I prefer a bipod but sticks are great for packing around. They weigh less and since they are not part of the rifle they are much easier to carry.
Use them while sitting. Put your sling over one post to keep things from slipping. Wrap up in the sling and it will make the front pretty solid. If you can, position yourself against a solid object (like a tree of post) and that will help firm up the back of the rifle.
This method has worked well for me and I managed to use it on this deer on election day at 360 yards.
260shooter, make a strap to fit around your knees so you can rest your elbows just inside your knees while sitting use the straps with the shooting sticks. I use this method for hunting woodchucks and can body shoot them out to about 400 yds. Also the straps alone make a good support while glassing.
Just my opinion but in my experience you can't get steady enough with shooting sticks to shoot longer ranges. The Harris bipod is your sturdiest field portable support for long range shooting. Again just my opinion from my experience.
I don't ever use a bipod anymore for big game hunting. I always throw my back/day pack down and use it. It has a stay in the back so I can use it prone or sitting.
For coyote hunting have always used the Harris bipod and pretty consistently shoot standing coyotes out to 500 yards with my 300 win mag and rangefinder combo.
I agree with Nottoofar. My preference is a Kifaru backpack, which I can lay down or use the supports in the frame with the pack straight up. It's not quite a benchrest, but for field duty, it's pretty darned steady out to as far as I will shoot. My max number is apparently quite a bit less than some folks who post here.
I would agree that a good bipod or a rucksack makes a pretty solid platform to shoot off of.
Problem is, it don't always work.
A number of places I've hunted, grass and/or sage brush pretty much ixnayed the idea of using a backpack, unless you stand it up on the frame, at which point I think a good set shooting sticks would still work just as well. Bipod... I've got one of those super-tall Harris models... pretty much sits in a drawer collecting dust. Kind of a PITA to manipulate.
Biggest thing for using the shooting sticks... practice. Take your .22 LR to the range and play around some. You aren't going to get match winning accuracy by any stretch, but they do come in hand when the grass is too tall for prone and you don't want to shoot regular Sitting w/ a sling. W/ a Rem Model 7 and some Stoney Point Steady-Stix one thing that helped me was to hold the sticks right at the crossing, and use a couple fingers to capture the rifle barrel/stock down into the 'V' even more securely, and pull back into my shoulder. Seemed to help, anyway.
IMHO often whats missing with cross sticks is back support as mentioned earlier.
If you can find some way field expedient to lean your back against a tree, against your partner, into brush etc.... that will help.
The part about taking whatever you use to the range with a 22 is so dead on. Practice makes perfect. Nope its perfect practice makes perfect. I've even leaned forward in brush and grabbed as much as I can and then stress those bushes out leaning into them to stabilize things.
Best bet is always prone for me though. IT takes prone to reach out beyond 300 yards comfortably.
Going to the range with a 22rf is great, but dry firing at home with the rifle that you hunt with is also a good idea. A shilhouette champion dry fires 8 to 1 because she doesn't always have time to go to the range but always has 15 or 20 minutes to dry fire.
I found that two sets of sticks works for best for my field shooting, always place a rest under the toe of the butt or near to it. One setup under the forearms makes for a teeter-totter, better to have the other end of the rifle secured. Have killed a lot of critters with a new Stoney Point TRIPOD up front and their sticks under the butt - rock steady out to 700 yards. Just did my antelope with the tripod and a sandsock under the butt, prone shot but some grass and barbwire so I had to get up a bitfor the shot.
We also use the taller Stoney Point tripod with the little arm attachment that supports the butt, made standing offhand hits consistently at 700 on our 12x16 inch steel plates.
I just bought a set and have not tried them enough to say but this website http://www.varmintal.com/abifu.htm has the authors own set of shooting sticks and it has good pictures to show you how to use them.
I no longer use a bipod for two reasons, the weight it adds, and it just never seems to be the right height. I tried shooting sticks and they just weren't steady enough to suit me. I have found what works well for me is a cuff style sling by Tactical Intervention.
If I am prone and slung in it is a very steady platform. From the sitting position I have found if I get my right side leaned into a tree or a rock and slung in tight, it as steady as the prone position. With the increased field of fire due to better mobility, and the nearest thing to a bipod for near rock solid steady it is what I use exclusively. When you are ready to move to another position just unclip from the cuff and it is a carry sling. Something that you might consider.
Come to think about I think I showed you that sling last summer when you came down to pick up that scope....didn't I?