Shooting lighter weight rifles?

rustyshackleford

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Dec 13, 2012
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North Alabama
See the funny thing is my least unbalanced rifles are the ones that shoot the best. Biggest reason they are unabalanced is because they have longer heavier barrels and I run a can on them. My 7mag is pretty well balanced I think. My two best shooting rifles are very unbalanced but they are heavy rifles and light recoiling rifles too.
I think it’s funny that people attribute accuracy gained when using a suppressor solely to harmonics, when in reality at least some part is due to moving the center of mass forward. If the gun is rear biased the muzzle end is going to be more apt to move about that rearward COM while if the rifle is muzzle heavy it would be right the opposite. A suppressor certainly helps with that facet as does a heavy barrel.
 

PNWdude67

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Ridgefield WA
So much to cover here. The most common thing we see and needed to improve ourselves, when we started building better rifle shooting mechanics, is to square the mass of our body behind the rifle. This may mean adjusting your length of pull, cheek weld, and scope eye relief on your rifle system. The rifle butt pad will connect to your shoulder more medial on the clavicle and higher. Usually, just moving the scope back toward your eye will accommodate a more fundamentally sound technique and position. We want our shoulders, hips and face as square to the target plane as possible to manage recoil and follow through after the shot, see the bullet fly and impact. You will find the fundamentals of consistently acquiring a natural point of aim will be easier from here as well. This photo is from the prone position with my lighter hunter rifle, and when shooting from a bench, we can get directly behind the bench and accomplish the same position (with out using a stool or chair). Every supported position we get into in the field is now the same mechanically as the position we zero in and shoot those tiny groups we all are so proud of! lol This is just one step in the process of modern rifleman mechanics. Check out @moderndaysniper for more, Caylen and Phillip know their stuff and have helped us a lot.
A08CAC3B-DDB5-4FE5-B650-8E75C44E232F.jpeg
 

zr600

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Nd
So much to cover here. The most common thing we see and needed to improve ourselves, when we started building better rifle shooting mechanics, is to square the mass of our body behind the rifle. This may mean adjusting your length of pull, cheek weld, and scope eye relief on your rifle system. The rifle butt pad will connect to your shoulder more medial on the clavicle and higher. Usually, just moving the scope back toward your eye will accommodate a more fundamentally sound technique and position. We want our shoulders, hips and face as square to the target plane as possible to manage recoil and follow through after the shot, see the bullet fly and impact. You will find the fundamentals of consistently acquiring a natural point of aim will be easier from here as well. This photo is from the prone position with my lighter hunter rifle, and when shooting from a bench, we can get directly behind the bench and accomplish the same position (with out using a stool or chair). Every supported position we get into in the field is now the same mechanically as the position we zero in and shoot those tiny groups we all are so proud of! lol This is just one step in the process of modern rifleman mechanics. Check out @moderndaysniper for more, Caylen and Phillip know their stuff and have helped us a lot. View attachment 213982
What kind of bipod is that? You think I should try just shooting prone when doing load development?
 

JTB

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Jul 27, 2016
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311
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AZ
Shooting a light weight 7mm RM is a tall order under any condition but proper load development can be helpful in managing rifle movement/jump. In my experience once I find the right load the rifle should come straight back with minimal lateral jump. With a heavy rifle I can get away with being close but when going light I am much more engaged in load development. You will know when you find the right combination and is generally associated with an accuracy node. I used to think it was the way I was holding the rifle or the bipod but once I have the right load the rifle performs well under most conditions/holds (proper shootings is still important). It may just be me but the felt recoil from Retumbo seem consistently less than comparable powders and may be worth a try. Changing anything on the rifle affecting harmonics will require load adjustment. I am not familiar with Mesa stocks but something like the Manners EH1/JCS Composite are outstanding in helping to manage recoil on lighter builds as well.
 

DWier

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May 16, 2019
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Orlando, Florida
How do you guys shoot lighter weight rifles good? I have a 7 mag Remington 700 action criterion magnum Sporter contour 26” long, have it in a Mesa precision stock bedded. Have a Trijicon 4-16x50 acculite scope on it. Weights about 9lbs. Shooting off a Harris and a rear bag at the range it seem like it’s hard to shoot good. Seems like the reticle really is moving left to right. Have been struggling finding a good load for it am just wondering if it’s the fact I just can’t hold it as steady as my other rifles that are 2-5 more pounds. How do I get it to settle down?
Try an accutac bipod. Made a world of difference for me but then I shoot prone for precision.
 

Roninco

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Colorado
When using a bipod at the range I clamp a 1x6 board to the front bench. This allows me to brace the bipod and front load it to control bipod jump. I do the same in the field when shooting prone when able. As previously mentioned too much cheek pressure or too strong a shooting hand grip can induce movement.
 

Pro2A

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May 23, 2009
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232
How do you guys shoot lighter weight rifles good? I have a 7 mag Remington 700 action criterion magnum Sporter contour 26” long, have it in a Mesa precision stock bedded. Have a Trijicon 4-16x50 acculite scope on it. Weights about 9lbs. Shooting off a Harris and a rear bag at the range it seem like it’s hard to shoot good. Seems like the reticle really is moving left to right. Have been struggling finding a good load for it am just wondering if it’s the fact I just can’t hold it as steady as my other rifles that are 2-5 more pounds. How do I get it to settle down?
Position building is a critical skill for precision shooting. Every shot opportunity presents unique challenges to building a stable, successful shooting position. Each position brings different body/muscle/structure combinations into the position equation. This takes work, effort and practice. It is about the best return on investment one will make in precision long range shooting. A competent, skilled instructor is worth his weight in accuracy. Watch competent PRS shooters build their positions. They often carry several bags to enhance stability. Bag assortment not really practical in hunting scenarios, but consider what you will have with you on a hunt that can perform the bag's function. Rather than the angled "little green plastic army man" position, get directly behind the rifle's line of recoil for efficient recoil management. An Armageddon Gear Gamechanger bag with ears for the rear bag will seriously stabilize the rifle....also effective for isolating rifle foreend from resting surfaces. Adjust the Gamechanger height as needed with other bag/coat/pack. A stock design that promotes horizontal level consistent recoil is important. I shoot off my pack for front rest allowing the rifle to recoil straight back. Precision benchrest shooters ......really anal precision chasers......commonly allow free recoil. Contrary to bipods, a pack has uniform, consistent coefficient of friction and and response characteristics during recoil......it becomes a dependable, reliable known with practice. Bipods skitter differently on every resting surface.....concrete - smooth/rough......dirt, grass, gravel, etc.....rubber/spiked feet variances. Another thought no one ever mentions in shooting off a bipod with loading is the bipod fore shortens as it it loaded forward.....think the clock hand tip moving off of dead vertical 12 o"clock toward 1,2, 3 o'clock. The vertical dimension from the center of the clock.....bipod resting surface....becomes some amount shorter. During recoil, this dimension is regained moving the barrel upward. Attach a MantaX motion tracking device to your rifle fore end on a pre-loaded bipod and watch the movement in recoil. That is why I prefer shooting off my pack without preload bipod issue. Shooting hand thumb on the trigger finger side of the stock rather than common encircling death grip removes much muscle tension from the equation. Perfectly straight rearward trigger control eliminates sideways movement. Lighter cheek weld with a resilient cheek pad can reduce/isolate the heart beat from the stock. Breaking the trigger between heartbeats is a desirable goal.......it is doable with practice......easier if one "is in shape and not huffing and puffing like the "Little Engine that could" when a field shot presents. Just an old guy's thoughts.
 
Last edited:

phorwath

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More weight will always reduce the amount of error brought into play by the shooter. Try moving a 10-ton object with your trigger finger, or a heartbeat, or a breath.
But the lighter weight rifles can be shot acceptably well for some pretty long shots on large game. Good form and practice should reveal what works best for you.
 

Ninering62

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May 14, 2020
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Orig from southern Md. In North Central Florida
Get off the bipod and go to bags for a bit until you steady up....!
I hunt with a Forbes 24B in 270 Win with a Minox 2-10X42 in talley rings all up 6.5 pounds.I would rather shoot oy my pack or using trigger sticks then a bipod.In Montana when lying prone you can have grass and other vegetation too high for a bipod.I prefer the pack when I can use it or the trigger sticks sitting up.The only thing I use a bipod on are my AR-15s with a free floating forend.I use them for shooting P.Dogs and the accuracy does not seem to be impeded.Try shooting your rifle sans bipod and having the front rest more towards the action.JMHO,Huntz
Nice setup, I learned to shoot off of sandbags when I was young. NO real training, just lots of trigger time, some great tips here n there thru the yrs & a lil brains - learning, payin attn to details trial & error. I grew up shooting & hunting & fishing since I could hold a pole. We don't have Pdog's where I'm from, but LR groundhog sniping was always a blast. Now I'm in northern Fl its those GD Armadillos & occasional bobcat & coyotes that get terminally perforated out to 400yds. Layin on the ground ANYWHERE here is NOT a good idea. Just putting a hand or knee down you're very apt to get fire ant bit, ground bees swarming, copperhead, eastern diamondback, pigmy rattlers & these 1.5" long brown scorpions everywhere. Its bench shooting or homemade shooting sticks here. Now I'm old school as F, I learned to shoot using whatever was near - tree trunk, tree branch proper standing freehand & kneeling supported by an elbow to the knee. Trigger sticks or anything else like that carryin thru the woods, fields or swamps was unheard of & unthinkable back when I was a youngin. Nearin 60 now & everything failing, so I'll take & **** gladly use whatever I can ( and new tech is great ). Never been a bi pod shooter.
 

Gsmith

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Oct 30, 2015
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Location
Montana
How do you guys shoot lighter weight rifles good? I have a 7 mag Remington 700 action criterion magnum Sporter contour 26” long, have it in a Mesa precision stock bedded. Have a Trijicon 4-16x50 acculite scope on it. Weights about 9lbs. Shooting off a Harris and a rear bag at the range it seem like it’s hard to shoot good. Seems like the reticle really is moving left to right. Have been struggling finding a good load for it am just wondering if it’s the fact I just can’t hold it as steady as my other rifles that are 2-5 more pounds. How do I get it to settle down?
More likely it’s the trigger than the weight of the gun. Often heavy target rifles have lighter and crisper tigger pulls.
 

LVJ76

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Well I don't wanna squabble. Primarily don't want the OP striving to attain the unattainable.
I always see visible crosshair movement while dry firing.
If others can commonly squeeze the trigger and see no crosshair movement when it breaks and the firing pin falls, then OK... maybe it's a reasonably attainable goal. One which I know I will never attain with my backpack hunting weight rifles.

Even off sandbags, let alone a bipod.
Using sandbags you should be able to hold it steady and shoot sub half MOA groups. Whether a developed load or some factory load.

Now I dont know how long you have been doing this, but I use sandbags to develop loads and sight in my rifles, been doing it for almost 30 years and it takes lots of practice. There are days when it can be hard to really hold it steady, either you arent calm enough or its windy, there are variables. You also need a good rest, some sandbags work and some don't.

Practice practice practice.

Stay safe
 

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