The 'Perfect' Rifle...
You may be surprised to find that this article is not endorsing any specific products or companies, it is merely outlining specific characteristics pertaining to the rifle and it's interaction with the shooter. The market is saturated with companies producing custom builds and production guns that consistently yield sub MOA and better accuracy with match grade ammunition. We have found that equipment alone does not determine the success of the shooter, but the culmination of the shooter's ability to apply the fundamentals with familiar gear that works with their individual shooting style produces the success. Here are a few things to consider when building or procuring your next rifle or support equipment that we would like to share from our experience:
Let the rifle do the work. The least amount of contact the shooter has on their rifle, the more stable it will be to take those precise shots. We as shooters are the biggest variable in our performance, whether it's our heartbeat from applying too much pressure to the gun or muscle fatigue due to an awkward position that requires us to support one end of the rifle with our body. If you are unable to build a traditionally stable shooting position with two or three points of contact, use balance and surface area to your advantage. The balance point of most rifles is typically forward of the magazine well within the first few inches of the forend. By resting the rifle as close to the balance point as possible and bridging the positional substrate with a tool that adds surface area and absorbs rigid contact, the shooter can then make minimal, precise adjustments to engage small targets at long distances with consistency.
Keep It Simple Stupid. Everyone can relate to the KISS philosophy in some facet of their life, but it is especially important when choosing precision rifle equipment for a successful shot. Do we really need a sling to apply reverse pressure, a pillow for lateral arm support, a barricade bag or stop to increase our surface area and a ruck to sit on to take a stable shot? No... most likely all of those items are going to result in more wobble from the fatigue endured to setup for the shot. Choose one of those items or a combination of two that you can easily and consistently employ so that you can use efficient movement to engage targets accurately and quickly.
A few components that may reduce unnecessary movement and increase efficiency between shots include:
- An effective muzzle brake to aid in recoil control so you can spot your impacts.
- An extended magazine to reduce magazine reloads so you remain on target and do not have to reacquire target locations.
- A data card with relevant target information (IE: elevation, windage, target order, etc.) positioned in a location on the rifle so the shooter does not have to break their cheek weld.
Essentially the more time you can spend looking through the riflescope in a stable position, the more likely you are to break an accurate, quantified shot. The unnecessary movement typically causes the shooter to hastily rebuild their position which reduces stability and results in rushed shots especially when time is an added variable.
Velour cheekpiece? Yeah we have a few of those... It's not only there to add a layer of flexible foam which allows us to get a consistent cheek weld from prone to the standing position, but the supple softness feels real nice on our face. The adjustability of the comb and length of pull within a rifle stock or chassis is paramount for consistency and when setup properly should reduce or eliminate muscle fatigue in a shooters neck, shoulders and back.
Another key to comfort is the weight of your rifle and gear. Physical endurance is important on run and gun stages especially with heavy precision equipment, but believe it or not, we are not telling you to go lighter. This is a game that requires us to spot our own impacts in order to make quantified corrections in shifty winds and even the best muzzle brakes on the market will not prevent a rifle larger than .223 from moving off target slightly-sometimes outside the field of view of your scope after breaking a shot. We despise leg day too...
Adjustability and weight are often overlooked attributes that pertain to the most important topic within the comfort of a rifle system: Natural Point of Aim. It is critical that a shooter develops consistent alignment behind the rifle at all levels: prone, sitting, kneeling and standing. A comfortable system shouldn't require you to contort your body using smaller, easily fatiguing muscles in your arms, hands, feet, neck or abs to get on target; rather, your alignment is manipulated with your legs, hips, back and shoulders in order to get the target within your field of view and reduce fatigue. Practicing with a comfortable and correctly setup rifle will lead to developing a consistent Natural Point of Aim and getting on target faster with less effort.
There is no replacement for the fundamentals of marksmanship, but consider applying this information when sourcing future gear so those purchases have more impact.