Shooting bugeye groups.

So: you've been reading about those "sub MOA" groups, and you would like to shoot some too? Well, you can - but it's an acquired taste.

By that statement I mean that it isn't essentially a test of your skill, like 4 position competition. It is equally - or more so - a test of your equipment. You see, you're not even going to hold your rifle. It will be rested on beanbags, and you will just barely touch it. Striving for little bugeye groups is a legitimate sport, and becoming more popular now that most urban shooting ranges require us to shoot from a bench. The skill set is just very different from the one that you will need to go hunting.

To play this game, you will need an accurate rifle, best a bolt action. It should have a light trigger. Mount a high magnification telescope of 20X or more (and if you have only used hunting scopes, plan on taking a session or two to get used to the critical eye position of a target scope). Get a set of sandbags, or quality beanbags. There are a variety of mechanical aids on the market, like the Lead Sled, but these are more for the dedicated bench shooter.

Set up your bags so that the rifle rests on them and the target is within the field of your telescope. Snuggle it into the bean bags and then move them carefully until the crosshairs rest on the X ring. If you are off by a half inch or so, resist the urge to pull the rifle onto the target. That won't do - your shot will go wide as the rifle recoils off the support that your hand is giving it. Move the beanbag, instead. The crosshairs have to intersect the X when your rifle is setting there all by itself, with literally NO help from you. I like to then place my shoulder against the butt stock, but just barely. When you are all set, the rifle should be resting on the bags, with your shoulder barely touching its butt; and if you have to touch the stock with your cheek, to see through the scope, the contact should be very soft. Confirm that the crosshairs are steady on the target, and dead center. Now you can very gently pull the trigger, with a light grip, until the rifle fires.

Recoil from the shot is going to knock everything out of line, so for the next one you will go through the whole process again. Be sure to position the rifle on the bean bags exactly as it was for the first shot. It must recoil the very same way for each shot. Any alteration will throw the shot off center.

Don't expect perfection the first time you try this. It can be a bit frustrating, until you get the hang of it. Twenty or thirty shots later, though - you will have bragging rights to tiny groups, and consider it dead simple.

The only practical use for this technique is load development, but do be warned - it can become addictive. Scratch that "bugeye group" itch at your peril.