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Thread: How to keep the rifle steady when zeroing/load testing?

  1. #1

    How to keep the rifle steady when zeroing/load testing?

    Hi all

    Not a top tip I'm afraid, but more of a request for a top tip!
    I was shooting my new rifle at a range the other day, trying to compare cartridge brands and zero the scope etc.. I'm not used to shooting at 100 yards, so was struggling to keep nice and steady at that range. My better groups were probably around 1.3 inch, I know that's not awful and fine for close - medium range stalking, but I wasn't happy with it, I know I could do better! Also, the main thing is if you're trying to sort out which brand of ammo your rifle likes, it obviously helps if you can be as steady as possible so that it's as much a 'fair test' as possible - my ability was limiting the testing if you see what I mean.
    Anyway, my set-up was as follows - a bipod at the front end, and a small V-shaped heavy leather rest thingy for the rear! I was as careful as possible with my breathing etc., but it was still difficult to keep steady at 100 yards. I was seated by the way, at a kind of bench rest table I guess.
    I just wondered what you more experienced guys do? Obviously when load testing etc., and making tiny changes to powder etc., it must be PARAMOUNT that the gun is rock steady, so how is this achieved.
    I still had my hand around the grip (lightly) and the butt in my shoulder (just about), but I tried to limit my overall contact with the gun. I considered trying to get set up so that all I needed to do was touch the trigger/trigger guard to let off a round, but surely this could mean a slight POI change when holding the rifle when stalking, when you sometimes have a lot of firm contact with the gun.

    Well I should stop there but hopefully someone could give me a couple of pointers! I just don't want to waste too much ammo!

    Any help much appreciated

    Cheers!

    Skinner

  2. #2
    SD Regular
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    Where were you? Surprised someone there couldn't give you some pointers.

    You should be able to have the rifle pretty static with the setup you have described. Many use snadbags front and rear, but all these things achieve the same effect, which you clearly understand. What mag did you have your scope set at?
    (Too high and it can be difficult to keep the scope steady)
    Nooooooooooooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!! Our main weapon is.........

  3. #3
    I use Caldwell dead shot sandbags if my mate brings his bench,ordinarily I use br pod and rear sandbag,stay as low to ground as poss to eliminate as much movement as poss

  4. #4
    Hi mate, I was at Ivythorn Sporting, near Street (Somerset). The rifle range is a kind of one-person-at-a-time set-up, so I didn't see anyone else there.
    The scope is an 8x56 S+B. I realise that the higher the mag, the more the wobble becomes apparent, but obviously in my case I don't have any choice to make changes - I know that it would appear steadier in a lower mag scope, but the gun must still be moving about the same amount, maybe the mental advantage makes a difference though I don't know.
    Good to hear that my set-up is along the right lines though, I guess I've just got to work at becoming steadier!
    Cheers mate.
    Anyone else with any other pointers please feel free to add thanks

  5. #5
    Hi swarovski, yea a while back I shot someone else's rifle prone with good results - at this range that's not possible though, it has to be off the bench. Maybe I should try it on the ground I have permission on! If i can find an appropriate area of the land. Cheers

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by .Skinner. View Post
    Hi mate, I was at Ivythorn Sporting, near Street (Somerset). The rifle range is a kind of one-person-at-a-time set-up, so I didn't see anyone else there.
    The scope is an 8x56 S+B. I realise that the higher the mag, the more the wobble becomes apparent, but obviously in my case I don't have any choice to make changes - I know that it would appear steadier in a lower mag scope, but the gun must still be moving about the same amount, maybe the mental advantage makes a difference though I don't know.
    Good to hear that my set-up is along the right lines though, I guess I've just got to work at becoming steadier!
    Cheers mate.
    Anyone else with any other pointers please feel free to add thanks
    Do lots of practice dry firing at home to develop a comfortable position and eliminate movement. atb Tim

  7. #7
    SD Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by .Skinner. View Post
    Hi mate, I was at Ivythorn Sporting, near Street (Somerset). The rifle range is a kind of one-person-at-a-time set-up, so I didn't see anyone else there.
    The scope is an 8x56 S+B. I realise that the higher the mag, the more the wobble becomes apparent, but obviously in my case I don't have any choice to make changes - I know that it would appear steadier in a lower mag scope, but the gun must still be moving about the same amount, maybe the mental advantage makes a difference though I don't know.
    Good to hear that my set-up is along the right lines though, I guess I've just got to work at becoming steadier!
    Cheers mate.
    Anyone else with any other pointers please feel free to add thanks
    I had an inkling you might be there from the set-up!
    Steve is a top guy and I have shot from that same leather bag of his. It will be worth your while booking an hour of his time to help you out and it'll cost you less than a box of ammo you may otherwise waste. He is incredibly knowledgeable and will soon spot if something needs a tweak. You should be fine to get sub inch from that set up - if the ammo is right.
    Nooooooooooooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!! Our main weapon is.........

  8. #8
    He certainly is a top bloke mate , and has already spent a lot of his time with me, giving advice and helping me out with various things I'll let him know about the issues I've had next time I'm down there, although I may try a prone set-up out in the fields in the meantime and see how i get on with it. Thanks for your advice!

  9. #9
    It sounds like you are after some basic ideas so I hope this might help. To add to what has been said so far... You do need to have firm support of your rifle including the stock being firm in the shoulder. Using your own setup (should be fine from your description) it might be easier to be prone. Dig your heels into the grass (if there is some) to give each foot of the bipod a small trench. This will enable you to push your shoulder into the stock without the rifle moving forward and stop it moving too much with any recoil. As said, keeping low down is good (make sure there isn't any barrel obstructions), adjust the legs and the bag under the butt end to bring the sights on to the point of aim. I don't know what caliber you are using but if there is a fair amount of recoil you could hold and pull down on the rifle sling (at bipod end) to give a better anchor, if this isn't an issue bring this hand round so it is under the rifle butt or around that area. When you release the shot remember to squeeze not snatch and then slowly release. This all helps to ensure there is no undue movement to your position which helps with accuracy. Good luck.

  10. #10
    Tackleberry270, thanks for your help mate some great tips there and I'm looking forward to getting out and doing some prone shooting

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