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I have mainly shot from the bench with sandbags so far. I wonder if those of you with extensive hunting experience could answer a question for me. I presume that most shots at game are either taken offhand with no support or from the kneeling position with the left elbow resting on the left knee (for right handed shooters). Some shots would be taken from  a seated position with both elbows resting over both knees and I am sure some are taken while resting forearms over a log or backpack etc. My question is this: does point of impact change depending on which rest or lack thereof is used? When I am shooting from the bench I have noticed that it is very important that I use the same technique every time (and there is only one technique that I have found to give me consistently good results). I wonder if my point of impact would be different say between shooting from the seat of my pants with my arms supported over my knees versus just resting my wrists over a log. I know I will have to experiment with this myself but wonder what you all have discovered. Thanks, Brian C.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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You can definitely change the point of impact with the way the gun is held.  Some of this depends on how much the gun recoils.

However, the way that the forend is supported would not be the key factor, in my experience (I'm sure others have different experiences).  It's how tightly the forend is held - this affects how fast the muzzle rises when recoiling, and therefore, the position of the muzzle the exact instant that the bullet leaves the bore.  A gun does begin to move before the bullet clears the bore.

I'll add to this by saying that my hunting rifles are bolt-actions with one-piece stocks.  I've heard that this affects lever guns even more.

As you note the key factor is consistency.  If you let the forend set lightly on the bags when shooting off the bench, then don't give it a deathgrip in the field, and vice versa.  That's what I do - the .257 & the .30-06 get shot in the field with a loose hold on the forend, same as what I use at the range.  The .338 gets a TIGHT hold in the field, because I can't shoot it off the bench any other way without it kicking the crap out of me.

Handguns are even more susceptible to this, one reason I limit my shots on game to 50 yards or less, even though on a good day I can bust gallon milk jugs at 100 yards all day long with the .44, .45, etc.
 
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