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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 05 2018 at 9:11am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Like most all of us here, I am mostly consumed with
shooting the smallest tightest group possible. I mean
that's what it's all about right? We measure our weapon's
worth by how small a group it shoots. And to achieve this
we chain ourselves to the bench. Specialty rests,
sandbags, bipod, and more. It's clearly THE method to
extract those sub-MOA groups. Public ranges are geared to
the bench. And of course a bench "controls" the shooter
to keep rounds going into the berm by NOT firing from any
position other than the bench. And guys like me with
their own range you can almost win every bet if you say
there's some form of a bench there. Though this is
usually reserved for rifles, some avid "group guys" shoot
those handguns off the bench as well. Let's face it;
we're like team sports players not in the game but
sitting on the bench!

When in the Rangers we trained for the mission. If it
involved something beyond the scope of "standard 11B
(Infantry)" we trained for the mission. Jungle, artic,
desert, urban and so on. Today, my mission is detection,
contact, and elimination of various predators, varmints,
and intruders to my little homestead out in the woods.
And you can't do that sitting on the bench!

So once my rifle is zeroed. The "new load" is verified as
good. I get my can off the bench and into the woods. I
mean no one carries a bench walking into and around the
area of possible contact. And thus I train for the
mission. Primarily ground level targets. Coyote and hogs
have a vital area around two feet or so off the ground,
not five feet off the ground tagged to a backstop. Snakes
are often right at your feet! So my training is closer to
the ground where the critters are.

With my new 12ga shotgun, I walk the woods with the
shotgun in hand at the ready. This is how I approach the
woods at night when there's a threat out there. Like
"Stump Shooting" with a bow, I spot things like a stump,
piece of fallen branch, pinecones and such. Quickly take
aim and blast! And like with a bow, it's fast and without
extensive aiming. Just recognize the target. Line up
quickly and shoot. No live trees or brush are shot, just
pieces of deadfall and such. 1oz of #7 1/2 shot is easily
seen when it hits so a miss would be real obvious. Range
is from a few feet to 30m to 40m. That's not only the
optimum shotgun range but also the practical limits of
the headlight I use for illumination. Same with a pistol
and modified with the AR15. I rifle train in the more
dense areas away from any buildings.

So basically I get up off the bench and on my feet. My
knees are mostly shot so I no longer kneel to shoot.
Takes me a minute or so to get into a sitting position.
Can hit the prone kinda fast for a broken down old man.
So as with my night probes into the woods, I'm on my feet
when I train.

Guy does lots of training from different positions
simulating his hunting. Pistol training is geared for
defensive/offensive work. Practical training geared
towards field experience. Guy and I are from ground troop
and police background. This is typical of G.I./cop
mentality and operations. But how many of you are still
sitting on the bench? Not being rude here, just
wondering...

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Rex
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Posted: February 05 2018 at 9:47am | IP Logged Quote Rex

You remind me of my son-in-law who is a police investigator. We were hunting and knocked a pheasant down that started running, just as another flew right in front of him. Jarret never shot at the easy flying bird but ran after the runner. Ask why he didn't shoot and he said "cops instinct" you go after the one running from you!




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LAH
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Posted: February 05 2018 at 11:54am | IP Logged Quote LAH

Haven't been on a bench since November. I like shooting
offhand. Handgun or rifle. I even enjoy shooting a
sixgun with one hand. Nothing wrong with a bench or rest
as each has a challenge but offhand is just plain fun
especially if you don't mind having your pride hurt now
& then.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 05 2018 at 5:09pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I've been shooting handguns more lately and making myself shoot one handed. I think I'm getting better at it though I still have a long ways to go.

When hunting, I carry a shooting stick, either a mono pod or more often now, a similar bipod that is adjustable. Most of my deer and squirrel hunting anymore seems to be from a seated position, either on the ground or a portable stool or from a tree stand.

My 100 yard range has my shooting bench set up at the steps to my front porch. I got an 8" gong a while back (roughly the size of a deer's vital area" and I thing my rifle shooting is about to become mostly shooting while sitting on the front steps with that bipod.

Been walking the place with a shotgun more than a small rifle lately. The other day, I sat down and almost immediately had five squirrels in the branches close by a big cottonwood with a large hollow in it. I got three, this is with a break open single shot and considering it's been a very long since I was practiced at loading and firing one quickly (I hunted as a kid with an old 20 gauge H&R) I thought I did alright. I do need more practice with shotguns and that's on my to do list when the weather gets better and I can get to a trap range.

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Ranch 13
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Posted: February 05 2018 at 7:31pm | IP Logged Quote Ranch 13

About the only time I use a bench is to verify loads with the hunting rifles. I do
occasionally use the bench when looking for the best ammo for one of our
22bpcr rifles.
Most of the rifle shooting is done in preparation for a match, so I shoot a lot of
offhand, and the rest either sitting or prone from crossticks for silhouette, or a
wrist rest for target rifle.
Never have fired a shotgun from the bench, most of the shotgun familiarity is
gained by shooting trap.
Handgun I shoot mostly standing one handed.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 06 2018 at 7:31am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

What constantly amuses me are those that fire nearly all
their ammo from a bench searching for that sub-MOA group
and complain that their weapons are inaccurate. Truth be
known the weapons we have are fine, and are far more
accurate than many of us can actually shoot them. Like
watching a dog chase it's tail.

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Ranch 13
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Posted: February 06 2018 at 11:08am | IP Logged Quote Ranch 13

I find it encouraging that folks spend time looking for the sub moa groups. It's
good that folks want to shoot to their very best ability, and the only way to get
to that level is trigger time and lots of it.
While most weapons are fully capable of shooting better than the shooter,
there are many times with glitches in the bedding, etc, that turn a ragged hole
group into something in the 2-3 moa.

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Buffalogun
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 9:23am | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Hunting in my neck of the woods for the most part requires hunting from lofty perches.

For one, the forests are too dense to see much beyond 50yds. In my earlier days I took deer with my 12ga. shotgun. Took one at 5yds. when he jumped the fence I was seated against.

Secondly, I much prefer shooting where the angle will take my bullet into the dirt and not over onto someone else's property. We have to consider safety, First!

So, I work up my loads from the bench and prefer to use the most accurate load with the most appropriate bullet.

I hunt from box stands and ladders. My dad took his last deer while perched up in a crabapple tree. Don't know how he endured the thorns.

So, I don't put a premium on shooting offhand.


Mike

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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 9:44am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Well shucks Mike, that's training for the mission if I
ever heard it! And I like the idea of a pass-thru round
going into the dirt rather than zooming off onto another
property nearby. That's practical and considerate hunting
at its best. Well thought-out.

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M700
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 9:33pm | IP Logged Quote M700

I think you guys know that I do most of my marksmanship training from positions useful in the field: standing, sitting, kneeling and prone. It's ridiculously easy to be accurate from prone, so I spend the least amount of time there.

And almost no time from the bench. The bench is fine for working up and testing loads. Then... get off the bench.

The past couple of years surprised me and I actually took some game from prone. But mostly I take game from sitting, kneeling or standing. Thus my practice from those positions. Yes, I practice standing at 300 yards. Builds skills. I dearly love ringing that 300 yard gong!

Standing at 300, NCW Gun Club, with the 30-06 rifle:


Much closer range, 25 yards, with the 375 H&H Model 70:


Sitting with the Ruger Number One, my other 375 H&H:


So ya, I practice off the bench for the most part. Usually with the .22 Marlin, until hunting season approaches. Then I switch to the hunting rifles. Typical 50 round session with the 30-06 at 300 yards is:

10 rounds prone, unsupported
10 rounds kneeling
10 rounds sitting
20 rounds standing

After a summer of shooting the 22 at 25 yards, this really isn't that hard. I usually get to 100% from prone, and almost as good from sitting. Kneeling is a tough one for me. Standing... I can actually do pretty well from standing, though I don't think I'll ever take a 300 yard standing shot in the field.

Do I still miss or place a shot poorly from time to time while hunting? Why yes, I do.

Never claimed to be perfect. Far from it. But I enjoy shooting and try to be ready to give it my best comes hunting season.

Regards, Guy
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M700
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 9:40pm | IP Logged Quote M700

I used to shoot an awful lot with my 308 Win "SWAT" rifle.

Haven't been on SWAT in a long time now, and don't practice with it monthly as I once did. I admit, that leaves a hole in my life. I had a pretty narrow focus. I'd shoot that rifle monthly, from a variety of positions. The most important shot was the "cold bore" shot, no doubt.

It's expensive to shoot a centerfire rifle that much, so now that I'm on a reduced income and have to provide all of my own rifle, I don't shoot the centerfires as much.

I'm also no longer on call 24/7 to respond. Frankly that feels weird still, even four years after retiring. I was just doing some dry fire with the "sniper rifle" earlier this afternoon. Old habit I guess.

But my 22 Marlin 39A has sure been getting a workout! :)

Guy
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Ranch 13
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Posted: February 07 2018 at 9:46pm | IP Logged Quote Ranch 13

That's one of the neat things about the bpcr's , I have Crossno 22 liners for
most of them. Shooting the 22's thru those rifles is a big help on sight picture
and trigger control, with out the muss and fuss of feeding them their normal
ammo.
And now with 22 ammo getting cheaper and more available...

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Rex
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Posted: February 08 2018 at 9:18am | IP Logged Quote Rex

Darn it boys, you are going to talk me into getting my .22 out of the closet yet. Haven't shot it in years but if it ever warms up.....
When I take a shot at a game animal I try to find something to lean against so lay on or anything to take the shakes out of a 75 year old that didn't used to be there.
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hdwhit
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Posted: February 09 2018 at 9:46pm | IP Logged Quote hdwhit

My grandfather taught me how to shoot.

But then, as a marksmanship instructor at the Infantry School at Ft. Benning between 1928 and 1943, he taught a lot of people how to shoot.

He did not believe in shooting from a bench (or similar static position) except for snipers. He said that I had to learn to shoot offhand because I couldn't rely on the game walking in front of my bench and standing still while I shot it.

I don't criticize those who want to shoot off a bench in search of the highest precision they can obtain, and as has already been said, commercial ranges pretty much force people onto the bench so there may not be an alternative. But, shooting from a bench is alien to me, so I will continue to shoot off-hand from prone, sitting, kneeling or standing positions and accept that I am a 4 MOA shooter in that configuration.
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