Bad habit - vertical in groups?

anotherwannabe

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2018
133
82
34
Over the last year I seem to have picked up a bad habit that is occasionally causing excessive vertical in my groups.
I've specifically tried playing with bipod loading more/less and consistent/settled hold on rear bag primarily but I haven't really been able to get rid of it - so looking for some suggestions.

I can introduce -more- vertical stringing by exaggerating more/less bipod load or bag squeeze.
But if I lay down 10-20 shots on the same target, I just can't seem to get rid of a couple that are that are well outside the "normal" group.
Looking back at targets a year ago I my groups were must more "round", shots that ruined an otherwise fine group were more scattered, not -just- high.

Here is example from this morning @ 300 yards.
10 shot group, 7 are sub .5 and then 3 are way high, but not much worse on horizontal.

Shooting is off bipod and pint sized game changer as read bag.
It seems to happens regardless of prone, modified prone, or seated at a bench.

Any ideas what to look for or try?
IMG_8283.JPG
 

lowlight

HMFIC of this Shit
Staff member
Online Training Access
Apr 12, 2001
29,623
11,913
219
Base of the Rockies
www.snipershide.com
we need to see what you are doing, the groups sort of speak for themselves

Most load the bipod wrong and use their shoulders, not their core, so that is problem one, the bipod being used can be problem two, and potentially sympathetically squeezing the bag can be 3...

those are just the immediate thoughts
 

DustBun

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Mar 7, 2018
224
181
49
58
Ocala, FL
we need to see what you are doing, the groups sort of speak for themselves

Most load the bipod wrong and use their shoulders, not their core, so that is problem one, the bipod being used can be problem two, and potentially sympathetically squeezing the bag can be 3...

those are just the immediate thoughts
Would you please explain "potentially sympathetically squeezing the bag". What does that mean? I wonder if I am doing that?
 

lowlight

HMFIC of this Shit
Staff member
Online Training Access
Apr 12, 2001
29,623
11,913
219
Base of the Rockies
www.snipershide.com
you squeeze the rear bar when firing moving the back of the rifle causing a vertical stringing or you are shouldering it, there are several ways you could cause vertical stringing from the back
 

DustBun

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Mar 7, 2018
224
181
49
58
Ocala, FL
you squeeze the rear bar when firing moving the back of the rifle causing a vertical stringing or you are shouldering it, there are several ways you could cause vertical stringing from the back
I previously asked a question about the proper use of a rear bag because I am still trying to figure some things out. If I understand you correctly, squeezing and hold the bag is correct but the "sympathetically squeezing" is an additional unintended squeeze when firing?
 

anotherwannabe

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2018
133
82
34
Thanks for responses guys.

Totally get that watching me shoot would be easier. Asking here to figure out what to try and check in my habits or iphone record myself and look for screw ups. Unfortunately I don't have any folks local who shoot well enough to give me a critical eye (and have patience) to watch and i figure it out in practice.

On the equip: Bipod is a Harris with an arca adapter to the rail on the gun & podlock, nothing fancy.
I have the same problem across more than one gun which is why I'm assuming something about me that has changed rather than equipment (always blame the shooter first). ...that said I'm using the same/similar bipod setup on all 3 guns where I've noticed it happening. I've considered find/get some benchrest style protektor bag to see if the vertical goes away, that would at least narrow it down to squeeze/bag work if it went away. I'm not psyched to buy a $400+ bipod either only to find out I still have the same problem since its me.

On the technique: I do always run the legs one click out, so its not riding on the mushy springs at very lowest position. I try and load the bipod to "take out the slack" but not enough to really put a lot of tension on it or make the feet slide. Those are my only two "swing thoughts" around the bipod usually. Since it seems to happen if prone, bench or modified prone off roof of truck, my gut says its less about the bipod loading and more about the bag? But clearly I don't know wtf is going on

On the rear bag, if I'm just practicing and not on the clock I try and be good about getting the bag positioned so that its more bag fill and less squeeze support on elevation. That pint size game changer can flip it on its side and grab one of the udders and thats usually the right height for level shooting.
 

Precision Underground

Rifle Gear
Commercial Supporter
Belligerents
Jun 21, 2017
1,918
1,499
119
Tallahassee, FL
I see a lot of people who use too much rear bag and no body, or core as LL said. They basically set the rifle in a rest that consists of the bipod and the rear bag. Too much cheek pressure down into the bag is usually happening because it feels stable and steady. So the string then becomes dependent on the "rest" being the exact same every time. This is nearly impossible because varying amounts of cheek pressure are applied in order to get back on target once recoil happens. This also makes the sympathetic squeeze(or release) or the rear bag a huge factor because your whole set up is reliant on the rear bag holding you and the rifle up. Add incorrect bipod loading (ramming a shoulder into the bipod) and you basically have a house of cards that will crumble and have to be rebuilt every time you pull the trigger.

Through too many hours of testing rear bags and methods this is what works best for me....Line your body up so that when you pull the rifle into your shoulder with your bicep it lands the reticle on the target. Don't skimp on this step. Nothing else will work if you don't get this right. Make sure you are pulling straight into your shoulder(straight away from the target) and the reticle is landing on target with no steering. It is easy to fool yourself and steer it subconsciously. Don't prop up on your elbows and create pivot points. Connect your hips/core to the ground and then connect the rifle to you. That in itself is really stable. Now use the rear bag and mild cheek pressure to add the last bit of stability needed. Once you do this the rifle will recoil straight back into you and not down into the bag which can send the shot high.
 

anotherwannabe

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2018
133
82
34
you squeeze the rear bar when firing moving the back of the rifle causing a vertical stringing or you are shouldering it, there are several ways you could cause vertical stringing from the back
If you're squeezing the bag as part of a flinch its going to drive the barrel down causing low shots, not high shots right?
Or am I taking it too literally and by "squeeze" in either direction. a let off or squeeze...

I've been thinking that letting off on the squeeze is what is causing the high shots, so been trying to be consistent about that but its not changing much for me

--------------------
precision sorta answered this above while i was typing. let off of squeeze or maybe too much cheek pressure/flopping my fat head on the gun is making it recoil low into the rear bag and driving some high. i'll try to lighten up a bit on the cheek and see if that improves consistency at all, i was really focusing on rear bag more than cheek so thats something new to try. thanks!
 
Last edited:

lowlight

HMFIC of this Shit
Staff member
Online Training Access
Apr 12, 2001
29,623
11,913
219
Base of the Rockies
www.snipershide.com
you can do any number of things, the list is endless,

Let off releasing the tension
Squeeze adding more
Shoulder forward pushing the barrel down
Pull backwards using the entire hand pulling the barrel up

Hard to say without seeing
 

OldSalty

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 1, 2019
483
733
99
All good points here...

I have found that my main cause for vertical stringing is inconsistent wrist tension/movement during trigger pulls.
 

I Spot 4U - "Eagle Eyes"

Private
Belligerents
Sep 21, 2014
57
37
24
Oregon
"Control your breathing and relax." get into your shooting position. Close your shooting eye, breath, exhale and relax , breath in, then exhale, now open your eye ...are you lined up to the target? Y/N If no, don't muscle your rifle to adjust, move your body and repeat the process until you are aligned to your target. While maintaining your shooting position look through your scope at the target. Now breath in and out and watch your reticle move up and down. Don't hold your breath, let it all out and watch how steady the reticle can be on your target.

If your inconsistent with your breathing technique you'll see some vertical stringing on your target. if you try to muscle the rifle you'll see horizontal stringing.

U.S.M.C.
 
  • Like
Reactions: goatboy

D2junky

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 1, 2018
227
125
49
For lack of a better term....I’ve seen me have a mini stroke as the trigger breaks and induce all kinds of weird shit. Its like holding a cup of coffee and watching it fall right out of your hand and not being able to do a damn thing. As my carpal tunnel issues have increased so have the “strokes”.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Duckford

Racer88

Firearms Pedant
Online Training Access
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 10, 2018
774
931
99
My first thought was breathing, but it could be SO many things, as has already been discussed.

I'm curious... where do the three off-center / vertically strung shots fall in the shooting sequence? Are they the first three shots? Last three shots? Or are they dispersed randomly throughout the 10-shot sequence? Is there any pattern to how your groups go?
 

anotherwannabe

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2018
133
82
34
I’ve shot a couple sets of groups now trying to exaggerate and fix the problem. I think it’s replayed to inconsistent bag squeeze and not enough shoulder pressure combined.

Getting more shoulder into the gun helps take pressure off the bag alone for support and seems to be rounding out the groups.

Lots of good suggestions here!
 

RNWRKNP

Sophisticated Redneck
Belligerents
Minuteman
Dec 13, 2017
1,597
2,087
119
PHX, AZ
Similar issue and dry fire helped correct it. It identified that I was releasing pressure on the rear bag during firing sequence. Can’t say enough good stuff about dry fire practice.
 

C4N4DIAN

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Aug 16, 2019
108
45
34
you squeeze the rear bar when firing moving the back of the rifle causing a vertical stringing or you are shouldering it, there are several ways you could cause vertical stringing from the back
this is a very interesting answer