Hunting requires hitting long-range targets accurately and humanely. To do this, you must build your endurance, train your accuracy, and brush up on your marksmanship.
Let’s go over some sure-fire ways to improve your shooting ability. We’ll go through the fundamentals of marksmanship and everything you need to know to become the best hunter possible.
10 Ways to Take Your Marksmanship to the Next Level
Here are some proven methods for improving your ability to shoot consistently and nail targets. These involve going past your comfort zone and plenty of repetition.
1. Familiarize Yourself with Your Weapon Systems
Even the most inexperienced shooter can develop their skill quickly if they use the same rifle daily. It pays to know your weapons system like the back of your hand.
This will allow you to memorize the way your rifle feels in your hand. You understand its ergonomics and memorize its weight. This, in turn, lets you maneuver, aim, and fire multiple shots quickly.
If you understand your weapon and treat it as an extension of yourself, you will be able to use it quickly and precisely. You will be able to hit your target with absolute certainty.
Before loading your first round into the chamber, you must first master the movements needed to get the right sight picture and alignment.
This means practicing positioning, loading, sighting, aiming, breathing, and firing without using live ammunition. You must be able to master firing without worrying about recoil or debris.
If you develop the right muscle memory, you will only need to make minimal adjustments when you start firing for real. Your body will already be used to the struggle.
3. Practice The Fundamentals of Marksmanship
No shooter gets to the advanced stages without first mastering the basics.
Aiming: Aligning your scope with your target. Keep your eye focused on the sight and aim quickly.
Breathing: Maintain a slow, steady breathing pattern. Fire after you’ve emptied your lungs.
Holding Your Aim: Any small body movement will alter your sight alignment. Learn to concentrate your aim and keep your crosshairs on the target.
Squeezing the Trigger: Keep your trigger on the center of the first segment of your pointing finger and pull straight back.
Following Through: Gently pull the trigger back to overcome the slack and then pull it all the way to complete the motion. Gently release the trigger to prepare for the next shot.
4. Practice Breathing and Trigger Control
Maintain a consistent breathing pattern and memorize the amount of pressure you need to pull the trigger while maintaining the right aim. Know your body and how it reacts to the rifle.
The fundamentals of marksmanship go past how your eye interacts with your scope. Learn to control your body and keep your movements to an absolute minimum.
5. Practice Uncomfortable Stances
You rarely get the perfect shot lying prone from a position you’ve set up. You will need to practice being able to shoot from any position, no matter how uncomfortable.
These stances include standing, kneeling, squatting, sitting, prone, standing isosceles, and more. The more flexible you are at shooting from different positions, the more options become available to you.
This will let you shoot behind trees and peek over bushes. You can shoot rapidly behind you. You can hit your target in seconds, even while you squat to take a quick break.
6. Practice Long-Range Shots in the Off-Season
The best time to practice shooting over long distances is when you aren’t burdened by the pressures of hunting season. Make sure to visit an outdoor rifle range in the off-season.
Practice hitting stationary targets from a few hundred meters away. Practice your fundamentals and learn to fire with both eyes open to maintain focus.
By the time hunting season rolls by, you will be able to hit targets over 500 meters away. You can shoot with sniper-like precision and have the confidence to hit far targets.
7. Practice Endurance Firing
Hunting is a physically-demanding activity. It entails trudging through rough terrain followed by long amounts of waiting. You will need to train the way you hunt.
Practice shooting with an elevated heart rate. If you can shoot well at your worst, you can shoot exceptionally when you’re calm and resting. Practice firing full magazines.
Practicing your endurance and being able to fire magazine after magazine without tiring will allow you to hit your target no matter how badly you feel.
8. Use a Shot-Timer
“Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” Many shooters live by this statement.
A good shooter practices proper habits at a slow speed and then builds momentum as their skill grows. Once you’ve got the fundamentals down pat, it’s time to speed things up.
Use a shot-timer to increase your reaction time. Fire immediately after you hear the beep and watch as you learn to perform the right movements under time pressure.
9. Take a Break
Putting undue pressure on yourself will worsen your performance and kill your morale. If you aren’t improving, take a break from this kind of shooting or step away from your guns for a bit.
This will allow you to absorb everything you’ve learned while giving you enough breathing space. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to try again when you come back.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
The most important way to improve any skill is to practice and keep practicing until you get better at what you need to do. Shooters benefit from constant practice.
Practice dry-firing. Practice using your preferred rifle over and over again. Practice the fundamentals of marksmanship and train your endurance firing.
If you take your training seriously and stay patient, you’ll be able to grow as a hunter, shooter, and even as a person. You’ll see results in no time.
Shooting is a skill that can be trained, practiced, and improved upon. All you need to do is dedicate yourself and hone your craft. Your devotion will pay dividends the next time you go hunting.