The second day of class with Aaron focused less on the mechanics of shooting and more on practical field applications as well as tips, tricks, and rules of thumb. Whereas Day 1 was filled with “good to know” information, the information from Day 2 is immediately applicable to daily shooting conditions. One of the reader comments on the Day 1 article asked if this was just a cool thing to do or whether I’d be able to go home and shoot at 900 yards. I’ll stick to the same format as Day 1, and you can judge for yourself. As always, we report, you decide . . .
Tools for Range Estimation
A rangefinder is an excellent tool, but it does have limitations based on beam divergence, signal strength, and processing power. Not to mention the difficulties that are presented by ranging in odd terrains that can give errors. The G7-BR2 rangefinder accumulates up to 5 seconds of data and then processes an average signal which leads to more accurate ranging. Ultimately though, your success with any rangefinder depends on getting steady, taking multiple readings, and getting a good feel for the layout of the area around your target to double check the data you are getting from the device.
An alternate method for rangefinding is to use reticle ranging. If you know the dimensions of your target, and can accurately measure that height in MOA using your reticle, you can estimate your range to target using the formula Range = (target height (in)/target height MOA) x 100. For example, an elk is about thirty inches from shoulder to brisket. If it measures 3 MOA in our reticle, we know that the elk is about 1000 yards away. However, if we flubbed the measurement, and it was actually 3.25, that elk might actually be about 925 yards away. That 75 yard difference could mean the difference between a hit or a miss. As such, Aaron doesn’t recommend reticle ranging for anything further than 500 yards or for double checking the output from your rangefinder.
Doping the Wind
As I mentioned, Aaron doesn’t like .30 caliber bullets due to their small and therefore inefficient BC number. A prime example of this is the .308 WIN cartridge which deflects 1 MOA for every 1 mph of wind at 1000 yards. That means that you need to be MUCH more precise reading the wind to put rounds accurately on target. My range card for the 7mm cartridge we used in class shows a 4.3 MOA dope at 10 mph at 950 yards. This allows the shooter to use a technique called bracketing the wind. You either classify it as 0-5 mph, 5-10 mph, 10-15 and so on. This simplifies an already complex process to the point of being (almost) idiot proof. Reading the wind is easily the hardest part of LRH. But once you get it down, you can apply some easy tools and science to improve terminal accuracy. Aaron went on to explain that you can use multiple sources to get a good wind reading. These include a windmeter, the heat mirage, and vegetation downrange. This was an incredibly useful portion of the class that turned reading the wind from dark magic to fairly scientific process.
After talking about wind and range, Aaron started in on the other factors that can affect the shot. These include Air Density, Inclination, Spin Drift, and Coriolis. All of them make a huge difference in the shot and I can confidently say the information presented will absolutely give me the tools to be a better hunter. Aaron didn’t reveal anything in class that you can’t research on your own, in fact he’s written extensively about the subject. In the interest of space, I’m not going to go through the factors here and how they affect the shot. Just know that we covered them and in typical Aaron fashion, it was fun and easy to digest.
All the math and gear in the world can’t help you if you try to take a long-range shot from an unstable position. Aaron prefers a prone shot if at all possible as this eliminates quite a bit of shooter error. If done right, it can be almost as stable as benchrest shooting. Like all instructors on long range, Aaron advocates bone on bone contact for stability, finding your natural point of aim, and working with your natural respiratory pause to squeeze the trigger at the most stable moment. When prone isn’t available, Aaron recommends a sitting position that uses a tripod for the forend and some sort of bipod to provide a rear rest. At the range, I found this to be a very stable platform and had no issues engaging targets out to 700 yards doing so.
Day 2 is an extension of the excellent instruction that I received during the first day of class. Aaron is a patient, thorough, and knowledgeable teacher. Without a doubt, he knows a tremendous amount about LRH and is passionate about bringing that knowledge to others. I learned a great deal in the two days at Long Range University and I enthusiastically recommend it for those looking to take their shooting to the next level. If you are interested in attending Long Range University, please contact the friendly Gunwerks crew and get your class schedule. Do us a favor and let them know that you heard about it through TTAG.