What to do with my left arm at a range - tips please

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nicowilson

Well-Known Member
Bench shooting is very new to me. Other than for my DSC1 I haven't shot prone for a number of, err, decades.

I have a new rifle that I need practice with so I am going to Bisley.

I will support the rifle on a bipod. I am right handed so I will use my right hand to hold the rifle and to squeeze the trigger.

What do I do with my left hand and arm? Do I hold the upper part of my right arm, or do I hold the foreend of the rifle? And do I do the same for both bench and prone?

All suggestions welcome.
 

Orion

Well-Known Member
.................. and by forming a fist under the stock with that hand you have a solid support that can be varied for elevation by clenching it to varying degrees.
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
using a bipod leaves your left hand free to support the bottom of the stock whilst it is in your shoulder...
.................. and by forming a fist under the stock with that hand you have a solid support that can be varied for elevation by clenching it to varying degrees.

This is a very popular approach: but is it a good way to get consistent POI with a sporting-weight rifle?

Personally, I try to hold the rifle in the same grip as far as possible, whether I'm prone, standing, sitting or kneeling, and regardless of whether in those positions I'm using supports (vehicle, wall, tree, sticks, bipod etc.) or not.

That means holding the forend.
 

Moray Outfitting

Well-Known Member
First rule - be comfortable. Avoid having to 'muscle in' to be on target. In your prone position you should be able to close your eyes, open again and find cross hair relatively unmoved. Everyone one is different, so you are the best judge of what works for you - keep in mind what you seek to achieve - eg steady rifle.

First Rule part a - for the majority of people using your left arm to support the rear of the rifle and minimise disturbance from basically being alive - ie heart beat etc - will prove the most effective.

The exact position you use is down to comfort, but generally grasping the toe of the stock in thumb pocket and snugging the stock into the shoulder; combined with locking your elbow/ forearm works well for most people.

The fist method is good too - giving a great way to minutely alter elevation etc.

Out of sight of a window and with proper safety - then trying various positions at home pays dividends.
 

jcampbellsmith

Well-Known Member
.................. and by forming a fist under the stock with that hand you have a solid support that can be varied for elevation by clenching it to varying degrees.
This is a start, but lower still is better. If you can form a fist under the butt, then perhaps your bipod is set too high? Regards JCS
 

HowaU

Well-Known Member
Building a good position is fundamental, I use a simple check list,

Alignment to traget
right hand
right elbow
left hand
left elbow
rifle butt
your legs
relaxing
breath
sight picture
bolt manipulation (keep spot-weld, relaxed not racking the bolt)

this will square most posn away, if you are a leftie I will alignment with target then left hand and left elbow and so on.
 

paul o'

Well-Known Member
DSCN0848.JPG
some hold some don't I hold the rear of the butt bit like marmite try what you like? if it fits use it:thumb:
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
I suppose it also depends what you're hoping to achieve on the range, and in what position.
 

Feugh

Well-Known Member
Fenchieboy of this forum did a youtube video (which I can't find right now, maybe send him a PM?) of what he does with his left hand. Whilst prone he puts his left thumb into his right armpit and grasps his right bicep whilst resting the butt on his left wrist. The butt plate is tucked into the right shoulder with his right hand around the stock. By adjusting the angle of his left wrist he can get very good elevation control. I tried this method and it helped my shooting from prone immensely - a rock steady position that can be held for minutes and minutes if necessary. Before I'd used my left fist under the stock, but I find the thumb-in-the-armpit method much, much better.
Another method is shown by THLR.NO on youtube in his early videos. He uses a beanbag to rest the stock on top of, and uses his left hand to squeeze the bag to get the correct elevation. PATHFilmsNZ uses the same method, and they both shoot exceptionally well, so this might be worth a shot too.
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
It depends on the rifle, COG and shape of the stock and where the stock connects to the shoulder. Also cartridge and overall weight of course.
Some rifles will flip up in the air if you don't hold the forend others will just push back. If your rifle just pushes back on recoil then the left hand can be used to support and adjust the height of the butt area.
edi
 

MTLEADFARMER

Well-Known Member
The rear hand controls the rifle, all aiming is done at the rear of the rifle. The front hand only applies staight back pressure to keep the rifle in your shoulder pocket and squeeze the trigger.
 

jcampbellsmith

Well-Known Member
The BDS SE Scotland branch recently ran an evening focussing on improving shooting skills. At the heart of the evening's training was the following approach -

Natural point of aim - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Understanding NPA and practice are both essential if one wants to shoot better. Another much neglected aspect is getting formal instruction on what to do and refreshing it from time to time.

Regards

JCS
 
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Toxster

Well-Known Member
I think you will also have to see how the rifle performs with the bipod. If it jumps, then you might instead have to use your left hand over the scope bell as a damper. A moderator will also help here.

If you're just doing benchrest then it's worth investing in the proper bags and bipods to avoid this type of thing. If you want to improve your shooting, then you need to find a solution that works on the bench and can be identically improvised in the field.
 

Mungo

Well-Known Member
I would caution against the 'snipers hold' if you're not used to shooting prone or from a bench, especially if you're shooting something a bit snappy off a bipod on a hard surface. The tendency if for the gun to bounce, and you have very little control over this with your left hand at the back end.

As I understand, the snipers hold is best for much heavier rifles, specifically designed for target/long range shooting, where recoil and bouncing are much less of an issue. I had a lot of problems when I first started shooting from a bipod (had grown up shooting off elbows) because I used the snipers hold, and just couldn't get any consistency. A friend watched me shoot, immediately saw what was happening, and suggested I go back to holding the fore-end, as you would when shooting off elbows. Complete change: felt much more in control, retained sight picture throughout the shot cycle, and grouping was far, far more consistent.

I've gone a stage further when shooting off a bench: I often ditch the bipod completely and use a bag (just my rucksack stuffed with empty gunslips), again, holding the gun as off elbows, and pushing slightly forward into the bag. I find this gives the best control and consistency, where a bipod still has a tendency to bounce on the hard surface of a bench. If you do use a standard stalking bipod off a bench, I'd really suggest getting some old towels or something to put under the feet just to dampen the bounce (and stop it slipping - bench surfaces can be annoyingly slippery).
 

McKenzie

Well-Known Member
Absolutely this.

I would caution against the 'snipers hold' if you're not used to shooting prone or from a bench, especially if you're shooting something a bit snappy off a bipod on a hard surface. The tendency if for the gun to bounce, and you have very little control over this with your left hand at the back end.

As I understand, the snipers hold is best for much heavier rifles, specifically designed for target/long range shooting, where recoil and bouncing are much less of an issue. I had a lot of problems when I first started shooting from a bipod (had grown up shooting off elbows) because I used the snipers hold, and just couldn't get any consistency. A friend watched me shoot, immediately saw what was happening, and suggested I go back to holding the fore-end, as you would when shooting off elbows. Complete change: felt much more in control, retained sight picture throughout the shot cycle, and grouping was far, far more consistent.

I've gone a stage further when shooting off a bench: I often ditch the bipod completely and use a bag (just my rucksack stuffed with empty gunslips), again, holding the gun as off elbows, and pushing slightly forward into the bag. I find this gives the best control and consistency, where a bipod still has a tendency to bounce on the hard surface of a bench. If you do use a standard stalking bipod off a bench, I'd really suggest getting some old towels or something to put under the feet just to dampen the bounce (and stop it slipping - bench surfaces can be annoyingly slippery).
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
If you are shooting an unmoderated or sporting weight rifle off a bipod without the benefit of bipod feet allowing you to load the bipod forward (the feet should grab into the dirt, grass etc) you will often get a pronounced bounce on firing

couple this with heavier recoiling cartridges and it becomes counter productive IMO

simple answer is do what is comfortable and repeatable for you

if the elevation is controlled through bags or some such then the left are is redundant
I sometimes control flip with a hand on or near the scope on my 300wm, its not gripped just slight positive pressure, even with a mod I can get bounce that requires resetting position




if prone with the unmoderated .270 I want my hand on the forestock, with or without bipod

smaller cartridge/calibres I will cross arms and use a small bag or fist
 

plumber01

Well-Known Member
If your shooting at bisley, you will be shooting with a club, and the chances are there will be some very good shots there, simply ask someone, most shooters are very friendly and if your doing something a bit awkwardly the range officer or a senior club member will normally help you out, you only have to ask . good luck
 

Toxster

Well-Known Member
You definitely asked the right question in the right forum. Shooting off a bench with a sporting rifle does have unique challenges. Currently I'm trying out a combination of rucsac for a forend support and bumbag (with waterproof therein) as a stock-end support. That's what I would carry in the field and will make for repeatable POA results on the range. I have ditched the bipod due to the jump.
 
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