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Old June 17, 2013, 07:44 AM   #26
Picher
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In my 60 years of shooting, I've shot many different competitions with rifle, handgun, and shotgun. I also won about a hundred informal turkey (target) shoots, both offhand and prone, plus the "Best Da_ned Shot in Maine" competition.

I believe that good bench technique can translate to accurate field shooting. To mimic field shooting conditions, soft benchrest bags seem better than hard ones. After sighting in, I often shoot offhand at 200 meters at gongs or clay targets on the bank to check my field zero.

One day, I was sighting in my .270 Win from the bench next to a guy who was a CF benchrest competitor with his match rifle. The .270 shot some nice groups at 100, then I stood up and fired a 5-shot group offhand that was about 1 1/2". The guy said he was impressed with the bench groups, but was absolutely floored by the offhand shooting. He said he'd never fired offhand.

Knowing what a rifle can do and checking ballistics tables against real life conditions is important to accurate field shooting from any position and (reasonable) game distances.

("You gotta know your limitations." Dirty Harry)

Last edited by Picher; June 17, 2013 at 11:15 AM.
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Old June 17, 2013, 10:17 AM   #27
Art Eatman
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Picher's pretty good for a newbie. (I got into the .22 bidness in 1940.)

I've always tried to keep it simple, being sorta simple-minded: The bench can tell you about the rifle and ammo. Away from the bench, it's all about the shooter.
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Old June 17, 2013, 11:29 AM   #28
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Kraigwy, do you handload or do you always use factory ammo?
I reload for everything excluding 22 RF.
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Old June 17, 2013, 01:04 PM   #29
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I think the OP's observation says more about the shooter than the rifle or bullets he's shooting.
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Old June 17, 2013, 01:14 PM   #30
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I never shot competition. All my interest was on hunting. My own standards for my big game rifles were that they must group 3 shots in 1.5 inches or less at 100 yards.

I one had a 30-06 that would not group under 2 inches. I took it to the range along with a rifle that would group 1 inch. Shooting from a sitting position with a tight sling there was no difference in the groups at 300 yards. I found I could group 2 minutes from sitting out to 500 yards, and I could do it with a 2 min rifle or a 1 min rifle.
This was on a firing range, and sitting on the side of a mountain I am sure I could not do as well.

I never missed an animal due to inaccurate rifles, but have shot over them at long range due to overestimating the range. No rangefinders in my day.

Whatever one is satisfied with will probably take all the game he is capable of bagging.
I admit I prefer accurate rifles, but it is not critical within reason, and I would rather have a light rifle that was 1.5 minute rifle than a real tack driver that weighed 8-9 pounds with scope. Of course the cartridge dictates weight to some extent also.

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Old June 17, 2013, 04:33 PM   #31
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[I]Another un-related observation: What a rifle does from the bench is totally un-related to what it does in field or match conditions.


Shooter Kraig, Shooter!
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Old June 17, 2013, 04:54 PM   #32
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I never worry about anyone elses groups unless I'm teaching them how to shoot a rifle they are not familiar with... But the Captains right and I dont get hung up on my practice groups as much as my data groups.
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Old June 17, 2013, 06:59 PM   #33
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If it shoots poorly from the bench it will shoot poorly in the field. So in principle I disagree that there is not some connection. I would not go hunting with a rifle that would only group 3 inches at 100 yards.
I doubt that anyone would take it to a match.

So I don't ignore shot groups, but they do not tell the whole story as to what one can do in the field. After all there is a shooter behind the rifle, and he has his own limitations.
Also, from the bench one might learn that the first shot from a cold barrel is far away from the group made by the next rounds. That says that if I miss the first shot or only wound the animal I might not be able to finish it at long range.

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Old June 17, 2013, 07:23 PM   #34
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I like the fact that my AK will shoot sub-2" 5-shot 100 yard groups from a rest, but what really makes me smile is demonstrating that I can make consistent 25-yard head and neck shots from a standing position with the same rifle (as in 20 of 20 shots) at a cadence of about one shot every 2 seconds. In a way, just as challenging (both situations with iron sights) but it just seems a lot more like practical shooting.
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Old June 17, 2013, 09:51 PM   #35
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I am no authority on Carlos Hathcock.Could be I am wrong,but it seems I heard something about the rifle he got business done with was good for about 3 MOA.

A whole lot have deer have been killed with "deer rifles" and a lot of deer rifles get business done shoot about 3 moa.

Generally,the standard for a military battle rifle is about 3 moa.

IMO,a whole lot of serious rifle work can be done with a 3moa battle rifle,especially since the original topic is set to a CMP vintage clinic.

CMP Garands make for a pretty level playing field.I doubt very many of them shoot much better than 2 moa,and my unimformed guess is CMP does not ship many that won't do 3 moa.Everybody has the same sights and a military trigger.

Kraig is trying to pass on the skills and experience he has.He is going out of his way to teach regular folks how to poke holes.
If a person will practice what kraig is teaching,they can use any rifle on the line,any service grade M-1,any Springfield or SMLE,handloads or Greek surplus from CMP,lay down,sling up and put them in the black.

In the context of what Kraig is doing,it can't be bought.You just can't buy what Kraig is trying to give.

Given equal skill levels,at an introductory clinic,it does not matter a didly if you show up with a well worn rack grade 3 moa bayonet pole or a National Match grade Kreiger barreled 1 moa piece that you can't pick up by the forend.Remember,the diameter of a group is created by the radius times two.The difference from center is 1/2 in for a 1 moa rifle and 1 1/2 in for a three moa rifle.The difference is one inch.OK

If bayonet pole shooter shoots a 5 in group in the black,and tackdriver shooter shoots a 5 in group in the black,bayonet pole shooter is doing everything better than tackdriver shooter.

If you are a tackdriver shooter shooting 7 moa,it is time to stop being distracted by hardware.Put that rifle down,if necessary.With a worn,GI rack gun,position,natural point of aim,breathing,sighting,trigger squeeze,follow through...dry fire,practice,and you will poke holes in the black.

The other stuff is great,but its in a different class,at a different school.
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:13 AM   #36
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Theoretically speaking, if a rifle and shooter consistently make 2-inch group at 100 yards, about 2/3rds of shots will be less than 3/4" from the center and the remainder will be not farther than 1 inch from group center.

Group size is not as important as sighting a rifle in to allow bullets to hit along a prescribed trajectory. A 1/2 minute-grouping rifle sighted to hit center at 100 yards, when the maximum target/game to be shot at will be at, say 350 yards is not a good strategy. Depending on cartridge, the bullet at 350 yards could easily be 15 inches low and every shot could miss a deer.

It's better to sight-in for groups to be centered where the Point Blank trajectory (+/- 3") should be at a point on the curve for that cartridge/load, out to the maximum distance to be encountered when hunting/shooting. For my cartridge/load, it's about 2" high at 200 yards.

I chronograph my loads, use a computerized ballistics program and take into account how temperature affects velocity, elevation and trajectory (but check actual performance under hunting conditions).

One shot; one kill.
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:54 AM   #37
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While the basic premise is sound there are plenty of holes to fill for both camps. Great form and technique can not compensate for a poor rifle or load. A 3 moa gun/load ain't gonna shoot 2 moa from a great field position shooter let alone a poor one. Vice versa though and it's true, you put a 3 moa gun into a great shooters hand and he'll out shoot a poor shooter with a 1 moa gun all day long. But you set that 1 moa gun in the great shooters hand and he'll do even better. So are groups, guns and loads irrelevant? Not buy a long shot.

Personally experience has led me to the fact that the AVERAGE shooter doesn't have the time or money to become all that proficient from field positions. I'm not saying the they shouldn't practice but when the chips are down the average shooter ain't gonna hit crap very far away. That's why I preach using/finding shooting rests right along side proper technique. I don't care if your choice is a bipod, shooting sticks, day pack, tree branch, fallen logs, whatever............. knowing how to use em and where to find em in the field is just as important for the average shooter.

IMO most shooter that don't use a rest in the field for shots over 100 yards are just pissin into the wind. To each his own though........

Now I fully expect to read all sorts of long shot stories without rests....... "I did this", "Dad did that", "Uncle John made this", etc etc. Great! Nice shooting. But for some reason we never hear about the bad shots and I've seen a lot more of them. Had plenty myself. I'll take a below average shooter using some form of rest over an above average shooter without any day of the week.

Last edited by L_Killkenny; June 18, 2013 at 09:01 AM.
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Old June 18, 2013, 10:03 AM   #38
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love reading this stuff... you guys are awesome...

... as you may know, I've got a "few" guns, & my own range ( 300 yards ) but grew up in a zero gun household... had to beg & plead to get a single shot .410 when I was in high school...

most of my adult life, I've been trying to "learn" how to shoot... I'm not a "natural" I spend as much time on my range as time allows, been to an Appleseed shoot ( highly recommend those as well ) personally, I like to hunt, but will grab a "field rest" every chance I get... I feel I can now "hold my own" prone, or with a field rest, but standing or sitting ( using the sling ) I'm not good enough to qualify as a "rifleman"

wish some of you guys lived closer... be great to get together & shoot, pick up some more tips, & practice, as well as meet each other
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Old June 18, 2013, 10:33 AM   #39
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I don't discount groups but I do believe exactly as Art said. The groups on a rest on the bench will tell me what the gun can do. Other types of shooting tell me what I can do.

I used to be a much better off-hand and "field" shooter than I am now. I hunted woodchucks regularly with a 10/22 and such hunting regularly requires unassisted off-hand head shots at 50 yards and sometimes more. I was pretty good.

I quit hunting with the 22 and got a .204. That gun routinely shoots 1/2MOA or better at 100. Most all shots are prone or at least kneeling with a bi-pod. I can quite easily kill woodchucks with that gun at over 300 yards and have no doubt I could much farther, I just don't have any place to do it. It groups around 3/4MOA at 400 yards and that's usually 1/4MOA or less vertical and 3/4 horizontal, as I'm not so great with the wind.

Last weekend I had occasion to shoot the 10/22 at some woodchucks where I didn't want to use the "big" gun. Kneeling shots at 30 yards or so with a scope. I was surprised how shaky and uncertain it felt.

I'm pretty sure I need one of those Appleseed events to straighten me up.
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Old June 18, 2013, 04:35 PM   #40
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Sometimes...after toiling in the hot sun most of the week --- while working in construction/surveying --- I like to go to the range too rest and relax, which includes shooting off the bench. That is why they put the "rest" in bench rest...isn't it?
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Old June 18, 2013, 05:27 PM   #41
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Brian Pfeuger wrote:

Quote:
I was surprised how shaky and uncertain it felt.
That is age my friend and there is nothing we can do about it!

I know how good of a field shot I used to be, and I know that at this time I'm not nearly as good. Some of that has to do with me not shooting in the field as much and some has to do with the fact my eyes, flexibility, and strength are not what they used to be. Shooting a rifle from a bench rest tells me that load A is better than loads B, C and D, and that is about it. I'll continue to bench my rifles though to make sure I'm using a load that I feel is overall the best for game I intend to hunt with it.
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Old June 18, 2013, 05:32 PM   #42
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Maybe I missed bragging rights somewhere, but I always assumed that benched groups were for the purpose of determining the best expected potential performance that would be had from the combination of elements and not that it was a predictor of how a given shooter would perform in the field. I thought you shot for groups so that you would know what combination would give you the best chance of performing well in the field. That a shooter shoots 1/2 MOA off the bench and 7 MOA during a match or in the field are really two different considerations (assuming we aren't talking a benchrest competition, LOL).

I have seen this, however. A guy shooting his 1 MOA ammo (benched) and getting 4" groups offhand at 100 yards was still better than when he changed to 4 MOA (benched from same gun) ammo and shot 5-7" groups offhand.

I know that if I want to go hunting, I am not picking the 4 MOA (benched) ammo for the job.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:02 PM   #43
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Shooting groups with the rifle rested atop something on a bench and held by a human tells how well that human shoots that rifle with that ammo. All three are part of the equasion. Only rifles shooting in 100% return-to-battery free recoil (untouched by humans except for their 2 ounce trigger being lightly touched by the human) show what accuracy it and its ammo have.

There are hunters and competitors who can sight in their rifles from the standing position using only 1 shot from a good rifle shooting good ammo. They can also shoot several shots and see how accurate the rifle and ammo is. All from the standing position and the resultant group of a dozen or so shots fired may well be 4 MOA and none of them hit the center of the bullseye target they're aiming at. If the rifle and ammo really do shoot no worse than 1 MOA, they'll easily see it in that 4 MOA group 200 yards down range.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:11 PM   #44
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Bart, your right, but when I set a rifle in my sled,(with 48 lbs) it's usually just me and scope and trigger, not even faint forearm or shoulder involvement, but I am concerned with hunting rifles thus far, so I'm tickled with 3/4 moa out of sled, and if I shoot 2 inches around bull at 100, then i'm tickled.
Cause I hunt and strive to kill game with the first shot every time so my practice grouping is the real evidence of my talent... and when I get this move finished I will be back at the range and will post pics of just practice...
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:33 PM   #45
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Quote:
Another un-related observation: What a rifle does from the bench is totally un-related to what it does in field or match conditions.
Not totally un-related, but not the greatest factor in the system..... that'd be the shooter. As some of the other posters noted, the bench just tests the gun and load under ideal conditions .......it's best potential, maybe.

It'd be like a guy announcing that a top fuel funny car, because it had the fastest 0-60 speed (under ideal conditions) that the driver had ever seen, was the best car in any race......... change the race conditions, and it's not gonna be that impressive..... and even less so if that driver has never driven on dirt.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:59 PM   #46
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Hooligan1, note that zeros will be different when attained when the rifles shot in free recoil versus from the shoulder. There'll also be a difference between shoulder held from a bench and the four unsupported field positions; sitting, standing, kneeling or prone. But within those four unsupported field positions, there's not much difference in zeros; they're all within 1/2 MOA from each other for a given range.

But a given rifle held repeatably from shot to shot from any position will shoot just as accurate as it will from a free recoiling machine rest. Problem is, humans don't hold them totally, perfectly nor absolutely repeatable for each shot. And rarely do they present the same resistance amount and axis for each shot and that causes the barrel to point to different places on the target even when the firing pin smacks the primer and the barrel's pointed at the same place every time. The barrel axis moves a bit in all directions while the bullet's going down the hole in it.
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Old June 18, 2013, 10:14 PM   #47
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I remember my introduction to XTC shooting... a guy came along watching me shoot a Garand from a benchrest. He said, "you can see how well your rifle shoots, would you like to see how well you shoot?" I spent several really great years shooting XTC, and some long range prone.

I left the sport when I stopped enjoying it, or having fun. That was about 13 years ago. Some guys take this all to seriously. Where I go for recreation, ain't nobody shooting back, and I have no desire to train for any such situation!

I'm now in process of building an F class rifle for fun, and for shooting from a bench. I hope to be able to shoot some good groups, and to shoot good scores, but depending on what is fun to me, I'll do what I like, what makes me happy. If group shooting does it, great. If shooting for points does it on a given day, great! To the extent that the other competitors are fun, happy, guys, I will have something in common with them, and we can all have a good time.

I really don't care about winning or doing better than other guys. I would like to see progress in my shooting, but if there is no progress, and if I'm enjoying myself, then I'll keep on shooting. -Heck, I don't mind shooting milsurps at clay pigeons while drinking a Gatorade and enjoying a nice day in the woods.

If I want serious competition, I'll go to work.

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Old June 18, 2013, 10:34 PM   #48
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Groups fired from the bench are also a good way to find out if technique is appropriate. If shots are missed in the field (for instance shooting ground hogs or prairie dogs) it is difficult to know what happened. You just missed. Range time is a great method of ironing out problems with shooting technique.

Kraig has great experience and for sure, the guy that was doing all of the talking about groups was kind of building his own ego up in advance. That is a sure way to fall on your rear end---brag it up before the show.
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Old June 18, 2013, 10:55 PM   #49
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The last two pigs I shot were both 100 to 125 yards. Both shots were standing off-hand at walking pigs. The first one was a 225 pounder that went down immediately, I used my M70 in .270 Win. The second, about 100 pounds took a shoulder shot from a .308 and went about 50 yards before going down. I am in my 60's and not as steady as I was in my younger days, so I was pleased with both shots.
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Old June 19, 2013, 05:49 AM   #50
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I've been using a telescoping monopod for both telephoto camera shots and field shooting and found that, especially from a stool or other handy perch, I can hold very steady. It helps me when shooting from my tent blind overlooking our large blueberry fields, because it allows accurate shots from the shoot-through (slit) window heights.

I rest my elbow(s) on my knees, holding the monopod with my left hand to make a pretty steady position. Taking sports photos, the unipod allows free horizontal panning and steady telephoto shots with a pocket camera and 24X zoom.

FYI: My unipod came from Walmart's sporting goods section and cost about $16. I actually bought another one recently that I use with a convex bicycle mirror attached (also from WalMart). The mirror attaches with a wrap-around velcro strap to bike handlebars, or a unipod. Last season, I used the rig, propped in the corner of the permanent ground blind, to see a nice deer about 80 yards behind me on the trail. Turning slowly, I took it through the lungs from my folding stool (arms unsupported). The rest top unscrews to reveal a camera mounting bolt.
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