How to Improve Rifle Shooting Accuracy

Whether you are a hunter, competitive shooter, or plinking cans with your family, the reason you got into shooting is the same – it is fun. But when a shooter experiences an accuracy issue, the fun part of shooting is diminished, and the desire to continue is lost. Let’s look at how to keep shooting fun by showing you how to improve rifle shooting accuracy.

The Key to Success

Regardless of why you are shooting a rifle, the key to success is accuracy. But what is accuracy? Is it the ability to hit your target? No, it is the ability to hit where you aim at your target and do it repeatedly. Many shooters will find they need to be more accurate when viewed this way.

If you are now doubting your ability to place shots time and time again accurately, do not worry. We are going to review some of the main reasons shooters have problems. More importantly, we are going to discuss how to fix the problem.

Importance of Aiming in Different Facets of Shooting

As stated earlier, accuracy is the foundation of success in every type of shooting. Although the level of accuracy varies, it is still the line between success and failure.

If you are a sport or competitive shooter, shooting accuracy is measured in the smallest of differences. Being less than an inch off target can be the difference between standing on the winner’s platform and sitting in the bleachers.

Hunters do not necessarily need to worry about hitting the 10x time after time, but accuracy is still important. A missed shot means a missed opportunity to harvest your trophy. A miss placed shot can result in needing to reshoot the target, tracking a wounded animal farther than necessary, or even being unable to find a wounded animal.

Even if you are plinking cans, accuracy will not only allow you to have more fun, but it will also save you money. Every missed shot is a shot that needs to be repeated. Every shot costs money. In this day of rising prices, ammunition conservation is becoming increasingly important.

Tips & Tactics to Improve Accuracy

Everyone has their theory when it comes to improving shooting accuracy. Many are good suggestions; however, only some work for some. Why? Because there are many different reasons why someone is experiencing accuracy issues when shooting a rifle. Here are a few of the more common problems:

Rifle fit – the first step in ensuring accuracy is ensuring your rifle is a good fit for you. A rifle that is too large, too small, or too powerful almost always results in accuracy issues. The key is to pick a rifle that is comfortable, easy for you to handle, and does not recoil so much that you fear the pending crack of the next shot.

Ensure rifle & scope are sighted in – it seems obvious. Still, a rifle will rarely hit the intended target of the sights and scope that are not correctly sighted in. Although it sounds like the stereotypical excuse, “there is something wrong with the scope,” sometimes it is the scope or sight that is causing you to miss.

Determine where you are failing – if your rifle is a good fit and adequately sighted in, then it is time to look elsewhere. Here are the most common causes of shooter-induced accuracy issues:

  • Nervousness
  • Breathing
  • Position
  • Trigger Squeeze

Find and Fix the Problem

Identifying the problem will allow you to fix it. You may need an experienced partner or coach to help you with this.

  • Shoot three well-placed, well-aimed shots.
  • Examine the target and look for a pattern or grouping. If you have a group, even if not the center of the target, indicates you (probably) have a single issue that is being repeated on each shot.
    • Have the coach watch you while you shoot. You should look for signs of poor position, flinching, rifle movement, etc.
    • Make necessary adjustments and shoot another three-shot group.
  • Things get more complicated if there is no identifiable pattern from your first three shot groups, but don’t worry. All is not lost.
    • Place the target at 25 yards.
    • Assume a solid prone or seated position. These are more stable than standing and allow you to focus on shooting rather than maintaining position.
    • Without ammunition, aim at the target and slowly squeeze the trigger while maintaining flow through. After completing the shot, your sights should remain on target. If not, adjust position, rifle grip, trigger squeeze, and follow through until this is achieved.
    • With ammunition, shoot three well-placed, well-aimed shots.
    • Inspect target for grouping, not any potential issues.
    • Adjust and reshoot 3 round groups as needed.
  • Practice makes perfect – take every opportunity to practice with ammunition or when dry firing to practice the basics. Make every round count, and if you experience a missed shot, analyze why.
    • Was it a single dropped round? It happens, do not sweat it unless it becomes a pattern.
    • Multiple dropped shots? Return to the basics. Repeat the above exercise if needed until you are back on target.
  • Check your equipment for any damages that could be affecting your aim.

This guide will help you improve shooting accuracy, or at least, help you identify where the issue(s) may lay.

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