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Old February 11, 2009, 07:48 PM   #1
murphjup
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Steadying your rifle?

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.

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Old February 11, 2009, 08:02 PM   #2
THEZACHARIAS
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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.

Last edited by THEZACHARIAS; February 11, 2009 at 09:23 PM.
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Old February 11, 2009, 08:06 PM   #3
Doyle
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I use an eastman outfitters collapsable bipod. It carries easily and can strap to my backpack for long hauls.
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Old February 11, 2009, 08:07 PM   #4
Doyle
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Oops, forgot the link.
http://www.cabelas.com/spodw-1/0049019.shtml
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Old February 11, 2009, 09:21 PM   #5
ddeyo1
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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.
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Old February 11, 2009, 09:42 PM   #6
L_Killkenny
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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.
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Old February 11, 2009, 09:45 PM   #7
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 12:04 AM   #8
globemaster3
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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 ) 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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 12:20 AM   #9
B. Lahey
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 01:27 AM   #10
bclark1
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 02:00 AM   #11
Nnobby45
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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.

Last edited by Nnobby45; February 12, 2009 at 02:08 AM.
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Old February 12, 2009, 03:10 AM   #12
JohnKSa
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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...
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Old February 12, 2009, 03:59 AM   #13
FrankenMauser
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 05:33 AM   #14
Regolith
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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).
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Old February 12, 2009, 06:39 AM   #15
Nnobby45
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Quote:
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.

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!

Last edited by Nnobby45; February 12, 2009 at 06:47 AM.
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Old February 12, 2009, 07:47 AM   #16
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 08:04 AM   #17
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 08:13 AM   #18
hogdogs
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 08:25 AM   #19
skydiver3346
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How to steady a rifle:

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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 12:22 PM   #20
murphjup
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Thank you Everyone!

Alot of information,I will take a look at it all!!!

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Old February 12, 2009, 02:55 PM   #21
Buzzcook
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 03:09 PM   #22
Brian Pfleuger
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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.
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Old February 12, 2009, 05:59 PM   #23
bufordtjustice
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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.
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Old February 13, 2009, 02:40 AM   #24
JohnKSa
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Quote:
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.
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Old February 13, 2009, 03:03 AM   #25
HiBC
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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.
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