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