off hand shooting, a real eye opener!

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adkmountainken

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i have shot muzzleloaders for 32 years now and consider myself a pretty fair shot FROM A BENCH. a fellow member RawHide Rick shoots with me and asked if i wanted to particiapete in this months postal shoot ( bear hunt ) and i agreed. now in my 32 years of shooting smoke pole i can count on 1 hand how many times i have auctauly shot free hand besides when i hunting! i have just always sighted in and shot from a bench. today i was shooting Miss Fish my .45 flinter rebuilt by the late Tim Brown of Oregon. this gun is DEAD NUTS from a bench! i can tell you its a humbling experience when actually shooting free hand for score! i feel both of us shot well and i was happy but i am so use to bench and cloverleaf groups at 20 yards it was a bit depressing yet still great fun! i now have a new fire lit under me to improve my free hand shooting! you just never stop learning in this sport! i think we might need to rename RawHide Rick to "dry ball" Rick....lol couldn't help it!!!
 

smo

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Practice, Practice, Practice.... took me around 32 years to dry ball, but if you load round balls enough sooner or later you’ll get it right....

As too off hand shooting, a Friend of mine says this is a sport that rewards practice.
Bench shooting and off hand are different animals, kinda’ like shooting a percussion gun vs a flint gun off hand.
There’s another learning curve , which were you shooting?
 

smo

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I’ve done my share of bench shooting over the years, that’s why I said “too me” bench and off hand shooting other than the sight picture and the noise... don’t have a lot in common.
 

Bob McBride

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Off hand is definitely it’s own critter. Muzzle control is an interesting phenomenon. Many guys run figure 8’s crossing over the target. I do that some days but some days little circles or whatever I need to do to control the muzzle. It’s a skill all it’s own, especially from a distance.
 

Greg Blackburn

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I finally got hold of a Tree Lounge climbing tree stand....if I get to hunt this year I hope it'll be from that, so the shots should be rested.

However, I intend to get some real "off hand" practice in so that means standing. Congrats on your good shooting.
 

TreeMan

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After 25 years of shooting percussion I got the flintlock fever a year or so ago. I’ve been a top shooter at our club using percussion rifles, now using flint my offhand shooting sucks! I do fine off the bench but that flinchlock flinch whips me every time! I’m going to have to resort to yoga or meditation to overcome that Ignition delay.
 

Treestalker

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After 25 years of shooting percussion I got the flintlock fever a year or so ago. I’ve been a top shooter at our club using percussion rifles, now using flint my offhand shooting sucks! I do fine off the bench but that flinchlock flinch whips me every time! I’m going to have to resort to yoga or meditation to overcome that Ignition delay.
The god Ganesh awaits to help you on your new journey.
 

Britsmoothy

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After 25 years of shooting percussion I got the flintlock fever a year or so ago. I’ve been a top shooter at our club using percussion rifles, now using flint my offhand shooting sucks! I do fine off the bench but that flinchlock flinch whips me every time! I’m going to have to resort to yoga or meditation to overcome that Ignition delay.
I think of shooting a flintlock thus, it's not when the trigger breaks, it's when the target disappears. Then I can jump, flinch or what ever.
Remove the sensation of the trigger breaking but wait until the target disappears in the smoke.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Is the Standing; Unsupported, shooting position a natural hunting stance?

I don't think so. I think it's a left-over from military volley firing, and as prone, sitting, and kneeling are relatively stable when properly done, it remained as standing; unsupported is quite hard, and a good way to separate the best marksmen from the pack. It might be a very good skill to have when being charged by dangerous game when one is surprised while afoot in the field..., but it prevails in many cases where those using it are also those who have an extremely low chance of such an encounter. :confused: I suppose it's good for marksmanship contests, but.....

I have been hunting for 45 years, and the only times when I've had a shot at game and been standing without something to help me support the firearm were when I was hunting birds in fields (with a shotgun so not the same type of shooting) or once when I kicked up a doe at about 15 yards, and she didn't present herself in a posture where I would've fired had I been ready and supported. So...,

Folks in the past and today used crossed sticks, and if I had to hunt in an area where the grass or brush was just high enough that crossed sticks wouldn't work, I'd carry a walking stick. In the woods I use trees to steady men when taking a shot, and when hunting meadows I stand in the treeline or on the fence-line (fence posts are artificial "trees" ;))

LD
 

Bob McBride

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Is the Standing; Unsupported, shooting position a natural hunting stance?

I don't think so. I think it's a left-over from military volley firing, and as prone, sitting, and kneeling are relatively stable when properly done, it remained as standing; unsupported is quite hard, and a good way to separate the best marksmen from the pack. It might be a very good skill to have when being charged by dangerous game when one is surprised while afoot in the field..., but it prevails in many cases where those using it are also those who have an extremely low chance of such an encounter. :confused: I suppose it's good for marksmanship contests, but.....

I have been hunting for 45 years, and the only times when I've had a shot at game and been standing without something to help me support the firearm were when I was hunting birds in fields (with a shotgun so not the same type of shooting) or once when I kicked up a doe at about 15 yards, and she didn't present herself in a posture where I would've fired had I been ready and supported. So...,

Folks in the past and today used crossed sticks, and if I had to hunt in an area where the grass or brush was just high enough that crossed sticks wouldn't work, I'd carry a walking stick. In the woods I use trees to steady men when taking a shot, and when hunting meadows I stand in the treeline or on the fence-line (fence posts are artificial "trees" ;))

LD
Very interesting post LD. I enjoyed considering the correlation between historical offhand training and competition and Volley Fire and I think you’re right on the money. That said, I do think that stalking the clear ground of Old Growth forests, etc. made off hand an important skill to hone. Snap shots at rabbits, etc., birds on the wing, squirrels in trees, are more conducive to offhand than support (I do like support stalking deer). As an old Marine grunt that has humped 1000 miles or more the first thing that would get pitched in the ditch would be a carried support stick/s. I’ve never had problems positioning to support when needed and have not had much problems offhand shooting when required.
 

mushka

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When I hunted and couldn't find a stump or a tree to rest against, kneeling was my favored shooting position. Then I got a left knee replacement and that went out the window. I shoot long guns left side. No stumps or trees I have to shoot standing.
 

smo

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All though I shoot off hand almost exclusively unless I’m sighting in a gun, I always shoot from a rest when hunting....unless it’s at extremely close range, 25 yards or less.

That has only happened a couple of times over the last 30 years or so.

When I was younger things were different, I mostly stalk hunted heavy cutover.
This type of hunting made finding a rest most of the time unfavorable.
 

SDSmlf

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My reasons for shooting off of a bench are typically to sight in a gun or develop a load. The competitions I regularly take part in are shot from prone, kneeling, sitting and standing positions with no support. When hunting I’ll use any support that’s available, although I’ve never had the opportunity to hunt off of a bench. For practice find that shooting from different positions and using whatever you can find for support, trees, stumps, fence posts, etc, will help you in the field. You will have complete confidence when the time comes how best to take a shot or pass. And if you really want a challenge that will make you humble, shoot from the opposite side. I’ve take a couple of deer shooting left handed (I shoot right handed). Was able to shoulder the gun and shoot without repositioning my entire body in close range situations where minimal movement was essential.
 

Mulebrain

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I am amazed how little you shot off hand in 32 years. Wow! It's all I have ever done, and only bench to sight in. Yes it will humble you
 

wiksmo

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I'm not able to bench shoot. Elder age neck & back issues, plus some vision challenges. Always have shot off hand no matter what firearm. Wish I could master bench shooting, because the main problem is that I have no accurate handle on sighting in the gun, or finding the best load. Barrel wobble guarantees I'll rarely be accurate. However, there is a positive bottom line. I really enjoy shooting off hand; no other way is better. Prefer using steel targets, so clanging one is the go-for range goal.

No doubt -- bench and off hand shooting are different worlds.
~wiksmo
 
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