It’s nice to get a car hood to support your rifle when you can get it, but it’s not realistic that one will always be there. Even a surface that would afford a similar type of support, like the top of a rise or a rock ledge, is rare. The more common means of support in standing are trees and fence posts. To test this variation of supported standing I used a t-post of which there were many to choose:
There are a few different ways to use vertical support. I outlined some of them in my original article on the subject here. To recap the general methods, a.) the support hand can grasp the support and the forend, b.) the support hand can grasp or plant firmly against the support and suspend the rifle by the sling, or c.) one leg of the bipod can be used by holding it against the support.
I have tried the sling suspension method, but it makes bolt manipulation difficult because the rifle has a strong tendency to roll away from the support when the tension from the firing hand is released. I found that the bipod method is similar in that respect, so I chose the first method. Two of the three options are pictured below, bipod and the simple hand interface.
Regardless of position, it is advantageous to ‘load’ the position against the support, both to stabilize the position and for recoil control. By grasping the sling firmly, I could lean forward at an angle and have most of my weight supported by my support hand. A good deal of the rest of my weight was in my firing shoulder, straight into the rifle. It would have been better to be completely squared off to the rifle for recoil management purposes, but my support arm would have needed to be longer, or the position of my support hand farther back on the rifle, which would make any movement I put into the rifle have a greater effect on the rounds point of impact (as a shorter sight radius seems to intensify wobble).
I knew ahead of time that my ability to keep my group in the black, or even on paper would be significantly diminished as compared to any of the positions so far in this test, so I reduced the distance for this one. I ended up at 141 yards. My elevation correction was 0.1 mils.
This was the second position I fired on this particular day. The weather was approximately 80 degrees and the density altitude approximately 4500’.
Here are my three groups. For details on the testing protocols, click here:
Time Stress Exerted:
Those groups translated to the ability to hit a highly visible, stationary 4” target under identical conditions at the following ranges:
There are a couple ways that the results struck me. The first was that the precision is not what a person might call ‘good’. The second was that the performance is what I might call ‘consistent’. That is one thing I can love about this; I know what to expect.
My average split time between shots, excluding loading and reloading was 9.05 seconds (low 4.0, high 9.98) versus the average split in of all positions of 6.53. The time to fire my first shot after loading my magazines was 57.26 and 51.13 seconds, versus the average of all positions which was 57.33. The total times to my last shot were 162.14 and 157.03, versus the average total of all positions of 134.48. This was the second slowest of all positions, and it was not because it’s a difficult position to get into or to bring to the target.
There are a couple defining attributes of this position. There’s a lot of wobble. It really felt like it took a long time to find an acceptable sight picture and break a shot which is the primary factor that made the slow positions slow. Bolt work is also clumsy due to the lack of firm support on the front end to keep the rifle from rotating. Both of these factors made follow up shots a little slower. On the flipside, because the position is pretty uncomplicated to acquire, getting the first shot fired was actually slightly faster on average than the average of all positions.
I see the main disadvantage to a position like this being the unsteadiness. In a situation in which the target is fleeting, the choice is likely going to be between settling for less than an acceptable sight picture or missing the opportunity for the shot. Having said that, sometimes it’s necessary to stand due to terrain, and I can give you the following spoiler- support beats no support. Think of this as having similar attributes as the standing position, but with support (meant to sound dumb and obvious- which I can pull off anytime, anywhere).