Using shooting sticks effectively


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joshk-k
November 10, 2010, 09:47 AM
Hi friends!

I recently made a pair of shooting sticks similar to these: http://www.prbullet.com/stix.htm

They're just a piece of old oak flooring, ripped in half. So two 36" 3/4" square pieces. They're bolted together about 5 inches from the top, and have nails with the heads snipped off inserted into the bottom to grab at the ground.

A few quick questions: When I am shooting from them, I understand that I should rest the forearm in the crotch that they create. Do I just let the forearm sit there? Do I apply hold onto it with my hand? Do I pull it downwards into the sticks? When I shoot, it should just take whatever little jump it takes, unimpeded, right? Any other thoughts about being effective with these? Any tips on using shooting sticks in general?

Thanks,
JOsh

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taliv
November 10, 2010, 11:03 AM
great question. i've never been able to shoot worth a darn from those things. i shoot better offhand! would love to hear how other people use them.

joshk-k
November 10, 2010, 11:36 AM
Turns out I was wrong: I shouldn't rest the forearm in the crotch of the sticks. An internet search reveals that I should grasp the sticks with my hand at that crotch and rest the rifle on my hand. I guess that makes sense, similar to having a padded bench rest. Some pictures show the shooter holding the rifle like you would offhand, and having their wrist resting on the sticks.

JOsh

desidog
November 10, 2010, 12:00 PM
I've never seen anyone use sticks as an armrest.

Generally, I hold the sticks at the intersection, and sit the forearm in the V. My front hand (i'm lefty) comes into contact with the forearm, but doesn't push it in any direction. When the gun goes off, the recoil will push it back and up, into your shoulder, so if you were just resting the forearm on the sticks, and not holding the sticks, your follow-up shot will be greatly impeded.

My sticks are aluminum and break down like tent poles, with rubber at the V. I'd be cautious of squared-edge wood in contact with my stock; maybe tape a rag in there?

You'll find that with the more powerful rifles, it's much less punishing for your shoulder to shoot them off sticks than off a bench rest.

doubleh
November 10, 2010, 01:04 PM
I make my own. Just two dowel rods with a bolt for a hinge pin, and some heat shrink tape to cushion the fore end a little. Two nails epoxyed in the bottom of the dowels so they'll grip in hard ground. I paint them camo also. I rest the fore end in the sticks, not my hand.

Asherdan
November 10, 2010, 01:59 PM
I picked up a pair of the Stoney Point tent pole style ones that are just the right height for me to use in a kneeling position. I sit on my right ankle, lean my left elbow into my left knee and grasp the sticks at their crux while laying the forearm in. I'll roll back an inch or so to put myself and the rifle "behind" the sticks and pushing into them slightly. Fairly quick, I'll use the sticks if I have time over just a kneeling position. I like 'em, you can get a pretty steady ready-rest with them.

On the home made versions I've seen guys use a strip of leather in the crux for a fore arm pad. I like that way of doing things.

WardenWolf
November 10, 2010, 02:43 PM
Shooting sticks are honestly a poor-man's bipod. They look very awkward to use. It's not something I'd ever want to mess with in the field. Still, some people swear by them. I'd spend more time swearing at them.

joshk-k
November 10, 2010, 06:58 PM
Nothing wrong with being a poor man, a DIYer, or just an experimental soul. I made mine for about a dollar of materials and in ten minutes.

The stock on the rifle I would primarily use with these is synthetic, so I'm not worried about scratching it one the edges of the wood. I might glue a few strips of leather on just for a little padding, though. What I like about the design that I have is that the legs can spread to make them the correct height for anything from near prone to kneeling. I can also extend them to a full length, put one of the end nails through a hole in my sling near the front swivel and have a decent rest while standing.

Thanks for the tips, all.

Josh

DoubleTapDrew
November 10, 2010, 07:47 PM
Shooting sticks are honestly a poor-man's bipod.
Or a tall bipod for folks who don't hunt in flat areas where you can shoot prone.

joed
November 10, 2010, 07:50 PM
I bought a real nice pair this summer. There has to be a trick to using them though, I honestly don't think I could hit a car at 100 yards.

Gave up and bought a bipod, that I'm pretty good with.

taliv
November 10, 2010, 08:58 PM
Maybe I'm underthinking this but it seems like moving the sticks forward and back would cause them to also move up and down as the end of the stick makes an arc and doesn't move directly to the rear in recoil.

In theory bipods do the same but have much shorter legs.

WardenWolf
November 10, 2010, 11:06 PM
Depends. I have a large bipod. The longest Harris makes. And I can be sitting upright and easily use it with length to spare.

joshk-k
November 11, 2010, 12:15 AM
Taliv,


If I understand you right, you are saying this: A pair of shooting sticks is a given length (say 36"), and the bases of them are anchored at a fixed point on the ground. So, given either a forward or rearward force, such as recoil, the top end of the sticks (the part where the forearm is resting) would not travel forward or rearward parallel to the ground, but would actually make a slight arc. So basically the sticks are like the radius of a circle, with their contact point at the ground being the center. As they move either towards or away from the shooter, they're going to follow the line of the circle's circumference.

I can understand how that would impact accuracy, I suppose. Would clutching the sticks at their crotch and resting the rifle through the two sticks on the top of your index finger provide enough natural give (in the flesh of your hand) to minimize this? Would it help to slightly lean the sticks forward so that the recoil would travel the length of the sticks and just drive the nails at the bottom of the sticks into the ground?

I'm just learning. Haven't shot with them yet.

Josh

HOOfan_1
November 11, 2010, 01:51 AM
Or a tall bipod for folks who don't hunt in flat areas where you can shoot prone.

Not to mention hunting in overgrown fields. I hunt in a field that has 4 foot tall grass and a bunch of shrubby evergreen trees. If I went prone to shoot I wouldn't be able to see my target. For varmint hunting I take a 2 foot step ladder and rest my bipod on it. Not practical hauling a shiny silver and clangy ladder out into the field for deer though.

I know for a fact I need some more practice shooting off hand. At the 100 yard range sitting in a chair resting my left elbow on my knee (right handed) I was barely able to keep it in a 10 inch circle. Keeping a shot steady offhand at 100 yards is nothing easy. I have no idea, how I shot a turkey with my rifle offhand at about 100 yards...

stubbicatt
November 11, 2010, 08:43 AM
I dunno. Mine are a couple arrow shafts with a rubber cap over the top which has a "bridge" or some device between the two shafts. It has been consistent enough for me to hit prairie dogs at 4 to 600 yards. I bought it at Sportsman's Warehouse.

The forend rests in the "V" and I wrap my hand around the contraption in such a way that my thumb and index finger gently grip the forestock. Once the shafts are firmly planted, it holds steady enough for me.

chains1240
November 11, 2010, 09:27 AM
I make my own. Just two dowel rods with a bolt for a hinge pin, and some heat shrink tape to cushion the fore end a little. Two nails epoxyed in the bottom of the dowels so they'll grip in hard ground. I paint them camo also. I rest the fore end in the sticks, not my hand.
Basically the same set up I have. I went all out and spent about $6 on mine, the brass hardware was a bit more than steel. My Howa with a Hogue stock sticks to them like glue. Although I did not coat the dowel rods with anything. Very easy to use, steady, and already got one deer this year with them.

doubleh
November 11, 2010, 12:53 PM
I use mine strictly for coyote and p-dog hunting and that is the reason for the camo paint. Coyotes are hunted hard here. I really doubt that camo does that much good but why not? At least it makes you look cool to your hunting buddies. :D Set up and being still are the main things. The p-dogs don't seem to notice how you are dressed. Shooting at them is what gets their attention.

I don't think the sticks rotating in an arc makes any difference except as a way to change the height of the sticks when aiming. When they rotate under recoil the bullet is already gone anyway so it can't be affected.

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