#5 The best $1,500 you can spend on long range.

hereinaz

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There is the story of a bunch of blind men that all grabbed a different part of an elephant. One grabbed the tail and said an elephant was a rope. Another grabbed a leg and said an elephant was a tree. Another grabbed the trunk and said it was a snake. If you are new to long range, you are like a blind man. You might see scopes, rifles, turrets, etc. and it may seem just like regular shooting, just further away. But, you would be wrong. Long range shooting for hunting purposes really is complex. It is a skill that requires better technique and specialized gear.

Competency in long range shooting requires excellent technique and quality gear. There is a minimum level of quality of gear that is necessary to reach highest levels of competence. Many rifles can do it, but most scopes cannot. Many scopes marketed for long range shooting are not suitable because of higher failure rates. This is why you will see many people say they will never buy a certain scope, but that scope also has a reputation for failure. It isn't that it can't be used.

But, I am not here to get you to spend $1,500.00 on scopes. I am here to tell you that the best money you can spend is on a quality long range training course that focuses on the fundamentals of marksmanship. Spend that money on personal instruction. If you can't spend that much, then find good online training. Sniper's Hide and Modern Day Sniper are two online courses that I have paid for and are worth the money, even though much is repetition. They focus heavily on the fundamentals to improve your technique. I watch them still because it is good to be reminded and to learn about the same skills from a different angle. There is still an art to it all, after all. There is no one perfect technique, there are techniques that have their own cost/benefit analysis based off the fundamentals of marksmanship.

Training is so important, because the typical rifle system is far more capable than the shooters. You can buy the best gear and gadgets, but until you can see the whole picture of the firing task, you will be like the blind man groping around the elephant. You just don't know what you don't know. You can't see how recoil is managed. You can't see how to press the trigger without disturbing the rifle. You can't see how to get your mass behind the rifle to manage recoil. You can't see how to support the butt of the rifle. You can't see lots of details, including the technical aspects of developing a good firing solution and managing the technical gear and electronic information available.

Technique and the act of shooting is critical to long range precision and accuracy. Knowing and applying the fundamentals of marksmanship is key to repeatability, being able to make the first round hits, and being able to watch it and make corrections for a second round hit if necessary. The fundamentals are your ability to manage the firing task before you fire and manage recoil of the rifle after firing in a repeatable way. Many shooters can get the crosshair perfectly on the target, but they can't finish the task of breaking the trigger and managing recoil without moving the rifle. That is why shooters think a "lead sled" is a good idea, to take the shooter out of the equation (but in reality it is a bad idea for many reasons I won't go into).

The actual act of shooting from prone is not hard if you have a quality rifle system in front of you, including rifle, scope, bipod and rear bag. In prior tips, I explained how teenage boys and their dads were able to lay down and easily get impacts at 975 yards by following my instructions. They executed all the tasks to fire the rifle and were properly aligned to the rifle so they could control recoil by themselves, but I literally coached them through the process. We went through the firing process slowly and methodically. I didn't advance a step until they had the prior step completed. I had to back up and start over a couple times, because they shifted and undid work we had done before.

Even though they were successful, those new long range shooters couldn't even begin to see all the parts of shooting, even if they had watched me do it. But, with a couple days of instruction, they could be doing the entire shooting task on their own. They would then know for themselves. Training, instruction and coaching is critical to developing the skill. Paying a real professional for instruction is definitely worth it. Before you buy a second rifle or scope, you should buy instruction.

In Tip number one, I talked about my experience at along range shooting course. No other single thing I did improved my long range shooting like that. I could learn all sorts of things about the science, but personal instruction is the best way to learn the art. Personal instruction has always lead to a giant leap forward for me. Besides personal training, I have also purchased and watched quality online training courses. I have watched them over and over again. As I repeat them, I see new things or remember old things.

If you can't afford a personal training course, definitely look at online training, its the next best thing. If you can't do that, buy Ryan Cleckner's book Long Range Shooting Handbook and watch all the videos he did on YouTube. Be careful with who you trust watching any videos online. There are many who are like blind men describing "the elephant's tail" in their videos, but they are standing under the elephant ignoring what comes out under the tail. But, hey can't see all the crap in their video, cause they are blind to what they just don't know. If you haven't receive instruction, you can't always see the crap either. It is amusing when I see guys who seem to have bathed in the stuff at the range. I have probably been that guy too...

Its not always fun to talk about technique. I think part of that is because we like to think we are better than they actually are. It requires being humble and staying open to learning. Another reason is because it is hard to write about technique. What we love to talk about though is gear. Look on any forum, and it is most common to talk about the gear. I am guilty of it. We endlessly debate quality, features, cost, etc. While important, it is still only part of the long range equation.

Talk about gear, but don't get sucked into thinking better gear will make you shoot better. Yeah, there are ways to buy smaller groups. But, I would bet that 99% of the shooters out there could do more to shrink groups by getting instruction than a lot of the voodoo they practice. I know that all my expensive scopes and semicustom guns still outshoot me...

Bottom line, find some quality training by competent professionals. In person is best, but paid online is next best. Free online is sketchy at best, unless you can pick out the competent trainers.

I've covered some basic ideas and tips so far. I know they are "boring" but I think they are that important. I am starting these tips as if someone is brand new to the idea of long range shooting. It is the advice and things I wish I knew. These basic ideas will form a solid foundation. From now on, keep watching for more "exciting" tips, including videos.

PS: Besides instruction, there are other great opportunities to learn and grow. Attend a "local" precision rifle match or larger two day matches, and especially the new NRL Hunter series matches. You don't have to get sucked into the gamesmanship, competition and sport of it. Yes, there are some primadonnas in the sport and yes there are a few contrived stages at each match. But, just go and use it as an opportunity to practice and learn your skills. You will also meet other likeminded people. I've met some great guys that I shoot with outside of matches. My couple of years attending matches accelerated my learning greatly. I still attend, but generally use it as a chance to test new gear and my skills.

If you are in Arizona, PM me and maybe we can meet up and have fun shooting.
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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I set up a long range shoot on coueswhitetail forum that was fun. Us AZ guys can keep connecting here too.
 

Rob5589

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Besides instruction, there are other great opportunities to learn and grow. Attend a "local" precision rifle match...

This is what I did when I wanted to get into it. Luckily I had an excellent group to learn from that had some of the countries top shooters at the time. I never was a top shooter, 5th out of 52 was my best, but I learned a ton and had a great time. I don't do it any longer but the skills definitely carry over.
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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Besides instruction, there are other great opportunities to learn and grow. Attend a "local" precision rifle match...

This is what I did when I wanted to get into it. Luckily I had an excellent group to learn from that had some of the countries top shooters at the time. I never was a top shooter, 5th out of 52 was my best, but I learned a ton and had a great time. I don't do it any longer but the skills definitely carry over.
I have never finished that well! Well said. I think people can find a massive benefit if they go with an open mind to learn.

I am a middle of the pack shooter cause I sucked hard at first and now am always futzing with a new gun, testing gear, and walking away from stages that are ridiculous, lol. I never got that serious. Funny thing is none of my hunting shots have been as hard as most of the match. Its confidence that helped me the most. Give me 2 minutes and I KNOW I can make one shot, lol.

I enjoy going to matches, but my favorite thing to do on a free Saturday is to go on a hike with my gear in my pack as if I am hunting and practice shooting awkward field positions on rocks. Funny thing is, with a tripod there aren't any funny positions...
 

Rob5589

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I have never finished that well! Well said. I think people can find a massive benefit if they go with an open mind to learn.

I am a middle of the pack shooter cause I sucked hard at first and now am always futzing with a new gun, testing gear, and walking away from stages that are ridiculous, lol. I never got that serious. Funny thing is none of my hunting shots have been as hard as most of the match. Its confidence that helped me the most. Give me 2 minutes and I KNOW I can make one shot, lol.

I enjoy going to matches, but my favorite thing to do on a free Saturday is to go on a hike with my gear in my pack as if I am hunting and practice shooting awkward field positions on rocks. Funny thing is, with a tripod there aren't any funny positions...

That was my best, but I was middle of the pack most of the time myself. Still had a blast though! lol

The matches put the pressure on for sure. Getting off 3 rounds at 1k in 60 secs with crazy winds was demanding. It definitely shows what is possible, even without super high end gear.
 

Ens Entium

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@hereinaz If you could only choose one, would it still be worthwhile to take one course over the next few years (for example Modern Day Sniper 101 the next time they are close by) versus having their fundamentals course to be able to reference and practice with on a regular basis?
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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@hereinaz If you could only choose one, would it still be worthwhile to take one course over the next few years (for example Modern Day Sniper 101 the next time they are close by) versus having their fundamentals course to be able to reference and practice with on a regular basis?
Hmmm, hard call. If you are a good self learner, can figure things out, and are already studying, then I think I would start sooner with online courses.

The information is the same, essentially. It is the delivery system for the information. MDS is well presented. What you get with personal instruction is the coaching. Some people learn better that way. When I went to the course, I had already learned all the classroom stuff. It was the hands on that was valuable. Paul walking me through the steps, and pointing out flaws.

In lieu of coaching, you can film yourself and critique yourself. And, post videos online and get feedback from others. There is a ton you can learn just from watching yourself. I have used videos of my shooting to see what is happening in the shot process and during recoil.

I have done a lot on my own, but getting to shoot with others, watch them, and listen to their feedback has been very helpful. If you go to local matches, you'll get some good stuff there and have fun.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

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@hereinaz If you could only choose one, would it still be worthwhile to take one course over the next few years (for example Modern Day Sniper 101 the next time they are close by) versus having their fundamentals course to be able to reference and practice with on a regular basis?
Fundamentals. Ideally you'd get two or more sessions (preferably one on one). One class "now" to get you going (including any required corrections) and one class "later"; this way you have time to practice and then get a follow up session. This can be a couple hour session (or whatever minimum the instructor offers).

If your fundamentals are sound, you'd get a lot more out of a "long range" shooting course. Otherwise you run the risk of getting frustrated with missing shots. You also would lose training time by having to refocus on fixing issues with your fundamentals. A small flinch at 100 yards is not that big of a deal. However, that small flinch can have you missing your target further out.

If you have sound fundamentals, I guarantee you that some instructors can have you ringing steel at 1000 yards in short order (assuming the rifle, scope, and ammo are dialed in). If your fundamentals have issues, then it can take the same instructors more time as they have to "unteach" you your bad habits and replace them with good habits.
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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Fundamentals. Ideally you'd get two or more sessions (preferably one on one). One class "now" to get you going (including any required corrections) and one class "later"; this way you have time to practice and then get a follow up session. This can be a couple hour session (or whatever minimum the instructor offers).

If your fundamentals are sound, you'd get a lot more out of a "long range" shooting course. Otherwise you run the risk of getting frustrated with missing shots. You also would lose training time by having to refocus on fixing issues with your fundamentals. A small flinch at 100 yards is not that big of a deal. However, that small flinch can have you missing your target further out.

If you have sound fundamentals, I guarantee you that some instructors can have you ringing steel at 1000 yards in short order (assuming the rifle, scope, and ammo are dialed in). If your fundamentals have issues, then it can take the same instructors more time as they have to "unteach" you your bad habits and replace them with good habits.
I agree.

I like what I see advertised by Frank Galli and MDS with Caylen and Phil. Rifles Only, of course, is the granddaddy of them all. They bang away at fundamentals while walking you out to long range. Unless I had time to really get to know other instructors, I wouldn't take from anyone else random. I can vouch for Paul Butler of Evolved Ballistics, he does awesome training and knows his stuff. There are hidden gems like that. There are big places that are well known, but without knowing the instructor, I would hesitate.

I think you can do both fundamentals and long range with someone new. IMO, the worst to teach are people who have built in bad habits and are tuff guys shoot ultra magnums. My experience is that the fundamentals can be taught easily in prone if someone will simply listen and the steps are broken down and repeated before the shot is fired. It takes practice to build them in permanent, but that one on one to identify the issue is powerful medicine for a newbie. Your point of going back for a refresher is perfect.

One massive benefit to in person long range training is having a pro diagnose your rifle system. I didn't mention it, but having Paul walk me through the software and how to set up and dope a rifle was invaluable. It didn't transform me as a shooter, but it went a long way to cement confidence in the gear. That let me focus on my bad form as the weak link.
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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I don't know anyone that does training for PRS that I would recommend. I went and shot and met guys and shoot with them. I bet there are some people that would take you out.

Where are you in AZ?
 

Justin Crossley

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For the guys looking for help without spending a bunch of money, I recommend the daily video series on the Primal Rights Youtube page. It's called "Bullets From The Bible" and walks you through from the beginning. They have been running the series since the start of this year so there are literally hours of really great content available to you for free.
 

ofl0926

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I am in south Florida.
is there a long range shoot course you would recommend taking? I dont traveling at all
 
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hereinaz

hereinaz

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I would look at Altus, Arena, and Barbour Creek.
 
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