Picking right up from Part 1, there are some subtleties that will help with accuracy in the kneeling position. Relaxing the support hand is one.
The rifle should just be resting on the “lifeline”.
It’s the lifeline, so I made it green, like Mother Earth…
…which inexplicably caused an M14 stock to appear and the lighting to change.
Remember that it’s a platform and not a death grip. I was once taught a Mexican food analogy that may help. You want your support hand like a taco, not a burrito or tostada. A burrito wraps around, a tostada is perfectly flat. The taco is more like a “V” shape, giving the forend something to settle into. If someone were to grab your support hand fingers, they should be relaxed, maybe even loose. You do, however, need to keep them clear of the barrel.
Another point to emphasize is really letting the position settle. Feel everything sink into place and come into balance. Kneeling is an inherently “tipsy” position, so you have to have your balance. Get a feel for exactly where on the foot you’re the most stable. Get your support arm situated so that the knee is balanced between the tendons that lead from the elbow to the triceps.
For everything to work correctly, it’s imperative to find and use your natural point of aim. Once you have your natural point of aim, the only thing left to do is relax and press the trigger. Next month I’ll have a more in depth article explaining it. To sum it up, NPA is the place where your relaxed body aims the rifle. Get into position and aim where it feels the most natural. Then close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax completely. Open your eyes. Your rifle will probably be pointing at a different spot than before. The new spot is your natural point of aim. Not just the general direction, but the specific spot.
Dry fire practice will help immensely with your kneeling position. Be kind to your knees and don’t overdo it. If you use the variation of kneeling in which the ball of the foot is in contact with the ground, prolonged practice of the kneeling position will be hard on your footwear. Unless you want your right toe pointing up constantly like an elf (if you make bottom metal for Sako it’s probably OK), consider taking off your shoes for the bulk of your dry fire practice.
I spent a lot of time early in the year working on kneeling. Here’s my data book page for my best target so far:
Here’s a close up of the actual target:
I shot this with the Remington 700 that I have referenced previously. The details are in the data book (above), but there was no sling used. The group is approximately 2.6″ with all shots at least touching the diamond. Notice that the group is wider than it is tall, which is characteristic of kneeling, due to the firing elbow being unsupported.
When I began working on the position again recently, I just couldn’t get it stable. My NPA was also really high and I couldn’t figure it out. Today I popped down into position and it just seemed to click. Maybe it’s because I did kettlebell yesterday, and I’m a little stiff, but I ended up spreading out my contact points (aka “feet”) with the ground a bit. I had previously been putting my firing side heel pretty much right on my tailbone, trying to balance the upper body directly over the foot.
It doesn’t even sound stable, so I’m not sure how I didn’t catch that. I moved the foot a little towards my strong side (right for me), right on the glute. After spreading out a bit, the center of gravity settles down between the points of contact.
This also had the effect of making my NPA a bit more horizontal.
I would love to shoot a 10 shot group with the Sako that’s as small or smaller as the above 5 shot group. Considering that the Remington can shoot .4 MOA groups and the Sako shoots 1.3 MOA groups at best, kicks a whole lot more, and 10 round groups don’t usually end up as small as 5 round groups, that’s going to be hard.
Find out in the exciting finale: The Kneeling Position- Part 3!!!