The One-Shot-Kill Drill

The one-dot drill helps you get on target and make accurate shots fast.photo by Jeff Wilson

It’s every ethical hunter’s goal to kill an animal with one shot, quickly and effectively. This one-dot drill makes for an excellent exercise to make that happen every time you pull the trigger.

Set up a target at 100 yards that consists of a series of solid black dots in five rows of five. The size of the dots is up to you. If you’re shooting from the prone position with a very accurate rifle, make them one inch in diameter. For less accurate rifles and shooting positions, increase the size of the dots going up to 2.5 inches in diameter.

Start the drill with your rifle set up on its bipod or whatever rest you’re using. Stand behind the rifle. At the “go” signal, drop down, get into position and fire five shots, placing one shot on each dot in one of the rows.

The first time you do the drill, give yourself 30 seconds to complete it. As you get more comfortable, decrease the amount of time. With practice, you should be able to get off five shots (and make five hits) in less than 20 seconds.

Here are the keys to success:

1. Proper form

In order to make successive accurate shots, you need to hold the rifle correctly. Get square behind the rifle, with the barrel of the rifle forming a 90-degree angle with an imaginary line drawn between your shoulders. Place a moderate amount of pressure with your shoulder into the recoil pad. If you’re shooting off a bipod, that pressure should take up the slack in the bipod’s legs. Rest your cheek lightly against the stock so that you’re make solid contact with the stock but without pushing your face against it.

The point of all this is two-fold. First, your shots will be more accurate because you’re not putting any negative inputs with your body into the rifle. Second, this encourages superior recoil management, meaning the rifle will move straight backwards and not jump to one side or another, allowing you to see the target, watch your bullet impact, and be in position for the next shot.

2. Trigger control

Dry-firing drills will pay dividends when shooting under a time constraint. A smooth, even press of the trigger straight backwards will make you more accurate. If you are consistently throwing shots to one side of the dot or the other, you’re not controlling the trigger properly.

3. Follow through

Good follow through depends on mastering both proper form and good trigger control. The best way to encourage good follow-through is to make it your goal to keep your eyes open and watch the bullet until it hits the target, while at the same time keeping the trigger pressed to the rear.