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Bench Shooting Techniques - Springers


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#1 Guest_F. Prefect_*

 
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Posted 16 November 2009 - 03:04 PM

I have shot 22 and 6mm center fire benchrest rifles for for over 20 years and discovered many years ago a technique (that worked for me) of putting as little pressure on the rifle as possible during firing and then returning the rifle to as close as possible to the same position on the tripod for each subsequent shot. I would do this by aiming the rifle only with my left hand using the rabbit eared rear bag and placing as little pressure on the rifle as possible with my right hand. Just enought to squeeze the trigger with my right thumb just resting on the top of the stock. I would positition the butt of the stock about 1/2 in. from by right shoulder and allow the recoil to push the rifle back against my shoulder. I would then push the rifle back forward until it hit the stop on the front of the tripod and would then pull the rifle back about 1/4 in.

Since recoil was no problem, I got very good results using this technique, but when I attempted to use it with a spring piston air rifle my results were less than ideal.

Just on a whim I decided to try holding the rifle very firmly with my right hand and even tried to hold the aim point after pulling the trigger as I was not sure if the pellet had left the rifle before the vibrations and "recoil" was felt. To my surprise, my groups got considerably smaller.

To any experts out there, what is the proper method of holding and firing a spring piston air rifle from the benchrest?

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#2 robF

 
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Posted 16 November 2009 - 05:08 PM

haven't shot springers rested on a bench, but have shot them quite a bit over the bench, and the best results have been off a soft but firm bean bag up front, and shouldered at the rear... grip on fore-end light but guiding, pistol gripped like you would a small bird, shoulder pressure firm and guiding but not enough that you're pulling it back into the shoulder.

i don't know if that helps, but it seems to be about letting/enabling the gun to recoil back smoothly without it catching or bouncing off anything along the way. Something hard under the fore-end tends to really upset them.



#3 Guest_F. Prefect_*

 
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Posted 16 November 2009 - 08:40 PM

QUOTE(robF @ Mon Nov 16 2009, 17:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
haven't shot springers rested on a bench, but have shot them quite a bit over the bench, and the best results have been off a soft but firm bean bag up front, and shouldered at the rear... grip on fore-end light but guiding, pistol gripped like you would a small bird, shoulder pressure firm and guiding but not enough that you're pulling it back into the shoulder.

i don't know if that helps, but it seems to be about letting/enabling the gun to recoil back smoothly without it catching or bouncing off anything along the way. Something hard under the fore-end tends to really upset them.


Thanks for reply. I think what is making the difference when I was attempting to use my centerfire bench technique was that I was using NO shoulder pressure at all on the rifle and given the much slower lock times of the springer combined with the sharp vibrations, I was getting some erratic groups.

Sometime you might what to try not touching the fore end of the rifle at all, using your left hand to aim the rifle by squeezing the rear sandbag. It makes it a whole lot easier if you have a rear bag with the "bunny ears" designed for that purpose but a large soft sandbag will work as well. I've been holding the springer firmly with the right hand as opposed to just a light touch with the centerfire guns, but a 2 -4 oz. trigger pull makes this a lot easier to accomplish. I haven't bothered to measure the pull weight on this springer, but it's 2 or 3 pounds at the least. But do as much as possible of the aiming with your left hand squeezing the bag while letting your right hand just handle the trigger pull and snugging the rifle up against your shoulder. On each shot try to put the rifle in as close as possible to the position it was in when other shots were fired. This is very important whether shooting springers or 1/8thMOA 15 pound bench guns. Any way you might want to try keeping all pressure off of the fore end and see if that makes and difference in your group sizes.

Thanks again for the tips on how you have been shooting your springer and I believe of all the variables, it was the lack of ANY shoulder pressure that was probably causes a good deal of my problems. That may be standard operating procedure for 3400fps center fires, but not good technique at all shooting the springers.

F. Prefect

Edited by F. Prefect, 16 November 2009 - 09:01 PM.


#4 robF

 
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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:58 AM

i don't shoot the springer often off a bench, once I have it zero'd i favour my FT position for it... but I do find that in all cases the key is allowing the gun to have controlled but consistent follow through/recoil. One aspect I find that bugs me is the trigger pull, you just cant get away with an undeliberate or rushed pull... even with my match vmach trigger which is quite light, it's still critical to get that right or else the gun will just amplify any imparted movement at that point.

which gun are you shooting, what power and at what range?

#5 Guest_F. Prefect_*

 
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Posted 17 November 2009 - 05:09 PM

QUOTE(robF @ Tue Nov 17 2009, 10:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i don't shoot the springer often off a bench, once I have it zero'd i favour my FT position for it... but I do find that in all cases the key is allowing the gun to have controlled but consistent follow through/recoil. One aspect I find that bugs me is the trigger pull, you just cant get away with an undeliberate or rushed pull... even with my match vmach trigger which is quite light, it's still critical to get that right or else the gun will just amplify any imparted movement at that point.

which gun are you shooting, what power and at what range?

QUOTE(robF @ Tue Nov 17 2009, 10:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i don't shoot the springer often off a bench, once I have it zero'd i favour my FT position for it... but I do find that in all cases the key is allowing the gun to have controlled but consistent follow through/recoil. One aspect I find that bugs me is the trigger pull, you just cant get away with an undeliberate or rushed pull... even with my match vmach trigger which is quite light, it's still critical to get that right or else the gun will just amplify any imparted movement at that point.

which gun are you shooting, what power and at what range?


If by "follow through" you mean try to hold the aim position for a extra split second after the trigger pull, I would completely agree and once I began doing this as the result of a post I read (it might have been yours) in this forum, my groups got a lot smaller, particularly with flat nosed pellets. This is completely foreign to the way I shot my bench rest centerfires as I want as little touching the gun (I'm referring to my hands shoulder etc.) as possible and I want it as close to being exactly the same from shot to shot as possible. As long as the vibrations, harmonics, barrel whip etc that the gun's powder charge is going to produce are the same from shot to shot, my impact point should be close to being the same as well.

I could not agree with you more when it comes to the trigger pull, regardless of the type of gun being fired. Personally, I what the sear release to be a surprise. After I have have my aim point solidly in place I increase the pull until the gun fires. Even triggers with a considerable amount of creep, I may know "approx." when the gun is about to fire by the amount of creep, but I still attempt to have the actual firing to be a "surprise".

The springer I bought recently when my 25 year old Benjamin pumpup finally gave it up, was a low end Gamo with a 1000fps velocity with standard pellets and 1250 fps( I was skeptical of these claims, but not any longer) with the 5 gr Raptor has trigger pull that probably approaches 2 pounds with a considerable amount of creep is quite a change from the Remington 40-X triggers that are adjustable down to to 2 oz that I have become used to over the years(I normally set them at 4-5 oz) but the principle is the same, it just takes a good deal more pressure. That's one of the advantages of using only the left hand and the rear sandbag to aim the rifle. Once you have the aim point locked in, it can be held squarely on the aim point for over 15 seconds if it becomes necessary.

I hope I don't get bit by the same bug that bit me 25 years ago when I became interested (obsessed) with trying to put 5 or 10 rounds through one hole at 100 or 200 yards as it became quite expensive and looking at the prices of some of the high end end market for some of spring piston as well as gas piston rifles, this could become an expensive pastime as well.


That's not to say I wouldn't much prefer to have a trigger setup like the one you have in use as I'm sure it would increase my accuracy by a notable margin.

F. Prefect

#6 Constantine

 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:01 PM

The reason why your groups are larger is because you're trying to use a technique developed for two way recoil to deal with four way recoil (back and up (jetting) vs. back and forward, up and torsion (double bounce, twisting spring and jetting to a lesser extent)).

Because of the torsional movement, you'll never be able to bench it with much success because it will twist in the supports. This is why people find it better on bean bags, because it allows the rifle to twist, then twist back.

You need to find a recoilless spring rifle. They DO exist, I have one in bits, but if you find a complete one it's diamond (Original Mod.66). They have two springs with opposing helix directions to eliminate torsion, the inner spring is wound slightly closer than the outer to counter it. They have two antagonistic pistons, one forward one to produce power, and a rear facing dead one with a hole in the middle, so it doesn't compress. If used with the original barrel weight, it's excellent.

#7 Guest_F. Prefect_*

 
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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:20 PM

QUOTE(Constantine @ Tue Nov 17 2009, 20:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The reason why your groups are larger is because you're trying to use a technique developed for two way recoil to deal with four way recoil (back and up (jetting) vs. back and forward, up and torsion (double bounce, twisting spring and jetting to a lesser extent)).

Because of the torsional movement, you'll never be able to bench it with much success because it will twist in the supports. This is why people find it better on bean bags, because it allows the rifle to twist, then twist back.

You need to find a recoilless spring rifle. They DO exist, I have one in bits, but if you find a complete one it's diamond (Original Mod.66). They have two springs with opposing helix directions to eliminate torsion, the inner spring is wound slightly closer than the outer to counter it. They have two antagonistic pistons, one forward one to produce power, and a rear facing dead one with a hole in the middle, so it doesn't compress. If used with the original barrel weight, it's excellent.

I'm finding out the hard way that my 20 years of shooting 22 and 6mm centerfire bench guns in which the objective is to place the gun in the rest in as close to the same position for every shot, but when firing, apply as little pressure to any part of the system as possible and just let the 15 lb. beasts do what ever they want. (of course you might want to give some thought before using this technique with a .308 abiggrin.gif) Of course it's extremely important to make sure they "do what ever they want" in exactly the same way on each and every shot and that's where a lot of practice comes in. But I will have to agree that this venerable technique works just about as you described above. Poorly.

I've been experimenting with using much more pressure with my right hand on the stock and letting the butt of the stock rest very firmly against my shoulder. I'm still doing all or most of my aiming with my left hand on the rear bunny ear bag with no pressure at all on the fore end. I did give that a try, but found holding a "solid" aim difficult without using the rear bag with my left hand.

But just by "firming" up the rifle in the rest, the accuracy and group sizes have improved noticeably. They're completely different types of rifles and each require a technique that would destroy the accuracy if attempted with the other. Thanks for the tips. Just hope I don't pick up any habits that I'll take with me to the to the bench. poster_oops.gif

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#8 yana

 
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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:35 PM

I almost never shoot well when I rest my springers. I too shoot best from any kinda FT position.
Allthough I díd shoot ragged holes at 25m, rested, with a HW30 and with my tuned Sidewinder. Bút even than, I ALWAYS have my left hand under the stock. I never rest it directly. I used kneeroles to rest it on iirc.

#9 Guest_F. Prefect_*

 
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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:55 PM

QUOTE(yana @ Fri Dec 11 2009, 18:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I almost never shoot well when I rest my springers. I too shoot best from any kinda FT position.
Allthough I díd shoot ragged holes at 25m, rested, with a HW30 and with my tuned Sidewinder. Bút even than, I ALWAYS have my left hand under the stock. I never rest it directly. I used kneeroles to rest it on iirc.


It didn't take me too long to figure that out. You won't find a competitive bench rest shooter, even firing a .308 who will touch any part of the gun with the left hand. The left hand is used exclusively for aiming the rifle by squeezing the rear bunny bag and nothing else. I'm still just resting the front of the springer stock on the tripod I use for center fire guns, but while I only use very light pressure with the left hand shooting a center fire (my right thumb does not even touch to top of the stock and with a 2-4 oz trigger pull I only touch the gun with my forefinger on the trigger and my two middle fingers on the underside of the stock) but with the springer I use a firm grip with the right hand with all fingers and thumb and even am using some pressure with the left hand on the stock as long as it does not interfere with aiming. I have replaced the very firm front rest with a much softer pliable rest and that seemed to help as well.

It's really interesting that two guns must be held in a completely different manner to achieve peak accuracy. But they're completely different guns firing at a great difference in velocity using a totally different propulsion system. I hope I don't develop any bad habits, but I haven't shot in that manner bench rest competitions during the last 5 years, so I'm not gonna worry about it.

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#10 yana

 
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Posted 13 December 2009 - 11:04 AM

I think you misunderstand me. I always have my left hand under the stock to rest the rifle on! With airguns that is..Rested directly on the bag never gave me good results. Allthough I must say I not a trained benchrester whatsoever.
Dont use a firm R/h grip. That works very well with Firearms and some pcp's, it doesnt work well on springers..
R/h is for triggercontrol only. Further only light touch. No pressure with left either, just let it rest in yr hand.
It must be on aim naturally.

Edited by yana, 13 December 2009 - 11:06 AM.


#11 Brian Again

 

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:21 AM

Try resting the forend on a gel-filled pad, originally designed as a wrist support for PC mouse users. You'll get much less bounce than when resting on a firmer surface.

#12 yana

 
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Posted 16 September 2010 - 11:38 AM

Throw away the Raptors, use decent pellets, and yr problem is probably solved.
As a bencher you should know that each gun has specific ammo it likes..Thats not Raptors for sure, those are rubbish..;)

#13 Springerdinger

 
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Posted 28 September 2010 - 11:12 AM

I am no expert but I do only ever shoot springers
My techniques when using a front rest is to have something soft like a coat or jumper (bag) to rest the rifle on. I use my folded Fleece jumper on wooden blocks because the rifle makes its own shape into it and I can put it back in the same place each time. The cutaway of the underlever leaves a nice outline for repositioning. Daft I know but it works for me.

next - left hand under the wooden stock not really feeling the weight of the rifle but using my left thumb lightly as a guide against the stock.
I often sit the rifle on top of my fist with my left thumb as a guide which means I can't grip the stock and cause wobble when I fire. again not taking any real weight

My right thumb I lightly position around the right hand side of the rifle (feels a little unatural at first but works really well for me)Helps keep the rifle upright and counters the left thumb on recoil

Finally make sure your cheek is only touching the cheek pad on the butt of the rifle without pressure. Otherwise when you fire this will certainly cause some deflection when you fire. A smooth (mr sheen) cheekpad seems to help as well

The rifle Butt is just nestled into my shoulder to allow the recoil to move into the softer part of my shoulder on firing.

Dont tuck your feet behind you when sitting as this will unbalance you at the recoil moment when firing. At least one foot forwards.


Its worth as an exercise getting in position as your about to fire then relax yourself, and see how much the rifle moves when you relax. This will show you what movements can potentially happen when the rifle recoils if you are too tense or gripping too hard. Then when the rifle is in that relaxed postion adjust the aim and take a relaxed shot let the rifle move, dont try to limit the recoil. this technique has improved my groups and consistancy no end.

I find my children are a good shot with springers because they dont have the strength to hold tightly to the rifle. Which allows it to recoil backwards only.


hope this helps


Chris




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