#1 Intro: Science and Art of Long Range Shooting

hereinaz

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Every week, there will be a new tip or discussion to add to your long range rifle skillset. Placing a bullet precisely on target at long range is easier than ever, and this forum is here to help you. Science and manufacturing has put the tools in the hands of every hunter, straight off the factory floor you can get a rifle and scope to shoot long range. These tips will draw on resources from all over to explore many different aspects of long range shooting to learn the fundamentals and to add to your bag of tricks.

It's the indian, not the arrow. Learning the ART of long range is what will make you and me a better shooter in any condition.

When I started, I knew nothing about long range. For gear, I had a package .270 win that came with a cheap Nikon scope. From there, I spent $800 total on my first long range rifle system, which was a cheap Savage with a used SWFA Super Sniper fixed 12x scope. It would shoot half inch groups at 100 yards, with factory Gold Medal Match and Hornady Precision Match ammo. I will never say you need a custom rifle and expensive glass to get in the game or to shoot long range.

Being a cheapskate, I downloaded Shooter, a free ballistic solver onto my phone. I had the cheapest Kestrel to give me environmental data, but no ballistics on it. With $100 on the used Kestrel, I had all the tech tools to model the ballistic performance of the bullet and tell me the environmental conditions. I had also read many of the available books, including the technical books written by Bryan Litz on modern ballistics. I had consumed content from YouTube, podcasts, and forums like on Rokslide.

Everything was in my hands to shoot to 1000 yards. But, I knew I was still no sniper. The furthest I had shot my rifle was 500 yards on a few trips to the desert, but I always had to walk in my impacts. So, I jumped at a chance to attend Evolved Ballistics' long range shooting course that focused on first round precision shooting for hunters.

On the evening I arrived before the course, I was paired with Paul Butler, a former Marine urban sniper course instructor, who is now a close friend and current owner of Evolved Ballistics. Paul took me to the range and started me with baby steps from the beginning, even though I wanted to start hammering at the 1000 yard plate. He forced me to confirm my 100 yard zero and measured the velocity of my ammo. He had me tweak my zero and explained why. Then he walked me through all the steps to set up the ballistic solver to my gun and ammo. He entered the environmental data.

Only after the baby steps of setting up my rifle system did he start verifying the ballistic solver data by increasing the distances I was shooting by two or three hundred yards, giving me pointers, calling my hits and giving my wind holds, but thankfully the wind was very kind to me as it calmed before sunset. The range session ended that evening as Paul coached me from 100 yards to my first sub moa group at 1000 yards. It was amazing.

Ever since that range session, I was consumed with the goal to become a rifleman who knew the SCIENCE and mastered the ART of a long range. The wind and variable field conditions still humble me, so I am still just a long range student, practicing the ART and keeping up with the science. I'll share what I know in these tips, and bring in experts to share what they do. I hope you find value and get more first round impacts.

Stephen

First 1000 yard group with Paul Butler's instruction. 20180202_171654.jpg
A "range" session in the wilderness practicing field condition shots for first round accuracy.
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DudeBro

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I'm excited to read your tips. I know this was intended to be a sales pitch for Paul's course per se, but it got me over to his website. I suspect he may end up with a few new students out of your series!
 

Ryan Avery

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Stephen thanks for doing this. I started down the LR road around 2008. I didn't really know shit. But I was lucky enough to run into people that did. I ended up shooting a ton of bullets with Sam Mallard and Jeff Brozovich. They cut my learning curve in half. We should all strive to be better when it comes to killing animals no matter our choice of weapon.
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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I'm excited to read your tips. I know this was intended to be a sales pitch for Paul's course per se, but it got me over to his website. I suspect he may end up with a few new students out of your series!
You couldn't do much better than a course with Paul. Here is the first of a video series I did with him. He is definitely a fundamentals guy, doesn't get complicated, but he sure knows his stuff. I first shot off a tripod with him, and saw what he could do with it. Even if you can't make a training, I did some videos with him sharing the fundamentals.

 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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Stephen thanks for doing this. I started down the LR road around 2008. I didn't really know shit. But I was lucky enough to run into people that did. I ended up shooting a ton of bullets with Sam Mallard and Jeff Brozovich. They cut my learning curve in half. We should all strive to be better when it comes to killing animals no matter our choice of weapon.
Man, I wish I could have learned with them personally. I think I watched all of Sam's videos, especially on reloading and the Kestrel when I first got it. He does good work. I went to www.longrangeonly.com and read a ton too. Broz is an awesome resource.

Literally no one I knew around me shot long range. Having a personal mentor cuts the learning curve massively. Other than two very valuable weekends of personal instruction and a couple dozen matches rubbing elbows with great shooters, I have been on my own. I have devoured all the resources I can and got training through forums and Facebook, lol. Just banging rocks and steel has been the most important though.

My hope with this series is that I can break it down for people who will have to learn like I did and point them to trusted resources like @Broz and Sam. There is A LOT of garbage out there and not as much for hunters. There is even less for your budget hunter who doesn't have a fortune for custom gear. Phil Velayo did a good one with a Tikka. I think you and I both are on the same page when it comes to learning and shooting. Don't overcomplicate it. Go get a gun that shoots 1 moa and a SWFA SS scope and go bang steel. Its what I did for 6 months. My $800 investment could have killed all the animals I have shot with my custom. Sometimes, I wish I still had it just to show people that it is the indian, not the arrow...

I hope you poke your head in here and make sure we keep it real!
 

DudeBro

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You couldn't do much better than a course with Paul. Here is the first of a video series I did with him. He is definitely a fundamentals guy, doesn't get complicated, but he sure knows his stuff. I first shot off a tripod with him, and saw what he could do with it. Even if you can't make a training, I did some videos with him sharing the fundamentals.
I'll be interested to see those videos and hear how much of it echoes USMC basic marksmanship training vs. something more in depth.
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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I'll be interested to see those videos and hear how much of it echoes USMC basic marksmanship training vs. something more in depth.
The videos were a series of discussions on the fundamentals, pretty well straight from his Marine urban sniper course as far as I know. If you go to the first video, the others are available on that channel.
 
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