Long Range Shooting Tip: Gather Info About Your Rifle

long range shooting takes practice

Know your rifle for better long range shooting

It’s hunting season and you can’t wait to get out there. Whoa; even a seasoned shooter needs to spend some time on the range reacquainting themselves with their firearm or getting to know a new one.

Last time we covered some general long range shooting tips. This time let’s concentrate on how to find out how your rifle works with you to meet the challenges of long range shooting.

Discharging Your Firearm

Avid gun enthusiasts know this is one of the most important things to learn before heading out. Taking the time to practice pulling your trigger eliminates those missed shots a rushed pull yields. Any pro will tell you a true trigger pull isn’t a pull but a press.

Using dry-fire or live rounds press the trigger square to the rear without shifting what’s in the crosshairs. If performed properly, the round will hit the exact target. Jerking or recoiling in those final moments before firing your gun will result in a skewed shot.


Want to learn as about your firearm and your own abilities? Practice shots in these positions:

  1. Prone – Pay close attention to the muzzle because it’s likely to hit the earth and become blocked with dirt.
  2. Kneeling – Difficult for anyone because balance is required and it can be easily thrown off. Instability will slant your shot. Practice balance by placing a blanket under your knees and using core muscles to balance out. Don’t attempt a live shot, even at a range, until you’re comfortable with your balance. Bad knees? You might want to skip this one.
  3. Sitting – Determine what is comfortable – legs open or crossed. After wrapping your arm around your leg, take the time to adjust to resting the forestock on your fixed arm before taking a shot. Hint, balance is key.
  4. Standing – Muscle strength required; there is no support. Assume the position; feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure you know what shoulder-width looks like on you. It isn’t the same as your buddy; unless you’re built similarly. Observe yourself in the mirror at home.

Cross-Dominant Shooter

This isn’t like a switch-hitter in baseball. As a cross-dominant shooter you are powerfully dominant with one hand, but your leading eye is on the opposing side. A left-handed shooter is dominant in the right eye. First telltale sign – missed shots are high and off to the side, way off.

Try this, with the help of a partner: make a slight breach at arm’s length by bringing hands together. Focus on an object in the breach across the way. Close one eye and then open both. Repeat on the other side. The eye the target remained visible in is your dominant eye. In the other eye, the target vanished.


Perhaps, THE lesson learned on a range is concentration. The good news – staying in the moment can be learned. Even the most seasoned hunters struggle with this if distracted.

Be aware of your surroundings; but after that clear your mind of outside intrusions – like the honey-do list on the kitchen counter. Use headphones to drown out noise. Imagine taking THE shot and watch it all the way as it shatters the target. Repeat.

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About Bret Smith

I am a long-time lover of all things outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting, fishing or just hiking and camping, I take every opportunity to enjoy nature and share it with others.

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