Welcome to Episode 122 of Gun Guy Radio! This is the podcast that shines a positive light on the firearms lifestyle. I’m your guest-host J.W. Ramp and this is your weekly dose of positive firearms talk, without the politics. Announcements:
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Intro to Long Range Shooting
Will have Chris A. from Black Heart Consulting on with us.
Background & Experience
History of the Sniper
- The Verb “to Snipe” originated in the 1770’s among soldiers in British India where a hunter skilled enough to kill the elusive Snipe(Bird) was dubbed a “Sniper”
- Early History dates back to the American Revolutionary War, The British Lovat Scouts were considered the first “Snipers” in the Boerr War in 1899 and first to use Ghillie Suits. WWI Snipers get Scopes and where the “SS” or “Scout Sniper” comes from. WWII famous sniper on sniper battle of Stalingrad with Vassily Zaitsev VS Major Konig (Enemy at the Gate). Vietnam enters Carlos Hathcock 93 confirmed and Chuck Mawhinney 103 confirmed. Hathcock opens first official US Sniper School.
Fundamentals of Marksmanship
- Bone Support
- The Rifle becomes an extension of your body. Prone is your best friend. You want to make sure you’re directly behind the weapon with the buttstock of the weapon in the pocket of your shoulder. Depending on your dominant eye you’ll want to use your non dominant arm and hand as support for your sand sock/bag while your dominant hand manipulates the bolt, turrets and loads your rounds.
- Muscle Relaxation
- The most important aspect of muscle relaxation is making sure you’re not in a position that you’re not comfortable in. You have to be relaxed and not “muscling” the weapon. You don’t not want to constantly move your body or weapon to line up your shot. This wll result in bad mechanics and you’ll never reach your Natural Point of Aim.
- Natural Point of Aim is achieved once your Bone Support and Muscle Relaxation is perfect. Your weapon will be on target even if you decide to get off of your weapon and then get back on. If you’re using a Bi-Pod you can use the “push-up” method to check this by having the buttstock firm in your shoulder and doing a “push-up”, moving left to right and going back into your position. You should be back on target. Natural Point of Aim is also key for re-engaging the same target after recoil. If you’ve achieved Natural Point of Aim your weapon will come almost directly back onto Target after the recoil settles.
- Trigger Control
- The most important fundamental in my opinion is Trigger Control. If you’ve achieved Perfect Bone Support, Muscle Relaxation and if that Natural Point of Aim is dead on and you don’t have perfect Trigger Control… you’ll never hit your target.
- Trigger Control is “continuous”. Meaning you need to follow through like a golf swing or basketball shot. You want to feel surprised when that round goes down range.
- A slow steady pull to the rear. Never jerking the trigger. Come up with a Ditty for every shot. “A SLOOOOW STEADDYYY PULLL TOOO THEEEE REARRRR”
- Breath Control
- Natural Respiratory Pause. The Key moment when your body does not have any oxygen in your lungs.
- “Breath in… Breath out…. Pause…..” There will be a 2-3 second pause that your body is no longer breathing in or breathing out. This is the ideal moment you want to time your trigger control to take your shot.
- Never hold your breath. This increases your heart rate and will start to jump your reticle.
- Bi-Pod - Most common now. Mounted on Weapon and Quick Employment
- Gear - LVB or Buttpack with Hog Sadle. Big Con is you have to take your gear off. Oldschool Snipers
- Sand Bag or Bench Support - Very stable and used mostly at ranges.
- Tri Pod - Used for multiple shooting positions. Quick Employment in the field.
- Stop and Reset! - Very Important… Unless you’re taking fire from the enemy, he’s advancing onto your position or your HVT(High Value Target) is about to get extracted STOP YOUR SHOT AND RESET. NEVER FORCE YOUR SHOT! I can not stress this enough.
First Question to ask yourself is… What do I want to do with this rifle?
- What range do I want to focus on. If you only have access to a range do you want to gear it out to make it a 1,200 yard gun knowing you’ll never use it? Do you only want to hunt with it? These are questions you need to ask yourself before you start building.
Second Question… How much do I want to spend?
- This is where it can get tricky… You can build a $700 rifle to hit at 1,000 yards but you can also build a $6,000 rilfe to hit at a 1,000 yards. It will come down to what caliber, MOA you want to achieve and no sh*t… how it looks.
- Stick to the major manufacturers (Remington, Savage, Etc)
- K.I.S.S. Keep it simple shooter… instead of stupid…. go with what has been proven in and out of combat. The Remington 700 series is the granddaddy of platforms and has the most aftermarket products available. Starter rifles anywhere from $400-$700. Savage is a close second.
- Just make sure you’re looking for a Heavy Barrel. If you can find a Free Floating Barrel that’ll be a plus. There are plenty of starter rifles out there that will give you a sub MOA out of the box. MOA is a Minute of Angle. Without getting to technical just think if you shoot a 3 round group at 100 yards those 3 rounds will be in a circle. If you shoot a 3 round group at 500 yardss and those rounds are within a circle… that’s a 1 MOA group.
- Glass - This could be it’s own Pod Cast but the answer again is going to defalt to question 1 and 2…. We used a really nice piece of glass in our course… a SWFA SS fixed 10 power with a MIL Dot reticle.
- Stick to popular inexpensive cartridges (308/223) so you can afford to practice
Refer to the first 2 questions… What do you want to do with this set up and how much do you want to spend? The .308 is great for this reason. Example: in our first class we used a pretty cheap 147g PMC round just to focus on the fundamentals. The round outperformed my expectations… Students were hitting out to 600 and 700 and one even hit at 1,000. It’s not recommended to use this round for precision but in this case it worked. I would stay with a heavier 168-180g depending on your rifle.
- One thing to remember is when you’re just starting to get into long range shooting is start with the basics and fine tune as you go. It’s all going to cost money… You can take a 147g that cost .65 cents to work on your trigger control, breath control ext… once you have nailed the basics then start moving into the better ammo to really start walking your groups in. It’s going to take you 1,000 of rounds to really master this skill… it’s up to you how much you want to spend along the way. Some of these 180g ballistic tip match grade rounds cost up to $2.00+ per round… If you haven’t mastered your trigger control yet… you’re blowing $2+ every time you pull the trigger.
- Don’t buy an expensive rifle just to skimp on the optics/rings
- Dry-fire at home to develop your fundamentals
- Practice from different shooting positions
- Seek instructors in your area - call sportsman’s clubs and long distance ranges to see who offers courses
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