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murphjup
February 11, 2009, 07:48 PM
Well, I'm a relatively new hunter, Only within the past year... so I am wondering how everyone steady's their rifle for shots in the field??

Do you all just hold them? Brace against something? Bipod? Carry a stick?

Any ideas for steadying your rifle on longer shots would be appreciated?

Thank you in advance.

:)

THEZACHARIAS
February 11, 2009, 08:02 PM
Depends on you and whats most comfortable. If you can get your hands on a bipod and some other options at the range and try them out, you can decided what you like best.

Still prefer the good ole prone supported, but im also used to mountains with ridgelines, rocks and hills which are conducive to it.

Doyle
February 11, 2009, 08:06 PM
I use an eastman outfitters collapsable bipod. It carries easily and can strap to my backpack for long hauls.

Doyle
February 11, 2009, 08:07 PM
Oops, forgot the link.
http://www.cabelas.com/spodw-1/0049019.shtml

ddeyo1
February 11, 2009, 09:21 PM
most of my shots are pretty close range. i wrap the sling around the back of my left elbow and that 1) keeps the sling from swinging around and 2) helps steady my shot. This is for when im walking around. Otherwise i tend to set up somewhere where i have a solid rest.

L_Killkenny
February 11, 2009, 09:42 PM
I think you are asking a great question. Taking shots of any distance without a rest is generally a bad idea but it doesn't take much to help considerably. A lot of things depend on what style of hunting I'm doing. Even the use of slings and learning to drop to a kneeling position when ever game is spotted are good things.

My coyote/fox gun wears a Harris bipod. I really like it but other predator hunters (a majority I'd say) prefer a pair of shoting sticks instead. A big plus is shooting sticks are usually free and easily detachable. I use a set of crossed alum arrows.

With my deer guns I use what ever is available. When sitting on stand I use trees and fences. When I'm on a slow strol thru the woods (still hunting) I try to make sure my frequent stops are next to an available rest like a tree.

My small game guns don't have anything either. If I can I use a rest I do but many of my shots are close range and running. The only things that help here is a sling and lots and lots of practice.

bswiv
February 11, 2009, 09:45 PM
Even at cloose range if I can get a rest I will use it. Whether it's my stand or a tree when I'm on the ground I know I can not shoot near as well without it.

In fact for years we hunted deer on Cumberland Island Ga. where they had some unusual rules. During the muzzle loading hunts you could use modern pistols. Don't know how they came up with that but they did. And sense I had access to first my dad's .44 Ruger we just went with that.

Took only a couple of trips to the range to come to the conclusion that I had no business trying to take a animal offhand with a pistol. For the next 20 years or so, even after the Ruger was replaced with a TC Contender, I would cut a small hickory sapling to cary and use as a rest. Left a couple of short pieces of twig on it a different hights to make it work better. Shot a bunch of hogs and deer with that set up. Even got in the habit of carrying it when I had my rifle. Helped there too.

Don't let anyone tell you it's a sign of incompetence with you gun to have to carry a prop. Fact is it's both a admission of the obvious and it also demonstrates that you do not want to wound and lose a animal, something all ethical hunters work to accomplish.

globemaster3
February 12, 2009, 12:04 AM
If given the opportunity, I will take a supported shot from any kind of stable rest as it improves my shot placement. Although I can shoot offhand and have taken game with offhanded shots (and maybe a couple underhanded :p) its just personal preference for me. Some of my "rests" included logs, barbwire fence, backpacks, fanny packs, tail gates, tree limbs, gates, bi-pods, chairs, window sills, etc.

B. Lahey
February 12, 2009, 12:20 AM
I like the NRA-match sitting position if I have a few seconds to get into it. Can't do kneeling anymore, my knees won't tolerate it.

bclark1
February 12, 2009, 01:27 AM
Steady rest is obviously the best. If you can get tree stands with a brace of some kind, or use hard-sides (like burying pallets sideways) for your blinds, you'll be in good shape when you're holding still.

Offhand anything is tough at any range. Most of the deer I've taken offhand have been because they weren't moving much and I had all day to steady. My offhand shots have been seated, ground and tree stand, or kneeling when on the move.

I put a bipod on my primary rifle which was great at the range, but 6-9" proved too short to be much use on the hilly terrain I hunted this last fall. I took a prone position in a hilltop field with the bipod at 9" and it still wasn't quite high enough, deer saw me fussing with it and booked.

Monopod shooting stick has been a help. It's sort of clumsy to keep out at all times - I usually strap it to my pack because you obviously want your hands on your firearm, not an accessory. Even when it's out, you probably don't want to be carrying it extended as it will snag everything (I usually shoot mine from kneeling-height) and it takes time to adjust to the proper height. However, if you have the time to set up a shot, it is definitely an improvement over offhand if you can't find another expedient rest. Also good for if you've spontaneously picked a new site and want a rest of some sort while your back's up against the tree. It's not a cure-all, as you'll still be surprised at how much wobble remains, but it's definitely a help.

Nnobby45
February 12, 2009, 02:00 AM
A makeshif rest is good. Just remember that only your hand touches the rest, and the only thing your rifle touches is your hand. Placing your rifle, for example, on a tree limb can change the impact point.

Using a fore end rest that's not hard may not change the impact, such as sighting in, or using shooting sticks, but it's up to you to see if there's a difference.

Learn to use a sling. Remember that bone never touches bone--such as elbow on knee cap.

Be careful of bipods. Especially if the bipod screw contacts the bbl!
Make sure you're aware of any impact changes using bipod, as opposed to not.

JohnKSa
February 12, 2009, 03:10 AM
Remember that bone never touches bone--such as elbow on knee cap.
That's a new one on me. I've always heard/seen/read/been taught/experienced exactly the reverse...

FrankenMauser
February 12, 2009, 03:59 AM
Trees, rocks, prone position (if possible), sitting with the rifle on your knees, hill sides, embankments... the list goes on. Anything that can help steady your body, if not the rifle, still makes a difference.

I am usually found in a kneeling-supported position, just before I fire. It's quick to get into, and steadies me up enough to make an improvement.

Regolith
February 12, 2009, 05:33 AM
Personally, I prefer to use terrain/vegetation for rests. Carrying a rest with you is just one more thing you have to tote around. I do prefer to shoot with a rest instead of offhand, however, particularly past 100 yards (if it's within 100 yards, it's toast, even offhand...past that, not so much).

Nnobby45
February 12, 2009, 06:39 AM
Quote:
Remember that bone never touches bone--such as elbow on knee cap.

That's a new one on me. I've always heard/seen/read/been taught/experienced exactly the reverse...


Basic marksmanship principle. The Army has taught it for many years (at least they did when marksmanship was any kind of priority).

When bone touches bone it wobbles and isn't steady. Put the fleshy part near the elbow on the kneecap. Or put the actual elbow bone on the fleshy part near the kneecap. Don't put elbow bone on kneecap bone. Unless you like your DI yelling at you and making you do pushups, as well as missing the target.:D

Only applies to sitting or kneeling, of course, but you can demonstrate it to yourself to see which is steadier. Rub an inch or so behind the elbow in a circular motion. Now rub the bone. Now you got it!

Kreyzhorse
February 12, 2009, 07:47 AM
For long range, I use a Harris bi-pod on my Savage 7mm Rem Mag. A bipod isn't perfect, but they do really help on long shots. For close shots, I tend to sit and use my elbow and knee as a brace. I've also shot prone using the ground as a brace.

45Marlin carbine
February 12, 2009, 08:04 AM
I always carry a walking staff to provide a 'rest' of sorts if a leaning rest cannot be taken against a tree or rest against some other object.
if I anticiapte shooting at moveing game I carry my shotty.

hogdogs
February 12, 2009, 08:13 AM
Being in the heart of fire ant country (DIXIE), I rarely consider a seated, kneeling or prone position.
Given a nearby steady rest like a wood fence post, crook of a limb I will pounce on it every time. I am fair at off hand shooting/hunting. Off hand is preferred for many hunting opportunities as you have minimal body movement for maximum barrel travel and speed...
I have pinned my stock on a tree trunk for long-ish 100-200 yard shots before.
Brent

skydiver3346
February 12, 2009, 08:25 AM
No question that some kind of rest or brace will improve your hunting shots. If you can use a tree or other bracing device you will make more consistent shot placements.
My choice is the BOG-POD. It is really a great rest and is a tri-pod. Very sold and adjustable and has a swivel v-top for any side to side adjustments, etc. You won't be sorry choosing this one I promise you.

murphjup
February 12, 2009, 12:22 PM
Alot of information,I will take a look at it all!!!

:)

Buzzcook
February 12, 2009, 02:55 PM
Mostly I shoot off hand because the distances are pretty close and I have one of those scope things. I have knelt and used my knee, I've used a fence as a rest and I've leaned against a tree.
My two longest shots were about 250yds, both were standing just like we practice at the range.

For target practice at long range, which is 600yds at my rifle range, I shoot sitting or prone.

Brian Pfleuger
February 12, 2009, 03:09 PM
Depends on what I am shooting. My varmint rig has an extendable Harris bipod. Most shots with that gun are >50 yards, I have plenty of time and the terrain is open and flat. For deer hunting I use a Rem 11-87 with a Bushnell Banner 3-9. Most shots are <50 yards and so are off-hand or using my knees if I happen to be sitting on the ground.

A good bi-pod is plenty steady enough for shots to AT LEAST 450 yards on woodchuck sized animals. If any given shooter isn't steady enough prone with a good bi-pod then what is needed is more practice or better technique not better equipment. For standing shots on larger targets at long range a good extendable shooting stick is as good as it gets.

bufordtjustice
February 12, 2009, 05:59 PM
A wise man once said something to the effect of "if you can get closer to your target, get closer. If you can get lower to the ground, get lower". In essence, the hunter will usually benefit from a closer, more stable shooting position. There are times when using a rest such as a bipod or shooting sticks would be a very wise choice so, by all means, develop those skills.

As a rifleman and hunter please do yourself a huge favor and make sure you have developed the basic skills as well. There are numerous great books and lots of people who can help you with from, slings, etc. The more work you can put into those, the more success you will have.

JohnKSa
February 13, 2009, 02:40 AM
When bone touches bone it wobbles and isn't steady. Put the fleshy part near the elbow on the kneecap. Or put the actual elbow bone on the fleshy part near the kneecap.That makes perfect sense, but I'd never heard it expressed exactly that way. Basically you ARE trying to get as much of a bone-to-bone interface as possible that reaches from the gun to the ground but without getting bones directly on bones such that there's only "wobbly" skin between them.

HiBC
February 13, 2009, 03:03 AM
You have asked a great question.

Actually,the old NRA youth small bore that JFK supported so well is a great approach to prone,sitting,kneeling and standing.The position shooting is where to learn marksmanship.

As far as how to steady the rifle,might be backwards.It will hold still if you let it.
There was a tread a while back on shooting offhand.If you acheive a natural stance where your rifle wants to be pointed at the target (natural point of aim)and your bones are lined up to support your weight,and you have your head erect,so you do not tilt the gyros in your inner ears,you can get pretty steady.Then,you learn to only press on the trigger when the sights are getting closer....

In the field,about 3 handfuls of rice in a plastic bag,put inside a GI green cushionsole sock and knotted up to make a small "ricebag" is light,handy,and you can eat it.Put it on a rock,log,fencepost.etc
Learn to use your gear.I have a ruck I can place in my lap and rest on sitting.If I swing my 2 qt canteen over my thigh sitting,my elbow rests well on it.Prone over the pack,etc.Use what you have.
Often,getting above vegetation is a trick,prone does not always work.

At the final moment,the crosshairs are holding steady enough on target,you KNOW the shot will hit.No poke and hope.Get steadier or get closer,and likely you will have no regrets.

jdscholer
February 13, 2009, 12:14 PM
if it's within 100 yards, it's toast, even offhand...past that, not so much

I think that we should all strive to meet this 100 yard standard. If both you and your rifle can cut the mustard at 100 yds., 90 percent of your shots will be easy.(without a rest)

I think that if you can't take your given rifle and hit a pie plate off hand at 100 yds., you probably won't be able to take a rest and hit one at 200 yds..

Beyond 100 yds., or whatever your pie plate range is, a rest becomes pretty important. A rest can also be hard to find depending on where you're hunting. We hunt a lot in the sagebrush, and if you go prone or even sitting, you often lose your view.

I've been messing around with shooting sticks for a few years now, and have learned that there is a skill to be developed just to use them effectively. I've got a collapsible mono-pod that is just barely better than off-hand for me. Bi-pods are much better, and having someone to pack it for ya would be the best.;) jd

Creature
February 13, 2009, 12:20 PM
Remember that bone never touches bone--such as elbow on knee cap.
That's a new one on me. I've always heard/seen/read/been taught/experienced exactly the reverse...

Same here...never heard that before.

I was always taught that flesh-to-flesh or flesh-to-bone will always pulse and/or quiver and/or wobble.

Bone-to-bone support is always what a marksman strives for...because because bone is solid and therefore inherently stable and steady.

murphjup
February 13, 2009, 09:00 PM
I have learned alot from this post and will continue to digest all of your information...

Thank you all!!!

:)

jhgreasemonkey
February 13, 2009, 09:27 PM
I try to go into a kneeling position if possible. If not I just go freestyle :D.

Nnobby45
February 14, 2009, 12:51 AM
That makes perfect sense, but I'd never heard it expressed exactly that way. Basically you ARE trying to get as much of a bone-to-bone interface as possible that reaches from the gun to the ground but without getting bones directly on bones such that there's only "wobbly" skin between them.


I'd say that's accurate.

I've killed one deer from the standing position. Not much choice, he was only 15 yds. First deer AND biggest deer I ever killed--but that's another story.


Others were killed with a rest. Usually just dropping to sitting position and using hasty sling. This position is quick to get into, and much steadier than offhand.

I live in Nevada, where cross canyon shots, uphill, downhill, and open country are the rule, but thick stuff not out of the question.

It's easy to see how some conditions offer little choice but close range, offhand.

Shorthair
February 14, 2009, 07:45 PM
On the bone to bone thing, I was taught that one strives for bone support and muscle relaxation. This does not address the actual contact patch. In the four basic positions taught in the USMC, there really isn't an opportunity for a bone on bone mating surface if you're in the position as it was intended to be used.
I have never used a bipod or shooting sticks in the field. I consider them unnecessary encumbrances, though I realize many swear by them. I prefer to use whatever presents itself in the field at the time.

Creature
February 14, 2009, 08:26 PM
I was taught that one strives for bone support and muscle relaxation

No matter how relaxed your muscles are, there will always be a certain amount of "pulse" in muscle.
As for the four basic shooting positions, they ALL rely upon contact with either the elbow, knee and sometimes the hip.

The elbow has very little muscle around it as does the inner and top part of the knee. In the standing position, many competition shooters will tuck their elbow in the hip area which also close to the skin surface.

http://www.atlanticairgunclub.co.za/Images/prone_position.gifhttp://www.atlanticairgunclub.co.za/Images/sitting_position.gifhttp://www.atlanticairgunclub.co.za/Images/kneeling_position.jpghttp://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/RD116/12395194.JPG

Shorthair
February 14, 2009, 09:23 PM
No matter how relaxed your muscles are, there will always be a certain amount of "pulse" in muscle.
As for the four basic shooting positions, they ALL rely upon contact with either the elbow, knee and sometimes the hip.

The elbow has very little muscle around it as does the inner and top part of the knee. In the standing position, many competition shooters will tuck their elbow in the hip area which also close to the skin surface.
Hmmm, OK. No matter how textbook perfect one's position, there will always be a heart beating within your chest trying to kick you off the black at the 500 meter line. You have to try to reduce the effects of accuracy robbing variables, like gravity...
The idea is that the bone is rigid, and one should attempt to create a structure with the body's bones that utilizes that rigidity, like stacking a scaffold of bones up from the ground to the weapon. This is what you referred to earlier. This concept can be seen in all 4 of the positions, when correctly executed. Those illustrations of the hunter actually are horrible representations of each position's form. When the muscles are relaxed, this reduces tension. When they are contracted, or flexed, they create stresses that cause the muzzle to waver.

Creature
February 14, 2009, 09:54 PM
Have you ever shot in competition?

Shorthair
February 14, 2009, 10:53 PM
Me? No. Only in the service.

Creature
February 14, 2009, 10:58 PM
Which branch?

Ricky
February 14, 2009, 11:16 PM
I've killed several dear that were under 60-75 yards with offhand shots. Further than that and the dear are most likely feeding or walking you should be able to look around and find a solid rest. In my experience, usually the longer the range, the more time you have, look around, find a good rest and take your time. check your breathing and squeeeeeze the trigger. Bam, venison in the freezer!

Shorthair
February 14, 2009, 11:18 PM
Usmc 1979-1984

Creature
February 15, 2009, 04:40 AM
Interesting. I am active duty Navy and I compete in the Fleet Forces and All Navy Matches. The Marine Det that shoots with my team would be the first to tell you: when it comes to shooting and how to set up a shot, the first thing is always to settle on bone to bone support when "building" your firing position. They tell me that this is taught at basic.

Daryl
February 15, 2009, 08:16 AM
Well, I'm a relatively new hunter, Only within the past year... so I am wondering how everyone steady's their rifle for shots in the field??

Do you all just hold them? Brace against something? Bipod? Carry a stick?

Any ideas for steadying your rifle on longer shots would be appreciated?

Thank you in advance.


All of the above, and then some.

It all depends on where I'm hunting, and for what.

At closer ranges, I'll just lift the rifle and shoot, many times. Sitting, and resting my elbows on my knees while holding the rifle, or just resting the rifle across a knee has given my pretty good results, too. In fact, this is the position I do most shooting from.

In open country, while hunting antelope or other such critters, I'll oft-times put a bi-pod on my rifle. It allows for near bench-rest accuracy in open areas where you can lay down or sit where you otherwise wouldn't find much to use for a rest.

In mountain country, I'll leave the bi-pod at home. I might carry shooting sticks, but not likely. Instead I'll stop and glass where there's a rock, stump, log, or other thing(s) I can use for a rest. A stetson laid over such an object works pretty well to steady a rifle for a long shot.

Daryl

Shorthair
February 15, 2009, 11:54 AM
Interesting. I am active duty Navy and I compete in the Fleet Forces and All Navy Matches. The Marine Det that shoots with my team would be the first to tell you: when it comes to shooting and how to set up a shot, the first thing is always to settle on bone to bone support when "building" your firing position. They tell me that this is taught at basic.
I'm sure that's exactly what they tell you. Creature, I have no doubt you're a much better shot than I, and I am not here to flex my e-trigger finger. However, I think you fundamentally misunderstand what your Marine shooting teammates are telling you. I'd like you to do me a favor. Ask them if they are talking about the contact patch, where a bony part of the body merely contacts another bony part, or if they are talking about building a platform, a scaffold of bone, where the bones stack up from the ground to the weapon in order to create a stable platform and resist the effects of gravity and minimize muscle tension. They are, I'm sure.
I'm a ridiculously flexible man, always have been. That said, at first it was painful for all of us to crank down tight and hold our positions, as I'm sure it used to be for you. We were always encouraged to crank the sling up to the tightest possible degree, and then naturally align the body towards the target. In kneeling, that means sitting on my foot as it lay flat on the ground, not up on the ball of my foot, and with the forward foot tucked back against my crotch rather than placed out towards the target. If I were to place my elbow directly on top of my knee cap the position was much less stable than when I was tightly cranked into the tightest position possible. When I cranked down into the sitting position, for example, I tucked my legs up tight into my crotch, and rested my elbows into pockets created by the inside crook of the knee, never on the bone of the knee itself. Same thing with kneeling, the tricep, not the elbow, contacted my knee. I never concentrated on ensuring the contact patch was a bone on bone relation, in fact, I virtually always avoided it.
I don't know, it worked for me, I was 2nd highest in my series in boot and never shot less than 231 on the KD course, including pre-qual.

Creature
February 15, 2009, 12:16 PM
You lost me.

Shorthair
February 15, 2009, 12:23 PM
It appears that you are saying that the contact patch is the relevant bone-on-bone reference, and I am saying that the concept actually applies to the entire structure. I appears that you are saying that one should concentrate on placing a bony surface area like an elbow directly upon another bony surface area like a kneecap, I am saying that this misinterprets the concept of bone support as practiced and taught by the Marine Corps.
I am saying that the concept addresses the entire structure, and not merely the various points where one limb contacts another.

RB98SS
February 15, 2009, 01:46 PM
For me, I hunt whitetail from a tree stand and rarely sit in it. I stand as long as I can, sit to rest only. It's hard for me to shoot off hand and if standing its easy to get a shot in any direction. Also, I set my stand opposite the tree where I have my shooting lane. By doing this, I can keep hidden behind the tree and steady my gun against it when the shot opportunity is right. I stand facing the tree I'm in.

MeekAndMild
February 15, 2009, 04:07 PM
Whelen sling helps a lot. Jack O'Connor used to drop his hat onto a rock or log to cushion the rifle.

James R. Burke
February 21, 2009, 03:34 PM
There is no doubt any kind of rest is better than none. Were I deer hunt in Michigan most shots are under 75 yards in very thick woods you need to be fast, and accurate off hand.

publius
February 22, 2009, 01:48 AM
The edge of the deer stand, a tree, a log, my forearm on by knee, anything I can find.

YARDDOG(1)
February 22, 2009, 11:47 AM
Any shot past 200+ yards I'd like a tree too steady

CamoCop
February 22, 2009, 02:40 PM
i have a shooting rail mounted to my climbing treestand