How to Shoot a Rifle Accurately: A Basic Guide

how to shoot a riffle accurately

So you’ve invested into a quality rifle, expecting it to hit the bullseye. But what happens if it doesn’t? Is the rifle flawed? Unlikely. It’s more likely a result of an inexperienced shooter or a lack of the right equipment. Luckily, both of these issues are easy fixes. With a little effort and a little know-how, you can be shooting better than any of your buddies. Plus, getting your shot on target is a fun process, as it involves a lot of shooting and learning more about how your rifle works. Ready to learn how to shoot a rifle accurately? Want to know what gear is needed and what the best rifles are for consistent shooting? Keep reading to find out now.

Importance of Accurate Shooting

Before diving into how to shoot a rifle, let’s talk about why accuracy is important. Rifle accuracy is important in more ways than one.

More Fun

Go figure, shooting a rifle accurately, and hitting your target makes shooting way more fun. If you are in the backyard or out in the woods plinking, it’s far more satisfying to hear the lovely sounds of bullets hitting a can.

And when you are at the shooting range, you hope your paper targets have far more bullseye than the guy next to you.


If you plan to get into competitive shooting, it’s all about accuracy and speed. You need to be confident you can hit a target at least nine times out of 10. If not, there’s no reason to even sign up to compete.

While sport and competition are plain fun, they could also be a lucrative opportunity. If you’d love a way to earn money, or at least the opportunity to spend more time doing what you love, competitive shooting could be an option for you.


Hunting for food is incredibly rewarding. If you hit your target of course. If you don’t hit your target, it’s easy to feel like an entire day, weekend, or even weeklong hunt was a waste.

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When hunting, sometimes you only get one shot. It’s imperative that you can shoot accurately in varying conditions and in various positions. Learning to shoot a rifle accurately beforehand could mean the difference between a filled tag and an empty one.

Rifle Safety

Accurate shooting is also a vital component of rifle safety. If you are shooting out in the yard, or if you are hunting on the field, what happens when you miss your target? Where is the bullet going to go?

The best thing you can do is to hit the target every time. But since that’s unlikely, other gun safety measures are necessary.

You should always be aware of your surroundings. And you need to know what lies beyond your target in the likely occurrence you miss your target.

How to Shoot a Rifle Accurately

So you know why you need to become an accurate shooter. But how exactly do you do it?

Zero In Your Rifle

When you get a new rifle or any other type of firearm, it’s important that you zero it in, or calibrate it. Basically, the rifle sights likely aren’t set to your barrel.

It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the gun. You just need to align your rifle sights, and then your scope, up with where the barrel shoots. That way, when you look through the sights, you can be confident of where the round will end up.

To sight in a rifle, you need to figure out where your rifle is currently shooting, then make adjustments to your sights or scope accordingly. Start by setting up a paper target 25 yards away.

Aim for the bullseye and take multiple shots to ensure consistency. Take a look at your target to determine what adjustments to make. If you constantly hit the bottom right hand of the target, you know you need to adjust your sights to move up and to the left, in order to be centered.

This process takes a bit of patience. Help from an experienced shooter, or from a professional at a shooting range can make it much easier.

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Get Trained

If you are a totally new shooter, then getting some sort of training is an important step. There are certain techniques that are very important for handling a firearm safely, as well as shooting accurately.

How you hold the rifle, how you position your body, and how you pull a trigger will affect your shot placement. An introductory shooting class at a local range is an affordable way to learn the basics.

For further training, you could take individual lessons for one-on-one coaching, which is the fastest way to become an accurate shooter.

Use a Scope

If you bought a new rifle, there’s a chance it didn’t come with a scope. While you can use it without a scope, you’re going to be very limited on how far you can shoot.

There are many different types of scopes available depending on what type of shooting you plan to do. There are also many different types of rifle scope mounts depending on the rifle that you have.

Make sure to get a mount that is designed to work with your particular rifle.

Practice Practice Practice

After all that, what else can you do? Keep practicing, of course.

The single best way of becoming a more accurate shooter is to practice with your rifle as much as possible. You aren’t going to get it in one or two sessions. It will take weeks, if not months to become a competent shooter.

Luckily, many shooting ranges offer monthly memberships, allowing you to come in and use a shooting lane as often as you’d like. Taking advantage of one of these deals early on in your pursuit of accuracy is vital.

Plus, you’ll be around many other people who can likely offer tips, or who have the same level of experience as you. As a monthly member, you may even get discounts on other courses offered, which you should definitely jump on any chance you get.

Trust the Process

There are many different types of rifles available, and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages. One thing remains constant; it’s going to take time and practice to become confident with it.

So no matter what type of rifle you purchase, the process of learning how to shoot a rifle accurately will be the same.

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