Author Topic: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?  (Read 23839 times)

Offline Delmonico

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Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« on: June 08, 2007, 11:52:44 am »
With a couple discussions here the last couple weeks on shooting sticks I thought maybe a thread showing what we use would be helpful.  I that BPC Sil. has some specific rules, but outside of that what do you use.  Had some time this week recovering from some surgery so I drug out mine and took some pictures,  I made these in 1995 and use them with the Sharps as well as a Savage 99 and a rebarreled Low-Wall in 22 Hornet for varnmint shooting.




These are made out of 3/4 inch oak dowels 36 inches long.  I have found the small family owned hardware stores are more likely to have them than the big mega stores.  I have made a couple sets of these for friends and have made them different lengths to suit the height of the person.  I also have a short set made to shoot prone, but they are in the shed right now I I don't feel like digging for them.  I put some stain I had around on them and added some boiled linseed oui on top.





The leather pads are 4 inches long and are made of oil tanned leather that was stitched on wet that shrank to hold tight.  The bolt through it started out as 2 inch hex head 1/4 inch in diameter and with 1/2 of an inch of thread on the end.  I chucked it in a drill press and gave it a round head with a file and cut the slot.  The winngnut and the bolt were cadium plated and I took them outside and heated them of to burn the plating off.  (Do not breath the fumes.)  They were wire brushed and coated with oil which was burned off to blue them 

Both sticks were drilled 5/16th inch  and a 3/4 inch long bronze bussing 1/4 inch ID and 5/16 OD was epoxied in place to prevent wear.



I cut two 16P nails 4 inches long and drilled the bottom of the sticks 2 inches deep and epoxied them in place.  These have worked well for me








« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 11:55:43 am by Delmonico »
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Offline Deadeye Don

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 12:18:11 pm »
Del,  Those look really good and should give others a template to make their own.  The wing nut you used is a good idea too in that you can adjust the height somewhat by simply spreading the legs out further.  The oak dowels might be the hardest componant to find, especially for those of us that only have mega stores near us.  I suppose we could use pine dowels, but they probably would not be as sturdy.  Hope you recover quickly from your surgery.   Deadeye.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 12:23:20 pm »
I am still not sure if the wingnut is Period Correct, but I made it look hand forged with a hammer and a file. ;D   I'm lucky I have several family owned hardware stores in town, two new ones in the last year or so.  You might try a small town, most of those still have them. 

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Offline Silver Creek Slim

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2007, 09:25:16 pm »

Here are my sticks. I made 'em from some 1" oak strips I had laying around. I used a black leather belt that wasn't being used fer the strap to rest the rifle on.


The bottom "spikes" are metal door stops that I ground the tips down.

It ain't authentic but it works fer what I need it fer.  ;)

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Offline Pappy Morgan

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2007, 08:31:09 am »
These are the shooting sticks that I use. I made them from Hickory broom handles. I drilled several holes about two thirds of the way down, and joined them with leather lacing. I used a leather strap about four inches wide for the rifle to rest on and laced it to slide along the sticks. I use a piece of leather thong to hold them in place, but I can move them to what ever height I need. I drilled the ends and used 6 inch by 1/4 lag screws and grounds of the heads to points. I did some bead work and added some things that I have received from the shoots I have been to. I get alot of compliments on them.
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Offline Deadeye Don

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2007, 09:06:29 am »
Pappy,  Those are nice looking shooting sticks for sure.  Yours are the first I have seen that have been "dressed up".  Safe shooting.  Deadeye.
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Offline Wolfgang

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2007, 10:06:31 pm »
Nice sticks, nice pictures. Have a look at my cross sticks if'n ya care to at : www.drburkholter.com/cf9.html.
Beware the man with one gun, he probably knows how to use it.

Offline Deadeye Don

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2007, 05:39:33 pm »
Nice sticks, nice pictures. Have a look at my cross sticks if'n ya care to at : www.drburkholter.com/cf9.html.

Nice cross sticks.  What did you use for the pivot point?
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Offline James Hunt

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2007, 01:33:30 pm »
With the advent of long range black powder cartridge shooting most all are familiar with what we often call shooting sticks or cross sticks to steady the heavy rifle barrel. We are all familiar with the fact that buffalo hunters used them, but often the reference is lacking if questioned and a Remington or modern painting seems the only documentation we recall. I post the following two primary source descriptions of these items for your use.

One is commented on by a buffalo hunter, the other concerns a Texas ranger considered an outstanding shot by his peers. There is no indication that either source was aware of each other although both hailed from Texas. In both cases the term "rest sticks" is used. That should probably be the term we employ at any historical event until further documentation suggests something else.

The first description is from Frank Mayer in "The Buffalo Harvest" by Mayer and Roth, prepared at the end of Mayer's life and originally edited by Roth in 1958 and reprinted in 1995 by Pioneer Press. From page 44:

"A heavy rifle fired so close to the ground reverberates and causes more sound than one fired higher above it. So if you were prone while firing you would soon frighten your game away. We used rest sticks which put us about thirty inches above the ground, we either sat while we fired or fired from a kneeling position.

"The sticks were a simple device, merely two pieces of hard wood bolted together so as to provide a crotch in which you put the heavy barrel, held the barrel and sticks steady with the left hand, which made shooting almost like using a bench rest."

On page 43 Mayer, now an old man, demonstrated the use of rest sticks with his Sharps in a photograph. The sticks appear about three feet long, and his hand is gripping them near the top with the rifle forearm sitting upon the crotch of the sticks, and perhaps the upper part of his hand while he is assuming a kneeling position. Note that he said a bolt connected the sticks although this cannot be seen in the picture. The sticks appear to be about an inch thick although it is difficult to tell if they are round or flat sided.

Note that he does not describe or show any towel, leather or other contraption attached to the sticks to rest the rife forearm or barrel in as is so often the case with modern shooters and commercially prepared "rest sticks".

The other source is from a Texas Ranger officer, Lieutenant Baylor who was considered an outstanding shot. He had gotten rid of his .44-40 carbine and favored a .45-70 Springfield sporting rifle for Indian fighting. James B. Gillett writes in his excellent book "Six Years with the Texas Rangers 1875 to 1881" (available from University of Nebraska Press) on page 144:

"He always used what he called rest sticks; that is, two sticks about three feet long the size of one's little finger. These were tied
together about four or five inches from one end with a buckskin thong. In shooting he would squat down, extend the sticks an arm's length out in front of him with the longer ends spread out tripod-fashion on the ground.

Note the similar length, although Mayer's sticks seem a little more robust. Note the common use of the term "rest sticks". Note their simplicity. No fancy attachments, multiple holes for adjustments, or anything else seen on the modern product.

Before taking too much pride in our modern gussied up "rest sticks" and our shooting ability we should remember that these were guy's who not only could shoot with the best today but also were doing it after estimating the range and using more primitive equipment.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2007, 03:42:29 pm »
Trust me James, if I ever get a chance to do a "Living History" event where I get to see if I can make a stand on a real, wild, herd of buffalo I will go down to the creek and cut me a couple of sticks to use, might not even bath for a few weeks before and wear the same clothes as long. ;)

However the true target shooting of the time as opposed to hunting either four legged or two legged beast required the supporting of the rifle with just your body.  BTW if you choose to rest the fore-end instead of the barrel on the sticks that padding helps to keep the fore-end from getting all scratched up.  Mine shoots better with the fore-end rested rather than the barrel, other's milage on this one varies. ;)
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Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.

Offline James Hunt

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2007, 04:50:23 pm »
I suspect those old fella's could care less about scratching the forestock of their rifle, one of the coolest things to see on an old heavy rifle is pommel wear on the forestock. The question of accuracy bested by either resting the barrel or the forestock on the "rest stick" seems to me to swing in favor of the barrel for most shooters I have observed today, remembering that today most of the best are shooting prone. To hold your sticks by your off hand would require resting the forestock on the crotch of the sticks. I shoot so poorly I have never been able to tell the difference. Note also that the absence of any mention of a nail or device to secure the sticks to the ground, which at this point must be considered a modern adaptation I would think. I bet they put some effort into those sticks, it wasn't a hap-hazard affair - note the bolt on Mayer's, but they seem to have dismissed allot of the add-ons seen today.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2007, 05:05:29 pm »
Most today are not willing to scratch their forearms. 

Since the games played today are not either real hunting or real target shooting of the period the sticks are what folks use and just like fancy wood, fancy sticks are not needed but liked by most.  Also as per my original post, the same sticks are used for varmint hunting with an original Low-Wall rebarred in the 1940's to 22 Hornet with a Springfild barrel as was somewhat common in that era, a very collectable pice for those interested in varnmint rifles of that era, spent to much time getting the wood refinished with all those hand rubbed coats of linseed oil to mar it by not being a little careful. ;)

Myself I'll keep the little nit picking details for times there are large amounts of folks to teach the history to at some historical site, heck when I practice on my private range I use a Dewey rod to clean it. ;D  Load my rounds with modern dies also, even cast the bullets out of a 'lectric pot. ::)
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.

Offline James Hunt

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2007, 05:11:50 pm »
The next thing you're going to confess is a failure to urinate down the barrel after every 3rd shot!!! ; :o - And here I thought you embraced history to the ultimate extent! ;D
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2007, 05:18:27 pm »
The next thing you're going to confess is a failure to urinate down the barrel after every 3rd shot!!! ; :o - And here I thought you embraced history to the ultimate extent! ;D

Only when there is a crowd to see it James. ;D  I even shave with a disposable razor at home most times, just practice a few times a year with the straight one to keep in practice for Living History events.  And even at them the prefer I poop in their plastic outhouse and I do take advatage of that nice soft paper, ain't always a Velvet Leaf in season.
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.

Offline Silver Creek Slim

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2007, 08:37:55 pm »
So, James hunt, to get back to the original question, what shooting sticks do you use?

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Offline Uncle Eph

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2007, 08:53:26 pm »
if you are going to use your sticks correctly you would never rest the forearm on the sticks (unless the barrel was bedded) and you would take the time and ammo to find the sweet spot on the barrel, sounds crazy but believe me it works.

I had one buffalo Sharps that showed both wear on the forearm from being carried across a saddle and wear on the barrel from the cross sticks.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2007, 11:02:08 pm »
if you are going to use your sticks correctly you would never rest the forearm on the sticks (unless the barrel was bedded) and you would take the time and ammo to find the sweet spot on the barrel, sounds crazy but believe me it works.


And who would do anything as crazy as either. ;D  Right at 1 inch in front of the forend on the Pedersoli if you use the barrel, but the barrel don't work that good with the Low-Wall Hornet and forget about it with the Savage 99 in 243, don't even look at the barrel crooked or it will throw the shot. :o ;)
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.

Offline Dr. Bob

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2007, 11:58:00 pm »
Del,

Back to your first post on this thread, wing nuts were used on the inking pen of draftsman's drawing sets from at least 1750 to about 1800, when the were replaced with knurled round nuts.  I don't know when the folded variety came about, the the solid ones would be PC. ;D
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2007, 11:43:12 am »
Thanks Dr. Bob, I know we kicked this around in a thread in the NCOWS forum a while back and came up with that also, not the draftsman pens but a can opener I think.  The dicionary said around 1900 for wingnut to be part of the langage, but we came up with the term "thumbnut" much eariler.  To logic of an item to not have been made.
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.

Offline litl rooster

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2007, 07:55:13 am »
No hardware used, these wer too short for standing so they are now cut down to sit and shoot.
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Offline Silver Creek Slim

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Re: Shooting Sticks, What do you use?
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2007, 01:23:25 pm »
Nice stix, Litl Rooster.

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