The Stair Supported Position

It’s funny- I had thought about calling this “stair prone” (it was just to mess with you John). I decided to go with something that is actually indicative of what the position is. I am slowly working to cure my tendency to cleverly name positions “prone” that aren’t. Moving right along…

Prior to using the stairs I took a cold bore shot and a subsequent 10 shot group, presented below without comment.

1-11-14 100 Yard 10 Shots

When most people see the following, they see stairs leading up to the next floor.


When I looked up the stairs, I saw this:


To be even more specific, I saw this:

That’s the pallet I use as a target backer. Distance: 116 yards.

One of the things that I had wanted to do for a long time was to get very good at improvising support from whatever presents itself. Where I lived before, which was in town, walking around experimenting with rifle positions tends to bring the kind of attention I don’t want (a lot of my natural tendencies bring that kind of attention- such as dressing like a clown with teeth filed to sharp points- people don’t understand that I’m just like them). Now that I have some space to myself, I am a little more free to express my inner self.

Part of my motivation for this indoor location may have been that there were flood and storm warnings with high winds. It wasn’t that bad, just an occasional drizzle with some 20ish mph winds.  Still, having an indoor shooting location is a nice option.

One of the things that needs to be examined when shooting through an opening is whether the bullet will actually clear it. Of course the opening in this case is clearly large enough, but the line of sight is not the line of departure. In the early stages of a bullet’s trajectory it’s crucial to consider mechanical offset. It’s basically the same precautions one needs to take to keep from shooting the chrono (note to self: don’t let Alex shoot from this location).


The challenge with stairs is of finding a way to anchor the upper body. If that cannot be done the position will not have a significant advantage over a well executed unsupported position. The limitation I found is that since the rifle can only be pushed forward as far as the stair above it, the shooter is left “floating”. The key to finding an anchor is that most stairs have a rail, and most also have an adjacent wall. In my case I trusted the wall to hold my weight more. I had hoped it would also allow me to rest more of my body on it, but it doesn’t look like it. Without the rail at the wall I probably could have been a bit more stable.


For the first few shots I hadn’t realized that the bipod feet were floating. The tapered surface of the Harris caused them to lift from the stair below as I pushed into it. It got a little more stable after I let them out a few notches and they were back in contact with the stair.

The position had sort of a natural point of aim. I had to drag the rifle left or right so that the point of aim would be within a comfortable range of motion, but there was no perfect “one spot” that I could relax into. I saw my reticle’s center dot move rapidly along a vertical plane in an approximately 1.5” size movement. This seemed to come from some tension I put into the system.

I had to be ready for the shots to break, which means I let them happen without consciously willing the finger, but I had to be in a slightly elevated state of readiness due to the excessive movement. The trigger breaks were rapid, but I believe that they were also smooth.

Stair Supported 116 Yards

I called most of the shots in or near the white ~1” circle (it’s meant to be a true minute at 100 yards, so it’s just over an inch). The final shot I called near the bottom of the black 4 3/16” circle (supposed to be 4 MOA at 100 yards). All the hits were in the black, which is fine, but I have to keep in mind that the distance, 116 yards, is somewhat modest, the target was stationary, and I still have to work on getting my zero centered up better.

View from the target’s perspective.

Total rounds shot through the Remington in 2014: 44

3 thoughts on “The Stair Supported Position

  1. I’m a little confused about the cold bore and subsequent group. were they fired on the same target or different targets? How much time between the cold bore and the next 10?

    • Sorry to be confusing 🙂

      My routine is to place two targets at 100 yards. I take a cold bore on the first one (I tried the other way and it doesn’t work [just trust me on that one]). The second target gets a 10 round group. The time between targets is the time it takes to load the magazine with 4 rounds and chamber the 5th round. Rate of fire is probably 6-8 seconds per shot. As soon as I see an acceptable sight picture (dot in the center of the target) I allow the shot to break.

      I’m going to start using a timer all the time I think, even if I don’t do anything about the results. It would just be nice to know exactly how long things take.

      • Thanks, I can be dense sometimes. I think you mentioned this protocol in a previous entry. I tried to make the targets match and couldn’t, so I’m glad I’m just dumb, not crazy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *