Before pulling the trigger, there are various things to consider. First, you have to gauge your target. Is it a suitable game for the type of gun you are using? How far is your target? Then, are the shooting conditions okay?
These are things you have to answer even before you position yourself and take aim. It certainly eats a lot of time before you can take the shot. The animal could have already run away or the positioning is now off that you cannot get a good shot. That is why knowing how to aim a rifle properly and how to shoot faster is essential for any haunter.
Be Fast but Accurate
A hunter is not just a person who knows how to shoot fast, a good hunter knows how to shoot a rifle accurately and fast. Being a good hunter also means being ethical. You must always aim for a kill shot in the vital area to prevent the animal from suffering unnecessarily. It doesn’t have to always be the dead center of the kill zone. It just has to deliver a swift end to the game without damaging the meat.
To achieve this level of mastery, you have to be really fast and accurate when taking the shot. However, these skills cannot be acquired overnight or in just one session of practice at the range. These are skills borne out of having a good routine and constant practice.
To get you started on becoming a good hunter, we’ve compiled several handling, positioning, rifle shooting tips, and some tricks to help your aim get better.
Keep Your Rifle Ready
During the hike to the camping grounds or before getting to the hunting zone, is preferably the only time that you should sling your gun. Your gun on a sling takes up some time before you can get your rifle aimed and ready to shoot.
For a faster reaction time, carry your rifle in your hands instead. Hold it muzzle pointing down and forward, with the safety on, and your trigger finger resting on the outside of the trigger guard. This position will let you safely carry your rifle without accidentally pressing the trigger. You can also get ready quickly when a target suddenly appears.
Shoot From the Kneeling Position
The moment an animal appears, keep your composure and get into a comfortable position. Shooting offhand to take a hurried shot at your target is just a waste of your chance to take it down. It is an unstable position that will not provide a steady shot. It will most likely result in the animal just getting wounded or escaping altogether.
A better and quicker position to get into is kneeling down. This is your best option when there are no trees or stumps to lean on. For a steadier aim, place your left elbow forward and let your upper arm rest on your left knee. This offers a more stable position than having your elbow dig in your knee.
Use a Tree as Your Rifle Stand
When you are fortunate to have trees in the area, take advantage of them. Having a solid immovable object as your rifle stand will help you get a steadier aim.
To do this technique, lean on a tree using the back of your left hand, and then hold your rifle as usual to take aim. The tree provides stable rest for your hand, letting you aim faster at the target.
Take note, only do this method when you’re wearing gloves or use a piece of cloth, like your hat or scarf, to cushion the back of your hand against the tree.
Summer is the perfect time to go practice at the shooting range. You have good weather conditions, and it’s right before the hunting season.
Hitting the bull’s eye constantly is all well and good. However, you must also practice how to position and aim fast. A stationary target is extremely different from a wild game. While you’re still getting into a comfortable position, the animal could already be gone.
Create a fast routine of getting into position and aiming. Constantly doing this movement will make it automatic for your body to do in an instant. This will save you a lot of time when a target suddenly appears.
Most of the time, iron sights are difficult to use to clearly see targets at long-range shooting, especially for beginners. It also takes forever to align the front and rear sights when aiming. Fortunately, your aim will improve greatly when you practice using the best long range scope for your gun. A properly-sighted target is as good as dead. So, getting a high-quality scope is a must for hunters.
Tips to Shoot Faster
- Stick to your trusty rifle and scope
Gun collectors would say that you can’t have too many guns. Enthusiasts would have one for the range, another for sporting events, yet another for hunting small game, and a few for the big game, and the list goes on. With so many different guns to get accustomed to each time you use them, you will never really master any of them.
But when you want to be a good hunter, having just one or two trusty rifles is better. You will be able to master the handling and be faster at aiming and shooting if you’re practicing with just one or two guns the whole time.
Choose a gun that you feel comfortable with and that suits your purposes. One popular all-around rifle that packs a punch is the 300 Winchester Magnum. Pair that with the best scope for 300 Win Mag, and you’re sure to have the best experience in and out of the range.
- Choose your specs wisely
Bigger is not always better. Experienced hunters would vouch for bringing a rifle that is just big and powerful enough for the game you’re aiming for. The bigger ones are just more unnecessary weight that you’ll have to lug around. You’ll be exhausted even before the hunt is through. Choose one that is easy to carry and won’t tire your arms from being in position for a long time.
It’s also more convenient to get a semi-automatic. This will save you time when loading and unloading ammo. When there is more than one target, or you did not hit the target the first time, having the next shot ready in a fraction of a second counts.
As for the scope, the same is true. You don’t need 9X magnification when you’re planning on short-range hunting that’s less than 100 yards. The extra magnification will only limit your range of sight and the extra weight will easily tire your muscles, resulting in less accurate shots.
Get a scope that matches your needs. Choose the best scope for .22 rifle if you plan on shooting a small game. If you’re going on a bigger hunt, bring along the best vortex scope that can withstand any weather condition and provide you with high contrast sight picture in any lighting condition.
- Master the shooting positions
We cannot stress enough the importance of practice. Your level of mastery will only increase if you practice regularly.
There are various positions to match each situation. Master at least one for each type of terrain and situation, then you’re ready for almost anything.
The important thing you need to learn for any position is how to hold a rifle steady. When in position, holding your breath for about 4 to 7 seconds while aiming should help stabilize your sights. If you failed to focus within that time, breathe normally for a few seconds to make sure you don’t get dizzy, and then repeat the process. Exhaling slowly when squeezing the trigger will keep your gun stable.
- Master your aiming
Practice the contact point to focus point method. This repeated movement will eventually come naturally to you. You will be able to aim fast and shoot fast by just using muscle memory.
Instead of thinking that the whole animal is your target, rather focus on a smaller area around the ribs or shoulder. The smaller your aim, the smaller the chance of missing. That’s how the brain works.
Along with mastering your gun, you should also master using its scope. Keep in mind the amount of recoil and the proper eye relief distance so that when you’re looking through the sights with your dominant eye, there is enough space that the scope won’t give you a black eye upon firing. Also, use the scope with both eyes open to give yourself a wider vision.
Using scopes with various adjustment options can help improve your aim. Understand what the best long-range rifle scopes can do for you so you can take all the advantages they can give.
There are a lot of factors that you can control, adjust, and modify to help you shoot faster and become a good hunter. But the main key to learning how to shoot a rifle better still lies in mastery. Keep practicing good drills and exercises to make aiming and shooting second nature to you.
Mike Fellon is an experienced firearms enthusiast and optics expert. He delivers unbiased and detailed rifle scope reviews. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He inherited his hunting passions after his father John – he was fascinated by his stories, hearing how much attention, focus, dedication and patience he invested in shooting every animal. When he was old enough, his father first allowed him to shoot some cans and bottles with his shotgun, and then took him hunting – it was love at first sight. Mike has never stopped shooting ever since.