To hold or not to hold

Kentucky

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Dec 19, 2014
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I had a friend that was a competition shooter. He told me that the less comtact with the rifle, the better. Well it worked great with my .223 but now I am shooting a .308. If I use the same method with the .308 that sucker will kick me like a three legged ninja. What is the rule of thumb on this madness? I am getting old enough that I don't enjoy getting rattled around, but I love shooting the .308.
 

hybridfiat

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Oct 26, 2013
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Western Australia
My army instructor (sniper/marksman school) always insisted we hold that fore-end and pull it in tight. He'd go off the deep end if we curled the left arm back to support the right forearm.
The idea is to keep muzzle jump down and consistent shot to shot.
It takes more discipline to maintain the same grip each shot but it did seem to work.
Try shooting my 7lb .35 Whelen without holding the fore-end and your forehead would soon look like a patchwork quilt from the stitches.
Besides you have said it yourself, he is a competitive target shooter.
 

mrb1982

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Jul 2, 2012
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Seems like I have had the same question on this. I have done it both ways. I have Sendero 7RM. I used to shoot it with "not much" contact or hold. Then I put in an adjustable cheek piece. Now I just add a little forward pressure to the bipod, get a good firm cheek weld between my cheek and the bag underneath the stock, and that does pretty well and the groups have been good. With all that said, I am still on the fence as to what I should be doing. hahaha
 

hybridfiat

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Oct 26, 2013
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Western Australia
It still boils down to what works for you.
Either way can be made to work.
This is a long range forum what kind of rifle are we looking at? How much does it weigh?
If the recoil is an issue and adding weight, a muzzle brake or better still a moderator are not options then pulling it in hard and holding that fore-end is the way to go.
 

The Oregonian

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Jul 20, 2012
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Missoula, Montana
I have been going through this same thought process since this weekend. After taking a long range shooting school (first one) and getting instruction for really the first time, I have been working on form. To try to minimize impact on POI shift I was very soft with the gun, wanting to allow it to recoil without being torqued at all. And I have the scope bites to show for it.

One thing I have a tendency to do is to work on form too much - or try to emulate the textbook form. What I need to do more of is to find what works for me...glad to hear I am not the only one who has come across this internal debate when shooting.
 

North Idaho Hunter

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Nov 14, 2013
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I believe it comes down to personal preference really.

Early on with prone shooting i taught myself to tuck my hand and grip the rear bag. From there i shoot everything from .223 to 338 RUM with no issues. granted with magnum calibers she gets tucked in nice and tight with a good load on the bipod. :)

I have always been recoil intolerant, i highly suggest brake's - if it were me, I would get a brake installed and try to find whats most comfortable for your shooting style.
 

Kentucky

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Dec 19, 2014
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101
I purchased a shooting table and have been using it recently. I was always a prone shooter on the dirt until I moved to Kentucky where chiggers and ticks just wait for a fat old belly to be exposed in the dirt. My shooting has suffered greatly just because I am so used to being prone. The table just doesn't feel comfortable yet. My left hand under the butt of the rifle has been my position. I haven't felt the forearm of these rifles In years.
Thanks for the input
 

Greyfox

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Jan 21, 2008
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The issue with a light/free recoil hold whether bench or prone is that the rifle movement has to be exact and level in it's movement during recoil. For this to happen, especially with recoil is that the rifle rest, front and rear, have to be parallel to the barrel during all movement of the rifle. The stock design has to have a flat bottomed butt, like the A5. This is manageable for bench shooting, and difficult in hunting conditions. A proper, and consistent hard hold can keep the stright rifle movement under control over a wider variety of shooting conditions. I use the same hard hold technique for both hunting and competition with no difference in accuracy but it took a while to build the muscle memory. For my best results I pull the stock with moderate/firm pressure into my shoulder, contact my cheek to the stock with very light pressure, and in the prone postition, keep my weak hand on the rear bag, with moderate forward pressure against the bipod. From any position I try to get my body behind the rifle as much as is possible.
 

Mike 338

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Feb 4, 2012
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Boise, ID
I recently had a Limbsaver recoil pad put on my 338 Win Mag and the reduction in felt recoil is significant. With this rifle, I usually hold the fore end to both reduce recoil and quickly get back on target. I recently switched holds to left hand under the butt stock and groups improved quite a bit. Getting back on target got worse. A good recoil pad should easily tame the recoil of the 308. To me, the Limbsaver is significantly better than the Pachmayr Pads.

I experiment with different holds. I tend to think that holding the fore stock adds confidence to the shot by reducing felt recoil, better follow through and quicker follow up. It also transitions well to other positions if needed although I've noticed a tendency for horizontal stringing. Left hand under the butt stock with a medium to loose hold with the right arm and light cheek tension seems to produce somewhat better groups but only if everything else about the rifle and load is right. Follow up is not so great with heavier recoiling guns.
 

Kentucky

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Dec 19, 2014
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Thanks to all. It's just going to take some rounds and time to figure it out. I hate to admit it out load but the recoil on the .308 is significantly more than the .223 and I'm just a sissy. Never been smacked with a scope and don't want to be. LOL PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
 

EdWalton

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Oct 4, 2014
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Location
Albany, GA
I’ve always shot with a sling to control the muzzle jump, if I’m shooting well I’ll see the animal at the hit, unfortunately shooting well for me is a rare event. I took a class at Atlanta Firearms Training as I would like to extend my shooting skills past 300 yards. The instructor teaches a Natural Point of Aim (essentially a minimal contact), then stresses a good follow thru. The lessons have helped, but the follow thru without a sling perplexes me, as there’s no chance of ever seeing the hit.

I shoot a 300 Win Mag, last week I shot three 4 inch groups at 300 yards, using a minimal contact. So my marksmanship is improving, all with no extra contact between my head and the scope.
 

Kentucky

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Dec 19, 2014
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101
Yeah Mike, I have the Savage Axis heavy barrel .308. I purchased a Boyd's thumb hole stock and took it in Wed to have a limb saver pad put on it. I have the powder and bullets to reload so it will just have to get some shells run through it. Am excited to get started grouping it. Once again thanks to all that have responded. I had no idea that this " hold " thing was so common.
 
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