Shooting accurately is a key to the success of any hunt. The more practice time you can manage in the months and weeks before the hunt will be beneficial. However, there are no benchrests in the African game fields, so practice smart.
- Shooting sticks. Build or acquire a set of three-legged shooting sticks and practice with it regularly. Everyone is different, but in a relatively short time, most shooters should reach “pie plate” accuracy at 100 yards, and this will increase with more practice.
- Speed. African professional hunters’ greatest complaint about their hunters’ shooting is not raw accuracy but speed in acquiring targets and getting their shots off. Rather than just practicing shooting off sticks, practice starting a few feet behind them with rifle down and safety on. Work on getting into position, acquiring the target, and getting an accurate shot off quickly.
- Offhand or standing. Practice shooting unsupported at closer ranges. In the field, this should be avoided. But in close encounters, there is often no option, so spend a lot of range time shooting offhand.
- Reloading. Practice working your action rapidly with as little movement off the target as possible, firing two or three shots rather than just one.
- Use a .22. While there is no substitute for shooting the rifle or the rifles you intend to use on safari and becoming absolutely familiar and confident, shooting off sticks and shooting offhand can be practiced very effectively with a .22 rimfire—cheaper ammo, no recoil, less noise. Training with an accurate airgun is equally effective.