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Precision Rifle Shooter Advice Requested on Proper Recoil Management Login/Join 
Age Quod Agis
Picture of ArtieS
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I have been following konata88's thread about buying a rifle, an have noted the discussions of recoil management. I have been spending more time behind my own rifles, concentrating on trigger, breathing, grip, and the fundamentals to improve my own group shooting.

I am getting better, within the limits of my equipment and eyesight, but I am missing out on proper recoil control, and recognize that better management of recoil, and better follow-through on the rifle will improve my groups.

I was out last weekend, and shot the best I have ever shot with rifles, but recognize my limitations on recoil and follow-through. By way of example, I can keep the scope of an AR on my target through recoil at 100 yards, and can mostly keep a .243 Tikka hunting rifle on at that range, but a .270 is starting to jump on me, and my M1A is jumping and twisting much more than I would like. The .270 jump is at least up and down, with the scope recovering directly on the target. The M1A is jumping and twisting to the right on recoil, and must be brought back to the target.

Please recommend some good books, or training videos on recoil management, as well as sharing your techniques or tips if you are willing to do so. I am improving quickly with trigger pull, form, natural point of aim, and breathing, but I'm missing something with recoil.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

A



"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012

"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."

Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
 
Posts: 10280 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Following, I get similar jump from my Tikka 270, even on an F-class bipod.




The Enemy's gate is down.
 
Posts: 7328 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, I'm not a PRS afficionado, I just shoot F-class, with a bipod.

Here's a fact of life; rifles react when they are fired. I shot mostly from prone off a bipod these days, but I have been seen shooting off a bench recently doing load development.

Let's just talk prone for now. When you get situated behind your rifle, it is vital, CRITICAL, that you are setup with your natural point of aim on the target. By that, I mean that you should be able to get behind the rifle and have it aiming on target and you can hold that position for a long time. This means that your body should have no stress whatsoever once in position. A good way to do this is to close your eyes, cuddle up to your rifle and hold it as if you're ready to shoot. Then open your eyes and see where you're aiming. If you're not on target, reposition your body until you have that sorted out.

Once you're on target, again, there should be no tension, no muscle flexing or doing anything. You should be able to fall asleep in that position. (Don't laugh, I've done it and I've had shooters on the team fall asleep while waiting for conditions.) This stress-free environment is very important. This is where you hear about PRS shooters taking shoots out of position, in strange setups and so one, and that's when recoil goes nuts. They fight to get in the best position possible under the circumstances.

Now that you are in a stress free setup, don't introduce any stress by lifting your foot, or doing other stuff like that. Just chill.

Now comes the fun part; follow through.

We keep talking about follow through and yet it's not explained much because we take it for granted. Let me paint a picture: When I used to go to public ranges, I watched people behind their rifle, line up on target and take the shot. As soon as the shot was gone, their head would pop up to see what happened. If you go to an F-class match, and watch the top shooters, one thing that will strike you as odd is that they don't move, even after the shot is gone. They are like statues.

This is training. If you have trained yourself to pop up immediately after taking the shot; your body is already in motion in anticipation of the shot, because you have trained yourself to move right away after taking the shot.

Instead, like all forms of training, you need to consciously force yourself to stay put after the shot is taken. Press the trigger, stop moving and count to 3 slowly before moving. It's going to be funny for a while, but after dozens or hundreds of shot, you will not have to remember to do that; it will be automatic.

If you have the proper position (natural point of aim), and you do your followthrough, every time, you will develop a repeatable position which you can refine. My match rifle jumps a little to the left when I shoot in a match. It's the exact same distance every time, about a half degree left. If it's more than that, I know I screwed up. I don't look for trace, I don't change anything; I've been doing it this way for 10s of thousands of shots and the follow through is the same every time.

Now, for your M1A, the reason you're pulling to the right is very simple; there's a big-ash operating rod on the right side that goes back on forth when you shoot. If you do not have a proper natural point of aim, the operating rod will do things to your recoil.

So: 1- Natural point of aim, stress-free position. 2- Follow through, count to 3 before moving a muscle after taking the shot.

Start with that, and go from there.
 
Posts: 3013 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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First and foremost, I don't think there is any one concise checklist or DVD or course that will get anyone to their highest possible level of performance. It's a process that takes time, practice, instruction, feedback, failures, and successes. And we should never stop trying to learn more and to improve.

I started with instruction from Rifles Only ("RO"), which is based in Kingsville, TX. RO courses aren't cheap, they take time & effort on the student's part, and they aren't for everyone. Short RO instructional videos of many topics should still be available on the web, often under the umbrella of the Snipers Hide website or training. RO offers a DVD on fundamentals for around $40 -- IMO it's worth the price. Volume 2, however, is a mixed bag.

I can't regurgitate everything in one session, so I'll do things in pieces, as I have time. And again, this is just my take on what I've seen and experienced. I'm not an instructor nor am I a top-tier competitor. I'm just a weekend warrior, trying to play a fun game.
*****

Start with rifle and body position -- weapon pointed to the target, body aligned with the weapon.

It's important to start with the rifle aligned to the target. It sounds so simple, and is pretty intuitive when shooting from a bench and from a prone position. But things get interesting when we shoot with slings, from barriers, from compromised positions, from offhand/kneeling/sitting positions, or when either we or the target is moving.

Align your body to the bore of the rifle. From prone this means spine is parallel to the bore, but offset a few inches to one side. Let's assume a right-handed shooter. Furthermore, let's assume the rifle is on the ground, supported by bags or bipod plus rearbag.

Shooter stands behind rifle (at a distance the shooter will eventually learn), looking down bore towards target, feet square to a 90 degree angle across the bore. Shooter kneels to ground, with knees square to a 90 degree angle across the bore. If the bore went back a few feet, it would be aligned with the shooter's inner right thigh.

Shooter drops to the ground behind rifle. Shoulders are square to the same 90 degree angle across the bore (i.e. perpendicular). It's best if elbows are also close to this perpendicular alignment.

All this may sound excessively anal retentive, or even childishly simple. But we shoot best when our bodies are as straight as possible behind the rifle. The number of shooters who don't do this in practice and competition is amazing. Those who have the other fundamentals of marksmanship down can often get away with gun & body alignment issues, especially with low-recoiling rifles and relatively large targets. But not so much with heavy-recoiling rifles and demanding accuracy requirements.

Recoil exploits angles. If we position our bodies so that the recoil can only come straight back into our bodies, most rifles will tend to recoil straight back. Voila -- limited rifle movement, the reticle doesn't jump around like a hot fart on a skillet after touching off the round, and we see our own bullet impact on or near the target.

More later -- I've had a long day at the office, and tomorrow won't be any better.
 
Posts: 6233 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you very much for the detailed and carefully considered replies.

Let me add a bit back in about what I am trying to do.

I didn't know that "Precision Rifle Shooting" (PRS) was a discipline, as opposed to an aspiration. I didn't check to see if PRS was a "thing" and I hadn't heard the phrase used to denote any kind of competition, so my use of the phrase was to indicate that I am trying to develop the techniques to get better at consistency and tight groups. I'm not training to get in to any particular form of competition, and don't intend anything from this work other than improvement in my technique, improved confidence, personal satisfaction, and improved hunting. I have seen some of the Rifles Only videos done through Sniper's Hide, and agree that they have been helpful and informative.

To NikonUser's point, I have disciplined myself to not move off the rifle and to stay with the scope. I'm not picking up my head to see my results, and am trying to locate bullet strike through the scope, hopefully at time of impact. I started by practicing with a .22 which really doesn't jump at all, and have been working my way up the power spectrum. As noted above, I've been pretty good with the .223 and .243 calibers, but am more challenged by higher powered rounds.

I've been working on all aspects of natural point of aim, but don't have it quite nailed yet. As part of this, I re-mounted any scopes where the eye relief was interfering with a comfortable and completely relaxed position on the rifle. That helped a lot. I realized that I was straining forward to get proper eye relief on the M1A, and so re-mounting the scope, together with a stock mounted cheek riser has made a major improvement on my comfort on that rifle, as well as giving me an immediate improvement in shooting consistency. I have also noted that a good natural set-up, with relaxed muscles leads to a much better trigger technique, and a smoother, cleaner break which also improves results.

I am also trying to understand proper right hand pressure on the rifle. How much should I grip the rifle? Should I be pulling it back into my shoulder or should I simply be loading it some against the front bag as one does with a bi-pod?

My set-up is front and rear bag, either off a bench, or prone. While I have shot from a bi-pod, I don't currently have one mounted on any of my rifles. Right hand is controlling the rifle and trigger, left hand is manipulating the rear bag. I am not trying compromised shooting positions, off-hand, kneeling, or other less stable and stressed positions until I have achieved a higher level of mastery off the bags. I do not currently have a sling mounted on any of the rifles I am working with, but can do so if needed. When I begin working with off-hand shooting, I will incorporate a sling.

All of the improvements above have given me the confidence in myself and my equipment to try to do even better. This is turning into an enjoyable and kind of exciting journey, as I try to get better performance from myself and my equipment. As one member says in his signature line "Remember, this is all supposed to be fun." And for me, it is fun. I'm really enjoying this challenge.

Thanks again for all the helpful replies. Your conscientious and thoughtful comments are greatly appreciated.

A



"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012

"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."

Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
 
Posts: 10280 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If I drive/steer/load the rifle with my right (trigger) hand, bad things happen! Tension in my hand will be different.... Grip is very, very light regardless of position.
 
Posts: 2655 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well then, that question's answered! Thanks!



"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012

"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."

Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
 
Posts: 10280 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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IMO, many bench rests are set up to hinder good position behind the rifle. Instead of being mostly rectangular, they have cutouts which require us to turn our torso to the side. For a right-handed shooter -- the rifle is pointed at 12 o'clock and the shoulders are pointed at 1 or 2 o'clock.

Recoil exploits angles, which will tend to push the rifle to the right during the recoil process. It's better if the bench is set up so the shooter can square his shoulders to the barrel direction. For pistol shooters, think of this as weaver vs. isosceles technique. We can still manage recoil with our bodies out of alignment with the bore, but it takes greater skill.

****
Shooting from barriers demands being square to the bore, as the shooter generally has compromised gun support. Thus, rifles tend to jump from recoil. At a minimum, hips and shoulders should be square to the bore. With standing positions, same for the feet.

*****
We can't be square to the bore when shooting from a sling with a bicep cuff. The left hand is forward of the right, which means the shoulders/hips/spine/torso is pointed towards the right. IMO this requires additional actions to control recoil. Depending on the shooter and the position, this may require a very tight sling, maybe more active forward pressure on the buttstock. But it definitely means Natural Point of Aim ("NPA") comes into play.

Some may think of NPA as a way to eliminate muscling the gun.
 
Posts: 6233 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We want to support our rifles with firm objects -- benches, bags, bipods, earth, and bones. Not with squishy objects -- muscles. Don't muscle the gun into position, as this process will result in the sights wandering all over the place.

Per Rifles Only, testing NPA is pretty simple:
- get you sights on target
- close your eyes
- take at least 3 normal breathing cycles (in and out). Emphasis on normal breathing.
- open your eyes. If sights are still on target, NPA has you on target.
- if you're not on target, shift position a bit, and go through the process again.

Fine tuning NPA:
- dry firing
- if your reticle moves off the target during dry firing, even by a little, you won't be stable when touching off a round -- which will produce inconsistent accuracy.

****
Back to bones supporting the rifle instead of muscles, think back to winter Olympics. Watch the biathlon competitors shoot from standing position. They may be contortionists for some people, and their shoulders/hips aren't square to the gun. But they take this tradeoff for solid gun support.

****
Jacob Bynum owns Rifles Only, and he told us a story of how a student once bet him that he couldn't hit an IPSC steel target at 1,000 yards with one shot from an off-hand standing position, without a sling for support. Jacob confirmed the rules -- only one shot on target, but no time limit on taking the one shot.

Jacob stated that he used NPA techniques to take the shot. He lined up with the target, raised an empty gun, and dry fired. He then shifted his position a bit, raised the gun, and looked at his sight picture on the target. He didn't like the shot picture, lowered the gun, shifted his position slightly. He kept doing this until he was confident that he could break the shot perfectly on target. IIRC Jacob raised the gun 8-10 times before breaking the shot. He evidently hit the target.

In that same course with RO, Nick Irving (ex-Ranger Sniper, "The Reaper") was a guest instructor. Nick was shooting a borrowed KAC SR25, which was his duty rifle. Nick tested the NPA thing on an IPSC plate at 750 yards, but from the "rice paddy squat" position. Nick lined up with the target, brought the rifle up a few times, then lowering it. Closed his eyes a few times to test NPA. Nick broke the shot, and hit the center aiming point -- a 7-8" orange circle painted on the otherwise white target. Using FGMM 175. Essentially a 1 MOA impact at 750 yards with a 308, from a compromised position. Nick stated that he saw his impact in his scope, so he was obviously controlling recoil.

NPA is important.
 
Posts: 6233 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by offgrid:
If I drive/steer/load the rifle with my right (trigger) hand, bad things happen! Tension in my hand will be different.... Grip is very, very light regardless of position.


Let me second that thought. It is important that you do not steer the rifle with the trigger hand. I describe my grip on the rifle as the equivalent of holding a bird. It's solid, and does not move, but there is no pressure. If you induce pressure on the rifle with your firing hand, as offgrid said so well, it will be different all the time.
 
Posts: 3013 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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one thing I have noticed when shooting prone (Service Rifle) is to keep you feet still,


it was mentioned above (I think NikonUser mentioned it)

in watching (and learning) from Distinguished and High Masters, they are all still,

some of us lesser ranks I have seen moving their feet like they are on a treadmill,

don't do it,, keep them still

seems it would not matter, but it does,



www.chesterfieldarmament.com
 
Posts: 7934 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Story time.

Eons ago, during the last interglacial period when mastodons ruled the earth and I was starting in Service Rifle, I attended the Small Arms Firing School that was given at Camp Perry prior to the EIC and other events every summer. We had class in the morning and then they broke us up in groups of 4 and sent us with a trainer to the firing point.

In my group there were three guys and one lady. We shared one rifle provided by the CMP and lots of blue boxes of reman ammo from Black Hills. It's been quite a while and I've slept since then but I believe we each shot 3 times and there was some pit duty.

When the coach would be teaching a shooter, everyone else watched. So the first time the lady shot, I noticed that the coach would position her just so and then she would line up the rifle quite a bit, bringing it from right to left to get on target. Her results were ok, nothing great. To me as an observer standing behind everything, she looked uncomfortable when she was shooting. She looked like she was straining.

When we started the last relay, I watched her get lined up again the same way and then she brought her rifle in line. At that point, I asked the coach if I could make an observation. I tried to be as circumspect as possible and asked him about NPA and wondering if it could be different for different shooters and if one should adjust for it. I could see the lightbulb come on in his eyes and he stood up and looked again and got her lined up properly on her NPA.

That's when my philosophy of life demonstrated itself to be correct, once again: No good deed goes unpunished. She shot great and made the rest of us look like amateurs.

Oh well, at least they didn't throw me out of Camp Perry for interfering. Smile
 
Posts: 3013 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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trigger time

The trigger is the go switch for the shot. Maybe not the most important thing when it come to managing recoil, but it all starts somewhere. IMO it doesn't matter if one has single-stage or two-stage triggers. I think we should have similar triggers across rifles and platforms, but that's because I regularly switch between rifles.

A lighter trigger pull weight, a crisp break, and minimal overtravel all help to promote accuracy. We need to know exactly when our triggers will break. A surprise break is not good -- it leads to reduced accuracy and an increased chance of not controlling recoil.

Slapping the trigger is a great way to decrease precision, and possibly an increased chance of not controlling recoil.

The process of breaking the shot must not disturb the sight picture. Dry firing will show if the reticle is moving during or after the trigger press. If the reticle moves off point of aim with the minimal forces of a dry fire trigger pull, it will definitely move off point of aim with the forces of recoil from a live round.

Press the trigger straight back and hold it. When we slap a trigger we release finger contact with the trigger as the shot occurs, or just after. I think of "pinning the trigger to the rear" following the shot. If time permits on a course of fire, I will watch the bullet impact the target, calculate any necessary changes in windage or elevation, and then finally I will remove my finger from the trigger.
 
Posts: 6233 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Excellent question.
Excellent advice.

Thank you to everyone.




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 40576 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
Excellent question.
Excellent advice.

Thank you to everyone.


Agreed, learned a few new things to try next time I get out to the range.




The Enemy's gate is down.
 
Posts: 7328 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I never fail to learn new things here.
One day I hope to be able to contribute at this level.



Yeah, well sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
 
Posts: 3265 | Location: Texas | Registered: April 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Let's talk position here.

I read what fritz says about being right along side the rifle, going straight back. When I started shooting rifles over 50 years ago, I used the standard layout, the one that you see on the little soldiers toy sets that were popular in the 50s and 60s. You have soldiers in 4 positions, IIRC; standing, kneeling, sitting and prone. The prone position was legs splayed out and the body at 45 degrees from the line of the rifle.

When I started fullbore competition almost 40 years ago, I learned to use a sling, a jacket and a different position, much less spread out, and somewhat more in line with the rifle. Service Rifle prone was essentially similar so I kept that position.

When I got to F-Class, I had to adjust the position, because there was no sling or coat and I was driving the rifle with my left hand on the rear bag. My position evolved to being closer to the line of the rifle. In fact it was pretty straight up and down to the target. This worked extremely well for me as I was shooting a tricked out AR at the time, and the recoil impulse of the setup was such that the rifle didn't move at all. In fact, with the setup I could shoot an entire string of 22 rounds, feeding each round through the port, without breaking position. (I have a bolt release in the triggerguard.)

Then I moved to a .308 in a bolt action. At first, I kept the same position and got the snot kicked out of my shoulder. I'm a big guy, but I do not like recoil and when you're concentrating on hitting that 5 inch X-ring at 1000 yards, the constant banging on the clavicle gets old, fast. After a 70-round match, my shoulder would be black and blue. Not nasty, but you could see it and I knew that I had fired some thing. On a bench, standing, kneeling, sitting, etc; your body goes back when you shoot. When prone, it's got nowhere to go; you take the full force of the recoil, every time.

So, over time, I further refined my position and while it's still pretty much parallel to the rifle, there is a slight angle in it. This is enough to cause the rifle to move left after the shot, but as I explained earlier, it's the same for each and every shot. In fact, by seeing how much it moved I can tell if I had an issue with the shot. I'm not a robot, I still make mistakes in marksmanship on occasion.

This issue is that for me, seeing the trace or the impact is not critical; my shots will be scored every time. What is critical to me is to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible to execute the shot the exact same way every time. Lately I have been training (belatedly,) to remember the sight picture at the exact moment I took the shot. This is to remind myself to focus properly at that moment, and to help diagnose the results on the target. If you do not know EXACTLY where you were aiming when the rifle punched you, how can you know how to correct or do it again the same way, depending on the results. I also look at the flags and conditions after my follow through and even before I open the bolt to see if there was a change and factor that in.

So for my discipline, comfort and repeatability are key items. This is why I have taller scope rings on my rifles among other things. Also, the bipod that I use is the Joy Pod, which is steered by a joystick and it's critical that it be handled well. Lastly, my spotting scope is also next to me, so my position is such that I first of all, comfortable behind the rifle, can steer the Joy pod properly and can look through the spotting scope with little to no movement.

And now we have the tablets for the e-Targets. The firing point is getting busy.
 
Posts: 3013 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you again, everyone.

Great information.

I won't be able to try any of it out until the weekend, but I am looking forward to working on these tips.

A



"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012

"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."

Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
 
Posts: 10280 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As NikonUser has noted, shooting techniques and equipment vary across disciplines. F-Class competitors use completely different bipods than those by steel/precision/tactical match shooters. And the OP states he uses no bipod at all, just bags.

F-class shooters tend to have heavy rear bags that don't compress much, and elevation needs for gun positioning are fairly constant -- meaning that bipod and rear bag heights don't change much from shot to shot.

In order to be competitive in steel matches, shooters often carry and use a variety of lightweight & squishy rear bags, and may change bipod heights significantly in single stage's course of fire. Furthermore, steel match bipods tend to hop under recoil with improper technique. Bipod hop is well known with Harris-type bipods, and tends to be less with Atlas bipods. I'm uncertain if some of the newer bipods mitigate hop better than Atlas.

There are many ways for the steel match shooter to have elevation issues, and honestly its one of my biggest challenges. My methods are almost certainly not applicable to F-class setups, and may have very limited use for the bags-on-a-bench shooter.

I "weight" the bipod quite noticeably, every time the shooting position allows. "Weighting" is a buzzword for pressing forward on the bipod, to take the slack out of the legs. Guns recoil when shot, and move to the rear. If the gun moves further rearward than the play in the bipod legs, the bipod legs must move to the rear. At a minimum this bipod movement will be a skid on the ground, but more commonly the bipod "hops". So when this occurs, the sight picture in the shooter's scope is disturbed -- the crosshairs move up from POA and possibly to one side, depending if the shooter is straight behind the rifle. When the recoil cycle is complete, the rifle settles back down. The crosshairs may, or may not, still be on the POA.

So...I noticeably weight the bipod. To reduce gun movement to the rear, I noticeably pull the rifle back into my clavicle. When I do this correctly, the crosshairs pretty much don't move -- on rifles with reasonable recoil. The rifle moves slightly backward with recoil, then slightly forward after the recoil cycle is complete.

Now comes the hard part for me. I use lightweight squeeze bags on the rear. To maintain consistent bag height, I must have a pretty firm squeeze on the rear bag. And I can't put much head pressure down on the stock. If I do either/both while breaking the shot, the buttstock drops slightly and I send the shot high. This is my #1 Nemesis. Even though I know about it, I suspect I did this for my first 6 shots on one stage earlier in July, when I was hot, tired, and thirsty. Nobody said I am a Mensa candidate.

I find shooting AR-15s with great precision even harder than shooting my 308 -- a caliber with roughly 4 times the recoil energy of a 223. I actually do shoot pretty consistently with my ARs which have Magpul PRS stocks. However, I tend to have vertical dispersion issues with my collapsible stocks, and I have more challenges controlling recoil. I think it's due to the way I have the small point of the end of the collapsible stocks touching my rear bag. For these collapsible stock ARs, I weight the bipod even harder than I do with a 308, and I pull the buttstock harder back into my clavicle.

By the way, I pull the buttstock back into my clavicle with my middle, ring, and pinkie fingers of my right hand. It has taken some time to learn how to do this and not affect the quality of my index finger's trigger pull.

As offgrid and NikonUser warned above, I do not attempt to steer the rifle with my right hand.

These methods may not work for all shooters in all cases, but I have had some success with them.

****
And a final tip for the absolute best way to eliminate recoil in a steel-type match -- at least for bipods with legs that lock into position. When a barrier is set up for it, deploy the bipod legs. Hook the bipod on the far side of the barrier, so that the rifle cannot move to the rear. Voila, the barrier absorbs all the recoil.

In our last match, we had two roof-top ramp simulation barriers. On ramp sloped to the rear, the other to the right. We had to shoot at least one target from each of the two ramps -- support gear and bags were unlimited. We had double taps on the 3 close targets, of roughly 500-700 yards (50% size IPSCs), and a quad tap on the long target of 1300 yards (full sized IPSC). Wind was tricky from our rear quarter, IIRC we had only 100 seconds for the 10 shots on that stage, starting with rifle at port-of-arms, mag loaded, bolt back, and all support gear in hand.

I was the first in our squad to engage the 3 close targets using the rear-ward sloping target. I got all 6 hits on the close targets. I placed the bipod over the end of the roof ramp and pulled backwards, using a small bag for rear support. Solid as can be, I saw all hits, plus bullet trace on a few shots. Moving next to the other roof top, I got three shots off on the long target, as I struggled to get the gun stable with such a strong downward slope to the right. But 6 points was a respectable score for the stage.

I knew I gave up the long target for a high chance on the closer targets. FWIW I had a noticeable recoil-induced hop on the right-sloping ramp. But with the target being 1300 yards away, I had plenty of time to get back on scope and observe my impacts. Unfortunately I didn't call the wind correctly -- my impacts were alternating right and left of the plate.
 
Posts: 6233 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Once again, I appreciate the complex and thoughtful responses.

Thank you.



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