I started my Kraft journey a few months ago after I discovered the Kraft challenge through Chris Way on Instagram (https://instagram.com/gunaroundthesun).
After reading about it, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to give myself a baseline to see how my precision rifle shooting technique stands up against a paper target downrange.
What I liked about the Kraft challenge was that I could track and measure my progress whilst at the same time getting some barricade /positional practice.
Slamming steels down range is great fun. However, when conducting positional shooting at a paper target, you get to see precisely where your rounds are hitting - the paper does not lie! You get to see precisely where your rounds are hitting, and you can analyse the fall of shot for each shooting position.
I video myself and the target when shooting the challenge. Primarily it enables me to assess my shooting style and positions, but it also allows me to track each shot, so I know which impact was from each position. If I pull a shot, or the round does not quite go where I expected it to, I can watch the video and work out what went wrong to help me adjust my position or shooting technique the next time I shoot.
I love the fact you can upload your target to the riflekraft.com website, and it will give you fundamental analysis for your target data. If you subscribe to the website, you get a more in-depth analysis of your target and fall of shot. It produces a radar chart against target data to indicate group size, horizontal shift, vertical shift, number of groups, and it will also suggest ways to improve.
You can also make the challenge harder by adding 10 seconds to your Kraft number to put you under time stress. I will be doing this the next time I shoot it.
To ensure that I am comparing like for like, I control the height of my positions by using the same tank trap at my local range. That way, every time I conduct the Kraft challenge, I am shooting from the same height platform with each shot. You could also complete the challenge using a tripod and set the legs to the same length each time. The key is to make sure you use the same barricade or tripod heights every time you complete the drill.
The first time I shot the Kraft challenge, the bullet impacts had a lot of vertical movement (3.775 MOA) (Rifle Training: Kraft Challenge Shoot from Standing, Kneeling & Prone).
I shared my target online and asked Instagram users to suggest things that might help. It was great that people took the time to offer advice on things I could improve on.
Going back to my dry-fire practice at home, I worked on my fundamentals and attempted to iron out any errors in my technique.
The second time I shot the challenge, there was an improvement. It was a gradual improvement. However, there was an improvement! My group size was not ideal (3.375 MOA), and I still had some vertical stringing.
My goal is to shoot 1-2 MOA groups every time.
I decided to focus on individual improvements to my position so that I could rule things out. The main elements I worked on were: Butt placement - where the rifle connects to my shoulder/body, and my breath control.
I shot the challenge a third time, and my group size improved yet again. Slow yet incremental improvements, but my changes reduced the overall group size and spread of my fall of shot.
For the next month, I worked on my dry-fire training drills and focussed on those two improvements. I made sure that my butt placement was as central to my body as possible. My rifle butt now rests on the top of my pec/collar bone).
I then take two good breaths before each shot, ensuring the sight picture rises and falls on a vertical plane as I breathe. I make the shot at the lull in my breathing (the quiescent period) on the exhale.
I found the shooters checklist on the Modern Day Sniper website and YouTube channel, along with other excellent resources (Modern Day Rifleman's - Shooter's Checklist).
Using this checklist as part of my dry-fire practice enabled me to focus on the shooting process and break down each stage.
My process follows the principles I was taught as a Royal Marines Commando:
1. Position and hold - The shooting position and hold must be firm enough to support the rifle.
2. Natural Sight Alignment - The rifle must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort. Sight alignment and sight picture must be correct.
3. Shot Release and Follow Through - The shot must be released and followed through without undue disturbance to your position.
On my last trip to the range, I noticed a massive improvement in my target data, with my group size reducing to 2.1 MOA (close, but I still have some work to do…).
Using the Ballistic-X app, I recorded the shots in sequence to help me analyse each position (Shooting Rifle Kraft Data Challenge with 6.5 Creedmoor Precision Rifle).
Knowing which impact came from each position gives you more data you can work with. You can then hone each shooting position until you get your group sizes right down.
I have noted the shot number for each shooting position so that you can analyse your shooting positions. The shot numbers are as follows:
• Standing 1, 5, 9
• Kneeling 2, 6, 10
• Sitting 3, 7, 11
• Prone 4, 8, 12
Looking at my results, I had four distinct groups.
Standing - I had an upside-down triangle of impacts from standing centred about 1-inch above my point of aim for my standing position (circled in blue).
Kneeling - My impacts for kneeling were in a tight 1-inch group about 1-inch from my POA (circled in red).
Sitting - The sitting position pulled my shots right by about 0.5 inches and produced a vertical shift in my fall of shot (circled in green).
Prone - Prone should be the best results, and I should (in theory) be getting sub MOA groups. Well... it was an ok size group at about 1 MOA, but there was horizontal movement in my impacts (circled in yellow).
Having the ability to analyse your results provides you with an indication of what you need to work on for each position.
As rounds are not affected by wind at 100 meters the horizontal shift in fall of shot could be down to several things (but not exclusively):
• Pulling to the left or right on your rifle stock/butt.
• Squeezing the pistol grip (torque).
• Trigger control.
• Cant or swivel on your bipod legs or barricade bag.
A vertical shift may be induced by:
• Breathing cycle and shot release.
• Butt placement - making sure the butt is secure in my shoulder pocket.
• Unbalanced rifle - if the rifle is unbalanced, it will not recoil in a straight line. Also, keep the rifle level.
• Bag placement, rifle placement on the bag.
• If you reload, you may want to consider changing the bullet seating depth, finding another powder node, or changing the way you are prepping your cases (cleaning primer pockets, adjusting neck tension).
I will keep up the dry-fire training to hone my fundamentals and work on my shooting positions. Each time I go to the range, I will shoot the Kraft challenge to track my progress.
You can follow my progress on Instagram (https://instagram.com/joncresswelluk) and my YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/c/JonCresswellUk).
Keep low and move fast!