BallisticCA18 Long Range Training After Action Report

I had the opportunity to run a group of former U.S. Marines through my long range precision rifle training class recently. It was nice having a lance corporal, a corporal and a sergeant who all happened to serve together. Chain of command was built in and there was lots of Marines insulting other Marines and dirty jokes.

We started with the basics of form and position building and went through weapon verification and troubleshooting on day one. After about 6 hours of non-stop fast paced work we had all the ballistics data needed to craft very accurate drop tables and had all the guns zero’d properly and scope turrets slipped to zero. On a 100yrd line little issues are going to be easiest to solve and there were a few. Sometimes you just need someone of known ability to drive the gun.

After a day of building blast fatigue (no suppressors in California means loud days) we retired to a barbecue dinner and a few barley pops while we got to know each other and swapped lies. At the same time I put some effort into additional lessons on ballistics, input data gathering and why certain things are important to get very precise while other things really aren’t.

On day two things got intense and we ran drill after drill after drill. These drills are meant to expose students to all of the ways that they can induce their own failure and are meant to be extremely difficult. If you’re not missing, you’re not training. You’re just rehearsing. Drills varied in number of shots fired, timed vs. untimed, single target, multiple target and so on out to 500m.

We covered wind reading for quite some time as that’s the real art in of long range precision shooting. You can take a newbie and they can hit easily when there’s no wind but add a little wind and some complicating topography and things suddenly get extremely challenging again. The lessons on wind effect and terrain effects on wind seemed to be exceptionally valuable and many really good questions were asked. Some of those questions were answered with the truth of the matter, send one and correct. Many though seemed to be pretty enlightening. Thankfully my home range provides ample opportunity for the wind to really screw you up and it’s very challenging to estimate wind very well in that kind of a jumbled topographic environment until you’ve had this exact kind of training.

Once I had sufficiently burned them down and had their heads fully swimming, with so much information coming at you it’s hard to absorb it all, it was time to build them back up and implement at properly long range what we’d learned on the intermediate distance range.

We ran up to the long range course and went through quite a number of drills from team drills to ranging exercises, bracketing exercises and so on. By the end of the day everyone was being pretty predictably accurate and we eventually retired to the camp for another fine meal and some high quality banter.

Day 3 came and because of the very small class size I was able to finish the course on the first 2 days so we were able to get some good old fashioned trigger time from 100-900. Once the heat of the day came on, so did the bugs and the lads had a 20 hour drive home so we elected to call it a weekend at that point and head on home. Coach and I stayed around to clean up the range and dirty up some guns we never get to shoot. I got my 10/22 ready for an upcoming .22LR match and even got to dirty up the new barrel on my EDC pistol.

One of the lads took the opportunity to use my spare BipodExt. When fully extended the bipod was a full foot in front of the muzzle of his AR-10. Eventually the shooter decided that since the BipodExt is somewhat expensive and so would not be entering his kit anytime very soon, that he’d remove it and shoot with just the bipod mounted directly to the rifle. It’s that big a difference that he didn’t want the training to be tainted by having such a good cheat. 

On day 3 I broke out the Hot Dog Gun and let the lads take a whack with it. It runs very high ballistic coefficient bullets at immensely fast speeds so the drop is very minimal. So minimal that they got to see the difference in the bullet trace vividly against 6.5CM and .308Win loads. Spotting bullet trace is something that’s easiest through a spotting scope but when I was shooting my rifle I could actually see it in the rifle scope when I zoomed out a little bit. It’s a flat shooter for sure and makes shooting under 500m kind of boring. They were surprised at the extremely low recoil as well. From my point of view, all that speed and power without being a hard kicker is totally worth the barrel life sacrificed.

Still pics are cool and all but video is cooler. BigC laying it down. A nicer, more considerate guy you will not find.

Then comes BigD. Turns out we have friends in common already. That’s cool.