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Benchrest shooting- to hold or not the forearm depending upon recoil value?

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  • Benchrest shooting- to hold or not the forearm depending upon recoil value?

    In my reading, it appears the general consensus for best/consistent groups is to to

    hold onto the forearm as it sits on the forward rest for "heavy" recoiling rifles. Can

    anyone suggest where the transition point is from letting the forearm sit on the front

    rest by its own weight or to grasp it with the off-hand:question: .270 Winchester,

    .308 Winchester, .338 Win. Mag. :question: What has your own experience

    shown:question:

    To simplify matters, assume rifles of average weight for their cartridge, not some light weight mountain rifle. Myself, I normally hold onto the forearm as this is what I would be doing from a field position.

    Thank you

  • #2
    You want no hold on anything. The rifle should rest in the front bag, and the same for the rear. It should recoil freely at the shot. if you are a right hander your left hand should not be on the rifle.

    here's some info from some great shooters. http://www.benchrest.com/FAQ/6.5.shtml

    A decent bench rest set up is a nice solid heavy front rest, and quality leather rear bag. The rifle just sits in the leather bags firmly enough to limit movement while you lightly grip, and squeeze the trigger and should slide smoothly to the rear during recoil. No clamps, or vise type rests, they are gimmicks, and you will not be clamping anything in the field.

    I use the bench rest set up to work up loads, sight in scopes and general accuracy testing. Once I know the rifle/load is dialed in then I can start with field practice. The bench is the place to see what the rifle can do, then practical shooting positions will tell you what YOU are capable of doing, two entirely different things.

    here is my set up with a 308 in the bags. Cowan front rest (built by a HS Shop class) and protektor front and rear bags filled with heavy sand.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bukshot View Post
      In my reading, it appears the general consensus for best/consistent groups is to to

      hold onto the forearm as it sits on the forward rest for "heavy" recoiling rifles. Can

      anyone suggest where the transition point is from letting the forearm sit on the front

      rest by its own weight or to grasp it with the off-hand:question: .270 Winchester,

      .308 Winchester, .338 Win. Mag. :question: What has your own experience

      shown:question:

      To simplify matters, assume rifles of average weight for their cartridge, not some light weight mountain rifle. Myself, I normally hold onto the forearm as this is what I would be doing from a field position.

      Thank you
      There are numerous factors that will determine the proper hold for a rifle. I can get by nicely with my 300 WM just grasping the rear bag with my left hand and allow the rifle to recoil normally. My 338 WM needs some support on the forearm or else the recoil will lift the rifle off my rest resulting in several scenarios, all of which are less than optimal. Heavier recoiling rifles amplify this effect.
      Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds to me like you are trying to use a sporting rifle in a bench-rest application. In 100-200 Bench-rest competetion most rifles are small caliber up to Hunter class which requires the case capacity of the 30-30 and minimum of 6mm bullet and a 6x scope maximum. These rifles are fired free recoil and the left hand is used only to work the bolt or load. The leather sand bags are powdered with a friction reducing powder to insure that the recoil is smooth and bags don't alter the recoil of the rifle from shot to shot. The forearms of bench-rest rifles are flat on bottom and limited in width dependent on class; as are weights relagated by class.

        Comment


        • #5
          I shot this group out of my .338 at 100 yards this week off a block of wood on the bench coverd by my coat under the forearm, my left hand pulling some down pressure on the front of the sling and nothing under under the butt except my shoulder behind it and my 4-12 scope on 4. Not the tightest group I have ever shot, but is more "consistant" with real life hunting conditans. Sure I can shoot that same group at 250 yds off a lead sled and the scope cranked up, but thats not much good since I really just want to know that I can kill a critter at that distance. Dont need win a shooting match...Dead critter is dead critter no matter how tight the groups off the bench at the range...Click image for larger version

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          Originally posted by Bukshot View Post
          In my reading, it appears the general consensus for best/consistent groups is to to

          hold onto the forearm as it sits on the forward rest for "heavy" recoiling rifles. Can

          anyone suggest where the transition point is from letting the forearm sit on the front

          rest by its own weight or to grasp it with the off-hand:question: .270 Winchester,

          .308 Winchester, .338 Win. Mag. :question: What has your own experience

          shown:question:

          To simplify matters, assume rifles of average weight for their cartridge, not some light weight mountain rifle. Myself, I normally hold onto the forearm as this is what I would be doing from a field position.

          Thank you

          Comment


          • #6
            There are many ways to skin this cat.
            As stated above, this is what I use to dial in a rifle. I have used this set up and technique for .22lr up to 375 H&H mag. Heavy recoiling rifles do not feel good off the bench, but this is still the best way I have found to test accuracy and tweak. I go a bit more in depth on accurizing than most, gunsmithing, and fine tuning are my other addictions.

            I really like to see just how accurate a rifle is. This just eliminates as many variables as possible for me, a rolled up jacket or back pack work too.



            I do not think the OP was looking to use a sporter for a bench rest match, simply asking for bench technique. The same principles apply weather its a marlin rimfire, winchester sporter or a 15lb 1000yd bench gun. of course the front bag will fit a sporter or varmint forend rather than a 3" flat bottomed bench style forend.

            Nice shooting Mekaniks!

            Comment


            • #7
              Like AKmik suggests the less contact the better usually but some of the heavy recoilers - like 12 ga slugs - require a little thought before you eat the scope. I have tried many ways and hanging onto the sling is one of my favorite choices, have laid hand on top of bbl with good results also - consistency is the key....
              When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

              Comment


              • #8
                The only rule is there are no rules to follow. Every rifle is different and repeatability is the key to accurate shooting off the bench once you found the technique that works for you and your rifle.

                For example:

                Rifle is a Win 300 WSM sitting inside a bedded McMillan stock. No matter what I could do 2.5 -3 inch groups were the best I could do. Someone suggested to me that I place my right hand (I am a lefty) on top of the scope to hold the rifle in place. It worked.

                Rifle can require no contact other than the trigger being squeezed to extremes such as holding them in place. Experiment and shoot a couple of groups exactly the same before moving onto another method.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Randy, Thats how I hold my rifles off a bench works well for me. PM me your 300 WSM loading data please. Kurt

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Smokey is right. Consistency is the key.

                    30-06 & 7 Rem Mag class of cartridges and I can do the benchrest hold. Get my .338 on the bench and I'm D-U-N done after three or four that way. Have to hold the forearm with that one and even then it's no fun. Thankfully I did my load development 6 years ago when I wasn't such a candy*****!

                    Gus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm assuming you're talkin about shooting your rifle from a bench, rather than BR competition, with a rifle and rests designed for that competition.

                      I started holding onto the forearm a few years back, because I THINK it helps me to get better groups.

                      Smitty of the North
                      Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                      Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                      You can't out-give God.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        whatever everyone else has said holds true - there are no "rules" EXCEPT do it the same way each and every time - at the bench you are testing the rifle, NOT your shooting prowess

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I also believe in consistency. My 8 lb. .338 Mag. with the Bansner's stock and 250 grain bullets needs a hold on the forearm other wise it wants to jump around on me when I shoot it. If I was shooting it in the field I would be holding some place on the forearm and it would not be jumping around at the shot. I want to duplicate my field shooting positions as much as possible from the bench yet I still want those small groups a bench helps provide, it makes me think the rifle is capable of small groups from field shooting positions, even if I'm not. If I was shooting a light recoiling rifle with a flat forearm and a soft and heavy front bag then I would not need to hold the forearm.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by .338 mag. View Post
                            I also believe in consistency. My 8 lb. .338 Mag. with the Bansner's stock and 250 grain bullets needs a hold on the forearm other wise it wants to jump around on me when I shoot it. If I was shooting it in the field I would be holding some place on the forearm and it would not be jumping around at the shot. I want to duplicate my field shooting positions as much as possible from the bench yet I still want those small groups a bench helps provide, it makes me think the rifle is capable of small groups from field shooting positions, even if I'm not. If I was shooting a light recoiling rifle with a flat forearm and a soft and heavy front bag then I would not need to hold the forearm.
                            Oh Yeah, I agree with that.

                            I think it was when I got my old 338, that I noticed holding the forearm made for more accurate shooting.

                            Smitty of the North
                            Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                            Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                            You can't out-give God.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't hold the forearm and I get pretty good groups when shooting off the bench. I also only use a bag for the forearm and a smaller bag for the butt. The rife rest free of any of my body pressure except where the butt engages my shoulder and I don't grab and hold the grip tight with my shooting hand.
                              A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
                              THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
                              THE HEART OF A CHILD
                              THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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