BFTA Technical Skills Manual
- Updated by Maestro
© Produced by the BFTA & the NSRA
© Additions by András Fekete-Móró (Maestro), 2011-2013.
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1. The History of Field Target
1.1. The Early Days
Airgun Field Target shooting began in 1981 as an alternative to hunting. Targets were metal silhouettes of quarry species, such as pigeon, squirrel, rat, etc. A circular sticker was placed over the 'hit' area and a point was awarded if the sticker was hit. Because of the inconvenience of having to change the sticker for each shooter, a mechanical target was devised with a circular hole to signify the target area; this would fall flat when hit, and could be reset from the firing line. The target area was 50mm diameter and the maximum distance on a typical 20 shot course was 40-45 yards.
The type of gun used was spring powered and generally break barrel, in .22 calibre. The main reason for this was that the break barrel was the most popular type of gun on the market (with the exception of perhaps the BSA AirSporter) and at the time .22 calibre was the most accurate for outdoor shooting due to the types of pellet that were available; domed pellets such as Eley Wasp were favoured as they performed well in windy conditions. The only accurate .177 pellets available were flat heads that were designed for indoor shooting, because of their shape and light weight it proved difficult to achieve consistent results in outdoor conditions. A few multi- pump pneumatics such as the Sharp Innova were also used, but were not popular due to the effort required in charging the gun.
Range finding was done by eye, and individuals became expert at accurately judging target distance. Telescopic sights were used but the highest magnification was typically 9x. It was not unusual in the early days of the sport to have unlimited re-entry's for the main shoot, which meant that an individual could learn the targets distance and windage from previous attempts and therefore improve his/her score.
In 1984, the British Field Target Council was formed with the aim of promoting the sport of Field Target, and formalising basic rules of safety and conduct.
1.2. Field Target Today
Today's target still retains the silhouette shape, while the 'hit' zone has a maximum diameter of 45mm. A normal competition course consists of 30-50 targets set out at random ranges of between 7 metres and 50 metres. One shot per target is allowed, with one point being awarded if the target is successfully knocked over. Only one entry is allowed on the main course. Running alongside of this competition you will find various side events, such as; long range, vermin shoot with reduced hit zones, speed shoots and pistol shoots. All side shoots allow re-entry.
The skill in this type of shooting is in accurately judging the range of each target, and making allowances for wind and weather conditions, which can change the path of the comparatively slow and lightweight air rifle pellet.
Field target is a safe, exacting and challenging outdoor sport, which can be enjoyed by all the family. It is a target sport and does not involve the shooting of any live animals or birds. As a shooting sport, Airgun Field Target shooting is the quietest and the fastest growing - having been successfully exported to Europe and the United States of America. It is a year round sport, with clubs joining together to run winter and summer league competitions. Many open events are run all over Britain, at weekends. Shooters are normally graded at these events and therefore compete with others of similar ability, irrespective of age or sex. It is a great family sport and there is often good-natured rivalry between clubs - in the best sporting traditions.
2. The Law
It is most important that you are fully acquainted with the law in relation to the possession and ownership of air rifles, ammunition and their use with specific consideration as to the age of any participants (e.g. children and young persons).
The BFTA is not qualified to offer legal advice. The Law should be determined in your own country and even by region. Bear this in mind when attending International Competitions.
For the United Kingdom we refer you to the BASC site:
A handy reference PDF is available here:
These links may change so visit www.basc.org.uk and search for “air gun”
Safety with any type of firearm is everyone's responsibility. Shooting is one of the safest of all sports. The reason for this is that there are safety rules that MUST be observed at all times.
The two most fundamental of these are::
The majority of the other rules arise from the application of these two rules in different circumstances.
3.1. Safety with Airguns
- Never point a gun at anyone!
- Always treat a gun as if it were loaded!
- When you get out your gun check it is unloaded and that it is not cocked
- Show that the gun is unloaded before handing it to another person
- When you put your gun away check it is unloaded and that it is not cocked. Never put a gun away that is loaded
- When you are given a gun first check that it is unloaded and that it is not cocked. If you don't know how to, ask the owner
- Never pick up a gun without the permission of the owner
- Remember it is better to check your gun is unloaded 100 times too often than once not enough.
Operating the gun
- Keep the gun pointing downrange when in use
- Load the gun pointing downrange
- If you are using break barrel rifles or underlevers where the breach could snap shut on your fingers, keep hold of the barrel/cocking lever when inserting the pellet
Moving around with guns
- Never move between lanes with a loaded gun
- When moving between lanes open the breach and remove any magazine from the rifle
- When carrying a gun it must not be cocked, the breach must be open, the magazine removed and the gun carried vertically
- Keep your gun in a case when it is not in use
- If you hear a single note on a whistle or the command STOP, stop immediately
- Always obey instructions from the range officials immediately
- Never go forward of the firing line without permission of the range official
3.2. Safety with Compressed Air
- Don't rely on safety catches to keep you or your companions safe
- Don't attract people's attention when they are shooting as it may cause them to turn around
- Observe all the usual safety rules when dry firing
Many modern air rifles use compressed air as a power source. It provides for convenient an
effortless shooting but we must never underestimate the amount of energy that is stored up
inside a cylinder. A compressed air cylinder is a potential bomb if handled incorrectly.
- Store bottles away from sources of heat
- Avoid dropping bottles and hard knocks to the cylinder or decanting set
- Do not use any bottle or fittings that appear to be damaged
- Always check the charge pressure of unknown bottles
- Make sure your bottle is in test
- When tightening bottle fittings use a minimum of pressure, hand tight is generally enough
- When using buddy bottles or other removable cylinders never stand in front of the bottle as it is charged
- Always keep control of buddy bottles and hoses when charging
- Avoid looking directly at gauges as you fill cylinders
- Always charge your gun slowly, don't put full pressure onto the gun
- Avoid contact between skin and high pressure air
- Avoid getting oils and greases in the high pressure air system
Due to the movement created by breathing it is impossible to release an accurate shot without holding the breath. However as soon as breathing is suspended the body's functions begin to deteriorate as hypoxia (oxygen starvation) sets in. The eyes ability to function is the first to go followed by the muscles, which begin to contract erratically. Not least there is a feeling that 'I must breathe, I must breathe1.' as the body tries to protect itself. All of which are not conducive to firing a controlled shot. These ill effects can be avoided if breathing is suspended for only a short period of time. This is around 10 seconds on an exhalation, slightly more on inhalation. When breathing in, the chest muscles become tense, relaxing as you breath out. As we desire to reduce tension in a shooting position it is therefore desirable to suspend breathing on exhalation. The following diagram shows a typical breathing pattern.
V0 - is the bottom of a normal breath. It is possible to breath out more but not completely empty the lungs.
V1 - is the top of a normal breath. It is possible to breath in more (hyperventilate).
The shooter takes a longer, deeper breath which fills the blood with oxygen then a normal breath and lets the air out until the chest has the least tension, then the breathing is suspended for around 10 seconds whilst the shot is released and follow through takes place. The actual point of the pause, the number and depth of the breaths etc. is quite individual and depends upon the physiology of the shooter. What is important is that the pause in breathing is not extended beyond the 10 seconds. It is preferable to release the shot and follow through in considerably less than that, around 4 to 6 seconds. This may be possible in good conditions however it may be necessary to use more time in bad weather. In any case if the shot is not fired in the time that is normal for you discipline yourself to bring down the rifle, take a few breaths to reoxygenate the blood and repeat the process.
It is important to note that this does not mean full exhalation. Total forced exhalation is a forced position of the lungs and chest muscles, like a full inhalation. But there is a point approx. with third-quarter filled lungs, where there is no tension in the chest. You can recognise it when you need the same effort to inhale or exhale further. This is the best for shooting, this is the calmest state of the body. Actually it is an exhaled state, but it is not forced and is only as far as it goes naturally by itself. I would add, however, that breathing is not necessarily a source of errors. It can be used for fine aiming too. (see Chapter 5.3)
5.1. Natural Point of Aim
Natural Point of Aim is a very important thing in aiming. This is where your body aims by itself if you get into the position. Sit down, close your eyes and stir slightly, relaxing unnecessarily tense muscles. Now check where your rifle is aiming: this is the NPA.
Its usage is very important because shooting into the direction of NPA needs the least muscle effort, thus shooting errors reduce dramatically, i.e. you will hit where you look. The explanation is simple: if the target is not in the NPA, you have to adjust your body position with muscle effort. This is not impossible. You can aim anywhere, but you will have unnecessary tension in the muscles, the rifle is not supported ideally, and as you begin to focus on firing, your body relaxes and returns to the direction of NPA - and you will miss. If, however, your whole body aims correctly to the target, it is much easier to stay on it while shooting and the hit will be much more precise.
5.2. Aiming with the Whole Body
A lot of FT shooters turns the magnification down before rangefinding and aiming, to find the targets easier. You can gain time with this but it also increases the chances that your position will be wrong and the target will not align with the NPA. Sitting down needs practising as well: ideally, even with 50x mag you first take a good look at the target, sit down, look into the scope and you should see the target already. Even if the crosshair is not exactly in the middle of the kill, the target itself should be clearly visible at once so you don't have to search for it.
If you do need to change your position, it is not your shoulder and arm that needs to be readjusted in order to bring the crosshair on the target but the parts of the body nearest to the ground (sole, knee, bum). The explanation is simple: if you move your rifle with your arm, then it's only a 6-8 kg weight that will point to the right direction, that can be drawn back with the muscles quite easily. Whereas when you turn your entire body towards the target, the NPA of a 60-100 kg weight will look to the right direction and this will not move quite as easily.
In the following sections, the minutely described shooting positions are derived from the following principal: the entire body should point to the right direction with the least muscle tension, preferably bones should give the weight to other bones. Wherever possible, muscles should be left out of the game. Therefore, it does not matter if you need to rise at dawn and you are already tired after 3-4 hours of driving when at last you can sit down to shoot, because it is guaranteed you'll hold your rifle only skeletally and not with the muscles. This kind of rifle support differs only slightly from the stability of the zeroing stand.
5.3. Aiming with Breathing
Breathing should best be left out of the moment of shooting entirely but this can also cause problems. We're not shooting in a closed space in sterile conditions, a sudden gust of wind can come anytime, a string can wander into sight, and the well-built rhythm is broken. It is wise to consider not to avoid breathing but use it to our best advantage. Exhaling slowly and gently can aid us in the precise change of the position of our upper body without putting tension to the muscles in our trunk, hence the position of the rifle will be changed just as smoothly.
The approach of the target is usually done in the direction of where the weight of the rifle itself is taking it (from top to bottom, in standing position), respectively, or, where we put the more weight (bottom-up, sitting and kneeling position). In all instances the emphasis is on the relaxation of the muscles and not its tightening that should move the rifle toward the target.
Breathing can help this very effectively. While sitting, you can simply allow it to to raise the rifle to the target. While drawing breath you can slacken your posture slightly to avoid sinking, so as to keep the crosshair in place. During exhalation you allow it to raise the rifle a bit more slightly. One more breath out, rifle raised. The result is a well-controlled movement to the NPA with slackened muscles in your trunk while still breathing normally.
5.4. The 'Pretty Good' Aiming
In FT scoring is binary, practically it's all or nothing. It is as if the olympic shooters had a single 8 point circle in their target: all shots within the circle are worth the maximum score and all the rest will score nil. And this is a major difference! You have to make an effort to do the best shot, but a 'good enough' shot will be worth more if it hits. It is better to shoot within the edge of the kill rather then make extra efforts to aim for the middle and the pellet finally lands somewhere on the silhouette instead.
Every hit is worth one point and all the misses are worth nil. When you aim for the wind inches away from the kill it doesn't really matter whether your rifle is a tiny bit off the ideal point or not. It doesn't necessarily mean you don't need careful aiming before shooting, but never expect the crosshair to stop dead at the centre of a 55 yard kill. It doesn't even need to: if it oscillates gently within a 5-10 mill circle, in the event of a good shot (plus follow through, accurate rangefinding, correct estimation of the wind, excellent setup of the rifle, etc.) it is still a sure hit. But if you want to shoot an absoulutely precise shot, in the effort of taking the perfect 'snapshot', it's almost certain it's going to be snitched and will go wildly off the kill.
6. Follow Through
The aiming and firing process does not end when the trigger is released. The process of maintaining the aim during and beyond the release of the shot is called follow through.
Follow through is of vital importance, particularly in air rifle shooting, because the action of the air rifle is quite slow. It takes time for the shot to develop after the trigger is released. In a pre-charged rifle the trigger releases the hammer, which moves forward to open the valve, air is released which accelerates the pellet up the barrel before it finally leaves the muzzle and only then is it free of the influence of the shooter. During this period if the aim is disturbed a poor shot will result.
There are several physiological reasons to follow through. When you see the correct sight picture, you release the trigger but the finger doesn't move instantly. A delay of one tenth second, which is equivalent to your reaction time, occurs before your finger moves. Through this period the aim must be maintained.
Also the process of firing a shot requires some time (5-12 ms) but this is only the fraction of the human reaction time (which is 75-200 ms). A detailed article about the relation of rifle's lock-time and human reaction time can be read here:
What does this all mean for us? I know that all these tests represent only my reaction time but there are younger and older shooters in the scene so we can take my results as a good average and draw some general conclusions:
- Rifles shoot much faster than we believe
- We shoot much slower than we believe
The most important thing is that between what we THINK when we release the shoot and when we REALLY DO release the shot is 120 ms, which is about 20 times more than the lock-time of an average rifle. This suggests two things:
- Making huge efforts to reduce the lock time with 1-2 ms is not too effective
- Doing follow through is damned very über mega effective
Also, the gun is held in position by some muscular effort that must remain the same until the shot has left the rifle. Without follow through there is the chance that the muscles holding the gun might relax a fraction of a second early, before the pellet has left the muzzle, moving the gun and resulting in a poor shot.
Good follow through can be obtained by maintaining the aim of the rifle for about 1 second after trigger release. This is more than enough time to allow the shot to leave the rifle. Some shooters use longer periods of time up to about 3 seconds. It looks good but in reality is a waste of energy.
Most importantly, be aware that you should always keep follow through! And it is better that it is one second more, than just one-tenth less than needed... That single second in a competitive environment, while being anxious as well can decrease so much for you so that the pellet might still be in the barrel when taking it off. It's safer to insert a 2-second value into your routine: shot - one - two - lowering the rifle. Or you can connect the follow through with the result of the shots: you put the gun down only when you see the target falling with the well-known crash or you hear that nasty dink of the miss. Even if you miss, the follow through can give you useful information. For example, it could be that you have made a poor shot - or the shot was perfect but with a wrong estimation of wind. Follow through can be excercised effectively with a springer rifle. Here there is a slower process of shot and also the gun movement is greater, so any follow through error shows up magnified (this is why it's harder to shoot spring guns).
The other component of follow through is psychological. It is insufficient to physically maintain the rifle in position whilst the shot is fired. Concentration on the execution of the shot must also continue if the full benefits are to be gained. Continuing the attention to movement of the muzzle during the release you can obtain valuable information on the quality of the shot. This is referred to as 'calling the shot' and gives feedback on technique to be used for subsequent shots. It is very useful when deciding when to make slight corrections as these can be based on information from shots that you called as being technically good.
7. Trigger Control
Whatever type of trigger or method of control, the desired outcome is the same, to release the trigger without moving the gun from the point of aim. Any triggering method that brings about this outcome consistently is acceptable.
7.1. General Requirements
All triggers need to be:
- Consistent - if the release point and pressure of the trigger is not the same for each shot
good control and release is impossible.
- Reliable - not only to ensure good performance but also from the safety perspective.
- Smooth in operation.
- Can be operated with reasonably light pressures.
It is also desirable if they are:
7.2. Trigger types
- Adjustable for weight.
- Adjustable for position of the blade.
- Easy to adjust.
Although there are 4 main types of trigger, only 2 have found general acceptance in field target shooting. These are the single and two stage trigger systems.
Single Stage - This type, sometimes called a direct trigger, has no free movement prior to release. This means that the sear engagement has to be quite shallow if the trigger is to have acceptably low creep. This in turn means that the triggers of this type have been set at higher weight levels than the two-stage variety.
Two Stage - This type has a degree of movement before a further resistance is felt. Further movement beyond this point will release the mechanism. The two-stage trigger has deep sear engagement, which is taken away as the first stage is taken up. Due to this these triggers should be safer from accidental discharge. However the majority of two stage triggers are in fact single stage with the free movement built into the trigger blade.
7.3. Trigger weight
It could be assumed that, considering the desired outcome of releasing the trigger without moving the gun, as light a trigger as possible would be an advantage since this introduces less force into the system. However this is not always the case. An overriding factor is the shooter's ability to feel the point of release and control minutely the point at which the gun fires - not only in training but also in the heat of competition. For this reason the triggers on field target rifles are rarely set on the minimum setting. A weight of around 80-100 grams is light enough to give minimum disturbance but adequate feel. Experimenting will find the ideal weight for an individual shooter. The less expensive rifles may have non-adjustable triggers. These tend to be set at rather high weights and can only be altered by a gunsmith.
7.4. Grip and Trigger Operation
Finger movement is down the
centre line of the rifle
Finger pushing the edge of trigger
Finger too far round the trigger
The trigger hand must be placed so that it allows the trigger finger to pull the trigger blade rearwards down the centreline of the rifle. There must be no tendency for the finger to push the trigger blade (and thus the rifle) to either left or right. The hand must be positioned so that on releasing the trigger no lifting or pulling down on the rifle occurs. Modern air rifles tend to have a fully adjustable trigger blade but it's advised to use only the height and longitudinal position, he surface of the trigger blade should be as symmetrical as possible so the firing doesn't pull the rifle to either side. With the exception of shooters with very short fingers you shouldn't rotate the trigger around the vertical axis.
The amount grip pressure is a matter of personal preference. Although many books on target shooting suggest the use of about the same force used to hold a hammer when knocking in a nail i.e. a fairly firm grip, there is a great variety in the grip used by top shooters. In general, holding the grip and pulling the trigger has to be done with virtually the same force The muscles and tendons which move the fingers work together more naturally if they should exert the same power and there is not too much difference between the forces per individual fingers. However one or two general rules apply:
There is some debate as to whether the thumb of the trigger hand should be raised vertically, be nearly horizontal (as in a thumb-hole stock) or somewhere in between. As long as the thumb is not active during the trigger release i.e. changing its pressure on the gun then any of the methods will be successful.
7.5. Methods of Operation
- The right hand does not steer the rifle onto target.
- The grip must be consistent.
- Heavier triggers demand a firmer grip.
- The grip used on spring rifles is generally lighter.
There have been many ways describing the means of smoothly increasing the pressure on the trigger until the gun fires. The classic 'squeeze the trigger' is perhaps the least accurate. This gives the impression that the pressure is increased over the whole hand squeezing the grip and trigger as a consequence. Nothing could be further from the truth. In correct trigger release the only thing that moves is the trigger finger, the aim remains stable and the gun fires without any extra movement being transmitted to it. However there are several methods employed to bring about this action. All of the methods have been used by elite shooters at some time. The graphs below illustrate several methods but in reality shooters may develop a release that uses a combination of two or more methods.
There are several mistakes that most often occur in trigger release:
All of the above will transmit large movements to the gun as it fires.
- Snatching the trigger - that is a very rapid build up of pressure, made even worse if the finger takes a 'run at it' i.e. approaches the trigger blade at speed.
- Pulling through the first stage quickly and hitting the second stage pressure and continuing through.
- Taking up the first stage then releasing the pressure a little before snatching at the second stage.
||For a single stage trigger and a good hold the aim can be maintained and pressure increased until the gun fires.
||Alternatively, with a hold that is not as stable, the pressure is increased in stages, stopping the increase as the hold drifts away from the target area.
||Some shooters use a single stage trigger but the forefinger pulsates on the trigger blade before building up the pressure rapidly. This works on the principle that it is easier to complete a movement than to start one and cuts down the reaction time on the release
In case of two strage triggers these techniques are nearly the same but they start from the second stage and they start not from zero but from the first stage weight. This means that the trigger is more safe and there is smaller chance to form bad habits.
||For a two stage trigger and a good hold, the first stage is taken up boldly then the aim is refined and the pressure is increased steadily on the second stage until the gun fires.
||For a two stage trigger and a less stable hold, the first stage is taken up boldly then the pressure is increased in stages, stopping the increase as the hold drifts away from the target area.
||This method is similar to the pulsating method but is applied to a two-stage trigger. This involves boldly taking up the first stage and then the finger pulsates before rapidly building up pressure on the second stage.
Firing has to be always 'unexpected', because it reduces the chance of snatching the rifle - but we must also be a bit aware of its occurance, otherwise we would only pull the trigger through long seconds, waiting for the surprise. With certain practice you can keep the force of the trigger on 80-90% of the releasing force and at the right moment you need only a very small movement to fire, which - exactly because of this smallness - can be a bit faster compared to a movement we build up from zero.
It is important that firing may be a quick movement but never a sudden twitch!
Most Field Target rifles have a two stage trigger but the quality match triggers usually can be set to direct as well. For beginners, though - especially in the first time - it is recommended to use a 80-100 g two stage trigger. This gives a greater safety in general, and because the pre-tension has already been built in the finger and the force has to be only increased, thus there is less chance of bad trigger techniques. Any 'exam nerves' are more manageable with a two stage trigger.
Then after a few years of practicing, if you already know exactly why, how and what happens during the firing process, you can start experimenting - but always set only one thing at a time, and test with a lot of shots and analyse the experiences - and develop a trigger characteristics which suits your physical/mental shape the best.
8. Free Style
|In these pictures you can see the sitting position of 48 English shooters from the same camera viewpoint, it's a very informative collection.
Photos made by Simon Evans at BFTA Grand Prix, Tondu, May 2011.
The majority of targets on the Field Target course can be taken freestyle, which, as the name suggests, is any position off the competitor's choosing. Whilst there are people who have gained some success from other positions the most prominent position for the freestyle section is the sitting position. This position started in the early eighties and is an amalgam of other previous sitting positions used in other disciplines tailored to the special requirements of the air rifle. The advantages of this position are its stability, ease of use, relative comfort and sufficient ground clearance. E.g. prone is more stable but it's hard to get into the position, rangefind and view the targets, so it's not widely used.
The position is constructed as follows. The majority of the weight is taken by the shooting cushion which is a strong waterproof bag part filled with a supportive material (such as polystyrene balls) to a maximum height of 4 inches. The knees are drawn up towards the chest and the rifle supported over the left knee in some way, in the case of the picture by the left elbow. Better stability is achieved if the feet are in full contact with the floor but they must do so naturally and not be forced downward. Adjusting the height of the cushion may facilitate this. The right hand takes up the grip but does not steer the rifle and the right knee supports the right elbow. The left hand may rest on the right forearm or wherever is convenient so that muscular tension is minimised. The back is allowed to form a natural arch so that tension in the postural muscles is minimised.
It must be noted that the various lengths of an individuals limbs and body will have a great effect on the outward appearance of the position, as they are all interrelated. In all cases the shoulders must be maintained in the same plane as the pelvis when looking from above. If this is not achieved side-to-side movement will result. To facilitate this it is best to use this as the starting point when constructing the position from the outset to ensure a good foundation for development.
As the sitting position has developed 2 distinct variations have emerged. Both positions have been used by elite shooters to equal effect and indeed some have changed between the two.
8.2. Variation 1
In this variation the body leans further forward and the weight of the body and gun is spread between the buttocks and the feet.
||The buttocks take about 60% of the weight whilst the feet have 20% each. The centre of gravity of the whole position is further forward with some bodyweight transmitted to the feet via the knees. The torso, shoulders and arms should be as relaxed as possible in order not to transmit unnecessary force to the
8.3. Variation 2
This variation is actually more like the kneeling position in its construction and weight distribution.
8.4. Other Variations
||The majority of the weight is supported by the buttocks (around 80%). The back is allowed to form a natural arch but the body does not lean forward as much as in the previous position. The right leg is allowed to fall into a natural position with the foot on its side but bares very little weight other than its own. The left leg bares mainly the weight of the rifle. The right shoulder is allowed to hang in a natural position and is not lifted to steer the rifle. The general feeling is that the body weight is resting on the buttocks and the rifle is resting on the knee.
Variation II above is being further developed and it's going to be Variation III sometimes, every year I can see more people using it at the international competitions. Typically, shooters change from I to II and II to III and only very rarely back. This means for me that these modifications are tried and trusted in practice, and are really useful.
|The difference is not too noticeable on these photos but you can recognise this variation from the position of the rifle and the right elbow. Depending on the build of the shooter it can be quite versatile (see the photos), but the point is always the same: the rifle is supported on both knees, and this position is very stable even in windy weather.
||It is similar to Variation II, but the essential difference is that the shooter supports the rifle on both knees (more specifically, on the top of the left knee and on the right thigh near the knee). To achieve this, he has to lean closer to his knees, the butt pad is closer to the elbow, and he also leans to the right more or less, depending on his body proportions. The left foot is in the usual position, the right foot on the side as in Variation II. It requires a certain degree of flexibility, but it is very stable position.
|Those who have legs and arms long enough and are quite flexible and/or thin, can place the elbow around their right knee. This is more stable compared with the usual position where the elbow is only on the top of the knee. On the left there is a more common example whilst on the right a much more extreme shooting position. This can be horribly steady but only one out of a several hundred people can do this...
||There are other exotic shooting positions which can be observed only from shooters from certain countries, e.g. Germany (on the left) and South Africa (on the right). I suspect they have been developed originally by a good shooter to fit his own body and became fashionable in the local community because they are not widely used in contrast to the variations of the basic sitting position.
Be aware that good shooters don't necessarily mean a good example for everyone. What is perfect for them, to their own bodies and habits, can be wrong for somebody else. The most appropriate shooting position for you can be easily determined: the ideal position is which you shoot the best results from.
Everyone should develop his own position - which, moreover, is a continuous process. You form your position over the years. The rifle is constantly changing as people are experimenting with new settings: they change the butt plate, order a new stock or even replace the whole gun. Any of these changes will mean that the shooting position has to be reconsidered, and changed if necessary. But even if we don't tamper the rifle at all, the shooter himself changes over time: develops a little belly, has problems with his knees or waist. So, the shooter's position keeps changing and developing constantly.
In the photos below you can see how my sitting position changed in the last seven years. It's worth taking a picture of your shooting position every few months, it can be very informative to look back and follow the changes.