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Offhand Smoothbore
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Factor
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Alright so I had worked up a load for my two 20 gauge smoothies and round ball. Nothing "hot", just 70 grains of powder, a 1/2" fiber wad, and a well fitted paper cartridge (acts sorta like a shot cup) holding the ball. A bit less accurate when one omits the fiber wad, but still not too bad, and both pretty good from the bench or from a tight position kneeling or supported with the forward hand on a post (or a tree).

So an on-line fellow shooter asked me to partner with him in a "postal shoot" where we shoot targets then they are mailed to the "judge" for scoring. He would do the rifle part; I would do the smoothbore part. I had to shoot at an 8.5" x 11" X target at 25 yards, offhand, five shots. Rear sight allowed (but HEY my 20-bores are good from the bench without a rear sight...I don't need no stinkin' rear sight. Wink ) So yesterday I shot my target for score.

Well..., I know my load is accurate out to 50 yards from the bench, so..., I really really need some range time and probably that rear sight when shooting offhand aka standing; unsupported. Frowner WOW I hit the paper 5 times..., barely. NOT good enough to shoot at a deer offhand, that's for sure. Eeker

I wonder if I might have had a tighter group shooting an ounce of #4 buck and hoping not to hit the paper more than 5 times ? Confused

And people wonder why the used volley-fire and why such a low hit rate with muskets?

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3664 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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I need to try that on my 20 from the bench I can get 3 shots touching at 50 yards but I have a rear sight haven't shot off hand at 25 like I said need to try that.


The best thing about owning a dog is that someone is happy when you get home.
 
Posts: 959 | Location: Alabama | Registered: 09 December 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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Got a rear sight on my 20ga, too. The bore is tight and difficult to load with a .600" patched ball. WW metal increases the dia to .606" and is next to impossible to seat with a patch over .010". Using a bare .606" ball over a felt or fiber wad gives pie plate or smaller groups at 50 yards; a sure fire deer taker even past that distance.

A .010" to .012" patch with the .600" ball does shoot tighter but also causes unexplained fliers about 1 or 2 in ten shots. Patching the WW .606" ball takes too much effort and time.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3132 | Location: Virginia (by way of Georgia) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Dick
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It's been a while since I tried fiber wads, etc. instead of patches, but on my 24-gauge Chief's Grade from NSW, I shoot better than with my rifle (practice, practice, practice!). I use a .562 ball with .10 patches, maybe 65 or 70 grains of 2Fg, I think. I shoot mostly offhand. Don't need no stinkin' rear sight! The entire barrel becomes a rear sight, really. Depending on distance, I split the bull with my front sight, or maybe hold a bit lower. Does fine for me.


"Est Deus in Nobis"
 
Posts: 2886 | Location: Helena, Montana | Registered: 10 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Graybeard
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The bench tells you what the gun will do - offhand tells what YOU can do! Smiler
 
Posts: 234 | Location: Delmarva | Registered: 22 December 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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So true


The best thing about owning a dog is that someone is happy when you get home.
 
Posts: 959 | Location: Alabama | Registered: 09 December 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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quote:
Originally posted by Osprey:
The bench tells you what the gun will do - offhand tells what YOU can do! Smiler
Amen! When you shoot a smoothie from a bench vs off hand, I have found an very important aspect of shooting with no rear sight changes... cheek weld to the stock. When you stand and shoot, how the stock comes in contact with your face and how you sight down the barrel will change. Use the bench to prove a load and shoot offhand to practice.
 
Posts: 505 | Location: SC | Registered: 03 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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With muzzleloaders I'm always more accurate shooting from a field position than off a bench. I just can't get reliable grouping from a bench like I can with a modern gun.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3132 | Location: Virginia (by way of Georgia) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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I confess that I don't shoot "offhand" when hunting ..., OK well truth be told I've only harvested one bunny, and one groundhog (after two missed shots) shooting offhand with a rifle, aka the standing unsupported position. (And that's in 40 years of hunting. ) Shotgunning is different, but when it comes to rifles, I use modified positions.

I've used positions very similar to the military kneeling, and sitting, but normally in the woods when kneeling or standing, I'm using the local foliage i.e. a tree or part of a natural blind, to help me steady my aim. I use trees and such to break up my outline when hunting anyway, and it makes for a more precise shot while staying hard to see, for me to use what's next to me when shooting.

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3664 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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I use field positions when hunting, also, LD. Off hand (no pun intended) I can't recall a "standing on my two legs like a human" shot at a deer, myself. I'm almost always in a sitting position, using a tree support or kneeling; and it makes no difference how far the shot is.

I was walking back to my truck - this was just a few years ago - and a deer ran across the trail in front of me. I knew what to expect and immediately dropped into a kneeling position. Within moments another deer came out and paused. The distance couldn't have been more than 20 yards and was probably less. Being in position already, I instantly fired and the deer dropped. Could I have made a good hit from a standing position? No doubt I could have but that's not the way I hunt, either. It's just habit with me.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3132 | Location: Virginia (by way of Georgia) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Everything I've read by the "Experts"says that you should use a supported shooting position when possible....I don't think I've ever successfully made a first shot kill from an offhand shooting position.Give me a stump,or rock,every time.


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1488 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
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I have hunted with a smoothbore since the late 60's with a GRRW Trade Gun that Greg Roberts and Phil "Blue Jacket" Sanders built as a pro-model at GRRW. That gun had about a 2 inch drop and it was really hard to get down on the barrel flat or a rear sight with that small drop. The only way you could shoot it was really lean into it and then pay for doing so with a sore cheek. I have had guns by Curly G., Danny Caywood, custom built and alway had a problem with long arms, short LOP and drop of stock.

When Doc White decided we should offer NW Guns again with GRRW.CA we did our research and after measuring 15-16 originals only two fit what we wanted.

Barnett and Wilson seems to be what most copy (they have the old issues). We found Wheeler and Leman NW Guns with 14.250 inch LOP not the 13.210 inches of others. These guns had a 3.110 inch drop not the 2.120 inches of the Barnett and Wilson guns. We have tried a gun with these measurements and you can get down on the barrel flat or a rear sight very comfortable and don't get the old sore cheek.
 
Posts: 13 | Location: Lehi, Utah | Registered: 09 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Graybeard
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I do most of my practicing from off hand. I figure if I get good at unsupported then I can hold even better if I have time to use a rest when hunting.
I am good off hand with most guns to almost 100 yards. After that I use a rest even if it means just sitting down and bracing across my knees.
I have the luxury of having my own range in my pasture so I can just step out the door when ever I want to shoot off a few rounds. Helps me get in more practice than a lot of folks can do.
 
Posts: 213 | Location: Big Arm Montana | Registered: 17 September 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Hmmmm.


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1488 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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quote:
I do most of my practicing from off hand. I figure if I get good at unsupported then I can hold even better if I have time to use a rest when hunting.


That seems to be one theory. I think it gets you good at shooting offhand..., not sure why it would translate to other positions..., not sure it would need to translate to other positions. I qualified expert, which included prone at 500 yards, with my service rifle..., my worst position was offhand..., getting better at offhand = higher scores and that's where Marines go from Expert to Distinguished marksman..., but it doesn't necessarily increase the scores for sitting, kneeling, or prone.

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3664 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Iche Iia
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I guess that I'm the odd ball here. I shoot better off hand vs supported and I have no idea why. Probably, as mentioned above, the cheek position difference.

But I'm not very good with my smooth bore in either position, except for with my friends Jackie Brown build .62 and i borrow it every chance I get LOL.


Iche Iia

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you."
 
Posts: 378 | Location: Prince George, Virginia | Registered: 04 April 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Notchy Bob
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I've shot better offhand than from cross sticks.

I haven't taken the time (yet) to work up the best loads in my smoothbores.

Iche Ia, I have a .62 smoothbore from Jackie Brown. It had a few bugs initially, but once those were worked out, it became one of my favorites. Despite the 42" barrel, it's light and nimble, and it points just as a smoothbore should. Mine has a plain, bored touchhole, but lock time is good.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob


"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife
 
Posts: 313 | Location: Florida | Registered: 24 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Iche Iia
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Barrel length for the one I borrow is only 36 inches, which I like and it does have a rear sight, so technically it's a smooth rifle but I like the heck out of it. Just can't afford to buy it LOL


Iche Iia

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you."
 
Posts: 378 | Location: Prince George, Virginia | Registered: 04 April 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Just like a rifle ... a smoothbore may have a "liking" for a certain size round ball or patching.
In my original .20 gauge fowler I have have excellent results with 70 grains of 2F , a , .15 patch and a .600 round ball.
excellent as in winning a few matches and bringing home a deer or two.

I like to shoot as much as possible offhand.
While I have been known to use a rest .. you can not always count on finding one in the hunting field.
Andy


Follow me I am the Infantry
 
Posts: 665 | Location: Everson, Washington | Registered: 27 June 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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I have found that in my 20 ga. smoothie that a .585 ball with a French style paper cartridge made out of a heavy paper from the art section in AC Moore, and greased, gives me minute of a deer at 50 yards, and at least 15 shots before encountering resistance in loading. I obtained a fusil rear sight from Clay Smith Which closely resembles One shown in a drawing in a book on French fusils. I decided to use a rear sight because of age and eye problems.
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pocono Mts. in PA | Registered: 12 June 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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