Hunting Safari Shooting Preperation

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by Michael Dean, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    Just curious what others do with respect to practice in shooting before you go on your safari. How many trips to the range do you make before you go and, what type of shooting practice do you engage in? Taking my first trip to Africa this fall and I'm in the preparation phase. I've ordered some life sized animal targets and I intend to practice shooting the targets off of sticks. Any other suggestions?
     
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  2. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 AH Enthusiast

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    We shot on sticks. A lot as we were told it would be required and we were not used to it.
    Shoot from different positions: standing, standing from sticks, seated, seated with sticks, prone.
    Shoot under pressure e.g: 3 shots in 20 seconds esp. from the standing position on sticks.
    You may find that the placement on your rifle front-to-rear affects your performance depending on whether you take 5 minutes to aim or are firing under pressure.
    Our scores went up if we placed the rifles on the sticks at their neutral balance point when we were under pressure. This may not work for everyone however it worked for us.

    Set goals - on sticks 3 shots in 20 seconds inside the 9 or 10 ring at 200 yards on a SR1 target.
    If you're able to do this standing from sticks I'd say you're ready.
    I'd say master this first, we did. Then proceed to the other positions.

    You may not score as well in all positions but if you do this like we did you'll at least know your capabilities and shooting positions to avoid.
    REF:
    http://www.americantargetcompany.com/high_power_rifle_targets.asp
     

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  3. Bwana Bob

    Bwana Bob AH Senior Member

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    Although by no means an expert, I shot exclusively off sticks on my three trips to Namibia. One tip I found that helped me was to load the sticks, meaning leaning into them a little bit. In addition to going to the range, I also set up a little target range at my house and shot five or six shots off sticks with my pellet gun four days a week. Good luck with your hunt. Will look forward to hearing a report when you get back
     

  4. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Practice Practice and Practice some more. Use the sticks and practice off hand as well.
     
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  5. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Fanatic

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    I took a multi faceted approach. I taped cape buff targets to the walls in the basement and practiced offhand target acquisition (It goes without saying, but make sure the rifle is unloaded).
    At the range I did a lot of shooting off sticks at 100 and 200 yds. Offhand practice at 50 and 100 yds. I used not only the rifles I was going to take but lower recoiling rounds (.223 and .243). I also shot a lot of .22 at 50 yds.
     
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  6. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Amen, Amen, Amen !!! +1, +100, +1000 !!!

    Four additional thoughts:

    1) You do not need to spend a fortune in ammo. Shooting off sticks is a question of learning a technique. You can do that very well shooting .22 lr. There is A LOT to be said about full size bolt action .22 lr that allow you to practice hunting-style shooting. Go and shoot a brick of .22 lr every weekend or every month off sticks for 6 months. Cap it with a few rounds off your hunting rifle, and you will be more than OK...

    2) The trick - and the practice - with shooting sticks is to realize that they stabilize your rifle, NOT your body. This is why shooting standing from sticks requires a lot of practice. How do you place your feet? Where on the forearm do you rest the rifle in the sticks? How do you grab the forearm in the sticks? What sticks height works best for you? etc. so that you actually reduce body sway front & back and right & left when you shoot off sticks.

    3) Practice shooting off sticks from a sitting position. You will be above most of the brush that generally prevents the use of bipods in many places in Africa, and you will be INFINITELY more stable than when standing. Sitting with sticks takes away most of the body swaying front & back and right & left.

    4) Practice shooting leaning on stumps, boulders, tree branches, etc. There are a lot of natural rest opportunities in Africa.

    Here is the test: if you can hit off the sticks - standing and sitting - reliably, predictably and consistently a 4" plate at 100 yd with a .22 lr, you are 1,000 times more ready to go to Safari than 90% of people who show up in camp, and it will pay HUGE dividends :)

    PS: the $10 plate (https://www.amazon.com/Shooting-Target-AR500-Plate-targets/dp/B00YWC9QL6 ) and $3 worth a chain link to dangle it from your $5 DIY folding saw horse stand are the best investment of your entire safari prep.

     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  7. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    I have my own range with steel at 25, 100, 200 and 300 yards which makes preparation relatively easy. I shoot standing off sticks, standing offhand, sitting with a sling wrap and prone with a sling wrap. I screen my targets with brush and practice shooting through gaps.

    I will say that I feel that sticks may be over-used at times. If I have a clear shot sitting or prone I take either over standing with sticks. I would advise a quick evaluation of any shot and then adopt the shooting position that provides the most stable platform with a clear view of the target.
     
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  8. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    As has been touched on, you don't need to shoot a .375 all the time in preparation for your hunt. What you want is muscle memory. From finding the target in the scope to the trigger pull. I developed a routine of getting on the sticks and dry firing 10-12 times morning and night. Pick a spot, mount the rifle on the sticks and squeeze. I have been lucky enough to regularly have pronghorn to dryfire practice with. More realistic. I also run a couple of hundred rounds through my 22-250 and 6.5X47 on prairie dogs.
    Your PH will be relieved if you can acquire and shoot quickly and accurately.
    Bruce
     
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  9. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Heck Yes !!! WAB is 100% (as usual ;-) right!!! I avoid shooting standing as much as I can. Prone, sitting, kneeling, or crouched on a boulder is so much more stable...

    My favorite position has become sitting with a pair of 3-section 39" Stoney Point PoleCat sticks. They are thick enough to not flex/bow (important!); light enough to weigh "nothing" and I even found that they fit perfectly in a Vietnam era firing scale M86 canvas carrying case that slides perfectly and non obtrusively on your belt or on the side of your day pack for instant access. I take them to Africa and prefer them to all others for most shooting when a boulder or branch fork is not available...

    Here they are with my Winchester M52 B trainer...
    IMG_2591.jpg

    IMG_2590.jpg

    PS: looks like the Stoney Point PoleCat are not available anymore, but there are equivalent (https://www.amazon.com/Ade-Advanced-Optics-Collapsible-Shooting/dp/B06XNPTMVN/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1551043829&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=Hammers+39"+bungee+corded+collapsible+shooting+stick+stiX+bipod,black,13MM). Just make sure to buy 39" sticks (perfect for sitting) that are 9/16" in diameter. The 3/8" are too thin and will flex/bow.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    On the speed and accuracy end.
    • 1 shot within 3 seconds of getting on the sticks.
    • Run thirty meters up to the sticks and shoot. Simulates a shot as though the first shot opportunity was screwed up.
     
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  11. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 AH Enthusiast

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    I think the advice to practice with .22 is good. Wished I'd thought of it. I took the "train like you're going to fight" approach and blew about $800 in .375 H&H ammo practicing.
     

  12. thriller

    thriller AH Fanatic

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    I am partial to the RC car and balloon of shooting sticks myself. Helps with the random stops and moving ect like an animal can be. Also it's just fun
     

  13. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    What game are you hunting?
    What rifle/cartridge will you be using?
    Will you be walk and stalk, blind, or just how will you hunt?
    Will you be hunting open Kalahari, long range cross canyon Eastern Cape, Limpopo bushveld?

    You have received some excellent info, but some may want to adjust their answers depending on what and how you are hunting.

    JMO&E
     
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  14. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Fanatic

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    Not in topic, but DANG... a Win 52! I used to shoot the target model. Wish I still had it. Great guns.
     
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  15. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Yes they are!
    Mine is a modern iteration (made by Miroku in Japan if I am correct, the company that made Browning shotguns for years) but still a very sweet rifle. I purchased it about 20 years ago to have a "full size" .22 for exactly this type of shooting and cannot say enough about it all (rifle and practice).
    To the point actually that I decided last week (I am practicing again because I am going back in July) that it needs a scope & mount worthy of it. A Zeiss and Talley bases & rings are on their way. As they are fond of saying in Africa, it will make it "Proper!"

    FYI there are regularly original 52's for sale on GunBroker, and occasionally new, or like new, 52 "B" (the one I have), but they tend to be a bit expensive...
     
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  16. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    I agree with using a 22 for practice but only until you learn to shoot well, once you do only practice with your hunting rifle. I found that as the recoil of my rifle increased my group size opened up until I made small corrections in my shooting form to deal with the increased recoil.
     
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  17. AustinL

    AustinL AH Veteran

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    21ABC9B9-E242-4571-8C10-CE40FDCC601D.jpeg 62342591-52C1-4576-A7D0-0CFEB5F9E834.jpeg 35639130-F36B-4387-9EFF-5B1E000D6C8A.jpeg All I can do is reiterate what has been said already I did most of my practice with a .223. We set up a gong at the ranch and rather than shoot from pre determined ranged we walked around with stick with changes in yardage and elevation and mixed brush would walk set up sticks and shoot 1st shot within 5 seconds and then a quick follow up. This helps to create practice with an elevated heart rate
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2019
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  18. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Take your rifle and go hunting....Nothing builds confidence like actually using your rifle hunting. Hogs, varmints, whitetail, whatever you can find. Practice at the range is essential and all good, but actually getting your rifle out in the field is huge.IMO.....
     

  19. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    Agree with that, get out there and use your sticks in hunting situations and I believe you will be better prepared than punching holes in paper all day long.
    You can get good practice with targets obviously but it won't be the same as when you have an animal in front of you.

    Also, don't get too hung up on it. Shooting from sticks is no different than any other type of rest, they're just more portable.
    Most PHs will carry a tripod which is a surprisingly sturdy rest.
    Don't over think it, get your sticks deployed, rifle upon them and take the shot.

    If you have to wait for a few minutes on the sticks for a shot, try not to constantly stare through the scope. Relax, take your eye away, check occasionally the position of the animal as it moves to a suitable place for a shot but don't glue your eye or your body in one position waiting and waiting or you will stiffen up, get the shakes and over think it if you aren't familiar with sticks.

    Get some muscle memory so it is all second nature and you will be good to go.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  20. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    I' hunting ten different animals, Kudu, Zebra, Gemsbuck, Eland, Widebeest, Blesbuck springboke and others. I'll be using two rifles, a 270WSM and a 338 Federal. It will be walk and stalk. I'm not sure of the land structure, hilly semi open my best guestimate. I've got 200 rounds loaded so far for each rifle.
     
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