Benefits to shooting from the bench?

Steve from GA

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Dec 25, 2020
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I am relatively new to rifle shooting, and I regularly see experienced hunters put in a lot of shooting time from the bench vs. other positions. I definitely see the benefits to shooting from the bench for rifle zero, load workup, and perhaps to eliminate other factors when practicing something specific. I shoot factory ammo and zero my rifle to my practice load, which has worked out great thus far. Sub MOA groups at 100 yards.

Thus far, I have spent 90% of my time shooting prone off of a bipod. While I am not always guaranteed to shoot prone in the field, it is a practical and realistic option to drill. On the other hand, bench shooting seems like it's fairly far from approximating a shot in the field.

I'm guessing that as a novice shooter, there are significant benefits to bench shooting that I haven't picked up on yet. What do you guys see as the benefits to adding bench shooting into my rotation of shooting positions when I'm practicing at the range with a zeroed rifle and factory ammo?
 

PathFinder

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After load development and zero, there is no advantage to it. I like to zero etc prone with a bag and bipod as well, just that many more rounds working on a position that I do use in the field.
After zero and load workup, all "practice" should be in a field position.

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JeffRaines

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Oct 24, 2015
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Honestly, the bench is solely for load work up for me. You’re right, there’s next to nothing about bench shooting that translates in the field.

Once I’ve settled on a load it’s field positions only - prone off pack, prone off a bipod, sitting off pack, etc.

For a novice shooter(or anyone really) the bench takes a lot of the variables out that can effect group size and allows you to focus solely on the shooting fundamentals/process(breathing, hold, trigger squeeze, etc). Great when you’re trying to see if a load groups well.
 

Krushrr

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Apr 23, 2021
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Trigger control from any position is helpful in my opinion. Prone with bipod sounds great if you have your own range but where I'm at it's bench or offhand. Pretty much the only options. Now on your own land or this type then yes, practice field postions when possible.
 

hodgeman

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Delta Junction, AK
Bench practice is better than no practice, but not nearly as good as field position practice.

I like the bench for load development or zeroing the rifle. After that it's pretty administrative.
 

Axlrod

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Being "relatively new" or having lots of experience, any practice including dry firing is going to make you better at shooting. I use a mix of bench and field set ups all the time, including shooting prone off my hunting pack & bipod next to the bench at the range. The more you pull the trigger the more it will become second nature.
 
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Steve from GA

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Dec 25, 2020
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Appreciate the input, guys. Fortunately, the 100 yard public range that I go to does allow prone, and now that I think of it, I also need to drag my backpack out there and shoot off of it while in prone, as well as shoot in prone with no added support. Unfortunately, the way the range is set up, I can't take seated shots. I will eventually drive out to a longer distance range where I can practice multiple shooting positions out to 400 yards.

Unless I have something specific to work on or variables to eliminate, I won't be spending much time on the bench. I'm enjoying having to deal with the variables and learning to shoot reasonably accurate under less than ideal circumstances - though I have no doubt that lining up a shot on my first elk will be a whole different ballgame vs. the range. Thanks for the feedback.
 
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Steve from GA

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Dec 25, 2020
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Being "relatively new" or having lots of experience, any practice including dry firing is going to make you better at shooting. I use a mix of bench and field set ups all the time, including shooting prone off my hunting pack & bipod next to the bench at the range. The more you pull the trigger the more it will become second nature.
This is an excellent point - I need to dry fire WAY more than I do. I keep thinking "I need to find time to drive out to the range", all the while I can walk to my backyard and train my ass off with dry fire drills.
 

Newtosavage

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Moving off the bench isn't an option for a lot of guys and gals that don't own their own land or have public land nearby that allows target shooting. That makes up the majority of hunters actually, as most public lands don't allow target shooting and most ranges make you stay on the bench for safety.
 
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