You may have noticed that here at TTAG, we love guns. And not only do we love guns, but just about everyone we work with loves guns, too. Perfect example: pictured here is our ad guy, Austin Staubus of Lanista Concepts. He’s relatively new to guns, but taking to them like the proverbial fish to water. I took him out to the range on Friday to get some hands-on experience with a variety of different brands and types of guns (beyond his recently acquired Ruger SR9C) and he mentioned that he’d never done any long range shooting. Since it was an absolutely perfect, dead-calm day, and with the help of some kick-ass gear and ammo, I quickly had Austin tapping 750-yard targets with ease . . .
One of the nice things I like about the Leupold Mark AR Mod 1 scope is that the turret comes marked from the factory with the proper adjustments for the standard 5.56 NATO 55 grain cartridge. I had never really put those marking to the test beyond 250 yards, but since there was absolutely no wind that day it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I had previously zeroed my scope using some of Winchester’s 5.56 ammunition at 100 yards, and as soon as I twisted the elevation knob on the scope to the indicated mark for 250 yards I was instantly on target. After taking a few pot shots at the steel plates I let Austin settle in behind the gun, and discussed the basics of precision shooting — namely breathing, proper position, and trigger control.
As soon as the first round flew downrange, I knew we were going to have a good afternoon. The sound of a solid strike on a steel plate came ringing back uprange, followed by another and another. Time to move out.
The next steel plates were at 500 yards, and while I had a ballistic calculator on my phone I wanted to see if the dial on the scope was worth a darn. So I dialed the indicated hold and sent a couple rounds, all solid hits on the torso sized steel target. It was a pleasantly surprising success, and Austin followed that up with a couple more solid hits on his own.
The scope’s markings stop somewhere around the 650 yard area, and from then on your only hope is the ballistics calculator. Thankfully, I had all the data pre-programmed into the thing and dialed the recommended 6.5 Mils of elevation for the 750 yard steel plates. Once again, a center-mass hold produced hit after hit for me and Austin.
As you could expect, Austin was jazzed about the whole experience. Moving your goalposts for the furthest target you’ve ever hit from 50 yards to 750 yards in a single day is quite an accomplishment. I get the distinct feeling that we’ll be running into him again on the long distance range in the future.
What I found particularly interesting was how quickly a novice shooter can start getting hits on steel at extreme distances. The guns and the gear have evolved to the point where you don’t really need to understand the black magic of external ballistics, you just need to trust your tools and follow directions. That is, so long as you choose your gear wisely. Get the right combination of gun, optics and ammo and everything just seems to click.