Putting Snap into the Snapshot

Some things are starting to click with the snapshot, literally.  I’ve brought the rifle up so many times that it’s beginning to be one of those things that just happens really quickly and reliably.  One of the things I think made the big difference here was that I started to really pay attention to the efficiency of my rifle presentation and the path of the muzzle.  After putting some work into making my movement as small as it could be, it got easier, more repeatable, and quicker.

The cheekweld is starting to happen very quickly.  It feels as though there is a rifle holder that was custom made (hand carved perhaps) to fit the rifle perfectly.  The rifle holder just happens to be me.  The butt hits the shoulder pocket as the cheekpad hits the cheek.  I had complained before about this resulting in impact to the cheek that caused a delay in sight acquistion.  Repetition has largely cured that, as if a few deft strokes of the carving knife have removed the high spots from the part of the rifle holder that touches the cheekpad.  The impact is indeed sudden, but it’s extremely shallow, and doesn’t result in any jarring.  A few more careful strokes of the carving knife may further refine the mating of rifle to cheek.

As the rifle snaps into position, it literally makes a snapping noise.  That adds an aural cue to have my finger on the trigger at the “downbeat”.  I think I’m mostly a kinesthetic learner, but sometimes it seems to really add depth of understanding to work outside of the primary learning mode.

The other thing that is happening with the snapshot is that the rifle has started coming up in greater accordance with the spot I’m looking at.  I used to really notice a break in my vision as the scope came up.  The body of the scope would interfere with my vision briefly and I would have to reacquire my vision and adapt to the magnification.  Now I am seeing a more unobstructed view of my target through the entire sighting process.  Perhaps the weak eye is covering the slack during the time the scope is coming up, but the mechanics of what’s going on are really not important.

The takeaway with the visual part is that there is less effort and a more continuous gaze at the target.  I look at the target and the rifle comes up there.  There’s very little attention on the rifle, since it just comes up.  That is nice.

I think what really helped with getting the rifle to point right for me is adjusting my support hand position.  The Sako 75 had a normal length forend that allowed me to get my hand quite a ways forward when I switched my offhand stance for speed.  The FN has a significantly shorter stock.  The obvious place to put the hand is behind the sling stud, especially when the stud is built onto the rear end of a picatinny rail that holds the bipod.  This constricted the support hand part of my stance, which was not conducive to getting a quick and accurate “point in”.

When I was given my Mauser I noticed how well it pointed.  That rifle has a Mannlicher style stock, which provides a lot of room for the support hand.  It prompted me to try the experiment of placing my support hand on the picatinny rail forward of where my sling is mounted on the FN.  I don’t use the sling in offhand anyway, so it really doesn’t matter where I put my hand, as long as it works.  I found out that it does work.

All of the work has been in dry fire.  I typically don’t do much snapshooting in live fire, but I think I will alter that and begin to do a bit at most range sessions.

4 thoughts on “Putting Snap into the Snapshot

  1. That is how it should feel. You are looking at your target with your naked eye, and then you’re still looking at your target but through the crosshairs. No real interruption of vision. Keep the scope magnification at its lowest, to lessen any mental disorientation from the jump from eyeball to scope view. You won’t be snap-shooting bottle caps at 300 yards, it’ll be something big and close.

    I used to think that snap-shooting was mostly or all eye-to-arms forced muscle memory, but on reflection there may be more natural point of aim involved than I gave credit for. When you come up with your best offhand stance for your snapshot, you still have NPOA pointing someplace. With enough practice you can ingrain in yourself where your feet should be to get windage/elevation NPOA on target, and then take the rear foot step to address your body to the target correctly as you mount the rifle. Or at least get close enough to shave half a second off your time.

    Just be careful with that carving knife…you do have good medical bene’s from work, right? Don’t get too close to the jugular…

    • I’m with you on the natural point of aim being there. I do what they used to call tai sabaki in karate. Basically footwork and body movement that is like the opening of a door on the hinge of the front foot until the muzzle is where it seems like to ought to be.

  2. I suspect if one every really needs to make a shot it may will be this one ,kind of goes good with unsighted handgun work. BTW the old sliver sierra ( cast bullet) works super for this type of practice

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