f-tr body position

Discussion in 'Competition Forum (All Calibers)' started by kzin, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. kzin

    kzin

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    It seems like the current standard is with the body straight and parallel to the barrel so the recoil is not at an angle. I don't buy that reason because all the rifle cares about being square is the 2 inches of shoulder it's touching and that is not necessarily square to the body position.

    Do you think in-line is superior to angled?

    Related question: tilt neck back and look 'forward' or leave face down and look sharply 'upward' with the eyes?
     
  2. Papa Charlie

    Papa Charlie

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    I have seen shooters align in many different positions. It really only boils down to one thing. If the rifle stays on target after the trigger is pulled, then you are aligned correctly. If it doesn't it requires you to reset the gun and your body every time you fire and as such will impose potential for variations between shots.
    It is my opinion that most teach to align directly behind to make it simpler for the novice. But that is just my opinion.
     
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  3. BP1

    BP1 Gold $$ Contributor

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    I think the superior position for a any shooter in any discipline is what works for that particular person..that being said I shoot squared to the rifle.
     
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  4. Ian

    Ian Silver $$ Contributor

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    Good topic here... this is one of the areas that I think suffers from a bit of over-thinking and perpetuated dogma.

    Before I knew any better, when I would lay down to shoot with friends, my subconscious would put my body at a pretty steep angle to the bore. It felt right, I guess, and I wasn't concerned with being "wrong" yet at that time. Well, it didn't take long shooting as a guest on military ranges before several people corrected my erroneous ways. I was uncomfortable and my shooting suffered, but I had a nice straight-behind-the-rifle prone position.

    Fast forward to today and I'm back to letting my subconscious dictate my body position. I don't use markers on my mat, or cut notches or holes for bag placement or any of that. It's all by seat-of-the-pants gauge. It's one less thing my conscious has to "think" about and my subconscious must be very consistent cuz my friends never fail to let me know how awkward it looks. I'm comfortable and my shooting has never been better.

    In summary, with regard to both body angle and head position, I recommend you put the natural back in "natural point of aim." I think you'll be more comfortable and you'll shoot better.
     
  5. Berger.Fan222

    Berger.Fan222

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    Variations in body types, the lay of the land, shooting history, and other interests change the answers in different situations. The height of the rear bag above the ground can also be important. This is impacted mostly by the shooter, the bipod, and the flatness of the ground, but it is also fairly common to have to raise the whole show to clear grass or low lying vegetation.

    The classic prone position (asymmetric, body not in line with rifle, strong side knee brought forward) tends to lend itself to more shooters and situations than the straight position with legs symmetric. It accommodates well-blessed ladies, overweight gentlemen, unlevel ground, and situations calling for a higher rear bag better. It also provides more "give" to the shoulder for higher recoiling rifles.

    But some shooters do better in line and absorbing more of the recoil, especially with .308s if they can manage it well and not develop a flinch. A tighter coupling between the rifle and body can be of benefit, as long as the shooter does a great job of making it all the same every time. But with .223s, a lighter hold, focus on the sight picture and trigger squeeze (with less concern for mechanical coupling with the rifle), one can do very, very well with the classic prone position.

    With new shooters, I focus on finding their comfortable position and truly having things supported by the ground and bones rather than muscle. Let them get comfortable and focus first on fundamentals and then on reading the wind. Too much thinking about loading the bipod, how tight into the shoulder, etc. is a distraction from the higher priorities.
     
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  6. Down South

    Down South FTR Junkie

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    Same here.
     
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  7. damoncali

    damoncali Gold $$ Contributor

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    The idea that you have to be aligned with the bore to manage recoil is simply untrue. I dont know why that myth gets repeated so often. That said, if you shoot better that way, go for it. I find that lining up at an angle to be more comfortable and consistent, personally.
     
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  8. Meangreen

    Meangreen

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    As another alluded to, the issue with body position isn't accuracy it is repeatability. Therefore, it speaks to precision more than accuracy. Properly positioning your body straight behind the rifle eliminates the moment arm that moves the rifle and my body off axis during recoil.

    When done correctly, the rifle comes down exactly where is was before firing. It is actually possible to spot your own trace and splash when you get it right.
     
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  9. brshtr

    brshtr Gold $$ Contributor

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    I was glad to see this question as I think it’s good to have more threads about technique. This will be a long response, but the OP raises good questions and I hope I can help by describing my learning curve.

    Sometimes I shoot with sling and jacket, sometimes FTR, and sometimes F-Open, though even in F-Open I shoot with a bipod. My first F-Class shooting was FTR, and when I started I’d already been shooting smallbore prone with sling and jacket for a while. So, when I started FTR I figured I’d duplicate my sling position: Body at an angle to the rifle, left leg straight back (I shoot right-handed), right leg curled forward, body tilted left to get my chest off the ground and breathe easier, rifle’s butt sandwiched firmly in my shoulder pocket.

    I quickly learned it didn’t work for FTR. In F-Class, my left forearm is resting on the mat, and my left hand is curled around the front of the rear bag, squeezing it to make minor aiming adjustments. The tilting posture from smallbore prone was too uncomfortable, at least for me.

    Then I went to the position I see many F shooters use: torso flat on the mat, body directly behind the rifle. Many people shoot well that way. When I did it, it was uncomfortable, I had more trouble breathing, and the gun torqued so much I had to significantly move the rear bag after each shot to get it pointed back at my target.

    Finally, I decided to try a position that just felt good to me. Body angled to the rifle, right leg straight back in line with the barrel, left leg bent at the knee with my toes on the ground, which gets part of my torso off the mat, the butt touching my shoulder. Voila: I was comfortable; it was repeatable, and re-aiming was easy. Light cheek pressure (almost none), light grip, butt barely touching my shoulder. The recoil moves my shoulder back and I let it move as much as it wants. I can reload, push the rifle forward with my shoulder, and be back to where I want before the target comes back up.

    The most important thing it to try different positions until you find what is comfortable and repeatable for you, and which enables you to get the rifle back on target with a minimum of fuss. People have different bodies and different notions of comfort. Experiment and find what works best for you, without feeling like you have to do it a certain way.

    Your body position will depend in part on the height of your rear bag. A taller bag forces you to raise your shoulders and head, so your back is arched inward. The rifle’s stock design will also play into this. With one rifle, I’m forced into the curved position; with the other, I’m flatter. I prefer the latter, but you may not.

    Also, you have to decide how to position your support arm. Elbow further forward from your body (which will lower your position) or further in toward your body (which raises your position). I like the elbow further out, as it makes me flatter and more relaxed, but the other way may work better for you.

    The OP asked a great question about whether the head should be tilted back or down. In my opinion, there’s no “best” way here. Try both. But be aware that consistent cheek pressure is absolutely critical. Choose the method that is most comfortable for you and enables consistent cheek pressure from shot to shot.

    Bottom line: there are various ways of positioning your body and the best way is one that’s comfortable, repeatable, and works best for you.

    Dave Rabin
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  10. dannyjbiggs

    dannyjbiggs

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    A basic term in sling shooting is "natural point of aim". It is applicable to any sling-supported shooting position one might be using: Prone, sitting, kneeling, and off-hand...but a sling is seldom if ever used in off-hand competition...however "natural point of aim" clearly applies to off-hand. For me, "natural point of aim" is just another term for "natural point of comfort". Once one achieves that "natural point of comfort" while lying prone next to a F-Class rifle, whether it be F-TR or F-Open; he has the right position for himself.

    Dan
     
  11. Meangreen

    Meangreen

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    I get what you are saying, and to a large degree I agree with you. I must however nit pick over semantics.

    Natural point of aim has a specific definition. It is when the rifle naturally points to the target without muscle tension forcing it onto the target. This can be in any number positions, but the point being that comfort isn't necessarily an element of natural point of aim. I can find my natural point of aim in the sitting position even though that position is very uncomfortable for me.

    Ideally, in whatever position you find that produces that natural point of aim, it should be one that is solid enough to help with recoil management. That way you don't have to rebuild the position after every shot. That is where the comfort you speak of comes in. If you aren't comfortable then you are less likely to be repeatable.
     
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  12. Meangreen

    Meangreen

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    The answer to this will largely depend on whether the shooter wears eyegasses and how old and fat they are. Some of us big boys gotta make do.
     
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  13. ballisticdaddy

    ballisticdaddy Silver $$ Contributor

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    I recall reading in Nancy Tomkins book that the bent and raised right knee was to take pressure off your internal organs making for a clean steady sight picture especially with high magnification optics.
     
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  14. Downhill

    Downhill

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    Due to a neck injury when I believed I would become a rodeo star at 19 years old, I find it painful directly behind the rifle. However angling the body allows me to raise my head with little discomfort. Comfortable is what I go with. Allows more focus to breaking the shot.
     
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  15. milanuk

    milanuk Team Savage Gold $$ Contributor

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    Bear in mind that Nancy's book in general was written from a sling-shooter point of view. There are many, many very good F/TR shooters who use a relatively 'flat' position. Myself, I found that (in F/TR) shooting from the Romanian position (essentially what Nancy describes) put my right shoulder back in a way that resulted in the gun moving way off to the side - further than anything else I've ever tried. I think Nancy still uses that position when she shoots F-class... but as far as I know, she shoots primarily (exclusively?) F-Open. The gun has a lot harder time moving around as much in that front rest.

    There's a lot to be said for this. Back when I shot sling, I tried and tried to make the Romanian position (left side in a straight line, right leg pulled up, left elbow under the gun, weight off the diaphragm, etc. etc.) because, by God, that's what David Tubb used, and that's what Nancy Tompkins used, etc. so by hook or by crook, I *would* make it work too.

    Yeah, no. That was some of the most miserably uncomfortable position shooting I've ever done. Somewhere along the way, unable to figure out why everything hurt so bad, I came across a book titled 'Ways of the Rifle', primarily for Olympic-style three-position (standing, kneeling, prone) smallbore and air-rifle shooters. Written by coaches with a long list of credentials, it was interesting to note that they admitted in the foreword that they had intended to write the book as 'THE WAY of the Rifle', and had set out to collect photos of multiple top-level shooters (we're talking national, world and Olympic medalists here) and show the *one* right way to shoot standing, the *one* right way to shoot prone, etc. They (even as top-tier coaches) were shocked to realize that the photo evidence was very much against that particular theory. The positions for various top level shooters was all over the board - about the only thing in common was the muzzle pointing down-range. What the coaches did find, however, was that they could generalize the positions between gender and body type. Slim females, using a 'standard' rifle, tended to be more flexible and used a very different Standing position than a male of similar build, and a taller male with longer limbs and/or more muscle used something entirely different. Same for Prone (sorry, skipped the kneeling as it didn't pertain to my sport). Consistency and repeatability were far more important.

    Going back to the range 'armed' with that knowledge, I ended up ditching the 'conventional' Prone position and wound up with a very flat position, almost with the left hip cocked up slightly (for a right-handed shooter). Sounds weird, and it makes some people's lower back twinge just to look at... but the important bits for me was that a) it was comfortable, I could stay in position indefinitely and b) it was repeatable, I could lay down and setup easily, pretty much the same way every time.

    As long as you can do that, who *cares* what it looks like, or what someone else is doing?

    If you're starting from a blank slate, sure, try what the winners (in your venue of choice) are doing. There's probably a reason they're doing it, and almost assuredly they've tried any number of things. Just be aware that they might have a very different body type than you, and what works for them, and *why* it works for them, may be different for you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  16. cocopuff

    cocopuff

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    great information..I can't get in behind the rifle either..I need to do more
    practice at home..Shooting at an angle is how I do it..
     
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  17. steve_podleski

    steve_podleski

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    Being comfortable behind the rifle may be desirable but how important is
    having the muzzle back on target quickly after recoil? Which has higher priority to you?
     
  18. brshtr

    brshtr Gold $$ Contributor

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    If I had to choose, I’d say it’s more important to be comfortable; if I’m not comfortable I’m probably not going to be able to shoot consistently. But getting back on target quickly is important, too, because I want to run my shots when my preferred condition presents itself. If a comfortable position results in an unstable bag, I’d look for another comfortable position.

    Dave Rabin
     
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  19. damoncali

    damoncali Gold $$ Contributor

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    In my experience one has nothing to do with the other. There's no reason to not have a repeatable, comfortable position from which recoil induced jump is minimized. Just takes a little trial and error to find it.
     
  20. Papa Charlie

    Papa Charlie

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    Very true, I am in that stage now. I have upgraded my equipment which has changed the feel of everything. I shot my first match at 500 yards this last weekend. Started out good but don't know what happened. After the first 10 scoring rounds it just started to fall apart. I had one issue with my rear bag. Wasn't getting a good slide in it and it resulted in a jump up and to the left. I started to struggle with my body to correct and it all started to fall apart. Finished my first round with 196-8, second with 194-6 finished with a 195-3. Besides the rear bag, it all came down to my body position, somehow ended up with the butt stock on my collar bone trying to get behind the rifle and it wasn't comfortable.
    I need to get back out to the range and rework on my position. I have solved the sticky bag issue but not have to work on me. I will be concentrating on comfort and repeatability along with maintaining POA after each shot. I know there is a position that will accomplish it all.
     

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