Quiet Professional Defense: Precision Long Rifle 1

    As a lifelong student of firearms, my belief is that you can never get too much training. Anyone that says otherwise is foolish. That said, the QUALITY of training is very important, as is, to a degree, the legitimate pedigree of the instructional staff (a friend posted an honest rant about this on his blog). I was fortunate enough to be in town when a Precision Long Rifle class was being put on by another buddy (and former team leader of mine in a previous life; I can vouch for his pedigree)…

    One of the best parts about New Mexico is being able to access 1000yd ranges with full pits (yes, you can get a chance to pull butts)

    One of the best parts of New Mexico is being able to access 1000yd ranges with full pits (yes, you can get a chance to pull butts)

    Pulling butts with shot hit indicators. Let you get DOPE for your rifle. A lot better than just using steel since you have radio comms and can get data on the shots near realtime... If only there was a camera system that did stuff like this...

    Pulling butts with the shot hit indicators. Let you get DOPE for your rifle. A lot better than just using steel since you have radio comms and can get data on the shots near real-time… If only there was a camera system that did stuff like this…

    The Equipment

    The max range this class was designed to accommodate was one-thousand yards. While you didn’t need super cool guy calibers, the ballistically superior rifles had a much easier time (we had everything from 6.5 Creedmoor to .308 Win to .223).

    I personally shot my new Bae, a RISE Armament 1121XR in .308 Win (stay tuned; I’ll be getting their 6.5 Creedmoor variant of the 1121XR very shortly and will do a runoff comparison with them). I had also brought my favorite bolt gun, my Remington 700 SPS Tactical, but the way the course was set up it was easier and more efficient to just run one. Plus I wanted to show that my gas gun could run circles around the other bolt guns…

    My favorite AR-10 patterned rifle, my RISE Armament 1121XR.

    My favorite AR-10 patterned rifle, my RISE Armament 1121XR.

    I was topped with a Nikon BLACK X1000, arguably one of the best scopes I have run in a sub $700 price point. Seriously, I would put it up against my Leupold Mark 4. I was running it in the Nikon M-TACTICAL Mount (cantilever). I had planned to run it with a ZRODelta DLOC-M4 scope mount (amazing scope mount, by the way), but accidentally left it at home the first day (I will do a review on it coming up soon).

    Nikon, please don't hate me because I ran a Vortex bubble level on the BLACK X1000. If only Nikon produced one....

    Nikon, please don’t hate me because I ran a Vortex bubble level on the BLACK X1000. If only Nikon produced one….

    If you know me, you know I generally loathe bipods and prefer to shoot off the top of a pack. For this class, I needed a bipod and got a chance to run the ZRODelta DLOC-SS with Aimtech Warhammer Bipod (I had been sent an early version just prior to taking over as EiC of this beast and haven’t had much time to get out and play).

    The best of both worlds. A pack and a bipod. I mainly ran the ZRODelta bipod but my ALICE will always be a part of precision shooting...

    The best of both worlds. A pack and a bipod. I mainly ran the ZRODelta bipod but my ALICE will always be a part of precision shooting…

    Another important and notable piece of gear was a Garmin Foretex 701 (which I was running against my staple Kestrel 5700AB Elite).

    The Garmin Foretrex 701 is one of my new favorite pieces of kit. Simple no frills interface. It is a bit of a pain to setup and program manually, but once you have it set for your platform it is amazing.

    The Garmin Foretrex 701 is one of my new favorite pieces of kit. Simple no-frills interface. It is a bit of a pain to setup and program manually, but once you have it set for your platform it is amazing.

    The Class

    Precision Long Rifle 1 was a two day, sixteen-hour class designed for beginners. While I have some experience with long range shooting, I am not too proud to jump into a basics class–I always learn something new. And really, mastery of the basics is way more important than all the high-speed, low-drag, whiz-bang stuff normally found in higher level classes. Honestly, how important is angular shooting. Is it a good skill to know and understand? Yeah. Is it really all that practical? Arguably, no.

    This faceless alien (that still does "things") was one of the instructors for the class. Here he was demonstrating proper technique for using a tripod.

    This faceless alien (that still does “things”) was one of the instructors for the class. Here he was demonstrating proper technique for using a tripod.

    The course started with a couple hours of classroom time and then went straight into zeroing. From there we hit the 1000 yard range and started gathering data. We continued with that the second day and then had some friendly competitions using some of the skills gained during the previous sections of the class.

    Observations

    The worst part about running the 1000 yard range was constantly having to reload gear into the truck drive back to the next further berm. I suppose it could have been worse and we had to hump the gear--I shouldn't complain...

    The worst part about running the 1000 yard range was constantly having to reload gear into the truck drive back to the next further berm. I suppose it could have been worse and we could have had to hump the gear–I shouldn’t complain…

    Overall the class was designed to get entry level familiarization with a rifle platform and to get us a good set of basic DOPE (Data On Previous Engagements) for that platform. We were encouraged to generate range cards throughout the class. Every evolution was designed to use the information you acquired during the previous evolution. I ultimately used that DOPE, along with good ranging, to set up my Garmin Foretrex 701 with the dials/holdovers I would need for the competitions we did later in the class.

    The Garmin Foretrex 701 has the ability to do an awesome range card. If you have time to set it up, running a course is a breeze.

    The Garmin Foretrex 701 has the ability to do an awesome range card. If you have time to set it up, running a course is a breeze.

    The Nikon BLACK X1000 was super bright and clear, and at medium range of magnification allowed me to quickly acquire the targets, and to correct for my followups for the two shots I initially missed. It also was super smooth to dial elevation. For a sub-$700, I really don’t think there is any competition, and I am a known scope “snoot”.

    The ZRODelta DLOC-SS with Aimtech Warhammer Bipod was perfectly tensioned to allow for stable panning while not allowing for excess movement in any axis and with proper loading, mitigated the very minimal recoil that the RISE Armament 1121XR imparted. It also allowed me to stabilize on an uneven surface while maintaining a level rifle.

    Such a simple thing, a bipod. The ZRODelta DLOC-SS was an upgrade to my venerable Harris.

    Such a simple thing, a bipod. The ZRODelta DLOC-SS was an upgrade to my venerable Harris.

    You can see the ZRODelta bipod is cattywampus. The rifle was level. I purposely did this to play with the bipod and it handled all the crazy I could throw at it.

    You can see the ZRODelta bipod is cattywampus. The rifle was level. I purposely did this to play with the bipod and it handled all the crazy I could throw at it.

    During one of the notable drills where we had to shoot a progression from two hundred yards out to six hundred yards. The goal was to shoot each plate at a progressive distance, and you were allowed one miss per target. I cleared the course in just a smidge over thirty seconds, which was almost a full minute faster than the next fastest shooter. Now, of course, I was running a gas gun, opposed to the other students that were running bolt guns–that was obviously a critical factor. But the other pieces of gear were just as critical–the whole system came together.

    One of the other fun drills we did was called “Know Your Limits”. You are tasked with placing one shot per circle at 100 yards, progressing to the smaller circle each round. You can stop whenever you want. If you miss, you are disqualified. Hitting the line counts.

    I knew my limits on the first set. I got cocky on the second.

    I knew my limits on the first set. I got cocky on the second.

    Finis

    Again, this was a great entry level class. The instruction was top notch, the class did not have a large barrier to entry, and the pace was one-hundred percent appropriate. The material was built on a progression, cleanly transitioning to each level of complexity, and the information was kept to the “basic” level of the class. If you are in the area, Quiet Professional Defense is a great outfit and their classes I would rank as some of the best I have taken.

    Also, I could not have asked for a better stack of equipment. The RISE Armament 1121XR topped with the Nikon BLACK X1000 resting on the DLOC-SS with Aimtech Warhammer Bipod was the star in my book. While my setup did not compare to the overall accuracy at distance of the 6.5 Creedmoor rifles in the class, it certainly held its own against the other .308 Win rifles and definitely smoked everyone on the speed and acquisition drills.

    Notable Gear and Equipment Used In The Class

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    Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he teaches wilderness medicine and writes for a number of publications, including The Prepared, a site devoted to self-preparedness. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.

    You can reach him at tom.r AT thefirearmblog.com


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