MARKSMANSHIP BASICS - How hard do you hold

Bravo 4

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This is how finicky some rifles can be with how hard you hold. These were fired prone on a bipod with a rear bag. The center 3 were letting the rifle do it's thing with a light hold aiming center of the blue cross, the top two were with the bipod loaded and a firm grip (POA was top of vertical blue post). The shots opened up several MOA with just a difference in hold. This rifle is consistent in doing this. I have never seen a rifle this bad. This dude has a bit of recoil and so I have to consciously make myself gingerly shoot it... it is not so gentle in return.
Added: the picture turned sideways when I inverted it, so there are still three center shots and the last two are the ones on the left.
 

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Cold Trigger Finger

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On the bench of prone with bipod I usually only grip with my fireing hand . I too have a very strong pulse and limited options for true long range shooting. Also there tends to be lots of grass and brush in the way for anything other than standing shooting . Whenever possible I use a staff or tree to help steady the rifle. For long range shooting that doesn't work so there are plenty of shots that must be passed up.
Whenever I can I hunker down onto shooting sticks. A lot depends on the rifle I'm shooting as to whether verticle or curved grip. On my 6.5 or 223 I absolutely prefer a vertical grip. On my 9.3 and larger a slender curved grip. But I don't usually shoot them from prone. Most grips need to be fitted to my hand on the larger caliber rifles or I always cant the rifle.
For offhand big game shooting I use a very short lop. 13" and sometimes less. For precision and lr shooting I use 13 1/2-14" . I do everything I can to make the back half of the rifle fit me for the type shooting that rifle will primarily do. I want to Not put any incorrect pressure on the stock to get it on and keep it on target. When my rifle fits me, my shootin improves far beyond the numbers say they should.
 

Savageman69

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


Prone I use my non firing hand for the rear bag, with shooting sticks or offhand I will put my non firing hand on the forend.

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

my firing hand on bolt guns only has the tips of my fingers touching the grip pulling in slightly, my thumb stays on the same side of the stock as my fingers. Certain AR rifles I will wrap my thumb and fully grab the pistol grip then twist slightly and pull in firmly. Im trying to consistently "tighten up" the fit of the two halves, but on Other AR's like my 18" match grade rifle its not necessary to twist and pull hard, so I use my bolt gun grip and just pull slightly. the one thing that will change alot is how much I load the bipod, that is very caliber and rifle weight dependant, not to mention the terrain dictates how hard I can load a bipod.

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

yes as described above

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

Pistol grips all the way
 

RMulhern

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North Louisiana
This is my 'front rest':

Untitled by Sharps Man, on Flickr



There's a 2" diameter piece of galvanized pipe shoved through the center of my spare shooting mat to keep the roll from collapsing and it works quite well. I have often been 'brow beaten' for not using a high tech front rest but I hate 'em with a passion! I shoot off left shoulder and my right hand rest atop the roll with the forearm of the rifle rested in my hand. Rifle is pulled back firmly into my left shoulder alongside my neck and left hand grips the pistol grip of the stock firmly. I do not use a rear bag as I can hold the reticle where I want it. My right hand assist in maintenance of stock pressure into my shoulder! MY METHOD....works quite well FOR ME!
 
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Bravo 4

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I shoot off left shoulder and my right hand rest atop the roll with the forearm of the rifle rested in my hand. Rifle is pulled back firmly into my left shoulder alongside my neck and left hand grips the pistol grip of the stock firmly. I do not use a rear bag as I can hold the reticle where I want it. My right hand assist in maintenance of stock pressure into my shoulder! MY METHOD....works quite well FOR ME!
Yep!
The prone firing supported (or your version) has worked well for many a Soldier:
Army Field Manual 3-22.9 ch4
I still practice this from time to time over a patrol pack, good for field shooting without the use of a bipod or rear bag out to medium distances (for me).
 

tbrice23

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I'm bringing this one back up.
A long time ago I RELUCTANTLY started using free recoil with by Bench rest comp rifles. With my hunting rigs I want so badly for greater precision to be had from a very firm tight hold but inevitably the best results are from a delicate hold when the rifle is un stressed and at a natural point of aim.
 

MajorSpittle

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@ Brice, I have 2 heavier rifles that shoot best with free(ish) recoil. They are a 7mm Mag with 26" barrel and a sporterized M1903. Both are rather heavy rifles at 9.5 - 11 lbs.

I have a Tikka T3 Lite in 30-06 that would never shoot sub MOA when left to free recoil. I started holding it tight and groups that were 1.5" would suddenly shrink to about .6".
 

JMGamesniper19

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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?
One dominant side shooting hand only - with any rested position. The other hand steadies the bag and adjusts the rifle elevation and declination by squeezing.

#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? Generally no for Prone and seated bench. Yes for all other positions that do not include a bag or rest. Bipods, standing, seated no rest, and other shooting positions may require different off hand use to ensure a steady hold

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

BenWal

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Don’t do as I say, But. My favorite gun is a 12 lb 300 WSM . It has a vertical grip. It’s so heavy that I don’t worry about the recoil. I hunt from shooting boxes a lot over open crop land. I hold only with my trigger hand . The Jewel trigger is adjusted at 8 ounces. I intentionally drag my finger on the trigger guard to fire. I never gained acceptable practice groups from the bench until I adjusted to the low trigger pull. I know it’s weird and not safe for most hunting/shooting positions, but it works for me when firing from inside our shooting houses. ???
 

tbrice23

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Don’t do as I say, But. My favorite gun is a 12 lb 300 WSM . It has a vertical grip. It’s so heavy that I don’t worry about the recoil. I hunt from shooting boxes a lot over open crop land. I hold only with my trigger hand . The Jewel trigger is adjusted at 8 ounces. I intentionally drag my finger on the trigger guard to fire. I never gained acceptable practice groups from the bench until I adjusted to the low trigger pull. I know it’s weird and not safe for most hunting/shooting positions, but it works for me when firing from inside our shooting houses. ???
I use a big Bull Bag to shoot from my box blind in the bean field bottom in TN. I'm not really happy until all of my triggers are below or (way below) 16 oz. Most are tuned Savage triggers, Jewell, or Timney CE. Most of my rifles are around 12 lb.
 

BenWal

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My most recent rifle has a Trigger Tech (red) Diamond trigger. It was set at 2 lbs when I received it. It breaks so easy and clean that I haven’t lowered the lb. pull setting.
 

BenWal

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One other thing that I’ve found useful is using bag toss or corn hole game bags for shooting bags . They allow the gun to depress into them to adjust for a shot. The thinness of them allows for shimming up to the desired height with multiple bags if needed.
 

BenWal

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I’m running my mouth a lot here, but regarding pulse and it’s effect on a shot, does anyone notice that caffeine has a increased effect on your pulse. It’s best for me not to drink any caffeine on the days that I’m shooting.
 

JMGamesniper19

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I’m running my mouth a lot here, but regarding pulse and it’s effect on a shot, does anyone notice that caffeine has a increased effect on your pulse. It’s best for me not to drink any caffeine on the days that I’m shooting.
Caffeine is a well documented stimulant. In humans, the half life of the stimulant is 4-6 hours; which means 50% of the drug is out of your system sometime within that timeframe.
According to a study by the Univ of Michigan caffeine can increase your hear rate, blood pressure, body temps, blood to extremities, and is a diuretic.

Drinking large amounts of caffeine prior to shooting can affect your shot
 
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