Help Shooting Off Sticks

BigSteve57

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Absolutely. Magnification not only magnifies the target, but also any movement of the rifle. The less stable the position (offhand is the least), the greater the perceived movement. I can't prove it, but I am convinced the progressive unsteadiness is geometric rather than arithmetic as power goes up - in other words, 9X isn't three times more unstable than 3X, but is closer to thirty times. Anything above 4X and any offhand shooter will spend for more time chasing the reticle than he will actually aiming at the target. It is why I never hunt with the scope set higher than 4X. In Africa particularly, an offhand shot will likely be fairly close and need to be made very quickly. On a really long range reach from a solid rest, one normally has time to crank up power. At shorter ranges it is just the opposite.
After much practice and a shooting clinic I can state that I am much better today at shooting with my scope at 4X than I was when I originally posted. I can now consistently* do mid to upper 80's in the offhand phase on high power competitions which is the same as I did with irons.

Looking back it was the lesser supported positions that gave me the most trouble with offhand being the absolute worst. My seated rapid scores also went down initially but not as much. Scores in prone rapid stayed about the same however prone slow actually went up!

BUT I reiterate, it took a LOT of practice.

*OK so I have good days and bad days. :LOL:
 

Mike Wachtel

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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.
I have a set of Rudolph sniper sticks set to deliver tomorrow; I plan to practice on steel this fall, and next year prior to my first safari late July/early August. I'll use my .30-'06, and a Ruger 10-22. My PH Francois Robberts of Ozondjahe is purchasing a similar set of sticks, with rear stock rest to have available for me so I don't have to pack them. Also, I plan to use their rifles, so I don't have to travel with mine...he has .30-'06 and 300 Win Mag. Anyone see a problem with that? Thanks, Mike Wachtel, Lacona, Iowa.
 

Rick Cox

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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.
Pretty well what @MMAL says, but I would clarify that if using a tripod design, one leg should point at the target, the other two to the rear. Place your rifle in the crotch of the sticks, feet slightly spread, and lean in or forward till as he says the rear legs are getting light. This should help to stabilize the sight picture. Lots of good tips here.
 

VertigoBE

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Pretty well what @MMAL says, but I would clarify that if using a tripod design, one leg should point at the target, the other two to the rear. Place your rifle in the crotch of the sticks, feet slightly spread, and lean in or forward till as he says the rear legs are getting light. This should help to stabilize the sight picture. Lots of good tips here.
I have also heard it differently, with two legs forward and one leg back. When you push forward, you still have two legs contacting and thus more stability. Or am I missing something?
 

xausa

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I have also heard it differently, with two legs forward and one leg back. When you push forward, you still have two legs contacting and thus more stability. Or am I missing something?
For what it's worth, this is my shooting sticks stance. We used three trimmed saplings held together with a strip of inner tube rubber, and I leaned into the rifle, causing a certain amount of downward pressure on the rest. I found it to be a steady position, somewhere between shooting kneeling and shooting sitting. As you say, two legs forward, one back.

This was in the Selous, Tanzania, 1972, and the rifle was my trusty pre-64 Winchester Model 70, caliber .300 H&H, with a 4X Lyman All American scope.
Krieghoff safari 012.jpg
 

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