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Scope Positioning: by Bill McLeod

31/05/2021 5:39 AM | Bob McMillan (Administrator)

Years ago I returned to Auckland where hunting opportunities were limited compared to my previous stations. A friend invited me to join the indoor 22 rifle club. He then proceeded to beat me in the competitions. This was intolerable to me. He used a rifle with a heavy match barrel which I thought was contrary to the spirit of the competition. My old faithful Brno was not up to the task. I needed a better rifle which still met my definition of a sporting rifle. We got a shipment of Remington 541S rifles at work. Had to try one. It worked. I could beat him. The proper order of things was restored. Had to analyse what was different between the two rifles. 

Accuracy was not the issue. Both rifles were very accurate. You lost points because you made a mistake in your hold or trigger let off. Checked the trigger release on both rifles and the Remington was superior, not by much, but enough to get more points.

The other difference was more subtle. My Brno was set up as a working rifle and I had been very successful with it, it was an outstanding field rifle. However, the scope was noticeably higher relative to the stock than the Remington. Mounting the rifles one after the other in all four shooting positions showed a marked difference in contact between my cheek and the butt. There was more support for my head with the Remington.There are four points of contact between your body and the rifle, each is important. The common term for the contact between cheek and butt is cheek weld. The scope should be at a correct height to enable you to get a good cheek weld.

I think a crucial element of rifle fit is the ease with which you can see clearly through your scope in all four positions. As you go from prone, to sit, to kneel, then stand, your eye gets further away from the rear of the scope. A mistake I’ve seen made is that the scope fitter will position the scope for optimal eye relief in the standing position. They clearly have not been successful competition shooters. I prefer to adjust the scope location so that I get a full field of view with the scope as far forward as possible while I’m in the standing position. Then as my eye gets closer in the kneel and sit the scope field is optimal. In the prone position the scope can sometimes be a little close but a bit of wriggling and maybe shooting with a little blurring around the edge works. Hard out competition shooters will have adjustable stocks to help with these issues but these adjustments are not sensible on a field rifle.

A couple of subtleties but they made a difference. Sadly, my cobber who took me along to rifle club drowned in the Churchill wetlands during a big flood.


  • 25/06/2021 8:31 AM | Anonymous member
    Good pointers Bill. I got my arse handed to me at Waitakere SC the other night. It's been so long since I shot positional I struggled to get comfortable and was all over the place.
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