Shooting a bolt action rifle from the waist


November 1, 2003, 08:13 PM
One of the advantages of having five acres of woodlot in Alaska is I can do things they won't let you do at most gun ranges. In an effort to learn more about my rifle (in this case a 91/30 Mosin) I decided to fire at a nearby tree from the waist. I figure I might need to do this at some point, so I should see how it is. A few observations:

--It's FAST. My rate of fire doubled, I suspect due to the increased leverage and better angle.

--It's not as accurate as I thought it would be. I'm gonna need more practice. Yes, the barrel is long, but it's not easy to sight down it from above. I shot a 5" group at ten feet--worse than a snubbie.

--It would not be fun to get hit. The bullets-- 203 gr. Ruskies--went through two big spruce trees before hitting the backstop.

--A little laser sight or even a taped-on laser pointer would help a lot. Some variation on point-shooting might work as well.

Anyone else tried this? Of course, don't do it without a big backstop, lots of space and plenty of trees!

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Jim K
November 1, 2003, 08:24 PM
I assume that "lots of space" is outside your property, since a 7.62x54R will sure as heck shoot a long way after leaving a five acre property, unless that property is very long (about 3 miles) and very narrow.

BTW, it is even more fun with a SMLE. Very fast!


November 1, 2003, 08:38 PM
Tree lot. Backstop. Comprende vous?

Art Eatman
November 1, 2003, 08:38 PM
Been a while since I messed with hip-shooting, but I had some amount of success by using my trigger finger as a pointer, and "triggering" with the middle finger. It seemed to reduce the horizontal dispersion, allowing me to work on holding proper elevation.


Beetle Bailey
November 1, 2003, 08:44 PM
i agree with Jim, if you are gonna spray and pray with a bolt-action, you should go with the ten-shot Enfield :D .

November 1, 2003, 10:15 PM
See, stuff like that's why I gotta get a whole bunch of land in some unpopulated area. Hmm. How much is Arizona desert retailing for these days?

Since you can keep your "action arm" longer when cycling the action at the hip, it allows for more leverage, which I assume helps. Of course, it's prolly more fun to bump-fire a semi from the hip, which is again why I need a bunch of land, as most ranges prolly won't allow that.

Still, I'm not terribly strong (up to 120lbs lift and 150 hold if someone else places it in my arms) and I don't think I could control a 91/30 at the hip very well.

*BANG* "oops, hey, can you help me look for my fingers?"

November 1, 2003, 11:26 PM
Just be careful where you put the buttstock to brace it... otherwise you might be recounting your adventures in soprano!

:what: :o :uhoh:

Dave T
November 1, 2003, 11:38 PM
Not trying to offend anyone but what is the point of this, besides being some kind of stunt?

Art Eatman
November 2, 2003, 12:29 AM
Aw, Dave, to get into the dull realm of practicality, we could envision a self-defense situation, where you might not have time to mount the rifle to your shoulder and aim. :)


November 2, 2003, 08:25 AM
Or maybe shoot under a table or countertop from a standing position.

It's similar to asking why practice shooting weakhanded. Because you might need to sometime.

Personally, I have enough trouble most of the time shooting the 'right' way.


November 2, 2003, 11:05 AM
I'm still kind bummed-out about those two spruce trees . . .


November 2, 2003, 01:58 PM
Not trying to offend anyone but what is the point of this, besides being some kind of stunt?

Ditto. I can see where one shot might need to be taken from a lowered position, similar to what's tought in defensive courses when the threat is within inches away, but these 'hip-shots' are taken as the weapon is being raised into firing position. I had an instructor that wrote a good article in Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement on this concept.

I belive what throws both myself and Dave is the practice of continuing to fire in this position. It's hard to imagine why there wouldn't be time to get the weapon into a controlled-fire position when there is time to repeatably manitulate the bolt and pull the trigger.

"My rate of fire doubled, I suspect due to the increased leverage and better angle."

If you continue this practice I'd probably suggest you add a transition step to this sequence, probaly after the first round is fired. Shot placement will always win over rate-of-fire. Because we act as we are trained, there's a chance this hip-shooting, if practiced to a great extent, could come out during an ordinary hunting event. I'm sure we've all seen people do strange things while encountering adrenaline induced 'buck-fever'.

While I can see where this should be practiced if one wants to cover every imaginable type of defensive scenerio, I would never get in the habit of learning this as a rapid-fire excersize.

If you're continuing to fire 203gr rifle-propelled projectiles at a violent attacker it probably means you're missing. I doubt there's many bipeds that would continue forward advance after being struck by one of these in the head or center-mass. I'm thinking the same would be true of most 'furry creatures' as well.

All said, I've expeimented with this style using shotguns before. Given my results, I'd be better off using the piece as a club.

November 2, 2003, 02:39 PM
I saw some German soldiers doing just this in some footage from Stalingrad (iirc). They were working the bolt and firing into a second story window: no effort was made to shoulder their K98s.

It's always nice to be familiar with a technique, even if you never need it.

November 2, 2003, 03:56 PM
"Not trying to offend anyone but what is the point of this, besides being some kind of stunt?"

Picture if you will a kennel of dogs barking like mad in the middle of the night. Imagine coming out and seeing a 1,000+ lb. creature from the mean, toothy end of the Pleistocene ripping through steel kennel walls like cardboard, interested in the residue of dog food and/or the dogs. Now, am I going to have time to find a nice rest and get a bead with the scout scope? Maybe, maybe not. Can I guarantee the scout scope will be clear, or that I'll be able to see through it? No. What happens if I get charged?

My interest, as I said above, is in learning all aspects of my rifles. Up here the theoretical can become actual real quick

November 2, 2003, 04:00 PM
"I'm still kind bummed-out about those two spruce trees . . "

Not to worry. There are about 3,000 spruce trees on my lot. It's like living in a weed patch with 60' weeds. The victims of the mosin have been marked for termination come spring. Hopefully a good wind will drop them now that they're full of holes. Both to use the lot and for fire protection I'm going to have to drop four out of five spruce. I'm keeping all the birch, though.

BTW, I did some prone shooting this morning from a moss bed, resting on a fallen tree. Because my right elbow was bearing weight, I had to resort to cycling the action with my left hand. I had always heard this was how Soviet soldiers were trained, and I discovered why. It's just as quick as using the right hand, but the sight picture remains stable. It wasn't excactly "Enemy at the Gates" time, but it was close. I like these old 91/30's more and more. Somebody put a lot of thought into how they were going to be used.

November 2, 2003, 05:53 PM
gee, I thought this was a joke post, now I think you are serious :eek:

November 2, 2003, 06:04 PM
A bolt rifle with a proper bolt design - not the Moison - but an Enfield, Model 70, etc. can be fired, from the shoulder using the sights, as fast as a self loading rifle if you are actually trying to hit something.

The time delay is not in working the bolt, it's bringing the rifle down out of recoil and reacquiring the sights and target. Continuity of fire is lost after round 5 of course because the self-loading rilfe generally has a 20+ round magazine.

I saw this demonstrated repeatedly in my 270 General Rifle class. I consistantly beat an FAL with my Steyr Scout in AIMED fire.

Shooting from the hip may be fun, but it has very little use otherwise.

To learn something about proper manipulation of the platform, see Jeff Cooper's "Art of the Rifle." The 2nd edition is much better quality wise (picture, paper quality, etc.), but the 1st has the info and is usually much less expensive if you are on a budget.

Dave T
November 2, 2003, 06:15 PM

You hit on every point I was thinking of when I posed my original question.

Cosmoline said:

"Can I guarantee the scout scope will be clear, or that I'll be able to see through it? No. What happens if I get charged?"

I'd say you need a new or better scope in that case. And as for being charged, hundreds if not thousands of dangerous game hunters in Africa (and elsewhere) have delt with that problem without resorting to shooting from the hip.

Sorry but I just don't see it. On the other hand if you're having fun, more power to ya!

November 2, 2003, 07:00 PM
If you want to use it for both daytime and nighttime activities, cant you mount scope mounts to it that will accept both a scope and a Red-dot? Cant you see through reddots at night better than scopes?:confused:

I dont know about yall, but I dont think I will be firing any old hard-hitting battle rifle from the hip. I wont with my 12ga, and my BR is no different.

November 2, 2003, 07:09 PM
You just never know. I always like to try novel approaches. But why the hostile resistance to the notion? If a bear is five feet away, trying to aim a three foot rifle from the shoulder seems odd and cumbersome. OTOH, as I discovered you have to have a little practice from the hip or you might indeed miss--even at that range! It's possible to use the barrel to aim, but it's very different from using sights. This is what I'm exploring.

Recoil, actually, is minimal. I didn't even notice it. I'm not sure I'd go resting it on my hip-bone, though.

November 3, 2003, 03:47 PM
The development of this technique could actually be quite useful. I have been in a number of situations where a female cohort needed a piggy back ride while out in the woods. Either they twisted their ankle or whatever. You can't really shoulder a rifle when in this arrangement so firing from the hip may be the only option. This type of training or technique could also help all those SHTF types as well; children on back, running to shelter, angry hoardes, etc. Plus, you could realy impress your friends at the range.

There may be some real potential here....


November 3, 2003, 04:59 PM
Ladies, Gents, shooting can be fun. Our poster here has found a new way to have fun with his rifle. He indicates he is doing so safely. Not every shot fired has to be with some particular end in mind, other than fun. He need not justify it to us.

My only caution is, if anyone else attempts this, to be very aware of errors in elevation. No need to put a shot over the backstop, is there? And a shot way low could 'ground skip' over the backstop.

November 3, 2003, 05:59 PM
wait a second

you are spray firing from the hip
and you don't have a pistol grip?


Does Sarah Brady know about this?
How can this be done?

i want to produce a web video of a
lever action vs a semi, a pump and a bolt action in rapid fire

maybe even an experienced rifleman with a lever vs a "kid" with an AR at 60 foot targets
i'll bet'cha the lever nails target 10 before the AR reloads to engauge target 3

heck, i have seen some fast action
with single shots
and back of the hand ammo carriers

do ya think ole Sarah will be after big loop levers next?

Knowing what your smoke pole can accomplish
from a variety of hand holds
seems like "a good thing"® to me

November 3, 2003, 06:34 PM
Shooting for fun is okay, as long as it's done safely.

I think it more likely you might find unsighted fire from the shoulder useful than from the hip. In dim light and/or time crunch, shouldered rifle should still be fairly effective at close range even without time to acquire sights. I was actually considering this issue this afternoon without having seen this thread.

The conclusion I came to, was that those who talked about always maintaining their sight picture through the scope weren't being shot at. African hunters at close range with DG aren't usually using scopes, either.


November 3, 2003, 10:53 PM
A few days ago I was challenged to a "from the hip" contest from a friend. We had about 40 of the 1000 rounds that I bought a few months ago. We each had 20 rounds, and an arrangement of five empty oxygen cylinders that the range hangs up. These cylinders ding when hit, so it's easy to ID a hit. He got 2 our of 20, I got three. :D I did manage to put all forty rounds in a six foot circle.

November 3, 2003, 11:04 PM
Welcome to THR- and good shooting. ;)


cracked butt
November 4, 2003, 12:08 AM
I practice this all of the time with a cheap daisy air rifle with empty soda cans. Can hit them at a short range on a regular basis.

About 20 years ago I belonged to a trap club. Our team had its practice nights on Thursdays. After shooting fopr the night, we would have money shoots where the first shooter could pick a spot to shoot from and if he made it, everyone would have to make it to stay in (can't remember the name of the game either Annie Oakley or miss and out). One guy stood on top of the trap house and miraculously made a shot from the hip. No one else out of about 12 or 13 guys made it. Afterwards we all tried again for fun, there was a hit for about every 15 to 20 shots shooting from the hip.


Art Eatman
November 4, 2003, 09:26 AM
I don't know if it's still done, but back around 1970 or so I read an article about Infantry training at Fort Benning. Using BB guns, "Point Shooting" was practiced. Some of the guys got good enough to shoot from the hip and hit an aspirin tablet.


November 4, 2003, 10:59 AM
Some of the guys got good enough to shoot from the hip and hit an aspirin tablet.

uhhhh.....I can do that too! If I aim. And the aspirin is still. And I'm using my shotgun. Loaded with #9's. And I get to use all the rounds in my gun. (it'll hold 7:D )

To those questioning the purpose of hip shooting, or arguing against it for whatever reason:

Get over it. Its fun to try new things or just get goofy once in awhile. I've done it many times and it can be done safely as long as you're aware of your surroundings and your back stop.


November 4, 2003, 11:18 AM
the army taught a method with sightless BB guns
that was transitioned to modified M14s & ARs

they shouldered the weapon and point shot down a rail

the TT was called "Principles of a Quick Kill" 23-71-1

November 4, 2003, 01:09 PM
"...not as accurate as I thought it would be..." Imagine totally unaimed rapid fire shots not being accurate. Although 5" at 10 feet is probably better than you think. Armies teach or used to teach fireing shouldered but looking over the sights. Hip shooting, while fun, is a waste of ammo.
MagKnightX. "prolly" is not a word.

November 4, 2003, 01:21 PM
Well, you're prolly right. If you can't acquire your sights, oh well, but at least shouldering the weapon will still allow close range hits.

November 4, 2003, 01:41 PM
dammit cosmo! keep up this talk of your shooting whenever you want and as tactical as you so desire and i'll be inviting myself out to your homestead!

:neener: :D

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