If you want to shoot the smallest groups with your rifle, you need to do a bit more than throw a pillow over the hood of your truck, rest your gun on it and take aim. After years of testing guns, I’ve come up with a few tips that help me shoot the tightest groups possible.
First is to shoot from a solid bench at the right height. I find that many public shooting ranges have the seat too low, so don’t be shy about asking for or bringing a booster seat to get you behind the gun. And when you shoot, keep your body square to the gun and your feet flat on the floor. This gives you a solid and steady foundation.
Best accuracy will come when shooting from sandbag rests and if you have a pedestal front with adjustable feet—even better. Set your bags up and rest your gun in them. If you have a sling swivel stud in the forend or butt that rests in either bag, remove it. Under recoil, it can snag in the bag and throw a shot by causing the gun to move inconsistently during the bullet’s dwell time.
Slide the gun back and forth a little to settle it, and then look through the scope. Move everything so you’re sitting comfortably and have a “natural point of aim” on the target. If your front pedestal has a forend stop, push the forend all the way up to it. If it doesn’t, put a piece of masking tape on the side of the stock so you always return the gun to the same place in the bag shot to shot.
With all your coarse adjustments made and your gun lined up on the target, use the rear pedestal foot to make any fine vertical adjustments. Don’t squeeze the rear bag for these fine adjustments because your grip changes during and after the shot breaks but before the bullet leaves the muzzle and that can throw a shot.
Finally, some guns like to be held loosely to shoot the best groups while others like a death grip. Try both, squeeze the trigger with a steady pull and be sure to keep your head down and follow through. If you don’t get good groups, have someone else try your gun, try another load or a different scope.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.