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Free Recoil Zero Shift

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Unread 09-16-2008, 09:40 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Re: Free Recoil Zero Shift

I'd like to hear the/your def'n of "free recoil".

My experience is similar to kweidner's. I had trouble with what I called free recoil in the light gun even with the 2 oz trigger....
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Unread 09-16-2008, 09:30 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Montana
Posts: 12
Re: Free Recoil Zero Shift

Well, from 37 years of bench shooting..mostly free recoil with 2 oz triggers and 36x scopes on things like a 6PPC, etc. I can tell youn the following. Bag handling is very important to maintain POI the same...everything must be as close to being the same as a human can make it. I use to try not to move, change position, and only moving enough to rechamber another round while trying to shoot a "0" group (which I have never done):(. I shoot big guns as well. I'm currently working with a new Surgeon in .338 LM throwing 250 Gr. projectals around 3,000 fps. That is a bit difficult for me to shoot free recoil. With that said I shot my first few groups free recoil with it and all were under .500 MOA @ 100 yards. I have been experimenting with some different bullets and noticed I have gone to gripping the gun and trying to "Absorb" the recoil...my groups are opening up as a result of this. A good front rest that might "squeeze" the forearm a little will help slow the recoil a bit. I even use talcum powder on my leather bags to allow the gun to recoil easily the same each time. Usually any position change or any different pressure asserted in a positive or negative fashion from shot to shot will result in a different POI. This may not seem like much if you are only shooting at 100 yards...but go out to 1,000 and you'll see a large difference.

Hope this has helped.
Night Shooter
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Unread 09-17-2008, 09:35 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 215
Re: Free Recoil Zero Shift

For me, Free Recoil = only touching the gun with the right (trigger) hand and the left hand goes on, or in front of, the rear bag. Medium to light grip (trying to be consistent) on the part of the stock behind the trigger. All of my rifles have vertical style grips (McMillan A-5 on this particular rifle). Not pulling the rifle into my shoulder with much, or any force, but nonetheless the rifle butt is somewhat solid on my shoulder as I am leaning into the butt of the rifle.

By a 'firm hold' I mean holding the forearm of the rifle just behind the front bag with a moderate downward pull on the stock, trying to be as consistent as possible. The trigger hand is pretty much the same as with the free recoil hold, but the rifle stock may be pulled into the shoulder slightly harder than with free recoil.

For me, it feels like I have a hard time being consistent with the 'firm hold' as the degree to which my left elbow bends varies based on what elevation (angle) I am shooting, whether I am shooting prone or at a bench, or even between the different benches at the range. In some cases the bend angle in my left elbow feels very ackward and it is a struggle to keep a straight downward pull on the forearm.

As far as field positions go, I try to practice those also. Before the rebarrel and brake, my rifle shot almost exactly 1 moa high off of the Stoney Point tripod sticks. I could not detect a significant zero shift shooting off hand, sitting, or kneeling (at least withing the variation of my wobbling in these positions).
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Unread 09-17-2008, 02:31 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Jackson,WY
Posts: 267
Re: Free Recoil Zero Shift

Is it fair to say that on some level most shooters allow a level of "free recoil"?
B R A S S- Breathe Relax Aim Stop Squeeze
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Unread 09-17-2008, 11:25 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Posts: 1,537
Re: Free Recoil Zero Shift

When I shoot free recoil the only part of me that touches my rifle is my trigger finger. My Ruger Varminter in 22-250 reams holes in free recoil but my 300Wby Accumark seems to like a gentle grip. I have shot it free recoil but the point of impact is different so it always is held like I hunt.
NRA Life Member and I vote.

Only accurate rifles are interesting.

Gordy and Brady.
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Unread 09-18-2008, 12:27 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sebastopol, ca.
Posts: 418
Re: Free Recoil Zero Shift

I shoot a 300 win mag and have done a lot of testing to find out the best way to shoot it accurately.
What I have found is a modified version of free recoil. I push my shoulder up against he butt plate and then only touch the trigger with your finger.
Any grip on the rifle caused the groups to open up horizontally.
Most of the groups before I figured this out were around 3/4 of an inch at 100 yards, after most are around 1/2 inch with a few between .242 and .381.
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Unread 10-06-2008, 07:47 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 40
Re: Free Recoil Zero Shift

Great thread, as I was just analyizing all the components of POI of my 338 edge and found all the above true.
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