Proper Benchrest Shooting Technique
Proper bench rest shooting is more like gunnery. Consider these videos:
Start at 8:30
When I rail against the use of the bench rest it is NOT directed towards skilled BR competitors like this. Competition BR is its own discipline and, as these high-level competitors demonstrate, it is more like gunnery. Note that the tripod and bags are like the carriage of an artillery piece. In both cases, the gunner manipulates the pedestal/carriage to lay the weapon. The benchrest shooter isn’t really holding like a rifleman, instead, he is obtaining a lay for his piece based on the target and conditions.
Benchrest competition has taught us many things about the accurate construction of firearms and ammunition. The level of improved mechanical accuracy inherent in modern factory rifles today is due to these competition shooters. However, as these videos demonstrate, benchrest shooting (which is really a form of gunnery) is a world apart from practical and field marksmanship. The hunter, practical and field shooter needs to work on position shooting, that is, marksmanship practice where the shooter’s body is the primary, and sometimes only, source of support. If the support isn’t available in the field, such as a shooting sling or similar, then you shouldn’t use it on the range even when you zero.
Let the BR competitor worry about gilt edged accuracy and load testing because it is what they are best at. Attempting some half-ass version of this with a hunting rifle that is supposed to be shot in the woods from a held POSITION is a waste of time. Note that High Power and Smallbore shooters don’t shoot from a bench, even when zeroing, and their marksmanship and accuracy standards are much higher than any field shooter or hunter.
Unless you want to win formal Benchrest competition and compete folks like those in these videos, do NOT use a bench rest! It has ZERO use for any competent field marksman.