I’ve shot a lot of rounds in my life. I was a pretty heavy volume shooter in my teens, chewing through case after case of .223, 7.63×39 and 12ga as well as various handgun calibers. After I joined the military my volume went up drastically easily pushing tens of thousands of rounds downrange annually. I was well trained in carbines, handguns, shotguns and all manner of belt fed lead slingers. My education was incomplete in it’s diversity though. Despite being raised in Alaska hunting deer I had very little experience with precision bolt guns adorned with scoped optics suited for the task. Sure I had a nice Leupold 3×9 on a Winchester model 70 in 30-06 but that simple duplex reticle and the thick southeast Alaskan brush kept me shooting within 200 yards. Until very recently I felt more comfortable with a red dot or iron sight equipped carbine out to 500 yards than I did with a scoped bolt gun. When I decided I needed to fix this inadequacy I put together a simple bolt gun package that I could upgrade easily later on once my skill level warranted the increased investment.
Having been made familiar with Ryan Cleckner through his instructive and informative youtube videos with the National Shooting Sports Foundation- comments on said videos make it clear many shooters find Ryan’s teaching style resonates with them. He can take a pretty complex topic and explain it caveman simple without degrading the integrity of the material at hand. When I found out he was to publish a two part book series on precision rifle shooting, I had a good feeling his teaching style would translate to the written format well. Being a fellow Ranger (he with the 1st Bn of the 75th Ranger Regt.) has not only sent a lot of rounds downrange, he also has had a significant investment in his skill set. First trained as a sniper, then serving as a sniper team leader, Ryan was also sent to SOTIC (Special Operations Target Interdiction Course). SOTIC is one of the premier schools our military has to offer and is held in legendary esteem. The education gained there is reputed to be second to none.
I picked up Ryan’s book and read it through in two evenings. The first time I worked my way through pretty quick, familiarizing myself with the layout as much as the content. Like the Bible or a textbook I wanted to be able to quickly refer to a specific section as needed. The second pass I took my time and highlighted important passages, noting in particular the things I wanted to pass on to other shooters and the lessons I had identified that would improve my shooting. We all have flaws in form, training methods and mental errors to correct. How many of us can say we’ve never spent time at the range frustrated and chasing our zero all over? I’ve seen it happen to crack marksmen. Who among us can say we treat long range shooting as ritualistically as we can? Some of us might not be applying that as effectively as we think. I myself was able to quickly identify 5 pitfalls I was succumbing to, thanks to the Long Range shooting Handbook. I’ll discuss 3 here to show you how reading an approximately 300 page book helped one shooter in particular. I will not cover every aspect of the book though. Ryan’s lessons and teaching style speak for themselves and deserve to be read with fresh eyes.
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