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Old July 1, 2013, 01:26 PM   #76
Bart B.
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JerryM, only when rifles are fired in total free recoil untouched by humans except for a fingertip on their trigger does their inheirant accuracy happen. Rifles hand held against ones shoulder as they lay atop something on a bench top have all the human variables's degrading their accuracy. Nobody shoots hand held rifles as accurate as they do clamped in an unrestricted machine rest.
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Old July 1, 2013, 01:34 PM   #77
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{JerryM, only when rifles are fired in total free recoil untouched by humans except for a fingertip on their trigger does their inheirant accuracy happen. Rifles hand held against ones shoulder as they lay atop something on a bench top have all the human variables's degrading their accuracy. Nobody shoots hand held rifles as accurate as they do clamped in an unrestricted machine rest.}

I know that, but in the real world of the average hunter sighting in and shooting it makes little difference. Groups fired over a rest or bench do give an indication of the rifle's accuracy.

So the fact that people are not perfect in the shooting is unimportant to assessing the accuracy and suitability for hunting.

I have never had a machine rest, and have not missed one. When my rifle shoot MOA or 1.5 MOA they have done the job in the field.
So why should I care if I don't have a machine rest? I have always been interested in hunting rifles and have not had accuracy problems with my shooting over a bench.

Jerry
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Old July 3, 2013, 07:15 PM   #78
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I have never had a machine rest, and have not missed one. When my rifle shoot MOA or 1.5 MOA they have done the job in the field.
So why should I care if I don't have a machine rest? I have always been interested in hunting rifles and have not had accuracy problems with my shooting over a bench.
I agree. You have come to grips with your "system" and the variables in it.

If you are happy, then that is what counts. You can tweak the variables in your system to see if there is improvement or not. I have never owned or used any kind of machine rest either. I am interested in how my rifle performs for me. I suspect many who post here feel the same way.
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Old July 4, 2013, 07:59 AM   #79
Bart B.
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I know that (machine rest's use in testing accuracy), but in the real world of the average hunter sighting in and shooting it makes little difference. Groups fired over a rest or bench do give an indication of the rifle's accuracy. So the fact that people are not perfect in the shooting is unimportant to assessing the accuracy and suitability for hunting.
You might think somewhat otherwise if you've ever watched a dozen people shoot the same rifle holding it against their shoulders as its fore end rested atop something on a bench top as the sit on a stool beside it. Then see their 100-yard 10-shot test groups range from 3/4 inch to almost 2 inches across all of them. With a rifle and ammo that shoots about 1/4 inch from a machine rest at 100 yards.

Groups fired over a rest or bench do give an indication of the rifle's accuracy plus the inaccuracies of the person shooting it; they add up together in one direction as well as cancel each other out in the other direction and it's nye impossible sometimes to separate the two.
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Old July 4, 2013, 11:44 AM   #80
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Hi Bart,
[You might think somewhat otherwise if you've ever watched a dozen people shoot the same rifle holding it against their shoulders as its fore end rested atop something on a bench top as the sit on a stool beside it.]

But I don't care about 10 or 9 other people. I am only interested in my rifle fired by me.

I realize those who are Distinguished Marksmen, and like what they do have other ideas. However, I care not how they operate. I was, when I was younger and in good health, a hunter. The trophy I was interested was the animal on my wall or in a photo. Also, in the plate.

We have different interest and standards of marksmanship. The finest points of marksmanship and ultimate accuracy of rifles are not of consequence to me. I practiced a lot and could shoot 2 MOA from a sitting position. I never had problems with ability to take game out to 500 yds. I think 550 on an antelope was the longest I took a game animal. In those days we did not have range finders or use shooting sticks. Prone with a rest of a day pack or whatever was even better if it could be done.

Also, shooting on the side of a mountain with adrenalin pumping is a lot different from anything on the range or bench. That does not negate testing rifles and loads over a bench to see if the combination is accurate enough for the intended use.

Thanks,
Jerry
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Old July 4, 2013, 06:22 PM   #81
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I'm firmly with JerryM. I don't care about somebody else's accuracy with my rifle (rifles) and I could care less what a mechanical device can do with my rifle. I only care about my ability to shoot the rifle, and the place I always start with a rifle is shooting groups. Gotta get the scope set up right and I need to see what powder/bullet combo works best and then find out what the rifle (and I) are capable of. Once I have it all set up, then I'm ready to go.

I think that it's a bad idea to even suggest to new hunters that might be reading these comments that a fellow doesn't need to shoot groups with his rifle. A misinformed fellow might just get his rifle boresighted and go to the woods. Once the rifle and scope and load are chosen, shooting groups is called practice. And yes, practice can include offhand and prone and seated, but it's best starting from a bench. And next season, when you want to check the sights on your favorite hunting rifle, how are you gonna do that? Shooting offhand just isn't going to tell you what you need to know about where the rifle is shooting. Again...a fellow has to start somewhere, and to me that's shooting groups from the bench.

It was a lame statement to say that ignoring groups is acceptable, and defending it isn't going to make it right today or tomorrow or the day before the season starts. It is however, Ok to say that shooting groups isn't the only practice a fellow needs to do.
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Old July 4, 2013, 08:11 PM   #82
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...I could care less what a mechanical device can do with my rifle.
While there's some practical wisdom in that approach, there's also value in knowing the basic capability of the rifle/ammo combination/system so that it's possible to determine how much of the downrange inaccuracy is the shooter's responsibility. That's particularly true when one is chasing a problem or trying to improve his accuracy.

In other words, if one is practicing to improve his shooting performance and is having real problems shooting satisfactory groups from field positions, it would be instructive to shoot from a mechanical rest to eliminate all shooter error. If it turns out that the rifle won't shoot satisfactorily from a machine rest then the shooter is wasting his time and money practicing to improve his groups if the gun can't manage what he is trying to achieve.
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Old July 4, 2013, 08:41 PM   #83
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I have never owned a rifle that would not group well enough for hunting.

I have owned a couple that would not group better than 2 moa, but that is easily sufficient accuracy to shoot at any reasonable hunting range, and better than most can shoot in the field. I am not convinced that using a machine rest has any real use except in the area of bench rest or maybe 1,000 yd shooting.

In the field one does not have time to get a real tight sling using his shooting vest.
I will freely admit I am not, or have ever been, in the class of Carlos Hathcock. But I have not needed to be to take any game I have hunted at what I consider hunting ranges. I did once kill a deer in Montana that was running at something over 500 yards away from me. That is not a brag, because if I had not missed him twice running at 200 at yards I would not have needed the LUCK to make such a shot.

Anyway, I guess I have said what I need to say. I like to shoot groups from the bench to make sure my rifle is shooting as I want it to, and that the scope is fine. From there I will take what I can get in the field, and that is what sport hunting is about.

If you cannot locate and stalk the game within range it does not make any difference if your rifle is a tack driver or not.

Regards,
Jerry
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Old July 4, 2013, 08:47 PM   #84
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I have never owned a rifle that would not group well enough for hunting.
I have--at least with some kinds of ammunition. I have one Swedish Model 38 that shoots patterns larger than 1 foot in size at 100 yards from the bench using factory Remington ammo but that will hold under an inch at the same distance using ammunition it likes.

At any rate, your statement goes a long way toward explaining your perspective.

1. Not everybody uses their rifles exclusively for hunting.
2. Even those who do are not always satisfied with accuracy that would universally be considered adequate for typical (big-game/deer) hunting.
Quote:
I like to shoot groups from the bench to make sure my rifle is shooting as I want it to...
The same reason that a person who is more concerned with accuracy might give for using a machine rest instead of merely a bench.
Quote:
If you cannot locate and stalk the game within range it does not make any difference if your rifle is a tack driver or not.
And if your rifle isn't accurate enough, it won't make any difference how well you locate and stalk game unless you can get right on top of it. For example, I wouldn't consider shooting anything at all with that M38/Remington combination, no matter how close I could get.
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Old July 5, 2013, 12:53 AM   #85
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I think folks are confusing "accuracy" with "precision."

A rifle that shoots tight groups is "precise" with that particular ammo.

A shooter that hits where intended is "accurate" with that shot.

A 2 MOA rifle in the hands of a skilled shooter will be more "accurate" and an extremely precise rifle in the hands of someone who can't control their breathing or trigger pull.

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Old July 5, 2013, 01:50 AM   #86
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When I first started shooting rifles, I was all about groups, always trying to beat my uncle on a range of rifles, .243, .270, 30-30, .375, and no matter how flat or rainbowed the thing shot, he was always more consistent, even though his best groups were nowhere near mine.

It all comes down to the shooter. Now, this is not to say that a garbage optic or a junk-pile gun won't ruin even a phenomenal shooters group, but most well built guns with reliable optics on them will shoot consistently enough to narrow down the margin of error to where a human affects the accuracy more.

Even the individual shooters current body chemistry or mindset matters, as well as things like wind, which, let's be honest, most shooters aren't sitting around twisting knobs to account for. I've shot anywhere from a 1moa group to a 6 or 7moa five shot group, depending on the day and my level of focus. Same rifle, same ammunition.

Also worth noting: I'm sure some have noticed, that time away from the range helps ones groups immensely, that is, in the time when I was going out 100 yards every other day for hours on end, I was averaging way looser groups than when I went broke on dollar-a-round .308 and took a month off. Muscle memory? Who knows....
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Old July 5, 2013, 08:13 AM   #87
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[I have--at least with some kinds of ammunition. I have one Swedish Model 38 that shoots patterns larger than 1 foot in size at 100 yards from the bench using factory Remington ammo but that will hold under an inch at the same distance using ammunition it likes.]

I sure hope it did not take a machine rest for you to determine that.
Jerry
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Old July 5, 2013, 11:33 AM   #88
Bart B.
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One thing I've observed is, if you're a good marksman with a rifle, and the rifle and ammo's very accurate, you can sight it in from standing without using a sling and only shoot one shot at the target. You'll be no more than 1/2 MOA off from a perfect zero. One more shot and you'll be within 1/3 to 1/4 MOA off from perfect.

And this zero will be more precise than any zero attained shooting a rested rifle off a bench; usually about 1 MOA better, sometimes moreso.

I like Jimro's comments:
Quote:
A rifle that shoots tight groups is "precise" with that particular ammo.

A shooter that hits where intended is "accurate" with that shot.
Competitors shooting NRA high power matches with shouldered rifles are better marksmen than those shooting benchrest matches. High power competitors shoot very precise rifles very accurate all by themselves. Benchresters shoot their well supported rifles very precise because they're not aiming them all by themselves; they don't have to be an excellent marksman. There's no difference in the precise accuracy either rifle or ammo type has, but a big difference in how well each competitor can shoot their rifles unsupported by themselves.
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:45 PM   #89
Bart B.
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Shooting offhand just isn't going to tell you what you need to know about where the rifle is shooting.
Nothing's further from reality unless one closes their eyes when the shot's fired and they can't call their shots.

But for those who are good marksmen, it tells them exactly where the rifle's shooting. And they can adjust the sights then shoot to call. Such methods of getting zeros on the sights are better than shooting from a bench.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:19 PM   #90
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And who amongst us sights in their rifle shooting offhand? Sure it can be done, but it isn't precise. Testing your shooting offhand will tell you where you are shooting with that rifle (and that's good info) and generally where your rifle is shooting, but leaves a bit to be desired - for me anyway. And back in the day (USMC) I was mighty good offhand while shooting for record.

Sight your rifle from the bench and get the feel of the rifle and trigger and then transition to offhand. At that point, once you've done the preliminary work (dare I say...shooting groups), practicing offhand is an excellent idea. Still, as good as I once was, I will rarely ever shoot game offhand if I have almost any other option - such as leaning the rifle against a tree. I tend to practice shooting in the fashion that I will generally hunt deer, pigs, and coyotes, which is with the forend supported.

Much better to shoot groups and then shoot offhand than to not shoot groups and then shoot offhand. At least that's true for us mortals, regular guys, and basic hunters.

I don't much really care how most folks choose to practice their shooting, but I do think that shooting groups has an important place in working up to good marksmanship.

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Old July 7, 2013, 03:02 AM   #91
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I don't much really care how most folks choose to practice their shooting, but I do think that shooting groups has an important place in working up to good marksmanship.
A co-worker of mine who got through college on a small bore scholarship explained to me that his shooting coach wouldn't let him shoot prone with sling until he could consistently shoot off the sandbags, 10 shots in the X.

However, you don't get to use sandbags in competition. It is important to understand that those scores off the sandbags don't mean anything in competition.

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Old July 7, 2013, 07:27 AM   #92
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Good marksmanship (to me, anyway) means good shooting without a rest. Group shooting from a bench does little to develop good marksmanship skills. Why? The bench holds the rifle still; all the shooter does is move it around so the rifle's held still on the bench pointing somewhere else. Marksmanship is holding the rifle as still as possible on target when it's fired. Shooting from a bench does not reflect the bad shots caused by improper trigger pull and how the rifle's held.

I've sighted in two brand new rifles from standing using the two sighting shots allowed in the match. Neither sighting shot struck the bullseye dead center. Aperture rear and post front sights were used. Won both matches.

I've trained several rifle shooters to sight in their rifles from standing. None of them believed it could be done, but afterwords felt it was easier than originally thought. One surprise they had was learning the shots don't have to strike dead center to get a zero. The other was seeing the change in zeros when they shot the rifles resting atop sandbags on a bench.

How many readers know what "calling the shot" means? And how accurate it can be done?

How many readers know the difference in zeros for a given load from shooting from a bench and shooting in standing with out a sling, then with a sling in kneeling, sitting and prone? Unless you do, then you probably don't understand what I'm talking about.

I've never sighted in a rifle from a bench since the 1960's. One does not need to be a "good shot" to do so, just call your shots accurately. If the bullet hold doesn't show up where you called it on the target, crank the knobs on your sight.
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Old July 7, 2013, 05:33 PM   #93
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Good marksmanship means hitting what you are shooting at, regardless of how you do it.

And anybody that went through the USMC basic knows all about calling shots and different dope for different shooting positions. I still remember, but it's a lot like Calculus, in that I don't have much use for it anymore.

And if I had to positively and absolutely and for sure make a long shot, with all the marbles riding on it, it wouldn't be from offhand. Though I did shoot a big buck years ago at approx. 450 yards from the offhand position, with sling employed, and with my favorite Sako 270 and with my cousin watching. We always tried to outshoot the other, starting in childhood. He always says the shot was an accident, but when the rifle fired, the crosshairs were exactly where they should have been. I called the shot, just like back in the Corps.

Talking about offhand reminds me of some class I took in the last century on firing a shoulder fired, wire guided rocket type weapon. It was explained to us that you had to stand up in the middle of a hot battlezone, sight and fire the weapon and remain standing to guide the projectile until it reached the target. Sure...that's a great idea, and I'll make sure the Corporal or Lance Corporal do just that. Anyway, shooting anything offhand is fine for proving you can do it, but to my mind it's the least accurate of all the standard and non-standard firing positions and shouldn't be used in a hunting situation unless you have no other option.
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Old July 7, 2013, 07:54 PM   #94
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I sure hope it did not take a machine rest for you to determine that.
It didn't, and I didn't suggest that it did. That comment was specifically in response to your statement that you had never had a rifle that wouldn't group well enough for hunting.
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Old July 8, 2013, 08:02 AM   #95
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Machine rests have been used by military rifle teams as well as civilians to test their shoulder fired match rifles and ammo for the accuracy it produces. It's the only way to remove the human variable. The best of such rifles and ammo shoot about 1/2 MOA at 600 yards so tested. Slung up in prone, the top ranked competitors have a good day if they can keep all their shots inside a 2 MOA circle. Records are set when they keep 'em at or less than 1 MOA.

Here's a link to some photos of the machine rest that several bolt gun shooters used testing their stuff. This one was built by David Tubb's Dad, George, back in the early 1960's. 10 to 15 others have been made. His Tubb 2000 tube gun's shown clamped in it. Conventional wood stocked rifles have coned escusheons on each side of the butt stock in front of the butt plate where cross bolts clamp into it. They recoil back and upward just like a shoulder fired rifle does. Movement back for a 13 pound .308 match rifle is a bit over an inch. The 40+ pound top cradle holding the rifle that slides on the 3-point contact base has a maximum return-to-battery error of about 1/20th MOA.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/1278722...7594303093714/
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