Welcome to Kaituki’s blog
What is written in here is designed to assist the hunters and shooters of varying experiences and set them up for success on the range and out in the wild.
I will be posting these short blogs on a weekly basis and each subject will build on the last.

Marksmanship principles
No shooting introduction would be complete without mentioning these 4 gems, if we are all honest most of the reasons we miss a shot can be attributed to not adhering to one or more of these 4 points.

So here they are:

1.     The shooting position and hold must be firm enough to support the rifle.
2.     The rifle must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort.
3.     Sight alignment and sight picture must be correct.
4.     The shot must be released and followed through without undue disturbance to the position.

So let’s break them down

1.     The shooting position and hold must be firm enough to support the rifle.

There is a reason this is the first point; without it the other three principles are tricky to accomplish. We can all manage on a flat range in the prone shooting position, but firing on that opportunity target uphill while standing with a pack on?
How to fix it:
As with all things, good repetitions are important. If you can find an area, always send a few rounds down range in some of those less than ideal shooting positions and make a note of your accuracy.
Which brings us onto the hold of the rifle, no amount of physical strength with keep the rifle from moving, the trick is to reduce and manage that movement until the time is right, remember the position and tension you hold a .22LR rabbit gun should be the same as your 7mm rem-mag.

2.     The rifle must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort.

Two parts to this, pointing naturally = scope levelled (don’t have the rifle canted) secondly undue physical effort requires a strain on the supporting muscles and normally a change in your breathing, both of these things will hinder good shot placement.
How to fix it:
If possible, adopt a firing position that provides the most support for you and the rifle taking into consideration the distance, terrain and vegetation, and of course time will always be a factor as well. If firing from the prone position always try to align your body with the rifles barrel and if standing, your hips and shoulders should be aligned and facing your target.

3.     Sight alignment and sight picture must be correct.

Next time you are behind your rifle, take up a sight picture at something around 200m away, move your head from side to side without the rifle moving and you will notice the crosshairs move slightly as well. In a nutshell this is Parallax error, and to reduce its effect on your accuracy its important to keep the same sight picture whenever you take a shot.
How to fix it:
A solid gun and scope setup certainly helps with establishing correct eye relief but building that muscle memory is vital.
Next is the shadow within the scope, a small ring of shadow around the outside is fine but keep it even.

4.     The shot must be released and followed through without undue disturbance to the position.

This last point is important because it allows the firer the ability to observe their fall of shot through their optics and with minimal disturbance to their position reload and make the necessary adjustments for a follow up shot. Always resist the urge to look up and out of your optics after you have fired.
How to fix it:
The larger the calibre, the larger the recoil and this does make observing your fall of shot difficult, however these steps will assist:
1.     With a stable firing position your breath pattern should have the sights moving perpendicular to the target
2.     When you have an acceptable sight picture, pause on your exhale breath take up the trigger pressure and release the shot, (try not to anticipate it)
3.     As the gun recoils, you should see the sights rise up off your target, only release the trigger once the sights re-settle then regain your sight picture.
4.     Observe your fall of shot.

In summary, a good understanding of these 4 principles will certainly aid in improved shooting and set you up for success on both the range and on the hill.

Next weeks subject: Shooting positions