After Action Report: Florida Firearms Training 2 Day Long Range Rifle Class.

I’ve been remiss in following up on my class from a couple of weeks ago, so here’s the AAR.

This is my third class with Will and his crew: The first was a brief pepper spray class, the second was a hog hunting class that netted me 150+ pounds of free-range pork products, and now this class on theory and practice of hitting a target that is quite a long ways away.

I’ve had my Savage 16 for four years now, but to be honest, before this class, I had never even come CLOSE to getting what I could out of that gun. I didn’t chrono my loads, I was shooting ammo that wasn’t up to the task of long-range shooting (surplus 7.62 NATO from Greece is nobody’s first choice in target ammo), and to be honest, I just didn’t get along with the Millett optic I was using.

I upgraded to a Primary Arms 4-14 MOA scope, changed over to Federal 168 SMKs, and went to Florida Firearms Training to get serious about the long-range game.

Right off the bat, Will and his co-instructor Brad helped de-mystify the elements of long-range shooting that had eluded my grasp, and rather than teach us to shoot their way, thy emphasized the need for consistency in all things such as shooting position and ammunition in order to deliver consistent results. For instance, I had been taught that after you got into a shooting position, you wanted to “load up” your bipod by pressing forward on it slightly. However, as instructor Brad pointed out, there is really no way to do that sort of thing consistently, so the benefit your get from it (a more stable shooting position) is outweighed by inconsistency it introduces into your shot.

Makes sense.

After a half-day in the classroom, it was off to the range to chrono our loads, sight in our guns, set up our ballistic calculators and start to get some DOPE on our rifles. I was pleased to see that my gun was holding MOA and also pleased that my gun and ammo were dead-on to Strelok at 200 yards.

Okeechobee 500 yard range

That’s “only” 400 yards from the firing line.

The next day is when the fun really began. We shot at 100 yards to confirm zero, and then started to push ourselves out to 200, 300 and 400 yards, getting data on how our guns, optics and ammo were all working together, and then it was time for the 500 yard shot.

Where I pinged a 12×12 piece steel on the very first try. I’ll take it.

After that, we did some timed drills engaging targets at various distances, confirming DOPE and gaining confidence to make the shot when needed, and it worked, because later that week I went to Training Grounds to make the 1000 yard shot for an upcoming article, and whereas before, I could barely hit the berm out beyond 300 yards, I was getting first-round hits on steel plates out to 800 yards.

Not bad.

If you’re looking to ramp up your long-range shooting for either hunting or competing in Precision Rifle, give Florida Firearms Training a call. If they can turn me into a cut-rate Carlos Hathcock, they can help you, too.