The popularity of last month’s blog on getting started in 3-gun competition has inspired us to explore long-range precision shooting this month. Bullets have had the capacity of hitting targets at long distances for several decades, however the standards have increased drastically. For example, if one could hit an apple at 100 yards with a Pennsylvania long rifle in the 1700’s, he was considered to be a sharpshooter. Today the current world record for a 10-shot group at 1,000 yards measures 2.687 inches across. The distances that constitute “long-range precision shooting” are debatable to some, but for the purposes of this blog we will say its between 1,000-2,000 yards. Beyond 2,000 yards would be considered ‘extreme long-range shooting’ and with equipment costs upwards of $15,000, the barrier to entry is quite high.
Hitting a target at 1,000 yards
There are several educational programs and training facilities that offer a guarantee that their students will successfully hit a target at 1,000 yards by the end of their course. With the right equipment and instructor, this is a very achievable goal even for beginners (but it is still a neat accomplishment). If you are considering getting into long-range precision shooting, it is highly recommended that you pick one of the reputable courses and hone your skills with a professional to start on the right track. [Search Evolved Ballistics Long Range Training Course with Dale Robinson]
While you don’t need to take out a second mortgage on your home to afford the gear for long-range precision shooting, your performance potential is limited by only two things: you and your equipment. Simply put, some guns are built to shoot further and more accurately than others – and premium equipment most often fetches premium dollars. So what makes the most difference in your setup? The widely agreed upon answers here are your optic and your trigger. Many lower quality optics work just fine in bright conditions and shorter distances, however they quickly become a disadvantage beyond 500 yards or so. Investing in a quality optic really does make a difference in becoming a successful long-range shooter. There are tons of reputable brands in the mid-high range of optics that are all at a similar price point – do your research and find the best one for you. The other major player in precision long-range shooting is your trigger. Most factory triggers are difficult to squeeze, which is usually a result of liability concerns from the manufacturer. Experts say most mistakes are made before the bullet exits the barrel, so a heavy trigger causes you to exert more pressure and increase the margin for error. Consider tweaking your existing trigger, or investing in an upgraded version.
Perhaps you have become a sharpshooter at long distances and you are ready to test your metal against others in a competitive arena. Lucky for you, this type of competition has been gaining a lot of traction over the last decade and there is a good chance there is a sanctioned event coming to a range near you. (Many of these events offer a substantial prize payout as well, which is a nice perk) Start by visiting the North American Long Range Shooting Association website and checking the event schedule, www.NALRSA.com. Be sure to have your equipment tested and retested before the big day, and as always – shoot straight my friends.