone with sling at 10m. Hopefully with more practice all of the groups will look the same!
Thanks again all.
Dan

Sam1911
March 22, 2011, 04:26 PM
Hey!

Not bad! And I'll bet you'll enjoy the quick rise at the beginning of the learning curve as you develop your skills. Stick with it and you'll be amazed at how you progress as you get good coaching and get your gear squared away.

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