Post your best long range shooting tip(s) here!


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Bobarino
December 15, 2009, 10:05 PM
i'm just making my first venture in to the field of long range shooting. i've got capable hardware picked out, now i just need to work on the software. i've got basic rifle skills and am pretty accurate with my favorite .22 bolt action and an M4 clone as well as a Win '94 with open sights.

the rifle is a .308, the scope is a 6-25x56 and the goal is to be able to shoot accuarately at 600 yards and beyond.

so what are your best tips from your experience shooting long distances?

thanks all

Bobby

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dakotasin
December 15, 2009, 10:24 PM
huge subject... start by defining your goal for long range. once that is established, practice is the best way. i get my initial zero set (250 yard zero), then back off in 50 yard increments to get my drops at every range, and keep records.

best thing to do is lots of shooting. learn the trigger pull and sight picture. it really isn't hard to do - but is a perishable skill.

also, if you don't handload, you will want to start.

atlanticfire
December 15, 2009, 10:49 PM
For real long range its all about the breathing. For me anyway, most other things come naturally.

Pat4x4
December 15, 2009, 10:52 PM
Biggest tip... Practice Practice Practice.. that is by far the best tip I can think of.. No substitute for trigger time..

Then get you basics Down.. Breathing, NPOA and so on.. Go to a Appleseed near you..

Bobarino
December 15, 2009, 10:58 PM
thanks! handloading is in the cards very soon. i plan on buying factory ammo for a while and keeping the brass for that.

i guess i'd have to say my goal is to be able to shoot 1 MOA out to 600 yards and beyond. if i could hit a paper plate at 1,000 yards with any sort of regularity, i'd be pretty happy. i know the rifle be capable of probably half that but then there's this yo-yo behind the trigger doing the work, soooo.......

the scope has mil dots, half mil hashes and .1 mil adjustments, resettable zero, the whole nine yards. now i just need to learn to use that too. :)

one more question: what do you do about heartbeat? i seem to have a strong ticker and i wiggle with every beat. exaggerated on high magnification levels of course...

Bobby

spartanpride
December 15, 2009, 11:01 PM
Well, my favorite range gun is an old Remington 700 ADL in .308 with an even older Redfield 4x scope. The best I can do with that is a water bottle at 600 yards. I dont think thats my limits, just the scopes! ;) Anyway, the best advise I can give you is to learn your gun and it's optics. The more you shoot the more you learn, "oh hold at the point of the duplex @ 250 yds..." and so forth. Also, if you load your own rounds, figure out whats best (mine likes anything thats 168 grain).

But if you haven't got much time on your hands to practice, master your breathing. I find it best to hold a half a breath, then pay attention to my heart beat, then slowly SQUEEZE the trigger in between the beating of your heart, let the shot be a surprise, then you most likely won't jerk either!

Good luck shootin!

OHtard
December 16, 2009, 12:14 AM
its been said, but i will say it again practice. i shoot my rimfire alot(anshutz 64mpr) it allows me to shoot alot while saving some cash. a rimfire at 200yds, and a small steel target is alot of fun. if it is windy it is even better. most of all have fun.
how do you plan on shooting? benchrest, bipod, sling?

Bobarino
December 16, 2009, 12:40 AM
most of my shooting will be off a bench but prone will be on the menu too. i have a scoped Marlin 981T that i use for cheap accuracy practice. i haven't tried it at 200 yards though! i may have to try that. i know the gun shoots straight so any lousy groups are my fault. it's a fun one to shoot too, and i enjoy rimfire a lot, but i can't wait to get the gun together and dialed in for some higher power and longer range challenges.

in case anyone cares, the gun is a Remmy 700 SPS-Varmint in .308. it will sport a Choate Ultimate Varmint stock and a Millett LRS-1 and Harris Bipod. i'm going to have the barrel recrowned sooner or later with an 11 target crown. i think it's a good base rifle for a newbie. when i get more serious and get into reloading, i'll get a Kreiger barrel in .260 Remington. all the stuff will arrive by this coming monday and i'll get it assembled and operational the day after. hopefully, i'll get to the range the sunday after Christmas.

chevyforlife21
December 16, 2009, 12:42 AM
always and i mean always shoot a daisy at 300 yards if you want success

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 16, 2009, 01:09 AM
Keep a log to record results & progress. Nix the caffiene. Good rests. Practice. I ainno expert, but that's my .02.

Uncle Mike
December 16, 2009, 01:44 AM
Nix the caffiene.

.....increase the scotch!

remember, two shots of scotch is worth 9 extra points!

Disclaimer: UM does not advocate the consumption of alcohol while in close proximity to any type of firearm, weapon or explosive.... lol I had to say that! hehehe

Boba Fett
December 16, 2009, 02:10 AM
For real long range its all about the breathing. For me anyway, most other things come naturally.

+1 Same for me.

huntershooter
December 16, 2009, 07:17 AM
Know the range.
Know the trajectory of your bullet (chrono load).
Get steadier.

Bovice
December 16, 2009, 07:35 AM
good bipod or sandbags for forend support, good trigger control, and trying to relax as much as possible.

Some people like to put a small sandbag under the buttstock and just put their eye up to the scope and pull the trigger, but i think that's defeating the sporting idea of shooting long range. If you take yourself out of the equation to that extent, it's like you're just pressing a button. Boom. Hole in the target.

The one time I tried shooting like that was my last. There was a guy at the range and he wanted to sell a rifle he had with him and told me to try it out, see how accurate it really was. So he sets it up, puts it in a rifle rest, and sandbags the buttstock. It was a .308 remington model 700. He told me that for him, it kicked too hard, and was uncomfortable to shoot. I got down on the scope, put the stock up to my shoulder, and since the crosshairs were on target i took the shot. WHAM. the stock hit me so hard my shoulder went numb. He said "wanna try another? hee hee hee" so i said yeah and loaded another. This time i took out the sandbag and put the stock into my shoulder like a rifle should be. shot it perfect, no stinging.

Moral of the story. forget sand bagging the buttstock. I find I shoot better without it.

alemonkey
December 16, 2009, 07:46 AM
Learning to read mirage/wind is a big factor.

USSR
December 16, 2009, 08:23 AM
if i could hit a paper plate at 1,000 yards with any sort of regularity, i'd be pretty happy.

I have been shooting in 1,000 yard F Class competition for 7 years now, and I dare say every man on the line would be happy as well with that degree of accuracy. ;) However, 1MOA groups at 100 yards does not translate into 1MOA at 1,000 yards. One piece of kit that you really need for LR shooting is a chronograph. You need to develop dope for your load, so that you can make proper elevation adjustments and correct for wind. Wind will be your biggest nemesis at long range.

Don

YaNi
December 16, 2009, 08:43 AM
One piece of kit that you really need for LR shooting is a chronograph. You need to develop dope for your load, so that you can make proper elevation adjustments and correct for wind. Wind will be your biggest nemesis at long range.

How many velocity readings do you take? With three velocity readings one can determine muzzle velocity, BC, and a drag model (assuming you are using a ballistics calculator).

Jim Watson
December 16, 2009, 09:26 AM
If you are going to shoot off a bench, get a bench rest and rear bags.
A bipod will not be as steady and will cost you accuracy.

Shooting MOA at 600 is not too hard, assuming you have about a half inch hundred yard gun. Consistently hitting a paper plate at 1000 corresponds to a "clean" on the F-class target with its 10" ten ring. It has been done, but not real often.

As Jeff Cooper said, you can learn about 80% of what you need to know with a .22. Things like position, trigger control, breathing, and if you set the target up at 100+ yds, you can study the wind. The other 20% covers recoil control and longer range judgement of conditions.

kanook
December 16, 2009, 10:25 AM
didn't see the mention of a scope level. (I might have over looked it)

The scopes I use for LR have levels in them. You can also get level rings that mount to your scope. Once your scope is mounted true a level is needed to make sure you're shooting it true too. IMO

blue_ridge
December 16, 2009, 10:47 AM
if you're going to shoot a fairly standard, real world rifle that has manageable recoil in a gun that can be hand carried all day you need to develop rifle skills like breathing, trigger control, bone support, relaxation, center of gravity and many more things.

If you're going to use specialized gear, shooting bench, heavy rifle, tripod or shooting rest/bags, 2 oz. trigger, super high powered expensive optics and so forth, then the task is completely different. In this case, most of the above skills are less important or unneeded altogether. Because this specialized gear allows you to reach farther, your ballistic tables and wind/mirage reading skills are probably the main things. (and quality of hand loads)

So it depends on what you intend to use and how you intend to use it.

blue_ridge
December 16, 2009, 11:04 AM
Also, I 'd say if you're going to hand load 308, get Lapua brass you get serious with it. I've found Lapua brass to have less run out than everything else. Then work up handloads diligently until a pattern develops.

Originally I didn't see where you mentioned specific on this rifle. Makes a big difference in what the rifle can do at extended ranges and the skills you need (as I mentioned in previous post) to milk the most out of it. Since yours is probably about a 10-11lbs rifle, maybe more with the bipod, it shouldn't be too awfully hard to get sub-moa accuracy out to 600 yds. even without hand loads. You'll have to do some trial and error with matchgrade factory stuff and see what it likes. Breathing control, bone on bone stability, relax your muscles, make like you're a sack of potatoes who, while in the prone position is as comfortable as a pig in *****. You can lie there all day and squeeze off rounds. That is your mind set.

Read David Tubb's Highpower rifle book on the different shooting positions and you'll be in good shape.

USSR
December 16, 2009, 11:49 AM
How many velocity readings do you take? With three velocity readings one can determine muzzle velocity, BC, and a drag model (assuming you are using a ballistics calculator).

Personally, I like to run 5 over the chronograph (although the more the better), so as to get a little more accurate ES and SD numbers. Plugging the bullet BC, velocity, and elevation into an exterior ballistics program will get you real close to what you can expect ballistically at various ranges. Then, you further further refine your dope with actual shooting.

Don

BornAgainBullseye
December 16, 2009, 12:27 PM
Don't get all gacked up on caffene and have your heart beating out of your chest! Stay calm and relaxed. Breathing control really matters and never squeeze at the top of your breath. Steady breathing and about 1/3 breath release is when I touch off. I pause for slight second as I send one. I would look at sierra 175 grain matchking if your barrel can twist them. If not 168's will do. The Hornaday 155 AMAX will do better as far as drop. Wind is about the same. Use some range flags downrange

Bobarino
December 16, 2009, 12:28 PM
excellent advice from everyone! thank you! i guess i'll add a chronograph to the list of goodies to get in the near future.

the gun will not be a very portable unit and offhand shooting will take some strength. it's purpose built for prone and bench. i don't hunt, but enjoy shooting sports very much.

the barrel is a 1:12 twist so i think it will tend towards lighter bullets like the 155 grain Lapua Scenars. i guess spending $41/box on the factory stuff isn't too horrible if i plan to keep the brass and reload :uhoh:

thanks again for all the tips! keep 'em coming. i appreciate it!

Bobby

USSR
December 16, 2009, 03:07 PM
the barrel is a 1:12 twist so i think it will tend towards lighter bullets like the 155 grain Lapua Scenars. i guess spending $41/box on the factory stuff isn't too horrible if i plan to keep the brass and reload

Yikes, $41 a box, what kind of ammo is it? Also, the 1-12" twist will stabilize heavy bullets, regardless of some of the internet chatter. One of my favorite loads is a 190SMK at 2700fps.

Don

blue_ridge
December 16, 2009, 07:03 PM
I like the heavy pills too, although 12" is borderline so YMMV. 185 Scenars work great for me.

LEVRLOVR
December 16, 2009, 07:08 PM
It's all about concentrating on the smallest spot of the bull possible and a very s...l...o...w deliberate trigger squeeze.

That rifle should surprise you when it goes off.

lopezni
December 16, 2009, 07:26 PM
Start by closing both eyes, then open your eye that is used to look into the scope. Is your crosshair still at the same place it was before? If not move your body, not the rifle, until you get on target and your point of aim does not change when you close your eyes.

Howard Roark
December 16, 2009, 07:50 PM
My tip is to buy this book: http://www.rifleshootingbynancy.com/
Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting

It is the best book on NRA LR shooting ever written. Nancy has won the National Long Range Championships 4 times, and is the only woman ever to win the National Highpower Championships. She has also won the Wimbledon Cup, and is a 5-time Leech Cup winner. She and her daughters are nice too.

Ankeny
December 16, 2009, 10:30 PM
I hang around with quite a few long range shooters. The good ones all have the same thing in common, they know their dope. As far as 1 moa, with the typical varmint weight or "tactical" rifle, keeping the shots on a 2 moa target under variable field conditions is a more realistic goal.

Sgt.45
December 16, 2009, 11:23 PM
Quick question. Before any pointers... how far have you shot that M4gery? In my opinion long range shooting (different for everybody as some think 100 yards is long range) is like learning to drive a car. You learn to drive a stick and automatic just seems easy. If you get the fundementals (bone support, muscular relaxation, breath control, natural point of aim, etc,) down with iron sights, shooting with a scope seems like cheating.

Ridgerunner665
December 16, 2009, 11:42 PM
About that 1 in 12" twist...

Just like Don said, it will stabilize heavy bullets...internet experts get all wrapped around the axle on faster twists.

In truth...you want to use the slowest possible twist that will stabilize the bullet you are shooting.

Why??? Because most bullets are not perfectly balanced...they faster they spin, the more the heavy side pulls it of course.

Go to the Berger Bullets website and check out their recommended twist rates...you will be surprised.

Velocity matters too...when using the slowest possible twist, you'll need all the barrel length you can stand (*Palma*)...but 24 inches is plenty.

Not many people do...but I prefer 168 grain bullets in the 308, but NOT Sierra MatchKings or any other clone of that bullet.

TargetTerror
December 17, 2009, 12:58 AM
Your are only as good as your shooting rig, and your shooting rig is only as good as you.

PT1911
December 17, 2009, 01:13 AM
stupid question I know.. but my biggest hurdle always seems to be my damn heartbeat... I work with my breathing, positioning, bla bla bla... but always end up being duped out of a few tenths of an inch by my hearbeat... GAH!!!!!
I know... timing... but the moment my finger begins the SQUEEZE, the heartbeat increases... I guess I just find shooting too thrilling.

blitzen
December 17, 2009, 01:47 AM
call your shot every time you pull the trigger.

Bobarino
December 17, 2009, 02:37 AM
i've fired the M4 clone (bushy M4 HBAR with flip down sights and an EOTech 512) with and without irons up to 300M (but more easily with the EOTech). i can hit a man sized/silhouette target within the 5 ring all day long with cheapy ADCOM M855. i'm a decent shot with a rifle, but have never taken it out to any sort of extreme.

the rig with definitely be better than me. i know the 1:12 will stabilize 168 grain loads well, but i've always been a fan of faster and lighter bullets. maybe it's just my shooting style or just a confidence thing but i always get better results with faster and lighter for some reason. i know they will be more affected by the wind though, so that all may change.

got my bases today, scope comes in tomorrow, and the stock on monday. needless to say, i'm anxious as all getout. i'll post pics as soon as i get everything together. range report to follow hopefully the weekend after new years.

thank a lot for all the tips people! i really do appreciate it!

Bobby

blackops
December 17, 2009, 04:17 AM
That rifle should surprise you when it goes off.
+1
One piece of kit that you really need for LR shooting is a chronograph. You need to develop dope for your load
+1

I haven't yet aquired the rifle nor skill to push to 1k, but once I pushed past 500 breathing wasn't my issue. I had trigger work done and set to 3lbs and that really helped.

taliv
December 17, 2009, 10:09 AM
That rifle should surprise you when it goes off.

uhh, no.

call your shot every time you pull the trigger.

yes

SlamFire1
December 17, 2009, 10:31 AM
so what are your best tips from your experience shooting long distances

Shoot small bore prone. An unforgiving sport. You must have perfect position, trigger pull, sight alignment, every shot.

And you will learn to read mirage and wind. The slightest puff moves the bullet big time.

Unlike centerfire where recoil and blast masks your shooting errors, you don't have that in small bore.

rangerruck
December 17, 2009, 10:37 AM
equal pressure, every time, on 2 things, your cheekweld, and how hard you hold the rifle in to your shoulder. these two things can make up for a lot of bad crap you do, or just little flubs ot kinks that sometimes happen between shots.

Howard Roark
December 17, 2009, 06:13 PM
Shoot small bore prone. An unforgiving sport. You must have perfect position, trigger pull, sight alignment, every shot.

Amen. I started SB prone this year for that very reason. It will make you hold harder than woodpecker lips.

coyotewillie
December 17, 2009, 09:18 PM
A LOT of good advice here! Two things seem to have helped me. The first was reloading to find the best load for the rifle. You've got to have something the rifle likes first or the rest is wasted. The second is a lot of practice. My plant was shut down for 2-3 months a few years ago. I was shooting probably 3+ times a week. My groups really shrunk by the time I went back to work. Thank God, cause I probably couldn't afford to shoot much longer! Anyway, the more I shot, the more relaxed I got. The more relaxed I got, the smaller the groups got too. Greg

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