Top tips on holding your gun perfectly still

Turn up that magnification to highlight your errors - then train them away. Fooling yourself doesn't

Turn up that magnification to highlight your errors - then train them away. Fooling yourself doesn't fool the pellet! - Credit: Archant

Our Airgun Guru helps a reader confront his issues

It's usually better to identify and deal with your problems, and never more so when those problems are shooting-related. This mindset was perfectly demonstrated when reader, Daniel Howard, contacted us with the following: 'Dear Guru, my problem is, I suspect, a common one, in that I can't seem to hold my rifle perfectly still, especially when I'm shooting from the standing stance. Reducing the magnification of my 3-9 X scope to its lowest setting seems to help, but I'd prefer to see the more distant targets more clearly, and I need higher magnification for that - which makes me wobble too much! Any ideas, please?'

Kidding ourselves

First, Daniel, you're absolutely right in that 'the wobbles' do afflict many, many shooters, and like you, they lower the magnification of their scopes to 'remedy' it. Unfortunately, this is just about the worst thing anyone can do to deal with such a fundamental problem. By reducing that magnification, you're actually trying to fool yourself into believing you're somehow more steady on 3X than you are on 6 or 9 X. The truth is, you're no more steady at all; it just looks that way because low mag' makes you less aware of your movement. This is no way to fix the problem.

Go big and fix things

Instead of reducing the scope's magnification, try winding it up to maximum and be grateful for the way your scope highlights issues with your technique. Once the problem is identified, you can work to reduce, or eliminate, it. Try these checks and see if things improve.

- Relax, especially if you're in the standing stance, and make your technique smooth and tension-free. No shooter can hold their rifle perfectly still, but if you control that movement with your breathing, it becomes part of your technique, rather than something you're constantly fighting.

Most Read

- Stand sideways-on to the target, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and raise the rifle as you breathe in.

- Settle the cross-hair just above the target, pause your breathing, then let out your breath as the cross-hair is lowered to dead-centre. Note - for some shooters, breathing raises the cross-hair, so initially it should rest at the base of the target.

- As the cross-hair settles on the centre of the target, squeeze off the shot.

- Maintain perfect follow-through, until the pellet strikes.

- Repeat and refine many, many times, and keep training in this way until you get the results you're looking for - and never, ever fool yourself about a shooting problem, again. Expose, identify and work to fix it, and you'll soon be the shooter you want to be.