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Shooting on sticks

This is a discussion on Shooting on sticks within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I would appreciate any advice you folks can offer about shooting on sticks while standing. I have never done that ...

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    Default Shooting on sticks

    I would appreciate any advice you folks can offer about shooting on sticks while standing. I have never done that and I've only once shot with sticks while sitting. I've seen a couple of videos on YouTube, but they seemed to give conflicting advice.

    I intend to practice as much as I can, but I realize that just repeating bad form, just reinforces bad habits. Therefore, any tips or references to other sites would be much appreciated.

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    I would start buy saying if you don't have a set of sticks already get a pair I like the bog pod. But there are others out there or make your own. Saying that I'm still not very comfortable on sticks. They feel short to me and I tend to hunch over on them as I am taller than most guys using them at 6'3". I like to lean in to them just slightly an hold the forarm of my rifle as I would of hand and put the forarm in the sticks right in front of my hand and just hold the sticks with my little finger. I have tried different ways but this works best for me it may not be right but it works

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    Have a look at this thead, some of the lads discuss shooting off sticks. Might be of some help to you.
    http://www.africahunting.com/firearm...html#post73574

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    Uintaelkhunter,
    Thanks. I bought a set of sticks (tripod) a couple of weeks ago. Like you, I am also tall (6' 2") and the sticks seem short if the legs are spread far apart. However, if I have found that I can adjust for that. After I put the rife on them, if I hold the sticks by the rest and lift them until it's the height I need, seems to work well.

    What do you do about stance? Feet parallel? Feet at an angle like is normal for off-hand shooting?

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    I am right handed, so left foot forward is best for me. I lean forward slightly into the sticks. I would also note that dry firing is nearly as effective as putting actual rounds down range - it is a function of muscle memory. Practice both bi- and tripod rests. You can encounter either and the lean forward stance is much better with a bipod.
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    Buy a set of Bog-Pods the tripod ones. Pricey but the best thing out there. Practice with those then take them with you-that way your guaranteed to be confident while you are there as shooting sticks will vary from PH to PH.

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    If you look at the Cabelas brand you will see they are the same as the bog-pod but less money. I took a pair to Africa with me this month and they were so good I left them with the PH.
    I had never used them before and had my doubts. At the range I was all over the place.
    In Africa I settled down but what helped most was to have my eblow stablized with a second set or the ph/Trackers shoulder when sitting. When standing the second set of sticks worked best. I took many longer shots as a challenge since everything was dropping with one shot.
    I made all one shot kills except one that I hit too high and quickly corrected that. I only missed 3 times and one was a shot I should not have tried. Most of my shots were over 325 yards with a couple over 430 yards. Not bragging just trying to show you how I became use to and steady on the sticks.
    I plan to buy the Cabelas(like bog-pod) tri-pod and another Bi-pod for future hunting.
    The tallest Harris Bi-pod is too short as I cannot bend with my back surgery.
    I took a Primos Tri-pod but never used it.

    I also found if I kicked the bi-pod legs forward some and then leaned into them while bracing my elbow I was very steady which is a feat(and surprise) for this old broken down 61 year old guy.

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    I am glad I found this site. I have been trying to find out what the proper way to hold shooting sticks is. I am going to South Africa in June and I have been practicing off sticks but not sure if I should be holding the gun or holding the sticks, or a combination of the two. Any help would be nice, the web has conflicting info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger1 View Post
    I am glad I found this site. I have been trying to find out what the proper way to hold shooting sticks is. I am going to South Africa in June and I have been practicing off sticks but not sure if I should be holding the gun or holding the sticks, or a combination of the two. Any help would be nice, the web has conflicting info.
    There are so many different styles of sticks you have to adapt to each one.

    Everyone ends up with their own style really.

    I use fence posts and trees all the time, when available.
    The only difference between these objects and sticks is that sticks can fall down if you put too much pressure on them.

    I try and keep my hand (at least) partially between the sticks, tree, post and the gun.

    The threads Jerome noted in post #6 above can give you some direction. It is a popular question.
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    Thanks this is great info. This will be my first trip to Africa and I am getting really pumped.
    I have always found a tree or some other object to use as a rest while hunting and not much use with sticks.

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    I made 2 trips to the range last weekend to try my new sticks. I was quite disappointed with my results. I am hoping that it was because of a basic mistake. I was shooting a 7mm WSM (with a brake). I didn't bother with a recoil pad and was just wearing a t-shirt. I finally realized that even though it wasn't painful to shoot, my right shoulder had been pretty thoroughly tenderized and was more likely quivering jelly than muscle.

    I've made an appointment to meet another member at the range on Monday. He is an old hand at African hunting and will hopefully be able to tell what I'm doing wrong.

    Is it realistic to expect to be able to get a 2" group at 100 yds? The rifle that I was shooting is capable of sub MOA.

    Although the groups that I shot had greater spread than I want, there was some consolation. When I got home, I held up one of the targets against a large bodied bear mount. It appeared that all but one of the shots would have been fatal (heart/lung) or disabling (shoulder). However, being a perfectionist, that' not good enough for me.

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    I found it more stable with the sticks kicked out forward and my hand holding the rifle to the sticks. Also when the animal moved I was able to more easyly move the sticks if needed. I also used andother set for supporting my elbo. The ph would move and adjust them for me. I was able to take many longer range shots with confedience. After my 1st shot at 254 yards without the elbow support the PH made things "more challenging" by having me take longer and longer shots. My longest shot was 480 yards. Which is pretty long with a 338Win mag. I did have 3 misses. One I was not ready and should have passed the others I was thinking of the wrong drop tables and shot under. All other animals wre killed with one shot as was my daughters with her 257Roberts.

    I did crummy off the sticks here at home on paper but settled right down in Africa. The elbow support was a HUGE help.

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    Can't hit the side of a barn at the range with sticks, regardless of caliber, shoot from 243 to 404. In Africa totally different game, for whatever reason shoot real well and never notice recoil. Hit Kudu at over 400 meters with 300WM. Dropped him. Love sticks for hunting but not for the range.

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    Mtgoat, I would suggest a recoil pad for the shoulder. Everyone should be capable of 2 inch groups at 100 yards, regardless of the caliber. It just takes practice. As long as I'm shooting off a tripod and not a bipod I'm good to 350+, not that I want to brag, because I really should be stalking closer...way to many things can go wrong, particularly the wind. And you have to adjust the elevation because of the distance and that presents problems too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtgoat View Post
    I made 2 trips to the range last weekend to try my new sticks. I was quite disappointed with my results. I am hoping that it was because of a basic mistake. I was shooting a 7mm WSM (with a brake). I didn't bother with a recoil pad and was just wearing a t-shirt. I finally realized that even though it wasn't painful to shoot, my right shoulder had been pretty thoroughly tenderized and was more likely quivering jelly than muscle.

    I've made an appointment to meet another member at the range on Monday. He is an old hand at African hunting and will hopefully be able to tell what I'm doing wrong.

    Is it realistic to expect to be able to get a 2" group at 100 yds? The rifle that I was shooting is capable of sub MOA.

    Although the groups that I shot had greater spread than I want, there was some consolation. When I got home, I held up one of the targets against a large bodied bear mount. It appeared that all but one of the shots would have been fatal (heart/lung) or disabling (shoulder). However, being a perfectionist, that' not good enough for me.
    A few observations from that very revealing post. I hope my comments and suggestions are taken as constructive.

    1) Forget MOA off a bench. Your shooting will determine accuracy in Africa not the rifle. If you want MoA then you have to be an MoA shooter. You probably won't ever achieve MoA from field positions and if you do, it will be after years of practise. As you have noted on your bear target, it doesn't matter. Minute of animal is all you need. This is a good thing.
    1a) Set up the sticks so they 'firm' up if you lightly lean into them. I place a hand between the rifle and any other object.
    2) Your PH may want to use his sticks or is unfamiliar with yours so be prepared to adapt.
    3) If you have a sore/reactive shoulder with a 7WSM then you are holding the rifle wrong before you even start. It is back to basics for you. Pull it into your shoulder. I use my forward hand and use the trigger hand for only squeezing the trigger. You should be able to walk around the range (or house) with rifle into the shoulder, supported by your forward hand only and your trigger hand hanging by your side.
    3a) When shooting at the 'wee beasties' for real you won't notice it anyway but muscle memory is important.
    3b) Get to the range as often practical.
    4) Meeting an experienced (experience does vary and isn't absolute) is a good idea, however adapt what they do to suit yourself.
    5) 7WSM is an excellent cartridge for Africa if it doesn't have the WSM feed issues. If it doesn't feed like excrement off a shiny shovel, get it to a competent gunsmith.
    5a) Take off the muzzle brake. The extra noise will make you perceive more recoil and your PH probably won't want it on either.
    6) Also practise shooting from sitting, freehand and kneeling positions, supported and unsupported.
    7) Use a .22lr to practise dry and live firing in field positions.
    8) Forget about picking up empty brass until ALL your practise is over. Looking for empty brass in the field is a BAD habit. The cost is negligible and the trackers can find it later if you really want it back. Look down range and practise cycling the action and firing.

    Have fun. If you aren't enjoying the practise you are trying too hard. relax.

    Good luck in Africa. Looking forward to the hunt report
    Last edited by Code4; 05-30-2013 at 04:35 PM. Reason: Additions.
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    enysse,
    If they would just give me a shooting platform where I could sit, instead of sticks, I'd be in great shape. ;-)

    Sitting, i am comfortable out to 300. I can do 400, but prefer closer. Once made a shot at almost 500, but that was a special case with a bad guide in Alaska.

    When I get back to the range, I am going to try offhand without the sticks. I didn't have a problem shooting a moose at 100, offhand.

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    You will be fine then.
    Time spent in Reconnaisance is never wasted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtgoat View Post
    enysse,
    If they would just give me a shooting platform where I could sit, instead of sticks, I'd be in great shape. ;-)

    Sitting, i am comfortable out to 300. I can do 400, but prefer closer. ..............
    Park your butt and shoot.
    No PH on the planet will care if you sit down or kneel to shoot if that is how you perform best.

    If the grass is to long you'll have to adjust.
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    I guess one of the first things I learned a long time ago was to buy a little recoiling bolt action rifle similar to all my other rifles, except you could shoot all day and it wouldn't cost too much. I bought a Ruger M77 in a .223 and put a Leupold on it. I practiced and practiced. I learned the proper trigger pull, how to hold the gun on a windy day, how to shoot at moving objects and the proper way to brace myself to make accurate shots. This didn't happen over night. Code 4 is correct don't be to hard on yourself. Be positive, part of good shooting is believing you can make the shot. After practicing enough, everything will become automatic and subconsciously you will know how to make the perfect shot. BTW, everyone has bad days. Just keep at it !

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