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Old June 21, 2016, 10:21 PM   #1
Pep in CA
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Support Arm Supination

As a new shooter (this year) and having taken basic training classes in handgun, rifle, and shotgun, I have been practicing the lessons my trainer taught at a local range once a week.

One particular marksmanship problem I've had is shooting my rifle in prone position. All of my shots miss to the right, at about the 3:00 position. This doesn't happen when I shoot my rifle in off-hand postion, which is strange since prone is more stable than off-hand. Something has been wrong with my prone position.

Recently I watched an instructional video on YouTube published by Ruger Firearms. The instructor advised that the shooter's support arm should be as vertical as possible. I realized I wasn't doing that. My support arm was at a 45 degree angle.

Today at the range, I tried this technique and realized that it means my support arm should be supinated --- rotated so the palm is facing upward. Doing this, I was able to hit a 100 yard metal target about 70% of the time (using iron sights). That's not great but much better than my previous attempts.

Does anyone have any insight or advice about the support arm position in rifle prone position? I say, a supinated support arm is the way to go. Yes or No?
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Old June 22, 2016, 12:09 PM   #2
g.willikers
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The rifle resting on your palm, (artillery hold) is good - prone or standing.
So does rearranging yourself so your natural point of aim is correct toward the target.
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Old June 22, 2016, 12:17 PM   #3
g.willikers
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P.S.
Check the videos of the Olympic shooters.
They know how to do it pretty good.
Their equipment might be kind of weird, but there's no denying their skills.
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Old June 23, 2016, 06:22 PM   #4
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That plus proper use of the sling should solve your problems.
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Last edited by JimPage; June 25, 2016 at 02:52 PM.
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Old June 26, 2016, 03:15 PM   #5
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The last comment is the dividing line. If you are shooting prone without a sling, having the support arm vertical minimizes muscle influence. If you have a tight sling, though, your have the least muscle influence at the angle where the pull of the sling and the pull of gravity balance on your hand. In either case, if you shut your eyes and relax a bit, then open them again, the gun will have moved a little in whatever direction is opposite the one you are muscling it toward. Try to adjust your position so you can close your eyes for a little and still have the sights on target when you open them again. This is called your natural point of aim, and the position that gives it to you best is the one you want to use.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out that, assuming you are right-handed, low and right is where rifle shots tend to land when you are yanking on the trigger or pulling down on the gun with an angled forearm to try to counter recoil. Let the gun shoot, don't force it.
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Old June 27, 2016, 02:14 PM   #6
kraigwy
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Quote:
Does anyone have any insight or advice about the support arm position in rifle prone position? I say, a supinated support arm is the way to go. Yes or No?
The problem is follow through. If you have an "improper" position, which most people do, then after the shot, you relax, and when the support arm is at an angle, it would fall to the right (or left for left handed shooters).

If the support arm is straight up, balanced then it shouldn't go left or right.

A sling helps but does not cure the problem.

To prevent the problem is a proper position. By this I mean, you are in a total relaxed state when the hammer falls. Meaning you wont relax moving the rifle, because it is already in the spot it would be after you relax.

Having the arm directly under the rifle helps, as I said, but it would help more with a correct position.

To test this, aim your rifle, using your best position. Then without moving, close your eyes, take a couple normal breaths, then at the bottom of the breathing cycle, let the hammer fall. Without moving, open your eyes and see if you're perfectly lined up with the target.

If not, work on your position.
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Old June 28, 2016, 10:29 PM   #7
Pep in CA
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Thanks for the advice you guys. I'll let you know how my shooting progresses, and hopefully what fixed my prone position woes.

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Old July 5, 2016, 04:38 PM   #8
Pep in CA
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The OP here. As promised, I'm reporting my progress. I believe I have solved the problem of my prone position shots constantly missing right. Today at the range, my shots from prone position were on target. Not as tight a group as I would like, but centered, i.e., not off to the right.

Over the past 2 weeks I've practiced keeping my elbows tucked in and finding my NPOA. It was uncomfortable at first, but eventually it sunk in.

Placing my left elbow inline or slightly inside of my left shoulder, thus supinating my left hand, helped but it wasn't the only thing. I also had to tuck my right elbow in, but not as much. My right elbow is now inline or just slightly outside of my right shoulder.

It took a lot of dry fire practice (without actually firing) until I finally settled into this position. And it seems to work. This practice also seems to have had a residual benefit, as my shooting from off-hand and kneeling positions are much improved too.

I am very pleased with my results today at the range.

Cheers.
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