Off hand shooting
Last week I had some time to spend at Rabbit Creek seeing how my .458 load developement project was doing (not well, but that's another story). The range was fairly crowded, as expected pre-hunting season. I was there about 3 hours and something odd struck me, I can't recall one shooter shooting anywhere but from the bench! Doesn't anyone practice position shooting anymore? Standing, kneeling, sitting and prone? Last time I went hunting I don't recall seeing any shooting benches. Do people really think that sighting in a rifle is all that's needed? At the end of my session I was able to shoot a 3 shot group of roughly 7 inches, off hand at 100yds. I'm very proud of that! Do I need to practice more! Of course! When I find a hunting load I'm really happy with, I'll only use the bench to rest my rifle.
What do the rest of you think?
i am with you buddy, practice how you play. i do a lot of off hand shooting, but it also goes along with my job, but with all of my hunting loads i do the same things. the bench is for load work ups and zeros, the rest of the time off hand, unless it is long range and i am playing a bit.
Half of the time the guys working rabbit creek range won't let anyone shoot from anywhere but from the bench. They huddle around and make you sit back down. I used to do a lot of feild position shooting at The birchwood range, much more user freindly than rabbit creek.
I've never had this problem there. If they don't like people shooting from field positions they should post that right up front. Oddly enough, I can count the number of times I've shot at Birchwood without running out of fingers. I've been shooting at Rabbit Creek since I got my first gun 31 years ago, so it seems very user friendly to me.
Once my gun is sighted in, that's it for the bench position - the rest of the time it's as follows:
100 yards - offhand, sitting, kneeling
200 yards - sitting, kneeling
I don't practive offhand at 200 yards because if the animal's that far away, I should be able to find a sitting or kneeling position, or lean my hand against a tree and rest the gun on it.
One significant benefit - the .338 WM recoil is easier to manage from non-bench positions.
I can't stand rabbit creek. I was down there a few weeks ago and my buddy was trying to shoot his muzzle loader, they didn't even want him to shoot it. THen they made him keep his powder out in front of the covered part and only have his bullets and primers under the cover and he couldn't have his primers any closer that 15 feet from his powder. Seemed a little silly to me.
I'll harmonize with you 338-06.
I long ago made a deal with myself, and have kept it ever since. For every round I fire at the bench, I shoot two offhand, two kneeling, two sitting, and two prone. So if I take 20 rounds to the range for bench testing or sight-in, I carry another 80 and shoot those too. Don't have to be the same as the loads I'm testing, but they're going to be for the same gun.
At home I also put 20 rounds a night offhand through an air rifle.
Some of my friends don't get it though, saying things like "Dang, you sure have some accurate guns!"
This is a good discussion. Your observation is correct, i.e., most people don't shoot off-hand or from field positions anymore. I wonder if some of the people new to shooting even know how to properly hold the various shooting positions. Everyone I see (and me included most days) are chasing the smallest groups they can squeeze out of their firearms from the bench. Perhaps it is a commentary that people are shooting less to prepare for hunting, and more to just shoot.
I do have to say that I'm sorry to hear the post about Rabbit Creek not letting people assume field positions, and not being user friendly. I have not had that experience, and in fact I have had just the opposite. Shooting from field positions has been encouraged. I've used Rabbit Creek for 20 years. I try to shoot there at least every other week, and I logged alot of volunteer hours there as one of the first RSO's a few years ago (now retired from that activity). I do know that some of the people have changed, and there are many new RSO's.