Categories: TARGET PRACTICE
Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual Advanced Training
Following satisfactory gallery practise scores the men go on the range
for known distance practice. Here the army rifle is fired with service
charges at known ranges; first, for instruction if time permits, and
then for record. To obtain satisfactory results the firer must perform
correctly five essential things, namely:
1. Hold the rifle on the mark.
2. Aim properly.
3. Squeeze the trigger properly.
4. Call the shot.
5. Make the proper sight adjustment.
They will be briefly and separately discussed:
1. Holding. Unless the rifle is held steadily the bullet will not hit
the desired mark. The firer must be able to hold the rifle steadily in
the three positions, kneeling, sitting. lying down. Holding is a
question of the proper body position, use of the sling, and practice.
Body Position. The position of the firer must be comfortable. You may,
at first, feel constrained or cramped in the different positions but by
continued practice the muscles and joints will become so supple and
pliable that you can easily assume the correct position. Each man who is
trying for a high score should utilize all available time to this end.
The following photographs illustrate the correct and incorrect
No. 1. Notice the position of the elbows. They are advanced past the
knees so that the flat muscles on the back of the arms, above the
elbows, rest against the legs. Notice the position of the right thumb
and aiming eye; also sling. To assume this position correctly, it is
necessary that you lean well forward. Avoid the tendency of getting the
feet too far apart.
No. 2. Notice The proper manner of working the bolt during rapid fire.
Keep your gun at the shoulder while loading. Turn the gun to right and
down a little. Don't make any unnecessary motions'
No. 1. Left elbow is resting on knee cap. No support to steady right
arm. Eye too far from rear sight. Lip is against stock. (This causes
sore lips.) Thumb around stock. Sling on outside of arm.
No. 2. This shows the common error of lowering the gun from the shoulder
to load it during rapid fire.
No. 1. Correct kneeling position. Notice that the back of the left arm
(not elbow) is resting on knee.
Notice that the firer is sitting well down on the right leg. This is
No. 1. Thumb is around small of stock. Eye too far from rear sight. The
gun is turned (canted) to the right. The sharp point of the elbow is
resting on the knee which has a tendency to make the position an
No. 2. The improper manner of loading the gun during rapid fire. He has
lowered the gun from his shoulder to load it, which is a time-killing
No. 1. Notice the right eye. Notice that the left arm is well under the
gun. Notice where the gun is pressed against the shoulder. Notice
position of right thumb.
No. 2 Notice position of left arm. Notice the pressure of the sling
against the left arm.
No. 3 Notice the correct position of the legs and feet. Notice that the
toes are turned out.
No. 1. Gun is canted to the right. Sling is on the outside of the arm.
Right thumb is across small of stock which is the cause of bruises and
sore lips. Left elbow not well under. Eye too far from rear sight piece.
No. 2. Legs not straight. Gun canted to right. Left elbow not well under
No. 3. Legs are in an improper position. Body is twisted to the left.
Sling. Your ability to hold the rifle steadily in any required
position will be greatly increased by the proper adjustment and use of
the sling. Indeed, you cannot hope to hold the rifle steadily unless the
sling is properly used. The following photographs illustrate the correct
way to get into the sling.
No. 1. Notice that the left arm is slipped in between the sling and the
gun from the left side. It is then run through the sling from the right
side of same. Notice how gun is held against leg. Notice that the muzzle
of the gun is pointing up, not down. The bolt should be drawn back while
you get into the sling. This is to avoid accidents. Notice that the
sight leaf is down.
No. 2. Notice that the sling has been slipped up and over the large
muscles of the upper arm. Also the left hand after being run through the
sling is grasping the gun to that the sling is to the right.
By turning back now to the photographs illustrating the correct body
positions you will see how the sling is used.
2. Aiming. An error of one one-hundredth of an inch in the amount of
front sight seen, at the instant the gun is fired, will cause you to
completely miss a man 500 yards away. Hence, the eye must be trained
unless the firer has at all times a mental picture of how the sights and
the bull's-eye look when properly aligned. You should acquire this
mental picture during your aiming exercises and by the time you go on
the range you should have the eye so trained that you will focus it
properly on your sights and target without mental effort.
3. Trigger Squeeze. If you convulsively jerk the trigger to discharge
the rifle, you disturb your hold and aim and the mark is missed; this
is the recruit's most common error. To properly squeeze trigger observe
the following suggestions:
(a) As you place your rifle to the shoulder, take up the loose play in
the trigger (called the creep).
(b) When the gun is properly aimed, don't endeavor at that particular
moment to fire it but be content to apply additional pressure to the
trigger and then hold this pressure until the gun is again steady and
properly aimed when a little more pressure is added and so on until the
gun is discharged. By using this system, the firer does not know the
exact instant the gun is to go off and the common faults, namely,
flinching and jerking the trigger are unconsciously avoided.
(c) Fill lungs full, that is take a deep breath, let a little out, and
then stop breathing to fire.
4. Calling the Shot. If the aiming eye is open when the gun is
discharged, the firer should know at what part of the target the gun was
aimed at that instant, and he should announce this fact to his coach or
in the absence of a coach make a mental note of it. If the bullet struck
the target at the point where the gun was aimed the instant of
discharge, no sight correction is necessary; on the other hand, if the
bullet did not strike the target at the point where the gun was aimed
the instant of discharge, the sights are probably improperly adjusted
and should be changed as indicated in the following paragraph on sight
5. Sight Adjustment. If, after firing two or more shots, you find
that, in each case, there is a constant error between where the bullet
hits the target and the place where you called the shot, your sights
should be readjusted in accordance with your preliminary elevation and
deflection drills. When you decide to change your sight adjustment don't
be timid and deal in half measures but apply a sufficient correction so
that the rifle will hit where the shot is called. The inexperienced man
has a tendency to change his sights after each shot. Avoid this