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Tips for better shooting "platforms"

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Unread 05-16-2009, 05:47 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: South Africa
Posts: 422
Tips for better shooting "platforms"

I thought I'd start this and see what comes up as there is a wealth of experience here and I'm sure plenty of good ideas.

I'm hoping mainly to hear what guys are doing seated off a set of sticks to get good consistency.

I'll go first on my bipod experiences....

Okay, so I'm pretty new to the bipod and I searched here and elsewhere. Initially I really found almost nothing, but a few weeks ago I eventually found some ideas. I can't credit those who gave the tips as I don't even remeber where I first saw this. I'm grateful for the advice they gave nonetheless....

Good results with a light pre-load on the Harris Bipod (I'm not sure other designs really lend themselves to this). I first saw this in the Froggy article and it's elsewhere here too. I'm leaning into the rifle and preloading the legs just a bit.

Great tip from elsewhere - get straight behind the rifle. I always tended to lie with my body and legs at an angle (always did shooting .22 prone at school); old habits die hard. Getting straight behind the rifle with the centre line of your body close to in line with and at least parallel to the barrel of the rifle made a HUGE difference. The rifle now bounces straight back and hardly off target - compared to the huge bounce to the left I experienced before. I'm able to have more consistent recoil and therefore more consistent groups. And I can see what I've hit after the shot. Follow through is important and this makes it MUCH easier.

Shoulders at most 30 degrees from perpindicular to the plane of the barrel (i.e. not with the one shoulder way in front of the other.

I've found that fitting an adjustable cheekpiece has helped hugely in all my shooting. I've got a Karsten Hansen jobby - very happy with it. I'm sure a Defensive Edge or McM would work similarly. I used to discount the cheekweld idea as I figured if the crosshair was on the target when I broke the trigger the bullet was going "right there". Well it wasn't! The rifle fitting article by Shawn is great on this and confirms my findings. I'm trying to look down the scope tube the same each time.

What the cheekpiece also does is to allow you to rest your head "like on a pillow" (idea from elsewhere). You can relax the neck a little more and have the rifle support your head. With a rear bag (to make this possible) this firm yet relaxed cheekweld seems to help consistency and control recoil a little too.

I use a fairly firm hold, partly leaning into the rifle and also trying to pull the butt firmly (but not hard) against the shoulder with the off hand. I pull a little with the right hand, but only enough to firm up the right arm (i.e. stabilise the platform). If you pull too hard your chest and shoulder muscles will tense up and start to move the rifle at the recoilpad end and probably create inconsistent recoil movement.

This has helped hugely, but I'm still learnign and don't claim to have the answers, just sharing my findings so far and still getting the hang of my own technique.

I'd like to hear suggestions and ideas on this and for shooting off a Stoney Point tripod or similar too please if someone has any.

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Unread 05-19-2009, 06:41 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Apache Junction, Az
Posts: 134
Re: Tips for better shooting

If your rifle was bouncing left or right during recoil, then you were not at your Natural Point Of Aim. Most people find their NPOA is with their body at an angle, but you can draw a line down the barrel through their hip and ankle. You may have had too much angle. If you are in your NPOA and your (right shooters) right hip is slightly elevated as your right leg is bent, recoil is properly absorbed and the rifle goes straight up and straight back down ON TARGET. Another common mistake is people do not shift their entire body to adjust their aim left or right. They get lazy and cheat. They move the rifle instead. Now they are not in their NPOA.
To check NPOA, close your eyes, relax, breathe 3 times, then open your eyes. The rifle will have moved if you were not in your NPOA. Keep re adjusting your body until you find your NPOA, then practice, practice, and practice it until any other position just does not feel correct (because it is not correct). A more advanced check is to actually shoot 4 shots with your eyes closed. If the first shoot is not next to the other 3, you were not in NPOA. It is common for a shooter to have the first shot on target and the next 3 to be somewhere else, but in a group. That group was actually in the NPOA. This exercise shows the shooter that his body position relative to NPOA needs work.
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Unread 05-21-2009, 02:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: South Africa
Posts: 422
Re: Tips for better shooting "platforms"

Yes, agreed it's almost only about NPA. The thing though is that you can hget the rifle lined up in a way that is still good if you close your eyes, but because of body position recoil takes it all over. That of course is not the true NPA I suppose. I found that straight behind the rifle was way better and was where I was off.
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