Free Recoil Zero Shift

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Rymart, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

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    I finally got up the nerve to shoot the 338 LM free recoil after the addition of the new barrel and brake (DE Brake). The rifle seemed to jump less than my unbraked 308, and the recoil was moderate. I shot one 100 yard group with a firm hold on the rifle (normal for the Lapua) and one group free recoil (normal for the rest of my rifles). The free recoil group was smaller (0.59" vs 0.81") and it was a more 'triangular' group verses a more 'linear' group. The free recoil group was centered approximately 1.5 inches to the left of the group shot with a firm hold. Is this normal? I've never seen this big of a difference with any of my other rifles. Which hold should I use from this point onward as it appears that I will need to choose one or the other? I am more comfortable shooting free recoil, but question if that is the best choice for shooting the bigger magnums, braked or otherwise.
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    I can't tell you which hold to use, if it's a hunting rifle, you really can't free recoil it, as field positions are varied. POI change can be expected with anything that has significant recoil (even braked). Any of my rifles will move POI under changes in hold. Of course the heavier the rifle the less you will see. When I shoot my unbraked 7mm (only 8lbs) it literally tries to jump up and off the bench to the left (I believe due to torque from the bullet/rifling). If I hold it a little different on my shoulder, it will definitely open up the group.

    AJ
     

  3. Wlfdg

    Wlfdg Well-Known Member

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    AJ, My 7mm does the same thing. What do you do to counteract this?

    Chris
     
  4. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    :D:D:D Hold on tight!!! :D:D:D A couple thicknesses of carpet under the bi-pods help too when shooting off a bench.

    AJ
     
  5. Wlfdg

    Wlfdg Well-Known Member

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    Do you hold on to the forearm? Or just suck in the butt tighter?
     
  6. kweidner

    kweidner Well-Known Member

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    I understand your grief. I used to shoot BR and shot Free Recoil. Here is my take on it for what it's worth. Use what you are going to use in the field. I ran into an issue a couple years back shooting ALL my rifles free recoil off the bench. I too ran into POI shifts when I held the rifle in hunting situations. IMHO it is related to grip. The harmonics of the recoil are different when holding the rifle. I had to re-teach myself to shoot my hunting rifles with a hold. I now solely free recoil ONLY my BR guns and hold all my hunting guns. This has made a world of difference for me. You may wan to try it. Be careful when holding to use the same grip as you can push and pull the group depending on firmness of grip. I use a very firm grip now on all those said rifles and am starting to get the groups down to where they were prior too when I did shoot free-recoil. Albeit frustrating, it really is worth the time and effort.

    Hope This Helps,

    Ken
     
  7. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    I don't touch the forearm, I just have a firm (not tight) grip on the pistol grip (trying not have any left or right pressure or twist) and good solid cheek pressure. If it's not the same every time, your groups will suffer dramatically with a light rifle and heavy cartridge. I also always have forward pressure on the bipods.

    AJ
     
  8. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    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....
     
  9. Night Shooter

    Night Shooter Member

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    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
     
  10. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

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    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).
     
  11. Wlfdg

    Wlfdg Well-Known Member

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    Is it fair to say that on some level most shooters allow a level of "free recoil"?
     
  12. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  13. squirrelduster

    squirrelduster Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  14. gyesko

    gyesko Active Member

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