Help Shooting Off Sticks

IA diver

AH senior member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
74
Reaction score
86
Location
Iowa
Media
19
Hunting reports
Africa
4
Member of
Life NRA, SCI
Hunted
RSA-EC, NWP; Spain
Have been using a 23 x 35 target to simulate Steenbok etc. Shooting standing off sticks
20180916_181714.jpg
at 200m am able to get the entire box on target but not in the vitals. Any tips or techniques for using sticks? 3 weeks to RSA.
 

Red Leg

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
7,361
Reaction score
23,261
Location
Texas Hill Country
Media
324
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Africa
3
USA/Canada
5
Mex/S.Amer
1
Europe
4
Member of
SCI DSC life memberships / NRA Patron Life
Hunted
Mexico, Namibia, RSA, Zambia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Canada, Mozambique, Spain, US (15 states)
Practice and anticipating the shot. You will have movement. The trick is learning to control the movement sufficiently to anticipate the shot as the crosshairs touch the exact target point. You can learn to do that with a scoped .22 as easily as a full bore. Dry firing in your basement is almost as effective. Again, the key is training eye and trigger squeeze to touch off the shot at exactly the right moment in movement. Everyone is different, but I was taught to get the rifle moving in an ellipse across the target. For me that is lower left to upper right. Looking at your target, I would suggest that is already the pattern your body goes into. Embrace it. Whether I have 2 secs or 32 secs, I automatically see that movement of the crosshairs and at this point in my life, the rifle almost goes off on its own as it crosses the target on the upward track. Finally, when I say "movement" and an "ellipse," I am probably talking a four to eight- inch pattern at 200 meters depending on conditions and how tired or winded I am at the moment. Others with whom I shot competitively trained themselves to see an oval movement or a cross. Up and down or side-to-side rarely works because the body introduces movement in multiple directions.

A final bit of help is learning to call the shot. Doing so forces follow through which is very important when shooting offhand or with minimal support like sticks or a limb. Every single shot I take - whether at the range or in the field - I call the actual hit. Again, with practice, calling the shot will force you to instinctively hold the shot a millisecond longer. In remarkably short order the accuracy improvement can be dramatic. It is particularly effective at preventing dropping shots low.

Again, looking at your target, I can almost guarantee you that a bit of practice will put every one of those shots into heart lung. Follow through long enough to call the shot and regulate that lower left to upper right movement.
 
Last edited:

Edge

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
952
Reaction score
1,592
Location
Between dreams and reality
Media
541
Hunting reports
Africa
4
USA/Canada
1
Hunted
PA, NM, ND, Al, FL, MD, Eastern Cape South Africa, Zimbabwe x 2
Pressure forward with your shoulder and pulling back slightly with the opposite hand. Stable base with your feet, one slightly behind the other (trigger finger side) also locked and rigid with same leg. Lots of practice also helps, I use a 22LR and 223 Rem and put hundreds of rounds down range in preparation.

@Red Leg gave great advice on calling the shot and follow through.

200 yards on a Steinbok is pretty darn far, get closer if you aren’t sure you can make a good shot.
 
Last edited:

Royal27

AH ambassador
Joined
May 27, 2012
Messages
9,549
Reaction score
13,792
Media
109
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Africa
6
Member of
DSC, NRA, SCI
Hunted
USA - TX, CO, GA, ID. Africa - Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa (Limpopo and EC)

Edge

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
952
Reaction score
1,592
Location
Between dreams and reality
Media
541
Hunting reports
Africa
4
USA/Canada
1
Hunted
PA, NM, ND, Al, FL, MD, Eastern Cape South Africa, Zimbabwe x 2
Have been using a 23 x 35 target to simulate Steenbok etc. Shooting standing off sticksView attachment 249711 at 200m am able to get the entire box on target but not in the vitals. Any tips or techniques for using sticks? 3 weeks to RSA.

Do you know what your PH uses for sticks as not all sticks are the same? My PH last year used a tri-pod (and I practiced using the same), this year a different PH used a Bi-pod. I didn’t have any issues with the bi-pod as I was able to get myself into a stable and solid shooting position which will allow you to use either.
 

Ragman

AH elite
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
1,583
Reaction score
2,576
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
Media
248
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
2
Hunted
Canada(Sask./B.C.), Namibia, RSA(Eastern Cape) USA(Texas)
I hunted with KMG Hunting Safaris in July and shot off sticks. For every shot Marius, my PH, put his shoulder under my right elbow. It really helped to stabilize me. I never missed a shot, however my Kudu and springbok each needed a follow up. Everything else were quick, one-shot kills. Good luck on your hunt!
 

Bruce

AH elite
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
995
Location
South Africa
Media
59
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
SAGA/ Cape Hunters/ SA Hunters Association
Hunted
Namibia/Zimbabwe/Zambia/ South Africa/ Botswana/ Tanzania
If using BI POD sticks. Let them INCLINE towards your body, then you actually push forward when aiming do that pressure travels down the sticks into Mother Earth...wavering and motion will be greatly reduced,if not eliminated.
 

huntinlabs

AH fanatic
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
523
Reaction score
740
Media
132
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
5
The left leaning pattern could also mean you are pulling the trigger vs squeezing it. Or at least this is what we look at when shooting M4's for qualifying. Make sure you lose the last pad of your trigger finger and squeeze it vs pull it.
 

fourfive8

AH legend
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
2,025
Reaction score
3,687
Media
243
Hunted
USA, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana
Yah- the vitals on that mule deer target are about the size of a whole Steenbok and much farther off the ground :) and 200 yards is a little long on little critters like that anyway.

Just get comfortable behind the sticks, RELAX, let gravity hold every thing down. Feet not to close together nor far apart, sticks not too high or low- it has to be comfortable and relaxed while the rifle is on the sticks. Expect some wobble. Reduce scope power if wobble is too distracting- what good is the 14x scope resolution that can distinguish a 1/4" speck at 200 yards when the wobble (thus group size) is 15+ inches!

The idea is to minimize the wobble, relax and don't fight the sticks, hold the cross hair's/reticle's POA in the center of the vital zone (if the wobble goes outside the vital zone hunt closer- shoot closer), squeeze.... boom. Practice
 
Last edited:

MMAL

Gold supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 5, 2016
Messages
675
Reaction score
1,204
Location
New Jersey
Media
52
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Hunted
New Jersey, New York, Wyoming, Colorado, Mexico, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Namibia
So I received a shooting lesson from the Griffen & Howe instructor (has since left, I believe) who was the shooting instructor for the Navy Seals prior to joining Griffen & Howe. I had a similar problem and asked what was the "correct" procedure. He stated clearly that what works for you is the correct procedure but you can think about the following: (easier to show than describe but i will try and be clear)

1) Off-Hand forms a peace sign and with palm facing shooter put the two fingers at the x of the bi pod or tripod(pod, from now on) then the whole hand wraps the upper part of the X of the pod and grips stock of gun.
2) Off-hand and grip pulls back on the gun against the shooters shoulder, you should be able to keep the rifle on the pod and your shoulder while waving with your trigger arm/hand. This releases all tension off of trigger finger and helps with the squeeze.
3) With your body/shoulder you push forward on the gun and your grip on the sticks, on a tripod, push till the back two legs just about come off ground. On a bi-pod, the bi-pod should be angling backward with you pushing forward in a balance.
4) Wide base with staggered feet and LOCK you knees, bend at the waist only.
5) Not from instructor but every PH I have been with, forget using any magnification over 6x, even on long shots. This seems to exaggerate the movement.

These really helped me to get more stable than I was before. Notice I did not say very stable. I will add, practice, practice and then more. At my range I never use the bench anymore.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

LivingTheDream

AH legend
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
2,536
Reaction score
4,269
Media
30
Hunting reports
Africa
4
USA/Canada
1
Europe
1
6x or less on scope.

Get snap caps and practice in your house off sticks. Get the muscle memory there. Do this every day, you will be amazed.

Also, are you focusing your breathing? What throws me off the most is when I am not concentrating on my breathing when shooting.

And make sure your feet aren't too close together, we have a tendency to want to want to put our feet together rather than getting square with the target.

You will be fine, sticks are weird and it just takes some practice to get the hang of it.
 

huntinlabs

AH fanatic
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
523
Reaction score
740
Media
132
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
5
Breathing usually makes a shot pattern that goes up and down trying to time the scope normally leaves one that is in a figure 8. Inproper trigger pull is what I think is causing this pattern.
 

IA diver

AH senior member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
74
Reaction score
86
Location
Iowa
Media
19
Hunting reports
Africa
4
Member of
Life NRA, SCI
Hunted
RSA-EC, NWP; Spain
Thanks for all the advice. Left handed shooter FYI. The ellipse technique seems to really help.
 

kevin masters

AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
532
Reaction score
818
Location
richmond ky
Media
26
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Hunted
us mexico alaska south africa
My ph used stick that had four limbs, supporting the gun under the forearm and the butt stock? not sure how to describe it.
They were very solid. you leaned in to increase elevation or back to decrease. I didnt have an errant shot off of sticks. Now there
was that one off handed shot, lol :whistle::whistle::whistle:
The best advise, practice , practice and more practice!
Good luck and enjoy the hunt!
 

Von S.

AH fanatic
Joined
Aug 26, 2018
Messages
821
Reaction score
1,246
For those who played organized sports in stadiums where everyone in the stands is screaming yet you can't hear them at all, but you can hear the breathing of the full back who in a few seconds it is your fondest desire to decapitate you understand " being in the zone".

Shooting is not much different.

Best of luck.
 

Bushpig4Ever

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
455
Reaction score
740
Media
46
Hunted
Germany, Slovenia, Sardinia, England, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa
I would never use tripod and bipod, can't stand it. For support I use a tree, my knees or that little handy devise which I really like a lot. It's similar to Georg Dedek's umbrella. Or I shoot off-hand.
IMG_2840.JPG

IMG_1540 (1).jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tally-Ho HUNTING SAFARIS

Sponsor
Since 2015
AH elite
Reviews
2
Joined
May 14, 2013
Messages
1,060
Reaction score
1,324
Website
www.tallyho.co.za
Media
738
Member of
SCI, PHASA, SA Wingshooters
Have been using a 23 x 35 target to simulate Steenbok etc. Shooting standing off sticksView attachment 249711 at 200m am able to get the entire box on target but not in the vitals. Any tips or techniques for using sticks? 3 weeks to RSA.

Just a note
Aim further forward
African games vitals are further forward than most other game
Aim straight up the front leg, not just behind the leg if u did this most of your 20 shot group would be in the kill zone
Dont think too much on the sticks and dont take too long when the cross hair is in right place squeeze
200m off sticks is far....too far ... get closer i would say
Hope this helps

Regards
 

Dean2

AH senior member
Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
59
Reaction score
74
Location
Edmonton Alberta
Media
17
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Personally I prefer the Bi-pod Sticks to the three legged sticks. I find it much easier to stay on game and adjust for elevation and windage with two rather than the locked in place three legged versions. I angle the Bi-pod so the legs point away from me with at least a 25 degree angle, put the forearm of the rifle on the yoke with the swivel behind the yoke so that when I lean forward it puts pressure on the bi-pod. I use my off hand to hold the bi-pod just under the yoke and pull it towards me for stability. Squeeze the trigger and do a smooth follow through trying to watch the full shot through the scope. Don't pop your head up to see what happened, use the scope.

For practice we shoot gophers from 50 to 300 yards off the sticks standing, sitting and kneeling. A gopher is a pretty small target at 100 yards and further. If you can hit 80% or better you will have zero issues hitting where you want on big game.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
39,825
Messages
776,102
Members
72,679
Latest member
puresoftas
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Bearhunter46 wrote on Philip Glass's profile.
Philip, do you still have the 416 for sale?
NTH wrote on Rick HOlbert's profile.
Nice “meeting” you Rick. I made my first trip to S. Africa this year through Kuche Safaris. We had an incredible time. What outfitter do you use? Neal
LIFE-FORM TAXIDERMY World Leader In Superior Taxidermy Since 1981

taxidermy-south-africa.jpg
Global Rescue - Worldwide Emergency Evacuation & Field Rescue, Anytime Anywhere

global-rescue.jpg
Special 10% Off On Taxidermy For AfricaHunting Members 2021

taxidermy-in-texas.jpg
 
Top