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By Andy Van Loan via

When hunting you’re not always going to have a convenient rifle rest or a stable shooting platform. There aren’t many bench rests out in the wild. So practicing various shooting positions and maintaining accuracy can be critical in making those ethical shots at game. In this video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Army Ranger sniper and instructor with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, demonstrates a number of handy of shooting positions are useful to have in your repertoire . . .

Practice these at the range and you’ll be prepared to make those difficult shots as accurately as possible when you’re in the field. It could be the difference between a trophy on your wall and venison in the freezer or a miss and a lost opportunity.

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    • Glad to see Andy’s write up, but where has David Codrea been? It’s like he’s fell off. What’s the scurtlebutt?

  1. Great tips. And I couldn’t agree more.

    This is why people should investigate 3 or 4 position shooting, especially with a real .22 target rifle that will weigh about what your hunting rifle will weigh, will have similar dimensions and fit.

    And learn how to use a sling – not a carrying strap – on your rifle. A sling is the single most useful aid in helping stabilize your rifle, bar none. I’m completely befuddled when I see someone humping a rifle over hill and dale here in Wyoming that has some fancy-pants bipod on it, but they’ve got some cheap POS strap on it. How often are you going to shoot off a bipod when you’re on ground covered by sagebrush, rabbitbrush and forage bunch grasses? Very rarely. How often will you shoot from the kneeling, sitting or off-hand positions? Almost all the time.

    If you want to support your rifle in hunting situations with firm supports, you’re better off learning how to use shooting sticks, IMO, than affixing a bipod to your rifle.

    • I haven’t done a ton of research, but I’m partial to the Browning X-Cellerator (sp.?) sling. It’s easy to get good stability and adjustments even when switching in and out of hunting layers.

      I got set up for long range only to take 40 yard shots 2 seasons in a row. Maybe this year I’ll take a long shot, but I doubt it.

      • Mountain Shooter Slings are the best I’ve found.
        As an aside, I share your long range experiences. Last year, I trained for months to take 600 yard kneeling shots for a west Texas ram hunt until I was absolute solid. Did a lot of load development for that range as well. Spotting a big Black Hawaiian ram on an opposite hill, well over 800 yards, I took an ATV around the hilltop I was on to get to the base of the hill the ram was on, hoping to get close enough and shoot up at him.
        When I got to the other hill he was standing in the road at the bottom of the hill staring at me. 75 yard shot at the most.

    • Sticks have long seemed like the best option to me. Effectively you’re bringing your own tree along. Many of the alternate positions don’t seem very suitable for medium-bore shooting. Sticks seem to allow a consistent shouldering of the rifle, obviating (for me, at least) “scope eye.” For those wishing to test their new HD or Retina screen, scope eye can be investigated here: Talk about upping your game….

  2. How about the “peeing with your rifle propped up against a tree out of reach” position, or the “in your tree stand with rifle attached to rope still on the ground” position??

    • LOL

      I was half-squatting to take a dump once when a nice buck came ambling around a big stump and into the clear. I froze, slowly picked up the rifle, popped him in the heart, and finished my business while watching him run forty yards and collapse.

      I used to hate being in a stand, so I’ve only rarely had any good shooting position. I think my most solid standing shot was when I gripped two slender vine maple coming from opposite directions, held them together to make a V, and set the stock on my knuckles.

  3. I like his sling detachable sling design, neat idea, and the one pinching 1 bipod leg against a tree is a good one too.

    • The bipod trick is great!

      Makes me actually think about getting one — I never have, because here in the Coast Range of the Pacific NW, prone is generally useless.

  4. I have to use a bipod and a folding chair because the Mtn. Dew makes me shake too bad to land a shot otherwise.

  5. I loved the sitting and standing portions of the requirements for Rifle & Shotgun Merit Badge when in the Boy Scouts decades ago. Sadly many shooters I know, even younger ones, are still stuck in the “prone” position and/or always rely on mechanical aids like bipods when hunting and target shooting.

    • One of the best shooters I ever knew trained by shooting at partly-filled water jugs bouncing along on ropes behind a pickup traveling across uneven ground at 15+ mph, while standing in the truck bed with no support.

      Another, named Dan, was required by his dad to hit targets hung from branches moving in the wind while he was in a swing on their backyard swingset on whatever trajectory his dad pushed him on — I watched him once peg a buck right in the heart as the buck charged leaping out of thick brush while Dan was jumping over a rotten log. Best shot I’ve ever seen.

  6. What about us OFWGs that aren’t so limber anymore? I have my own answer. I know, more PT, Other than that, there are always shooting sticks. As an NRA Instructor and BSA Shooting Sports guy, I have learned that shooting is an athletic sport like any other and requires physical conditioning, all forms of PT, and practice, practice, practice. Nuff said!

  7. “Pockets of the knees” this is bad advice for the sitting and kneeling positions. The back of the elbows should be touching the front of the knees, as seen here:

    Attend an Appleseed to get better advice on the seated and kneeling positions.

    Also, a hasty or loop sling should absolutely be used in the standing position.

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