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I grew up shooting off hand with a 25-35, shot my first few deer and elk with that gun, all off hand and under a 100 yards for the most part..I still shoot offhand a lot, at the end of a bench session always...I pride myself as an off hand shooter, I like a low power scopes or receiver sight and not adverse to a shallow V on the barrel..Ive won dollars betting irons against scopes at 100 yards..the trick is you don't deal with wabble with irons like you do with a scope as the cross hairs float past the targer and back and you tend to grab at the trigger...I think its a shame that most of todays "hunters" have never shot irons..I would not own a gun without irons and a scope option..I like the way a iron sighted gun feels to carry and to shoot and consider irons very effective to 200 yards, and under ideal circumstance they are effective at up to 300 yards. Practice it and give them a try, you'll like what you see.
 

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Big 5,
I used to shoot iron sights and practice off hand, unsupported, shooting. I lost the acuity with age and have to use optical sights beyond 25 yards - I could do better even at 25 yards but I am stubborn - so if you are blessed with good eyesight be thankful. Try to remember that some of us need the scope to see the target and the sights in the same frame of reference. It isn't that we are lazy, just that it would be dangerous for some of us to shoot without the scope.
Paul
 

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In 1903 the Mannlicher Schoenauer 1903 in 6.5 x 54 introduced was introduced. End of discussion.
So very, very true. Scopes killed, though. Even the 1950s had open sight stocks and still no good and cheap way to mount a scope. They weren't meant for a scope.
This one has a 'flopper' peep sight by Lyman the bolt handle knocks it out of the way every cycle.

Whoa!! That's not my rifle. hold a sec. My rifle spent 101 years in un-airconditioned Florida but its not quite that crusty. Well, I guess it was. Same gun.
 

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So very, very true. Scopes killed, though. Even the 1950s had open sight stocks and still no good and cheap way to mount a scope. They weren't meant for a scope.
This one has a 'flopper' peep sight by Lyman the bolt handle knocks it out of the way every cycle.

Whoa!! That's not my rifle. hold a sec. My rifle spent 101 years in un-airconditioned Florida but its not quite that crusty. Well, I guess it was. Same gun.
Wish I could find one of those Lyman sights for sale. My old eyes have trouble with the open sights. Had mine opened up in the express style made them somewhat easier to make out.
 

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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?
I find the Mannlicher stocked rifles and lever auctioned rifles make very good still hunting guns. It has been my preferred method of hunting for the past 50 years. I can’t even recall how many deer I have taken this way. Most with a 20 gauge Ithica deer slayer with slugs. That was before NY started allowing rifles in my home county. I now have 3 bolt guns and 2 lever actions I use.
 
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