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

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Falconeer, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    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!
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Active Member

    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.
  3. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    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.
  4. ocabj

    ocabj New Member

    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.
  5. mountain_cowboy

    mountain_cowboy New Member

    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.
  6. USSR

    USSR Active Member


    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.

  7. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    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 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!
  8. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    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. :)

    I ordered this yesterday. :) GMTA
  9. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    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?
  10. USSR

    USSR Active Member

    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.

  11. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    Ah! Gotcha.. it's all about consistency isn't it? :)
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Active Member


    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.
  13. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    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. :)

    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. :)
  14. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    Has anyone seen this and might it fit the bill? I figure I could probably spend that much on a decent quality 22 set up. :)
  15. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    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!
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Active Member

    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.
  17. hkmp5g17

    hkmp5g17 New Member

    I'll vouch for the seller- Geoff is a good guy.

  18. Dienekes

    Dienekes New Member

    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?
  19. Falconeer

    Falconeer New Member

    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?
  20. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    All it takes is time and money. :neener: :evil: The question, really, is which to do/buy first.

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