What do you do to make your rifle slide smoothly in the bags and how do you set up your rests on the bench? - Multiple
First, I shoot IR 50/50. My techniques may be different than required of a center fire shooter. I use a Hart front rest with Hoehn windage top and his leather bag. I sprinkle baby powder on the bag before inserting the rifle. The rear bag is a custom rabbit ear from Protektor. The bottom is double thick and filled with heavy sand. The ears are filled with playground sand. The rear bag is also sprinkled with baby powder. The front bag is adjusted to fit the rifle tightly. The rifle is pressed down into the rear ears and the ears are shaped to the stock. The stock is now pushed and pulled through the bags testing the fit. Next I level the front rest with the necessary adjustment of the front legs. The rear bag is moved to line up the target. Every time I move the rest or the rear bag I slide the rifle in and out of the bags testing for fit. Unlike group shooting I have to move to 25 different targets and the sighters during the match. The windage movement is done with the windage top on the front rest. The vertical movement is done with the mariner wheel and final adjustments with the rear leg screw. After each shot the rifle is slid forward and then backwards, after loading the rifle is then pushed against the stop. Then I adjust for the next target repeating the process
I use a front rest with side adjustment tension. I tighten the adjustment screws just until the forend drags then back off the adjustments a little until the forend slides freely. I have just gone to using Protector's new cordura bag on the front and their bag with cordura bunny ears on the bag. As far as setting up the bags on the bench, I set the rear bag to where the butt plate is just off the ears of the bag and then raise the front pedestal to the sighter target. I then move the bags to where they are comfortable on the bench and recheck that my butt stock is where I want it on the rear sandbag. I have seen too many people make the mistake of placing the rear sandbag too close to the pistol grip and then wondering why they are getting vertical in their groups.
J. D. Denoff
In answer too your question I have found there are many methods that will help your gun ride smooth in the bags. I have tried several methods. Teflon tape is the best method I have found that is consistent taking into account the humidity factor. We have also used a mixture of baby powder and graphite, but one must be careful that the build up of this mixture on your stock is removed periodically. Bag alignment is VERY critical, I emphasize VERY!!! There can be no short cuts here. Rear bag must be in line with the front bag. Bag alignment must be along the center line of the Gun stock, Gun recoil will follow the bag setup ( Ever notice how far your cross hair is off the moth ball after a shot?) We also use very light tension on the front bag, I prefer the rabbit ear rear bag. Keepem Tight.
To make my gun ride smoothly on the bags I use baby powder almost every time I go to the line. I set my bags up on the bench slamming down my stabilizer bag then I slam down my rear bag on top of that.
Funny you should bring this up but I began a setup routine at the Nationals in Phoenix for the first time since I've been shooting...maybe that's why I am not consistent. Anyway, I use 'Suave' anti-perspirant on my bags (and whatever smelly thing that is shooting on the bench next to me...esp. Brady Knight). I place my rear bag on one of the leather 'thingys' to help stabilize it and then align the rest and rear bag until the gun stays on the mothball when I slide it forth and back. I shoot with a front stop and will grasp my gun after each shot and slide it back and then up against the stop with the same force each time. I've found this helps me stay calmer and keeps me from shooting too fast. Not shooting any more than I do, I have found my concentration suffers more than any other aspect of my shooting after a lengthy layoff.
Thanks for including me in your first trial. My BR rifles have Teflon tape on both the forend and butt stock where they contact the bags. Both front and rear bags are FIRM, just within the legal limit. I use a rear bag with the double leather bottom (Protektor ) which remains flat against the benchtop (and I slam it down a few times to make sure!) During setup, I align the front and rear bags, after adjusting the front bag to level position - using a bubble level, so that the rifle will aim at or near the same aiming point when slid back and forth as in recoil. I spray both bags with SURE brand powder deodorant, which seems to be better than baby powder, talcum powder or motor mica for slickness. After that setup, unfortunately, there is no good excuse for messing up groups.
Johnnie B. Webb
I use spray deodorant [powder type] on my bags in low humidity and baby powder in higher humidity. I line the front rest and rear bag to where I am comfortable and mark around the legs of the front rest and around the rear bag with a magic marker.
Personally I like to have a fairly "tight" rear bag set up such that the stock butt is just even with the rear of the bag. Usually smack it down against the bench top to flatten out the bottom and compact the filler to some degree. This and enough distance from the front rest to ensure the rifle is against the stop and level (via the installed bubble). Liberally dose the front rest pad and bag with talcum powder to ensure a smooth slide back and forth. Then adjust the rear bag to ensure a straight smooth track of the cross-hair on the target from top to bottom. Leveling adjustment screws must be firmly set upon placement of the front rest to prohibit movement of the rest (especially when using the lighter aluminum models). I usually place the front rest as close to the front of the bench as possible and still be comfortable to shoot. This is what I do now, but I'm always open to suggestions. Got any?
I powder that baby"s butt real good and add black stuff.
The long awaited answer is.....drum roll please....BABY POWDER......simply the best....there is.... But the secret is SPRAY on BABY POWDER. Now there you have it....
Team Army Setup Battle Drill.
Before talking about setup it's necessary to clarify a few things. For equipment I use a custom rest with adjustable windage top. I also use a speed screw and leather rear bag. For a shooting style: I don't use a stop on my front rest. I simply slide the gun back and forth from the sighter to the record target. For fine elevation adjustments I use my speed screw. Left and right adjustments are made with my adjustable windage top. To make my guns slide smoothly in the bags, I first wipe off both front and rear bags with a dry rag. Once the bags are clean I spray them both with a liberal dose of Sauve deodorant. Don't try other brands because they don't work. My set-up at the bench is a ritual which I follow fanatically. I do this for two reasons. First of all, I believe improper alignment between the front rest, rear bag, and rifle are responsible for more flyers then any other single reason. Secondly, it prepares me mentally to shoot my group. When I walk to the bench I can get settled in quickly, get the gun on target and start to concentrate on conditions before the command, "Replace Bolts." Here is my Ritual Kabuki Dance:
1. I place my ammo box and a towel on the bench so that my rifle sits on the bench without the rear stock hanging over the back. This is so my gun doesn't get accidentally bumped off the bench. Nothing breaks your concentration more then your rifle bouncing off the concrete.
2. I then place my front rest and rear bag on the table. Clean them thoroughly with a dry wash cloth and spray them with Sauve deodorant as mentioned above.
3. Once everything is sprayed I go about the task of setting up my front rest. For the first setup of the day I place the front rest with the front legs approximately one inch from the front edge of the bench. I then stand behind the rest and use the rear leg as an aiming device, and aim the rest at my target. I then level my rest with the individual front leg elevation screws so the rifle sits square with the bench top. My rest has a level on it which makes this process quite fast. Then I tap in the front legs with a mallet...Tap is the key word, not pound.
4. I then align the rear bag on the table by standing behind it and sighting down the bags rabbit ears. The rear bag's ears should be in straight alignment with the front rest's rear leg and pointed at the target.
5. Now its time to place the rifle in the bags. I like to place my rifles with about 2 inches of the gun stock protruding over the front of the rest. I then set the rear bag so that about 1 ½ inches of the rear stock protrudes over the back of the rear bag. (Note: Many a group has been ruined because the rear stock crept to far forward into the rear bag, causing the gun to recoil irregularly). Shooters need to experiment with this to see where their gun shoots and rides the bags the best.
6. I then look through the scope and adjust the front rest for elevation with the star-wheel. Once on target I lock the front post in with the tee-handle. If the gun is left or right of the target, I adjust my windage-top to the center of my target.
7. Next I index the rifle into the bags by sliding the gun back and forth. If the gun is properly aligned the cross-hairs will be perpendicular to the target (not canted) and the rifle will move smoothly from the record ten ring to the sighter ten ring. Most of the time its necessary to make slight left or right adjustments with the rear leg of the front rest for the gun to track properly. To do this slide the gun back and forth while looking through the scope. Move the rest's rear leg left or right until you are satisfied with the guns tracking.
8. Next I place my crosshairs on the sighter ten ring and adjust my rear speed screw up and down. If the gun is setup properly the crosshairs will also track in a straight line when the rear speed screw is used. If it doesn't minute left or right adjustment of the rear leg may be necessary.
9. Now get up from the bench, stand behind your gun and check to see that everything looks aligned and centered. Ensure all knobs and handles are tight. Now that everything is where you want it, use a magic marker to outline your front rest and rear bag. This will make setup much faster.
10. Mission complete!
Setup is critical to consistently shooting small groups. My technique may or may not work for you, but that isn't important. What is important is that you experiment until you develop a method that works for you. When you sit down behind your rifle you should be comfortable, and know in the back of your mind your rifle is setup perfectly. I'm a slow learner, but it took me nearly three years before I became comfortable with my setup.
Shoot good and good luck! If you have any questions you can reach me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have tried a lot of things over the years but I have come to the conclusion the the new bag made of cordura is the best right now. That not to say that something else won't come along. What I like about bags made with cordura is that it takes no powder on the bag for the rifle to slide easy. I presently don't have a rear bag with cordura but will have one before next year.