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Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: Clynn] #14317532 11/27/19
Joined: May 2011
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mauserand9mm Offline
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I'm not a top shooter but understand the consistency part. I used to shoot bench with hand holding fore stock but somehow evolved to that hand fine tuning the positioning of the buttstock and nothing else. At my level of accuracy either seems to work, but the latter feels more comfortable these days.

300 BP

Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: Clynn] #14324851 11/30/19
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Jim_Knight Offline
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I use a Buddy Bag front, sometimes with an extra handmade sandbag ( 5x5) with it to help adjust height. I use a rabbit ear leather sand bag. I put my left hand on the scope of heavy kickers and hold tight. With lighter rifles, usually just put my fingertips on the top edge of forearm. I workup loads with 3 shots. If I find one I like, I then will shoot five, but wait a few minutes between each shot. I start each load with a cold barrel, i.e as in hunting. Sometimes, I find five shots reveal a loser. If I'm satisfied, then I try it further out. To "verify drop", I have a spot out in the desert. I put the Buddy bag on the corner of the truck/tailgate (closed) and my right elbow on the truck side. I then measure the drop, put a piece of tape around my group, go back and see where the group is in relation to my crosshair and top of duplex post ( Love a Duplex!) at 400 and 500, I use the power setting to superimpose the top of the post with the group. I then practice over the next few months, from hunting positions. All this takes time, of course. But this works for me, someone else may not get the same results, I don't know. I just know that, for me, 350 to 400yds is really challenging, from hunting positions. I much prefer to kill game under 250...the closer the better. smile Oh yeah, I hate Bipods, I use a lwt set of shooting sticks from the sit if need be. I like the kind that fold up? My father taught me that a "good rifleman" knows how to find/use "a good rest". Field expediency to me means get still, someway, somehow but always to "take your time in a hurry".

Last edited by Jim_Knight; 11/30/19.
Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: Clynn] #14324909 11/30/19
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I want to add that when teaching a youngster or any adult beginner, do the basics off the bench. Then, do some plinking from hunting positions. If possible, put a centerfire ( 1 inch anyhow) scope on a good rimfire. Take then squirrel hunting or best of all, prairie dog shooting. But have them use hunting positions. This teaches them to be ( what I call) a "good game shot". Getting or being in position, get on target, squeeze, but do it all as quickly/smoothly as possible. And for good ness sake, "don't" take them elk hunting first off! Pain is hard on beginners! smile Make it fun, make it serious enough to be safe, of course ( no horseplay!) Pigs/does are all great fun to hunt and good eating!

Last edited by Jim_Knight; 11/30/19.
Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: bsa1917hunter] #14327213 12/01/19
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Reloder28 Offline
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Originally Posted by bsa1917hunter
The proof of what works is generally recorded pretty well on target downrange.



Hard to argue with that.


"It’s all accordin’ to how your boogaloo situation stands, ya understand.”
WolfMan Jack
Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: Clynn] #14327876 12/01/19
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Woodhits Offline
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I probably test a dozen or more rifles per year for publication. I use a traditional benchrest setup (Wichita front rest, Bald Eagle rear) unless the rifle's configuration prevents it (i.e., 30-round magazines if they can't be avoided). My bench is poured from concrete and is extremely stable. JB's points are all good ones-- I'm usually fortunate to have very light winds on my range but still, at a minimum, staple a strip of surveyor's tape to the target board.

A piece of tape on the forend allows for a consistent position on the front rest, which is where lots of shooters seem to go wrong-- the rifle recoils and they do not return things to a consistent spot.

My left hand grips the rear bag and allows for free recoil unless the rifle is a heavy kicker, at which point I will grasp the forend forward of the rest. If a rifle is an extreme lightweight, I will shoot some experimental groups in either position to see what works best. I've found that most sub-six-pound rifles shoot better with consistent downward pressure.

The right target is also important. I don't like red in bright sunlight and 90% of the time use these targets, which I've reproduced so that I have four to a sheet of cardstock:
https://www.ballisticstudies.com/site/ballisticstudies/3%20inch%20double%20target%202017%20pdf.pdf

Alpha

Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: Clynn] #14328018 12/01/19
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,585
StrayDog Online Content
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I've noticed at the range a few people sit at the bench with both legs pointing downrange. This position does not seem natural to me, for example if I'm shooting offhand my body is turned toward the rifle with buttstock cupped in my right shoulder and the rifle positioned crossing my body with left arm and elbow under the barrel. So, that is how I try to sit at the bench.

To sit at the bench with both legs and body facing downrange is not zeroing your rifle for field shooting, and people using this position complain about recoil even from light calibers like 7/08.

And another thing, I tried a lead sled once and was getting a different point of impact. Rechecked my zero from bags and it was still on.

Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: Clynn] #14328737 12/01/19
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Dave_Skinner Offline
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Most people will get good results following Joihn's guidelines.

My addition would by, after you've gotten your "bench screamer" group, try shooting it as it would be in the field. Whether it's pack, bipod, a handy bush or whatever, that's the real test of your setup -- and you. I'm pretty good at "benching" but honestly pretty lousy when it's for real. But I'm okay with taking all the blame for a rotten shot.


Up hills slow,
Down hills fast
Tonnage first and
Safety last.
Re: Proper bench technique for hunting rifles [Re: Clynn] #14336272 12/04/19
Joined: Jan 2009
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shinbone Offline
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I'm just a hunter who shoots off a bench for load development. With a Kimber Montana in .300WSM (i.e. hard kicking, light rifle), I place the gun so the recoil lug lines up with the front rest, firmly pull the butt straight back into my shoulder, adjust the gun so the reticle sits just above the target dot, and then squeeze the bag with my left hand for the final alignment. 30 round is about all I can shoot in one session before my shoulder says "enough."

I've tried pulling down on the forearm, placing my hand over the scope, and a few other techniques recommended by expert shooters for light rifles, and the groups have always opened up compared to the above method.

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