Author Topic: Offhand Shooting Technique  (Read 7166 times)

Offline kyridgerunner

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Offhand Shooting Technique
« on: May 07, 2022, 12:13:13 AM »

Here's a question for you Master and Expert offhand shooters: The question is about the actual aiming technique, not breathing, stance, sight alignment etc. All of which are very important of course but there's reams of info about those particular parts of the offhand shooting procedure.

So the question is: do you physically hold the sights on target while breaking the shot. That is - use muscles to keep the sights on target - or just relax your body and let the rifle and sights naturally settle on the target. 

Thanks

Offline poppy

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2022, 01:03:59 AM »
you must keep sights on target and smoothly squeeze the trigger  ,hold through .

Offline BJH

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2022, 01:10:53 AM »
My method for the 2 cents it worth. Find your natural stance, feet shoulder width apart. Raise the rifle to shoulder with eyes shut, you will find a natural comfort spot. Open your eyes. Adjust your feet to align this with the target. Repeat as necessary. Raise the rifle, establish your sight picture. The gun will never really stop moving. Nothing matters but the sight picture. Squeeze when ready, continue aiming throughout the recoil, resettle on the target. Hold for a count to three. The follow through is every thing. If the shot doesn’t fall as my mental picture of the sight alignment says usually it’s due to a defect in my follow through. Or consciously pulling the trigger. The trigger break should be a surprise. There’s two cents worth. BJH
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Offline Tim Ault

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2022, 01:40:19 AM »
Fully agree with BJH find your natural point of aim  learned this when I shot NRA high power  quite a few years ago and I’ll second that follow through is everything with black powder guns

Offline kyridgerunner

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2022, 03:32:35 AM »

Thanks everyone - but - the question was: do you physically hold the sights on the target. Guess I'm not communicating to well here. Poppy said " you must keep your sights on target", Okay,  I agree, but how are you "keeping " you sights on target? Are you physically and constantly controlling the movement of the barrel to keep those sights on target until you break the shot. Or do you just let the barrel/sights float around without any physical input on your part? Does that make sense?

Offline poppy

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2022, 03:49:18 AM »
practice shooting offhand, one handed with a pistol, it will teach you alot about what it takes to hold the shot.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2022, 03:49:26 AM »
Taylor can usually hold on the centre of the bull. I cannot and must "catch" it on the way by. This realy screws things up with slow lock times as on flintlocks.  Probably why I am not as good an offhand shot, as he is.(of course that's the only reason he's a better shot than I am ::))
Holding on the bud, takes muscle pressure & muscle coordination.
Now, on top of that, are positions, ie: rifle mounting procedure.
Offhand position = shooting off the hands. We have had a contest where the director of that match, stated at the meeting prior to the match, shooting must be off the hands, no body resting of the 'other' hand, elbow or whatever. So, no Olympic-type position, no elbow resting against the body, or on a hip for short torso people.
Standing allows any offhand (off the hands) or body resting position you want.
Most of us shoot off the hands, while others prefer body resting and even I've seen some fellows cranking their off-hand, backwards for some strange reason. For me, (yes I tried it) it causes strain in the wrist, which is not beneficial to my shooting.
Body resting of any sort is hard on the lower back, thus I shoot off my hands, generally. However, rifles that are a little on the muzzle-light side, sometimes the body resting with the hand under the lock, helps as it increases the weight ahead of that hand.

Offhand - shooting off the hands:




 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2022, 03:58:11 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Flint62Smoothie

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2022, 04:42:48 AM »
Whereas I shoot offhand exclusively, less load development, there is MORE to offhand shooting than just the rifle itself, in fact I would rate it LAST on this list of everything I've added here. Now I do shoot modern highpower shooting offhand to 200-yards weekly, but I also shoot black powder cartridge Schuetzen rifles, weighing to 14-pounds, out to 200-yards routinely. I am now practicing with my 50-cal flint longrifle out to 100-yards weekly, for the upcoming NE Flintlock contest to be held in Maine this Summer. And case in point to where I say your rifle choice per se isn't the biggest asset here for offhand shooting competence, at the weekly Winter milsurp shoots, I shot 3 different rifles, one over 150-years old, and I still placed amongst the top scorers,

Offhand Shooting Reading - For me, I have found the BEST articles/info to be from numerous sources, like that by the famed barrrel maker Harry Pope on offhand shooting - see link here:
"Off Hand Rifle Shooting" by H.M. Pope. Harry was of slight build, barely weighing 120-pounds, yet he shot a 14-pound rifle and one record group shot at 200-yards offhand, with black powder loads no less, still stands to this day!

Also the books on highpower shooting by M/Sgt Jim 'Jarhead' Owens - see link here:
Jarheadtop.com Home Page
Welcome to Jim Owens' JarHeadTop.com. This site is dedicated to the High Power shooting enthusiast, providing articles, tips, products, and instructional material for both the beginner and the veteran shooter.
 jarheadtop.com jarheadtop.com
In particular, his books and info on aiming and establishing the Natural Point of Aim (NPA) are worth their weight in gold. I've taken shooters who 'think' they know how to shoot, teach them to correctly establish their NPA before they shoot and they routinely add 10-points to their score!

Now worldwide, the generally accepted 'Bible' on competitive shooting is the book by A.A. Yur’yev called Competitive Shooting: Techniques and Training for Rifle, Pistol, and Running Game Target Shooting.

Offhand Practice - I'd recommend 3 things before you even hit the range with your flintlock. (1) Get a good quality, pre-charged, gas, or single pump air pellet rifle and shoot in your basement or garage constantly. Practice with a purpose! The Daisy 853, available refurbished for $100, from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), is a phenomenal value to 'learn' how to really shoot. It will group better than you can. See link here:
thecmp.org

Sporter Air Rifles - Civilian Marksmanship Program
Sporter air rifles are characterized by their light weight, low cost and basic target features. We offer several varieties for purchase.
 thecmp.org thecmp.org

(2) Practice picking up your flint rifle, with a wooden flint in the jaws, a few times a week and cheeking it and getting into your offhand stance until you can do it and be on target in you sleep. Your stance is crucial to good offhand shooting for a string of shots, again - the NPA. Anyone can hold a rifle and shoot 1 or 2 good shots ... but try for 10 or 20 in a row, like we offhand shooters do. If you have a good quality lock, do some dry firing with the wooden flint - stay on target and focus. At the range with BP arms, I see too many drop their musket/rifle right at the shot to see if they hit ... which always causes a miss ...

(3) All your focus MUST be on that front sight! I am left-handed, but do own and shoot RH'd black powdah arms and I have never, ever, evah seen the pan flash from RH'd firelocks, flint or matchlocks! Why? Again ... because I'm not looking there ... as all my focus in consistently and completely on that front sight THROUGH the shot and into the folllow-through. Learn to focus ALL the way through the shot, learn to call your shots - like that went 'high left' - as that means YOU knew where the front sight was as the trigger broke.

Learn the 'proper' way to shoot sir and you can shoot anything! Good shooting is quite simply eliminating 'bad shots'. For in the end - NOTHING ... nothing beats trigger time'! And that does NOT have to be live fire with firelocks to achieve it ...
All of my muzzleloaders will shoot into one ragged hole ALL DAY LONG ... it's just the 2nd or 3rd & other shots that tend to open up my groups ... !

Offline alacran

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2022, 02:35:39 PM »
Every thing Flint62Smothie says is right on. Mostly you have to stay inside your sights as little else matters. Practice Practice Practice.
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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2022, 03:38:54 PM »
All these suggestions are spot on. Even when you get old like me with bad eyes and shaky hands there is no substitute for proper technique and practice.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline kyridgerunner

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2022, 05:58:06 PM »
Hey Guys. I really do appreciate all the input and advise.

Flintlock62smoothie:  I just ordered that book by A.A. Yur’yev and I'll check out Jim Owens website.

Daryl: Thanks. You did touch on answering my question. Sounds like Taylor physically , for lack of a better description, holds on target.

In spite of all that good advise I'm still looking for an answer to my question: do the top shooters physically and constantly hold their sights on target? Or do they just let the sights kind of drift around, maybe in that much sought after figure 8 movement, and either break the shot when it comes into the target or use area hold and just squeeze it off.

Offline Stoner creek

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2022, 06:34:03 PM »
The sights are held steady on the target. Sight pictures may vary from person to person. You will see the seasoned shooters put the gun down after a few seconds and the steady hold starts getting wobbly. Shoot the heaviest gun that you can stand. When my shots are breaking best that front sight is steady on the 10 ring. At 64 I’m happy that I can still see the 10 ring at 25 yards whilst the gun is shouldered.
The only time that I have ever intentionally shot the other way is on clay birds or feathers.
 If you’re a Kentucky boy, come and shoot with the Kentucky’s Corps of Longriflemen. You can learn from the best. We shoot all over the State. PM me and I can get you started.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2022, 06:38:29 PM by Stoner creek »
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Offline kyridgerunner

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2022, 12:11:07 AM »

Thanks everyone.

Stoner Creek I just might take you up on that offer. I'll be home in KY from mid June until around the end of Nov. PM me a contact number or something.

Offline Stoner creek

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2022, 01:29:10 AM »
You’ve got it.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2022, 03:33:32 AM »
One thing about attending a shoot and observing, you will see a variety of "styles" to emulate.
"Addressing the target with eyes closed, then opening them", will get your feet in the correct position
so you don't torque the rifle, has been addressed. It is a good suggestion. Doing 'things' that work,
over and over until they become habit, is good stuff.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Tony N

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2022, 05:05:47 PM »
The sights are held steady on the target. Sight pictures may vary from person to person. You will see the seasoned shooters put the gun down after a few seconds and the steady hold starts getting wobbly. Shoot the heaviest gun that you can stand. When my shots are breaking best that front sight is steady on the 10 ring. At 64 I’m happy that I can still see the 10 ring at 25 yards whilst the gun is shouldered.
The only time that I have ever intentionally shot the other way is on clay birds or feathers.
 If you’re a Kentucky boy, come and shoot with the Kentucky’s Corps of Longriflemen. You can learn from the best. We shoot all over the State. PM me and I can get you started.
Wayne, I live in northern Ky and would be interested in observing or possibly shooting in one of your shoots

Tony

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2022, 06:45:30 PM »
The sights are held steady on the target. Sight pictures may vary from person to person. You will see the seasoned shooters put the gun down after a few seconds and the steady hold starts getting wobbly. Shoot the heaviest gun that you can stand. When my shots are breaking best that front sight is steady on the 10 ring. At 64 I’m happy that I can still see the 10 ring at 25 yards whilst the gun is shouldered.
The only time that I have ever intentionally shot the other way is on clay birds or feathers.
 If you’re a Kentucky boy, come and shoot with the Kentucky’s Corps of Longriflemen. You can learn from the best. We shoot all over the State. PM me and I can get you started.
Wayne, I live in northern Ky and would be interested in observing or possibly shooting in one of your shoots

Tony

So would I Wayne!!!

Terry
aka “digger658”

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2022, 07:01:20 PM »
Read this again from Flint62Smoothie.........good advice. In my earlier years of high-power shooting my scores really improved once I focused on that front sight and follow through.....and they improved quickly. If the target is not fuzzy you are not focusing on the front sight.


(3) All your focus MUST be on that front sight! I am left-handed, but do own and shoot RH'd black powdah arms and I have never, ever, evah seen the pan flash from RH'd firelocks, flint or matchlocks! Why? Again ... because I'm not looking there ... as all my focus in consistently and completely on that front sight THROUGH the shot and into the folllow-through. Learn to focus ALL the way through the shot, learn to call your shots - like that went 'high left' - as that means YOU knew where the front sight was as the trigger broke.
aka “digger658”

Offline Stoner creek

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2022, 08:25:12 PM »
The sights are held steady on the target. Sight pictures may vary from person to person. You will see the seasoned shooters put the gun down after a few seconds and the steady hold starts getting wobbly. Shoot the heaviest gun that you can stand. When my shots are breaking best that front sight is steady on the 10 ring. At 64 I’m happy that I can still see the 10 ring at 25 yards whilst the gun is shouldered.
The only time that I have ever intentionally shot the other way is on clay birds or feathers.
 If you’re a Kentucky boy, come and shoot with the Kentucky’s Corps of Longriflemen. You can learn from the best. We shoot all over the State. PM me and I can get you started.
Wayne, I live in northern Ky and would be interested in observing or possibly shooting in one of your shoots

Tony

So would I Wayne!!!

Terry

Guys
 You can go to the Corps website, kyclr.com and see our shoot dates and locations. I suppose that you could search Kentucky’s Corps of Longriflemen and get the same results.
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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2022, 09:21:16 PM »
To directly answer the op's question, I deliberately hold the rifle to align the sights and the centre of the bull and make every attempt to not allow the sights to move away from the centre.  It is my experience that all this must occur within the first few seconds of the shot, otherwise, fatigue and eye strain interfere and one must start over after a brief rest.
In my mind, I try to watch the ball go through the centre of the bull.
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2022, 09:33:20 PM »
Here's how I do it. When ever the sights wobble past the bull I Jerk the trigger. Works for me.
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Offline Jeff Murray

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2022, 11:50:54 PM »
Some great ideas above.  If your rifle is sighted in for a "Center" hold, that is what you want to see when the charge ignites.  The Yuryev book is excellent.  Muzzleloading Shooting and Winning with the Champions by Max Vickery et. al is also a good ML focused book if you can find it.  Dry firing with a wood flint on a regular basis will help you get used to the lock action.  If you put a target with a small bullseye on the wall you will also be able to practice your follow through and see where the sights are focused when the wood flint falls.  This will tell you if your follow through is good, if your trigger squeeze was smooth, and if you drop the muzzle as the flint falls.  This type of practice helps build muscle and mental memory which gives you better consistency.  It also helps you "learn" your trigger.  Five or ten dry shots a day won't take much time but will make a difference if done consistently.   If you are managing your breathing while shooting, you have about 5 to 7 seconds of air to discharge your shot under optimum conditions.
 That is why you will see experienced shooters take their rifle down and start the process over as noted above.  If you try to force it much longer you will likely end up trying to snatch the shot while chasing the bull and end up wide.  Last and most boring thought, exercise will help minimize fatigue if you shoot a long match, particularly with a heavy barrel.  It all depends on how serious you are.  Don't forget to have fun. 

Offline Daryl

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2022, 12:06:08 AM »
The very best offhand target I ever shot, was with a 22 pound rifle. As the sights dropped straight down, from 12 o'clock across the target, all I had to do was squeeze it off at the right time. It worked, but was very fatiguing to shoot - 10 shots. I was only 24 or 25 years old when I did that.
Daryl

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Offline Darkhorse

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2022, 10:25:54 AM »
I try to hold my sights on the bullseye. However my barrel is moving and the sights go with it, most people describe it as a figure 8, so I shoot when the sights cross the bullseye.
I once shot a lot of matches but now I'm just a hunter and that means I must shoot from many positions, seldom from my natural point of aim. My most important skill is the ability to focus on the front sight and really burn it into my target before firing the shot.
I think the rifle does matter for some of us. I shoot rifles I build and I build them where when mounted the rifle naturally is aiming at the target.
Mastering shooting using your natural point of aim goes a long way when on foot in the hunting field.
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Offline kyridgerunner

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Re: Offhand Shooting Technique
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2022, 03:20:01 AM »
Once again thanks to all that responded. I truly appreciate it.

 D. Taylor Sapergia: I'm working on that technique now. It looks good while dry firing. For about 5 seconds I can pretty much hold it dead center. Time and practice will tell if I shoot better.