Do you have group differences between bench and field positions?


February 25, 2009, 10:36 AM
Hi all,

Another dumb noob question here, but do your groups open up when you go from a shooting bench to field positions (standing, sitting, or prone)? If so, how much?

I ask because I got some trigger time with an AR the other day and after shooting from a bench on sandbags I was pretty impressed with my self. Then I wanted to see how I did in field positions. Boy, the bubble burst real quick.

Prone my groups opened up from about 2 inches to about 3.5.
sitting to almost 6
standing I was barely still even on target.

I was shooting a DPMS 20" A2. The ammo was the same for all shots. I did not have a Bipod. Range was 100 yards.

Any thoughts?


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February 25, 2009, 10:57 AM
basically, the less support you have for the rifle, the more potential you have for bad groupings. i don't have much experience, but i've found breathing is important. as you breathe, you move. before the shot, i take a couple big breaths to oxygenate my system, then i hold a half breath, and then there's about 4 or 5 seconds when i'm steady enough to aim and fire well.

also try using a sling...i found wrapping a sling around my left arm makes it a bit easier to steady the rifle. don't know if it's a "kosher" method, but it makes the crosshairs wobble less...


February 25, 2009, 11:02 AM
Sure your groups are bound to open up with less and less support. Shooting from the bench is great for sighting in and general practice. Not really a option in hunting applications. The lower you get to the ground the better you groups will be. Don't shoot standing if you can shoot sitting, Don't shoot sitting if you can go prone. I am no where close to being the best rifleman on this Forum but I am no slouch behind the trigger either. If you are wanting to shrink groups shooting offhand at 100 yards. Get a sling and learn how to use it to help steady the rifle. I once shot a DPMS in .308 and absolutly hated that rifle. It seemed to be heavier than Savage 12bvss and it is a heavy varmit rifle. Yes you can hold a heavier gun easier to keep on target to a certain point. Then weight at least in my experience hurts you performance.

February 25, 2009, 11:06 AM
Now I don't feel so bad. I was using a sling, but I could have not been using right. Also, what is the expected difference between the positions? Have any of you noticed a "normal" increase in group size?


February 25, 2009, 11:35 AM
You betcha, Kimosabe. IME, the vast majority of the folks who claim otherwise for themselves speaketh through their sombreros.

With dedicated and diligent practice your groups will improve dramatically. Get a copy of the Army or USMC Basic Marksmanship training manual for starters. Good info and inexpensive.

February 25, 2009, 11:54 AM
Thanks Main. I'll pick up the USMC manual. But What I was asking was what do you guys think is a normal increase that you have noticed in your shooting? For instance, a 1 inch inch bench group becomes 2 inch prone to 3 inch sitting, etc. What have you gunnies experienced personally?

Art Eatman
February 25, 2009, 01:18 PM
Most of my pets are sub-MOA from the benchrest. In the field with a hasty rest, I can usually stay within maybe two MOA. Offhand? Varies from "not bad" to "minute of pie plate".

I'm mostly a hunter. I sorta swing in and shoot on a deer, from the offhand position. And, I've done just fine on running deer. I just don't do worth a hoot when trying to shoot groups on paper from offhand. But, I don't eat paper...

February 25, 2009, 02:39 PM
If I've done my math right, the center of mass of a metallic silhouette target is 3 or 4 MOA, and (as best I know) no one gets them all. From a bench, it would be a piece of cake for lots of guys. Off hand, not so much.

February 25, 2009, 02:43 PM
When shooting standing you should not use your sling with your AR if you are training for HighPower Competition.

February 25, 2009, 02:49 PM
The difference in group sizes is directly proportional on the amount of time that you practice shooting from proper field positions.

February 25, 2009, 03:09 PM
When you are shooting off a bench, the bench is doing the vast majority of gun support; when you are standing/sitting/whatever with no bipod, you are doing the support... and the bench is sitting more still than you are. The results are fairly easy to predict...

February 25, 2009, 03:10 PM
pre, I don't think that this is something that can be so handily quantified.

What's "normal" for me and what's "normal" for somebody like Lanny Bassham is always going to be wildly different any way you cut it.

If I were to use his "normal" as a standard for deciding what mine should be it's highly unlikely that I'd ever be able to achieve a "normal" level of performance.

Col. Cooper once said words to the effect of "Marksmanship isn't what you can do once, it's what you can do on demand." Personally, that makes for some pretty significant differences between what I can do on my 'good' days and a 'bad' one. I don't believe that I'm alone in this.

When it comes to declaring what I could personally deliver on any given day, I really couldn't tell you for sure. Too many variables.

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