MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - Prone position

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Ian M, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    #1 Please describe your optimum prone position for best accuracy in the field. Angling (30-45 degrees?) to target or torso in a straight line?

    #2 Please describe the position of your feet - flat to ground or upright on an angle.

    #3 Please describe, if you have not covered this in #1, the position of your elbows, head and neck.
     
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I normally use about a 15-20 degree body angle, but have been experimenting with no angle.

    The position of the feet is not as critical as the muscle tension. The feet must be still and the muscles must be relaxed so there is no movement nor tension transmitted to the upper body.

    As I get older my neck complains bitterly about shooting prone. In all of the position issues this is the most critical for me. Trying to achieve a “relaxed” neck position is difficult. A good properly positioned check piece and a good rest under the rear of the stock help immensely. I try to have my head at the minimum angle off of vertical that gives me the correct eye relief. In shooting prone off of a bipod the preparation of the gun and the head is most critical for me. During repetitive shooting such as F-class, I am bad to let the gun get too far forward and not drag it back or crawl forward to it. Also my neck will be stiff and sore for days after a competition. Bear in mind that I am mostly just a “head up wing shooter” and that is how I approach a rifle too.

    My elbows are positioned according to the gun and its recoil. If the gun has no recol then I keep the left elbow closer to me to help support the head.
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    #1 Please describe your optimum prone position for best accuracy in the field. Angling (30-45 degrees?) to target or torso in a straight line?

    Torso in a straight line. Shot lots of small banana shaped groups out of large cartridge braked rifles until torso in straight line was pointed out to me. For smaller cartrigde non-braked rifle I go the angle route.

    #2 Please describe the position of your feet - flat to ground or upright on an angle.

    Feet wide spread and toes down, relaxed. Heals usually end up pointed out.

    #3 Please describe, if you have not covered this in #1, the position of your elbows, head and neck.
    Took a lot of fiddling with the length of bipod legs (fixed length legs) to get it correct for up and down angle shots. This was key to not having to follow range sessions with chiropractor visits.

    Shooting mat lined up with target. (Aids in torso straight behind rifle.) Rifle on bipod and rear beanie bag. Natural point of aim achieved. Things are steady as a rock. Palm swell/pistol grip/thumb hole indexes the trigger hand followed by the elbow. Elbow position width wise influenced by beanie bag height (up/down angle). Off elbow positioned 'naturally' based on other elbow. Hand adjusting beanie bag height (shouldn't be much) Delicate cheek weld. Proper 'squeeze' of bottom three fingers and thumb. Gently back off of touching the rifle except for cheek weld. Natural POI still spot on. Slip back in to position. Inform spotter, control breathing, see impact, break out the the skinning knife after the 2 hour walk over to the POI.
     
  4. 41mag

    41mag Well-Known Member

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    #1 Please describe your optimum prone position for best accuracy in the field. Angling (30-45 degrees?) to target or torso in a straight line?
    Guessing I would say my body angling lees than 45 degrees. Depends on which rifle and the terrain and time I have to prepare.

    #2 Please describe the position of your feet - flat to ground or upright on an angle.
    Generally left foot extended and right foot pulled up close to my left knee.

    #3 Please describe, if you have not covered this in #1, the position of your elbows, head and neck.
    My right elbow is extended about 90degrees to the butt of the rifle and my left elbow is generally extended outward towards the target so that I can support the rear bag or rest. Head and neck aligned to get a full sight picture in the scope.
     
  5. sniper1357

    sniper1357 New Member

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    I know that this is an old thread, but here it goes.

    #1 Please describe your optimum prone position for best accuracy in the field. Angling (30-45 degrees?) to target or torso in a straight line?

    Last I knew military was teaching straight line of mat and weapon and body. it helps keep that natural POA in a good direction, maintain consistency and most importantly of all absorb recoil.

    #2 Please describe the position of your feet - flat to ground or upright on an angle.

    Call it toes out and heels in. Relaxed to reduce movement.

    #3 Please describe, if you have not covered this in #1, the position of your elbows, head and neck.

    Elbows what ever is most comfortable so I can hold for a long period of time for the right shot, usually a bit out and I am controlling the back of the stock with my left hand. head and neck near vertical it is a bit uncomfortable after a very long time but if you are looking through the scope for two hours I am sure any position would get tiring. Usually at the range is when i get the worst crick but occasionally in the field when the target and wind are not cooperating. gun)
     
  6. kc

    kc Well-Known Member

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    I never had a dad but I had a brother who shared his father inlaw.I was 10 and was hunting with this old man's side, he was in his late 70s, he had friends of one had left me an old Springfield
    03 and this old guy could shoot, he would shoot 8oz tomato and oj cans at 100 yards just to make me want to learn to shoot. He trained soldures how to shoot in the 1st and second WW.
    You learn to point the rifle, hold it on a spot for 5 seconds and let your rifle down and than do it all over hold it for over 5 seconds after you have learned to hold it propler extend the distance and keep doing this you learn how to point and not let your barrel dance. If you can get on target in one second you got it.
    I saw this 92 year old man pick off those cans one after another at 100 yards at least 12 times.
    I listen and I learned...thats how I filled so many Deer tags over the years.
     
  7. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    The several snipers in my family stressed that the important part in prone is that the rifle is on your shoulder correctly and your eye can get into the scope. For my narrow shoulder and neck that doesn't like strange angles in long holds, I'm just off from straight on, maybe 4 to 5 degrees.

    My elbows make the best triangulation the ground will let me, but the tension comes from the shooting harness. I mostly relax. When hunting, I try to use a really tall sandbag up front, if prone, and if the terrain allows. A sneaker insole makes a good elbow pad.

    I do like to cheat a booster pad under my hips because I tend to take a large breath.

    I have always liked having my big toes touching the ground with my heels up. My feet point down almost 60 degrees. If I'm tilted on the slope, I spread my legs as necessary, trying to build a good brace. I don't trust my muscles to brace, it should be relaxed, and against the bones.
     
  8. mikejones675

    mikejones675 New Member

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    My body is 45 degrees from my rifle, my feet are flat on its side, and I have my nose against my buttstock.
     
  9. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    Please describe your optimum prone position for best accuracy in the field. Angling (30-45 degrees?) to target or torso in a straight line?

    My prone shooting involves the use of a bipod.
    I make every effort to position the body in as straight a line with the rifle as possible. The controlling factor is how the rifle meets the shoulder and, where necessary, I adjust a few degrees off center to accomodate that proper rifle butt/shoulder connection.

    #2 Please describe the position of your feet - flat to ground or upright on an angle.

    I allow my feet to assume a natural position (which often depends on the terrain) so that the legs and feet are relaxed. The legs and feet must not introduce tension to the rest of the body at any time. That most commonly results in a toes out position for the feet.

    #3 Please describe, if you have not covered this in #1, the position of your elbows, head and neck.

    The butt of the rifle rests on a "butt bag" ...........................
    My right elbow rests, without tension, to the side of the rifle in a position that compliments the required angle of the right hand's position on the stock. The left elbow is forward of the head and bent to position the left hand near the butt of the stock. The left hand sometimes comes into play for fine elevation/windage adjustments (however, once any windage adjustment is made the lateral pressure on the butt is removed) to put the sights on target.
    I use an adjustable cheek rest - it isn't truly a "rest" because cheek pressure is kept to an absolute minimum - to align my sighting eye with the scope eyepiece at proper eye relief.
    My right hand touches the rifle only lightly - I do not grip the rifle by folding the right thumb over the stock. The right thumb remains pointed forward along the right side of the stock. The fingers of the right hand press firmly but gently to maintain positive contact between the shoulder and butt.
     
  10. Savageman69

    Savageman69 Well-Known Member

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    #1 Body straight, gun straight parallel to the spine.

    A straight spine is critical in my opinion, yes you can shoot very well laying at an angle. However once you start getting into calibers with recoil laying at an angle will cause your body to "twist" during recoil moving your muzzle up and to the side. This makes it almost impossible to keep a natural point of aim shot to shot, and if you miss its impossible to accurately measure how far you were off. All you know is you were "about a foot and a half high and maybe am foot left" Laying straight puts your entire body behind the rifle, and under recoil you get pushed straight back then you come straight forward again. Even with punishing rounds like a .338 if you lay straight behind the gun and load the bipod you can maintain visual with the target during recoil and you will come right back on target very close to your original natural point of aim, allowing you to accurately measure the difference between point of aim and impact. That way if you did miss on a game animal you can make accurate corrections on your own, and you dont have to rely on a spotter to guess.
    #2 My feet are a few inches on either side wider than shoulder width apart.

    Keep your feet as flat as possible, if you cant lay them flat go as far as you can, if you try to balance your feet with your ankles in the air any movement will go straight to the muzzle

    #3 My Elbows are pushed out in front of me, I put my left hand on the rear bag and my right on the grip. I slightly push back with my elbows to coil up a little bit then put the rifle in the pocket of my shoulder then relax my muscles and "lean into" the rifle loading the bipod legs, Also I just rest my face on the stock, I dont put any pressure or try to lift any off, if you just use the weight of your head to guage pressure you are alot more consistent.