Re: testing loads - lead sled v.s. shoulder
I'm by no means an expert, I'm considering myself a rookie in this shooting venue, but here's my take on it.
During load development, I'm testing the equipment to see what will shoot the best. I want to try and take as many variables out of the equasion as possible. I time my shots with a watch, watch barrel temp, set out wind flags, weigh every powder charge, and try and prep cases the way that match shooters do. Part of that to me means taking as much of the human tremors out of the rifle aiming as possible. I use something akin to the lead sled, where I just have to squeeze the trigger and make sure that the gun doesn't hop out of the rest from the recoil. Once I have the load that the gun likes, then it's off of the recoil reduction device and onto the bags/tripod to see if I can come close to the same group size, and to get the gun to put the bullets where I am aiming. Once that is done, then it's practice shooting in hunting conditions - off of the backpack, standing, resting against a tree, etc.
I still can't shoot as small of a group off of the bags as I can in the rest.:(