Four MSR Skills You Should Master
A modern sporting rifle is a simple, highly functional machine. Using and keeping one running properly takes a little know-how.

To shoot a modern sporting rifle properly, you need skills specific to that type of gun. Here are four everyone who plans to shoot MSRs should master.

1. Remove a Stuck Case

To extract a case stuck inside an MSR, grip the charging handle and sharply strike the butt of the rifle against the ground, a bench or other firm surface while pulling down hard on the handle. Most of the time this move will pop the stuck case free. If you have an adjustable buttstock, collapse it to the shortest setting to avoid damaging the stock or buffer tube before doing this.

2. Safely Clear a Jam

Push an MSR hard in dirty conditions and sooner or later you’re going to have to clear a jam. When you experience a failure to fire, perform the smack, rack, and roll drill:

  1. Smack the magazine on the floor plate to make sure it is seated correctly.

  2. Rack the action to clear out the old ammo that might be causing the failure.

  3. Roll the rifle to the side as you rack the action to let the rounds that potentially caused the failure to fall out to the ground. You should be able to do this and get back on target and pull the trigger again without looking. If the rifle still doesn’t go bang, you will need to remove the magazine from the rifle, inspect the action to make sure it is clear of ammo and try again.

3. Use a Sling Properly

A single-point sling is a versatile, comfortable way to carry an MSR. These slings attach near where the buffer tube joins the receiver. Slings that have some elastic in their construction provide give and keep the rifle from jarring against the shooter’s body while he or she is walking or running. To correctly wear the sling, put whichever hand is used to trigger the rifle through the loop. When it is hanging, the sling should bear down on the opposite shoulder (i.e. the left shoulder for righties). Adjust the sling so that the butt of the rifle rides up at the top of your sternum. At this height, the rifle will remain held tight against your body but will be easy to maneuver into a shooting position. When raising the rifle to take a shot, index the butt of the stock against the lower part of your shoulder. As you life the muzzle toward the target, the rifle will rotate naturally into place, aligning quickly with your eyes.

4. Seat a Magazine Securely

When seating a new magazine in an MSR, it is important to smack the bottom of the magazine firmly with the palm of the hand. Then grab onto the magazine and yank down to make sure it is secure in the magazine well. If you fail to perform this smack-yank maneuver, sooner or later (probably sooner) your rifle will go “click” when you pull the trigger because the chamber will be empty, and the magazine will fall to the ground with a clang that announces to the world that you are a neophyte.