Advanced Marksmanship Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

sigma2chi

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I've read quite a few threads in this forum and I'm still left with a fundamental conflict about primary marksmanship. I shoot a Rem 700 at work as a DOE Sniper and a Surgeon at home. Both .308's. The "technique" I've developed for shooting them accurately is incorrect by most any fundamental marksmanship standards but in a small way it's right too. The results seem to agree with me that it's more right than wrong.

I want your opinions on it and your understanding of the ballistics of the whole thing.

I noticed pretty much on day one of Sniper School that if I "Shouldered" my bolt gun like I did my M16 and got a "solid" cheek weld that the pulse and breathing made cross hairs wobble way too much for my liking. Keeping in mind that to day I'm only shooting 500yds and in. I started shooting with as little contact with the rifle as possible. Hardly any shoulder contact and virtually no cheek pressure and a very loose pistol grip. This significantly steadied the cross hairs and my accuracy with this method is consistently sub-MOA.

That being said, the rifle jumps all over the place after the shot because I hardly have any contact with it. Follow up shots require some readjusting. That doesn't really bother me because I'm only really concerned with getting that first shot dead nuts accurate.

From a ballistic standpoint since I'm getting good results "breaking the rules" like this, it leads me to believe that the bullet has exited the barrel long before the rifle recoils to the rear.... Is this correct?

Also, am I "getting away" with something here because it's only 500yds and in that I will not be able to do with 800yd shots?

If my accuracy is sub-MOA consistently using this "no-contact" method should I still strive to use a more traditional shooting style?

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated...
 

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    That is what is called "free recoil"

    What school did you go too with DOE, the one James is putting on at Chaffee ? They should have impressed on the importance of following through with the shot and how to spot your own impacts ? Most of the guys have been to Rifles Only which would have gone through this also, you would have spent the first day having the fundamentals explained in great detail.
     

    sigma2chi

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    I do spot my own shots by the way. I can clearly remember where the crosshairs were when each shot breaks and thus where the impact will be. So now I know what it's called. Any thoughts?....
     

    Wild_Bill

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: sigma2chi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I do spot my own shots by the way. I can clearly remember where the crosshairs were when each shot breaks and thus where the impact will be. So now I know what it's called. Any thoughts?.... </div></div>

    Sorry you are not spotting your own shots at all spotting your shots means seing your actual bullet impact not the point where your cross hairs were when you pulled the trigger. How cah that work if you have just had a 5mph wind change and not moved your dope. You were just aiming away from the actual impact there is no way you can spot your shots with a 308 free recoil shooting.
     

    Sterling Shooter

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    To maintain recognition for where the barrel is pointed, the relationship, or angularity between the line of bore at rest and the line of bore at bullet exit must be consistent; therefore, control over the firearm, until recoil has subsided must be consistent. Consistent control is assured by consistent contact with the gun and ground. Stockweld, butt-to-shoulder, elbows, non-firing hand, and grip must be maintained through bone/artificial support, NPA, and muscular relaxation. The techniques you adapt to get the results desired may be as unique and individual as you are; however, the elements and factors of steady position must be accomodated.
     

    sigma2chi

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sterling Shooter</div><div class="ubbcode-body">To maintain recognition for where the barrel is pointed, the relationship, or angularity between the line of bore at rest and the line of bore at bullet exit must be consistent; therefore, control over the firearm, until recoil has subsided must be consistent. Consistent control is assured by consistent contact with the gun and ground. Stockweld, butt-to-shoulder, elbows, non-firing hand, and grip must be maintained through bone/artificial support, NPA, and muscular relaxation. The techniques you adapt to get the results desired may be as unique and individual as you are; however, the elements and factors of steady position must be accomodated. </div></div>

    That makes perfect sense. Brings me to another question though. NOT trying to justify or defend "free recoil" shooting, just trying to learn as much as possible. If I'm not doing all those things I should be then WHY and HOW am I still getting good results? Is it because the distances are relatively short and the wind here in South Carolina is relatively calm? Are my 3/4 MOA groups of "free recoil" shooting potentially 1/2-1/4 MOA groups if I were doing it the traditional way?

    Thanks in advance for your input
     

    sigma2chi

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Wild_Bill</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: sigma2chi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I do spot my own shots by the way. I can clearly remember where the crosshairs were when each shot breaks and thus where the impact will be. So now I know what it's called. Any thoughts?.... </div></div>

    Sorry you are not spotting your own shots at all spotting your shots means seing your actual bullet impact not the point where your cross hairs were when you pulled the trigger. How cah that work if you have just had a 5mph wind change and not moved your dope. You were just aiming away from the actual impact there is no way you can spot your shots with a 308 free recoil shooting.

    That makes sense. I guess, like I said above it's always worked here because I'm not shooting past 500yds and the wind here in South Carolina is never really that bad.....

    </div></div>
     

    Greg Langelius *

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    My offhand employs the upper supporting arm braced against the chest, hand palm upward beneath the rifle (with any necessary adjustments to accommodate trigger guard/magazine.etc.), and upper trigger arm down flat against the flank. Feet a shoulder width apart.

    Where I can, I employ a snug fitted shooting jacket, a hasty sling, and lean back in an 'S' from the hips so the rifle and upper body have their mass better centered above the hips.

    It's probably unorthodox, but it's what works best for me, and I'm fairly sure some of these strategies are probably outlawed for match shooting. I figure if they're seen as 'cheating', they're probably also more effective.

    The goal is to try to allow better relaxation and some semblance of an Offhand NPA, if such a thing truly exists.

    Greg
     

    lowlight

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    The position you are in with DOE is to meet a specific need in response to a direct threat to our energy infrastructure, therefore your free recoil does you absolutely no good.

    You'll potentially be reacting to a dynamic and equally deadly situation that has dire consequences for all around you. It's imperative you drive the rifle correctly which means effectively managing the recoil so you see the exact results of you shot. Calling a shot, being able to say where the reticle "was" will do you little good with a moving target. You need to know where the reticle is, avoiding the blackout period between the time you make the decision to shoot, the shot breaks, and the recoil pulse ends. You cannot do any of that using free recoil.

    I would recommend getting with Eastern Command, they have their stuff wired and can sort you out in short order.
     

    Sterling Shooter

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    Free recoil is about heavy rifles, light recoiling cartridges, and bench rest shooting, where the idea is to have very little human contact with the rifle. With contact only at/on the trigger, the bench rest shooter will attempt to eliminate the realities of inconsistenty produced by any contact between the gun, ground, and shooter.
     

    j-huskey

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    I'm going to say based on the number of years I have done this for a living at the PD, that free recoil is NOT the way to shoot.
    Just because you can call the shot, but not spot it, does not mean you have immobilized the threat when you shoot it.
    You have to shoot, run the bolt, be ready to shoot #2, and spot the hit at the same time, and maybe send #2 then as well.

    I know Neil well and he'd give you the same comment I did about live targets. If you told Neil you were having this issue, I have a hard time believing he let you out of the class. How is his wife Terry doing?

    What Frank said: "The position you are in with DOE is to meet a specific need in response to a direct threat to our energy infrastructure, therefore your free recoil does you absolutely no good. (jw- because you are not in a position to send #2 immediately and you may need to.)

    You'll potentially be reacting to a dynamic and equally deadly situation that has dire consequences for all around you (jw- because (with free recoil) you are not in a position to send #2 immediately and you may need to.).
    It's imperative you drive the rifle correctly which means effectively managing the recoil so you see the exact results of you shot (jw - so you KNOW you don't need to send #2).
    Calling a shot, being able to say where the reticle "was" will do you little good with a moving target (jw - or a target NOT immobilized by shot 1).
    You need to know where the reticle is (jw - more critical, you need to KNOW where and WHAT the target is doing when you shoot/shot/and follow through, just in case you need to send #2), avoiding the blackout period between the time you make the decision to shoot, the shot breaks, and the recoil pulse ends. You cannot do any of that using free recoil." End what Frank said and JW added to it.

    Get some help really soon and fix this, you don't need to shoot free recoil on targets that need immediate incapacitation..

    I do have a contact in the Aiken area (former US Customs) who can be of assistance.
     

    Hummer

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    Jhusky and the others are absolutely right and you are working yourself into a very bad habit. Now if you were shooting F class I could see the point but the "we bees bad boys" crowd don't act the same way.
    If you are seeing pulse with a bipod you either have way too much power on the scope or were gripping the rifle way too hard or both.
    Or think of it another way, if there was a better way it would have been taught at Quantico/Benning schools long ago as they have plenty of time and plenty of ammo to experiment with everything. As well the Secret Service snipers would have been doing it as well and are not. By the way a SS sniper holds the 1000 yard any sight record and has held it for years.

    Send me a PM with your name/phone number. I am in Aiken County.
     

    sigma2chi

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jhuskey</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I'm going to say based on the number of years I have done this for a living at the PD, that free recoil is NOT the way to shoot.
    Just because you can call the shot, but not spot it, does not mean you have immobilized the threat when you shoot it.
    You have to shoot, run the bolt, be ready to shoot #2, and spot the hit at the same time, and maybe send #2 then as well.

    I know Neil well and he'd give you the same comment I did about live targets. If you told Neil you were having this issue, I have a hard time believing he let you out of the class. How is his wife Terry doing?

    What Frank said: "The position you are in with DOE is to meet a specific need in response to a direct threat to our energy infrastructure, therefore your free recoil does you absolutely no good. (jw- because you are not in a position to send #2 immediately and you may need to.)

    You'll potentially be reacting to a dynamic and equally deadly situation that has dire consequences for all around you (jw- because (with free recoil) you are not in a position to send #2 immediately and you may need to.).
    It's imperative you drive the rifle correctly which means effectively managing the recoil so you see the exact results of you shot (jw - so you KNOW you don't need to send #2).
    Calling a shot, being able to say where the reticle "was" will do you little good with a moving target (jw - or a target NOT immobilized by shot 1).
    You need to know where the reticle is (jw - more critical, you need to KNOW where and WHAT the target is doing when you shoot/shot/and follow through, just in case you need to send #2), avoiding the blackout period between the time you make the decision to shoot, the shot breaks, and the recoil pulse ends. You cannot do any of that using free recoil." End what Frank said and JW added to it.

    Get some help really soon and fix this, you don't need to shoot free recoil on targets that need immediate incapacitation..

    I do have a contact in the Aiken area (former US Customs) who can be of assistance.
    </div></div>

    Neil came here to Aiken for the class so I never got to meet Terry his wife. I'm sure she's fine or we would have heard. He did have a pretty good story about her outshooting him in a LR match to take first though. Neil is a great guy for sure and one hell of a shooter. As far as my class goes, to be quite frank I think he was SOOO frustrated with us by the end of the class he was just happy to see some of us pass the qual so he could get back on a plane and get back to Albuquerque. We had more than our fair share of brain farts the last week and it drove him crazy. I'll be the first to admit that I'm NOT a "GREAT" shooter by any means but I can get the job done in a tactical scenario.

    Let me clarify real quick. It's not that I "CAN'T" shoot traditionally, it's just that I always got a little better accuracy with the free-recoil method which is why I started using it more and more. In our DOE Sniper Quals ( which Neil is re-writing right now by the way) we have quite a few strings of fire that require VERY FAST follow up shots and I've always made them. I guess it's kind of like playing your slice on the Tee-box instead of correcting your swing. I've been hitting the greens so the problem wasn't as glaring as it could have been.

    Make no mistake. I CAN shoot traditionally if the situation calls for it but that usually means the difference between a 3/4 MOA group and a 1-1 1/4 MOA group. With distances as short as we have on site and doing as Neil taught me "Shoot the largest reasonable target area" that really isn't a problem for doing my job. I would like to be shooting the correct way ALL THE TIME though and be as accurate as the rifle will allow.

    In case ya'll boys ain't figured it out yet. That's why I'm here. TO LEARN

    Good stuff posted so far. Thanks for the advice, couple of pm's coming your way.
     

    bowshot

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    I think the issue here can be stated like this: My current method of shooting yields superior accuracy as opposed to the more traditional method. Why should I change? What don't I understand?

    Answer: Though you may have excellent 1st/single shot accuracy with your current method of shooting, that method causes you to fall off immediate aim on the target somewhere through the shot, perhaps even losing sight of it altogether. Now you loose the opportunity to understand the effectiveness of that shot, and you diminish your capability to continue with immediate, effective fire.

    I'm just a varmint wacker, so free recoil (can) work(s) for me when I'm shooting my .204. 'Big difference switching to my 6.5. I understand now from the wise ones on this site that it simply won't work on the more heinous, villianous species.
     

    bowshot

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    ...but maybe you are the man that can do it! There is always room in the world for the guys that can do things that many of us cannot!!
     

    sigma2chi

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    I guess truthfully it was easy and accurate for first shot single hits at relatively short distances. Nonetheless I obviously can't take my shooting to the next level shooting free-recoil. All the advice is well taken and soon to be applied. I see a lot of range time and snapping-in in my future :)
     

    sled_mack

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    Don't forget the online lessons here. I was starting out from nothing a little over a year ago and these lessons have been invaluable to me. If your employer pays for training, maybe you can even get them to pay for it.
     

    bowshot

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    Re: Opinions WANTED on "Shouldering" the Rifle

    I know that as soon as I can get off dial up that I'll be all over the on-line lessongs. I have yet to hear negative commentary on them.