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GUNS Magazine February 2013 Digital Edition - Page 12
SPONSORED BY ConfidenCe Builder WWW.BROWNELLS.COM LearninG the oFFhand Shot iS a worthwhiLe SkiLL For the hunter. b dave anderson enchrest shooting and offhand shooting are at opposite ends of the shooting spectrum. benchrest shooting is deliberate and precise, intended to wring as much accuracy as possible from the shooting system. Offhand shooting is more suitable to “good enough” accuracy, as in good enough to hit the intended target in a short time span. is seldom seen in the field. It could be, certainly, but if there is time to settle into the competitive standing stance there’s likely time to use a sitting or prone position, or find an improvised rest. The primary advantage of shooting offhand is speed. It is useful when stillhunting, when opportunities to shoot come quickly and at close to moderate This discussion is about offhand shooting as a practical skill for the biggame hunter. Competition shooters use a standing position, which has been rigorously developed to form a steady firing platform. The level of accuracy a really good competitive shooter can achieve standing is a marvel. The competition standing position range. It’s a good skill to have when following up wounded game. Offhand shooting isn’t as difficult as it may seem at first. Actually what is hardest to overcome is the mental shift from “extreme” accuracy to “acceptable” accuracy, achieved in a short time frame. A 1" group at 100 yards from the bench with current equipment really isn’t too difficult. A 6" group fired offhand at 100 yards won’t impress anyone, but it should. It’s even more impressive if a shot timer was used, with the shooter starting holding the rifle from a ready position, with each shot in the group within 5 seconds of the start buzzer. The photographs illustrate the offhand stance better than words. I’m assuming a right-hand shooter in these descriptions. The shooter stands roughly quartering to the target, with the left leg forward. I like to have the support hand about midway on the forearm of the rifle. It is stable yet allows the rifle to be swung smoothly for a running shot. (a) Here’s how dave holds a rifle for offhand shooting. the right elbow is high enough to form a comfortable shoulder pocket for the rifle stock. dave likes the support arm to be fairly close to vertical so primarily the muscles of the upper arm hold the weight. rifle is an ed brown damara 7mm-08 with 2.5-8X Leupold scope. (b&C) dave likes to have the support hand holding the rifle at about the middle of the forearm. It gives good support along with enough mobility to make fine adjustments while aiming, and to swing the rifle smoothly for running shots. rifle is ruger 77 Hawkeye .223 with Leupold mk 4 3.5-10X scope. david tubb (d) is one of the greatest riflemen of all time. In these two photos he demonstrates the difference between the standing position he uses in competition and the hold he uses for offhand shooting while hunting (e). Note the offhand position has the support hand well out on the forearm and more of a weight-forward stance. david posed these positions for me in his yard, be assured when actually shooting he uses eye and ear protection. rifle is the superb tubb 2000. B C D A 12 E W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 3