Understanding Long Range Precision Shooting
It seems everything runs in cycles. One year three-gun is incredibly popular, the next steel challenge.
Today more and more people are becoming interested in “long-range.” Here’s the secret: there are many different types of long-range shooting, it’s not fully defined. In more traditional rifle competitions like Palma and F-class, long-range is considered to be 1,000 yards or more. Some consider 300 yards long range, others 600. What long-range means to a person really depends on the gun/cartridge they have and its capabilities as well as the experience of the user. When I first started shooting high power, 200 yards was far. 600 yards was insane. Today I don’t think twice about shooting six football fields.There is only so much study you can do without getting behind a gun and seeing for yourself.
The number one thing to understand is long-range adds environmental conditions like wind and more calculations (bullet drop) to the task of hitting the target. This increases the difficulty level as you have to understand a lot more about wind reading and ballistics to hit your target. This shouldn’t scare you. It’s a challenge, but a surmountable one. In precision rifle, for example, ballistic calculators do a lot of the work for you, as long as you plug in the correct data.
When people talk about long-range, they are typically talking about rifles, though pushing the limits of a pistol can also be considered long-range for those firearms. In simplistic terms, shooting long-range is shooting a gun and ammunition at distances that push the limits of the equipment’s capabilities with environmental factors in play.
There is only so much study you can do without getting behind a gun and seeing for yourself. Basic marksmanship skills are important as any mistakes made at shorter distances are amplified at longer ones. In other words, make sure that you can shoot well at 200 yards before moving to 600, and so on. Equipment also becomes a bigger factor. A longer, quality barrel and ammunition that performs well in it is a necessity for accuracy. This raises another point, what are long-range shooters shooting at? For some it is hitting golf balls or cans just for fun. Others want to hit a steel plate or gong, it doesn’t matter where. People like me punch paper, attempting to shoot the center as many times as possible and keeping score....make sure that you can shoot well at 200 yards before moving to 600, and so on.