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  • How do you practice your shooting?

    How do you practice your shooting for hunting situations? Do you only practice from the bench? Offhand shooting? How many rounds per year do you shoot through your main hunting rifle? Do you only practice with your hunting loads? Just trying to get some ideas. Thanks, Adam

  • #2
    I only practice with hunting loads, so unless I'm developing a new load, thats usually all I have on hand.
    Most of my shooting is done with some kind of rest, but not necessarily from the bench. Sometimes the rest is nothing more than a tree to lean up against. My intent is to simulate real world hunting conditions. Since I only shoot offhand at game if I cannot use something as a rest, I also improvise various rests when shooting. I do shoot offhand as well, but not as much.
    We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
    James Madison

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    • #3
      I was invited to leave Birchwood Range, For behavior unbecoming to a Gentleman Range'Rat. I would set the rifle on the bench, magazine full, chamber empty, bolt open, do jumping jacks, push-ups, and squat-thrusts as fast as possible, jump to the rifle, then as fast as possible fire all the rounds in the magazine, reload as fast as possible, and fire all the rounds, at 50 yards.

      I would repeat, this time, running back and forth to the range master shack, till I was gasping for air, then as fast as possible fire all rounds at 25 yards, working the action as fast as possible, almost encouraging a failure to feed, reload, fire as fast as possible.

      The range master, suggested early morning when the gate opens, and only till someone shows up, would he allow such behavior.

      Now I have my own private 175 yard range.

      Does anyone remember when Rabbit Creek Range cost $15.00 per year total cost, it was privately owned, and we could shoot 24 hours per day. Eventually we were asked to knock off at 10:00PM, years later 8:PM.
      "Life Is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing" - Helen Keller

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Hopeak View Post
        Now I have my own private 175 yard range.

        Does anyone remember when Rabbit Creek Range cost $15.00 per year total cost, it was privately owned, and we could shoot 24 hours per day. Eventually we were asked to knock off at 10:00PM, years later 8:PM.
        I want my own range!

        I learned to shoot at Rabbit Creek when it was privately owned and I was 16. *sigh* That's 33 years under the bridge!
        I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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        • #5
          Practice

          I hope this thread takes off, I'm interested in learning what others do. I don't like bench shooting and really only do it to understand the capabilities of the rifle-cartridge combination. I like to shoot off-hand at 50, 75, and 100 yards, and sitting at 100 and 200 yards. I shoot about once a week -- but there's enough slippage that I'm sure I don't get to the rifle range 50 time a year. I shoot about 20 to 30 rounds of rifle per visit (I also shoot a handgun on most visits) and I shoot a lot of ammunition that is less expensive than the Federal Premium I hunt with.

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          • #6
            22's

            In addition to the hunting rifle my son and I try to out shoot the other. Usually off hand we take advantage of the 12 gauge shells laying helter skelter and see who can pick them off soonest, the most per 10 rounds, the most distant. Just playing games. It really sounds dumb but all the elements for good shooting are needed. 22's are cheap, two briks for the price of one box of 375, so we get a heck of a lot more shooting in for the price. When hunting season comes around we check the guns shoot a box or two and are ready to go.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by redale View Post
              In addition to the hunting rifle my son and I try to out shoot the other. Usually off hand we take advantage of the 12 gauge shells laying helter skelter and see who can pick them off soonest, the most per 10 rounds, the most distant. Just playing games. It really sounds dumb but all the elements for good shooting are needed. 22's are cheap, two briks for the price of one box of 375, so we get a heck of a lot more shooting in for the price. When hunting season comes around we check the guns shoot a box or two and are ready to go.
              When I was a kid, we used to do stuff like that all the time on the ranch. One of our favorites was to shoot at the white tops of the metal fence posts with our 22's. We'd start close and see how far down the fence line we could go before one of us missed.
              We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
              James Madison

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              • #8
                I only use the bench for zeroing or confirming zero. Everything else is field positions including some "jackass" variations. I also do a alot of field shooting with 22s and quite a bit of plinking at various distances.

                Also I do a dry fire regimen and that helps more than most would think. Good shooting is all about the fundamentals.
                "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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                • #9
                  In my humble (Yaa'right) opinion, unless you are very wealthy, the trick is to early on spend the money for a high quality .22LR that is as close to replicating your hunting rifle as possible. CZ 452 varmint .22LR is my choice, put the weaver style/1913 picatinny scope base on it, then the same make and power scope as on your hunting rifle. Put the same sling, same length of pull. Same trigger weight, etc.

                  I hang the old style five gallon LPG bottles up in the woods, at different ranges (75 to 125 yards) for the twenty-two only practice, this is a great way to learn about wind drift, and time in flight. So on the way to the outhouse I shoot at the LPG bottles, off hand.

                  Odd how hunters will spend $1,100.-- for a center fire rifle, $389.-- for a scope, investing $1,500.-- to $2,000.-- in a firearm that the cartridges cost $3.00 each ($59.00 for 20) that they can't afford to shoot. For some reason we think .22LR is basically a child's firearm.
                  "Life Is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing" - Helen Keller

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                  • #10
                    The key is to get as much trigger time as you can- weather it is an air rifle, a plastic bb gun you can shoot in the house (dont laugh, I do it), dry firing with snap caps, or IMHO a good .22 is best. Any way you look at it getting the most trigger time is the best way to improve shooting skill. That is one thing that is abundantly clear after 14 years in the military- you dont get better by osmosis (just looking at your hunting rifle). And if you are one of those guys that shoot rifles that are at your limit for recoil, the .22 is great for curing "flinchitis". If you feel yourself starting to flinch the least bit, do this. Have your buddy take your .22 and load it for you, but dont let him tell you if there is a round in the chaimber or not. If you are flinching, it will show BIG TIME!!! Then just go back to the basics for a while. Every time I go to the range, I fire at least 5 times more .22 ammo than centerfire (not to mention blackpowder) just to kill time while the barrel is cooling down. And If there are those days where I can find a babysitter and bring my wife out with me, we have one of those birchwood casey steel flip up targets that we compete on- it is great fun. Anyways, like I said just get as much trigger time as you possibly can.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hopeak View Post
                      In my humble (Yaa'right) opinion, unless you are very wealthy, the trick is to early on spend the money for a high quality .22LR that is as close to replicating your hunting rifle as possible.
                      Excellent advice! I managed to purchase a .22 that replicates my .308 very closely (Kimber 22 and a Kimber 84M) and its made a huge difference in my hunting practice. Small game hunting with it is a perfect training regimen for bigger game.

                      Odd how hunters regard a .22 as a toy when a high quality .22 is likely the best hunting experience they can get. Shooting hares with a .22 will make you a better hunter- no doubt about it.
                      "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hodgeman View Post
                        I only use the bench for zeroing or confirming zero. Everything else is field positions including some "jackass" variations. I also do a alot of field shooting with 22s and quite a bit of plinking at various distances.

                        Also I do a dry fire regimen and that helps more than most would think. Good shooting is all about the fundamentals.

                        an excellent dry fire drill is to have your buddy load your rifel. and let him slip in spent round on you. and you him. that way you will know if your form is good. it will sure tell if your anticipating your fire.
                        "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."

                        meet on face book here

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                        • #13
                          I just go to the range and bring along a backpack. I shoot laying down with my pack as a rest and I also practise shooting sitting on my butt supporting my arms with my thighs. I dont shoot at 100 yards or less at all, I shoot at 200 -300 yards. I learned a long time ago as a bow hunter that if you become proficient at 50 yards with a bow, then 20-30 yards shot are pretty much a given, same goes for rifles. If you can plink orange clays at 200 or 300 yards off a backpack, 150 yard shots become second nature. Master the difficult and the mild or moderate shots becomes easy!

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                          • #14
                            17 HMR is a bit cheaper.

                            I like to load a lot of cheaper ammo to shoot from hunting positions so I can afford to shoot a lot. I work up game loads from the bench and use the bench occasionally to confirm zero and also to bolster confidence in rifle, round, and my eyes but typically I shoot offhand, prone with and without a rest, sitting and with a tripod. The tripod is suprisingly difficult to shoot all that well from and most of the practise goes into learning how to adjust the legs to an optimum while being quiet and moving little and slowly. At 15 bucks for a box of 50, the 17 HMR is a great 100 yd. rifle that duplicates a real hunting rifle. It's not all that good for recoil training but it's cheap and fun. I also like to shoot my 375 H&H sometimes because it makes my other guns feel like a 22LR afterwards.
                            If anything is going to happen, it'll happen out there.

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                            • #15
                              Off hand or sitting. I usally take a big bore with rounds that are loaded light. Once you get used to the kick on a 375 or 458 all the rest seem tame in comparison.
                              Otherwise I take a .22 rifle and practice only offhand with it.
                              Most important thing is to practice with any rifle you have. If I even take a month off from the range I seem to lose that ability to make a smooth shot with a nice trigger squeeze.
                              Learned one thing in my life and that is there are no "natural born good shots". And when you practice use a target. Nothing is more humbling than looking at that piece of paper when you are finished.

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