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In off-hand there are several styles of holding a rifle, only one of which is really valuable to the hunter. We have off-hand with arm extended, off-hand with body rest, and off-hand with hip rest. It is well known that a target rifle shot may be a very indifferent performer on game, and while there are other reasons for this, one of the best ones is that he adopts a position that cannot be used in hunting.

Off-hand, extended arm, the common manner of holding a shotgun, is the only style in which the rifleman should train himself if his practice is to avail him in the woods and mountains. The body rest might be termed the military offhand, many soldiers and guardsmen using it on the range. The method of aiming in the body rest is to bring the left arm in until it rests against the inflated chest, hand just in front of the guard, or the latter may be resting in the palm. In the hip-rest, the marksman takes a position that will throw out the hip upon which he rests his elbow, supporting his weapon, preferably on the tips of his fingers and thumb. The Schuetzen style of holding a rifle by means of a palm-rest is also off-hand, but Schuetzen methods are of no more use in the game field than a machine rest.

The soldier or the hunter frequently needs to place his bullet quickly, if at all; many times he must catch his quarry on the run, or it may be in view but a second or two, whereupon he must instantly throw his sights upon it and fire. Under the circumstances, posing for the body rest, or contorting for the hip-rest would be absurd.

The Schuetzen man is perfectly justified in using his position, for as a rule he makes no pretense of being a game shot, neither is he trying to develop the sort of skill available in war or sport. Nor can we blame the soldier for preferring the body rest; his officers are demanding sharpshooting results, and he must take advantage of any style of holding permitted under the rules. But when it comes to stopping a fleeing deer or a charging bear, in the words of Perlmutter, "that is something else yet," and he must shove his sights right on to the mark and let go the instant the bead covers.

Hand-holds, hip rests, hair triggers, telescope sights, heavy barrels, and miniature charges, are none of them calculated to graduate the man who must handle rapidly a light hunting rifle with a trigger pull of from three to six pounds and a kick that is sometimes hair raising. To be sure, any variety of rifle practice is better than none, but ultimately the student must be trained to the tools adapted to the work. From the foregoing it is to be taken for granted that the game shot will use the extended arm only, sticking to it persistently until he secures results.

Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.

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