April 24th, 2019

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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October 19th, 2018

TUBE TECH: How to Set-Up and Configure an Eliseo TubeGun

Salazar tubegun

This 2010 story is reprinted at readers’ request.
In the past few years, tubeguns have really taken over in high power circles. At most matches you’ll see more tubeguns than conventional prone rifles, and a high percentage of those tubeguns will have been built using an Eliseo (Competition Machine) CSS chassis kit.

Step-By-Step Guide to Stock Set-Up
If you are a new tubegun shooter, or if you are planning a tubegun build this winter, our friend “GS Arizona” has prepared a comprehensive set-up guide for Eliseo tubeguns. Eliseo’s CSS chassis system affords a myriad of adjustments. Initially, one can be overwhelmed by all the variables: Length of Pull, Length to Sights, Length to Handstop, Cheekpad Height, Buttstock Offset, Buttstock Cant Angle, Handstop Angle, and Forearm Rotation.

Salazar tubegunIn his Guide to Configuring the Eliseo Tubegun, GS Arizona shows how to adjust the Tubegun so that a shooter’s prone position is stable, repeatable, and comfortable. The article covers each adjustment, step by step. If you follow the instructions, starting with setting Length of Pull, you should find that your hold becomes more stable, the gun moves less from shot to shot, and your eye position relative to the sights is improved.

About the Set-Up: “Adjusting the stock is a process that you must work at and it builds on itself. As you get one adjustment right, the others begin to fall into place. Our hope is that you take from this article a system for adjusting the stock, not an exact set of dimensions; and that you understand that it will take continuous work over a period of time to really refine the adjustments. Your goal is not to obtain a ‘perfect set of dimensions’ but rather a perfect feel that accomplishes the three objectives of stability, durability and comfort and the knowledge of how to change the adjustments to achieve those objectives under varying conditions such as sloped firing lines or other terrain features.”

eliseo tubegun set-up chassis fit assembly handstop

eliseo tubegun set-up chassis fit assembly handstop

CLICK HERE to Read Full Eliseo Tubegun Article »

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September 3rd, 2018

For a More Successful Hunt, Build a More Stable Shooting Position

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

It’s hunting season already in many areas of the country. Improve your chances of a successful hunt by working on your position shooting skills before heading into the backcountry. Here are tips from Team USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail.

One of the world’s best smallbore shooters, McPhail is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In this excellent short video from the USAMU, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Last but not least, McPhail shows some clever treestand tricks. McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. (That would be the left arm for a right-handed shooter). This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand. The second half of the video shows how this works.

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September 27th, 2016

Bolt Configuration: The Benefits of Weakside Bolt Placement

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR National Championships, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up, shooting right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He shoots with his right hand on grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld.

2013 National Championship-Winning Derek Rodgers Left Bolt/Left Port Rifle.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
November 6th, 2015

Monte’s Manfrotto — F-Class Spotting Scope Stand

Spotting Scope Stand Monte Milanuk Manfrotto
Click above image to zoom to larger size.

Here’s a very interesting spotting scope stand, from Forum member (and ace F-Class shooter) Monte Milanuk. You can see this stable rig can be adjusted super-low for prone shooting. The components are from Italian photography accessory maker Manfrotto (but it’s not as expensive as you might think).

Monte tells us about his spotting scope stand, which is really a conventional photography tripod adjusted to a very low position, with a special head:

This stand has a Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip head to make positioning easier. It actually goes even lower, and much, much higher. Both the head and the tripod are about $170-ish each, so it’s a bit more expensive than a Ray-Vin, a little less than a Creedmoor Polecat, and a whole lot more flexible overall.

This Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod is actually a little on the big side – probably should have gone with a Manfrotto 190 model (couple inches shorter on the legs) so it can be a bit of a hassle to set up when you have to shoot two-to-a-mound a la Fullbore.

It’s probably not as [expensive] as you might think… a Ray-Vin F-Class stand (without head) is about $170 from Creedmoor Sports. A Ray-Vin stand head is $150, plus the outrigger attachment is another $100+. I’ve got two of them downstairs for when I used to shoot conventional prone[.]

Comments from Facebook Fans:
Pretty high end setup, should work well for prone, not sure about other positions. — John T.

An excellent and sturdy Manfrotto stand. I have one that I use not only for a spotting scope but to mount the rifle on when allowed for unknown distance tactical matches.–Dennis Santiago

Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
July 11th, 2015

Where to Shoot F-Class — 100+ “F-Friendly” Ranges in the USA

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

F-Class shooting (both F-Open and F-TR) is one of the fastest-growing forms of rifle competition. Each season many new shooters hit the line and attendance at the big matches increases every year. But if you’re new to the game, you may ask “Where can I shoot an F-Class match?”. Well, Forum member Rod V. (aka Nodak7mm) has compiled a useful list of 109 ranges around the USA where F-Class matches are held (plus 6 “possibles”). With venues from Alabama to Wyoming — you should find an F-Class program not too far from home. The list, in Excel spreadsheet format, provides range locations and weblinks (where available). Click the link below to download the F-Class Range List (.xls file):

Download F-Class Range List, Revision 19 (12/30/2014) (.XLS file, right click to “save as”)

Note — this list, now in its 19th Revision, is augmented regularly, but info is still being gathered. No claim is made that the list is comprehensive. But it still covers the the lion’s share of the important F-Class venues nationwide. If you know of a range that should be added to the list, please post the location on our F-Class Range List Forum thread. Rod will update the list as new range info is received. Rod writes: “Range information is wanted and welcomed. I would like your help on collecting specific info on Clubs/Ranges where known F-Class matches are held.” Here’s a partial sample from Rod’s list:

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

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June 6th, 2014

Wachter Talks about the Mental Game in Competitive Shooting

Anette Wachter Mental Game VisualizationOur friend Anette Wachter, aka “30CalGal”, stars in a new video from NRAWomen.TV. In this episode of Tips & Tactics, Anette talks about the “mental game” in competition. Specifically she explains how to “visualize success”:

I have found that a lot of my success in competition has come through what I call a ‘mental rehearsal’. I actually visualize every stage of the match and I visualize the success of the match and winning the match.

I actually visualize that round going downrange into the target, and the target coming up with a dead-center ‘X’. I visualize this over and over. If you visualize success you will achieve success.

If you liked the above clip, here’s another video in which Anette offers tips for shooting with bipod:

Visualization is a process of mental preparation that is done before you get to the range. Many of the greatest shooting champions have used this technique to get ready for big matches, and to optimize their performance during record fire. If you want to enhance your “mental game” through pre-match visualization, we strongly recommend Lanny Bassham’s book, With Winning in Mind.

As a competitive smallbore 3P shooter, Bassham developed a mental management system. Using this system, Lanny Bassham won 22 world individual and team titles, set four world records, and captured an Olympic Gold Medal in Montreal in 1976. His techniques have been embraced by professional and Olympic athletes in many sports. With Winning in Mind covers a complete system of “mental management” techniques used by Olympians and elite champions.


About 30CalGal
Life is short. Go Shoot! — Anette Wachter
Along with being a talented competitive shooter, Anette has her own Gun Blog, 30CalGal.com, and she writes for several gun publications including GunUp Magazine, Shooting Sports USA, Sure Shots Magazine, and Wide Open Spaces. She also designs and crafts custom jewelry items, many of which utilize cartridge cases or other shooting-themed components. You can purchase Anette’s jewelry through her AW Collections webstore.

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January 25th, 2014

CMP Air Rifle Match inside Bass Pro Shop in Alabama

Here’a a new twist. Earlier this month a CMP Air Rifle match, the Bass Pro 600, was held inside a shopping mall. This match featured a junior 3×20 match, as well as a 60-shot standing competition. The Tracker Boat section of the Bass Pro Shop of Leeds, Alabama was adapted to hold the CMP’s mobile range, so the young shooters could showcase their air rifle skills indoors. Some 24 electronic targets were set up in the boat garage, between permanent artificial swamp trees that decorate the area. Competitors traveled from several states to shoot in this unique indoor match, held January 4th and 5th. “The Bass Pro 600 is such a unique idea that many competitors travel to shoot in the event just for the novelty of the venue,” said James Hall, CMP program outreach supervisor.

CMP Bass Pro 600 Shooting Match

CMP Bass Pro 600 Shooting Match

Shoppers at the store could actually watch the young competitors in action. On Saturday, 42 junior competitors fired in a three-position match, while the store’s music played and shoppers stopped by to watch. Spectators were drawn over to the boating area, with 60-inch big-screen TVs displaying the scores in real-time.

CMP Bass Pro 600 Shooting Match

CMP Bass Pro 600 Shooting Match

Bass Pro patrons were also allowed to try their hand at air rifle shooting using a SCATT electronic training system, right beside competitors on the line. The photo below shows the trace captured by the SCATT machine. This tracks muzzle movement, helping shooters to steady their aim and chose the right moment to break the shot.

CMP Bass Pro 600 Shooting Match

This is the second year the Bass Pro Shop in Leeds has opened its boating area for a CMP match. The success of these events have inspired many young shooters to attend the open range nights at the CMP Marksmanship Center in nearby Anniston, Alabama.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
May 30th, 2013

Wounded Warriors Compete with USAMU

SFC Josh Olson USAMU wounded warriorStory by Amy Rosewater for TeamUSA.org
As soon as SFC Josh Olson fired his first shot at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, he made history: he became the first active-duty U.S. soldier to compete in the Paralympic Games.

Olson lost his right leg after being attacked while on patrol in Iraq in 2003 but has been able to remain on active duty at Fort Benning, Georgia and is a part of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). He trains alongside of many Olympic soldiers there and now has several other Wounded Warriors along with him as well. The Army announced late last year the expansion of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit to include 24 Wounded Warriors as members of its Paralympic and instructor sections. According to SFC Armando Ayala, there are now nine Wounded Warrior shooters (including SFC Olson) as part of the program and two coaches. SFC Ayala, who has been at Fort Benning for eighteen years and served in Afghanistan, has been training the Wounded Warriors.

SFC Josh Olson USAMU wounded warrior

“Without a doubt [Josh has] inspired folks,” Ayala said. “He might have lost a limb but he’s achieved a world-class level of competition and that says a lot to the Army soldier. It’s amazing how these guys can overcome those obstacles. I’m really excited about this team.”

The Army spread word of the program through advertisements and social media and was able to recruit several soldiers to the program. All nine of the shooters currently in the program happen to be leg amputees, although soldiers can participate in the program with other injuries. Currently, all of the soldiers in the program are men although some women have come to Fort Benning to try it.

SFC Josh Olson USAMU wounded warrior

CLICK HERE to Read Full Story

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