Excercises for more accurate shoulder fire.


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Dambugg
August 27, 2009, 05:38 PM
I introduced myself in the general discussion area, but I will do so again. My name is Damian and I am a long time gun enthusiast.

Deer season is about two months away here in Oregon and I am trying to get in shape for it. I would like to know what excersizes would help steady my standing shoulder fire shots. There is some thick brush that I am looking to hunt in where having a more steady standing shot is going to mean the difference in filling the freezer and going hungry. Thanks in advance, I feel it a priveledge to be part of this forum.
P.S my Deer rifle is a Remington SPS in .308 with a Mueller 3x9 illuminated mill dot reticle scope.

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Deer Hunter
August 27, 2009, 05:47 PM
http://www.leehayward.com/shoulders.htm

A few pictures of some different exercises.

Also, don't forget your lats. Do you have anything to do pull-ups on? They do wonders for your back. Push-ups are great too.

Your biceps are damned near useless; all your strength lies in your back, shoulders, and to some extent triceps.

Bwana John
August 27, 2009, 06:25 PM
Pick up, sight, and fire a bolt action .22 rifle at a deer shaped target with a similar scope 50 times a day until hunting season.

To get really "pumped up", add 5 rounds of .308 to the workout.

CoRoMo
August 27, 2009, 06:42 PM
I run every morning on a treadmill, mainly for cardio endurance. When the hunting season comes around (16 days!), the uphill hiking is the most challenging part of it all. When I hear the hooves breaking twigs, I get hit with a dose of adrenaline, and the pain/weakness seems to go away.

kdstrick
August 27, 2009, 06:53 PM
The stress on your body, when holding anything away from your body, lies squarely on your shoulders. Overhead lifts and front lifts will strengthen the muscles you will need. Don't forget to do some crunches to strengthen your core as well. It will help to stabilize your upright body when holding the rifle. Some cardiovascular work would help you with your breathing also.

Good luck.

Malamute
August 27, 2009, 07:09 PM
Shoot a similar 22 rilfe a lot before going on your hunt. A brick or two of 22 shot offhand will help get you tuned up. Shooting a bow helps strengthen your back and upper body also.

Only thing about shooting a 22 is dont get in the habit of soft stroking it, or you may end up short stroking your centerfire rifle. I always try to fairly slam the bolt open and closed with the centerfire bolt guns to ingrain it as a habit. Never had a short stroke so far.

PandaBearBG
August 27, 2009, 07:31 PM
For hunting? LEGs LEGS LEGS, run, jog, run stairs, squat (lots of squats) lunges, anything to build up the legs. Gives you a solid base, staminia for more controlled breathing during shots and long stalks. Doing heavy legs will also build up your torso/abs which in turn provides great strength in your hips and waist which keeps you more stable in a standing position. For upper body strength, pushups, and a million pullups. shoot for 2 sets of 50. Just start knocking off sets of whatever, 15, then 10, then 6, then set of 1, another set of 1, until you reach fifty. Pullups are the most effective exercise ever, they provide, power, balance, stability, growth, flexibility, an all in one wonder. I've been in USMC, collegiate rugby, amateur powerlifting, and personal training. And above all practice your standing, dry fire, the more the better. my personal $.02

Dambugg
August 27, 2009, 09:54 PM
I really can't thank everyone enough for the warm welcome and advice. It looks like I need to start lifting and running. That's a good thing. Hopefully I'll have deer to show for all the hard work. Actually that's no matter if I get in better shape that's probably the biggest reward.

Deer Hunter
August 27, 2009, 09:57 PM
My grandpa once said to me, "If you've got your health, you got nothin' to complain 'bout." :)

Uncle Mike
August 28, 2009, 12:06 AM
Cardio...legs...and most important abs, abs,abs.

Daizee
August 28, 2009, 12:43 AM
Forget strength. it's about *stance*. Look at the petite female smallbore shooters hitting a 0.25" bullseye with a 12lb rifle.

You build your position from the bottom up. There are main schools of thought - combat stance and target stance. You'll probably use neither when hunting, but you can apply the principles:

1. You need a wide enough stance in your feet to support you and the rifle.
2. Do not lock your knees, you will start to tip and waver.
3. Get your weak hand BACK towards the action, toward the balance point. NOT way out on the forearm of the gun. The more extended your arms, the more you will shake. Your deltoids will fail very quickly.
4. Unless you're wingshooting, your elbows should be at your sides, particularly your weak hand, allowing the weight of the rifle to bear down your forearms (both of them) and into your body which is supported by your feet. If you don't, you'll be using your deltoids, which are very small muscles. Give yourself a break and use your core!

Your fall/winter clothing will insulate your arms from your heartbeat. You will need to control your breathing: half-breath in or out, then hold it. Shoot within a 3 count or breathe again. How long do you need to hold your position? If it's a rifle you can bring to your eye quickly (practice!), then you won't have to hold it long. When you're practicing, practice from a carry position. Do NOT shoot-shoot-shoot without lowering the gun unless you expect your quarry to shoot back. Practice follow-ups, yes, but don't stand there like a doof holding your gun until you shake. The FIRST shot is the most important.

Build your position from the bottom up: feet, knees, hips elbows, shoulders, head, sights, target, *bang*.

A target stance will generally shoot "across" the position. i.e. the feet will be 90deg to the target and you will fire across your weak shoulder. A combat stance will generally shoot "out of" the position, without the twist-up of the target stance. The principles above can be applied to both, or anything in-between. They also apply for kneeling and sitting positions, of course. Your body is the sandbag, settle into your stance, whatever it is. Oh, and if you have to scrunch up your shoulder to see through your scope/sights, then either the gun/sight combination doesn't fit you, or you're doing something wrong. You should be able to be *relaxed* when shooting on your hind legs.

-Daizee

Example of a target stance, shooting across (mostly) the position. Your forearm grip when hunting will likely be a little more... determined than here:

http://thaumaturgy.net/~etgold/images/snugs/DSCN0121-small.JPG

PandaBearBG
August 28, 2009, 01:11 AM
I was just assuming that he has a good stance, although practicing your stance repetivily is essential, but this guy is going hunting and hunting usually means walking, climbing over deadfall, bushwacking, etc, long hours and hard trekking and then having only a few moments to get that one shot, well there is not always the time to get the perfect stance in. Building strength will help build better muscle and staminia to handle precision shots even after long exertion. The more tools you have to use can only make you better.

kdstrick
August 28, 2009, 02:50 AM
Hey Daizze. You make some great points, and your post is very well articluated. I agree with you on almost everything you write except the last part.

I do see the benefit of this stance for rimfire, but if this guy is shooting a 308 or larger, he is gonna get knocked on his butt due to the recoil and the imbalance of his stance. With a relatively large caliber, his weight should be on his front foot to help absorb recoil and be prepared for a follow up shot if necessary. It's hard to make that shot from your butt.

Frankly, if the OP anticipates 'off-hand' shots, it would be better to get some shooting sticks or (if possible) find a tree to brace upon. Off hand shots are dicey, and I hate wounding animals (I'm sure everyone does).

Be steady, sure and squeeeeeeeeze the trigger. Eat well. :D

Deer Hunter
August 28, 2009, 09:51 AM
Look at the petite female smallbore shooters hitting a 0.25" bullseye with a 12lb rifle.


I've seen some petite females also bench press their weight and then some. Stance is important, but having the strength to hold the stance is important too.

Daizee
August 28, 2009, 10:26 AM
I've seen some petite females also bench press their weight and then some. Stance is important, but having the strength to hold the stance is important too.

Surely, but benching your weight (or let's say 100lb+) is unnecessary. My point being, weight lifting (and yes, I used to do plenty) is concerned with moving unsupported weight around. For the same reason that heavy loads ought to be lifted with the legs and not with the back, the gun should be supported with stance and core rather than outstretched arms. You're trying to stabilize, not exercise.

Cardio exercise will certainly help you control your breathing. And it's good for your heart too. Full body strength will help you drag a critter out of the woods. I mean if the OP is very weak, then certainly all-around weight training is a fine idea. But without stance he'd just be muscling through it.

I do see the benefit of this stance for rimfire, but if this guy is shooting a 308 or larger, he is gonna get knocked on his butt due to the recoil and the imbalance of his stance.

It's a good point that your weight should be slightly forward with a heavy recoiling rifle. Even in the picture above, weight is slightly forward. Service rifle matches (including both .308 and .223) are often shot from similar stances. I can shoot .20ga slugs and my .54 Hawken (both my deer guns) from a similar stance - but then that's not the point. The rifle itself will help determine your required grip on the thing for recoil and follow-up.


I'll quote myself:
There are main schools of thought - combat stance and target stance. You'll probably use neither when hunting, but you can apply the principles ... Your forearm grip when hunting will likely be a little more... determined than here

Also, as I said, the same principles apply to kneeling and sitting.

The principles of a stable shooting stance are the key, not the particulars of any one rifle/position combination. Once the basic principles are ingrained, they can be applied to whatever position and rest you have available and time for. And yes, sticks are a great idea!

and btw, good luck in the woods to everyone this year!

-Daizee

Dambugg
August 28, 2009, 11:26 AM
Panda is correct. I do have a good shooting stance but am interested in conditioning myself for more stability in regards to off hand shooting in variable climactic, and geographic conditions. I really know very little about anatomy that's why I wanted to know what muscles I should strengthen to build a more confident and accurate off hand shot in less than ideal conditions.

There was an old Savage 99 add that had a deer jumping out in front of a hunter on a rocky incline. The caption read, "when he jumps, will you be ready?"

I just want to be ready.

Mr_Pale_Horse
August 28, 2009, 11:48 AM
Cardio first - if your respiration and heart rate are in overdrive, you cannot be steady.

Yoga - alot of still hunting is remaining motionless for minutes at a time in stressed positions. Yoga is that by definition, plus it improves balance and focus.

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