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Old September 23, 2023, 09:10 PM   #1
Pistoler0
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Off hand resting on top of scope?

When shooting longer distances, I have seen videos of very accomplished shooters placing their off hand on top of the scope. Specially in PRS.


"To control the rifle, take your off hand and place it on top of the scope. This will steady the crosshairs and let you fine tune your point of aim. Bill Buckley"
https://www.outdoorlife.com/story/gu...rifle-hunting/

I struggle with recoil control and follow through, even if my rifle's caliber is just .308 (bolt action). I know that the ideal follow through would allow me to spot my bullet impacts, and that's something that I am trying to master.

I have always read that the off hand should be on the sand bag (when prone with support) to fine tune elevation and maybe slight pressure against the shoulder for recoil management.

I read the following regarding placing the off hand on the scope:
"There is a bloke from down under who wrote an article on this topic. My summation of his thoughts are that by only supporting the rear stock with your non-trigger hand leaves the forend of the rifle to rise freely. This rise may not be consistent depending on many vairables including the angle of the rifle. This free rise can cause verticle stringing. His suggestion is either rest the free hand on the scope or hold down on the forend stock or front sling."
https://www.longrangehunting.com/thr...04/post-776234

What are your thoughts on the position of the off hand when prone and in positional shooting, and do you have tips?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg resting hand on scope.jpg (73.3 KB, 448 views)
File Type: jpg handonscope2.jpg (61.5 KB, 460 views)
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Last edited by Pistoler0; September 23, 2023 at 11:04 PM.
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Old September 24, 2023, 07:05 AM   #2
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I think the two pictures show two different things.

The top picture shows use of both a front and rear bag. Having the support hand at the bottom of the stock could help squeeze the bag, but would be less important for support. I could see pressure on the top of the scope being used to settle the rifle into a slightly lower point of aim.

In the bottom picture, the fellow's support looks iffy and I wouldn't attribute a miss to inconsistency in muzzle rise as much as the modest stability of the position. It looks like a quickly improvised barricade position.

The free rise idea doesn't make sense to me. How would the variable pressure I would apply to the top of my scope wrings be less variable than the weight of my rifle?

Could there be some ergonomic benefit that makes the shooter more comfortable? Could really great shooters have bad habits? Either could be true, but I think I'd try it and if the result were good I'd not be talked out of it.
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Old September 24, 2023, 10:15 AM   #3
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This is quite common in NRL/NRL22/PRS, as well as some interpretations of 2-gun/3-gun.

It is not a position that you choose. It is a position that you are forced to take.
The guy doing this on the bench is either an idiot, or is forcing the rifle down in the support bag (which is a sub-optimal method).

More often than not, you'll see it for two primary reasons:
1. The prop/barricade/support is forcing the rifle to cant or tilt, and the nature of the position or prop doesn't allow for the support hand to easily (if at all) control that at the fore-end or at the butt (often related to reason #2).
2. The shooter is forced into a position where they are having to lean forward for the prop/barricade/support (usually with no option for a rear bag), causing some instability, and the easiest way to gain some stability is to put the support hand *over* the top of the rifle above the prop/barricade/support -- the scope being a handy place to grab, and generally near or over the prop/barricade/support.

In both instances, it will also serve as (some) recoil control for rifles that need such.

Another time that you'll see something similar to this is in NRL and NRL22, when using a ladder as a prop. Probably 50% of shooters, if not more, will plop a thin bag on the step/rung and jam their rifles hard to their strong side (right, for right-handers; left, for wrong-handers). Then they grab the scope and that vertical leg of the ladder to "lock" the rifle in place. It creates a very stable shooting position.

What you won't see from shooters that know what they're doing, is this hand-over-the-scope method when shooting prone. It makes absolutely no sense when prone. The support hand should be under the butt in a fist or squeezing a rear bag (prone-supported), or supporting the fore-end (prone-unsupported).
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Old September 24, 2023, 10:42 AM   #4
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Mark Bansner recommends it about halfway throught this video. He's talking about shooting light weight rifles from the bench. The top picture looks a lot like a Kimber Montana rifle.
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Old September 24, 2023, 01:53 PM   #5
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Doesn't seem to be a good idea to me, though it might look cool and I've seen it in the movies.

Not braced, and I doubt the amount of pressure is easily repeatable, and so highly likely to affect the entire system vibration differently shot to shot.

Shooting the M60 machine gun in the Army, I was taught the "good gunner's grip" where the off hand was on top of the rear of the receiver, which did help holding the butt into the shoulder, a bit, but was mostly to make sure the feed cover didn't pop open!

Can't see how putting the hand on top of the scope is going to help much, and can see where it might throw things off.

Try it for yourself, if it helps you, fine. If it doesn't, well now you know!
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Old September 24, 2023, 05:36 PM   #6
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If it looks cool and they do it on U-Tube ... It must be good !

Keep that scope tube from cutting a gash in your eyebrow when you crawl up the stock .
Always a possibility in bench rest shooting .
Gary
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Old September 24, 2023, 11:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorce1 View Post
Mark Bansner recommends it about halfway throught this video. He's talking about shooting light weight rifles from the bench. The top picture looks a lot like a Kimber Montana rifle.
Thank you, that is a great video.
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Old September 24, 2023, 11:08 PM   #8
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I do that when the situation warrants it. I mostly shoot alone without fancy shooting "tights" on, so looking good doesn't count.

The rifle must have good front support. The rifle is light and the round is powerful. The scope is heavy that maintaining level becomes unnatural.

It is similar to preloading bipod. I know a guy who is into PRS. He put lead weights on his rifle's handguard front end. Along the same line.

The consistency of the downward force by the off hand? It doesn't matter as long as it is over certain value. Again think about preloading bipod.

Ok, I won't be doing that if the rifle is on bipod.

-TL

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Old September 25, 2023, 12:20 AM   #9
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Ok, I see the point, when you're shooting from a rest and literally "barely holding the rifle.

I shoot differently, even from a rest, I shoot with both hands holding the rifle stock.
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Old September 25, 2023, 03:27 AM   #10
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I do that too. Off hand holds on rifle's forearm and rest on the support. Works ok with medium recoil and not too heavy scope.

Heavy scope on light rifle tends to "tip over" making it harder to maintain level. Easier to grab hold of the scope directly.

-TL

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Old September 25, 2023, 05:57 AM   #11
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I'd never do that; but I'm content to suck at whacky positions rather than mess with my optics other than adjusting windage and elevation. A man has got to know his limits (according to uncle Clint).
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Old September 25, 2023, 09:09 AM   #12
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Ditto posts #3 and #8. I've done it when it was the best option in an improvised position. Photo 1 in the OP, nope, not doing it then. Photo 2, yep, if that is the best he can get.
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Old September 25, 2023, 05:54 PM   #13
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interesting technique. I would think that more human input into the gun would create more variation in shots. But there must be a reason for it. Trade offs.
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Old September 26, 2023, 09:26 AM   #14
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The only time my off hand is not squeezing (adjusting) the rear bag is when sighting a 12 ga. slug gun. When sighting in a scoped Ithaca Deerslayer with a free floating, 25" FIXED, RIFLED barrel I hold the slide and rest my hand on the front bag. The sabot slug velocity is in the 1500 FPS range.

When just resting the slide on the front bag the slugs will not group well at all. However, when holding the slide it will put three slugs into about an 1-1/2" group at 100 yds. I'm thinking the longer barrel time necessitates more grip.

When holding the slide I am actually holding down and into the front bag stabilizing and minimizing the rise of the barrel in recoil.

Last edited by tango1niner; September 29, 2023 at 10:00 PM.
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Old September 26, 2023, 02:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
I'm thinking the longer barrel time necessitates more support.
I'm thinking that holding the forearm provides a degree of pressure on the gun that the bag alone does not, and that is something your gun prefers and shoots better groups because of it.
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Old September 27, 2023, 08:33 PM   #16
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U-tube

There is a popular u-tube expert with a lot of arguable "best" way of doing things that promotes the hand over the scope from the bench. Seems like a nice gent, but like everyone else, not always right. (including me)
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Old October 1, 2023, 08:34 AM   #17
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I wonder what kind of affect it would have on the movement of the rifle under recoil. Could add a strange restriction to the normal rearward/upward movement. If it’s a lighter recoiling rifle, why would you even consider this?
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Old October 1, 2023, 09:10 AM   #18
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It is likely not the best way to accomplish what they are doing. They are doing it for 2 reasons. First, their hands are already there from adjusting the optic. Next, they are shooting higher recoil calibers which, IME seem to smack the shoulder and raise the forearm up off the rest which IME, causing dispersion. A brake, powdering rests, bipod, holding forearm can all help this.
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Old October 1, 2023, 08:21 PM   #19
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This is pretty much how I shoot off rest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTHjjCcr_44
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Old October 2, 2023, 01:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old roper View Post
This is pretty much how I shoot off rest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTHjjCcr_44
That was a great video!

I would have liked to see the group.
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Old October 9, 2023, 08:11 PM   #21
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In the OP's photos I see the offhand is resting on the front scope ring. That is wise from the standpoint of minimizing the effect of the inertial load the hand places on the scope during recoil. Placing it on the bell, for example, would stress the bell's attachment to the tube. You probably don't want rings with sharp edges if you are going to do this.
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Old October 11, 2023, 07:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
This is pretty much how I shoot off rest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTHjjCcr_44
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I've watched that a couple of times and have to admit that carrying your bolt in a holster before and after shooting is pretty darn cool. I've never seen that before (but I don't get around much).
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Old October 11, 2023, 09:18 PM   #23
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It comes from certain types of benchrest shooting that require removing the bolt from the rifle to show clear (and remain clear, while on the bench, pointing at the backs of the target retrievers).
Open chamber / chamber flag isn't good enough. They want that bolt OUT - and sometimes it must remain visible on the bench.

*Some organizations or match directors will allow flags for semi-autos or designs that don't allow easy bolt removal; but some just don't allow any rifles without easily removed bolts.
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Old October 12, 2023, 02:46 PM   #24
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Post #19 is how I shoot rifles from a bench. Seems to work fine.
Nothing larger than 300 H&H tho.
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Old October 13, 2023, 04:01 AM   #25
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Several years ago I gained access to a really nice shooting facility with anchor poured tables. Prior to that my shooting was very random, seasonal and filled with habits of unknown origin. The clan of shooters I fell fortunate to meet were much more experienced and studied the sciences and physics that affect ballistics and accuracy. I quickly picked up the habit of resting my idle wrist/ hand on my scope. One of the guys spotted my posture including my hand resting on my scope. His guidance in modifying my entire body posture has improved my groups. The concrete benches provide a way for us to steady our entire body. Proper bag placement on the solid base provides the stability; the first step to consistency in groups. After I moved my hand/wrist off of my scope, my shooting improved.
The goal of zero movement of the shooter and gun during the firing sequence becomes the goal. Platform, posture, breathing and trigger control all at the same time with a great gun and the right ammo = that magic One Ragged Hole that puts a smile on the shooter and those who see the wind devil defeated….at a given moment in time. The key is to eliminate the variables the shooter has control over.

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