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Thread: Role of the nonshooting hand and barrel jump...

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Role of the nonshooting hand and barrel jump...

    Is there a simple way to control barrel jump without adding weight to a rifle?

    I don't know what others do to shoot well, but I'm always learning.
    What I learned about shooting military M-16s helped, but some things about shooting a bolt action hunting rifle are quite different.

    Shooting with a scope, for instance, requires certain techniques, which probably come naturally to anyone who grew up hunting - like setting up with the correct eye relief, and sight picture.

    But of all the things I've learned so far, it's the role of the nonshooting hand that's changed the most. All range shooting/practice has been done from a solid rest - sand bags on a bench.

    What the nonshooting hand needs to be doing during firing:

    1. 22" high at 100yds? At first, what I learned about the nonshooting (nontrigger) hand was that it should seat the rifle butt in the pocket of the shoulder and apply gentle pressure during firing. The result though, I found, was that with my 7.5#, .325WSM rifle in this position, there was significant barrel lift. I had an experienced friend shoot my rifle too, and the rifle shot a measured 22 inches high at 100yds

    2. 0" at 200yds. What's working best right now with my nonshooting hand, is to place my hand over the top of the scope to brace the rifle (without downward force). Other factors, the scope, sight picture, breathing, trigger pull sequence seems to be quite consistent and so, a nonissue so far.

    Some shot opportunities might not offer a solid rest though. This past weekend, while sitting in a brush thicket watching for deer in Prince William Sound, I had lines of potential fire in 2 directions. I was in good viewing position, with good cover, but realized that any deer up close (50-100yds), wasn't going to sit still through the noise of me moving my back pack (shooting rest) to shoot in the other direction.

    Someone I know, recently made a 400+ yard shot on a sheep with the same 7.5#, .325WSM rifle. When I asked him how he sets up with the nonshooting hand on his rifle, he said he just gets a firm grip on the forearm. When I've tried this technique, I've found it tough. Jeff Cooper recommends a shooting sling and maybe a glove would help. It might take some practice, but would be simpler, if it works. We'll see. Anyone with other thoughts?
    Thanks.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I never sight in with a rest except with what God gave me.Most any gun will shoot stright enough for hunting.The trick is to have it shoot stright enough with you holding it and not any rest.A rest in the field should just be a bonus to your normal shooting skills and not a need.JMHO

  3. #3

    Smile for me...

    When I am shooting my .338 off the bench I hang on to the forearm of the stock just as tightly as I would when I am in the bush shooting at a critter. If I don't that barell just gets a mind of it's own! My old Browning T Bolt .22 is a different story.

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default hand

    My nontrigger hand is supporting the forward stock is some fashion usually pressing down just slightly to stabilize the firearm for the shot. Most importantly I'm owning the weapon and ensuring the butt is firm on my shoulder and my face is firmly placed on the stock. The more points of stability the better.

    I've utilized a sling for my nontrigger hand too. When I can't get a rest. Even then I'm looking for a tree or something to lean against. I slide my arm through the sling and essentially pin the firearm against the force of my arm in the sling. I hope that makes sense. Stability and control however thats accomplished.

    Thats this recreational shooters .02.

  5. #5

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    I think it depends on what kind of shooting your doing. Obviously, if your shooting offhand, or on a knee, etc., you're going to be holding the forearm. If your shooting off a bi-pod, sticks, bags, etc., most will say not to touch the forearm and especially dont touch any the barrel.

    Not sure why your 325 WSM is jumping, but when I shoot my 300 RUM with a bi-pod, off the bench, I suppoert the rear part of the stock with my non-shooting hand, or if I have a rear bag/rest, my non-shooting hand puts slight pressure on the rest. I get very little jump and it doesn't seem to affect POI.

    Maybe it's the design of your stock or the way you shoulder it? And maybe attaching a bi-pod to it might dampen the jump?

    -MR

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    I think it depends on what kind of shooting your doing. Obviously, if your shooting offhand, or on a knee, etc., you're going to be holding the forearm. If your shooting off a bi-pod, sticks, bags, etc., most will say not to touch the forearm and especially dont touch any the barrel.

    Not sure why your 325 WSM is jumping, but when I shoot my 300 RUM with a bi-pod, off the bench, I suppoert the rear part of the stock with my non-shooting hand, or if I have a rear bag/rest, my non-shooting hand puts slight pressure on the rest. I get very little jump and it doesn't seem to affect POI.

    Maybe it's the design of your stock or the way you shoulder it? And maybe attaching a bi-pod to it might dampen the jump?

    -MR
    Pretty much the same way I was taught by Uncle Sam as well as a few long-range shooters I've had the pleasure of knowing throughout my days. I've always sighted with bags if possible, and my free hand is squeezing the rear bag to get the sight alignment as close to perfect as possible. Never had a POI shift that was noticeable in the field. I've also sighted with bipods when necessary, and my free hand doesn't hold the rifle down in that scenario either. It's usually supporting the buttstock in my shoulder ensuring a firm seat so I don't have to worry about slight changes in stock weld while trying to sight. In any case, even in the field, I try not to "grip" the forend at all. Side pressure is bad on any stock, but it will flat out ruin a shot from a rifle with a light stock, thin forend and a lightweight bbl (AKA Mountain Rifle).

    Something about a 20" shift of impact doesn't seem right.

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    Default 22 inches high at 100 yards?

    6XLeech "22" high at 100yds? ... The result though, I found, was that with my 7.5#, .325WSM rifle in this position, there was significant barrel lift. I had an experienced friend shoot my rifle too, and the rifle shot a measured 22 inches high at 100yds " and ... 0" at 200yds. What's working best right now with my nonshooting hand, is to place my hand over the top of the scope to brace the rifle (without downward force). Other factors, the scope, sight picture, breathing, trigger pull sequence seems to be quite consistent and so, a nonissue so far."

    Sounds like you have something loose on your rifle. , a 22" drop between one and two hundred yards? How long have you had this weapon set up with this scope, and has it been dropped or hit hard? Check the torque on your receiver to stock screws. If having your hand on top of the scope is holding the barrel down, then it sounds like your stock is not properly attached to the receiver/barrel combination. The attaching screws could have come loose on you, thus allowing the barrel to raise up even though your stock is staying level. Even a fraction of an inch will through your round high.

    Just my two cents, good luck let us know what you find wrong.

    Ralph

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    What the nonshooting hand needs to be doing during firing:

    1. 22" high at 100yds? At first, what I learned about the nonshooting (nontrigger) hand was that it should seat the rifle butt in the pocket of the shoulder and apply gentle pressure during firing. The result though, I found, was that with my 7.5#, .325WSM rifle in this position, there was significant barrel lift. I had an experienced friend shoot my rifle too, and the rifle shot a measured 22 inches high at 100yds

    2. 0" at 200yds. What's working best right now with my nonshooting hand, is to place my hand over the top of the scope to brace the rifle (without downward force). Other factors, the scope, sight picture, breathing, trigger pull sequence seems to be quite consistent and so, a nonissue so far.

    Some shot opportunities might not offer a solid rest though. .........

    Well, well, well. Two different things here.....It seems you do have some......... what is the word used nowadays that makes me want to vomit.....issues in regard to correct hold and technique but first let me explore this 22 inches higher at 100yards than 200 yards?? Are we talking about the bullet impact?? That isn't possible if you are doing the same thng back at the rifle. Did you add sand bags to the barrel for shootng at 200 yards? Or was that hand holding on to the scope at the 200yard shoot but not at 100? How can you expect that to be the same POI?

    The red highlights above are true but you apply a slight rearward pull to the foreend of the rifle to keep it back into the shoulder. You must keep this grip throughout the firing cycle (don't loose it in recoil) and you must give constant pressure in all directions. This is one of the most difficult of contacts to give the rifle. Everything must be consistant. Same grip in the same place, same rear force, same shooting hand placement and pressures. Whatever each contact point does, must be the same for each shot. From a rest normally we use the non shooting hand to grip and adjust the rear sand bag, snugging the rifle against the face and leveling for final elevation. Care should be taken with non-shooting hand placement to avoid the stock grip recoiling into the non-shooting hand knuckles. The shooting hand should offer minimum influence on the stock with consitant shooting grip to break the shot.

    Some rifles seem to have more muzzle flip than they should. Lighter barrels and higher velocity give more flip to the muzzle. We can sight a rifle in with this flip if it is allowed to be free and consistant or if we hold it down with the same force. You can imagine how hard it is to be consisant with this unmeasured down force. Heavy barrels are easier to shoot well from a bagged rest. This gives rise to the myth of heavy barrels are more accurate, they are not, just easier for most to shoot well.

    Shooting positions must be learned to apply these grips and forces consistantly and not require a change of zero for each position. Usually, though, there is a change of impact with a change of technique. Shooting with a sling is unlearned to day in the military. It is a technique that should be mastered and understood but will certainly change the POI from a free wheeling recoil from the bench. Also a kneeling shot without a sling will not be expected to be the same as off hand with a sling. Understand you rifle and develop your technique with hundreds of shot to become a consistant shooter. No skill is developed with a few shots from the bench each year. You're on the irght track here, seek advice and find an accomplished shooter buddy. Not just an experienced guy, not just someone who owns several rifles, someone with the ability to stand and hit 4" clays at 200 yards. When we reach that point our skill level is worthy of the master title.

    I don't think what you have learned so well with the M16/M4 rifle really fits with a bolt gun, mainly because the stock and technique is so different. Oh it's still true about breath and squeeze and placing the butt of the rifle in the sshoulder pocket but that's about it. Also the 5.56 cartridge will do absolutely nothing to develop the technique to manage recoil or even cope with it. Managing recoil is what you're talking about here. This is an integral part of shooting just as is managing the trigger squeeze or breathing. This inability to manage recoil is the biggest reason why I see so many returning soldiers that are young and strong but cannot shoot even a 308 without shying away from the recoil. I cannot teach you all this over the net but I have taught many to shoot powerful rifles very well. Some of them are not even 15 yet and they shoot 375's. By Jeff Coopers book The Art of the Rifle and read it, study it, and do all the exercises. Get with a buddy and learn it together. Set a goal to position shoot 1000 rounds in one year. That is only one box per week. I've spent many years shooting 300 to 500 rounds per week. Believe in yourself and believe in your rifle. I would suggest you do all this shooting with a good bolt rifle in 308 Winchester, one of the M40A1 clones or something similar that you can afford, would be good but any good bolt of any caliber will suffice. The fine, mild shooting 308 is just a great place to start. Good luck with the learning curve.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    ....325WSM rifle in this position, there was significant barrel lift....
    You could do what I did with my Kimber 325 and get it mag-na-ported. It cures the muzzle flip. Amazing difference. If you're in Fairbanks we can go to the range and you can shoot mine and your side by side if you want.

    http://magnaport.com/rifle.html


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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    You could do what I did with my Kimber 325 and get it mag-na-ported. It cures the muzzle flip. Amazing difference. If you're in Fairbanks we can go to the range and you can shoot mine and your side by side if you want.

    http://magnaport.com/rifle.html

    This is the only muzzle modification I would ever endorse on any hunting rifle and it is recommended for light rifles with light weight barrels to reduce the muzzle whip and torque of the rifle. It has no significant reduction in recoil but it does hold the muzzle down. I cannot detect any increase in noise when shooting rifles with mag-na-porting, there is some I'm told by folks who can hear. It is also useful on magnum revolvers and heavy caliber single shot pistols. When I began to make very powerful calibers in my contenders years ago, that's when I first got acquainted with this fine company.

    This modification is not recommended as a crutch or a short cut for anyone trying to increase their ability to shoot well.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    ...This modification is not recommended as a crutch or a short cut for anyone trying to increase their ability to shoot well.
    Yup, thanks for adding that Murphy.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Looks good, works good...

    Thanks, Snyd.

    Also thought I should clarify my original post (should'a stayed awake more during composition classes).

    1. 22" high at 100yds? This is what WAS happening off the bench, when I used the traditional nonshooting hand position (seating the rifle butt in the pocket of the shoulder and apply gentle pressure during firing). I thought maybe it was just me, but had an experienced friend shoot my rifle too, with similar results.

    2. 0" at 200yds, is what's happening now with my nonshooting hand over the top of the scope to brace the rifle (without downward force). Making this change alone seems to have made all the difference; which is good off the bench (sandbags, no lead sled).

    But shooting from the bench rest, as Cooper said "...is not a test of marksmanship, but of equipment" [The Art of the Rifle]. And what I'm pondering now, is how to deal with that barrel lift/flip when I shoot offhand - when the rifle is held in my hands - no bench, no sandbags, as needed to shoot effectively in the field.

    Snyd's magnaport idea looks like a solution, though I hate to cut this rifle. Maybe he did too, but it is after all a tool. The magnaport solution would also help for snap shooting, the next hurdle.

    The shooting sling makes some sense too.

    I appreciate the comments/suggestions and will f/u after next trip to the range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Snyd's magnaport idea looks like a solution, though I hate to cut this rifle. Maybe he did too, but it is after all a tool. The magnaport solution would also help for snap shooting, the next hurdle.
    I had no problems choosing to get it magnaported and definitely have no regrets. Read up on the process. They use electro something or another which does not weaken or damage the barrel. Anyway,it's the best thing I've done to that rifle. Makes a HUGE difference shooting off the bench, you don't have to hold that sucker down and it's not as "twisty/torquey".

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    Default Muzzle Flip

    6XLeech Check out http://www.bp-tec.com/recoil.htm
    I installed a couple of them on my 7mm and they will completely eliminate muzzle flip

    I am in Anchorage if you want to look at them
    Thanks Del

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    I thought that the muzzle flip was a product of the gasses leaving the barrel after the bullet. If that is correct then doesn't it stand to reason that the bullet is already on it's way/path and the flip should not effect the trajectory.
    I don't doubt your results but if the scope is adjusted and is on at 200 yards then it seems strange to me that there is a 22" difference from the 100 yard impact to the 200 yard impact.

    As far as the position of the non shooting hand. When shooting from the bench using sandbags I have my cheek tight to the stock, the butt into my shoulder and my hand cupping the elbo of my shooting arm, on the outside.
    I just concentrate on keeping the crosshairs on the target and applying pressure to the trigger and let the muzzle go where it wants.
    When I shot Highpower Silhouette, done offhand, the front stock just rested in my open palm or rest on three fingers. Again letting the rifle recoil as it will adn concentrating on site acquisition, trigger control and breathing. That rifle weighed 10# 2oz and was in 7-08, so recoil was minimal but still evident as was some muzzle flip.
    I have not looked up the ballistics of your round but I would be that at 2" high at 100 yards it would drop 22" somewhere around the 425+ yard mark.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRDATR View Post
    I thought that the muzzle flip was a product of the gasses leaving the barrel after the bullet. If that is correct then doesn't it stand to reason that the bullet is already on it's way/path and the flip should not effect the trajectory.
    I don't doubt your results but if the scope is adjusted and is on at 200 yards then it seems strange to me that there is a 22" difference from the 100 yard impact to the 200 yard impact.

    As far as the position of the non shooting hand. When shooting from the bench using sandbags I have my cheek tight to the stock, the butt into my shoulder and my hand cupping the elbo of my shooting arm, on the outside.
    I just concentrate on keeping the crosshairs on the target and applying pressure to the trigger and let the muzzle go where it wants.
    When I shot Highpower Silhouette, done offhand, the front stock just rested in my open palm or rest on three fingers. Again letting the rifle recoil as it will adn concentrating on site acquisition, trigger control and breathing. That rifle weighed 10# 2oz and was in 7-08, so recoil was minimal but still evident as was some muzzle flip.
    I have not looked up the ballistics of your round but I would be that at 2" high at 100 yards it would drop 22" somewhere around the 425+ yard mark.



    i agree for the most part.


    but would like to add the importance of follow through and remaining on target even with muzzle " flip " if it is jumping that high at a rest. i would wager that you are pulling that barrel on trigger pull.

    I shoot off a rest, as i do off hand... with my hands where they go on the firearm. breath aim and squeeze.

    it should be a surprise when the shot happens, keeping your eye on the sight/scope at all times through out the recoil process, if you bow hunt at all or play golf, you understand the follow through process... shooting is not any different.

    22 inches high at 100yds? off a rest?

    let your buddy load your gun,,,, don't watch and don't know when he puts and empty back in...

    you should be able to shoot from any postion if your sights are accurate and maiintain the accuracy of the firearm..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    On pea shooters, my non shooting hand squezes the rear bag.

    On medium to large bores, my non shooting hand firmly grips the forernd of the stock, and keeps it nestled on the front bag. I've never had an accuracy problem by hold the forearm with the medium bores, with the right loads the guns group 3 shots under 3/4" at 100 yds.

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    I would wager that you are pulling that barrel on trigger pull.
    I have seen a lot of people do that in anticipation of recoil as we all tend to try and pull the muzzle back on target following the shot during a hunting scenario, me included. But I don't when target shooting, which is what works for me.
    I try to make the first shot count but depending on the distance and the quarry I may not take a followup shot if I know the first was where it should be and can watch the animal with reasonable certainty that it will not go very far.
    Good Discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PRDATR View Post
    I thought that the muzzle flip was a product of the gasses leaving the barrel after the bullet. If that is correct then doesn't it stand to reason that the bullet is already on it's way/path and the flip should not effect the trajectory.
    I don't doubt your results but if the scope is adjusted and is on at 200 yards then it seems strange to me that there is a 22" difference from the 100 yard impact to the 200 yard impact.

    As far as the position of the non shooting hand. When shooting from the bench using sandbags I have my cheek tight to the stock, the butt into my shoulder and my hand cupping the elbo of my shooting arm, on the outside.
    I just concentrate on keeping the crosshairs on the target and applying pressure to the trigger and let the muzzle go where it wants.
    When I shot Highpower Silhouette, done offhand, the front stock just rested in my open palm or rest on three fingers. Again letting the rifle recoil as it will adn concentrating on site acquisition, trigger control and breathing. That rifle weighed 10# 2oz and was in 7-08, so recoil was minimal but still evident as was some muzzle flip.
    I have not looked up the ballistics of your round but I would be that at 2" high at 100 yards it would drop 22" somewhere around the 425+ yard mark.
    There is no question the ballistic path has been altered in some way considering 22" high at 100 vs 0 at 200. We don't yet know all the particulars of what he was doing. Getting to your first question, Tell me this, when does recoil start? (See MarineHawks' Newton law of opposite and equal in another post) Recoil starts when the bullet starts to move.

    Lets don't make this another recoil/muzzle brake thread. Tell us about the correct way to shoot a rifle from the bench. Where does the non shooting hand go and why?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Thumbs up Hand

    If you have a rest I either very lightly hold the forearm or place it back of the pistolgrip area and not use the forearm at all. Make sure U do not creep the stock and get a eyebrow. Just depends on the terrain.... I like shooting sticks come in handy also! The main thing is don't pull down or apply alot of pressure on the barrel and rest this could effect your accuracy at long ranges.

    I went thru the Army Marksmanship Program at Ft Lewis in 1991 and won the 4th Div Fort Carson Top Gun in 1987. Last I was the 1st Cav Desinated Sniper for 5th Bde Combat Team in Bagdad in OIF2 in 2004. Retired now and just a Moose hunter.

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