May 15th, 2018

Tactical Tip: Head and Scope Position for Prone Shooting

Scope head position prone shooting Ryan Cleckner long range shooting handbook

In this video, former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner explains how proper head and scope position is a critical component to accurate shooting. Ryan finds that some shooters place the scope too far forward or too far rearward. If the scope is too far back you may have issues with eye relief and stock reach to shoulder. If it is too far forward, you may have cheek-weld problems or get neck strain. Cleckner cautions: “When you are in a good prone position, you don’t want any strain in your neck muscles or back.”

In the video, Cleckner offers a simple method to check your scope position:

“To see if your scope is set up properly … close your eyes, lay your head on your gun, get completely comfortable, and only when you are set-up, then open your eyes. If you can’t see clearly through your scope, CHANGE something [such as comb height or scope position]”.

“When you open your eyes, if you see some scope shadow [i.e. the black ring around the edge of the scope picture], figure out which way you need to move your head to get rid of that shadow, and then make adjustments to either your position, the rifle, or the scope.”

Scope head position prone shooting Ryan Cleckner long range shooting handbook

“Very often you’ll open your eyes and realize you need to move further back or further forward. Instead of moving your position [or head], move the scope and get it set up properly.”

Tip on Viewing Your Reticle:
Cleckner: “Sometimes it can be difficult to focus between the target and the reticle, even with the parallax adjusted properly. I recommend you focus only on the reticle. Just like the front sight on a rifle or a handgun, that reticle is what you can control, and it’s what matters. Focus on a crisp, clear reticle, in a stable platform, and all that’s left is trigger control.”

Long Range Shooting Handbook — A Good Resource
Cleckner’s Long Range Shooting Handbook covers a wide range of topics important for precision marksmanship — both shooting skills and technical matters. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com. Cleckner’s book is designed as an intro to key concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter.

Ryan Cleckner was a special operations sniper (1/75 RGR) and he served as a U.S. Army sniper instructor. Currently he works as a firearms industry executive and practicing firearms attorney.

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