Shooting Springers – Supported Standing

I recently wrote a post about a shoot at Zone HFT (LINK) where I had trouble with my positional shots. This is a quick look at what I was doing wrong and how I have (hopefully) corrected it.

The Problem
I plated all of the supported positional shots, but didn’t knock any of them over. Despite being very steady on aim, all shots were hitting low and right. In fact it was the most stable I had ever been for this type of shot, because I was using a new technique. I was also very confident in the elevation and windage, so I shouldn’t have missed this much.
In previous shoots I have generally done quite well with the supported positionals, and only struggled with the unsupported. So something was clearly wrong.

The Cause
People with a keen eye may have guessed already, as I just mentioned it above. But the cause was the new technique I was using. Springers are notorious for shifting their aim point if you start holding them in different ways. However I thought I knew better than to actually test my new hold, and confidently started throwing lead in strange directions. Another lesson learnt!
If the change of hold was the primary cause of the problem, I would say the secondary cause was not testing and practicing new ideas. Trying new things is how we learn what works best for us, but there is a time and a place. On the day of a competition is not it!

Original Hold
My original hold was:

  • Feet shoulder width apart, torso at 90 degrees to the direction of the shot
  • left arm bent (elbow down into body) and hand rested on the support (tree/stake etc)
  • Left hand in the same position as the prone shot, using the same marker on my stock. 
  • Right hand in the same position as a prone shot. Very light hold

This had been working fine, but there was some instability which resulted in a bit of a wobble when aiming,  which isn’t ideal. With this hold I could knock maybe 50% of supported shots over.

New Hold
The new (but not improved) hold was:

  • Feet shoulder width apart, torso now rotated slightly to face the target
  • Left hand rested on the support, but left arm now locked out. Body weight leaning into the support
  • Gun rested over left wrist
  • Right hand in the same position as a prone shot. Very light hold


After finding out my new hold was causing a problem, I did what I should have done in the first place, and tested it with paper targets. At a 15 yard target, shot after shot was landing over a mil dot low, and half a mil dot to the right (no completely calm conditions).
Then I paid a bit more attention to how the gun was now being rested. I noticed because I have a small brown sticky pad just in front of my balance point. In the prone position, my outstretched finger touches this pad. It’s my way of ensuring consistency in the prone position. However in my new supported position, this pad was resting on my wrist. When I let go of the gun with my right hand, the whole thing started to fall backwards.

So I changed my position. I slightly bent my left arm which allowed the gun to slide forward a bit further on my wrist. Now it was resting on the balance point. The next target had 10 shots all roughly in the middle. Obviously the balance point was key here.
This wasn’t too surprising because it’s the exact same thing I found with my prone position. For some reason I had forgotten all about this though. I’ll put this down to a lack of experience on my part, and something to learn from.

New and improved hold:

  • Feet shoulder width apart, torso now rotated a bit more towards the target
  • Left hand rested on the support. Left arm slightly bent, but elbow away from body. Body weight leaning into the support
  • Gun rested over left wrist, now on the balance point
  • Right hand in the same position as a prone shot. Very light hold

From the pictures you can see the slight differences between this position and the previous one. Left arm is slightly bent, and the gun is sitting further forwards.

In this position, the gun is now resting on the balance point.

What have I learnt from this? My particular setup is sensitive to moving the hold away from the balance point. If I have any more bright ideas about changing my technique, I will be checking the balance point first and testing it on paper targets BEFORE a competition.

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