Complete Beginner's Guide to Long-Range Shooting

While it may be difficult to get started, with proper equipment and technique, hitting long-range targets confidently isn’t far-fetched.

The fundamental concepts of precision long-range shooting are pretty standard. 

Long-range accuracy and consistency boil down to the following 5 elements.

1. The Equipment 

You need the right long-range combo to hit targets at extended ranges as follows:

A Long Range Rifle

When choosing a precision rifle, you want to consider its barrel length, weight, and quality. 

Heavier rifles can handle more recoil, meaning less movement between shots. Good long-range rifles have longer barrels to fire projectiles more accurately. 

 

For starters, a precision rifle is designed to hit the same target area consistently. Accuracy, on the other hand, refers to how close your shot is to the intended point of impact. 

You can achieve precision and low accuracy or vice versa. You need to master this crucial skill to become an accomplished long-range shooter.

The caliber choice may differ from one shooter to another. Most long-range shooters prefer heavier calibers, such as the .300 Magnum. Large and heavier bullets travel faster. In addition, they maintain a good velocity, making it easier to account for the bullet drop.

A Long Range Riflescope 

When choosing a long-range scope, you want one with enough magnification to zoom on distant targets. Pick a variable scope, one that offers multiple magnification settings. Variable scopes provide the versatility you need for long and short-distance shooting.

The Stealth Vision Stealth Vision 5-30x56 scope allows you to adjust zoom magnification from 5x to 30x, making it one of the best long-range scopes in its class.

Speaking of long-range combos, Stealth Vision Rifle and Scope Package offers a powerful combination for long-distance accuracy. 

The rifle works with 7mm and 28 Nosler at an 8:1 twist rate. You can also shoot 300 PRC at a 10:1 twist rate. 

2. The Technique

Precision rifle shooting is also about your technique. 

The longer the distance, the less margin for error, so you must master the following basic principles.

Shooting Position 

Hitting targets beyond 300 yards can be challenging if you’re not sitting or in a prone position. Learning rifle shooting positions is a key fundamental for accurate long-range shooting. 

The Grip

You must place your rifle’s stock firmly in your shoulder pocket. You should also plant your cheek on the stock while ensuring your eye is one or two inches from the scope.

Leaving too much space between your eye and the scope is a common mistake you’re likely to make as an amateur long-range shooter. You’ll struggle to see your target straight-on with your eye significantly far from the scope.

While being close to the scope can injure you, you can reduce the recoil if your rifle’s stock is sitting properly, even with a large-caliber gun.

Unless you’re an experienced shooter, it’d be best to determine your rifle’s recoil. That way, you can figure out the ideal distance between your eye and the riflescope.

Breathing

Your rifle rises and falls as you inhale and exhale. 

Long-range shots, repeatedly consistent on the horizontal axis but significantly variable on the vertical axis, indicate that you can’t regulate your breathing. 

While you can bypass the variations at short range, such a mistake can be impactful at long range. A barrel movement causing a one-foot miss can translate to ten feet or more than 1,000 yards at a short distance.

Start by emptying your lungs halfway, then hold your breath before taking a long-range shot. Fire, then breathe again. Mastering your breathing rhythm is one of the essential basic fundamentals for accurate long-range shots.

Sighting the Target

You should know precisely where your target should be on your reticle. 

Still, several factors can affect your point of aim, including your ammunition, ballistic properties, wind, elevation and range.

Here’s what you need to know about this seemingly complex topic.

The farther the target, the higher you need to aim — assuming you’re shooting on flat terrain. 

If your target is significantly lower or higher than the shooter, it’d be best to lower your point of aim in both situations. While this may sound counterintuitive, the rifleman rule is simple to understand. 

Imagine a shooter aiming 1,000 yards downrange at a target 15 feet above their elevation. 

Picture an imaginary triangle where the first leg is straight from the rifle’s muzzle to the target, otherwise known as the line-of-sight distance.

The second leg stretches from the muzzle to the target, running parallel to the ground.  

The third leg is the vertical line that connects the other legs and runs from the target to the ground. 

The length of the third line represents the target’s height relative to the muzzle. 

Per the Pythagoras theorem, the line-of-sight distance to a lower or higher target is greater than the horizontal distance to the target. 

Gravity pulls down bullets while on a flight, affecting the horizontal distance to the target, not the vertical distance between the muzzle and the target. 

As a result, bullet drop is relatively negligible if the target is lower or higher than if it were on the same elevation. 

That’s why you need to aim your reticle lower when your target is higher than your rifle's muzzle and vice versa. 

Trigger Squeeze

Long-range shots that group on target on the vertical axis and are inaccurate on the horizontal result from a faulty trigger squeeze or grip.

The horizontal drift happens when you jerk the trigger unevenly before it breaks. When this occurs, your rifle pulls slightly to the right or left.

You can perfect how you pull the trigger by squeezing it slowly and smoothly while keeping the rate constant. Relax your muscles, and don’t anticipate the shot. The idea is to minimize rifle movement.

Follow-through

In a long-range shooting situation, follow-through refers to maintaining the same position, sight picture, breathing pattern, grip and trigger squeeze after every shot.

In a long-range shooting situation, follow-through refers to maintaining the same position, sight picture, breathing pattern, grip and trigger squeeze after every shot.

Remember, your next shot’s accuracy will differ every time you change any of these variables, so it's important to understand the fundamental concepts of following through with your shots.

3. Environmental Factors

Significant environmental factors affecting long-range shooting include:

  • Wind: Learn how to read the wind direction. Strong winds can affect your bullet's flight path and, by extension, its accuracy. 
  • Bullet Drop: Study your rifle and ammunition ballistic charts to enable you to predict long-range bullet drop in real-time.
  • Density Altitude: Read our in-depth guide to learn how temperature and humidity affect your long-range shooting accuracy. 
  • The Coriolis Effect: This refers to the earth's rotation impact on your bullet's point of impact. As a long-range shooter, you'll want to know your location and how to account for the Coriolis effect. 

4. Zeroing Your Weapon

Zeroing your equipment involves gradually adjusting your rifle and scope to ensure your shot hits precisely where you want over an extended distance.

You must zero your weapon correctly to tell where your bullet will land. If not zeroed, the bullets might hit too high or low or stray to the right or left.

Shooting with an unzeroed sight is like navigating with a broken compass. While the effects aren’t apparent over shot distance, the accuracy diminishes as you hit long and medium ranges.

Read our in-depth guide on how to adjust a long-range scope.

5. The Ammunition

Ammunition designed for long-range shooting, typically 500 to 1,000 years, has a significant variance in ballistic performance.

While some apps can perform complex ballistics calculations, they can be difficult to use and have limited capacity.

So as you hone your skills, it’d be best to consider using a ballistics calculator to help you choose the right ammo for long-range shooting.

Long range shooting is a skillful art that requires discipline, agility, mastering complex calculations, and more.

Guide to Long Range Shooting Guide - Final Thoughts

Long range shooting is a skillful art that requires discipline, agility, mastering complex calculations, and more.

Apart from understanding the dynamics of long shooting, you must practice regularly to become an accomplished shooter. 

And as a rule of thumb, protect your hearing

 

HAVE A PREMIUM SCOPE DESIGNED BY AN EYE DOCTOR

Stealth Vision built the best scope money can buy with anti-cant green light technology, ideal for long range shooting.

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