Any tricks to shooting unsupported?


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-v-
March 8, 2009, 09:21 PM
Hey Gang,

I had the fortune to get out to the range today and blow through some of the x39 stock pile. However, I was horrified by how poorly I was shooting at ~40-50 yards unsupported standing. Sitting supported, I can usually put a 20-shot group in an oblong 4" wide 8" high column at 100 yard. Today while unsupported I managed to get something that looked closer to a shotgun pattern at 40. Main culprit: When standing for a little bit with that nice ol' AKM, my arms started to sway around quite a bit, making lining up accurate shots hard if not impossible.

Searching was unfortunately only marginally helpful with suggestions. So I'm wondering if any of you fine gents have any tips or tricks about building up muscle strength to hold said firearm rock steady and general tips for improved unsupported accuracy?

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TheDriver
March 8, 2009, 09:24 PM
Sling, sling, sling, sling. I brace my off elbow in the sling when shooting my AKs. Makes a world of difference.

PT1911
March 8, 2009, 09:28 PM
it helps if you put your support hand under the gun in such a way that you pull your elbow direcly under your wrist. this creates a "shelf" of sorts with your hand.. this greatly eliminates any side to side deviation allows you to focus more on preventing vertical "wandering"

usmc1371
March 8, 2009, 09:37 PM
Also try to really pay attention to your trigger squeez. unsuported its easy to pull your shots all over the place and service rifle trigers don't help. On the range with my m16 I would squeez 90% of the trigger pull then breath again and then finish the shot. Sling will help. If your hitting good keep shooting when you start to miss alot take a break for a few min to let your arms relax.

Ohio Gun Guy
March 8, 2009, 09:39 PM
Take a big breath in, let half out, hold.

feudalson
March 8, 2009, 09:43 PM
slow steady breaths... with about a 5 second hold before firing... and try to keep your supporting hand and elbow in line.. meaning your forward arm should be at a tight 45 degrees and a +1 to the sling warp tension support

taliv
March 8, 2009, 09:47 PM
your first sight picture is your best sight picture

Big Bill
March 8, 2009, 09:48 PM
Any tricks to shooting unsupported?Ya! Wear a jock strap.

MTMilitiaman
March 8, 2009, 09:54 PM
Shooting offhand is difficult. Practice is about the only thing that helps.

Make sure you feet are about shoulder width apart and you have a good base. Control your breathing. As support from this position is all muscular, it is important to realize the importance of oxygen and the effects lack of oxygen has on your stability. Denying fresh oxygen to your muscles by holding your breath to take a shot means that you must get your sight picture and fire within a few seconds, before your muscles begin to shake. If you haven't shot by this time, you are better off to pull the rifle down, take a couple deep breaths, and reattempt the shot from the beginning. When I shoot offhand, it is mostly snap shooting. I don't usually try to hold the rifle up more than 5 or 6 seconds. This means you must get your sight picture quickly, and this is all about consistency. If the rifle is brought up to the same place in the same manner every time, and the sight picture is the same every time, you'll be more accurate.

All of this is why offhand shooting is reserved for usually close in fast encounters. If I have time, whether in the field or on the range (unless I am specifically practicing my offhand shooting), I will almost always get to a lower and more stable position.

GreyOne
March 8, 2009, 09:54 PM
+1 on breath control.

Mr. Alloy
March 8, 2009, 10:06 PM
Brace your arm tight against your torso, as you would if you were taking a photo.

jester_s1
March 9, 2009, 01:35 AM
There is a mental game involved in being steadier offhand. I do holds at home without dry firing or anything, just to see how long it takes to get steady and how long it lasts. It's amazing how much that can change from day to day. Your diet also makes a difference. Be well hydrated, not overly full, and skip the caffeine and sugar.

I'll give a technique tip too: It is often easier to move intentionally and time your shot than to try to hold solid. I haven't mastered it yet, but a buddy you does service rifle competition says he moves in a constant figure 8, squeezing the trigger a little more each time the sight crosses the 10 ring. Works for him.

woof
March 9, 2009, 03:19 AM
More people should shoot offhand more often. I'm more impressed with someone who can shoot well offhand than with tight groups from a benchrest. When you really need to shoot it will probably be offhand. And I would agree the key is practice because that's the only way you can find the technique that works for you.

LongRifles, Inc.
March 9, 2009, 03:38 AM
Practice.

Practice.

More practice.

Then practice some more.

Kind of Blued
March 9, 2009, 06:29 AM
I utilize my bony hips. Although it's against the rules in NRA High-Power, I can, and sometimes do set my support elbow ON my hipbone.

Voila. I'm no longer shooting unsupported. Depending on the rifle, how long the mag is, where I hold it with my support hand, I might make a fist and set the gun on top, hold it normally, flathanded in my palm, etc.

PTK
March 9, 2009, 06:34 AM
Kind of Blued

No wonder you put my groups to shame... CHEATER! :D

Beagle-zebub
March 9, 2009, 06:44 AM
I utilize my bony hips. Although it's against the rules in NRA High-Power, I can, and sometimes do set my support elbow ON my hipbone

I'd heard from some TV show that women have that advantage over men in silhouette shooting, in that their hips are wider and therefore better arranged to be used in that manner. Why is it illegal to do in NRA High-Power?

Kind of Blued
March 9, 2009, 07:09 AM
Why is it illegal to do in NRA High-Power?

I haven't verified that it's illegal, but I was told by a guy that was voluntarily coaching at a rifle clinic. I would guess that it's illegal (if it really is) for the very reason that I stated; some people don't have the "shelf" to utilize, so it's not fair.

It's almost a moot point however, since once you put on a coarse, thick shooting jacket, you can't really use your hips or elbows anyway. Those are essentially meant to make use of the same technique, stabilizing the elbow on the torso, but by using friction instead.

Anyway, it's something to try.

taliv
March 9, 2009, 09:11 AM
over the winter i develop what i refer to as my "High Power Gut" which i rest my elbow on during HP season. it looks much like the ever-popular beer gut, only it contains no beer, just lots of sausage biscuits and gravy and flapjacks and mt dew. i get rid of it after camp perry in august.

nbkky71
March 9, 2009, 09:30 AM
Absolutely legal to use the hip for support in the standing position. Clearly mentioned in NRA rule 5.12 (Standing Position)

"Erect on both feet, no other portion of the body touching the ground or any supporting surface. The rifle will be supported by both hands, the cheek and one shoulder and upper arm. The upper arm is defined as from the middle of the biceps toward the shoulder. The elbow or back of the forward arm may be placed against the body or rested on the hip. The sling may not be used for support and may not be wrapped around the arm or hand. The butt of the rifle must be on the outside of the coat."

There are 4 things you need to master in order to shoot well
- having good solid position
- sight alignment
- trigger control
- breathing control

Shooting on your hind legs without any support is challening. If it were easy, everyone would have a high master classification!

KBintheSLC
March 9, 2009, 06:12 PM
Sling, sling, sling, sling.

X 100000000
This is the key to shooting any rifle offhand.

taliv
March 9, 2009, 06:14 PM
except of course in NRA HP and CMP where the sling is not allowed in offhand.

does even olympic style shooting allow slings offhand?

Karl Hungus
March 9, 2009, 06:16 PM
So I'm wondering if any of you fine gents have any tips or tricks about building up muscle strength to hold said firearm rock steady and general tips for improved unsupported accuracy?

Don't use your muscles - use tendons and bones.

And like the other guys said - sling.

Cannonball888
March 9, 2009, 09:49 PM
Another vote for slings as the number one trick for improving unsupported shooting. I have around 20 or so longarms and they each have their own sling.

Then there's the 8 steady hold factors:

1. The butt of the rifle should fit into the pocket of the shoulder.

2. The forearm of the rifle should lie across the heel of the left hand and rest in the "U" formed by the thumb and forefinger. Grip should be relaxed. Slight rearward pressure is applied, pulling the rifle butt into the shoulder.

3. Lower three fingers and thumb of right hand are firm (not tense) around grip exerting steady rearward pressure to pull rifle butt into the pocket of the shoulder. Trigger finger is relaxed alongside (not in) trigger guard.

4. Position of the elbows will vary according to shooting position. In the standing position the right elbow should be horizontal to the ground, the left elbow directly under the rifle.

5. Use the Spot Weld on rifles that allow it. Place the right cheekbone against the right thumb as it wraps around the small of the stock. This locates the shooter's eye at the same place behind the rear sight each time the weapon is shouldered.

6. Use the Stock Weld on rifles with stocks where the length of pull or presence of a pistol grip preclude the use of the spot weld. Place the cheek directly against the stock. Be diligent to locate the cheek in the same location on the stock each time.

7. Avoid tension. Muscles that are overly tense cause trembling. A firm grip rather than a desperate grasp, steady rather than strained pressure seating the rifle butt into the shoulder.

8. Control your breathing. Take a deep breath as the rifle is brought into position. As the sights begin to come into alignment, let half to most of the breath out. Your rifle will be steadier at this point, and trigger squeeze may be executed.

PurdueRifleman2008
March 9, 2009, 10:09 PM
it helps if you put your support hand under the gun in such a way that you pull your elbow direcly under your wrist. this creates a "shelf" of sorts with your hand.. this greatly eliminates any side to side deviation allows you to focus more on preventing vertical "wandering"

+1 on that. You also should try to get your shots off in about 3-5sec after you get into position and start your breathing cycle.

Howard Roark
March 9, 2009, 10:12 PM
does even olympic style shooting allow slings offhand?

No.

In the standing position the right elbow should be horizontal to the ground, the left elbow directly under the rifle.

Don't tell this guy that. It might mess him up. (http://www.odcmp.org/1007/default.asp?page=USAMU_STANDING)

http://www.odcmp.org/1007/images/USAMU_StandingImg/S1.jpg

Slinky
March 10, 2009, 12:45 AM
Seems to me that anyone trying to fire a full-power cartidge from that stance would be liable to hurt themselves.

Kind of Blued
March 10, 2009, 04:00 AM
Seems to me that anyone trying to fire a full-power cartidge from that stance would be liable to hurt themselves.

It's a 69-80gr. .223 and the gun weighs > 15 pounds, so no, he'll be fine.

He's also very relaxed, so the heavy gun will recoil slowly, his entire upper body will follow, and he'll come back to the exact same spot in a couple seconds.

LongRifles, Inc.
March 10, 2009, 08:05 AM
Offhand in all NRA/ISSF competition is defined as two hands, one shoulder.

No slings.

funfaler
March 10, 2009, 11:47 AM
find an Appleseed Shoot near you. http://www.appleseedinfo.org

By the end of Sunday, you will have worked out some issues in all your position shooting.

LongRifles, Inc.
March 10, 2009, 12:06 PM
Seems to me that anyone trying to fire a full-power cartidge from that stance would be liable to hurt themselves.

It's been done this way since Christ was a Corporal. Works great.

JImbothefiveth
March 10, 2009, 12:14 PM
If you're shooting for competition, hunting, or general accuracy, rest your rifle on your hip or ribcage

over the winter i develop what i refer to as my "High Power Gut"
I actually advise against this, if your gut gets too big it makes shooting offhand more difficult.



Also, use natural point of aim. You want your rifle to naturally point near the target. Where it points can be changed by moving where the rifle contacts your shoulder.

I think the position for self-defense is different, and you don't rest your arm. At least that's what I see on videos of police training.

taliv
March 10, 2009, 12:37 PM
I actually advise against this, if your gut gets too big it makes shooting offhand more difficult.

au contraire! it lowers your center of gravity, and the weight forward of your hips acts as a counter-balance to let you lean further backwards, putting the rifle over your heels, and as i mentioned earlier, it gives you a handy place to set stuff, incl your elbow

:)

mljdeckard
March 10, 2009, 05:21 PM
Inhale, exhale, start to squeeze as you are almost finished exhaling.

Jon Coppenbarger
March 10, 2009, 05:25 PM
Good off hand shooters come in all shapes and sizes and ages. Once you learn how its done and what works for you it comes down to being all mental

taliv
March 10, 2009, 05:28 PM
it comes down to being all mental

now that's the truth

edSky
March 10, 2009, 05:41 PM
Any tricks to shooting unsupported?
Ya! Wear a jock strap.

Um, I guess if your name is Big Bill your jock strap can be used as a sling, but I'd fork over the $15 to $35 and get me a real one.

Hope your health is well and you still have some of your collection.

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