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December 28, 2010
Gun Nuts Video Tip: Use Your Rifle Sling To Increase Your Accuracy
By David E. Petzal
David E. Petzal teaches you how to use a rifle sling or carrying strap to increase your accuracy from the off-hand and kneeling positions.
Dave -- excellent tips on using your sling as a shoot tool, both standing and in the kneeling position. I've used this technique and it works.
I also like to carry my rifle in the muzzle down position that you illustrated, particularly when still hunting when I need both hands to glass. One important point to consider however -- should you slip or lose your footing you run the risk of plugging the barrel into the dirt. Be mindful of this, particularly when traversing hillsides and other uneven terrain.
What brand of sling is that? Looks like a gem.
No BS accuracy?
Sorry Dave, got to call you on this one.
Never did I ever seen anyone use a sling in standing position gain any accuracy both Beginner or High Master, in fact it's the opposite.
The sling you are using is ok for general carry and easy to adjust the length for wearing a coat or placing it over your head and that's about it.
As for carrying your muzzle down, maybe ok walking down a sidewalk with no trip hazards, but in the field? Hope you have someting like this (http://spinstage.http.internapcdn.net/Spinstage/userdocs/skus/p_66800005...) I carry all the time to knock the mud and crud out of your muzzle, Letherman Tool and extra rounds to resight your rifle ,. But most of all, the damage to the crown? good luck!
I have seen this carry technique demonstrated before, and I agree that it would help with steadiness. But I cannot imagine carrying a rifle like this in any kind of rough terrain--you'd be banging the muzzle against the ground, rocks, etc., and as a couple people pointed out, it is a great way to get snow or mud in the barrel. On level ground I think it would work pretty well though.
Food for thought,
In all my years hunting, I always had time to tie the horse or dismount from the ATV and to chamber a round. I never carried around in the chamber, magazine yes, chamber noway. Interesting to note, Every time I always had enough time to go through all these motion and still had time to get off an accurate shot and still had time for follow up with another. Making snap shots or better known as quick draws increases the chance of an accidental shooting.
By the way, if you were to use that sling for shooting, the sling passes to the inside of the forearm not to the out side.
I use the sling with the kneeling almost all the time as I hunt the woods a lot. I like to take my time with the shot but to get into a steady position as fast as I can.
Good video. Took me a long time to realize what the sling on my rifle was for.
I would be concerned with getting mud or dirt and damge to the crown too. When I am still hunting in the southern riverbottoms by myself, I use a cradle carry with a round chambered. I still have the sling around one arm for a hasty sling and I have minimal movement to shoulder the rifle in case I spot a deer. In my limited experience out west in more rugged territory, by law you aren't supposed to carry a chambered round until the guide tells you to. Given most distances that game is taken you would have plenty of time to chamber a round and get set in a proper shooting position.
If you would to use the sling in any position, it should look like this. Notice how the sling passes into the inside of my forearm and makes ends high into my upper arm, the higher the better!
To All: I am of two minds about using a carry sling offhand; personally I don't believe in it, but I've known enough very good shots who do (including Warren Page) so that I included it. Jeff Cooper always said that if you can get your elbow down on a solid support, a sling is of no use, and I agree with him.
About carrying the muzzle upside-down: I've used it rain or snow when I hadn't had the sense to tape the muzzle, and it keeps stuff from running down the barrel. As noted, you do have to be very careful to keep the muzzle out of the dirt.
I used to use a sling for support all the time but I found that I was hitting to the left of where I aimed a lot, being righthanded I think my left arm pulling against the sling made me guide the rifle that way naturaly. Now I use it just for carring my gun and my offhand shot are more accurat than before. A peice of electrical tape over your muzzel is just as important as your ammo while afield.
Great tip, but I find it a bit unnatural to carry my rifle slung over the opposite shoulder. Being right-handed, I always carry my rifle slung over my right shoulder muzzle up, except in rain.
It may be a bit slower to get off a shot, but the difference is rarely decisive.
This may be unrelated to the video, but I wanted to thank Phil and Dave for the insight they've given me over the past few months. I'm new to hunting and shooting and have found no better source for layman information than Gun Nuts. Unlike most programs on Outdoor Channel, (which seems to be more about antlers than guns, although not quite so much so as the Sportsman's Channel) Gun Nuts is actually informative and worth DVRing. From someone who hasn't shot a gun in 20 years, thanks for the info guys I'll keep watchin'.
You can buy little rubber muzzle covers to protect the bore from mud & water or you can just stick a piece of duct tape over the muzzle. It's not a bad idea to do that regardless of how you carry your rifle. I carry my rifle muzzle down, sometimes. If I'm in rough country, I don't. Take a look at the single point slings that are being used with ARs nowadays. There is no option but muzzle down.
I always have a roll of black plastic tape in my pocket so I can put a couple of pieces over the muzzle whenever I get out of the truck. Sure has saved a lot of in field cleaning. I never have a round in the chamber until I'm ready to shoot, sure saves lots of accidents. The one extra round you gain by walking around with one in the chamber isn't worth the danger it causes. I use a sling, but now I have a walking stick that is use as a steady mount to shoot off of. I use an MTM walking stick that is made for this, has a sharp point on the bottom end to stick in the ground,and a sliding rest to shoot off of. I've had this for years, don't know if they even make them anymore.
For hunting O'Connor had this one right...use a sling with a keeper making a tight loop around your upper arm.
Use this in the sitting position and keep the sling tight - almost as good as prone.
Offhand and kneeling - questionable.
Brownell's German made latigo sling is excellent for this.
I guess that all I was ever taught in several military Marksmanship classes were all BS. A lot of you people are stating that slings are of no use for off-hand shots. I challenge any who claim that to go to a NRA sanctioned long range rifle match. EVERY shooter will be using that sling to help 'lock' that rifle into his shoulder to help steady that rifle and prevent as much muzzle movement as possible. This is not only used for off-hand but kneeling and prone as well.
I have to wonder about Clay Cooper's statement "Never did I ever seen anyone use a sling in standing position gain any accuracy both Beginner or High Master, in fact it's the opposite." Yet Mr Cooper's picture depicts just the opposite. He's in a shooting jacket kneeling on a shooting match (obviously at a long range rifle match) and using a sling.
As per every shooting instructor has always told his class...make sure you use as steady a rest as possible. And whenever possible, use your sling to help achieve that most steady position.
As for carrying a gun muzzle down...no way! Not without a piece of tape over the muzzle. I'd rather carry it cradled in my arm with the muzzle pointing upwards. Even in foul weather, I carry this way with my muzzle taped.
Ahh..........but to each his own. That's why we have more than one radio station on our radios. LOL
Seems a lot of comments are dictated by match shooting use but Mr. Petzal's video looks like hunting technique. Match shooting is worlds apart from hunting.
I prefer not wearing/carrying cumbersome/heavy shooting coats gloves and mats while hunting...cramps my style.
I used to compete in NRA service rifle competition. Unless the rules have changed, slings are prohibited in the offhand slow fire stage, and are permitted only in the sitting rapid fire, prone rapid fire and prone slow fire stages. That's why Clay Cooper's picture shows him "slinging up" in the sitting position.
As a practical matter, if you have the time to sling up in a standing position, you probably have time to find some other more solid support. Shooting sticks are steadier than any offhand position, and, with practice, can be deployed about as fast as trying to use a sling in the offhand position.
Correction: Clay Cooper is prepping for a prone rapid fire stage -- where sling use is permitted.
I suppose the Air Force teaches different techniques. We were taught in the U.S. Army (with M-14s I might add) to use the sling in nearly every shooting position. While I am not an advocate of jump-shooting with a high power rifle, getting as steady as possible as quickly as possible is paramount when an animal presents a clear shot. Me thinks someone is a little full of himself on this one.
Happy New Year!
smokey0347, what have you been smoking?
WAM, the Army or for any other Branch doesn't teach the use of a sling in a standing position. Holding the sling in such a way to prevent sway is another story. If the Army did, wouldn't you think when I was shooting with and conducting shooting clinics for the Army, they would have told me that or would I have seen that?
High Power Rifle Competition
For additional information please call the NRA High Power Rifle Dept. at (703) 267-1479
Sling: The shooting sling is helpful in steadying the positions and controlling recoil. The sling may be used in any position except standing.
This has been a Clay Cooper no "BS" moment!
Food for thought
Having done what I have in my life, if the sling would be beneficial in standing position, don't you think I would be using it and teaching it?
All this reminds me of a Hunter Safety Instructor I ran into years ago teaching the class if your right handed, you use the left handed kneeling position or if your left handed, you use the right handed kneeling position. Reason, beats the hell out of me but luckily I was running the firing range to correct this mistake
If Jeff Cooper always said that if you can get your elbow down on a solid support, a sling is of no use?
Would this be a "NO COOPER BS MOMENT"
I hope everyone Holy Day was a good one and Happy New Year to all and make sure you have a designated driver!
Excuse me if I give a _____ for'ya!
I'm trying to remember how we used the M-14's before they took them away. If my memory serves me well (and sometimes it doesn't) when I was in the Marines in the late 60's, we shot at 200, 300, and 500 yards. 200 yards was standing or standing and sitting. I know 300 yards was sitting and involved a magazine change. 500 yards was prone. I don't remember using the sling at 200 yards. If someone else here has BTDT and still remembers, help me out. I still use the GI web sling in cloth and nylon on my AR and my two M1A's.
John in my Shooting Clinics I gave army Teams, for 200 yards standing, no sling, no gear just a jacket and when they returned for there next Commander Trophy Match, they always taken first place especially standing. What they all missed was the basics in marksmanship.
When all else fails, return to basics (zero)!
David, I'm sorry but that's the most incorrect way to use a sling I ever seen in any position!
From an Army combat shooting perspective, standing is stupid anyway. The only standing position that I recall was the standing foxhole position where you were supported while leaning into the front of the foxhole and supported on sandbags and/or elbows. Please correct me if I am wrong. I only went to basic training 41 years ago.
I can see no situation where I would be shooting while standing in a hole these days. Like I said before; there are those that shoot well on the range and there are those that can't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle in the field. Sometimes they are one and the same.
"As for those that shoot well on the range and there are those that can't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle in the field", there's a National Champion I sure like to see how he would do in the field with the first name of David and it isn't Sir David Petzal. Back in 85 when I kicked everyone's tail at Capitan New Mexico NBPRP Match. A storm front blew in and the wind was blowing crazy and the rain was pouring down and bouncing back up under what cover you had bringing up volcanic ash which is pure hell on moving parts. At the end of the match a couple of the High Masters and Masters accused me of cheating. They couldn't believe they were beat by some Air Force Fella with an old warn out Match M1 Garand. High Master Ben Flanagan & a good friend read the tea leaves on the target for what was going to conspire at the beginning of the match and had the Match Officials watch over and instructed me to open my box of issued ammunition only on the line in clear view of everyone and a good thing they did!
How did I beat the Big Dogs?
I was in my environment now, the nastier it got, o'baby I loved it even more, you can say it was just like being out hunting!
Amazing how those Big Guns do so well in Fair & sunny days, but when Mother Nature rolls in on the 28th day, it's a totally different story!
This has been a "NO LIE GI" moment!
What is a "High Master"?
Is that some sort of Grand Poobah of the Shooting Lodge or something? Just curious.
NRA High Power Classifications
The NRA has established a set of standards for classifying shooters. This is based on the average of your last 3 matches in NRA "Approved" or "Registered" matches. The Match program will tell you if a particular match is an approved or registered one. Practice matches are not, and State and Regional Championships are. If you have not fired in 3 approved matches, you can use a "Temporary" classification based on your running average of matches you have fires, practice and approved. After you have fired your 1st match, ask the match director for a temporary classification book, they are free. If you have never fired in a High Power match before, you will compete as an "Unclassified Master". If you cannot show proof of classification, you will compete with the masters.
Once you have a classification, you will compete against other shooters in the same classification. If there are not enough shooters in your class, you may be combined with the next classification up.
Here are the classifications based on a percentage of the possible total score
Marksman--- Less than 84%
Sharpshooter--- 84% to 88.9%
Expert --- 89% to 93.9%
Master --- 94% to 96.9%
High Master --- 97%
Thanks Clay for informing the uniniformed. I had read the American Rifleman for 25 years and dreamed of being able to compete NRA High Power. Although cursed with poor eyesight and haven't shot open sights for years, I took a Garand clinic offered by a local club, got my CMP certificate and bought a CMP Garand. I've enjoyed shooting in monthly club matches, would recommend more people trying it. Its a hoot of a good time.
cursed with poor eyesight?
Back in 82-83? Anyhow, I took a friend and Base Team Memember Paul T. along with me for the State Championship. While signing up for the matches, I asked Paul if he was going to shoot the 1000 yard course. He looked at me as if I was nutz! Paul can't read a speed limit sign until he is on top of it and he walked away with 3rd place, he the really good for being blind as a bat!
Never knock something until you tried it!
Couple of points to ponder....One, using tape over the muzzle during rain and/or snow is ok, just remember to take it off afterward! The tape will trap moisture in the bore, which will condense along the bore, as your barrel changes temperature, and you will have a rusty bore long before you could imagine it happening...
David has a good way of carrying, which I use as well as the upright carry, just to relieve the weight on one shoulder or the other...If you use it as he shows it will get the gun in position fast! And that alone is the reason for carrying it that way. The sling need not be used for support and/or steadying, just let it hang there, and dangle...But it does slide into position fast that way! Also, if you try carrying it on that shoulder in an upright position, you will find the bolt handle gouging you all the way home....
I'm not going to pick your video apart. Just want to say thanks, good one.
I agree with several others post about never carry muzzle down. also agree with several others post about never have round in chamber until ready to shoot,Even in tree stand, my rifle is loaded but nothing in chamber. but on the use of sling, some slings don't work as good as the older military style . The use of a sling in standing is really ashooter's decision unless restricted by rules. In the service I was always more comfortable by using the ammo pouches on the belt to rest my elbow but again this is my style.
sarg, you would have hated me, first thing I made the troops do is to take off those ammo pouches
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