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What design of rifle most lends itself to accurate offhand shooting? Or, what features encourage better offhand shooting?

As a still hunter/stalker, I get more opportunities that call for offhand shooting than most hunters I know. And since wounding an animal can ruin my mood for weeks, I want to be the best offhand shooter I can possibly be. In addition to practice I want to find the 1-2 long guns I shoot best offhand. Of course, I would prefer those guns to also possess the other attributes important to a still hunter, such as shorter length, relatively light weight, excellent handling, but I'm willing to sacrifice some of that to find the rifle I'm most accurate with.

Has anyone else been down this road? What features or overall style helped you shoot better offhand?
 

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Well, my best shooting off hand was in competition and a heavy gun is best for this, say 10-12 lbs, otherwise your barrel floats around. Of course, this was at targets.

For still hunting, I would think a sporter weight rifle, meaning rifle weight of 7-7.5 lbs plus your optics. If using iron/aperture sights, still a 7-7.5 lb rifle for a steady hold or steady swing. Very subjective question - will vary by experience and preference with each shooter/hunter.

a shorter, lightweight carbine style rifle can be hard to steady and also be prone to over-swing your moving target. This has been my limited experience using a lightweight rifle.
 

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Rifles that are specially built for off hand shooting would not be my choice for hunting.
Whatever your rifle choice, practice, practice.
 

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Shooting off hand with any rifle takes practise and whichever you choose then to prevent figure of eights, let the rifle travel in a straight line up and down through the target and as it rises second or third time....don't mess around hesitating ....then squease the shot off as the cross hairs travel upto and through the centre of the target. I think I talked about our training for our sniper team and after a 400yrd run down with shots at every 50yrd point to 2 second exposures, we finished standing at 50yrds where we fired 4 shots off hand and that was the way we did it. Amazing how tight some of those groups where, considering everyones chests would be heaving after than run. The purposful up and down movement stops you figure of eighting all over the place. The longer you hesitate or linger the bigger those loops will get.
This can be done with any rifle but obviously a little bit of weight helps, BUT of course if you find yourself out hunting on foot then you don't want a 10lb rifle to lug around ...our sniper rifles weighed 12lbs loaded.

On edit ....go cut yourself a nice 1 inch diameter stick or buy one of those garden plant support poles or a light pitchfork stave and cut it so it is the same height as your hand when stretched out straight level with your shoulder. Carry this when hunting, not only can you shoot very accurately ..again with practise...from a single stick, but it is also very helpful as a thrid leg when your trying to cover ground quietly or step over a ditch or log.
 

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To answer the question: SCHUETZEN rifles were made for off-hand shooting but not for hunting.
 

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A bolt gun, one only needs to look what is used for sporter class silhouette, it's all offhand shooting and the guns have fit into a set of parameters that require them to at least look like an off the shelf hunting rifle.
Fairly high combs and high scopes allow you to stand without craning your neck into an uncomfortable position and allowing your eyes to be level, both can cause equilibrium issues. Balance point needs to be under the magazine, trigger needs to be about 2.5lbs and break like glass.

I shot 50 rounds this last weekend out of this rifle at a 6" steel [email protected], had two 10 in a row runs{hits}, probably missed 10 out of 50, I wasn't keeping an overall score.
It's not that hard to do with the right set-up.

 

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Shooting off hand with any rifle takes practice .
The only thing I would add to that is decent form, and an accurate rifle, (or shotgun).

I do some offhand shooting with all of my rifles, (and shotguns for slugs), every trip to the range. A couple times a week, weather permitting. I also take quite a few shots from sitting and kneeling positions through the year. In addition, I shoot my bows several times every week, (peep and pins), year round, as I have a 15yd range in my basement, and a 4 position outdoor range. (I still shoot a bit in spot and 3D shoots every year). Archery and firearms are complimentary skills.

A while back, I had the good fortune to meet a member in my club who retired from the Marine corp. He was on the Marine Corp Shooting team. Was an instructor for the Corp all over the world, and deployed as a sniper on a couple trips in the Gulf and Afghanistan. He is an incredible shot, no surprise. He's also nice enough to assist with form and style on request when he's at the range. My offhand shooting improved dramatically over time with a couple pointers. Shooting clay birds on the 100yd berm, I'm about 70% with a scoped rifle, and 30% with a peep sight, shooting offhand. I've been 25%-30% on a chicken egg at turkey shoots, offhand, at 100yds with a scoped .223 or 7-08 bolt rifle.

I find it easier to break birds with a semi auto, than with a bolt gun or lever gun. You don't have to reset your hold or concentration as much. The magazine on an AR is almost as useful as the palm extension on a target rifle. But they all work well.

I also learned that thinking of offhand shooting as a "bullseye event" was counter productive.
I needed to think of it as a probability event, with an "area" over which I could land a shot when I was doing my part, and that some days were better than others.

It's not missing or hitting the bullseye that determines success, but how many shots it takes to hit the bullseye, egg, clay bird, and working to shrink the area I was hitting. That approach cuts the frustration level, as it's no longer hit or miss on a shot by shot basis.

Practice is the key, but smart practice with a goal is the answer.
 

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My favorite and best offhand shooter is this Remington O3-A3. Sporterized stock and peep sights. I had a ton of military surplus 06 ammo, pulled the bullets and reloaded them into plinking rounds with a bunch of surplus 4895 I had. With it, I got in a lot of offhand practice. Maybe a touch better with the sling than without.

My best scoped is a Ruger #1 in .270. It is almost identical in weight and feel as a 25-06 #1 I have, but I shoot it much better. Could be the optics difference. The .270 has a Leopold 3X9 and the 25-06, a Redfield 6X18.
 

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One of the best Off Hand Shooting Rifles I've shot was a Savage 99. Handled very well off handed.
I agree IF the rifle is a R Model or long barreled. The later thin 22" barrels put the center of gravity too far aft for off hand game shooting.
The big forend on the R Models with the weight of the extra 2 inches of barrel makes the 99 a fine off hand rifle. The 24" barrels and lighter forend come in second.
The Model 99 action jumps open at the shot and the second round leaps into the chamber. Only the cock on closing resistance requires practice to master.

The Model 94 Winchester in .307 or .356 along with the 22" Marlin in .308 Marlin Express are fine rifles for the woods still hunter with any sight combination.

Stump sitting requires a quick to the shoulder rifle.
 

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Francis Sell and a few other writers wrote of Still Hunting and Snap Shooting. Van Dyke's book The Still Hunter has been discussed in the book forum. The ABC of Snap Shooting is a good little read and is free on Gutenberg Books. It does not copy well but here are few quick quotes. I dont agree with his thoughts on sights but that is about my only complaint.

.

A. B. C.
of
Snap Shooting



By

Horace Fletcher.



SPORTING, EXHIBITION, AND MILITARY.



PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR.
San Francisco, 1880.





5. The Buckhorn and Clover Leaf rear sights are shaped as their names would indicate, and the front sight can be brought down into them quicker and easier than into others, and there is less danger of canting the rifle to one side. The buckhorn is preferable to the clover leaf, and both are infinitely better than the flat sight, which has only a niche in it. Any gunsmith can change the sights to suit, or you can put them in yourself if you have them.









23. It is the fault of nearly all beginners to uncover too much of the front sight, and consequently to overshoot. Be careful that the front sight is well down into the rear when you see the object finally, and pull.











To be able, in spite of shaky nerves, to throw the rifle, bullet and all at the object in an instant, is practical.

A good snap shot can shoot better off-hand than from a rest, and does not close either eye, when he aims.

Keeping both eyes open comes unsought with practice, and indicates that the gun has become the servile weapon, which finds its way to its place between the eyes and the object, without demanding attention, and delivers its charge direct at the bidding of the master, whose both eyes are intently watching the course of the target.

The brain and finger become so sympathetic that the firing is done almost without bidding.
 

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Francis Sell and a few other writers wrote of Still Hunting and Snap Shooting. Van Dyke's book The Still Hunter has been discussed in the book forum. The ABC of Snap Shooting is a good little read and is free on Gutenberg Books. It does not copy well but here are few quick quotes. I dont agree with his thoughts on sights but that is about my only complaint.

.

A. B. C.
of
Snap Shooting



By

Horace Fletcher.



SPORTING, EXHIBITION, AND MILITARY.



PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR.
San Francisco, 1880.





5. The Buckhorn and Clover Leaf rear sights are shaped as their names would indicate, and the front sight can be brought down into them quicker and easier than into others, and there is less danger of canting the rifle to one side. The buckhorn is preferable to the clover leaf, and both are infinitely better than the flat sight, which has only a niche in it. Any gunsmith can change the sights to suit, or you can put them in yourself if you have them.









23. It is the fault of nearly all beginners to uncover too much of the front sight, and consequently to overshoot. Be careful that the front sight is well down into the rear when you see the object finally, and pull.











To be able, in spite of shaky nerves, to throw the rifle, bullet and all at the object in an instant, is practical.

A good snap shot can shoot better off-hand than from a rest, and does not close either eye, when he aims.

Keeping both eyes open comes unsought with practice, and indicates that the gun has become the servile weapon, which finds its way to its place between the eyes and the object, without demanding attention, and delivers its charge direct at the bidding of the master, whose both eyes are intently watching the course of the target.

The brain and finger become so sympathetic that the firing is done almost without bidding.
Interesting, as you said, I don't agree with his opinion of open, iron sights. I do prefer the higher buckhorn style over the cloverleaf style, however - just my opinion, I vote for an aperture (peep) sight for the quickest and most accurate of iron sights. Once I learned to shoot aperture sights, I never looked back. Each rifleman with experience hunting with open iron sights will likely have different preferences. Dark, cloudy mornings, evenings and shadows are very challenging - especially if you have a tight group of whitetail doe and a buck is in the mix, shuffling around, and you have a "buck only tag"
 

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Offhand shooting and 'snap shooting' of game is TOTALLY different and different rifles apply for each task.

"Snap shooting" of jumping White-tails was a very productive hunting method when I was growing up. A quiet Beagle would trail deer into the lay-up thickets and suddenly the woods would be full of waving pillow cases! The sporting hunters used shotguns and buckshot, some used M-2 Carbines on full auto.

We walk the sage brush and shoot jackrabbits on the run quite often in Idaho (when there are rabbits, they're rare right now). It's very satisfying to dump a running jack head over heels with light rifle and low powered scope. The cloud of steam from a varmint bullet in the winter makes it that much more entertaining.

"Off-hand" is shooting position. "Snap shooting " is a marksmanship technique.
 

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Offhand shooting and 'snap shooting' of game is TOTALLY different and different rifles apply for each task.

"Snap shooting" of jumping White-tails was a very productive hunting method when I was growing up. A quiet Beagle would trail deer into the lay-up thickets and suddenly the woods would be full of waving pillow cases! The sporting hunters used shotguns and buckshot, some used M-2 Carbines on full auto.

We walk the sage brush and shoot jackrabbits on the run quite often in Idaho (when there are rabbits, they're rare right now). It's very satisfying to dump a running jack head over heels with light rifle and low powered scope. The cloud of steam from a varmint bullet in the winter makes it that much more entertaining.

"Off-hand" is shooting position. "Snap shooting " is a marksmanship technique.
Spot on, If I jumpsot whitetails in the dense forests I'd have two guns, a 1100 and a 7400 Remington with an aperture sight, I'd shoot 4 rounds of skeet at least once a month year round with my 1100 to make deer hunting a snap with the 7400.
 
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