Bench Shooting Tips

If you want to shoot the smallest groups with your rifle, you need to do a bit more than throw a pillow over the hood of your truck, rest your gun on it and take aim. After years of testing guns, I’ve come up with a few tips that help me shoot the tightest groups possible.

First is to shoot from a solid bench at the right height. I find that many public shooting ranges have the seat too low, so don’t be shy about asking for or bringing a booster seat to get you behind the gun. And when you shoot, keep your body square to the gun and your feet flat on the floor. This gives you a solid and steady foundation.

The forend stop helps you return the gun to the same place in the bags for each shot.

The forend stop helps you return the gun to the same place in the bags for each shot.

Best accuracy will come when shooting from sandbag rests and if you have a pedestal front with adjustable feet—even better. Set your bags up and rest your gun in them. If you have a sling swivel stud in the forend or butt that rests in either bag, remove it. Under recoil, it can snag in the bag and throw a shot by causing the gun to move inconsistently during the bullet’s dwell time.

Remove any sling swivel studs that can grab the bag during recoil and throw the shot.

Remove any sling swivel studs that can grab the bag during recoil and throw the shot.

Slide the gun back and forth a little to settle it, and then look through the scope. Move everything so you’re sitting comfortably and have a “natural point of aim” on the target. If your front pedestal has a forend stop, push the forend all the way up to it. If it doesn’t, put a piece of masking tape on the side of the stock so you always return the gun to the same place in the bag shot to shot.

If your pedestal does not have a forend stop or the gun will not work with it, use a piece of tape to mark the stock so you return the gun to the same place in the bags for each shot.

If your pedestal does not have a forend stop or the gun will not work with it, use a piece of tape to mark the stock so you return the gun to the same place in the bags for each shot.

With all your coarse adjustments made and your gun lined up on the target, use the rear pedestal foot to make any fine vertical adjustments. Don’t squeeze the rear bag for these fine adjustments because your grip changes during and after the shot breaks but before the bullet leaves the muzzle and that can throw a shot.

Use the rear pedestal foot for fine adjustments instead of squeezing the rear bag.

Use the rear pedestal foot for fine adjustments instead of squeezing the rear bag.

Finally, some guns like to be held loosely to shoot the best groups while others like a death grip. Try both, squeeze the trigger with a steady pull and be sure to keep your head down and follow through. If you don’t get good groups, have someone else try your gun, try another load or a different scope.

 

Scott Mayer

www.tacticaltshirts.com

www.john1911.com

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

 

Scott Mayer

Scott Mayer

Writer at John1911
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.

In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.
Scott Mayer

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