Promise kept

I promised you a picture of the targets from the 500 yard line.

I’m going to go one better.

I already showed you what the targets look like from 200 yards, but here’s a reminder of that view.

This is what they look like from the 300 yard line.

It’s the same size target as the 200 yard target, but at 200 yards, the black only covers out to the 9 ring.  On the 300 yard target, the black covers the 8 ring as well.

The black and white ammo cans in the foreground mark the 200 yard line, where the first picture was taken from.

Sorry about the tilt.  I don’t know why, but I sometimes have issues holding the camera level when taking pictures.  I never seem to notice it until I get home.  I usually use Gimp to rotate them back to level but I didn’t bother this time.  Too tired.

And here’s the view from 500 yards.

Again, the ammo cans in the foreground mark the 300 yard line, where the last picture was taken from.

The most important thing about shooting long distance, whether with open sights or a scope, is knowing your rifle’s sight/optics settings and your ammo’s ballistic characteristics.

If you don’t know the correct sight settings to at least get you on paper, or have no idea how much the bullet is going to drop over the distance you’re firing at, there is no way you’re ever going to get hits on target.

After you get that worked out, it’s just a matter of reading the weather conditions, adjusting your sights accordingly, and then employing basic shooting skills:  Proper position, proper use of the sling to stabilize your hold, proper hold, proper sight alignment and sight picture, proper breath control, proper trigger control and practice, practice, practice.

The black appears as nothing more than a speck using iron sights at these distances.  Consistency is the key.  Every aspect of each shot has to be as close as possible to exactly the same as every other shot in order to make good groups.  At this distance, the tiniest difference in your sight alignment, sight picture, hold, etc can send a shot a foot, or even a couple of feet, away from your previous shot.  Even your heartbeat can effect your sight alignment and, therefore, change your point of impact on the target.

As daunting and intimidating as that may sound, the fact is that anyone physically capable of performing the necessary tasks can learn to do it.  Give it a try sometime.  The old hands will help you out, explain the ropes and get you on paper in no time.

Here’s a great article from the US Army Marksmanship Unit (posted on the CMP web site) about what you need to get started in High Powered Rifle shooting.  Although there’s the potential to spend thousands of dollars on fancy equipment, it isn’t necessary to get started and you probably already have most, if not all, of what you need.

Incidentally, that article is one of a series done by the USAMU about High Powered Rifle Shooting.  The articles are a great resource for someone who wants to learn more about the tricks and techniques of the discipline.

It is challenging and takes a lot of dedication and hard work to become one of the top contenders, but even if you don’t aspire to that level, it is also a great way to build your skills as a rifleman and learn more about precision shooting at long ranges.

That’s enough for today.  EIC pistol is tomorrow and that’s the last day of competition for me.   They are having another 500 yard “fun” rifle match later in the week, but I couldn’t get that much time off work so I’ll have to miss it.  I’d have really liked one more opportunity to shoot at 500 (that’s my favorite stage of the matches), but it was not to be this time.

After it’s all over and when time allows, I’ll do one more “wrap-up” post about the matches, how I did, lessons learned and my plans for the future.

3 thoughts on “Promise kept

  1. Great post and info. Especially liked the encouragement to get involved.

    That's also a nice shot with the shell casing in midair.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. Great pictures!

    It's fascinating that hits can be made with iron sights at 500 yards considering the front sight post appears twice as wide as the entire target!

  3. At Parris Island, they will teach you to CONSISTENTLY make hits at 500 yeards using iron sights. And I agree, it still amazes me years later, and I was a shooter before I went to bootcamp…

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