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View Full Version : Free recoil vs a hard or medium hold?



Sparky508
04-08-2015, 11:34 AM
I suspect much of this is dependent on the shape of the stock, how it rides the bags, the rifles weight and the amount of felt recoil it generates. (I am not by any stretch a benchrest competitive shooter, but I like to pretend I am one at the range when nobody is looking……..)

I find it hard to properly ask the question, since I don’t understand completely all of the factors at play here, and to complicate it even more, I would believe that each rifle is to its own a unique thing to be handled in its own favorite way.

I have been trying to use a free recoil, or what I believe is a free recoil method of shooting some of my rifles which I know to be accurate, easily 1/2 MOA and better, and getting mixed results.

The first rifle is a Rem700, 300 WIN, with a very heavy Shaw barrel (its coming off soon….:mad:) and PST026 stock. Its seems at times I can let this rifle shoot itself per say, that is leave it to ride the bags and rocket back at me giving it a minimum of contact to my shoulder, and it will one hole at 200 yds, other times its seems I need to hold on to it, to get the same results and a free recoil will provide very erratic groups. I would suspect that some of this is due to technique and possible improper use of the rear bag and front rest? Shoots great from a bipod when preload the legs and apply some shoulder pressure to it.

The second rifle is (I know some will roll their eyes here) an AR platform with a Wilson 24” barrel and a free float tube, a very accurate combination. Mostly I have shot this rifle from a bipod, with good results preloading the bipod, if done evenly and squarely behind the rifle. In .223 and as much weight as it has, I would think that this rifle would lend itself well to a free recoil from a front rest and rear bag, but does not at all. It seems I must apply almost painful check pressure to the stock to get the rifle to perform from a front rest. Without it I will get vertical stringing for days. Off the bipod however some forward pressure to load the legs and a medium hold will shoot exemplary groups without burring my face into the stock.

I also have only tried a couple of techniques with a fairly new rifle that I picked up, a Savage 10T in 308. It seems to be a fairly light rifle compared to the previous 2, and I really have to hold this one like a bear to get it to shoot well. Free recoil off the bags was disastrous, and I have yet to try on a bipod.

So I wonder, in the above examples I have,
• a heavy recoiling rifle, with a stock that has the basic geometry to ride a bag fairly well, and sometimes a free recoil will work really well.
• A heavy rifle with furniture that is mediocre in a bag, has no recoil and will not let me shoot it free recoil
• A Light rifle with factory furniture that doesn’t do anything good except hold the action and requires a hard hold.

Is the free recoil hold just something I should abandon or seek professional help because I am doing it wrong? Is it best left to light recoiling rifles with the geometry to ride a bag perfectly every time and I am pissing in the wind trying to make a boat fly as none of these rifles have both good bag riding furniture and are light recoiling?

Sorry for such a long winded question here, but I didn’t want to get a “whatever works!” response, without some sort of back up or insight as the whys and what’s happenings.

Thanks all.

Boyd Allen
04-08-2015, 12:12 PM
Your heavier recoiling rifle's forend is not what is needed for consistent results shooting free recoil, and it may be too light given the caliber. The AR is never going to work free off of bags for a number of reasons, high center of gravity, wrong forend shape, buttstock to mention a few obvious ones. To answer your question, yes you should abandon your quest to shoot free recoil with this equipment. What you also need to know is that a number of very successful short range benchrest shooters, including Hall of Fame members, do not shoot free recoil. Accuracy is the goal, and you should listen to what your rifles are telling you. Very small groups can be shot holding a rifle, and IMO the most likely problem with this method is too light of a hold, and improperly applied pressure, while holding.

Sparky508
04-08-2015, 12:43 PM
Accuracy is the goal, and you should listen to what your rifles are telling you.

Seems like this is the never ending quest, how does this little lady like to be touched, what does this one want? I have tried to explain this to my wife as why I will never have an affair!

Appreciate the response sir, Upper Nisqually does some BR matches, I need to spend some time with those gentlemen and drive them nuts......

Boyd Allen
04-08-2015, 12:56 PM
Tacoma...
Call Rick Graham
http://www.brflags.com/contact.html
Just don't spend too much time asking about shooting non benchrest rifles free. There is some world class competition there. Watch and copy.

Wilbur
04-08-2015, 02:06 PM
I agree with Boyd...and will tell you that we don't always agree. You somewhat already have the answer to what you're asking....look at the targets and do what they tell you to do.

The wind is blowing you around a bit but if it doesn't hurt much to miss a little just skip that for now. Wind flags get old quickly if not in competition, and secondly, cost a bit of hard earned cash. Actually, those shots that went too far out could have been blown out by the wind. Not likely, but since I don't know how hard the wind was blowing and don't know how large the groups are....I'll say that.

Folks say that they're not interested in a full blown benchrest rifle but it seems (don't really know why) that you're a prime candidate to get your hands on one. Could be that you appear intelligent and have an interest in accuracy - the hows and whys of an accurate rifle. Sure, it's difficult to hunt with a benchrest rifle, but once you shoot one, hunting just seems secondary. I won't try to convince you that you need such a rifle but the questions you asked kinda heads that way. Get off your current game for a moment and go to a registered benchrest match. See if you think you like it well enough to do it. There's no turning back once you see what's happening there.

Boyd Allen
04-08-2015, 02:12 PM
I was less clear than I should have been. When I gave him the link to Rick Graham's contact info, it was not to steer him to wind flags, but as an easy way to contact someone who used to run the Tacoma matches and who still shoots and knows all about them. I would agree with Wilbur on the point that you may be just the sort of fellow that would enjoy benchrest of the type that is shot at Tacoma.

Wilbur
04-08-2015, 03:08 PM
Understood that...I was just sayin'.

James M.
04-08-2015, 06:08 PM
I have tried holding, (light, heavy, and pinning against the front stop), but I always go back to free recoil. The reason is that I can shoot smaller aggs with free recoil. My latest trial was two days ago with my .30 BR. The extra recoil caused me to try "holding" one more time. I shot two groups while holding the rifle and three free recoil. The two while holding the rifle were quite a bit larger than the free recoil ones. I will put a slip-on recoil pad on my .30 BR and continue to shoot free recoil. However, I would not try to shoot an AR using free recoil. Good shooting...James Mock

Boyd Allen
04-08-2015, 06:36 PM
James,
Did you look up the stock on his bolt rifle?
Boyd

Dusty Stevens
04-08-2015, 09:45 PM
On those guns you just gotta figure out how to hold em and where

Chism G
04-08-2015, 09:56 PM
You shoot a 300 Win Mag free recoil? How do you keep it from tenderizing your shoulder. The noise alone will give you permanent hearing loss. Heck I got whip lash from shooting my 30 Fat Albert Hunter Class Rifle and I was holding on to it. I finally bought one of them PAST shoulder Pads. It helps, but I felt the recoil every time I pulled the trigger.

Some Rifles are just not made to shoot Free recoil. Too much heavy recoil could be hazardous to your shoulder.


Glenn

Jet
04-08-2015, 11:01 PM
OP

Come to Kenmore WA this Saturday for a 200/300yd shoot. Arrive by 0830. Informal match and has factory and BR guns. You will see various shooting styles, can ask questions, and meet some very skilled shooters.

Bring one of the rifles you have with 60-70 rounds loaded (40 for score, rest sighters)

Range link for info is: http://www.kenmorerange.com/

Good Shooting

Rich

Doug Casner
04-09-2015, 10:17 AM
Im by no means a benchrest shooter but I have a benchrest rifle in 6ppc. Its easy to free recoil that rifle. No recoil, flat forearm, heavy, 2oz. trigger. I try to shoot my sporters as free recoil as possible try not to torque them. I think it helps the sporters too. My 3006 kicks me pretty hard so I hold onto it a little. If your shooting one hole groups with your 300 mag at 200 yds. free recoil Id say you got it figured out.

LHSmith
04-09-2015, 11:48 AM
You shoot a 300 Win Mag free recoil?

Glenn
Bacon fat is good for that half moon tattoo on the eyebrow. Doesn't heal faster, just smells good.

shinny
04-09-2015, 11:57 AM
Bacon fat is good for that half moon tattoo on the eyebrow. Doesn't heal faster, just smells good.

You one funny feller' :o

Joe Salt
04-09-2015, 04:18 PM
Thats funny because whenever I see A guy with a half moon between there eyes, I say I see you shoot. They just look at you like how does he know that? I just try and figure out what the rifle likes, but free recoil is not my bag I'm a shooter! INTO MY SHOULDER.

Joe Salt

zimmden
04-10-2015, 08:21 AM
How does one "free recoil" a rifle with a 1, 2 or 3 lb trigger pull?? Is it possible to fire a gun with factory triggers at 3 to 5 lbs without moving the rig all over the target? 2 oz. benchrest triggers YES but one hole with a 300 mag and free recoil sounds ...aah..difficult.

Lee Martin
04-10-2015, 09:11 AM
You can't completely free-recoil anything with say a 2 to 3 lb trigger (well you can, but it'll be all over the place). I tried it with an 8mm Rem Mag once for giggles (Timney ~ 2 lbs). Left about 1/2" between the butt and my shoulder and it was quite a ride. But that said, I had to pinch to trigger guard to keep it stable.

On BR, I used to lightly hold but am now am a free recoil convert. Still practicing the technique, but so far so good.

-Lee
www.singleactions.com

Sparky508
04-10-2015, 09:44 AM
Edited to back peddle:

Before I turn into "that guy" making outrageous claims, its not the I can do a ½” all day type thing, or anything like that. My buddy and I have both shot frequently one hole ragged, not the one hole bullet diameter groups, but not every time or with any reliable repeat-ability.

It’s a very heavy gun so the felt recoil is pretty manageable. I do have to have some pressure on the pistol grip portion of the stock to get the trigger to break, its not an in ounces trigger. So I suspect that it may have not been an actual free recoil as to be touching the gun or holding in some fashion?

I hope I am not sounding as if I am making any unreasonable claims, as that is not my intention, only to learn the craft here, and the last thing I want is for anyone to get the wrong impression of my character or intent.

I just want to make sure that I don't give the wrong impression here. I truly only want to learn from the guys here that do it, repeatably and reliably, hopefully some day to become one who can. (Then I will be that guy....lol)

Brian Adams
04-10-2015, 12:51 PM
What works for me w/ sporters up to only medium recoil is hands off the gun, but pinching the back of the trigger guard w/ thumb. I put my shoulder just close enough the the butt to have clothing barely graze the pad. It's not "free recoil" but with the right bag setup it produces minimum vertical dispersion, at least for me. I do use the old Sinclair Benchrest Adapter up front under round-bottom forends which also helps, but I need to shim it to get it ~parallel to the bore, rather than angled, otherwise the gun wants to slide rearward on its own. :(

Rick3
04-10-2015, 02:40 PM
As a new guy, can I make an observation related to the original question?

I'm not an expert by any means, but I find that I find I shoot consistently better at one club range than another...and the only reason I can figure is the height relationship of the bench to the stool.

At one club range, it seems like I'm always fiddling with my position: moving the front rest forward or back, repositioning the rifle, pushing the stool in/out, etc...to get the best position.

At the other club range, it seems like once I find my position, it's easy to shoot, and just as important, it's easy to re-acquire that comfortable position after a cease-fire.

The only thing I can come up with to account for this is the height relationship between the bench and stool...or something related to that. Next time I go to these two ranges, I'm going to measure the various heights of the stools and benches.

Anyone else notice that situation, or is everyone very comfortable constantly making those tiny adjustments in position?

James M.
04-10-2015, 02:46 PM
Let me suggest that you get your own adjustable stool. One cannot shoot best if he/she is uncomfortable at the bench. Good shooting...James Mock

Brian Adams
04-10-2015, 03:19 PM
Let me suggest that you get your own adjustable stool. One cannot shoot best if he/she is uncomfortable at the bench. Good shooting...James Mock

I use a "drummer's throne" which is a stout, compact 3-legged stool, height-adjustable, w/ a round, padded seat. The pro quality ones can be expensive, but I bought one MIC from a local music store for $30. I use it w/ my homemade shooting bench in the field, and also take it to the local county shooting range as well, since their seats are not height-adjustable.

This one is representative:

http://www.amazon.com/GP-Percussion-DT82-Double-Drummers/dp/B003XKCLI8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1428693682&sr=8-3&keywords=drummers+throne

Rick3
04-10-2015, 04:14 PM
I use a "drummer's throne" which is a stout, compact 3-legged stool, height-adjustable, w/ a round, padded seat. The pro quality ones can be expensive, but I bought one MIC from a local music store for $30. I use it w/ my homemade shooting bench in the field, and also take it to the local county shooting range as well, since their seats are not height-adjustable.

This one is representative:

http://www.amazon.com/GP-Percussion-DT82-Double-Drummers/dp/B003XKCLI8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1428693682&sr=8-3&keywords=drummers+throne

Thanks! Had not thought about that kind of seat...

rick3

Rick3
04-10-2015, 04:47 PM
Just out of curiosity, I did a search on Amazon for other "adjustable stools"...

How'd you like to shoot sitting on this?

16052

Boyd Allen
04-10-2015, 05:52 PM
The important thing is the distance from the bench top to the top of what you are sitting on (including compression of padding. It has been my observation that many stools do not go low enough to get into the best shooting position for a lot of shooting benches. Ideally, if you were at a range that you are going to use a lot,, you could figure out a way to try different seating heights, by either borrowing someones adjustable stool and trying different seat heights, or by working with something that is a little too short, and piling things on it. In any case, once a comfortable height has been found, it is a good idea to measure and note the height of the bench, that of the seating surface, and from seat to bench top. for example, for a bench that is 34" high, I like a stool that is around 18" tall. If you are going to buy an adjustable stool, it is best to have done your homework beforehand, because many stools are too tall for the best fit for shooting. Even rear bag height can get into this, or type of rest. If you use a lead sled type of rest to sight in high recoil rifles, you probably have already noticed that they require taller seating to get behind a rifle, but for an ordinary rest and rear sand bag, that stool height would be too tall.

Wilbur
04-10-2015, 07:00 PM
If you're going to shoot competition benchrest, and travel to different ranges, you need an adjustable stool. Don't get too fancy at first and you'll be OK. When you see the "STOOL", you'll know it. Some of the better stools out there are those things at the range where you put rocks in the tube to adjust the height. Try not to get one that causes trouble getting it to the range...and carrying it around while you're there. Think SuperShoot even if you don't plan on going at the moment.

Chism G
04-10-2015, 08:44 PM
Our private range liked this one so much,they replaced all the stools on the Rifle range with these.

What Wilbur says is spot on.

http://www.sinclairintl.com/shooting-accessories/benchrest-equipment/shooting-stool-prod33584.aspx

Wilbur
04-10-2015, 10:07 PM
Our private range liked this one so much,they replaced all the stools on the Rifle range with these.

What Wilbur says is spot on.

http://www.sinclairintl.com/shooting-accessories/benchrest-equipment/shooting-stool-prod33584.aspx

That's about as good as it gets. Would be better (in my opinion) if it had a little less leg diameter, fewer legs or both but that would only make it easier to haul and carry around. I believe this is the stool I ended up with...and was happy.

glp
04-13-2015, 07:24 PM
That's about as good as it gets. Would be better (in my opinion) if it had a little less leg diameter, fewer legs or both but that would only make it easier to haul and carry around. I believe this is the stool I ended up with...and was happy.

Stool for years....the very best on I've ever used.