View Full Version : Bench Technique

John Kielly
01-06-2008, 05:12 AM
I learned to shoot bench back in the 60s when you would free recoil about any useful calibre to get the results. Now, I shoot F class, English match rifle & have just got into 1000 yard bench because it fits in with the gear I want to use. For the moment, I'm using my F class rifle at 1000 yards because I can, but haven't settled into a technique to manage the recoil of a .308 loaded up until it squeaks (but just wait until this barrel wears out & see what I build). Even then, I don't expect that I'll end up reducing kick all that much with a light gun.

I can comfortably hold 6" elevation shooting light or heavy groups taking the recoil on the pad of my thumb & shoulder, but it seems that I only have to lapse into a moment of inattention & they're going to be away - it's the same issue as I have belly down shooting F class, as I use the same Barry Edgley front rest for both.

How do you folks manage the kickers?


John S
01-06-2008, 02:33 PM
is the spot where accuracy and recoil management are at the same place.

I am always coming up with devices that manage recoil and accuracy except they are not legal in any competition I participate in.

I really like shooting a 7BR and only shoot for accuracy.

01-07-2008, 08:43 AM
Since you havenít got much of a response from the BR shooters Iíll take a shot at your question to get things going.

I only shot 1K BR for a very short time and that was in 1999 (NBRSA & IBS Nationals), but I have a good bit of experience shooting F-Class and do my testing off the bench. I find I get my best performance when I hold on to the rifle with hand, cheek and shoulder pressure. It is much easier for ME to maintain the same pressure from shot to shot than it is to not have any or minimal pressure on the rifle. I do not have a death grip on the rifle, but I do have contact with my whole hand on the pistol grip, my cheek is well down on the rifle and my shoulder is in full contact with the butt pad. Having shot rifles and shotguns of all types for the past 45 years may have something to do with my liking this method.

The problem as I see it with little or no pressure is; if you alter what little you have, get on the trigger, etc, the rifle will recoil quite a bit differently and this can cause a wide shot. Since the rifle is essentially sitting there by itself there is nothing to dampen the movement between the moment the trigger breaks and the bullet leaves the barrel. In effect the rifle can jump. If I on the other hand make the same error the movement of the rifle during recoil is dampened proportionally by all the contact I have with the rifle. I donít get wide shots.

I am not saying I shoot better groups than a good free recoil shooter, but only that for me it seems to be more consistent and in the long term that is what wins major F-Class matches.

Larry Bartholome

01-07-2008, 12:53 PM

I can only speak for myself but I think the answer is, "It all depends."

I shot point blank Benchrest for many years before trying long range so all of my techniques and habits came along with me when I moved. In point blank I shot almost exclusively free recoil, pinching the trigger twix thumb and finger. I did that primarily because I was never confident of my ability to hold the rifle exactly the same way each time, like many of the really good shooters do. But, over the years I did have rifles that would only shoot with a light carress and some that had to be held with a death grip. I found out which was which by experimenting and I never tried to figure out why, I just did what they liked best.

When I started 1000 yards I did the same and found that the results were the same. Some rifles liked to be held and some didn't. But I also found that the shape of the stock had a lot more to do with it than it did in point blank. A straight stock that recoils straight back with little or no shift in the crosshairs seemed to shoot both free recoil or held. (Straight stocks are a no-no in point blank BTW)

So, bottom line for me is that I now shoot all of my long range rifles free recoil because they all shoot well that way. Even my biggest, a 22 pound 30 Short Magnum with 210 gr Bergers. At the end of a match my shoulder has a nice bruise on it but that's a small price to pay. I admit that when conditions get really bad, and I am happy to keep on paper, I do tend to hold the big rifle but only so I can shoot a little faster and try to get all 10 shots off between zephyers. It seldom works though.;)


John Kielly
01-07-2008, 05:48 PM
Thanks Larry, Ray.

I figured that there was no silver bullet, but you can hope.....


01-07-2008, 06:23 PM
If you can use the flat bottom rear stock do so. Heavy is better.

Rather than free recoil I often favor the pinned rifle. Press with shoulder so the rifle is against the pin on the front rest.

I always keep my thumb off the rifle. My rule is thumb on rifle is windage offset when the recoil happens.