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I disagree with Jeff Cooper

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dave R, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. Dave R

    Dave R New Member

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that. But I respect his columns so much, and agree with him so univerally, that it gave me pause. (I got a G&A while I was stuck at the airport and read his current column.)

    He says "Please remember that there is no use whatever for a shooting sling in an unsupported position, either offhand or standing...[useful only if] your left elbow is resting against something solid."

    Absolutely untrue.

    Try holding a rifle offhand, with a scope on the target, and "measure" your wander. Now try the same drill with your sling used properly. Should cut your "wander" in half.

    Try sitting position, no sling. Measure your wander. Try with sling. Wander again should be cut in half.

    If you are used to a shooting sling, you can wrap that arm as you raise the rifle and the time penalty for using it is nearly zero. Accuracy is improved. Its the best way to shoot offhand.

    Tried it a coupla times this spring when I was doing the "walking for priarie dogs" routine. When they got skittish, and I didn't think they'd stay up while I sat down, I shot offhand with sling. Didn't hit 'em all, but got more than I would have if I had not used a sling.

    When they were not so skittish, and I could sit, elbows on knees, and use the sling, I didn't miss much at all. Sitting with sling is a lot more stable than sitting with no sling.

    I still love the Colonel, but he was wrong on that one.
  2. Phil in Seattle

    Phil in Seattle New Member

    I saw that too Dave, and honestly I had to think that some copy editor got a hold of it and mangled it badly.

    (Read it in the grocery store)
  3. daniel501

    daniel501 New Member

    For what it's worth, he says essentially the same thing on p.42 in "The Art of the Rifle."

    To quote: "The sling is not used from either the standing or offhand position. In my youth several coaches encouraged what was called the "hasty sling." It never did anything for me, and it is geometrically unsound. If you are hunting thick country, in fog or at night, it is best to take the sling off your rifle and thread it through your waist belt. It may be useful for packing out your meat if you are successful, but it will do nothing for your shooting."

    Not taking sides here. I'm skeptical as well.

  4. daniel501

    daniel501 New Member

    Here, the Colonel would agree with you. He's referring to "unsupported" positions. Seated, elbows on knees, is a supported position, and is illustrated with appropriate use of the sling in two photos on page 37 in "The Art of the Rifle."

  5. BusMaster007

    BusMaster007 New Member

    Careful, now... ;)

    I was accused of 'character assassination' on another board for calling into question some of the things gunwriters say that I found either confusing, irritating, or just disagreed with.

    I even admitted to being the novice that I am, which that special someone took as a green light to get 'testy'... :D

    Oh, well!
    Everyone who reads about guns or frequents firearms boards can't agree on everything.
    It's a time proven fact.
  6. Will Fennell

    Will Fennell New Member

    Gotta agree with the crusty ol' Colonel

    If your elbows are supported, the shooting sling works. If your elbow is not supported[resting on the ground, or your knee,ect] then better shooting can be done without the use of the sling, by using proper technique[postion and form].

    Now, as to pistol scopes mounted on the barrel of bolt action major caliber rifles being the prefereed way to site a general purpose rifle, I have to disagree:scrutiny: with the Good Guru.

    We musta argueed for an hour at the Shot Show years ago about that one!
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, I read that and was rather surprised. From the offhand position, I've found that even just the hasty sling is helpful. With a Garand, the military-style lashup is pretty solid.

    Oh, well. I once noted he advocated not taking a shot at game beyond 200 yards or so. A lot of the places around here that I've hunted, that would turn you into a vegetarian, for sure. :D

  8. Gordon

    Gordon Active Member

    Once you go thru a Gunsite rifle course you will see the light. Remember he said not counting classic target shooting with a special jacket and hand grip where a Target sling does work!;)
  9. 444

    444 New Member

    Wait a minute.
    Since when are we allowed to disagree with Jeff Cooper ?
  10. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Active Member


    Just another thing that the good Col. and I disagree on...

    I'm not saying another word. Last time I did, I was accused of some VERY horrible things by the Cooperites...
  11. 444

    444 New Member

    Ah come on Mike, I was just waiting to accuse you of some horrible things.
  12. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Active Member

    Why wait?

    Start now and beat the Christmas rush...
  13. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    I disagree with him on MANY points. I defer to him in others.

    Like the whole 'scout rifle' thing. Who is it for? Crusty old curmudgeons that can't handle humping a full sized dedicated bolt gun through the bush to make miraculous one shot stops on bad guys in this day an age the good guys are backed up with armor, helicopters and all manner of whup-????

    Stripper clips? How retro. Foward mounting the scope? Why not just use a lever gun?

    I could go on.

    Oh wait I forgot, the everyman scout rifle cost 1500 bucks. So much for everyman.

    Still I like his curmudgeonly style, referring to himself in the plural etc. He's a great writer and a knowledgeable guy.

    We are pleased. But we reserve the right to disagree.
  14. craigz

    craigz New Member

    I was reading a book about photography the other day, and it mentioned that photographers in the 19th century sometimes used an alternative to a tripod that they called a "chain pod." They would take a length of narrow chain about six feet long, attach one end to the camera, and let the other end drop to the ground. Then, by stepping on the loose end of the chain on the ground and pulling the camera up until the chain was taut, they would add stability to their hold on the camera and take better shots. I wonder if this would work for a rifle.
  15. 444

    444 New Member

    I was having a conversation about this whole scout rifle thing the other day. On the surface, I think it is a heck of an idea. It seems to me that it was the product of one a conversation (or many conversations) about the one perfect rifle for all purposes. Now there is no one rifle that does everything great. So, you design a rifle that does everything decent. It is light enough to carry all day without wearing you out. It is accurate. It is in a caliber that is suitable for big game animals other than dangerous game and will work with dangerous game if you have the guts. It can be used fairly well for personal defense or military combat. The optic allows you to hit at reasonable ranges.............. Lessor rifles have been used for all of these purposes and still are. The problem is that very few of us want only one rifle to do everything. As gun lovers, we want a variety of guns, each specialized for one purpose. I know I have a few varmint rifles, a few big game rifles for deer and antelope sized game, and a .338 for elk and bigger. In reality, I could do all that with a scout rifle. I have big scopes on most of them, but people hunted game for years with iron sights and did OK. Besides, if people can shoot at ranges in excess of 600 yards with iron sights, surely a good shot could do the same with a 2X scope.
    It is an interesting concept. We have all had conversations about the best rifle, or the "if I could only own one rifle....". Cooper actually had one built and marketed it. That is the big thing I like about it.
    For any use of the rifle you name, there is something else that can do the job better, but this rifle is about versitility.
  16. 355sigfan

    355sigfan member

    Personally I don't see much use in using a sling as an accuracy aid in the standing position. But I am comming from a leo position where my training deals mostly with cqb uses of carbines and rifles. All of our shooting takes place inside 100 yards. If I had to shoot in an excess of 200 yards I would definately go to a braced kneeling, sitting or prone position.

    I don't doubt the proper use of a sling can cut your group size. My point is if the target is that far away would you not be better served by going to a good kneeling, sitting or prone position and reduce your target profile. If he is close then the aid the sling gives is neglidgable. I just believe the time spent on getting the sling nice and tight would be better spent moving to a better position for a long shot.
  17. Preacherman

    Preacherman New Member

    444, you're right on - the key to the Scout rifle is versatility. After I got my Steyr Scout, I retired half-a-dozen other bolt rifles for which I no longer had any realistic use. I traded one for a Savage Scout (as backup for the Steyr - can't afford two of them! :D ), and sold or traded the rest to get other guns. My only bolt-action rifles now are the two Scouts. They really are that versatile! I took my Scouts to the General Purpose Rifle course at Thunder Ranch, and was one of only two shooters (out of 24) to "clean" the Jungle Walk with first-round hits on every target. The Scout made it much easier.

    I also agree with the good Colonel about the limits of effective range. In Africa, we used to see overseas hunters blazing away at long range (anything over 250-300 yards), and the results were miserable... many wounded animals, bullets that had lost so much energy "way out there" that they could no longer kill cleanly, or expand as intended, etc. I learned early on that for the sake of a clean kill, my shooting was best limited to 300 yards or less - and preferably within 200 yards. Fieldcraft gets you there.

    All the same, I still enjoy hunting with lever-action rifles, in .30-30, .44 Magnum and .45-70. There's a bit of a nostalgia trip in it for me, I admit, but these rifles are as capable as any bolt gun at short to medium ranges (out to 150 yards or so - a bit more with the .30-30). I've mounted a Leupold Scout Scope on a Marlin 336, using the Express Sights forward scope mount, and it's as versatile (within its range limitations) as the Steyr Scout.
  18. Soap

    Soap New Member

    Ahh...but I agree completely with Cooper in this case. Why? Generally, if you have time to sling up, you have time to enter a supported position. Hence using the sling in unsupported standing is just extraneous. The only, and I mean only, case where one would use a sling unsupported would be shooting over high grass while alone and without a tree or stick anywhere to be found.
  19. cracked butt

    cracked butt New Member

    What if there is a situation where you could use a sling- such as when someone bets you $10 that you couldn't hit a soda can at 100 yards with your '06 on the first shot? Here's a good place to use the hasty sling to ensure that you collect yoru $10:D

    If you rest your left elbow against the bottom of your ribcage, your rifle is supported by your bone structure, using a hasty sling in such a position holds the butt into your shoulder so you don't have to support the rifle at all with your right hand. The only thing unsolid about this position is the wobblies in the legs. Even in a hunting situation, if you carry the rifle in a ready position with your arm through the sling, you can forgo the 'target shooting stance' and still have the advantage of the sling keeping the butt of the rifle tight against your shoulder, enhancing accuracy- the only problem comes when the sling is too tight in which case it will pull the butt away from your shoulder, causing more problems than without the sling.
  20. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Active Member

    I actually find it to be MUCH faster to sling up.

    The sling is right there. You're not having to search for something, somewhere, that will offer a proper support.

    If you adjust the length of the sling before hand, a simple "looping" movement of the left arm through the sling and back around will give a very nice tension fit.

    Elapsed time is literally about 2 seconds.

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