In order to be a successful long-range shooter you must take a number of factors into consideration. From windage to optics to understanding the capabilities and limitations of your caliber of choice and everything in between, you’d better have it all covered. Of course, certain techniques seem to be a matter of preference. One I’ve noticed at a number of long-range events as well as on hunts has to do with positioning: shooting prone with the shooter’s body in a straight line or angled. Which one is right?
Shooters going prone at an angle tend to have differences when it comes to sharpness of angle as well as different parts of their bodies being angled. The variation in sharpness of the shooter’s body angle can actually be significant; different people angle their bodies anywhere from 10 degrees to 45 degrees. Others position their body straight behind the rifle but bend one leg – typically on the same side of their body as their dominant hand – at approximately a 45 degree angle. Sometimes it’s the shoulder cradling the rifle that’s being angled. There could easily be a discussion regarding the importance of specific degrees for various body parts, but for the time being let’s focus on angling as a whole.
Those who go prone and position their bodies straight behind the rifle also try to physically touch as much ground as possible. Toes are usually pointed outwards with the shooter’s inner ankles touching the dirt. The exception is for those whose knees or other joints simply cannot allow for it, and in those cases the shooter often points their toes behind themselves – or slightly inward – pressing their boot laces into the dirt. Digging in is often done as well, pushing the edges of the boots into the ground in an attempt to create a secure, stable position.
So is there a right or wrong answer to body position while shooting prone? Is it simply a matter of doing what proves most accurate for you, personally? Some shooting styles seem to be generational while others appear to be a matter of who taught you – and where that instruction took place.