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View Poll Results: Your Eventual Objective Shooting Bench Rest
Hunting various postions 7 20.59%
Target Shooting and Competition 6 17.65%
Hunting 1st with some targets/competition 6 17.65%
Targets 1st with some hunting 11 32.35%
None of the above 4 11.76%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 8, 2019, 06:23 AM   #1
RaySendero
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Your Bench Rest Technique

I've read in other threads how bench rest techniques vary from person to person and how these techniques can effect POI.

I'll describe my technique, But 1st a Poll above.
I specifically left out self defense in this poll as my technique for 1st Hunting suits my off-hand SD needs well. If your differ, use the hunting objective in the poll and describe how you differ.
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Old October 8, 2019, 06:58 AM   #2
RaySendero
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I shoot from the bench to work-up reloads, sight-in my rifles and pistols.
My eventual objective is 1st hunting although I use the same technique for targets and some competitions.

I use to reload and shoot competitive shotgun,
Thus I had all these empty 25# shot bags, which I filled with sand for my rifle and pistol bench shooting. I have tried various other bags, vises and sleds, yet these sand bags work best for me as I can sight-in from the bench and still hold close to the POI both off-hand and sitting.

I fill these bags to different amounts. Most 85 to 90% full so the can be "fitted" and stacked front (and rear in case of rifles). The top rear bag for rifle in filled to 95 to 100% so that the rifle butt will slide better up and down for fine elevation adjustments.

For pistol, I do not set any part of it on the sand bags! I found that my pistol would shoot to much different POI if it on the bag verses off-hand. So I align the bags for pistol such that my wrists set solidly on the bags not any art of the pistol.

For rifle, I crisscross the bottom front bags to get the desired height with the final bag crossing the forearm. Same with the rear with the extra full bag on top crossing the butt.
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Old October 8, 2019, 09:54 AM   #3
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I shoot from the bench to test rounds, sight in, and general accuracy. I do hunt, but it's very casual and occasional. I target/recreationally shoot frequently
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Old October 8, 2019, 10:21 AM   #4
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I shoot from the bench to test loads, align scopes as others, but I also shoot benchrest competition.

Loads of fun, lots to learn.
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Old October 8, 2019, 01:47 PM   #5
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I've never shot in competition and no longer hunt. BUT, when I hunted I never fired a factory load. I went to a benchrest regularly to develop hand loads that satisfied my rifle(s) AND me. I wasn't a FANATIC but I was sort of hunting fanatic.
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Old October 8, 2019, 02:12 PM   #6
Bart B.
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First used benchrest with stock fore end and toe on bags with the rifle shouldered. That was to get sight zeros for hunting and NRA high power matches. By the time I was classified master, I'd learned that sight zeros with standing, sitting and prone were about 1.5 MOA left from zeros shooting from a bench.

Two national champions suggested I test ammo for accuracy slung up prone in a position that's now used in F class matches. Put a bag under the front hand and another under the stock toe. Got much better results that way compared to conventional benchrest positions with shouldered rifles on bags.
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Old October 8, 2019, 02:25 PM   #7
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I ws hoping you would step in on this Bart. What in your opinion accounts for the difference in the MOA shift you experienced?
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Old October 8, 2019, 03:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarandTd View Post
I shoot from the bench to test rounds, sight in, and general accuracy. I do hunt, but it's very casual and occasional. I target/recreationally shoot frequently
What he said.
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Old October 8, 2019, 03:21 PM   #9
Bart B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
What in your opinion accounts for the difference in the MOA shift you experienced?
90% of my body mass rifle recoil pushed on during barrel time was about a foot left of the force axis. Recoil tried to spin me around and the bore axis pointed further right by the time bullets left the barrel. A friend dubbed this phenomenon the "fireworks pinwheel syndrome."

If you ever get to look at a 45+ caliber side by side double rifle, notice the muzzle centers are closer together than the chamber centers. Their LOF axes cross about 20 to 30 yards down range on the LOS axis. Like hand guns, their front sight point is higher above the bore axis than the rear sight because the barrels angle up from recoil during barrel time.

Last edited by Bart B.; October 8, 2019 at 03:41 PM.
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Old October 8, 2019, 05:13 PM   #10
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very interesting--thanks for that.
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Old October 8, 2019, 09:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
If you ever get to look at a 45+ caliber side by side double rifle, notice the muzzle centers are closer together than the chamber centers. Their LOF axes cross about 20 to 30 yards down range on the LOS axis. Like hand guns, their front sight point is higher above the bore axis than the rear sight because the barrels angle up from recoil during barrel time.
This is done so that both bullets essentially hit the same place at a specified (short) range. Delivering heavily constructed bullets to the same spot, from either barrel, rapidly, at a range where a couple dozen yards was on the long end.

Classic "express" sights are not made for precision, but for speed. When your world is now defined by the front end of a very upset elephant or buffalo, moving at you at speed, MOA is irrelevant, fractions of a second are vital.

Purpose built tool that excels at a specific job. Not quite the same as a general purpose sporter rifle, and quite some ways away from a target gun.

As far as my personal bench rest technique? I shoot from my hands. Testing loads or sighting in, or just having fun, I hold the gun in my hands, not on the bags. My hand (rifle) or forearms (handgun) are on the bag, supporting ME, not the gun. I do this so my bench results will be a little closer to those times when I don't have a bench to lean on.

DO I get the smallest groups possible? probably not. I'm including myself as part of the equation. Because the rest of my shooting has only myself as the rest, I figure what the rifle can do, without "me" is not terribly relevant.

No, I don't play the games where the goal is the smallest groups. If you do, fine, you should probably do something different than what I do.
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Old October 8, 2019, 09:48 PM   #12
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Expect spot on accuracy from my 270 before Big Game Season due to the rifle is scoped. The (270) has to target on center of bullseye before this rifle is considered ready for field duty. (No doubt about that !)
There after. My shooting?
Open site 94s till it becomes to cold too. The pair of 94s are dedicated paper patch shooters. (30 wcf & 32 special) These two 94s are my fun & giggles guns. The 270 is my "Dedicated Deer Dropper" this one is fired twice maybe three times yearly.
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Old October 9, 2019, 12:52 AM   #13
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Like many others have said, I shoot from the bench to workup and verify handloads, and to sight-in or confirm the sighting of scopes.

For hunting practice, I shoot from field positions. Mostly kneeling/squatting, since that is is the most common position I am likely to be faced with in the field.

I also shoot from a bench for the pleasure of making small groups at 200 and 300 yards. I don't compete with anyone but myself, but it is fun... however, it is not really "practice" for hunting, other than breath control and trigger discipline.

I have not noticed the effect that Bart has described... I have no doubt it is real, but when I shoot from kneeling/squatting positions, the best I can do is about 4 MOA... on a very good day. So I just never noticed that my bench-rest-sight-in may be off by 1.5 MOA... I think Bart is shooting several levels above me.

Maybe I could notice it shooting prone, but I have a neck problem which has prevented me from shooting prone for about 10 years.
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Old October 9, 2019, 05:54 AM   #14
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I'm just a recreational shooter and have tried a lot of different things over the last few years. My best for accuracy is using sand bags in front and a squeeze bag on th rear. But, I have settled on a bipod in front and a squeeze bag in the rear. Not because of better accuracy, but because for my use it just seems like a more real world scenario usability as opposed to a perfect bench setup. I no longer fret over trying for one hole groups and am perfectly happy with consistent sub MOA grouping using a setup that's just more practical.
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Old October 9, 2019, 06:55 AM   #15
RaySendero
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Quote:
Bart B. wrote:
First used benchrest with stock fore end and toe on bags with the rifle shouldered. That was to get sight zeros for hunting and NRA high power matches. By the time I was classified master, I'd learned that sight zeros with standing, sitting and prone were about 1.5 MOA left from zeros shooting from a bench.

Two national champions suggested I test ammo for accuracy slung up prone in a position that's now used in F class matches. Put a bag under the front hand and another under the stock toe. Got much better results that way compared to conventional benchrest positions with shouldered rifles on bags.

Well...Like btmj, I've not noticed a 1.5MOA POI change from shooting bags and off-hand.

Got to get some rifles sighted-in for deer season.
Think I'll try hands on bags after
I'm done with my regular rifle on bags sight-in
and see how much POI changes.
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Old October 9, 2019, 08:32 AM   #16
Bart B.
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Want to get some attention at your local range before hunting season opens and several folks are sighting in from a bench?

Shoot from standing without a sling and get a good zero with 2 shots. Neither one striking center on the bullseye target.
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Old October 9, 2019, 08:38 AM   #17
Bart B.
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Winning benchrest rifles are not touched by humans when fired except by a finger on their few ounce trigger.

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Old October 9, 2019, 09:09 AM   #18
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After I've confirmed zero with a hunting rifle on the bench, I will take a few shots braced against a tree and a couple offhand. That is my most likely scenario while out hunting. I also like shooting the AR-15 in various field positions. It shoots well in many different positions.
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Old October 9, 2019, 10:43 AM   #19
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I'm a reloader & I do a lot of load development & tweaking. Bench shooting for me is an attempt at eliminating the "human-factor" to see the raw performance of the firearm. That being said, it is great practice for breathing, aiming & trigger control which I hope becomes routine during hunting situations. Although definitely not necessary, a hunting rifle that shoots tiny groups is a confidence builder, at least in my mind.
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Old October 9, 2019, 11:19 AM   #20
Bart B.
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If you're shouldering a hand held rifle in any way when it's fired atop a bench, you've not eliminated the human factor.

Two people shooting the same stuff that way from a bench typically have different zeros and average velocities.
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Old October 9, 2019, 12:02 PM   #21
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But as my math teacher said, put the boys on one side of the room and the girls on the other side and they keep closing the distance by half, they can ever touch.

On the other hand they can come close enough for practical purposes.
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Old October 9, 2019, 01:47 PM   #22
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Quote:
If you're shouldering a hand held rifle in any way when it's fired atop a bench, you've not eliminated the human factor.
And that is how I adjusted my scope for hunting AFTER I was satisfied with the accuracy and consistency of my handloads for the specific hunt that season.
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Old October 12, 2019, 05:56 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart B. View Post
Winning benchrest rifles are not touched by humans when fired except by a finger on their few ounce trigger.
Many competition BR shooters shoot free recoil. They try to have only the trigger finger caress the 2 oz trigger.

I haven't mastered that art yet, it doesn't feel natural to me.

Of course, they clean my clock regularly so they must know what they're talking about.
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Old October 13, 2019, 06:24 AM   #24
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BR

Quote:
For pistol, I do not set any part of it on the sand bags! I found that my pistol would shoot to much different POI if it on the bag verses off-hand. So I align the bags for pistol such that my wrists set solidly on the bags not any art of the pistol.
Yes. This ^^^^^.
Rifles....I shoot “off the elbows”, that is I hold the rifle, without a sling, in much the same way as I do when shooting prone.
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Old October 13, 2019, 06:34 PM   #25
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Bench shooting is for testing loads and/or zeroing for me.
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