Equipment versus practice posts and Rifle practice/shooting

Formidilosus

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
1,410
This isn’t in response to anyone I particular, but there is an up tick in the amount of “I want a XXXX distance hunting rifle” traffic the last few months. I am getting a lot of questions relating to this, which I do not mind helping, but thought a public post might help answer some questions. It’s an attempt to get to actually using your rifles.


People online tend to act like 600/800/whatever yards is a rifle, cartridge and BDC scope purchase away. When someone asks for advice, or says I’m building an -insert whatever rifle/cartridge you want-, people are discussing hardware not practice and skill. Lots will say that practice is a given but it is not. 6 year olds spend more time practicing T-ball, than anyone practices using a lethal instrument and taking a life. Damn near every modern CF rifle is a 600 yard hunting gun with a solid scope combined with a knowledgeable and skilled shooter. No rifle is a solid 300 yard gun without it.

That is why they recommend what they do. Very few people are skilled enough at shooting distance, and even fewer have an experience base large enough to to teach/coach people what it takes to bring someone from a box a year hunter, to on demand cleaning killing game past 200-300 yards in backpacking environments.

I have to take a couple dozen people a year and get them truly competent from 0-600m at realistic sized targets (sub 12”) from field conditions in relatively tight time constraints, under stress, when NOT using dedicated long range rifles. I.E.- not much different than hunting. So when someone is asking for help, and their first priority is anything other than practice and proficiency... I take pause. It’s not just me. There is a small minority is some threads that are trying to bring sanity to these things, but they get drowned out by the “I just built X” crowd.

Anything other than round count with structured practice that leads to on demand performance under hunting conditions is mental and ballistic masturbation. It shows up constantly on both the range and during hunting- a custom magnum rifle, with sketchy scope, and low round count, leads to missing and wounding animals.

The less someone shoots, the more reliable and consistent their rifle and scope needs to be, the smaller the cartridge needs to be, and the shorter their max range on animals needs to be- not the reverse. Ryan Avery can shoot a big magnum in a 8lb rifle well and experiment with scopes that may not be as reliable because he is shooting every week and has the ability and skill to quickly recover and diagnose when things go wrong. A quick “ah chit” moment for people that shoot several thousand rounds a year under hunting conditions, is a catastrophic rodeo that probably results in a lost animal for anyone that doesn’t practice like that.


People aren’t missing animals because they don’t have a big enough gun, or enough magnification. They miss due to lack of skill and knowledge. There is a path that consistently works to take a “normal” hunter and make them truly solid at mid ranges in a spring and summer. It’s not the only way, but it has proven to work consistently and faster than any way which I, or those I’m around have seen.


A snapshot of how someone can gain solid ability at mid range shooting by this fall...

Two cases of ammo that has low recoil, a solid and consistent rifle, a scope that unquestionably works, and practice. Rifles, scopes and cartridge/ammo is discussed Ad nauseam. The practice is conspicuously absent nearly everywhere.

A start-

Grouping prone, from a front and rear sandbag until 10 round groups are 1.5’ish MOA. Once on consistent precision from a rest is achieved, then prone over a backpack until 10 round groups are 1.5 MOA and no larger than 2 MOA on demand. Same for a bipod if using one.
Once someone can lay down at any point and hit a 2 MOA target with every round fired over a pack, then positional work needs to happen. Sitting and kneeling using alternate rests, primarily a pack if you use one, but with hiking sticks, tripod, downed trees, etc. 2 MOA targets should be consistent from these positions. Then standing using both rests and offhand.

A decent standard is offhand out to 100, standing with sticks at 100-150, sitting unsupported out to 200-250, sitting or kneeling with a pack or sticks out to 300-350, and prone with a pack, etc past that. When someone can go from standing with all straps buckled and all gear on their person, in 20 seconds or less to get two hits on targets at their desired distance/size, then worry about shooting past 100 yards and wind.


A great drill that works very well is below that a gent came up with on another board. It’s been slightly modified a bit to reflect more realistically required skills.




100 Yard Hunting Rifle Test

Print out one each of these targets and post them up at 100 yards. This works best if you are using a setup that can be zeroed dead on at 100, however if you zero at a different range (200, 300, etc) is that zero as it will show using hold unders for hitting realistic targets. Each string starts standing with all equipment in hand or on body, I.E.- wearing pack, hiking sticks in hand, etc. If you carry empty chamber- all strings start with empty chamber.

DO IT EXACTLY HOW YOU CARRY WHILE HUNTING!
(They need to be printed out at 100% scale, and then they are still in shooter MOA, not true MOA). All shot at 100 yards.


STRING 1: No time limits.

7MOA = 2 shots offhand
5MOA = 2 shots sitting unsupported
3MOA = 2 shots sitting or keeling with sticks or backpack
2MOA = 2 shots prone (can use a pack, but no rear bag, no bipod)



STRING 2: Is a repeat of string one, but with a 20 second par time. I set a timer on my phone, if the shot isn't taken BEFORE the buzzer, it doesn't count.


7MOA = 2 shots offhand in 20 seconds
5MOA = 2 shots sitting unsupported in 20 seconds
3MOA = 2 shots sitting or keeling with sticks or backpack in 20 seconds
2MOA = 2 shots prone in 15 seconds (can use pack, but no bipod and no rear bag)





STRING 3: is a "medley". One shot from each position, with a 60 second par time.

60 seconds to go fromstanding with all gear strapped in, to-

7MOA = 1 shot offhand
5MOA = 1 shot sitting unsupported
3MOA = 1 shot sitting or keeling with sticks or backpack
2MOA = 1 shot prone (can use pack, but no bipod and no rear bag)


It's scored out of 20. A decent score is in the 15/20 range, 17 to 18 should be the goal for the first year. It’s an excellent diagnostic tool as well as a great way to practice, and has a high correlation to performance with spot and stalk hunting shots.
 

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Afhunter1

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2016
Messages
206
Location
South Central, PA
Being from the east and knowing a ton of guys on here are as well. I’d seriously doubt most guys have access to a range over 200yds. I have a farm I can shoot to 600 but if I want to shoot farther than that I have to drive hours to get to a 1k range.

I think many many guys take long shots with zero practice for it. My CDS dial says I can shoot to 700 so yeah I can. Ha ha
 

MidGAHunter

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
277
Location
MS
Excellent read and a drill I will certainly implement into my practice. Thanks for taking the time to post this. Now if I can just get the target link to allow me to see the targets...
 

16Bore

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2014
Messages
2,890
Paper plates stapled to grade stakes, at random distances (meaning 146, 243, 336, 458, not 100, 200, 300, 400) and no “bullseyes” will humble the shit out of you.

But I want a new long range rifle for 600 yard deer size targets because I might go out west one day....
 

JohnnyB

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
368
Location
Central California
Great post, I skimmed it while watching Tiger King. Anyway, I don't have much time to practice and really don't want to dial. What rifle/scope combo do you recommend that will get me dialed in out to 1400 yards? Oh, max budget is $500 hundred, including the box of 20 rounds. Thanks.
 

JeffRaines

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
711
Damn form hitting us with the knowledge.

This actually sounds like a hell of an exercise even for an experienced shooter.

I also agree with afhunter - I think what a lot of mishaps come down to is a guy that sees his bdc reticle thinking “okay I’m good out to x” after shooting his gun at 100, maybe 200 yards once or twice. You try actually hitting those ranges and you’ll be humbled quickly. I wouldn’t say 600-700 is “hard” per say, but you can’t just luck your way into those shots like you can a 200 or even 300 yard shot.

Also, shooting on a crystal clear calm day should not be taken as sufficient practice for mountain shooting. That’s another solid way to end up wounding an animal or missing altogether because you did it a couple times during the summer when the wind was calm. I think a lot of flatlanders are surprised on their first hunts into the mountains because the winds can tumultuous along with the weather. You’ll be sitting on a hillside with zero visibility one minute and the next a clearing blows in, then you realize the winds are just going NUTS. All of that calm weather practice goes right out the window in those situations.

Another method I use for practice(or verification really) is a piece of 8” round steel. I hang it up and go back back back. When you can no longer hit it the first shot is your max distance. Try it in all weather conditions.
 
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Reburn

Site Contributor
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
484
Location
Central Texas
Nah you dont need to do any of this. I did it and broke my pride. :LOL: :LOL:

But in all seriousness. Give it a try. Get humbled real quick like. Go to sling you 40lb pack off and fall on your butt, cuss the heck out of form and try it again and again. Eventually it gets easier but starting its hard as hell.
 

mxgsfmdpx

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
903
Location
Northern California
Just get comfortable with your rifle and scope. Being comfortable and confident in your rig makes you a better shooter and hunter in all cases I’ve seen. The way you get comfortable is by shooting often and from less than ideal positions with time limits. This test seems to be a pretty damn good idea on how to simulate this.

If you have the chance, shooting at live targets is much better practice than shooting in different positions at set MOA targets. But any shooting practice and testing yourself in different situations is better than “going to the range”.

In my state coyotes, rabbits, and ground squirrels are all no limit no season. I’m lucky to have my own land and some friends land to go shooting on. This is the absolute best way to train for big game hunting and remain sharp year round. Spot and stalk through rolling hills on these smaller animals not only gets me in shape but it makes me think fast, act fast, and gets me comfortable with my equipment in a timely manner. It happens fast out there and sometimes the difference between missing an animal and making a clean kill shot is a matter of seconds. Practice practice practice.

Shoot often and have fun! Don’t be afraid to make adjustments and try something new. Do your own verification work and be dilligent. Don’t just go with “what this one expert in the internet said.”
 

Shraggs

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2014
Messages
538
Location
Zeeland, MI
Thank you Form, very much.

what is your experience doing the tactics you detailed if I were to use a low recoil rifle, become proficient before transitioning to higher recoil Hunting rifles and ammo cost?

PM inbound
 

OutdoorAg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
184
@Formidilosus - and all - a follow up questions:

Can the hunting rifle test (with realigned distances) be accomplished with a full size rimfire rifle?

For example: My main hunting rifle is a Tikka T3. Plain jane as it came from the factory. I own a T1X 22LR. A near clone of my hunting rifle.

From a cost perspective, I can get a ton more practice in with that full size rimfire bolt action.

Pros/Cons to subbing in the rimfire as the practice gun?
 

16Bore

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2014
Messages
2,890
A good 22LR and ammo isn’t bad. Look at wind drift and 22LR @ 200. Rimfire will show you what your doing wrong pretty quick. But sitting at a bench with 500 rounds means a lot of throw away shots because “it’s just a 22” meaning you tend to get a little lax in what your doing. Fun as shit though.

A 223 with heavies is a better tutorial, especially if playing the same wind games as your hunting rig. Guys get so hell bent on “well this one has 15% less drift, blah, blah, blah”

If you KNOW what the shit it gonna do, then you’ll make hits.

If two clodhoppers are side by side and have perfect wind calls, only difference being one has to hold 0.5 Mil and the other 1.0 Mil, who will hit the target?

Both.
 

Lawnboi

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
3,583
Location
North Central Wi
Took your advise on a 223 and cracked off hundreds of rounds last year, as did my wife a new shooter/hunter, never on the bench. I went into last season more prepared than I ever have been. My shooting has ramped up now. Got rid of my magnums as I’m one who has more time than money, shooting a 300wm was just expensive, and I didn’t feel like I was getting as much out of it. Hoping this year I can gain the experience to stretch out a little more.
 

robtattoo

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
1,288
This isn’t in response to anyone I particular, but there is an up tick in the amount of “I want a XXXX distance hunting rifle” traffic the last few months. I am getting a lot of questions relating to this, which I do not mind helping, but thought a public post might help answer some questions. It’s an attempt to get to actually using your rifles.


People online tend to act like 600/800/whatever yards is a rifle, cartridge and BDC scope purchase away. When someone asks for advice, or says I’m building an -insert whatever rifle/cartridge you want-, people are discussing hardware not practice and skill. Lots will say that practice is a given but it is not. 6 year olds spend more time practicing T-ball, than anyone practices using a lethal instrument and taking a life. Damn near every modern CF rifle is a 600 yard hunting gun with a solid scope combined with a knowledgeable and skilled shooter. No rifle is a solid 300 yard gun without it.

That is why they recommend what they do. Very few people are skilled enough at shooting distance, and even fewer have an experience base large enough to to teach/coach people what it takes to bring someone from a box a year hunter, to on demand cleaning killing game past 200-300 yards in backpacking environments.

I have to take a couple dozen people a year and get them truly competent from 0-600m at realistic sized targets (sub 12”) from field conditions in relatively tight time constraints, under stress, when NOT using dedicated long range rifles. I.E.- not much different than hunting. So when someone is asking for help, and their first priority is anything other than practice and proficiency... I take pause. It’s not just me. There is a small minority is some threads that are trying to bring sanity to these things, but they get drowned out by the “I just built X” crowd.

Anything other than round count with structured practice that leads to on demand performance under hunting conditions is mental and ballistic masturbation. It shows up constantly on both the range and during hunting- a custom magnum rifle, with sketchy scope, and low round count, leads to missing and wounding animals.

The less someone shoots, the more reliable and consistent their rifle and scope needs to be, the smaller the cartridge needs to be, and the shorter their max range on animals needs to be- not the reverse. Ryan Avery can shoot a big magnum in a 8lb rifle well and experiment with scopes that may not be as reliable because he is shooting every week and has the ability and skill to quickly recover and diagnose when things go wrong. A quick “ah chit” moment for people that shoot several thousand rounds a year under hunting conditions, is a catastrophic rodeo that probably results in a lost animal for anyone that doesn’t practice like that.


People aren’t missing animals because they don’t have a big enough gun, or enough magnification. They miss due to lack of skill and knowledge. There is a path that consistently works to take a “normal” hunter and make them truly solid at mid ranges in a spring and summer. It’s not the only way, but it has proven to work consistently and faster than any way which I, or those I’m around have seen.


A snapshot of how someone can gain solid ability at mid range shooting by this fall...

Two cases of ammo that has low recoil, a solid and consistent rifle, a scope that unquestionably works, and practice. Rifles, scopes and cartridge/ammo is discussed Ad nauseam. The practice is conspicuously absent nearly everywhere.

A start-

Grouping prone, from a front and rear sandbag until 10 round groups are 1.5’ish MOA. Once on consistent precision from a rest is achieved, then prone over a backpack until 10 round groups are 1.5 MOA and no larger than 2 MOA on demand. Same for a bipod if using one.
Once someone can lay down at any point and hit a 2 MOA target with every round fired over a pack, then positional work needs to happen. Sitting and kneeling using alternate rests, primarily a pack if you use one, but with hiking sticks, tripod, downed trees, etc. 2 MOA targets should be consistent from these positions. Then standing using both rests and offhand.

A decent standard is offhand out to 100, standing with sticks at 100-150, sitting unsupported out to 200-250, sitting or kneeling with a pack or sticks out to 300-350, and prone with a pack, etc past that. When someone can go from standing with all straps buckled and all gear on their person, in 20 seconds or less to get two hits on targets at their desired distance/size, then worry about shooting past 100 yards and wind.


A great drill that works very well is below that a gent came up with on another board. It’s been slightly modified a bit to reflect more realistically required skills.




100 Yard Hunting Rifle Test

Print out one each of these targets and post them up at 100 yards. This works best if you are using a setup that can be zeroed dead on at 100, however if you zero at a different range (200, 300, etc) is that zero as it will show using hold unders for hitting realistic targets. Each string starts standing with all equipment in hand or on body, I.E.- wearing pack, hiking sticks in hand, etc. If you carry empty chamber- all strings start with empty chamber.

DO IT EXACTLY HOW YOU CARRY WHILE HUNTING!
(They need to be printed out at 100% scale, and then they are still in shooter MOA, not true MOA). All shot at 100 yards.


STRING 1: No time limits.

7MOA = 2 shots offhand
5MOA = 2 shots sitting unsupported
3MOA = 2 shots sitting or keeling with sticks or backpack
2MOA = 2 shots prone (can use a pack, but no rear bag, no bipod)



STRING 2: Is a repeat of string one, but with a 20 second par time. I set a timer on my phone, if the shot isn't taken BEFORE the buzzer, it doesn't count.


7MOA = 2 shots offhand in 20 seconds
5MOA = 2 shots sitting unsupported in 20 seconds
3MOA = 2 shots sitting or keeling with sticks or backpack in 20 seconds
2MOA = 2 shots prone in 15 seconds (can use pack, but no bipod and no rear bag)





STRING 3: is a "medley". One shot from each position, with a 60 second par time.

60 seconds to go fromstanding with all gear strapped in, to-

7MOA = 1 shot offhand
5MOA = 1 shot sitting unsupported
3MOA = 1 shot sitting or keeling with sticks or backpack
2MOA = 1 shot prone (can use pack, but no bipod and no rear bag)


It's scored out of 20. A decent score is in the 15/20 range, 17 to 18 should be the goal for the first year. It’s an excellent diagnostic tool as well as a great way to practice, and has a high correlation to performance with spot and stalk hunting shots.
Sir, I should like to buy you a Daniel Webster cigar.
 

TNKnoxville

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2018
Messages
160
Location
Knoxville, TN
Awesome read, same goes for archery. Practice is key!!!!!!!! It's the little things that matter. Form, consistent anchor, cheek weld, trigger pull, you can't get a feel for why your shots are missing unless you practice!!!!!!! It wasn't until I started shooting traditional archery that I understood what consistent form meant. This has carried over into my rifle shooting and has made a huge difference!!!!!
 
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