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Using correct firing techniques will help you steady the rifle for the most accurate shooting. Bear in mind that these are only the basics. Further study will help you understand other factors that can affect your accuracy, such as wind, heat, and parallax.

Telescopic sight with crosshairs

Shooting from a Rest: When shooting in the field, the safest and most accurate shots are taken from a rest—a log, large rock, or other stable object. Don’t rest the barrel directly on a hard surface, or it will shoot higher than normal—put some padding, such as a hat or a jacket, under the rifle.

Positioning: When you bring the rifle to your shoulder, the stock should be brought to your cheek first and then back to your shoulder. A common error is lowering the head and cheek to the stock, instead of bringing the stock all the way up to the cheek. When done properly, with your head naturally erect, the rifle butt should always come to the same spot on your shoulder.

  • Align the barrel with your eye. Your eye should line up with the sights and target.
  • Do not disturb the alignment between your eye and the barrel by letting your cheek float off the stock when firing.

Breathing: Your breathing can move the rifle just enough to throw off your shot.

  • When you’re ready to shoot, draw a deep breath and exhale about half of it.
  • Then 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 rifle 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.

Trigger Squeeze: Jerking the trigger or abruptly clenching the trigger hand can move the rifle enough to cause a miss.

  • To squeeze the trigger without jarring the rifle, simply apply slow, steady pressure until the rifle fires.
  • Practice makes breath control and proper trigger squeeze habitual.

Follow Through: After the bullet fires, it’s important to continue the squeeze or follow through. That prevents you from jerking the rifle before the bullet has left the barrel.