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Offhand shooting question

1336 Views 19 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Drifter8002
I could use some tips, guys. I've been shooting the online match here since June, and travelled 3 hrs to shoot IBS rimfire matches a few times last summer, but never shot offhand competition before.

I was driving by the Fish Creek Rod and Gun Club in Victory Mills, NY last Monday and they had a sign out front-.22 Shoots, Tue 7pm. I stopped in (just happened to have my BR 10/22 in the truck)Tue. and found out they shoot an informal, out the window of the clubhouse, iron sight, 25 yard match, using the NRA 50ft slowfire pistol target, and there are at least 2 other clubs nearby that shoot similar matches.

I couldn't shoot my scoped 10/22 that night, but I've been practicing with my Russian trainer, and can keep 90% of my shots in the 3 inch black, and about 10% in the 9 or 10 ring. All my misses are to the right, and a alot of those are low, too. The gun and I shoot half inch, 5 shot groups, dead on the bull, at 50ft using my bench and bags, so it's obviously a mistake I'm making. What am I doing wrong?:confused: I've been concentrating on trying not to jerk the trigger, but still miss to the right. Any advice would be appreciated,
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Try placing your finger on the trigger shoe in different spots from tip to the first joint, usually you will push or pull the p.o.i. depending on the position. Find the happy spot. :) Another thing could be rifle cant, have someone stand behind you to see if the rifle is level. Raising or lowering your trigger hand elbow can change the cant and move p.o.i. GG
If you've never done position shooting before...

try this for offhand. Get your position with the rifle on target and your sight picture in the bull or a six o'clock hold (whichever works best for you). Holding your position. Now, close your eyes, take a deep breath, let it ALL out (There are those that say take a deep breath, let half of it out. But, did you ever try to measure HALF a breath), then open your eyes.. Take a look where your rifle is aimed. If it's not on target, you need to adjust your feet until the rifle falls naturally on target and stays there after you close your eyes, breathe, and then re-open your eyes.

Offhand (standing) takes a lot of practice, because you can't use a sling, and you're using muscles you're not accustomed to using and in a manner you're not used to. Also, make sure the stock is pulled tightly back into your shoulder with the bottom three fingers of your trigger hand. Then practice this for at least a half hour each day. After a couple of weeks you should really notice the difference in your stability. ;)

I haven't even seriosly discussed breath control yet. :rolleyes:
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Chief says :
A method I use and find quite effective is ,
A side stance ( i am right handed) , I tuck my left elbow
into my left side ( above the hip) . this stabilizes the rifle.
Your left hand (open - thumb facing rearward - fingers facing forward) positioned to the rear or the weapon . palm up.

I know there is a name for this stance , but cannot recall it.
most stable standing stance for me , anyway .
OLDCORPSJOE = he should know , how bout it JOE.

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This is an image of Peggy Keffe that I grabbed from Tony Kidds site.

It depicts exactly what Chief Dave described.
Chief says : YES thats it exactly, surely theres a name for it.


Thanks Guys,
I'll try your tips tonight, and I'll split my winnings with you all:D I hope they don't cancel the shoot because of the weather we're supposed to have later today-windy and rainy. We stay dry inside, but I don't remember if the target stand had a cover over it. If they cancel, it'll just give me more time to practice before my first match.

I was driving by the Fish Creek Rod and Gun Club in Victory Mills, NY last Monday .......
You were out in the 'boonies' weren't you.....? ? :D

Try the stance described by Chief Dave, and pictured by G-Man; it is the stance I used to use when slings were not allowed, like at "turkey shoots" in the fall [centerfire rifles / iron sights at a 9" dinner plate at 285 yards (= ~ 2.5" bull @ 100) ]:

Thumb under the trigger guard, and first two fingers under the forend pointing forwards towards the target..... ;)

Victory Mills, NY

Also try to hold your sight picture until afer the shot is gone (follow thru). Trigger control ios very important, I normally prove it at least once every match by giving it a yank and pulling a shot low at 5 or 7 oclock.:(

You may want to try alternate hand positions to find what is most comfortable for you. I lay the rifle on my open palm with the back of my hand against the trigger gaurd and my middle finger in the rail. Others use a balled fist or finger tips as CD described.

I know one guy that makes a first, turns his hand so that the back of his hand is pointing down range, and rests the rifle on the back of his knuckles (where a ring would be). He says that eliminates the heart beat from bouncing the rifle around. Must work 'cause he shoots lights out!
You may also want to try placing the fore-arm hand at the balance point of the rifle. I believe that resting the rifle at the center of gravity helps to give a more uniform re-coil characteristic.

The CG is also easy to find and ensures that you hold the gun the same way each time.
God, I love that B&C Odyssey stock. I think it's the best looking synthetic stock (not close to some wood ones). Plus, It's not as pricey as the McMillans.

Hehehehe: Oops, off top[ic, but ever since I saw this stock on one of the chief's rigs, I've wanted to have one.

I believe that that is called "Off hand." Seems that I remember reading this only a few weeks ago. "Standing" is more of a hunting stance, fore arm gripped.

My reference was a training manual from one of our shooting services. (not Air Force or Navy) I'll have to dig it up, so it may take some time.

As odd as this stance looks, it works.
I may have that exactly backwards.:confused: I'll keep digging, in the meantime I found this:OFF Hand Technique

I think OldCorpsJoe had it right on the "natural point of aim"...
A tip to offer here ...when you open your eyes after following OldCorpsJoe's instructions...only move your rear foot to line up ...if you only adjust one thing at a time it's quicker and easier to get into position.
have fun!
Offhand Shooting "Practice"


You did Ok tonight. As you shot you made improvements. I would only suggest these few words and save you from the million differences in shooting styles or preferences.

Practice, shoot with experienced seasoned shooters with proven ability, watch what works, find a style that is comfortable for you and ask questions. This forum will offer many suggestions, all of them work for that given individual. You will need to develope habits and have capability of using others for some personal mentoring. If your serious about learning this discipline you'll need a lot of patience and desire.

By now you might realize who I am as I shot with you tonight. The group of guys that shoot frequently with me all belong to many clubs with many shooting disciplines. They all shoot for fun and honestly some are extremely competative and will frustrate newer shooters with the ease of which they make offhand shooting look. Most of us shoot 50' indoor "gallery" with 24x and 36x scopes. In this discipline your shooting at a .22 size 10 ring an offhand scores have to be in the 90's to be competative.

If you get a chance try to get over to the Stillwater R&G. We'll be glad to get a new shooter and if you can pick up anything in the process all the better.

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Well, I'm printing all of your tips now....because, apparently, I really need them! The match is only 10 shots for each shooter, so I didn't have time to do a lot of experimenting. No winnings to split.:rolleyes:

I used the hold Chief recommended (thanks for the pic, G-Man), sort of. It was more comfortable to hold my thumb in front of the trigger guard, instead of on it. I forgot all the other tips, but now that I have them on paper, I've got a week to try to improve over this weeks dismal showing.

I got some other real good tips at the match, too. I didn't have a clue what a 6 o'clock hold was, until one of the other shooters (an RFC lurker, and winner of about half of the ten matches tonight:D) explained it to me. I was able to adjust my sights and hold, and my last three shots were all nines, directly under the ten ring. Not good enough to win anything, but definitely fun enough to keep me interested!

Big Mike, Victory Mills is sort of a suburb of Schuylerville. I live 20 miles east of there, practically in Vermont, just off the map you posted the link too. Talk about the boonies!:D

Thanks for all the help,
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Big Mike, Victory Mills is sort of a suburb of Schuylerville. I live 20 miles east of there, practically in Vermont, just off the map you posted the link too. Talk about the boonies! :D
Schuylerville* is "a half-a-horse" town......! ! :eek:
[ * ~ 1,500 pop.]

"Vermont": Is that in the USA.....? ? :confused: :D

I used to hunt chucks up that way years ago....! ! ;)
Thanks Dave,
We must have been posting at the same time last night.

You're right, I need to practice alot, and develop my own style, with help from more experienced guys, like you.

I forgot the directions to the Stillwater club. Can you please post them here, and/or e-mail them to me at [email protected]? The Salem outdoor range is completely snowed in, so I won't have a chance to practice at 50 yards, but I'd like to try your match this Saturday anyway. Is your match shot out of a window, like Fish Creeks?

This style shooting does seem like something I'd like to pursue. It was fun last night to actually shoot with other people. Nobody does BR rimfire around here, so I usually shoot by myself. Good for concentration, but it gets boring, sometimes.

Big Mike, I think I wiped out the chuck population around here when I was 17 (20 something years ago)!
Offhand Practice (Rengade)

I'm glad to see you have a sincere interest in this discipline of shooting. I have sent directions to your email address to save everyone the boredom of reading my misguided way of getting someone, somewhere.
I have learned as most who shoot enough that everyone has an oppinion. In most cases we try some of what is offered to us but revert back to what is comfortable. Offhand shooting can be best described (by me) as a "freestyle event" that has as many different philosophies and appearences when you watch and discuss it with other shooters. Only when you actually apply the basic priciples of stance, rifle position, sight alignment and sight picture along with trigger control and you practice it will you start to find what will work for you. Once you get a system that is showing a path of improvement you can then start to try small variations to one area at a time. Don't get hung up on any one persons style or advice, sometimes you will be unique and hve something work for you that does not work for others.
I'll end this on this note, if you can shoot good offhand scores with a rifle you have already got a head start on shooting other disciplines.

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