MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - How hard do you hold

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Ian M, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    What Roy said... exactly!

    Jeff
     
  2. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    #1 Trigger hand only.

    #2 Trigger hand only if forend is snugged in bag or both if on bipod.

    #3 Varies w/position.

    #4 Both depends on which rifle I'm shooting.
     
  3. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    I'm the odd guy out. I shoot very differently than most guys - the theory is different when your heartbeat jumps the sight window off the grid. I use an old military take-up trigger and I anticipate my shots intentionally, waiting for after the lub-dub, re-aquire the point of aim and pull the trigger.

    I use a harness cinched up very tight, control my rifle with both hands, vary the hold with different style stocks (greatly prefer a Nathan Rapose-style thumbhole stock), and prefer the slightly back angled grip with a significant belly in the middle of the grip.

    I do not recommend other guys shoot the way I do.
     
  4. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I follow Roy's approach and preferences pretty closely for prone. Unfortunately, many of my favorite hunting areas either do not have the terrain for a prone shot, or I am not allowed the time to set up prone to get my animal and can end up in a variety of different shooting positions, using different kinds of rests. For prone most all my rifles, regardless of caliber are shot the same way, and I get consistent results. For varied positions at long range I have found the lighter recoiling calibers like my muzzle braked 6.5x284 are significantly less sensitive to varied shooting positions for long range work. I have also found that for these conditions, and my physical make up that the curved grip design gives me more flexibility, comfort, and control from different positions without trading off my accuracy when prone. While the trigger pull length is the same between the two styles, the straight grip requires a more extended arm due to the straight design. I don't state all this to be gospel, but it's what works for me.
     
  5. MajorSpittle

    MajorSpittle Well-Known Member

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    I always shot one handed in the prone position off a bench rest and let the rifle free recoil until I go my first light rifle (Tikka T3 Lite 30-06). The Tikka needs to be held tight (into should and down on the forearm).

    When I shot match we used a shooting sling, to me that is probably going to be the best set up for accuracy unless you have a 12lb+ rifle that is set up to free recoil or you are shooting a light round that doesn't recoil much.

    On another note, I try not to bench shoot much other then sighting in or trying new rounds. I have taken many deer off-hand standing out to 300 yards with no problem. Farther out I usually drop my back pack or find a rest. The point is that if you hunt, shoot like you hunt. I would rather look at a 3" group I shot from the standing position at 100 yards then a .7" group from the bench. I spent a lot of time shooting a 8" gong at 300 yards while standing with my rifle (rifle was zero'd for 300). I would shoot like shooting trap, bring the rifle up and fire quickly. That and lots of gopher shooting with my scoped 10/22 made me a pretty fair marksman.
     
  6. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    Greyfox - I'd agree that lite recoil guns are more forgiving to variations.

    Major S - We should all learn to practice the more difficult positions like you do. Out in my neck of the woods, we generally set up on a high point and rely on the 7 x 50 binoculars to hunt for us, so prone and seated are the positions that get the meat in the freezer. Long, cross-canyon shots make range estimation difficult, so nobody faults each other for using rangefinders. Flat-shooting mag's are the norm. I sneak by (if there's not too much wind) with a .30-'06 or an Ackley-Improved 7mm RUM, the latter approaching appropriate for long canyon shots. I pass on brush-busting shots, preferring to wait out an advantageous situation. I do love getting the damn harness off after my shot.
     
  7. Egambill

    Egambill Member

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    shooting prone I use my shooting hand. only place my finger tips on the grip and lay my thumb gently on the gun. depending on target or hunting ill either use a bean bag or my hand to support the butt of the rifle. It also helps aiming. what this dose is eliminate the pulse and breathing factor when taking shot. I shoot with a bipod and I barley load it. this will help keep your target in your optic. with larger caliber rifle I use muzzle breaks so the recoil is as bad and you don't have to worry about loosing sight of your target. typically long range is only done in the prone position. I prefer the curved style grips. hope this helps
     
  8. majohnson

    majohnson Active Member

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    I shoot mostly bench, as a left handed shooter my left hand holds grip (McRee) along with trigger. Right hand, I read this some place and the saying as stuck drives the rear bag. Building a stable base to keep on target. Weight forward loading the bipod.

    As for how tight, its a firm hold. With equal pressure on the bipod. I was told to tight of a hold and you might have a tendency to cant the rifle unknowingly.
     
  9. TracySes23

    TracySes23 Well-Known Member

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    Like you I have a very strong heartbeat. I was using 25ft slow fire pistol targets at 100 yards a couple of days ago & it was taking my hold an inch out of the black every time my heart beat. The only thing I could do that helped was to take 10 very deep slow breaths, which slowed my heart down some & try to squeeze off a shot between beats. The tighter I hold, the more my heartbeat moves the crosshair.
    New 100 yard targets arrived yesterday. I need a larger & better rear bag. Maybe that'll help.

    Spencer
     
  10. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    Interested to hear opinions on how "tight" to hold the rifle during the bench and also field firing procedure.

    #1 Do you control the rifle with both left and right hands?

    That depends on the shooting position. In sitting position I hold it with both hands, using either the sling or crossed sticks. I the standing position - which I reserve for anything no further out than 100 yards - I also use both hands and the sling. In prone position I use a bipod to hold the rifle up front and a butt bag to support it in the rear and the only hand contact is from the right hand finger on the trigger (not gripping the stock) and the left hand providing squeeze on the butt bag.

    #2 Do you vary the hold according to the caliber and weight of the rifle?

    No

    #3 Do you vary the hold depending on the field shooting position?

    Yes - as stated above.

    #4 Do you prefer vertical pistol grips vs curved grip design?

    Because I don't use the "grip" in the traditional way, the type/style of grip makes no difference.
     
  11. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    Spencer -
    Sorry about not responding sooner...Thank you for the suggestion.
    I do try relaxation methods while target shooting, but it all goes away while hunting, so I just time my shots between the heartbeats. The military take-up trigger allows me to anticipate the shot (a big NO-NO in conventional shooting), and I become adept at knowing each gun's release point on the second bump of the trigger cam. Trying to get them all to shoot at my preferred 2 3/4 lbs pull is not easy.

    I usually notice my heart rate go up a bit (15 to 20 BPM) when I first spot a buck, but it starts going back down quickly when I tell myself, "He ain't yours yet, kid! You only ever miss when you get excited." A few deep breaths, settle my spine, settle into the harness, and get into the scope and acquire the target. A mental checklist - distance, downhill angle, windage, Where's he going?, Can I retrieve him? Downrange safe? take up, wait for the heartbeat, aim, fire.

    It probably helps me shoot this way - anticipating the shot - having been an archer long before I took up gunsmithing and rifles. A video revealed that I was flinching before I released an arrow with as low as a 60 lbs bow, so I learned to keep my eyes open a long time ago.

    Shooting out here in the West usually involves getting up to a high spot and glassing sectors of a hill across a gulch until one spots a deer part. Because these can be long distances, we tend to prefer to shoot fairly accurate, flat trajectory rounds like 7mm Rem, RUM or SAUM, 300 Win Mag or WSM, 300 Weatherby, (my favorite = 6.5-.284 Norma), .338 Win, etc. With a flat-shooting round in the chamber, usually aimed downhill, we just put the crosshairs above the shoulder and pull the trigger - little or no fuss about ballistics unless the shot is out of the rangefinder's (800 yard) limit. A deer usually goes down.

    If I anticipate having time on the shot, I will wait a bit until I can get my heart rate down to 45 or 40 and time the shot. Shooting on or immediately after a beat is invariably a miss, and I do miss out on some shots that I take too much time delivering, but I'd rather pass on a questionable shot than wound a deer.
     
  12. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    [learn to fire quickly without jerking the trigger - of course]

    For the active hunter, best darn advice I've read thus far. Major Spittle isn't trying to get nice tight groups in paper to take home a gold colored trophy and a few bucks, he's trying to put meat on the table. The 8" gong at 300 yards (or further) establishes his effective shooting range. If you can't hit that 8" gong, you'd be wise to pass up the shot. gun)
     
  13. gunsmith

    gunsmith Active Member

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    Standing and firing at an 8" gong at 300 yards is good practice, but I'd recommend against most guys hunting game from a standing position. BRACE AGAINST SOMETHING.

    Don't agree? Try measuring a 50-round group, not the average, but the worst shot from standing. What's the measurement?

    Now try it from braced. Did the worst deviation from point of aim DECREASE? It should have, by quite a lot!

    Stabilizing the rifle for a hunting shot is the best advise I've ever heard. Almost everyone's groups average tighter and the worst case gets closer to point of aim.
     
  14. boltactiondave284

    boltactiondave284 Member

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    When I got first got the Rifle I now have had for years , I was a bit nervous but quickly learned to put a good hold on it . I held it too lightly and paid for it , I don't put a bear hug on it but I do use a good Firm Hold on it and as I shot it more I hit well with it .