So who is this "Froggy" guy anyway? Well, he's not a BR Hall of Famer. You won't see him at a BR match fondling a 6PPC with a $700 pink paint job. He's more likely to be out in the California desert, flat on his belly in 100 degree heat, shooting 4" clay birds at 750 yds. And hitting them, every time.
A Navy veteran, master-level trap-shooter, and full-time aerospace assembly manager in real life, Froggy is a bit of a living legend in West Coast "Tactical" circles. Why? Because this guy has an uncanny ability to shoot insanely small groups with just a bipod, and sand-sack. And he does it with a heavy-recoiling .308 or 6.5-284 and no wind flags. Sick bugholes I'm telling you--five shots in one hole are the norm. Yep, I can bear witness. I've seen it done--two lanes over from me, in conditions of shifting mirage and a flukey crosswind, he drilled a group that measured out in the high 'teens for five shots. With a Harris bipod, mind you, not a $780 Farley CoAxial front rest.
I've never seen anybody else, anywhere, that can consistently shoot this well off a bipod with a hard hold. (Check out that target. Yep that's five bipod shots of .308. And he has a hundred more targets just like it). How does he do it? Read on ....
Elements of Accuracy
We asked Froggy to share the techniques he uses to achieve maximum accuracy. Here are his marksmanship secrets--from breath control to bipod set-up. This section covers shooting methodology. To learn about Froggy's reloading techniques, click here:
Froggy on Reloading >
Q: You've mastered the "hard-hold" shooting style. How do you grip and steady the stock?
I use a classic wrap-around grip on the stock, similar to that of most profesional tactical shooters. The rifle is pulled hard back into my shoulder and the tip of the pad of my right index finger on the lower part of the trigger.
90% of my focus after I'm dialed in is in the trigger pull. The other 10% is in the cheek weld and the crosshair to target relationship.
Again trigger pull will kill you if the correct technique is not employed. The trigger must be squeezed gently straight back; any twisting, pushing or moving side to side will put you out of business. I practice in the dark by dry firing repeatedly. Most of my feel training is done in a dark room, no distractions, my sensitivity and muscle memory are greatly enhanced.
Q: Do you use a classic breathing system, or just wait for the scope to get steady?
I guess because I've been shooting for so long that my focus is not so much on my breathing is it is on my trigger pull. I know that my focus is so intense that my breathing is slowed considerably. My heart rate is pretty much non-existent. After many years of zoning in on targets my body has subconsciously adapted, I feel as though the rifle is an extension of my mind, everything comes together subconsciously.
Q: What's your procedure for dialing out parallax?
I look through my scope and do a preliminary focus to ensure that my target eye relief is correct. I then move my head ever so slightly around the eye-piece. If the cross hairs are stationary, then I know parallax is minimal or non-existent.
Q: Mirage--do you wait for it to subside, or just watch the rhythm and shoot through it?
Mirage is a story in itself. I can only advise this: do not shoot on a boil. I like to wait for the mirage to move slightly left or right.
Q: How is your cheek weld and position on the stock when prone?
Next to trigger pull, a consistant cheek weld is the most important thing for me. I practice by closing my eyes, place my cheek on the stock, then open my eyes. If I have a perfect sight picture, then I know my gun fits. I practice this relentlessly.
You must get this relationship as close as possible, adjusting the comb, adjusting length of pull, adjusting cant of the butt pad etc., until the relationship works. Your head must not be cocked over to one side--the alignment must be as close to naturally looking strait forward as possible. Consistant cheek weld must be memorized until it is second nature. The feel must always be there, burned into memory. Close your eyes and concentrate on the position, memorize it when you know you're there.
The minute it doesn't feel right you must adjust immediately, you will know when it is right when you see your shot placement consistency tightens up into smaller and smaller groups. How do you know when it's right? The scope is clear and parallax-free, the cross hairs are not moving around, and you are comfortable, with no neck-aches or muscle strains.
Q: How long does the barrel need to cool between shots to hold this kind of accuracy (.2 moa)?
My Accuracy International AE 308 will usually bughole up to 5 rounds before I loose my edge; the gun is capable of holding those groups much longer than I am. I try not to shoot more than 10 rounds in succession.
Q: You're a pretty strong guy. How important is upper body strength to "hard-hold" shooting?
I don't think raw strength plays any part of shooting. General fitness is much more important. Muscle memory and focus are key. I think that at this stage of my shooting career I shoot subconsciously. I feel the more you think about shooting the harder it is.
Q: Do you sometimes use the free-recoil method? Can it ever work with a bipod?
Free recoil will not produce the desired result with a .308. I tried that more than a couple of times. No dice. My technique works for me. But I won't argue with the way Tony Boyer shoots a 6PPC.
And don't even think of shooting free recoil off a bipod. It just doesn't work because you don't want those legs bouncing backwards out of control.
When shooting with a bipod it is essential that the bipod be adjusted properly for elevation and cant. The bipod must be of good quality. I like Harris swivel bipods with notched legs. When the bipod is set up properly, and if you push slightly forward with the rifle to firm up the 'pod's legs, excellent results can be realized with lots of practice.
Q: What is best advice to newbies looking to improve their accuracy?
The most accuracy that you can get out of a .308 (or any centerfire rifle for that matter) will always be by handloading your own ammunition. You can tune the load to your gun and realize its full potential.
My suggestion to a new shooter would be to get some good instruction from a pro, take a class in precision shooting, read everything you can about all of the shooting sports and get on the internet if you have access and talk to forum groups. Most of these guys will give you tons of great advice.
Visit websites such as Snipers Hide, Westcoast Tactical, Benchrest Central--there are numerous other sites. Log on, ask good questions, be respectful, listen, learn and practice as much as you can.
There is still no substitute for trigger time. I shoot 3500-4000 centerfire rifle rounds a year in three different calibers. Plus a lot of rimfire.
BTW, anyone looking to improve their centerfire rifle skills should spent a LOT of time behind the trigger of an accurate .22 rifle. Rimfire practice, even at 50 yards, really helps improve your focus and trigger control. I have a couple of 10/22s I accurized myself, and they are tack-drivers.
More From Froggy -- Part II RELOADING >>> Copyright 2004, 6mmBR.com, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without advance permission in writing from 6mmBR.com.
Part I action photo shows Jeff "Celt" Hicks of HD Rifles, courtesy SnipersHide.com.