Best position for groups

Just curious to see what other guys results are from shooting prone to off a bench for load development and groups. Seems I've had best luck in the prone position with a bi pod and a fortune cookie mini as a rear bag
I get my best groups shooting from a bench with a front and rear bag, bipod the accuracy drops a little. if I shoot prone it is very uncomfortable between a bad back and neck and a fat belly. It makes it more difficult.
One thing I have done for years that has helped with bipod off bench or hard concrete is use a layer of non slip tool chest liner/drawer liner under the bipod feet.

Helps with loading and softens the surface a little bit.
One thing I have done for years that has helped with bipod off bench or hard concrete is use a layer of non slip tool chest liner/drawer liner under the bipod feet.

Helps with loading and softens the surface a little bit.
They have carpet cut to match the concrete benches at our local shooting range.
NO TO LEAD SLED! I have a neighbor who is recoil sensitive when sighting in. Of all things he made a rigid copy of a lead sled. He sighted his 12 ga slug gun using his home made lead sled. I cautioned him about the sight results. He would not shoot an off hand load to verify his zero. We got to Iowa, and after missing three different bucks, a friend shot it off hand and found his zero was almost 10” high at 25 yds.
I would say this is some really good shooting and a skill that most don't have. However, reloading and the accuracy part of reloading is very much like lab testing. Meaning that eliminating variables is key. By shooting off hand, most people are going to introduce a plethora of variables and mistakes that might render the load development useless.

My recommendation and lifelong approach has always been to shoot in whatever position gives you the best alignment with the rifle, so the recoil impulse is straight back, and not glancing off the side of your shoulder, or your finger glancing off the side of the trigger.

Also, lead sleds are bad in almost every way possible and I avoid using.them. Bad for the rifle, bad for the optics, and bad for your shooting technique.
Bang, I got a new Weatherby Mk V in 1980 and I heard Weatherby would not stand behind a stock when the rifle is fired in a no give rest like a lead sled.


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You should never ever use a lead sled. They can damage your scope/rifle. Plus the load may or may not work once off the sled if development is done in a sled.
Lead sleds are typically not for everyone nor every rifle-range work up. However, when you shoot very large caliber rifles with heavy bullet weights you can't take very many shots without being negatively effected by the significant recoil thus limiting your shooting experience and or developing a flinch and/or a sore shoulder and possibly even eye damage. I know there are guys that can go to the range and take what I'd call a recoil beating, I can't. When I am actually shooting at an animal, I never hear the shot nor feel the recoil.
I've used a Lead Sled from a benchrest for years for all of my .458 Win Mag, .375 H&H, and 8mm Rem Mag load development and scope-checks prior to African hunts. ( I also use it on .264 Win Mag, 8mm-06 with 200-grain bullets, and on 35 Whelen with 250-grain bullets). I've never had any scope problems with my Leupolds or old Redfields nor experienced loads that failed to kill dead-now or mighty fast (I've never lost a 4-legged critter and only a few tracks have been more that 100-yards).
How do the rifle and stock know that they are pushing against a lead sled instead of a really big ol' boy with hard deltoids (muscles)? The lead sled still moves a lot and passes along some recoil into the shooter's shoulder. (BTW If you don't tighten the ring-screws sufficiently the scope can move forward in the rings.)

*** At this point I started to write the basic physics involved in explaining rifle recoil but after two paragraphs I figured why bother and hit delete.

A lead sled does not remove all recoil from the shooters shoulder. If your barreled action and scope (no stock) was bolted down to a welded steel jig set into a ton of concrete the scope would not be subject to any recoil when fired. If your rifle was bolted down through the stock to a large heavy object so that there was little/to no movement projected, the scope would feel only as much recoil as the stock might allow in the event of the stock collapsing and or breaking.
I use four 25 lb bags of shot and a PAST heavy pad on my shoulder and the sled still backs-up but I'm not developing a flinch and/or a sore shoulder with the sled doing most of the work. I shoot 500-grain A-Frames out of the .458, 300-grain A-Frames out of the .375, and 220-grain A-Frames out of the 8MM Rem Mag.
I've seen very few other shooters using lead sleds and never met anyone that has damaged their scopes or plastic stocks using a lead sled, have you, or is this more range legend and hearsay?
I am a NO on the Lead Sled, but… can be beneficial sometimes. For instance when zeroing a scope. Shoot the first round not with the lead sled, set the rifle in the lead sled, affix it where it can’t move and then adjust reticle from bullseye to POI. Minimum shots required to zero.

Another use is for holding your rifle in place during the cleaning process.

I will also mention if the Lead Sled is NOT loaded with additional weight, which allows it to move during recoil then I see minimal harm in using it if needed. I have done this many many times in the past with no damage to any rifle, however at the same time not gaining any shooting skill development.
If one shops around a Tipton Gun Vise can be purchased for a very reasonable price, some times and places for slightly under $40.00. It does better at securing the rifle for cleaning or other work than the lead sled will ever be able to.
At our City range they used to have flood sand bags to use as rests. Sighting in my 7mm Rem Mag, I'd put the bottom of the buttstock against a sandbag and my shoulder against the top of the stock. Worked well.

40 years ago I filled a shot bag with sand and sewed the top of a leather boot to it. On top of my range box it makes a great height for shooting off the bench. I wish I'd cleaned the sand before I filled it. It gave off dust for the first 25 years. I found a large leather purse at a yard sale and filled it with (clean) sand and sewed it up. It is the right height for my rear rest.

On my first muzzleloader hunt, I sighted in without the bipod and attached it for the hunt. Shot 1 foot low at 90 yards. Missed the first buck I shot at. I've switched to shooting sticks because they are more veratile for steep up or down shots. With practice, I can shoot almost as well off the sticks as off the bench. When I was more limber, I could rest the butt of the rifle on my knee and still see through the scope.

For parallax, if you're far enough back that your sight picture is imparied, you get a black ring in your scope. You center that just as you would an aperature sight, and it takes care of the parallax.
I attended an FBI sniper school in 2004, the last competition we had was to shoot a 3 round .25" group at 200 yds on 10 power. I had a custom Rem 700 in 308, blueprinted action and 25" Hart barrel M24 profile. All triggers were weighed for a minimum 3.5lbs. My scope was a Leupold MK4 4.5-14-40 which didn't matter much because we were all on 10. We could not use handloads but Federal GM 168. Prone bi-pod with but bag was it. My 3 shot group measured .28 with the first two in the same hole and number 3 slightly outside. I thought I had done it. Groups were measured center to center using standard NRA guidelines.
This is a five shoot group, aim point is bullet hole left. The rifle is my avatar photo, shot with bi-pod and but bag on a bench at 100. Atlas Tactical action, Trigger Tech Diamond at 2.5lbs, Brux medium Palma 1-11, diamond lapped 23". I do have a 2 chamber suppressor adapter which serves as a break. The scope is a Tract 4-20x50 in Griffin Armament mount.
Beware that lead sleds are notorious for tearing up scopes.

Bi Pods that change position each time you shoot will give erratic groups, the level of accuracy you are looking for is an important factor. Sandbags on 2x6 and 2x8s with rear rabbit ear and bunny bags give exceptional groups.

Not all Bi pods are created equal, and knowing how to preload a bipod works wonders.
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