Finding NPA at the Range

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Finding NPA at the Range

Post by L-A » 04 Feb 2022, 6:06 pm

Afternoon all,

As a new shooter one of the critical concepts that one learns about is Natural Point of Aim (NPA). Where the crosshairs line up perfectly on the target. Currently I'm shooting at .22LR rifle (with scope) off sandbags (a Caldwell Dead Eye set) at the local shooting range. I'm a new shooter looking to improve basic skills at the moment. So I get down to the range, setup on the bench and....the crosshairs just line up on the center of the target!!!!

Happened to no one ever. Well, at least not myself.

So what is the correct way of maneuvering the cross hair around?

My rather limited knowledge so far:

Left / right:
Do - move myself on the seat (various NPA articles talk about using your skeleton, not upper body muscles);
Don't - cant the rifle, move my head only, use upper body.

Down:
Do - squeeze the rear bag;
Don't - life the stock by moving my shoulder 'up' and causing the rifle to be less supported by the rear bag.

Up:
And this one gets me - what do you do when the crosshair is lower than your target? Moving the rear bag forward and back on the stock will do it.... Though I was under the impression the best place for the rear bag was inline with where the cheeck/jaw made contact with the stock?


The next question is how to adjust when the target is substantially higher. For example, if I shoot at the 25m target and want to go out to 50m the rifle needs to be higher. So far I've been putting extra sandbags under both front and rear bag (2 under each). This seemed to work better (judging by groupings) than simply putting move sandbags under the front (and nothing under the rear) (three sandbags under front, zero under back).
I
s this the best way or is there something I'm missing? If I go out to 100m will it be like constructing a skyscraper? :D

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
L-A
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Re: Finding NPA at the Range

Post by bladeracer » 27 Feb 2022, 7:49 am

If you're shooting off bags just move the rear bag to align on the target, body position doesn't matter.
Don't fall for the mistake of leaning the rifle out of plumb though, the reticle must be vertical.

I rest the rifle on the rear bag (on the rare occasion I use one) so the reticle is low, then squeeze the bag to adjust reticle height.

L-A wrote:Afternoon all,

As a new shooter one of the critical concepts that one learns about is Natural Point of Aim (NPA). Where the crosshairs line up perfectly on the target. Currently I'm shooting at .22LR rifle (with scope) off sandbags (a Caldwell Dead Eye set) at the local shooting range. I'm a new shooter looking to improve basic skills at the moment. So I get down to the range, setup on the bench and....the crosshairs just line up on the center of the target!!!!

Happened to no one ever. Well, at least not myself.

So what is the correct way of maneuvering the cross hair around?

My rather limited knowledge so far:

Left / right:
Do - move myself on the seat (various NPA articles talk about using your skeleton, not upper body muscles);
Don't - cant the rifle, move my head only, use upper body.

Down:
Do - squeeze the rear bag;
Don't - life the stock by moving my shoulder 'up' and causing the rifle to be less supported by the rear bag.

Up:
And this one gets me - what do you do when the crosshair is lower than your target? Moving the rear bag forward and back on the stock will do it.... Though I was under the impression the best place for the rear bag was inline with where the cheeck/jaw made contact with the stock?


The next question is how to adjust when the target is substantially higher. For example, if I shoot at the 25m target and want to go out to 50m the rifle needs to be higher. So far I've been putting extra sandbags under both front and rear bag (2 under each). This seemed to work better (judging by groupings) than simply putting move sandbags under the front (and nothing under the rear) (three sandbags under front, zero under back).
I
s this the best way or is there something I'm missing? If I go out to 100m will it be like constructing a skyscraper? :D

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
Practice Strict Gun Control - Precision Counts!
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Re: Finding NPA at the Range

Post by in2anity » 01 Mar 2022, 9:20 am

L-A, NPA is more applicable to traditional sling-supported marksmanship, LESS SO modern crossarm, aka sandbag, aka bipod shooting. With sling supported, as you exhale following slow natural breathing, your sights should rise almost perfectly onto the target. Part of most sling shooters' shot preparation is to routinely check their natural point of aim. This can be achieved by breathing with their eyes close, and then opening again to see where the muzzle is "naturally" pointed. Then little micro adjustments are made to the body position working to bring things back in line, followed by actually breaking the shots. You could do this in crossarm also if you wanted I'm sure it would help. Dry firing is invaluable - do it lots, even immediately prior to your string.

I suppose crossarm shooting demands a straighter pose behind the rifle, making the recoil travel straight up. This will help you see the fall of the shot easier depending on recoil/caliber/distance. Me personally, on the rare occasion i do shoot crossarm, I still shoot in the kinked TR pose because that's what I know. That's how I always shoot. Consistency is king.

For crossarm shooting, currently the biggest hindrance I find is sometimes my pulse is making my reticle jump with each heart beat. Because you tend to lay very flat on your abdomen in this style, your pulse is accentuated. This is fine when you are nice and calm, at club level or casual, with a nice slow resting heartrate, because you can just break between pulses. But under the pressures of higher level comp, sometimes you get nervous and your resting heartrate naturally goes up, complicating things. I'm working on slightly different stances under different scenarious, potentially a position higher up on my elbows, for when i get really nervous towards the end of a big comp,

In contrast, for TR or SR, your body is kinked more and your abdomen is naturally up off the ground more. That and you have a heavy jacket with undergarments dampening the pulse. The pulse just seems less of an issue. Maybe I also just feel "more at home" in this position and tend not to get nervous, unlike when I'm shooting in comps that I don't normally practice.
At what point does lack of maintenance become patina?
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