Lessons Learnt At The 24 Hour Sniper Adventure Challenge

Andrew has written an article about the lessons he learnt competing at the Competition Dynamics 24 Hour Sniper Adventure Challenge in Utah a few weeks ago where he and his teammate finished third…

I recently competed, along with a superb teammate, in the Competition Dynamics 24 Hour Sniper Adventure Challenge. The event consisted of hiking 30 miles over mountainous high desert terrain in a period which was roughly 24 hours long – my team took 27. Total elevation gain along the route was approximately 10,000 feet, and a number of intense physical challenges were placed before the contestants as they hit various checkpoints. In addition, as the name implies, there was some shooting involved.

It was a hard day and I had not slept very well the night before, nor had I really eaten very well before the course began. I learned a few hard lessons, some of which I will share here.

Andrew carried a Savage 11 chambered in 6.5mm Creedmore with a US Optics scope. The scope cost almost 10x the rifle! I am a firm believer in a high scope:rifle cost ratio.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Devon

    I am baffled every time I see the cost of optics vs. the cost of firearms! I don’t personally understand why…maybe someone can educate

    • DrewN

      Well, precision, high power, mil grade optics are quite a bit harder to manufacture than a bolt gun, so it sort of makes sense. If you regularly shoot at long distances the optic is arguably more important than the firearm. For most folks who never shoot further than 250-300 yards, pretty much any base model 3 x 9 from any of the big makers will do just fine. For bench resters and varmint hunters and those of that ilk, higher power target style scopes are available where you sacrifice a little durability, but save quite a few $$$’s. I firmly believe in diminishing returns after a certain price point however. Alot of these scopes will run 2.5 times what you would pay for a top of the line Leupold. Some are certainly better, but 2.5 times better? Not really.

      • Rob

        I, too, used to not understand how someone could justify spending $1200 on a scope that they were going to mount on a $600 gun. However, I quickly changed my mind once I started hand loading and shooting longer ranges (500m+). I quickly discovered that high quality optics are quite necessary for long range shooting. The difference in the quality of the glass and the turret’s precision/repeatability are both crucial when you are trying hit a 10″ plate @ 1000 yards.

        However, if I were building a gun for sub-300m ranges, I’d skip the NF, USO, etc. and opt for something like a Nikon. Still great glass, but there is a marked difference.

    • benmc68

      100% agree with @DrewN above. I used to feel the same way about big money scopes but the truth is you absolutely get what you pay for in optics. A rifle scope is a mechanical precision device, it’s quality is the sum of its parts. The microscope in your average middle school isn’t what they use at a prestigious medical research university so don’t trust that Walmart Tasco/Simmons/Bushnell to bring the best out of your new gun.
      If you are going to hit whitetail deer and 12″ steel gongs inside 200yds at your range then the terrible chinese stuff will probably make do for a season or two. If you want a repeatable zero, or adjustments that actually track thier stated values or a scope that will survive more than 2 boxes of shells and a bump in the truck don’t skimp on optics.
      That said I’m not an owner of any $2000+ Nightforce or schmidt & bender or US Optics etc. but do your self a favor and at least look at glass that I think is more fairly priced like Nikon, Vortex Viper, Leupold/Redfield ($400-$700)

      Just my experiences…thanks,

      • JMD

        Agreed with the above. A rifle is only as good as the consistency with which it can be aimed. Good sighting systems are mandatory.

        Also, don’t forget Zeiss. In the price range, the Zeiss Conquest series provides a fantastic value.

    • bjelac

      Here in Norway we have a saying:

      “cheap gun, expensive scope”


      “spend at least double on the scope than you did on the gun”

  • bob

    I just read Andrews detailed post on his blog of his experience and lessons learned and I have to say he did an outstanding job considering how challenging the event was. I plan on doing a lot of hiking this fall and found his lessons realy useful and practical especially Lessons #2, 4, and 7 are something I personally have to work on. Andrew well done!

  • robert


  • Nice to see a Savage! They’re great guns!

  • schizuki

    One of the most memorable articles I ever read in Guns & Ammo was one from about 30 years ago, about putting a $600 scope on a $200 rifle. As true now as it was then.

  • Mike Knox

    So in other words: you’ve learned these lessons, don’t expect to learn something new from a camping trip and vice-versa..