Rifle-Firing Techniques: Practicing the Five Fundamentals
Practicing the Five Firing Fundamentals: There are five fundamental elements of rifle firing—aiming, breath control, movement control, trigger control, and follow-through. All of these elements work together as one process and should be practiced together in this way.

  • Aim: Align your sight with the target. Follow two guidelines when you aim.
  • Keep both eyes open to ease focusing and reduce eye strain.
  • Keep your aiming time brief. You can’t maintain the firing fundamentals effectively for long periods
  • Control Your Breathing: Your breathing can move the firearm just enough to throw off your shot. These tips will help you to adopt the correct technique more easily.
  • When you’re ready to shoot, draw a deep breath and exhale about half of it.
  • Hold your breath as you squeeze the trigger.
  • Bear in mind that if you hold your breath too long, your heart beats faster, which increases your pulse and causes the firearm to move. If you notice this happening, take another breath and start over.
  • At times, the excitement of spotting game will make it more difficult to control your breathing. Try to relax and follow the correct procedure.
  • Hold Your Aim: Learning to hold the firearm steady is a challenge. Rather than attempting to eliminate all movement, concentrate on two actions.
  • Focus any necessary movement on the target.
  • Minimize the area of movement.
  • Squeeze the Trigger: Jerking the trigger or abruptly clenching the trigger hand can move the gun enough to cause a miss. To avoid these motions, hold the gun comfortably.
  • Grasp the wrist of the stock firmly.
  • Position your fingertip comfortably on the trigger. The trigger should rest on the end of your finger—between the first joint and fingertip.
  • To squeeze the trigger without jarring the gun, simply apply slow, steady pressure until the gun fires.
  • Follow Through: After the bullet fires, be sure to continue the squeeze or follow-through to avoid jerking the gun before the bullet leaves the barrel.

  • One commonly used shooting technique for muzzleloaders is the B.R.A.S.S. technique. It stands for:
  • Breathe
  • Relax
  • Aim
  • Squeeze the trigger
  • Squeeze more (for follow-through)
Positioning Your Body for Accurate Rifle Shooting: Prone
Muzzleloading rifle shooters use a number of shooting positions. The four most common positions are prone, standing, sitting, and kneeling. Choose the position that is the most comfortable for you. When you are physically comfortable, you can hold a position for longer periods.

The prone position is the steadiest of the four positions. Because it’s the easiest to hold, it’s the best position for mastering the fundamentals of shooting—aiming, breath control, trigger squeeze, and follow-through.

Positioning Your Body for Accurate Rifle Shooting: Standing
There are four standard rifle-firing positions: prone, standing, sitting, and kneeling.

The most challenging position, standing, requires both a great deal of practice and careful attention to observing the firing fundamentals.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, pointing slightly away from the target. Keep your legs straight and knees soft.
Right-handed shooters will support the firearm with the left hand and arm, and vice versa. Position the supporting arm perpendicular to the firearm, with the forearm resting in the supporting palm. The supporting elbow may rest on your hip or rib cage.

Positioning Your Body for Accurate Rifle Shooting: Sitting
There are four standard rifle-firing positions: prone, standing, sitting, and kneeling.

Both arms are supported by your legs. Next to the prone position, this is the steadiest position.

Positioning Your Body for Accurate Rifle Shooting: Kneeling
There are four standard rifle-firing positions: prone, standing, sitting, and kneeling.

With only one arm braced, the kneeling position is less steady than the prone and sitting positions.

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