Horizontal Reticle Shake

fancygunz

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May 6, 2019
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Hi All,

I am relatively new to long range shooting. Up until recently I had only shot to 100 yards, and am now getting out to 300-500 yard ranges. I am having trouble getting a stable sight picture in my scope - I have a lot of horizontal stringing due to shaky sights.

I am shooting off the bench with a Caldwell rest and a Caldwell rear bag. I am using a minimalist grip, have a light cheek weld, and am leaning into the back of the rifle. I have practiced my breathing and am very calm behind the rifle. I have been shooting nice 0.3" groups at 100 yards but they open up to about 1-2 MOA at 300 yards, all due to horizontal movement.

How can I calm down my sights before the trigger breaks?
 

Snuby642

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Feb 11, 2017
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Have someone watch you shoot.
Too tight a grip can cause this.
Letting off trigger can do it.
Accidentally holding breath too long.

Are a few of the mistakes I still make at times.
A spotter watching you will help.

.3 group at 100 is nice if you can have spotter watch and look for a tell of something different you don't notice.
 
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EchoDeltaSierra

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What’s the weight of the trigger? Also, do you have good trigger follow through (e.g. not slapping the trigger)?
 

Milo 2.5

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First, the harder you try, the worse it gets. Relax, it is just steel or paper. The longer you hover on the aimpoint, the more magnified it becomes. Set the rifle up on point, close the bolt on a loaded rd and fire within 2 sec max. Make sure parallax is removed form the scope too. Do not overthink this, it is simple.
 

Racer88

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Could be a number of things.... wind, parallax, trigger control, grip, too much caffeine :)
 
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fancygunz

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May 6, 2019
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First, the harder you try, the worse it gets. Relax, it is just steel or paper. The longer you hover on the aimpoint, the more magnified it becomes. Set the rifle up on point, close the bolt on a loaded rd and fire within 2 sec max. Make sure parallax is removed form the scope too. Do not overthink this, it is simple.
Well I went back and looked over the rifle, and noticed that the parallel adjustment was off. D'oh...

However this doesn't help with the shaking. Are your scope pictures nice and stable on the target at long ranges or do you have to just break the trigger at the correct moment mid-wobble? Should I be pulling the rifle tighter into my shoulder?
 

Milo 2.5

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Well I went back and looked over the rifle, and noticed that the parallel adjustment was off. D'oh...

However this doesn't help with the shaking. Are your scope pictures nice and stable on the target at long ranges or do you have to just break the trigger at the correct moment mid-wobble? Should I be pulling the rifle tighter into my shoulder?
Lol, no, it's best not to try time the crosshair floating over the target. Get as solid as you possibly can.
There are so many more here more capable than I on discussing parallax. There is a post on it, think stupid questions or advanced marksmanship headings. I picked up a tidbit, just have not been back out to test, but we are talking 1850 yards not 300,, but the principle applies.
Try to find someone to shoot with, have him watch you, let him shoot the rifle, more than likely it is something really simple giving you fits.
You never said what scope it was, the power you are using to do all this. Give us just a little more.
 
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softcock

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Hi All,

I am relatively new to long range shooting. Up until recently I had only shot to 100 yards, and am now getting out to 300-500 yard ranges. I am having trouble getting a stable sight picture in my scope - I have a lot of horizontal stringing due to shaky sights.

I am shooting off the bench with a Caldwell rest and a Caldwell rear bag. I am using a minimalist grip, have a light cheek weld, and am leaning into the back of the rifle. I have practiced my breathing and am very calm behind the rifle. I have been shooting nice 0.3" groups at 100 yards but they open up to about 1-2 MOA at 300 yards, all due to horizontal movement.

How can I calm down my sights before the trigger breaks?
-
Your 1st paragraph . "shaky sights' ? . hard to get a clear meaning .
How is your eye placement on the Ocular lens for distance ? You getting a nice full eye box on your head position ?
Is your head nice and vertical, squared off to the scope . or are you leaning your head in at a bad angle ?
-
If you got a nice clear full eyebox and with head/eye nice and squared-off with the scope and comfortable cheek position . . Relaxed Breething is a big thing . and ( for me ) I Just 'relax and breath' with keeping both eyes open while in shooting position . Only when I want to shoot is when I commit full energy and concentration of the eye to the Reticle, target and trigger .
.
 

ScottDWallace

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I think what you are describing is your "wobble zone". Everybody wobbles, to different degrees, while shooting off just about anything except a rail gun. With more deliberate practice, you will be able to build a position on both the obstacle and the rifle that will shrink your wobble zone to a minimum.

While I don't care for PRS being a gear race, good bags, trigger, and chassis/foreend rail/bipod/barricade stop/etc WILL solidify your position and allow you to see just how much YOU are influencing the wobble. Lighten your grip, more down pressure on the scope into the bag, ease up on cheek pressure, and finally adjust pressure into the shoulder. Every stage has different obstacles that will require varying degrees of the previously mentioned techniques, up to using free recoil to get the sights to settle down enough to send the round with any sort of confidence.

As you get better behind the gun, the gear will play less and less of a role in hits. Take note of the really high scoring shooters and you will notice that they typically use one front bag for the entire day (some obstacles obviously require something different) and just employ rock solid fundamentals. Dave Preston comes to mind.

If you have a club that shoots silhouette, I recommend you give that a try. Taming wobble is the whole name of that game. Very humbling.

Cheers
 

Racer88

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Well I went back and looked over the rifle, and noticed that the parallel adjustment was off. D'oh...

However this doesn't help with the shaking. Are your scope pictures nice and stable on the target at long ranges or do you have to just break the trigger at the correct moment mid-wobble? Should I be pulling the rifle tighter into my shoulder?
Been there, done that with the parallax error! :giggle:

I guess it's hard for any of us to "picture" your wobble. As has been said, we all move a tiny bit, at least. But, once I'm down prone, with a bipod and rear bag, I can hold it pretty darn steady (or so I think). Once you're steady, then what causes movement - POI differeing from POA - is other factors such as trigger control, recoil management, follow-through, and so on.

What magnification are you using? I think a lot of novices tend to crank up the magnification WAY more than needed. Naturally, you think the more magnification, the "closer" the target appears, and you can be more "precise." Not necessarily so. Try dialing the mag down. High magnification magnifies everything, including your awareness of your "wobble." And, that can be distracting and counter-productive.
 

fancygunz

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May 6, 2019
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Thanks guys for all the replies.

I'm running a SWFA fixed 10x on my Ruger Precision Rifle. I am getting a nice full sight picture, that's not the issue. Trigger is set to around 3lb and I know I have good trigger control. I am hitting where I am aiming, the problem is getting my aim steady enough when I break the shot.

Describing it as a "wobble zone" actually sounds really accurate (although actually more like an earthquake zone!). I am on a rest and bag but cannot get my scope stable on the dot at 300. Maybe I need a better rear bag? My Caldwell doesn't really fit the rear stock rail well. Maybe a bipod? My handguard has a round base and I could be "rolling" it in the rest. Maybe I'm trying to aim at something too small and trying too hard to hold steady?

It must be something I am doing - my 100 yard groups are great, I feel very confident. At 300 I'm all wobbly!
 

acudaowner

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tiny shakes or heart beats at 100 yards could seam like earth quakes longer distances . do you practice breathing while shooting ? also do you use both eyes or squint with one ? you could have a friend try your gun if they see no movement in the ret then you just need more practice of the basics . personally i would set my gun up on the ground on a bag pointed at a target without my touching it look and see if there is no movement then i could know its me or not . do you squeeze the handle of your gun ?
 
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Racer88

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Thanks guys for all the replies.

I'm running a SWFA fixed 10x on my Ruger Precision Rifle. I am getting a nice full sight picture, that's not the issue. Trigger is set to around 3lb and I know I have good trigger control. I am hitting where I am aiming, the problem is getting my aim steady enough when I break the shot.

Describing it as a "wobble zone" actually sounds really accurate (although actually more like an earthquake zone!). I am on a rest and bag but cannot get my scope stable on the dot at 300. Maybe I need a better rear bag? My Caldwell doesn't really fit the rear stock rail well. Maybe a bipod? My handguard has a round base and I could be "rolling" it in the rest. Maybe I'm trying to aim at something too small and trying too hard to hold steady?

It must be something I am doing - my 100 yard groups are great, I feel very confident. At 300 I'm all wobbly!
What kind of rest? What are you resting the handguard on?
 

Milo 2.5

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Ok, I never seem to be able to solve shit in one sitting.
Try this, get enough support under your rear bag where it is rock solid and on target. Let go of the rifle, now peer through the scope, is the reticle dancing, if so, adj it out with focus knob or eyepiece. If not, get back on the rifle, adj your grip, cheekweld, everything, see where it disappears. Now, there is nothing wrong shooting groups free recoil, so relax. We train our off hand to be under the buttstock, but if wobble persists, wrap your off hand around the top of the scope, see if it settles down. If it does, you can shoot a few shots this way, and make decisions, but you don't want to make this a habit.
Keep us posted on this.
 

Near miss

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Very hard giving you advice if you make steady .3s but since you have rocking issues..

-Wider your elbows.
-Try getting closer or further from the gun/table
-Try prone

The fact is your rifle does not shake by itself but you can also confirm this. I recommend buying a STANAG seisometer.
 

seansmd

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Use your phone and video yourself shooting, share it with folks for feedback