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le Voyageur

Extreme distance shooting range....

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Having a raging debate with myself, lots of what ifs, and a few concerns....thinking about floating the ideal of a extreme distance shooting range for Ventures to the Council. Steel Targets at distances of 300, 500, and 800 yards. Figure 5 or 6 Mosin Nagants with Scout scopes. Ammo is cheap for this rifle which would keep the cost low for participants

Figure off season use only to train Ventures in the basics of hunting at extreme ranges....

 

thoughts...

 

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I shoot CMP John C. Garand & Springfield matches and NRA High Power Rifle competitvely (or did until I moved in July, haven't been to a match yet this year--hopefully the end of April, Scouts also gets in the way) so I can add a few comments. High Power is a centerfire rifle discipline shot at 200 (off hand stage, rapid fire sitting stage), 300 (rapid fire prone stage), and 600 yards (slow fire prone) with iron sights. With my experience there I will share my technical objections:

 

If this is a new bunch of shooters, you're trying to teach and reinforce the fundamentals: Natural Point of aim & position (still applies even from benchrest/sandbags/bipod), breath control, sight alignment/sight picture (easier but still relevant for telescopic sights), trigger squeeze, etc.

 

One of the first thing shooters learn is to "call" their shots: take a mental photograph of the sights and target (in this case crosshairs and target) at the instant the rifle fires. If it looks good: the shot should be good. If not adjust sights. That's with match grade equipment where the rifle is expected to be better than a novice shooter.

 

With a Mosin-Nagant you add in a rifle that has a horrible trigger, horrendous recoil which will affect some shooters more than others, and its not known for accuracy. And the surplus ammo isn't known for accuracy either. This leads to a situation where the rifle may not shoot to call. So the shooter asks himself "was it me or was it the rifle?" That doesn't reinforce the fundamentals: having to guess whether you messed up the shot.

 

You also add in the wind factor at 300+ yards. The new shooters won't know if it was them or the wind carrying the bullet. I'm still at the stage (despite being an Expert class shooter--89%+ average) where I haven't learned to read the wind: I rely on chasing the shot spotter and having confidence in my call.

 

Again to reinforce the fundamentals they also need to know if they're hitting or missing the target. A steel target does give a satisfying clang but will you hear it that far with your ear protection on and five other shooters firing around you. If you missed, did you miss left, right, up or down. Can you see? Can your spotter spot the miss?

 

From a safety standpoint, I have no objections providing you have a sufficient impact berm and safe impact area (in case they miss the berm). The NRA may have some guidebooks on range construction standards.

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I'm curious. What does the venture crew gain at long range that can't be gained with a shorter range, say 100 meters?

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Easy Pack, its the increasing distance, the greater the challenge and then the accomplishment of meeting a greater challenge.

 

I work at Summer Camp as an Ad Junct Rangemaster and work as Rangemaster at District Camporees and other events when they need a qualified person. Many times I assist a youth in the first time they ever shoot a gun. After tentative first steps, and perhaps a few misses, the look on their face when they hit the target is priceless. So, after you have mastered the 50 foot range, what do you do then? Go Big or in this case Go Long. I can see the cachet of shooting long distance. Of learning how to clump your shots in a tighter group at increasing distances, of doing something that seems impossible but yet, after you try it, you do.

 

The old School hall conversation on Monday, imagine the following exchange:

What did you?

Nothing

Nuthin'

Hung out at the Mall

Hey, I hit a target 6 out of 10 times from 800 yards at Venturing on Saturday

Whoa

Whoa

Whoa

YES!

 

Sounds like a good idea

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In some sense, you also have to 'go big' in order to achieve the accuracy you want at that range...and also expensive.

When I was more actively involved in this gun stuff, I derived benefit from learning how to concentrate and focus...how to control myself to maintain that focus (aim) and I enjoyed the instant gratification of seeing the resulting placement of the shot...or the instant confirmation that I needed to improve. I am a strong advocate for marksmanship (either firearms or archery) as a means to help ADD persons learn to focus and control their thoughts.

 

So I guess I'm asking specifically what benefits, if anything, are there beyond what I described above. What you describe seems to be some kind of 'machismo' thing that might attract more 'machismo'-oriented members. Is that what you mean?

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Not anymore Macho that "Without using any cooking utensils, prepare a meal with the four basic food groups for three people." Which is the fifth requirement of the Cooking Core requirement for Ranger

 

Or Starting a Fire without matches/lighter three different way to earn the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge

 

Or Catching, CLeaning, Cooking and eating a fish we have caught or acquired for the fishing merit badge

 

(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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I'm no expert, but it sounds like incredible fun if you can get the right gear for the right people who are at the right stage in their training to use it!

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Why not have a "are you good enough to be a sniper" challenge?

 

Shoot bottle caps or golf balls from 100 yards?

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There are several programs offered for Sharpshooting you can offer other than "Sniper shooting", or at least your Shooting sports staff should have info....

 

 

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I'm getting some great ideals from you folks, so a big thanks your way. The goal is not to train "snipers", but hunters. If one is able to place tight group at, say 500 yards, than it should be possible to hunt deer, and make one shot kills at 100 yards with no problem. Or, if hunting prong horns or muley's in the high desert with shots out to 600 to 800 yards, one would have an understanding of estimating range, and windage. Of knowing when, and when not to take the shot to avoid wounding an animal...

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I like Distance shooting, but until you have honed some fundamentals of marksmanship, many of the same goals can be accomplished by shooting smaller targets at short ranges.

 

While I'll definitely agree that wind and other distance effects play into the fun of long-range. I believe that for beginning shooters, learning to get to the point of being able to call their shot and firing into progressively smaller targets is a much faster and more confidence building method than taking them to further distances.

 

That said, I think it's a great idea and I'd be behind it, but agree that paper targets, with a cease fire for target marking between each volley, or perhaps the range in question has a protected berm behind which the target can be lowered for marking after each shot?

At range, for precision shooting, the steel targets will only give you a hit or miss indication - while ok for some purposes, to increase shooting skills a mark of the shot gives the necessary feedback to increase the applied skill. And shouldn't we all be aiming for the x ring, rather than just getting on paper?

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"I'm getting some great ideals from you folks, so a big thanks your way. The goal is not to train "snipers", but hunters. If one is able to place tight group at, say 500 yards, than it should be possible to hunt deer, and make one shot kills at 100 yards with no problem. Or, if hunting prong horns or muley's in the high desert with shots out to 600 to 800 yards, one would have an understanding of estimating range, and windage. Of knowing when, and when not to take the shot to avoid wounding an animal... "

 

If you are training hunters, train them in how to stalk the animal and get close, not to take chancy shots at long range that all too often end up with a wounded animal that gets away and dies later. Very few people have the necessary firearm. Even fewer practice enough to maintain the skill level required to reliably score a clean kill at those ranges. Most far overate their current capabilities and the accuracy of their firearms.

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One step at a time.... first - how to shoot, second - how to hunt, third - how to process game, last - how to prepare and serve game. It's a process of small steps

The reason I'm playing around with this ideal is that our Reservation has two of everything including two blackpowder ranges, the only exceptions are the Paint Ball, and Pistol ranges. As I see it, the only range lacking is a extreme distance range, and with 16 000 acres, plenty of room. In a way, it could be made a part of our High Knoll program as an outpost...(This message has been edited by le Voyageur)

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I'm not trying to pick a fight with this question but I'd like to understand what the difference is between sniping and this kind of long range hunting? The only difference I can detect is the prey. Am I wrong?

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Well, let me rephrase my "sniping" comment a little bit,

 

By sniper, I do not mean assasin. I mean expert long range shooter.

 

And it's not just about shooting for a kill , but also about a more serious level of control and skill. It gets down to controling your breathing, but doing it so naturally that you don't have to think about it.

 

It's not just pointing a gun at something far away.

 

It's about considering and counting on elevation drop, windage, and where to aim .

 

You don't hold your breath when you shoot, you exhale and relax before squeezing a trigger. Never pull the trigger , squeeze it.

 

And if you can learn discipline and control to where you can hit a bottle cap or golf ball from 100 yards, then when you do shoot a deer, you will take him down instead of watching him run and possibly not get him.

 

You won't have a deer that runs away and bl;eeds out where he can't be found. Instead, you drop him where he stands.

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