The Theory Of Securing Correct Rifle Alignment (part 1)


A Step Further on Its Correct Use



A further article from the pen of Dr. A. W. L. Row, Toowoomba (Q.), appears hereunder, and is a continuation of the previous article by the same writer on the use of the single-arm sling, which appeared on this page on October 8. Read in conjunction with the preceding article on the same subject, it carries the student a step further on the road to a correct understanding of the many simple features which are all important to those desirous of profiting by the right application of the single-arm sling’s use.

Even those riflemen of experience with definite opinions of their own will be well repaid by a close study of Dr. Row’s ‘articles. He has approached his subject from a new angle which introduces certain scientific aspects worthy of careful consideration.

A diagnosis and a cure are prescribed in simple language for the many puzzling features which in a more or less degree are robbing riflemen of score points to-day. To those anxious and willing to overcome these difficulties a solution is offered by Dr. Row.

To introduce the left arm into the sling, hold the rifle in the right hand, pass the left hand and arm down the left side of the rifle and through the sling loop from left to right keeping all the twist in the loop in front of the upper arm. Then wind the forearm from right to left under the sling, then up its left side and over to the right side again, grasping the fore-end about the level of the back-sight ramp.The forearm, wrist and hand will then lie comfortably in the spiral twist, and against the flat and rough surface of the sling, at every point of contact. To ensure a non-slipping hand grip it is a good plan to rub a little beeswax or resin on the fore-end and small of the butt where the hands grip.

An Alternative Method of Attachment of Sling, and Insertion of Arm: 

With the method just described the rear end of the sling passed behind the upper arm, then round its outer side, then forward across the front of the wrist, and finally, curls round the inner side of the wrist and beneath the back of the hand, to pass upwards and across the top of the fore-end. A definite disadvantage lies in the fact that the sling passes across the front of the wrist and then, after curling round the wrist, passes, back across the back of the hand, and its tightening results in a pull to the left being exerted on the wrist, which is one cause of the foresight tending to wander to the left as the trigger is pressed. This pull necessitates a muscular resistance to counteract it, and hence tends to fatigue in the forearm, as well as irregular holding.


It can be avoided by inserting the arm as follows : Pass the left hand and arm from the left to the right below the rifle and behind the sling, then back to the left through the sling, and pull the sling up towards the armpit as high as possible. Its front end now emerges from the inner side of the upper arm and below the rear end, and passes forward on the inner aspect of the wrist. Now pass the wrist to the right over the sling and grasp the fore-end, the rough surface of the sling pressing up against the back of the hand. To ensure that the rough surface of the sling lies next the arm at every point.of contact, the sling should with this method have no twist at all In the part which, lies to the left of the rifle after its front end passes over, the fore-end, and its rough surface should face the rifle. To attach it thus first fasten the rear end. with rough surface towards the rifle, then pass its front end up the left side of the fore-end across its top, and down the right side to fasten to its front attachment keeping the rough- side of the leather in contact with the fore-end. (Alternatively, fasten the rear end as before,take one complete twist to the left of the sling, and fasten to its front attachment with rough side facing rifle; for use, pass the loop over the muzzle and pull it back and to the left so that its front end now passes up the right side arid across the top of the fore-end.This method of use is quite as steady as the first one, and to many is more comfortable, while helping to prevent the muzzle wandering to the left. It is more difficult to get into the sling, but it has the advantage that its upper arm loop does not slip down so readily.


To tighten the sling, point the rifle towards the target, and set the left elbow in its correct position (described later) then, with the right hand, push the rear loop of the sling as it passes round the upper arm as far up towards the armpit as possible (and do this before every shot) and while holding it there gradually tighten the sling by straightening the left arm at the elbow, i.e push the rifle towards the target, keeping the left elbow fixed on the ground when the sling is felt to be tight enough, transfer the right hand to the small of the butt and proceed to aim. It is most important for the maintenance of maximum steadiness to keep the sling as high up the arm as possible. Thick clothing at this spot not only helps the sling to grip, but also makes it more comfortable and prevents the transmission of pulsation from the arm arteries to the rifle. To avoid altering the length of sling, one should always have the same thickness of clothing round the upper arm; some roll the shirt sleeve up, while others wear more clothes e.g., an overcoat while firing. 

It is the marksman’s build which chiefly decides the best height of his.shoulders (and eyes) from the ground; a man with a thick chest and short, thick neck cannot comfortably lie as low as a thinner man with long supple neck, for he cannot bend his head back as far as the thinner man can without becoming uncomfortable this is a point of vital importance,since any forced bending back of the head to look through the sights will result in congestion of the veins of the neck and head, causing discomfort,blurring of vision and even a tendency of breathlessness in extreme cases.

In this connection it is surprising how often one sees a man wearing a collar which is obviously constricting his neck while aiming (since the shoulder and neck muscles bunch up in this position) also, it is more often the shirt’s neckband than the outer collar, and this being out of sight is often overlooked. Each individual must find by trial just how high his eyes need to be from the ground (and hence his shoulders) for maximum comfort in aiming and then find where to place his left hand grip in order to align the rifle on the target: the higher the shoulders the more bent will the left elbow need to be to secure the right height for the rifle, and the closer to the breech will the left hand grip be.While it is true that the rifle’s height can be altered by moving the left elbow laterally, yet it does not pay to do so to any marked extent, for this leads to increased strain in supporting the rifle’s weight if the elbow be moved to the left, and this to unsteadiness. (We must always bear in mind that what counts most is a method of holding which can be maintained uniformly even after the onset of fatigue, enabling us to score highly at the end of the shoot. One can hold steady for a few shots with almost any method,but a faulty method leads to a more rapid onset of fatigue, and causes failure finally.


Any pain or cramp in the left palm or wrist, or along the inner edge of the left forearm, means either that the left hand grip is too tight, or else that the sling is too tight (i.e., too short for that particular position of left hand on the fore-end), and is pushing the left palm too hard up against the undersurface of the fore-end. Any shortening of the left hand grip towards the breech will loosen the sling. but will also raise the muzzle, and hence must be counteracted by raising the butt on the shoulder, if the butt correction involves moving the height of shoulders however, to retain comfort, the sling should be lengthened — even an inch, or less of extra length will make a great difference in comfort. Speaking generally, when once a comfortable position for body, shoulders, and elbows has been found, do not alter it impetuously to compensate for even a trifling error in length of sling. Rather take your time and alter the sling — and recover confidence in your comfort of holding.

 Referee  Thu 29 Oct 1936