off hand shooting, a real eye opener!

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Dale Lilly

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Hunting I shoot off hand only under 25 yards. Then only with a clear broadside shot. I like venison but I'd hate myself if I lost a wounded deer. Polecat [P.S. .. shot my last young buck, after walking up on him in moccasins, at about 25 feet]
 

tenngun

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I know you should stand on your hind legs like a man and shoot. But I think if God wanted us to shoot off hand he wouldn’t have put so many natural rest for us to use in the field. Even gave us our own built in rest( knees) to use when something else is not handy.
Bunnies with shot are about the only thing I can think of that I’ve shot off hand in the last thirty years, I don’t hunt birds ‘cept turkey.
Only time I shoot off hand otherwise is woods walks.
I have one missed deer in my life. I lived in a dirt road way out in the woods. Hunted about a mile from my house and came up dry. Was walking home and was coming to a hill in the road. It was pretty steep climb even for a road.(ozarks is an Indian word meaning it’s all up hill from here) Good sized buck jumped out right in front of me stopped and gave me that deer in the head lights look. I up and shot, couldn’t be more then thirty yards. Boom,smoke, sound of deer running in the woods. Followed him about another mile. He never slowed, or dropped a drop of blood. I’m pretty sure I shot under him. Umph!
 

Tinhorn

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Offhand is LOTS more fun when you forget the targets and just plink at stuff on the ground. It seems easier than trying to hit the mark, I've never figured out why! Is it because stuff on the ground is closer? Tinhorn
 

adkmountainken

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let me try to clarify a bit more. i started shooting black powder around 1985 and NONE of my friends were shooting at the time. my first gun was a TC .58 Big Bore and i killed a doe the first year i hunted with it. i absolutly fell in love with muzzleloaders and its by far my favorite way to hunt. i am more hunter then target shooter, most of my target shooting was to sight my muzzleloaders in and i have had MANY over the years. if its not hunting season Sunday usually finds me at the range working up a load for one of my muzzleloaders, i currently have 3 i still need to sight in and work up a hunting load for. i have taken 3 deer off hand with a muzzleloader, all 3 were taken as i was still hunting and did not have time to find a something to "rest" the gun against. i never shot at an event yet but have watched many. i am no novice to black powder just have rarely shot off hand as i had stated i cant make many events so most of my shooting is load development and sighting it. there for when i miss hunting i am quite certain it is operator error as my rifles are spot on. still love shooting to this day as much as i did day one! have taken my 1/2 dozen turkeys and deer with muzzleloader and let me tell you those hunts stick out in my mind more then others. with that said i do now seem to enjoy off hand shooting even though not shooting groups like i was at bench. by the way when i shoot what i call "bench rest" i do not use anything other then my elbows or laying the gun over my range box.
 

smo

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C6A8E9EA-B02A-4899-A6A4-0A932091DE36.jpeg

Here’s a pic from my hunting bench...
 

Flinty Scot

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I'm working on shooting offhand & from the bag but age an failing eyes bring more luck into the equation than I like.
i have a Scottish hiking staff, with a couple of tines of antler as a finial. Embarrassed me to use it, once the beer wore off and i was thinking straight - until I discovered that the top crotch was a good height to cradle the forestock to steady my aim. Now it serves double duty and I let them chuckle.
 
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When you transition from the bench to standing your point of aim changes and how you lock up holding the weapon..It will act as if your sights are off besides
 

Abe48

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While I have been hunting for many years (>40 years) successfully, I have never shot a deer in any position except offhand. Years of competition shooting with the M1 garand taught me well. So, whether it's my 12 gauge shotgun, 30-06, .50 or .58 cal. percussion, it's always been offhand. Now in my 70's, I bought my 1st flintlock, a .50, I may try with it. I'm sort of hooked on my .58's so I don't have to track very far.
 

Cowboy

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Shot exclusively from bench or shooting sticks until about 10 or so years ago? Supported shooting definitely takes a lot of the human error away!

I now shoot exclusively off hand, unsupported.

Yes, can be very humbling when first starting off hand shooting.

I started off hand shooting when I first started competition shooting.

Was always at the bottom when names were called and scores tallied. Was embarrassing and extremely humbling. Just made me want to practice more and more.

Finally started climbing the ladder slowly but surely. Wasn’t being called last anymore? Started to gain confidence through a lot of practice and limited success.

Like anything else in life to be successful, you have to dedicate your self to hard work and practice, while learning from your mistakes. There may be a few that are naturals? I’m definitely not one of them!

Dedicate yourself to practice and more practice.

Heck, I’ve even either won a few, or placed near the top since transitioning to off hand unsupported shooting. LOL!!

It’s very rewarding to do better than your last time around. You really only have to beat and satisfy yourself when it’s all said and done?

Enjoy your new venture my friend.

Respectfully, Cowboy
 

Roughneck

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i only shoot offhand and i enjoy the challenge of it. i could never just shoot off a bench just not my cup of tea. i only have shot off a bench a couple times.
 

Art Caputo

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Once initial load development, sight-in, and wind/trajectory dopes are established for my rifles, all practice shooting is done from positions encountered when hunting. While quite a bit of practice is done standing/off-hand, sitting, prone, kneeling, and shooting off natural rests are equally important. Hunting the Northeast woodlands, much of my deer/game have been shot from a ground blind off-hand from the sitting position. The other productive method has been to still hunt. Using this method, many shots have been taken standing with my forward hand braced against the side of a tree. This position producing a high level of accuracy, as well as good cover. Using this method, my pace is very slow, stopping frequently.....Looking for trees in close proximity for support.
 

Art Caputo

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An aspect that appears to influence my off-hand accuracy with flintlocks is the stocks drop(height) of the comb. Of my four rifles, while bench rest accuracy beteeen them is nearly identical, I am consistently more accurate shooting off-hand with my rifles with 1-1/2” less drop then the other two rifles. IMO, a cheek weld and straighter stock aids a steady hold and follow through particularly important with flintlocks.
My Jack Hubbard has the lowest drop of my four flintlocks and produce my best off hand accuracy.
25E7996B-0335-48C2-9D3B-B7D231D5C349.jpeg
 

TomV

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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
Same here, all the deer, varmints, etc were offhand. Marines shoot off hand 100 yards as part of qualification i never stopped while hunting. Sitting, kneeling, prone from 500 yards is even more deadly but who is dropping in mud, snow when you get a few second glimpse? I don't sit i walk and look for deer, or drive to standers. Off hand is a staple for me, old age hasn't helped it any either. 😃
 

MtnMan

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The OP asked this question on another forum and I gave a long answer there. So, i'll make this quick. I've hunted for 69 years and i've never shot anything but offhand for all hunting shots. I'm careful before pulling the trigger and so far i've lost no game.

I feel to be a good offhand shooter you need good basics but you also need to do it all the time. The longer you do it the better you'll get.
 

Col. Batguano

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POI can be slightly different for offhand vs. bench (or other position) shooting too. For me it's usually higher, because (in standing) I roll backwards as recoil is starting, which kicks the muzzle up slightly before the projectile exits. The bigger the caliber the greater the differential. With a .22 l.r it's almost nothing. With a 58 Minie ball it's a lot.

Much also has to do with stock architecture and drop at the heel. A straight stock with high sights (like an M-16) won't climb much. A stock with a lot of drop (like a Bedford) will flip up a lot more.
 

GANGGREEN

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I almost always shoot from the bench (I'm actually a very good bench-rest shooter with flintlock) and when hunting, try very hard to shoot from a tree or a knee, although I have killed a few deer off-hand at reasonably close range (less than 40 yards). I tried this month's members only shoot because I recognize that I have to improve my game and honestly, what I proved is that there are plenty of lousy off-hand shooters out there, including me. I think all 10 of my shots at 20 and 25 yards would have been kill shots on your average whitetail, but it wasn't good shooting for sure. Only 2 of 10 were in the 10-ring and only 5 of 10 were even scoreable hits (although the other 5 were just outside the 5 ring. Something to work on for sure.
 

mushka

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I shot for years on military and state level rifle teams. Became a very good shot. Practiced the sitting and prone positions regularly, but about 90% of practice was spent on standing. It pays off with practice and dry firing. A lot of success with BP guns is the configuration of the piece. I have rifles I shoot well standing and some not quite as well. All My BP range shooting is standing.
 

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