Leupold Optics Academy – Day 2 & 3

Patrik O
by Patrik O
Leupold Optics Academy – Day 2 & 3

The start of day two at the Leupold Optics Academy began with us confirming our 100 m zero on the Seekins Precision Havak HIT Pro rifle. We would then run a course of fire similar to the previous day, but this time it was at a much more rapid pace. This course of fire was also taking place earlier in the morning with the sun directly facing us. I’m happy to report that even with a lot of sunlight hitting the front of our optics, seeing down range was still really easy with these Leupold scopes. Of course, it really helps when you have an extended hood on the front of your scope as well.

Leupold @ TFB:

After shooting prone on a sandbag for the entirety of the morning, we picked up our rifles and were given some tips and tricks on how to engage targets from less optimal positions. I was really looking forward to this part of the day, as shooting prone with a sandbag and a mat is the best case scenario. Most of the time you’re not going to be able to have that luxury when actually firing a rifle on a hunt or such.
The team at Leupold quickly showed us the value of securing a sandbag onto whatever obstacle you are using to steady your rifle. They were wooden tank traps and tractor tires for us to engage targets from. It was at this point we were taught the value of really putting all of your weight onto the rifle if possible. We were taught to take our non-shooting hand and hold it over the scope or the barrel to give us maximum stability in these uncomfortable shooting positions. The scopes are built to stand up to this kind of abuse.
Honestly, the hardest part about shooting from these stations was just finding a position that was comfortable and was going to work for each shooter. It was also at this time that a stopwatch was introduced. This certainly brought out the competitive side in some of the other writers that were there including myself. There was one station that had three tractor tires stacked on top of each other and this proved to be one of the most difficult stations to get a good shooting position from as everything about it was awkward.
Later on in the day, we would move from the man-made shooting positions up a hill and onto some natural ones. We would shoot from a variety of rocks and boulders that were embedded into the hillside of the shooting range. This also proved to be a challenge at first as many of the positions were really difficult to shoot from in comparison to even the tractor tires.
One of the writers found his own solution and shooting position.
Again, from all of these positions, there was a stopwatch adding to the pressure of making those impacts on steel. This was a really fun part of the day. It was probably my favorite aspect of the Leupold Optics Academy. I think there’s a lot of value in learning how to shoot from uncomfortable positions as most of the time that’s where you will be shooting from.
The start of day three was a little bit earlier than the previous two days because we were doing a first-light scope comparison. The guys at Leopold set up a couple dozen optics on tripods for us, to include optics from other companies. I particularly enjoyed this test as all week we had been hearing about the quality of their scopes in first and last light. We also were told that many of the cheaper options tend to fall apart in these lighting situations. From my perspective, there was certainly a difference between some of the optics in the early morning light. It was also a bit shocking to see scopes that cost significantly more than $2500 not being able to compete in these lighting situations.
The rest of that day we would be shooting another Seekins Precision rifle called the DMR. This was a gas-operated AR-styled rifle chambered in 6mm ARC.
Inherently gas-operated firearms are less accurate than bolt-action firearms but I have to say I was really impressed with how quickly we could all engage targets at up to 1000 m with this Seekins DMR.
We also were using the Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10. This is undoubtedly a quality optic, but I really did not care for the radical on this one as I felt it was not nearly as precise as the 7-35 we were using the previous day.
The rest of our day would be spent shooting from other improvised positions, and also doing some tripod shooting. There was one target at 800m across a canyon that we were able to consistently hit with this Seekins rifle mounted on a tripod. I was pretty impressed with this as shooting from a tripod is nowhere near as stable as shooting from the ground.
Overall, I learned a lot at the Leopold Optics Academy and was very impressed with the range, the staff, and all of the equipment we were using. It also helps that the Academy is in a really beautiful part of the country. The team from Hornady supplied us with great ammunition that worked flawlessly. The Seekins Precision rifles were incredibly accurate. Everything coupled together to create a great shooting experience and a very memorable week. Thank you for reading this article if you made it this far!
Patrik O
Patrik O

-Former Army Photographer / Videographer -Current Aviation Student -Future in debt due to Firearm collection

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