60 replies [Last post]
cowgal's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/10/2002
Posts: 1787
How do I get started in LR shooting?

Ok, since we have a forum for this topic, I'd like to know what steps a person should take to get started in long range shooting. I'm only interested in shooting, not hunting at long range.

I'm not a novice to shooting. I consider my shooting abilities very good with a variety of handguns and smaller caliber rifles and probably fair with larger caliber rifles. I simply do not shoot the larger caliber rifles (30.06, 7mm rem mag) as often, but I can shoot accurately out to 200 yards.

One of my favorite firearms is a TC contender pistol with a bulberry barrel that shoots a 221 fireball. I love it because of it will shoot accurately way beyond a typical handgun. I like to push the limits and I love a challenge, so to me attempting long range shooting intrigues me.

So, my questions are:

1) what are the preferred calibers for long range shooting?
2) for those calibers, what cartridges are best?
3) is handloading best? or will store bought work?
4) how powerful should the scope be? fixed or variable?

I know practice is key to improving and mastering any skill, but how do you go about doing this? Do you just jump in and start practicing at lets say 500 yards, or is it better to increase incrementally by maybe 100 yards? Perfect that yardage, then increase again?

Thanks! Big smile

Offline
Location: North Louisiana
Joined: 12/08/2006
Posts: 120
How to get started?

cowgal

There are plenty of good longrange match shooters in Colorado! Depending on where you live.....the NRA Whittington Center is just south of you down at Raton, New Mexico and they have regular events held there monthly! I'd suggest you call the NRA or contact their Website and find out when their next match is held? There will be good guys/gals there that can give you some good info! Several of the world's best longrange shooters that I know....are FEMALES!! They'll 'wax' 98% of all men....all the time!! lol lol

Offline
Joined: 11/14/2006
Posts: 68
How do I get started in LR shooting?

I'm no expert but just based on my recent research lets see if I can answer a few of these...

1. From what I have seen the most common caliber for competition shooting is the .223. I'm pretty sure that was seen up to the 1000yd but don't quote me on that.
2. Eley Tenex
Lapua Dominator
Sierra Match King
3. Handloading should give you the best results but there are match grade loads available to purchase.
4. For long range shooting I would suggest a variable scope and would recommend getting as much scope as your budget will allow.

I have heard that the Eley Tenex is supposed to be the best (by a rather significant margin) for factory loads. They go to quite some extremes to get the quality necessary for accurate ammunition that is consistant.

Keep in mind all of this information is based on my research into the topic though and no real world experience myself. I also read one site that specified that competition shooting is .30cal or smaller though that may vary depending on the competition, anyways hope this info helps and that it's accurate.

cowgal's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/10/2002
Posts: 1787
How do I get started in LR shooting?

Thanks for the info hostage67. I currently do not own a .223, but have shot them and liked their accuracy. For some reason I always thought that long range shooting required large caliber rifles, so its nice to know that a .223 would work too.

RMulhern, thanks for your info as well. However at this time I'm not interested in jumping right into competition shoots. The only ones I like to compete against (at the moment!) are my husband & sons. lol And some friends from time to time. BTW I'm in the northwest corner of Colorado, a long way from Raton NM. I'll check and see what our local shooting ranges offer.

Offline
Location: North Louisiana
Joined: 12/08/2006
Posts: 120
How do I get started in LR shooting?
cowgal wrote:
Thanks for the info hostage67. I currently do not own a .223, but have shot them and liked their accuracy. For some reason I always thought that long range shooting required large caliber rifles, so its nice to know that a .223 would work too.

RMulhern, thanks for your info as well. However at this time I'm not interested in jumping right into competition shoots. The only ones I like to compete against (at the moment!) are my husband & sons. lol And some friends from time to time. BTW I'm in the northwest corner of Colorado, a long way from Raton NM. I'll check and see what our local shooting ranges offer.

cowgal

You don't have to compete! Just go and watch.....ask questions....and pick the competitors minds! If you REALLY want to LEARN the ART of LR shooting......NRA HP is the basic foundation of the program! Many have not gone that route......but.....they probably would have made better shooters.....had they done so!! lol

Offline
Moderator
Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
How do I get started in LR shooting?

cowgal
A round called the 6.5/284 held the 1000yd title for a period. Another good long range, light recoil target round would be the 260 rem with a long 140gr bullet. Some other favorites are the 7-08 with 150gr, 308 with 165gr, 300wsm with 180gr. The current title holder is a custom 7mm wsm not sure of bullet weight. I shoot a custom 270 wsm with a 140gr Nosler Accubond at 500+. It could be pushed further but, thats my personal limit.
If you can find a 6.5/284 that a target shooter isn't using anymore. You'll have a very fine long range shooter.

cowgal's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/10/2002
Posts: 1787
How do I get started in LR shooting?

Thanks for the info fuzzybear. I'll start asking around and see if I can at least shoot some of the calibers you mentioned.

I'm assuming cartridges for the 6.5/284 would need to be handloads. From doing a quick google search, it appears to be a wildcat. Is that correct?

RMulhern, locally I'm not aware of any long range shooters that frequent the local shooting ranges. I would have to investigate it further and most likely do some traveling.

Offline
Location: North Louisiana
Joined: 12/08/2006
Posts: 120
How do I get started in LR shooting?
cowgal wrote:
Thanks for the info fuzzybear. I'll start asking around and see if I can at least shoot some of the calibers you mentioned.

I'm assuming cartridges for the 6.5/284 would need to be handloads. From doing a quick google search, it appears to be a wildcat. Is that correct?

RMulhern, locally I'm not aware of any long range shooters that frequent the local shooting ranges. I would have to investigate it further and most likely do some traveling.

cowgal

Traveling?? Yep! I traveled for 45 years doing it!! Yes Thumbs up

Offline
Moderator
Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
How do I get started in LR shooting?

The 6.5/284 is a wildcat, good choice and there were a whole bunch of them built.
When you find one get it with all the compliments. If it was used in competition. Ask what bullet and powder it favored and if they would be willing to give you the info on setting up the cases/rounds. You'll need to know the barrel twist and the throat length.

Look for some copies of, I believe the title is, "Precision Shooting" or "Precision Shooter". It will have info on the popular rounds and events, contacts, classified, etc...
I'll check on that title. I have a few older copies at the shop.

After 45 years, RMulhern may have an LR target rifle that's collecting dust.

The 6.5/284 is a light/medium recoil round.
The 260rem (same bullet diameter .264) is another good light/medium recoil round. You would want a bit faster twist than the factory barrel. Possibly, between 7 1/2 - 9 to 1 for better stability of the 140's. If you want to stick with the standard weights 120gr 125gr the factory twist works but, you'll still want to roll your own rounds.

Making the round is part of the of the enjoyment. I'll get back, when I get some more info for ya.

Don Fischer's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3173
How do I get started in LR shooting?

Eley Tennex if a match 22 LR round. The 224 cals would not make good long range cartridges.

A good long range cartridge should be capabile of launching a bullet that can buck the wind over a very long range. Balistic Coefficent really comes into play here. The 243 cals have some good long range bullets but when you compare the best of the 24 cal bullets for this game to the best of the larger cal bullet, the 24's get pretty much left behind.

I don't know that the 257's have ever had truely good longrange match bullet's but at the 6.5's thing's really start to shine. Thanks mostly I'd think to the
6.5x300 Weatherby-Wright-Hoyer. But there is also the 263 Express, AKA 260 Rem that puts the same bullets out but at less velocity. I think that the big advantage of the velocity in long range shooting is only time of flight which may reduce wind deflection somewhat. But on a still day, elevation is the key. It really does not matter how fast the bullet hits the target, only how well you place the bullets! The drawback of those high capacity cases would be recoil. Nobody shoots a large capacity case as well as a 22 LR, recoil!

All of the long range rifles I've seen have had fairly long barrels also, up to 30". There would be a weight advantage there to help reduce recoil and also to improve steadiness of hold. The best match rifles are heavy for a reason. The long barrel will also allow you to reduce the powder charge a bit thus lowering pressure and still reach the same velocities in some cases. In the long range game, 500+ yds (?) the short barrel handguns would likely be non-competative as I suspect being able to hold with precision such a relatively light weapon would be a chore. The velocity loss would not affect it to much because again, the target doesn't care how fast the bullet is going when it's hit,

Were I to try long range target shooting, I'd start with a fairly heavy rifle with as long a factory barrel as I could get in a cartridge over 25 cal. I believe that the 6.5x55 might be as good as any in a modern action with at least a 24" barrel but would rather a 26" if I could find it. There would not be a whole lot of difference between it and the 260 Rem. Finding a long barrel might be a trick tho.

In one of Rick Mulherns posts he mentions his long range rifle was fitted into a 458 Win Mag stock, I think that's what it was. I suspect he did it for the extra wieght AND where it balances that weight. I suspose I could lead a factory stock but wonder about the balance by other than blind luck. Weight I believe to be a key factor in the long range rifle. Every match rifle I've ever seen from the match 22's we used in Europe to a few long range jobs were all very heavy for what they were. Who really needs a 12# 22 LR? A match shooter!

I'm not sure about a scope but think that a 6-18 would be more than enough. the higher powers would probally allow you to watch the heat rising off the barrel even on a cool day and on a hot day I'd think mirage would be a tuff nut to crack. Benchresters call it "shooting thru the soup" I believe. Rich made a coment about scope power and said he always or alwost always shoots at 6x. Therefore if I had a 6-18 power, I could use 6x all the time and should a need for 18x come up, I'd have it, this is not a rifle I'd care to carry around much. Forgot the scope mounts. Rick mentioned a Baer mount and what I've heard in the past is shimmed front mounts. He aslo told us how to center the reticule. To do so, I'd use a read mount like on some of my rifles, adjustable for windage. With the crosswires centered, I'd adjust with the rear mount and fine tune with the scopes windage adjustment.

I cannot imagine not handloading for anything and certainly with any kind of competative rifle it's a must. I'd also give a lot of thought to competation dies, although at this point in my life I see no need for them. Winning groupe at 100yds matches are measured in thousandths of a inch and a quarter inch rifle is nice but you'll likely not win anything with it. At longer ranges???? I think I read that if your not down around 4" at a thousand yards, your not going to do all that well, but at that range that very very good in my opinion. I think 1000yd matches are shot at 1012yds.

After the balistics of this whole thing is figured out, then you have to figure out how humidity and barometric pressure effects the bullet in flight and adjust for it, or so I'm told. It would seem to me that the most difficult parts of the game would be figuring just where to aim given all the ingredients. So when your practiceing, just shooting is not enought. The term practice get's over played in my opinion, it's as tho good shooting just comes out of the closet if you shoot enough, ain't so. Breath control and trigger control become critical. At 100yds you should be able to hit well enough to score good filling shots on game even breathing quite heavily. In a 100yd benchrest match, one cup coffee to much can put you out of it. An accuracy rifle for any range is not really a rifle, it's a system.

This entire post is purely speculation based or what I've read over the years and my own experiences long ago.

Offline
Location: North Louisiana
Joined: 12/08/2006
Posts: 120
How do I get started in LR shooting?
fuzzybear wrote:
The 6.5/284 is a wildcat, good choice and there were a whole bunch of them built.
When you find one get it with all the compliments. If it was used in competition. Ask what bullet and powder it favored and if they would be willing to give you the info on setting up the cases/rounds. You'll need to know the barrel twist and the throat length.

Look for some copies of, I believe the title is, "Precision Shooting" or "Precision Shooter". It will have info on the popular rounds and events, contacts, classified, etc...
I'll check on that title. I have a few older copies at the shop.

After 45 years, RMulhern may have an LR target rifle that's collecting dust.

The 6.5/284 is a light/medium recoil round.
The 260rem (same bullet diameter .264) is another good light/medium recoil round. You would want a bit faster twist than the factory barrel. Possibly, between 7 1/2 - 9 to 1 for better stability of the 140's. If you want to stick with the standard weights 120gr 125gr the factory twist works but, you'll still want to roll your own rounds.

Making the round is part of the of the enjoyment. I'll get back, when I get some more info for ya.

fuzzybear

"After 45 years, RMulhern may have an LR target rifle that's collecting dust."

I said...."I travelled for 45 years"....not that I had quit shooting! lol lol Got 5 of 'em....but they don't collect dust! If you....had a 1000 yd. range in your backyard....do ya reckon they'd be collecting dust?? Shame on You! Thumbs up Shame on You!

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
ballistics and holdover questionhunter25701/11/2012 15:35 pm
My son started shooting arrowsredrider408/13/2006 11:53 am
Shooting range noise problemshunter25103/16/2011 12:22 pm
buy a hoytbust_my_face_1010/24/2005 10:53 am
Black Hills Buffalo HuntBuffaloCountyBuffalo006/16/2006 20:51 pm