Tips on shooting off hand

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Billinsd, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. Billinsd

    Billinsd Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    I know this is a long range hunting forum, but I know there are a lot of really good hunters and good shooters as well.

    What techniques, and tips could you give me for shooting off hand? Lean against a tree? Use a sling, etc?

  2. 41mag

    41mag Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    When I was growing up my pop always had little words of wisdom he would pass along at peticular times, like "there's not substitute for tight", or "there's no substitute for a rest". Most of the time these little things seem to pop up when least expected.

    I have through the years found that even a handfull of tall thick grass gathered up in a bunch, will help steady a shot. I generally carry at least a couple of different rest when I head to the country. One of the more versital ones I have found has been the Stoney Point Rapid Pod. It has a small ring which attaches to your front swivel stud, and allows you to quickly put on or remove a set of legs, which come in a couple of lengths. I have two sets of the 25" to 43" ones which I use most of the time. They are very quick to install and easily carried along when stalking through the woods. They are also steady enough to set up bi-pod style and have your rifle sitting ready next to you while glassing.

    If by shooting "offhand" your referring to unrested shots then thats a whole other matter. It can be done with repeated practice and I have done my fair share of it. However, anything that you can use to stabilize yourself is best, and if you have something like that it is generally best to use your hand along side it to support your rifle. I have used trees rocks and even a dirt hill for support, and when I rested my rifle it was always off my had and not the hard surface. Resting on a hard surface will sometimes this will tweak the vibrations in such a way to throw your shot off.

    Depending on the situation, I have used everything from the grass mentioned above torolled up jackets, fanny packs, to my binoc's for a rest to make shots out past 300yds, and the Stoney Point rest for a couple of shots out past 400yds.

    IF your going to practice pure offhand shooting, be prepared for some humility even with your best shooting rig. I started at 50yds and it took a while to keep 3 shot groups under 3". After that 100yds was even more enlightening. For deer or anything else I would be very hard pressed to attempt a shot while not using something to help steady my shot.

    Hope this helps and if you get a chance look around for one of the Stoney Point rigs and try it out. For the money, mine have more than paid for themselves several times over.

  3. 52449

    52449 Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Practice, practice, practice. I think NRA rifle silhouette is some of the best practice one could get for pure off hand shooting. And it can be a lot of fun compitition-wise too! Find a club and give it a try. A lot of clubs have a practice night or a league also. Just watching some of the better shooters could give you an idea of technics used.
  4. Surveyor

    Surveyor Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2006
    I always found it is easier to control movement than it is to hold still, while shooting off hand. So, I make it an effort to slowly move the rifle (or shotgun) and touch it off when I get the sight picture I want.

    For moving targets, I move in the same direction, overtaking the target and providing lead if necessary.

    For still targets, I aim low and raise the rifle until I get my sight picture and pull the trigger.

    It does work better, for me at least, than trying to hold still, off hand.
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Use anything that doesent move.

    Even the best shooters limit offhand shot's to 200 to 300 yrds

    In NRA high power matches offhand is limited to 200 yrds and even
    the high masters have trouble getting perfect scores.

    As said earlier try to find a match that requires offhand shooting and
    enter or just watch and you will see that it has its limitations.

    As far as positions or stile each person will have a style that fits him/her
    best and can only be found with practice.

    Good luck
  6. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Bill, The jiffy sling is just your carrying sling set snug under your left upper arm (if you're right handed). It will help control the rifle if you're swinging for a moving shot. Hi-power competitors can't use a sling for the standing offhand stage, so they try to support the forend with their knuckles or fingertips and thumb, trying to get only bone from the forend down to the ground via forearm, ribcage, hip, leg, etc. they also use a shooting glove, or mitt and heavy, stiff shooting coat. Not practical for hunting, but the principle applies if shooting a stationary target. Practice position, aiming, dry-firing, and calling the "shot" when the trigger breaks. Shooting at bullseye targets helps develop good trigger control.... if your hit is outside your call, bad trigger control. If it's on, or inside call, good trigger control. If you start doing this, you will probably have what's called a 7 or 8 ring wobble. With a lot of practice. you can get it down to a 9 ring wobble. Few people ever consistently get to a 10 ring wobble, which in my opinion, is finally good enough to shoot at game offhand.

    I am in general a lousy offhand shooter, and get panicky if I don't have something to rest on or against shooting at game. It is way different than shooting at targets.

    There are shooters who seem to instinctively hit still or moving targets shooting offhand, but not many.

    Offhand shooting is a good skill to have, but very hard to develop.

    Good Hunting, Tom
  7. NONYA

    NONYA Banned

    Sep 12, 2007
    Proper fitted stock,a sling you can wrap around your arm and LOTS of practice.
  8. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    THe biggest improvement I had in off hand shooting was purchasing a 22lr bolt. I go to the range and while letting my 300 cool I shoot my little cz. I put about 1400 rounds through it in the past couple months. I still wouldn't take a off hand shot at past 200 , but now I have a much better chance of hitting what I'm aiming at closer ranges.
  9. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    my suggestion would be get with someone who has done it well and on a regular basis.

    My neighbor was on a National Guard/Army team that went to the big shoots. He did some of that 900 meter off hand shooting. He even has an article where, at the Canadian Nationals or something like that, he out shot the legendary Lones Wigger.

    We hunt coyotes together behind the house. He humbles me a bunch. For instance, 3 yotes take off at the same time. While I'm trying to figure out which one to shoot at, he has the 250 yarder dead in its tracks. His most notorious shots was precisely up the vent @ 70 yds w/a 40gr VMax in a Hornet. Both the bullet performance and his shooting was impressive.

    I do notice that all of his carry rifles, for yotes, are Rugers from 22LR, 222 and 223 all feel the same to me. Must be something to that.

    The difference between he and I, besides a bunch of experience, is that while I take just a portion of a second to think about some kind of a rest, he bags the yote.

    I've learned from him that the most important aspect of off hand shooting is the trigger pull. Even if the rifle is waving around like a flag in the wind, well at least not steady, if the trigger pull is right the bullet amazingly goes where it should, most times.