There are a multitude of factors that go into shooting a sniper rifle, from the type of round used, the type of weapon, the approach to target or stalking, the teamwork required between the spotter and the shooter, zeroing the rifle, variables that affect bullet flight, and a myriad of other aspects ranging from the basic to the advanced. This article on how to shoot a sniper rifle will deal more specifically with basic sniper shooting.
A firm foundation is the key to successful shooting. It is important to find an area from which to shoot that allows the shooter the ability to remain motionless for long periods and comfortably acquire the target. Snipers commonly make shots of very long distances, 300 meters is a short rifle shot. Even a small movement by a sniper when shooting can mean missing a long distance target by several feet or more. A stable foundation is imperative to good sniper rifle shooting.
Relaxation is another important aspect of sniper shooting. If a sniper is shooting while in an exhausted or fatigued state the sight picture can become compromised. A shaky sight picture can adversely affect the ability of a sniper to accurately make shots. Keep in mind that when a sniper acquires a target the reticle of scope will move in a figure eight pattern with each breath the sniper takes. Most snipers try to time their shots so that reticle is in the top portion of this figure 8 when they are holding their breath, not during the inhale or exhale.
Since snipers are renowned for making long distance shots they have to be aware of the variables that affect their bullets flight to the target. Wind speed and direction, obstacles in the flight path (windows, walls, other targets), sight picture movement, distance to the target, temperature, humidity and the curvature of the Earth are all variables that must be accounted for. In most of these cases adjusting for these variables takes years and years of practice. Knowing the distance to the target is perhaps the most important variable so it is important that shooters who wish to shoot like snipers know how to calculate distance to target accurately and adjust the sight picture accordingly.
Keeping a steady sight picture, relaxing while taking the shot, and adjusting the point of aim correctly are the key features of knowing how to shoot like a sniper.