Long-range shooting is an exciting and competitive sport. Most can agree that a day at the range can’t be beaten. But a day at the range, challenging yourself to hit the next furthest mark and succeeding?
Unless you’re highly trained, being able to make a precise and accurate shot every time is unlikely. However, there are some tips on long-range shooting techniques.
We will take you through a list of 7 tips to improve your shooting and impress your friends. Keep reading for more!
Get The Gear
You’re not going to get very far without the proper gear. Assuming you’ve been to a shooting range before, wear what you’d normally wear.
Ladies: don’t wear low-cut shirts, especially if you shoot left-handed. It will be distracting to have hot brass fly down your shirt.
You should have eye and ear protection. Guns are loud; and as mentioned, brass will fly.
Also, keep in mind the weight (grain) of the bullet you’re shooting. Lower weight bullets have higher velocities, but higher grain rounds will counter cross wind better.
Your scope matters but how it is sighted in is equally important
Finally, you should have a firearm and ammunition capable of shooting the distance you are aiming for. If you don’t have exactly the upper what you want, check out Native Arms for their selection.
The Right Scope
If you want to shoot with iron sights, go for it. You probably won’t be able to clearly see the distance you’re going for which is why you should consider a scope.
This is one piece of gear that deserves its own section. It can be as complicated and as fancy as you can afford. Or, you can stick with simple and user-friendly.
Finding the right scope and having it zeroed in properly will make a huge difference in a hit or a miss. There are optics for every budget, but this definitely a “get what you pay for” scenario.
There is a wrong and a right way to shoot a firearm. There are also proper techniques and body positioning. However, if you’ve grown up with something and it works for you with precision and accuracy, keep with it.
Ideally, when shooting a rifle, it will come back to where it started. This means being able to look through the scope and see your target perfectly.
There are a few different positions to choose from when long-range shooting
- Prone- looks like the sniper position; laying on your belly (no bipod)
- Sitting- cross-legged with elbows on knees for stability
- Kneeling- butt rests on rear foot/heel, and front leg is used for stability
- Prone- same as above but can be with a bipod or with a makeshift rest
If you ask any well-trained service member about controlled breathing, they will tell you the same thing. In fact, any seasoned hunter will tell you this.
Learning to control your breathing may be the most important tip. (There is a close second that is coming up!) Many young adults have been told to hold their breath when making their shot.
While this may be correct, it is certainly not the only way.
When you are shooting long-range, there are a few theories on how you should breathe, all of which have their similarities.
- Take a few breaths, inhale, pause with full lungs, and take the shot
- Take a few breaths, inhale, exhale, pause when your lungs are almost empty, and take your shot
- Again, a few more breaths, inhale, exhale halfway, take the shot
- Breathe like you normally would
Taking the Shot
Pull, press, squeeze the trigger. Which ones have you heard?
Most marksmen have heard some variation of how to take their shot, and it has likely been drilled into their heads. No matter what you’ve been told, you want to remain in control of your weapon, the recoil, and your positioning.
For a visual, squeezing the trigger works well. You aren’t squeezing with the joint, but with the pad of your fingertip. This may be difficult with weapons that require more pounds of pressure, but it is worth it to maintain control.
If you jump or start over-anticipating the noise from the blast, you should pause. Once you’ve paused and calmed yourself, go ahead with your shot.
Considering All Conditions
There are quite a few things that can affect you when shooting long-range. These generally consist of wind, humidity, and temperature. Gravity is another big factor, especially when firing from elevated locations.
While you can account for humidity and temperature, the wind is going to be one of those pains. You may miss a few shots because of it but experience and time at the range will prove to be your friend.
You will intuitively know how to handle and account for wind speed and direction and quickly pick up on how to adjust for height differences.
Practice Makes Perfect
We had to say it, even though this saying can get annoying. When you’re dealing with something as technical as long-range shooting, range time is a must.
The more you shoot your choice gun, with the ammunition you will use for that prize shot, the better you will become. You will gain the accuracy and precision you need and learn how to adjust for weather and elevation.
Remember though; if you are shooting long-distance at a range, it is NOT the same as shooting when you hunt. At a range, you will have more time to gather thoughts and prepare for your shot.
In a hunting situation, you are dealing with a live and unpredictable animal as well as the excitement of the harvest.
Becoming a Pro at Long-Range Shooting
When combining all or several of these tips, you will quickly learn what works for you when shooting from a distance. Truly the best thing you can do is talk to people.
Go to local stores where other enthusiasts may hang out and talk to them. Visit with people at the range. Ask for their tips. Use what works for you and discard the rest.
If anything, take a class or two on long-range shooting. Check out our resources to find what is offered in your area.