Help, I recently realized I don't know how to shoot.

Golovkin

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Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
84
So I realized I don't know crap about shooting big guns. This hurts a bit considering I've shot guns since I was 10yrs old.

I took my 338RUM to the range to try out my custom dial scope that leupold retrofitted. I get it dialed in by putting it on a gun rest (the kind that holds the gun and has a strap across the bottom of the butt). I put two bags of lead shot on the front legs to absorb some recoil and sight it in at 100yds.

Then I decide to go prone and shoot off a bipod at 200 300 and 400...

But all shots are at the bottom or below the paper...

Now out of time, I had to leave and think about why the rifle shot high off the rest and low off the bipod. I imagine its because the high recoiling rifle is "stuck" on that rest and is experiencing muzzle rise before the bullet departs whereas from the bipod it is kicking straight back and the top off the butt is anchored off my shoulder vs. rocking up because the bottom is trapped by a strap?

I think this issue is relative to the amount of recoil, therefore shooting a high recoiling rifle requires more skill, so where do I go to learn how to shoot right?

I obviously need to sight in from actual shooting positions , but there is probably a ton to learn so that the gun recoils off my shoulder consistently also?
 

Dog Rocket

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Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
464
Location
Washington State
You have just finally learned why those rests suck. By locking the buttstock in place, the rifle cannot recoil in a straight line. It is constrained on the bottom and to the rear. The only place left is up.

The varminters get away with it because there is so little recoil to begin with, and the barrel time of the bullet is so much less since the bullets are moving out so fast.

You aren't the first one to find this out the hard way.
 

Golovkin

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Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
84
You have just finally learned why those rests suck. By locking the buttstock in place, the rifle cannot recoil in a straight line. It is constrained on the bottom and to the rear. The only place left is up.

The varminters get away with it because there is so little recoil to begin with, and the barrel time of the bullet is so much less since the bullets are moving out so fast.

You aren't the first one to find this out the hard way.
Thanks for confirming whats going on, I can hardly believe how much difference there is!
 

MarkA

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Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
328
Thanks for confirming whats going on, I can hardly believe how much difference there is!
At 1500 yds it can easily be in the 10 foot miss range! Same way you can't just shoot big boomers free recoil without holding the front of the stock. I have learned to imagine about 5 lbs down force with my front hand! Works great and is really easy, just have to remember to do it!
 

Rick Richard

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Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
3,181
Location
North Carolina
So I realized I don't know crap about shooting big guns. This hurts a bit considering I've shot guns since I was 10yrs old.

I took my 338RUM to the range to try out my custom dial scope that leupold retrofitted. I get it dialed in by putting it on a gun rest (the kind that holds the gun and has a strap across the bottom of the butt). I put two bags of lead shot on the front legs to absorb some recoil and sight it in at 100yds.

Then I decide to go prone and shoot off a bipod at 200 300 and 400...

But all shots are at the bottom or below the paper...

Now out of time, I had to leave and think about why the rifle shot high off the rest and low off the bipod. I imagine its because the high recoiling rifle is "stuck" on that rest and is experiencing muzzle rise before the bullet departs whereas from the bipod it is kicking straight back and the top off the butt is anchored off my shoulder vs. rocking up because the bottom is trapped by a strap?

I think this issue is relative to the amount of recoil, therefore shooting a high recoiling rifle requires more skill, so where do I go to learn how to shoot right?

I obviously need to sight in from actual shooting positions , but there is probably a ton to learn so that the gun recoils off my shoulder consistently also?
Changing from shooting off a front rest, lead sled or bipod will all have a different POI, which is especially noticeable at longer ranges. Pick the one you will most likely shoot from and zero from there.
 

therifleman556

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Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Messages
1,118
Location
The Banned Wagon
I don't shoot hard kicking guns off of a solid rest or bipod. Too hard to control the bounce. I'll have the forend in my hand, hand on a bag, and a sling if needed. Only time I got scoped was with a 10 pound 7RM I was shooting cross armed off of a bipod. I've always got a hand holding the forend down after that.
 

jrock

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Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,076
Yes, POI will change with almost any type of rest. Hence, I think its important to sight in for hunting based on the rest you plan to use in the field. I've read articles that shooting off bipods rest on concrete, dirt, and rocks all had different POI. Of my bench and bags, I have found that my POI at 100 yards was off by .25 to .5" than shooting off a bipod on the ground.
 

chilli42

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Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
54
Location
British Columbia
Similar to what others here have said, you need to shoot off the same support you will use in the field if you expect to hit the same POI. When I am shooting with any of my guns I take my backpack, fill it up and shoot off that - it’s what I do in the field. My rear support is a sock filled with dried beans. Again, it’s what I use in the field. Finally I always use my sling - nothing fancy here either but it helps control recoil.
 

J Doss

Active Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
42
Location
San Angelo, TX
Everyone shoulders a rifle different when shooting in different positions and at different vertical angles. These very slight differences in shouldering cause the variances in MOA.
Most of the comments here have already suggested practicing from whatever rest and position you normally are in when taking shots while hunting.
Another tip is to practice shouldering your rifle and then changing your body position and shooting angles to develop muscle memory for consistent shouldering.
This isn't a cure all but will bring a little more consistency than the .2 to .5 MOAs.
Practice, Practise, Practice!!!!
 

Chase723

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Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
340
There are multiple reasons for what you experienced. The following is a list of things that can cause POI shifts with changes in position.

1) Don’t use those rests. You don’t shoot with them in the field and your body position when shooting from them is all jacked up to accommodate the rest. Also, if it’s a lead sled and your shooting an unbraked large cartridge rifle off of it it places a lot of stress on your rifles components. It can cause things to loosen and potentially damage scopes. 2) Parallax. Absolutely needs to be adjusted for whatever distance you’re shooting, especially the further out you start to reach. 3) Scope shadow/head position. If you have scope shadow it needs to be equal all the way around and your head position/cheek weld should be consistent shot to shot to make this happen. 4) Pressure on the buttstock. Google/YouTube recoil management/controlled recoil. Basically, you only need enough to load your bipod or rest and stabilize it on target. Too much can push your shots around. Too little (like free recoil-which I’m not a fan of) with a heavier cartridge and you will get hit in the face...especially with a light rifle. 5) If you’re not shooting with a rear bag you should start. It not only helps to greatly stabilize your shot, but it lets the rifle recoil/ride straight back into you. If you don’t shoot with one there’s a tendency for the buttstock to move around. Usually down. 6) Your rifle, or at least your optic, isn’t level from shot to shot. 7) Even if you have a bubble level or inclinometer on your scope your reticle may not be orthogonal to it. Meaning when the bubble reads level your reticle isn’t exactly perpendicular to it and thus when you dial it doesn’t dial straight up. There are multiple ways to check this. The easiest is to set it either to a plum line or draw a perfectly vertical line on a large target with a level. 8) Inconsistent trigger pull.

Regardless of the position you’re shooting from, try to do the following and I would bet that things tighten up. The fundamental goals are for things to be consistent shot to shot, for you to be straight behind the rifle, and for the rifle to recoil straight back into you.

1) Get square behind the rifle. 2) If prime or shooting off a bench, use a rear bag. 3) Adjust you’re parallax. 4) Consistent head position/cheek weld and Make sure scope shadow is equal all the way around. 5) Load your bipod/have solid consistent pressure into the buttstock. 6) Put a bubble level or inclinometer on your scope and make sure that your reticle is set to be perfectly vertical when it reads level. Quickly check your level or inclinometer prior to every shot. 7) Put a good trigger in your rifle and adjust it as low as you feel safe for you. No question lighter triggers let you break shots more consistently, which=less POI shift and better groups. There’s lots of options out there. Personally, I use TriggerTechs set at 1.5lbs. For two of my rifles this is perfect. On one of them I wish it was 1lb. 8) Don’t be surprised when your rifle goes off. You should know it’s going to happen and just be ready for it. If your surprised you’re going to jerk.

The bigger the cartridge the more these fundamentals matter. You can’t push them around and force them to do things like you can with smaller cartridges.
 

ofbandg

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Joined
Jul 26, 2015
Messages
180
With my big guns I sight them in at the range over sand bags. One bag at the butt and another under the mag. Years ago I cut up an old sling and leave a chunk of it in my shooting box with a detachable swivel on it. I hook that to the front of the stock and twist my hand around it to hold it and I brace my hand (now a fist) to the underside of the stock or up against the front sandbag. It is very steady. It also helps that I do the same kind of forward hold in the field with a regular sling when I have ample time to sit down, put my pack between my legs and place my hand on top of the pack.
 

nicholasjohn

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Joined
Feb 12, 2019
Messages
630
Location
Vancouver, WA
There are multiple reasons for what you experienced. The following is a list of things that can cause POI shifts with changes in position.

1) Don’t use those rests. You don’t shoot with them in the field and your body position when shooting from them is all jacked up to accommodate the rest. Also, if it’s a lead sled and your shooting an unbraked large cartridge rifle off of it it places a lot of stress on your rifles components. It can cause things to loosen and potentially damage scopes. 2) Parallax. Absolutely needs to be adjusted for whatever distance you’re shooting, especially the further out you start to reach. 3) Scope shadow/head position. If you have scope shadow it needs to be equal all the way around and your head position/cheek weld should be consistent shot to shot to make this happen. 4) Pressure on the buttstock. Google/YouTube recoil management/controlled recoil. Basically, you only need enough to load your bipod or rest and stabilize it on target. Too much can push your shots around. Too little (like free recoil-which I’m not a fan of) with a heavier cartridge and you will get hit in the face...especially with a light rifle. 5) If you’re not shooting with a rear bag you should start. It not only helps to greatly stabilize your shot, but it lets the rifle recoil/ride straight back into you. If you don’t shoot with one there’s a tendency for the buttstock to move around. Usually down. 6) Your rifle, or at least your optic, isn’t level from shot to shot. 7) Even if you have a bubble level or inclinometer on your scope your reticle may not be orthogonal to it. Meaning when the bubble reads level your reticle isn’t exactly perpendicular to it and thus when you dial it doesn’t dial straight up. There are multiple ways to check this. The easiest is to set it either to a plum line or draw a perfectly vertical line on a large target with a level. 8) Inconsistent trigger pull.

Regardless of the position you’re shooting from, try to do the following and I would bet that things tighten up. The fundamental goals are for things to be consistent shot to shot, for you to be straight behind the rifle, and for the rifle to recoil straight back into you.

1) Get square behind the rifle. 2) If prime or shooting off a bench, use a rear bag. 3) Adjust you’re parallax. 4) Consistent head position/cheek weld and Make sure scope shadow is equal all the way around. 5) Load your bipod/have solid consistent pressure into the buttstock. 6) Put a bubble level or inclinometer on your scope and make sure that your reticle is set to be perfectly vertical when it reads level. Quickly check your level or inclinometer prior to every shot. 7) Put a good trigger in your rifle and adjust it as low as you feel safe for you. No question lighter triggers let you break shots more consistently, which=less POI shift and better groups. There’s lots of options out there. Personally, I use TriggerTechs set at 1.5lbs. For two of my rifles this is perfect. On one of them I wish it was 1lb. 8) Don’t be surprised when your rifle goes off. You should know it’s going to happen and just be ready for it. If your surprised you’re going to jerk.

The bigger the cartridge the more these fundamentals matter. You can’t push them around and force them to do things like you can with smaller cartridges.

This was an excellent response. One thing in particular struck a chord with me. You wrote something here that addresses something that has been one of my pet peeves for a long time : Knowing when the rifle is going to fire. I have read countless time that it should be a surprise when the gun goes bang. This is completely wrong, and I don't know who ever thought up this notion. It may work well enough in some situations, but in most shooting of live game, it doesn't work well at all.

I have shot a boatload of whitetails that were running like bunny rabbits through brush and/or timber, fifty or sixty yards from the muzzle. It's actually easy shooting, but only if you know exactly when the trigger is going to break. If you don't, you're not going to hit very many running deer. Worse, you're probably going to hit a few of them "around the edges." If your deer are standing still, they had better be close to the gun, or the results will be very similar. One of the reasons we practice is so that we KNOW when the trigger is going to break and send the bullet down range. Of course, there are many other things that are equally important, but this one shouldn't be left out of the equation.
 

Pro2A

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
168
So I realized I don't know crap about shooting big guns. This hurts a bit considering I've shot guns since I was 10yrs old.

I took my 338RUM to the range to try out my custom dial scope that leupold retrofitted. I get it dialed in by putting it on a gun rest (the kind that holds the gun and has a strap across the bottom of the butt). I put two bags of lead shot on the front legs to absorb some recoil and sight it in at 100yds.

Then I decide to go prone and shoot off a bipod at 200 300 and 400...

But all shots are at the bottom or below the paper...

Now out of time, I had to leave and think about why the rifle shot high off the rest and low off the bipod. I imagine its because the high recoiling rifle is "stuck" on that rest and is experiencing muzzle rise before the bullet departs whereas from the bipod it is kicking straight back and the top off the butt is anchored off my shoulder vs. rocking up because the bottom is trapped by a strap?

I think this issue is relative to the amount of recoil, therefore shooting a high recoiling rifle requires more skill, so where do I go to learn how to shoot right?

I obviously need to sight in from actual shooting positions , but there is probably a ton to learn so that the gun recoils off my shoulder consistently also?
Contributing factors....usually there are several factors....bench to prone typically changes eye/scope positioning; maybe involving parallax.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2017
Messages
20
Location
Weatherford, TX
so.. I have noticed better groups when shooting prone off a bipod if I have a hand on the foregrip, or against the mag well to control bounce. But all the instructors have told me to keep that hand back toward my chest on the bag under the buttstock.. so I am going to test this weekend, i need to sight in a rifle. Has anyone else experienced this?
 

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