THREE SIMPLE TIPS FOR BETTER LONG RANGE SHOOTING

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1. Less can be more – and often is

The desire to fully realize the long range potential of loads we push through our rifles can lead to a tunnel-vision-like approach where only bullets with the highest ballistic coefficient loaded to screaming velocities that push the edge are considered valid candidates. After all, more is better right? Not so. Accuracy and consistency are the goal. Hotter loads are often less consistent compared to those that are backed off a bit. And just because a bullet has a BC you drool over on paper, doesn’t mean it’s going to shoot well out of your rifle. Now don’t take this as trivializing the significance of using bullets with high ballistic coefficients. It is important. However, we ultimately need to remember, as long as the bullet is arriving where it needs to every time you squeeze the trigger, neither you or it should care what numbers are attached to it. In other words, it’s not the size of your BC, it’s how you use it. So you might dial a few more clicks – big deal.

2. Trust the bullet and yourself

I had a buddy who broke up with his long-time girlfriend by saying, “It’s not me, it’s you”. This isn’t just mildly humorous – unless you were that girl – but applicable to shooting. How so you ask? Think of it like this. Just as he was trusting his gut and experience to make the call he and his female cohort weren’t destined for the alter, you can trust yours to conclude your bullet impacts are hitting where they are for reasons that have nothing to do with you, your trigger squeeze, rifle cant, form, or anything else you rack your brain trying to adjust. The facts are, often times, you aren’t the problem. Here’s an example: I was engaging a steel plate at 1,000 yards during a rifle competition. There wasn’t a breath of wind at our location. Perfect conditions for the shot. Three misses later with all impacts in the same spot about 1 foot right of the target, I packed up for the next stage. Only when I rounded the corner did the reason for my misses hit me. The answer my friend, was literally blowing in the wind.  Once you’ve sorted out it’s not you and trust yourself, you can start investigating what the real culprit is…It’s probably the wind, that F@#%ing wind.

3. Fast tracking a dang close – if not spot on – dope chart

Let’s face it. We’re all looking to save time and streamline aspects of our lives. In some ways, I’m even hesitant to throw this tip out there, because there are few shortcuts to getting reliable dope. However, from experience, I can tell you this works pretty damn good. And, all it takes is more gear and a little bookwork.

You’re going to need a “good, reliable and accurate chronograph.” Notice I didn’t just say “chronograph.” The MagnetoSpeed fits the bill. Next, you’re going to want to use a tested BC number by Bryan Litz. These tested BC’s and velocities oftentimes won’t match what’s listed on the ammo manufacturers website, but plugged into your ballistic calculator with the other necessary variables, you’ll get a ballistic chart you can dang near take to the bank. We highly encourage you take it to the range instead though.

by Mark Boardman

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6 thoughts on “THREE SIMPLE TIPS FOR BETTER LONG RANGE SHOOTING

    David White said:
    May 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I do a lot of long-range shooting with my favorite rifle and Vortex scope, and every year, I will shoot at least one deer in excess of 1,000 yds., and have for the past 15 years. This requires many many hours of trigger time, and consistent shooting at the longer ranges. You have to be able to read the wind and know the EXACT distance you are shooting. And like Mark pointed out, you needs loads that are “consistent” and accurate. All the velocity in the world will not do you a single bit of good IF you cannot hit your target. Load for accuracy first, and then if your loads are consistent, look to see what velocity you are running. Depending on your barrel, gun, load, etc. you most accurate load may not necessarily be the “fastest”, but if it is accurate and consistent, that puts you well ahead of the game….

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      John said:
      May 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      What scope are you using? I know it cannot be a 6×24 viper pst at dawn or dusk.

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    Marty said:
    May 21, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    What you are seeking is something called OCW or “Optimum Charge Weight”. For example the book says 7mm Rem Mag 168 Gr Berger IMR 7828 SSC Load 59 to 65.3 Gr. I might load 5 Rounds each at .3 Gr intervals, 65.6, 65.3, 65.0, 64.7, 64.4, 64.1, 63.8, 63.5, 63.2. – 5 rounds x 9 loads = 45 total. Then set up 9 clearly marked targets at 100 yards. I use an 8.5 x 11 sheet with 3 across and 3 down = 9 targets on one piece of paper taped to a box. Shoot three rounds of anything to clear the rifle and put some heat into it and establish zero. Shoot one round of each charge weight at each target at 90 second intervals. Run 2 patches of Hoppes #9. Shoot a dummy clearing round. Then shoot another group of nine rounds at nine targets at 90 second intervals. Some guys like 3 rounds on each target, I like 4. Round #5 is a just in case extra. Now measure and record the “group size” for each of the charge weights. Groups should be sub MOA meaning 1″ or less. Like Dave said, look for consistency. You want the smallest group that appears in at least three consecutive charge weights. Select the charge weight in the middle of that group. That is your optimum charge weight for that bullet in that rifle. After that you can play with seating depth to gain a little more consistent accuracy but I usually stick with the specified COAL and call it good. In the field I am comfortable out to 700 yards. I use the “shooter” app for android for $10. Beyond that things become exponentially more costly the farther you shoot in terms of time, money, range finders, .338 Lapua, optics, coriolis effect, etc. Some guys shoot 2000 yards but not with a 30.06. and a 3×9 scope. So whatever level of stupidity suits you go for it and be safe.

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    brian said:
    May 22, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Thank you very good inputs / comments. This is the type of feedback we all need and want, please continue sending. I would like more details in your article on how we “ALL” can improve. I had my second long range class early this year and it has helped me improve, but constituent feedback like this is key to our long tern success.

    How about offering a class or two this year?

    My Vortex Scope is “OUTSTANDING”.

    Brian

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    Carter Michaelson said:
    July 13, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I love doing long range shooting my AR-15 and testing myself. I am always looking for ways to get better and I love getting advice from other gun enthusiasts. My wife and I just moved to Springfield, IL and there aren’t a lot of long range ranges here so I have been looking for an indoor shooting range for my other guns.

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