TFB Step By Step: How To Shoot Long Range

So you bought that new 6.5 Creedmoor bolt action rifle and you’ve been following the Precision Rifle Series competitions for a while. Now you want to stretch the distance a little bit, don’t you?  You want the skill to hit that 1000 yard target at the range, but right now you simply don’t possess the knowledge needed to make that happen consistently.  The new series, How To Shoot Long Range, has got you covered.  Get comfortable, clean your scope lens, and let’s get into this!

TFB Step By Step: How To Shoot Long Range – Introduction

1. Gear Choices – Rifle

Photo credit: PRN

Let’s get the potentially controversial discussion out of the way right at the start.  If what you really want is to shoot long range, where the generally accepted definition (as defined by the typical distances shot in PRS competitions) are distanced from 500 yards out to 1500 yards, then your 308 hunting rifle ain’t going to cut it!  Sell that thing and get ready to put the money towards a new scope, because your two hundred dollar 3-9×40 needs to go away too.

The precision rifle market is coming into its prime right now.  Just about every major manufacturer has a “long-range” option in their bolt action line-up.  The choices are plentiful at this point.  I personally recommend Bergara, Tikka, or the Ruger Precision Rifle as a starting point.  Just know that as you get deeper down this rabbit hole, you will eventually be looking at a full custom where the estimated price tag is around $4,000.00 to $10,000.00 depending on optics!

Caliber choice and ballistics are important for success at long distance, and 308 Winchester is no longer the go-to precision rifle caliber.  For that matter, neither is the 260 Remington, and you absolutely do not need a 300 Winchester Magnum to smack steel or bring down all North American large game out to 1,000 yards.  Sorry to burst your 1970’s happy bubble.  

There’s a reason the 6.5 Creedmoor is popular.  The recoil is light and the trajectory is flat and efficient.  It was designed as a one thousand yard bench rest round and was quickly adopted as a tactical competition caliber, but that was 12 years ago already.  These days the competition scene has pushed well past the 6.5 Creedmoor, with most people running some variant of a 6mm wildcat.  That being said, you can have a lot of fun shooting at your local range, competing at the club level, or hunting elk with a quality 6.5 Creedmoor. 

2. Gear Choices – Scope

In order to see your target well at far distances, you are going to need a quality piece of glass (scope).  I highly recommend a minimum magnification of 4.5-14 power.  With that being said, the vast majority of long-range competitors are using a scope with magnification in the 5-25X range.  Please hear me on this, buy once – cry once.  I’m trying to save you frustration and money.  This is not a poor man’s game.  Spend some serious money on a quality optic.  I would suggest you spend a minimum of $700.00 to $1000.00 in your search for an entry level scope.  In this category, you’ll find scopes like the Nikon Black FX1000 and the Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 which is my recommendation.  For a great video comparison, check out the TFBTV video HERE.

3. Gear Choices – Bipod

Photo Credit – B&T Atlas

You need a solid, consistent platform to shoot from if you want to be successful.  The minimum standard for a quality bipod in the long-range shooting is the Harris HBR.  Popular bipod choices include the Atlas PSR and the Ckye-Pod.  Harris bipods are generally less than one hundred dollars, while the Atlas and Ckye bipods will run you closer to three and four hundred dollars.

There are some key features you will want if you choose to transition from strictly prone or bench shooting into Precision Rifles Series competitions.  Your bipod needs to have adjustability for height, cant, and preferably the ability to lock at independent angles.  Depending on the barricade you shoot from, you will also want to be able to quickly remove the bipod from the rifle entirely without tools. 

4. Gear Choices – Support Bags

We have come a long way since the days of filling a sock with beans, yet you still need a quality rear support or barricade bag.  The common brands are Armageddon Gear, WieBad, and Warhorse Development.  The “Gamechanger” from Armageddon Gear is by far the most popular and is available in several different finishes and configurations.  Barricade bags generally cost around one hundred dollars. 

Photo Credit – PRN

5. Final Thoughts

Well, folks, that may seem like a lot of information, but I assure you we are just getting started!  Intro And Gear Part Two is coming soon!  This will be an ongoing series ranging from close to far in terms of the depth we’ll cover in an effort to teach you How To Shoot Long Range. Leave us some comments below with your choices for the entry-level or minimum gear required to have success shooting at distance. 

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