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How to Shoot an Air Rifle Accurately

Updated April 17, 2017

Regardless of the type of gun or firearm used, the basics of marksmanship remain the same. A steady position, aiming, breathing and trigger squeeze must be maintained, in order to shoot effectively. Learning these techniques using an air rifle provides many advantages. The lighter weight of most air rifles allows a shooter to focus more on aiming, breathing and trigger techniques. The softer recoil and smaller noise levels allows the shooter to learn not to flinch at the sound of a regular firearm.

Assume a steady position. A number of stances provide a stable platform for shooting an air rifle. The prone position permits the shooter to have the most contact with the ground. Bench shooting provides another solid method of shooting. The more stable and solid the shooting position, the less likely that body movement affects the outcome of the shot. Standing provides the least stable position for shooting. The rifle stock must be snug against the shoulder and the cheek resting solidly on it.

Aiming. The type of sights on the rifle dictate how the shooter aims. Open blade style sights require the shooter to align the front blade inside the notch on the rear blade, with the target resting on top. Peep style sights only require the shooter to focus on resting the target on the front sight -- as the human eye automatically centres on the rear peep hole. Scopes only require that the cross hair is centred on the target.

Breathing. As the shooter breathes the sights wander on the target. The shooter must identify the point at which his breathing naturally pauses and the sights stop wandering. This represents the ideal time to shoot the air rifle.

Trigger squeeze. Slowly squeeze the trigger directly to the rear of the air rifle. For right-handed shooters, pushing the trigger to the left results in shots on target to the left, shots to the right of the target indicate the trigger is being pulled to the right. Follow through on the shot by maintaining pressure on the trigger directly to the rear, for at least two seconds.

Practice. Begin with the target stand and targets at 25 yards. Shot groups of an inch, or smaller is the goal. Observe where the shots land and adjust position and trigger squeeze accordingly. Move the target stand and targets out to 50 yards. Aim for shot groups of two-inches or smaller.

Things You'll Need

  • Target stand
  • Targets
  • Ammunition
  • 50 yard shooting range
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About the Author

Chris Orr began his career in 1988 as a sports writer. His work has appeared in "USD Vista," "UNLV Rebel Yell" and the "East Honolulu Newspaper" among other publications. Orr has a Bachelor Arts from the University of San Diego and a Master of Arts from the University of Hawaii in political science. He has worked in information technology since 1995.