View Full Version : Is there a primer somewhere on accurate bench-rest shooting?

09-28-2008, 11:47 AM
Like the title suggests, I just took my first bolt action rifle to the range (Rem 700 SPS 26"BBL 7mm-08 w/a Bushnell Elite 3200 10x42 scope) and once I got her "zeroed", I couldn't do better than 1-1.5MOA at 100yds. It looked like I was trying to cut the bullseye OUT of the target. I have a Harris 6-9" bipod and that's it. I was shooting factory Hornady 139gr. SST.

Most of my positioning etc. comes from osmosis...I mostly see how other guys do it who are shooting well. I saw other guys using rigs with jack screws and leather padding, does this help over a bipod? What about a rear support vs. a balled-up fist? Reloading...I have to look at the rate of return on that sort of thing but for now I'd prefer to stick with factory loads. Maybe I need to re-adjust my attitude if I'm serious about accuracy?

I ask because now that I've had my first taste of what could become precision and/or long-range shooting and I like it. I want to know how to get better. Practicing isn't an issue for me...I just want to be as efficient as possible and focus on the things that aren't working and improve them. Anyone can spend $ shooting, I want mine to count.

I'm willing to take any suggestions...today was the proverbial popping of the bolt-action cherry and I fully admit my newbie status.

Young Version
09-28-2008, 11:56 AM
I am in no way an expert in the subject, but it sounds like you're doing very well for a beginner. I'll let others with more knowledge chime in with advice.

09-28-2008, 12:06 PM
The groups you are talking about are not too bad at all. Using a rear bag will help. Consistent body position and cheek weld are crucial. Be careful of parallax with your scope. Consistent trigger pull. Tensing of your shoulder muscles in anticipation of recoil. There are many things that cause groups to open up. Aside from that, if you can, put the rifle in a rest in which it takes out all shooter error and see what the rifle is capable of. Also, there is only so much factory ammo can give you. To reach ultimate accuracy in a particular rifle you will have to hand load for it.

09-28-2008, 12:12 PM
In order of importance


2. trigger job (1-2lbs)

3. handloads.............

09-28-2008, 1:26 PM
I have been told and find it true, that you will shoot better with a small target. I find it helps if the point of impact is moved from your point of aim so the POA dosen't get shot away.
+1 for handloads. Tuning in a load is very interesting, watching the groups shrink as you find what you rifle likes.
take care

09-28-2008, 3:09 PM
+1 for reloading.

All Nav
09-28-2008, 3:16 PM
As the others have said, making your own loads will probably up your accuracy. In my experience, factory loads leave you at the manufacturer's mercy, for powder, brass, bullet and OAL. Once you are in control of these variables, and have them optimized for your rifle, you can then zero in on your technique. Good luck!

Mssr. Eleganté
09-28-2008, 3:25 PM
I saw other guys using rigs with jack screws and leather padding, does this help over a bipod? What about a rear support vs. a balled-up fist?

Using a bench rest will usually give better accuracy than a bipod. My groups are half the size with a sandbag as they are with a Harris bipod.

09-28-2008, 3:37 PM
Shooting from a bench gives people a false sense of security. I think most people with capable firearms tend to shoot bad groups from a bench primarily due to poor trigger control. Secondary factor is poor shoulder stocking.

But even with bad trigger control, you should be able to tell where a shot will land by calling the shot.

09-28-2008, 3:43 PM
Is there a primer you betcha. Read "The Highpower Shooting Primer"!! It goes off the deep end but it's great. Next up is Arnolds' "High Power Rifle Accuracy", one of the most enjoyable technical books I have ever read.

Another great read is "Dead On" by Noblitt and Gabrilska. 160p paperback quick read but I've read it many times over the years.

Then there's the DVD's.........

09-28-2008, 6:07 PM
If you're not going to reload, buy match ammo and practice a lot. Read a couple books suggested. Check out various precision rifle forums and research things. Unless you've got a lot of money to burn, reloading is essential to be able to practice the amount required, not to mention the accuracy gains.

Where are you located? There are lots of guys on here willing to help.

09-28-2008, 6:10 PM
My favorite rifle shooting book is "The Ultimate Sniper" by Maj. John Plaster.