Getting into "Practical Long Range Rifle Shooting"/Wannabe Sniper


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Falconeer
February 23, 2006, 10:27 AM
I'm at something of a crossroads in my shooting sports and am thinking about getting into rifle. I'm not a hunter, and I prefer military style weapons so I'm looking more into sniper style shooting. By that I mean bipod based, bolt action precision shooting in anti-personnel sized calibers.

The club I belong to has a 100yrd range so I'd be shooting that for the immediate future. I'd like to stick to 308; I can reload it cheaply and it's a common military 'sniper' round.

That being said, I'm VERY limited in funds for this. I'd like to get an idea what a solid, inexpensive rifle, scope, rings, bipod, etc is going to run me, preferably with models and price examples.

If I find myself enjoying this, I can see myself spending more money down the road. If not, I'd want to be able to get at least some of the money back.

Thanks in advance for the assistance!

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Jim Watson
February 23, 2006, 10:52 AM
There are venues for wannabe mankillers to shoot in "sniper" competition on humanoid targets at long unknown ranges. No doubt somebody will come along with contacts.

The other possibility is Long Range target shooting. Yes, it is formalized and ritualized but it will develop and challenge your shooting skills in standardized format so you can measure your progress better than the various war games. Check with your state NRA rep for ranges and events.

I shoot a little NRA F-Class = Long Range with scope and bipod allowed. I have a Savage 12BVSS .308, Harris bipod, and Leupold Long Range scope (The scope cost more than the rest of the outfit put together, but I figure I am not going to wear it out looking through it and it can be transplanted to a fancier rifle if I want one.) NRA Long Range STARTS at 600 yards and everybody is on the lookout for a thousand yard match.

There are other events. Most are shot iron sight with service rifle (AR or M1A) or match rifle (about anything, bolt or auto.) Ranges run 200, 300, 600 yards for across the course; 800, 900, 1000 yards for Palma; 600 and 1000 yards for Long Range. There are matches shot at 100 yards on reduced targets at places without longer ranges.

But all that is moot until you start traveling some. 100 yards is not going to wring out a highpower rifle, unless there is competition there, it will just wear your barrel and consume Sierra Matchkings.

I suggest you buy a nice .22, paint it black or camo to scratch your tactical itch, mount the best scope you can't afford, (or take up Smallbore with iron sights) and learn to shoot it at 100 yards. A .22 at 100 yards takes about the same judgement of conditions such as wind and lighting as a centerfire at 500 yards or so.

Henry Bowman
February 23, 2006, 11:10 AM
Look around for a Remington 700 with a synthetic stock. This is the base rifle for military snipers and can be found for low price including a low end scope. That will be more than sufficient to achive <1MOA groups at 100 yards.

You can then start upgrading. A standard bipod attaches to the front sling swivel. You can add a more tactical stock or a rear monopod, then upgrade your scope, etc.

Also, I recommend a software long range shooting simulation http://www.shooterready.com. It will teach the basics and and save you more than its price ($39.95 pp) in ammo.

I am no "operator," but this is how I am getting into the same interest.

ocabj
February 23, 2006, 11:29 AM
You should be able to throw something together for $1000. Remington or Savage. Bushnell 3200 10x Mildot or SWFA Super Sniper scope. Generic Leupold mount and Leupold or Burris rings.

mountain_cowboy
February 23, 2006, 11:43 AM
Go buy a used Savage Model 10FP, tactical police model, in .308, ($400-450) with or without Accutrigger. Use Warne, Leupold, Talley mounts and rings ($40-75) and put on a Bushnell Elite 3200 10x ($150). Find the instructions for a trigger job online and do it yourself. Throw in a bipod ($40). That's a real life entry level setup that will get you under MOA accuracy for less than $700. If you want to upgrade you can go Remington 700 PSS or LTR for $200 more, Badger or Leupold Mk IV on the rings and mounts for $125 more, and Tasco Super Sniper 10, 16, or 20x for $150 more. Or, go look at Snipershide.com and buy somebody's used setup for $1000 or less.

USSR
February 23, 2006, 12:22 PM
Falconeer,

As previously suggested, I would recommend F Class Competition. You may have to travel a bit to find a 1,000 yard range, but I guarantee once you have participated in this form of LR competition, you will be hooked. As previously stated, you can possibly (tough) get into this type of shooting for as little as $1,000. However, getting the right setup is EXTREMELY important. I won't go into specifics about which brand of rifle/scope/mounts/load to get, however, here are the attributes to look for when putting together your setup in .308.

Rifle: Heavy contour 24-26" barrel. Highly recommend you get the rifle bedded (about $150), and have the trigger lightened (about $30) if necessary.

Scope: Minimum of 10x, and maximum of 20x (if fixed power). Should have an adjustable objective and target knobs for W&E adjustments. If you buy a scope with 80MOA or more of elevation adjustment in the scope, then your mounting options are varied. If you buy a scope with less than 80MOA elevation adjustment in it, then you MUST buy either a 20MOA base or use the Burris Zee Signature rings with offset inserts in them. Under no circumstances buy a scope with less than 40MOA of elevation adjustment in it.

Mounts: The best and most sturdy route to go is to buy a 20MOA rail from Badger, TPS, or Farrell, and use their rings as well. A cheaper (and more delicate) way is to use the Burris Zee Signature rings with offset inserts in conjunction with a Weaver-style base.

Load: For best results, you will need to load your own. The Sierra 175gr MatchKing is THE bullet for shooting LR in your .308. The Hornady 178gr Amax is another good bullet. DO NOT waste your time on the various 168gr bullets as they are not particularly suited for 1,000 yard shooting. You should be looking for an accurate load with a velocity of somewhere between 2650fps and 2750fps. Time spent in load development is time well spent. You want a load with a low ES (< 20) and SD (<5).

Once you've put together your rifle and found a good load for it, you'll need to learn how to read the wind. That's something that you can only do thru experience. Good luck.

Don

Falconeer
February 23, 2006, 01:08 PM
There are venues for wannabe mankillers to shoot in "sniper" competition on humanoid targets at long unknown ranges. No doubt somebody will come along with contacts.

The other possibility is Long Range target shooting. Yes, it is formalized and ritualized but it will develop and challenge your shooting skills in standardized format so you can measure your progress better than the various war games. Check with your state NRA rep for ranges and events.
That's probably where I'd start out. I've done a bit of iron sight rifle shooting, but nothing scoped. I'm not so much into competition against others as to see how accurate I can get. :)

I suggest you buy a nice .22, paint it black or camo to scratch your tactical itch, mount the best scope you can't afford, (or take up Smallbore with iron sights) and learn to shoot it at 100 yards. A .22 at 100 yards takes about the same judgement of conditions such as wind and lighting as a centerfire at 500 yards or so.
I imagine that would be a good inexpensive way to learn. Can I mount a 'rifle' scope as opposed to a 'rimfire' scope on a .22? Something that could be moved to a Remington 700 at some point down the line?

Thanks for the reply!

Falconeer
February 23, 2006, 01:15 PM
Look around for a Remington 700 with a synthetic stock. This is the base rifle for military snipers and can be found for low price including a low end scope. That will be more than sufficient to achive <1MOA groups at 100 yards.

You can then start upgrading. A standard bipod attaches to the front sling swivel. You can add a more tactical stock or a rear monopod, then upgrade your scope, etc.
Unfortunately that's probably more than I can spend presently. If I get into it I hope to get a 700 Police at some point. :)

Also, I recommend a software long range shooting simulation http://www.shooterready.com. It will teach the basics and and save you more than its price ($39.95 pp) in ammo.
I ordered this yesterday. :) GMTA

Falconeer
February 23, 2006, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the information folks! It's not looking like something I can afford atm. :( Going the 22 route and moving up from there sounds like the best bet.

BTW, I've heard of having rifles 'bedded' before. It has something to do with barrel support in the stock? What's involved in that, and why is it done?

USSR
February 23, 2006, 02:30 PM
I've heard of having rifles 'bedded' before. It has something to do with barrel support in the stock? What's involved in that, and why is it done?

Not barrel support in the stock, but rather receiver support in the stock. This is done using various fiberglass/epoxy type resins to create a virtual mirror image of the bottom of the receiver in the receiver portion of the stock, and may be used in conjunction with pillars which are installed in the stock where the receiver bolts go. The purpose is to prevent the shifting of the receiver/stock alignment as a result of recoil, which would result in shot-to-shot inconsistancies.

Don

Falconeer
February 23, 2006, 08:17 PM
Not barrel support in the stock, but rather receiver support in the stock. This is done using various fiberglass/epoxy type resins to create a virtual mirror image of the bottom of the receiver in the receiver portion of the stock, and may be used in conjunction with pillars which are installed in the stock where the receiver bolts go. The purpose is to prevent the shifting of the receiver/stock alignment as a result of recoil, which would result in shot-to-shot inconsistancies.

Don
Ah! Gotcha.. it's all about consistency isn't it? :)

Jim Watson
February 23, 2006, 08:23 PM
Falconeer,

Yes, you can put a high grade target scope sight on a decent .22, shoot at 100 yards to your heart's content, then swap the big scope to a LR target rifle when you are ready. Check out www.rimfirecentral.com The CZ rifles are great deals and quite accurate.

This is NOT a cheap hobby. I am working up a Savage .308 that cost about $500 and is about the least you will get reasonably recommended. The scope, a 8-25x Leupold Long Range cost a little over $700. A friend has the same make and model and with a little load development and a light pull trigger he last got a 3.5" group at 600 yards. You might could go with a cheaper scope, the SWFA Super Sniper gets good reviews at $299 for a fixed 16X scope, but that is about it. And it needs good mounts. Those 20 MOA canted bases cost more than Tascos. You also need accessories like a bipod or tripod rest, mat, etc. A spotting scope is not absolutely essential in the scope rifle classes but it would still be a help... but you need a good one.

You must be able to load good ammo or pay a dollar a pop for Federal or Black Hills match.

Falconeer
February 24, 2006, 07:53 AM
Falconeer,

Yes, you can put a high grade target scope sight on a decent .22, shoot at 100 yards to your heart's content, then swap the big scope to a LR target rifle when you are ready. Check out www.rimfirecentral.com The CZ rifles are great deals and quite accurate.
Thanks for the link. I'll check them out. Unable I can't access them from work, whereas I can from work. Nice to be able to take a quick break between code fixes. :)

You must be able to load good ammo or pay a dollar a pop for Federal or Black Hills match.
I reload pistol at the moment (couldn't afford 357 Sig otherwise :p), and plan to also reload rifle when I get into those calibers. Reloading is also a hobby for me; not just a money saver. :)

Falconeer
February 24, 2006, 05:13 PM
Has anyone seen this (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=183715) and might it fit the bill? I figure I could probably spend that much on a decent quality 22 set up. :)

Henry Bowman
February 24, 2006, 05:37 PM
That looks like an ideal setup like I was talking about (except for brand). I'd offer $400 shipped and see what happens.

You're on your way!

Jim Watson
February 24, 2006, 06:27 PM
The NRA used a Howa as basis for their low end F-class rifle, so they can make decent stuff. The Simmons scope will run from fair to junk. Probably an adequate starter at 100 yards if you get it zeroed at 8-9X (Some variables are clearer a little below maximum power.) and don't monkey with it thereafter.

hkmp5g17
February 24, 2006, 06:37 PM
I'll vouch for the seller- Geoff is a good guy.

Anthony

Dienekes
February 24, 2006, 09:03 PM
Back in the 1930s outdoor smallbore competition was conducted. A lot of it was at 100 yards but it also extended out to 200 and 300 (I have some of the range and wind tables). Looks like most of it was done with irons.

Always thought that it would have been a neat sport--challenging but relatively low cost (it would have to be in the Depression era).

And fun, no doubt.

That IS the idea, isn't it?

Falconeer
February 28, 2006, 10:40 AM
Welp, I keep going back and forth on this. One part of my brain says rifle, another says Sig P229 (to replace the P239 I sold), one part says tactical handgun class.... :p

There's a good sized gun show coming up this weekend. I'm going to go prowl around there and see if anything grabs me. Otherwise I may very well go with that Howa listed here.

As an aside, I've seen NIB Remington 700 SPS's in 308 for $430-$450. What other good buys are out there in this price range ($400-$500). I've saved a bit more money, and IF I decide to go the rifle route I may be able to swing $400-$500 for rifle, $200-$300 for scope, $100 for misc (bipod, mat, etc).

I've heard the Savage rifles are good, but am not familar with their line; how does the Model 12 FV compare to the 700 SPS?

Henry Bowman
February 28, 2006, 11:42 AM
Welp, I keep going back and forth on this. One part of my brain says rifle, another says Sig P229 (to replace the P239 I sold), one part says tactical handgun class.... All it takes is time and money. :neener: :evil: The question, really, is which to do/buy first.

Falconeer
February 28, 2006, 11:58 AM
All it takes is time and money. The question, really, is which to do/buy first.
Rgr that!! :p I always worry about 'grass is greener' feelings after a major purchase. :banghead:

Henry Bowman
February 28, 2006, 12:03 PM
I always worry about 'grass is greener' feelings after a major purchase.As sure as death and taxes. But compare that to the bare dirt currently underfoot.

carnaby
February 28, 2006, 12:07 PM
You can get started in this with a simple savage package for under $400 with the accutrigger, which I highly recommend. The accutrigger is really an amazing device, in my opinion. A limbsaver recoil pad works wonders as well. For an extra $100 you can get a decent used .22 with a scope to help you work on your flinch-free form.

Then, if you feel you're going to stick with the sport you can save your $$ and get something fancy. But for the first year at least, if you are serious, I think the inexpensive Savage will out shoot your abilities. :)

My brother in-law is putting together a sniper package. It's going to have the Savage 12FV in .308 with a heavy barrel and a Nikon Promaster 3-9x40. The entire package is going to cost $433 for the rifle, $124 for the scope, $18 shipping, and $20 FFL for a grand total of $595. Not too shabby. Email or PM THR member JDyer for a similar deal.

ALS
February 28, 2006, 02:02 PM
I would look for a used Remington 700 in 308. They are out there just wait for the right one. If you are serious in getting into long range shooting I would look into a long range shooting class when the funds are available.
When I got into long range shooting I went to a Precision long range shooting class at Blackwater.
http://www.blackwaterusa.com/training/courses.asp

It is a lot of fun to see just how good you and your weapon really are at long distances.

carnaby
February 28, 2006, 08:39 PM
Kim du Toit just came out today writing on his website that the Savage 12FV would be his choice for a long range rifle that doesn't cost an arm and three legs. How 'bout them apples! :neener:

Gewehr98
February 28, 2006, 09:31 PM
You can get started in this with a simple savage package for under $400 with the accutrigger, which I highly recommend. The accutrigger is really an amazing device, in my opinion.

You can lose that abortion of a Savage Accutrigger a couple ways. One is to buy the Stevens Model 200, which is a plain vanilla version of the Savage rifle sans Accutrigger. The other is to get a replacement Rifle Basix Savage trigger, completely adjustable, to swap out the lawyer-proof abomination that is the Accutrigger. Then you don't have to feel like you're driving a Glock. ;)


(Friends don't let friends buy Accutriggers)

Falconeer
February 28, 2006, 10:01 PM
Without wanting anyone to go hammer and tongs, just what is the 'Accutrigger'? :)

Gewehr98
March 1, 2006, 12:40 PM
They couldn't offer the shooting public a nice adjustable trigger that would go down to 1.5-2 pounds pull, because the liability lawyers would scream bloody murder. So they made a Glock-style pre-trigger safety lever, which protrudes through the front of the slotted trigger and prevents the trigger from being pulled until it is pulled to the rear itself, flush with the trigger face. Then the real trigger pull can happen, which is set to a more-normal 1.5-2 pounds pull. Here's a picture of an Accutrigger compared to the replacement Rifle Basix model:

http://www.riflebasix.com/images/AccuTrigger.jpg

http://www.riflebasix.com/images/SAV-2.jpg

Granted, if one has never experienced a Jewell, Timney, Shilen, Dayton, Canjar, Keplinger, Moyer, or properly-adjusted factory Browning, Winchester, or Remington trigger, then they won't really notice the difference when working with an Accutrigger. It'll probably be the greatest thing since sliced bread to them, and they'll plod along, unaware that there's better to be had. The folks at Savage are betting on this, actually. They know there's folks who'll buy the guns, maybe put a dozen rounds in it just prior to deer season, and then a couple more during the hunt, and stuff the rifle into the closet until next year.

Unfortunately, there's folks like me who actually compete or shoot a lot, and have the Jewells, Shilens, Canjars, Winchester Model 70, and Remington 700 that break like the proverbial glass rod with no pre-trigger safety levers to contend with, and our rifles with those clean-breaking, light triggers never ventilated anyone. (Probably because we paid attention to the 10 Commandments of Gun Safety, and kept our fingers off the triggers until the crosshairs were on a verified target) To us, the Savage Accutrigger is nothing more than a nuisance wart, a panacaea for liability lawyers, and an extra part that offers the opportunity to fail at the wrong moment, much like the lock on new Smith & Wesson revolvers, or the recently-discontinued ISS/J-Lock on Remington's bolt guns. (See, at least Remington wisened up and got rid of 'em)

Which is why I'm more than happy to send new Savage owners over to Rifle Basix to purchase a nice adjustable trigger unit. Although it doesn't appear Rifle Basix needs any help, the Savage engineers pretty much gave them guaranteed employment as soon as the Accutrigger showed up on the market. ;)

Falconeer
March 1, 2006, 01:04 PM
So they made a Glock-style pre-trigger safety lever, which protrudes through the front of the slotted trigger and prevents the trigger from being pulled until it is pulled to the rear itself, flush with the trigger face. Then the real trigger pull can happen, which is set to a more-normal 1.5-2 pounds pull.
Ah! Gotcha, thanks for the info/illustration. BTW, I've been doing some more research, and I've started another thread on more specific rifle choices here (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=186258). I'd be most thankful for your input there if you get the chance. :)

Harold Mayo
March 1, 2006, 09:15 PM
Didn't read the entirety of the thread so it may have already been mentioned but both www.snipershide.com and www.snipersparadise.com are good sources of information. You might also check out www.snipercountry.com for articles and reviews.

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