The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Lock and Load: Live Fire Exercises

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 19, 2008, 09:00 PM   #1
crebralfix
Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2006
Posts: 41
Long Range International's Long Range Hunting Course Review

Long Range International's Long Range Hunting Course Review


If the instructors had told me before Long Range International's Long Range Hunting course (LRI's LRHC) that I would consider 600 yard shots easy, I would not have believed them. Such shots are reserved for serious long range competitors with specialized gear. The myth is that long range shooting is a complicated discipline requiring years of dedicated experience and thousands of rounds of practice. Though it is difficult, the staff instructors at LRI work hard to get the students on target at long range.

The Long Range Hunting course is intended to be an introduction to long range shooting. The students will learn how to operate their gear, shoot their rifles at long range, become proficient in night shooting, and gain skill as spotters. Additionally, an optional "mission" with Sniper/Scouts will introduce the basics of patrolling and sniping--a little taste of the USMC Sniper/Scout program. The course is designed to shoot to the maximum range of the equipment you have.


Author shooting a Savage 10FP with Pride-Fowler Rapid Reticle RR800-1 Scope

The company is owned and operated by Billy "Shep" Shepperson. He was a Sniper/Scout in the United States Marine Corps deployed to Iraq. Assisting him were several platoon members and support staff. All the shooting instructors were "8541", which is the USMC occupational specialty number for Sniper/Scout. Each instructor was deployed for at least one tour in Iraq and operated in the most extreme environment: battle in Fallujah and other locations. They have "seen the elephant" and accounted for many of our nation's enemies. Assisting them in support were Mike Hill and Larry Sloan. Larry (USMC Retired) was responsible for the meals and he cooks an excellent pot of stew. Mike Hill, a sniper from the Vietnam conflict, assisted us in organizing our gear and kept everyone in line. All the staff members worked hard to make everything run smoothly.

The LRI range is on the Shepperson ranch in Lance Creek, Wyoming. They have more than 50,000 acres, which was plenty of space for us to shoot. Two ranges were used. The first is a 100 yard range that we used for zeroing our rifles and the night shoots. The other range goes out to at least 1,000 yards and overlooks an extensive prairie dog town. It was open territory and livestock would periodically invade the range. These were a welcome break, since the days were long and Wyoming weather was as varied as it was merciless.

My rifle and scope combination were nothing expensive. I purchased a Savage 10FP rifle in 308 Winchester and didn't shoot it prior to the course. I mounted a Pride Fowler Rapid Reticle scope on it (http://www.rapidreticle.com). My bipod was from Harris. I took a 15x45x60mm spotting scope by Winchester. None of this gear is top-of-line expensive stuff. However, as you will see, the gear was perfectly adequate for all tasks in the course. Consistency in shooting is the key, not the gear.


Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 that scored hits out to 1,000 yards.

Billy opened the course with a short safety briefing. The students reiterated the firearm safety rules without prompting. The ranges were "cold" ranges, since most of the shooting would be long range target shooting. Everyone paid particular attention to gun safety and I never felt uncomfortable in any way.

The first day consisted of introductory classes. These were short, one or two hour courses on a particular topic. The fundamentals of marksmanship received additional time. The course also introduced scope theory, basic ballistics, wind, spotting, and marksmanship in US history. After a long day, we were treated to a hot dinner and passed out on our racks at the school building.

The first range task assigned to us was to zero our rifles. We were divided into pairs. Everyone was using a scope, with makers ranging from a low end Millett scope to very expensive Nightforce optics. Billy did a very short safety briefing and reviewed the fundamentals of marksmanship one more time. All shooting was done from the supported prone position. Each rifle was shot using a bipod or off a pack. The stock was supported by a bean bag squeezed by the shooter's support hand. This technique provides extra support while keeping the shooter low to the ground. It resists movement caused by wind, which was a new factor for me.

About twenty rounds were allotted to zeroing. I spent thirteen rounds achieving my zero. Some students required fewer than ten rounds and others needed considerably more. The instructors assisted each student and spotted the shots as necessary. Corrections in position were made and tips passed along. Struggling students received extra attention and all managed to get solid one inch groups at 100 yards.

As the second day wore on, the distances kept increasing. By the end of the day, all teams had "dope" on ranges from 100 to 400 yards. This data was entered into our range logs and would be very important later. We carefully recorded the time, date, weather, elevation, temperature, and range conditions since each item can affect how a rifle performs. Everyone hit steel, though there were a few equipment problems. At the end of the day, we retired back to the school and had some excellent venison for dinner.


Use what you have! A student takes aim with his Winchester Model 70 in 30-06.

During the day, the instructors pushed us to the limit of our skills with team competitions. We were instructed to shoot four targets at 200 yards. We had a total of six shots and needed to do this in the shortest possible time. Shooters with semi-automatic rifles could only load three rounds per magazine and needed to do a magazine change. My first run went well, but the individual winner completed the course in just over 18 seconds. My second run was on par with the winner's first run, but his score improved. It was an excellent exercise in recoil, bolt, and ammunition management. Over the span of the course, we would see many exercises designed to develop a particular skill.


The rapid fire course and targets out at 800 yards.

The third day started out with another round of zeroing at the 100 yard range. We shot the FBI course, which consists of one cold bore shot and a four round group below it. This is very important since our first shot during a hunt will impact in a different location. The only way to mitigate this problem is to document where your rifle puts the round. It will do so consistently if the shooter does his part. Once the shooter understands how his rifle behaves with a cold bore, he can adjust his scope or hold accordingly. Additionally, we were under a time constraint for the FBI course and had only 15 seconds for all shots. I found this remarkably difficult and could only get three shots off.

The remainder of the day consisted of 500-1,000 yard shooting. Our dependence upon our partner as spotter became more important as the distance increased. Shooter and spotter communication became essential. Instructors assisted us in minimizing our verbage while maximizing our communication. The spotter's job is to talk the shooter onto the target. If the shooter disagrees with a call, then it must be discussed and a resolution agreed upon. Otherwise, the shooter just wastes ammunition. The Federal Gold Medal Match 308 Winchester ammunition that everyone was using is NOT cheap, so we worked hard to master this skill.


18"x24" steel targets at 1,000 yards.

Wyoming's famous wind picked up late in the day. At this point, we were shooting at targets 800 yards away. The ability of the spotter to judge wind became essential. We learned the "lingo" at our 8541's direction and I found it to be a huge advantage. The wind was strong at this range and I wasted quite a bit of ammunition. Ironically, the 900 and 1000 yard targets were considerably easier to hit when the winds died down. Everyone, from the guy with the "basic" 30-06 hunting rifle to the one sporting a Tubbs 2000 rifle, struck steel at 1,000 yards. This is yet another lesson: expensive rifles and scopes are not required to play the 1,000 yard game! Granted, we won't win competitions, but we certainly can hit a man or large animal at that range.

Day four started out with another FBI cold bore shoot and a bit extra data. Billy preached "consistency is the key" continuously and I had ignored that directive. The night before, I added another 1/2" of cheek padding to the stock of my rifle. My point of aim changed and I shot low by one MOA (approximately one inch) during the shoot. I made a minor adjustment and vowed to stay as consistent as possible. The class moved up to the long distance range and shot an "unknown distance course." This is the "meat and potatoes" of long range shooting: deer and men don't carry around signs showing the distance. Billy cranked up the pressure by giving us only ten minutes to estimate ranges and figure "dope" for our scopes. It was a team competition, with ten points for a first shot hit and eight points for a subsequent shot hit. It was deceptively difficult, but everyone hit targets at short, medium, and long range in the wind and rain.


Shooter and spotter prepare a shot.

The assault course was up next. Four steel targets were setup approximately 150-200 yards away. Our goal was to lay down suppressive fire and move out of the area. Different sorts of cover was available. The students brought a variety of weapons: hunting rifles, AK-47's, AR-15's and even an M1A. We maneuvered through the course and had a great time doing so. The lesson was clear: define your goal and execute it as quickly as possible.

After the assault course, we returned to the school for lunch and additional instruction in trip planning. Billy and the others showed us a variety of gear. We learned the basics of mission planning the USMC way. They write 70 page documents to plan a simple patrol! Obviously, a hiking or hunting trip does not require that much detail, but I certainly have no excuse for forgetting the tooth brush on my next outing.

An optional "mission" was planned for the night of the fourth day. Some armed bad guys have moved into the area and were committing crimes on the ranch! Law enforcement was unavailable for some reason, so it was time to patrol the area. Only three students elected to go on the mission, so we prepared our gear while the others took a much needed rest. We worked together to ensure all gear was properly stowed, team positions were determined, and essential gear (such as radios) was tested. At 8 PM, we began rehearsing entering and leaving our insertion vehicle. The team, along with three 8541's, began moving toward the objective at 8:30 PM.

We exited the vehicle according to plan. Our first lesson was how to maintain security and cross roads. The team assembled behind a small ridge and began navigating toward the objective. As night fell, clouds moved in and reduced visibility to only 10 yards. We moved through several fields, around ridges and draws, and navigated through fences and cactus. Prickly pear cactus spines worked their way into hands and knees. I ground my Glock's plastic rear sight down with a short low crawl under a barbed wire fence and the magazine well filled with sand.

This was no boring patrol! The enemy was active and had a jeep with a spotlight. They patrolled the road, so we prepared an ambush. Our previous encounter with an "enemy occupied" hill and a hot contact drill must have drawn their attention. We set-up an ambush along the road and waited. Flares suddenly lit the area and we "commenced firing" upon the target. Apparently, we missed because they kept going. We circled around a draw and ambushed them fifteen minutes later when they stopped to rest. Many lessons were learned in that mad rush through rocky draws.

After the elimination of the enemy patrol, we navigated our way to a large hill overlooking the objective area. We could see four enemy soldiers in the camp. Being of average IDPA target size, we could estimate the range, but a handy laser range finder determined the distance to be approximately 550 yards. By 3 AM, we had set-up our position and waited for first light. All three students took their shots at approximately 5 AM. I had dinged my scope, so my first round went low. I compensated approximately two MOA and scored a second shot hit. The second volley took out the fourth and final target. We moved to the extraction point and a much needed rest.

The remainder of the fifth day consisted of free shooting and practice. Additional pointers were given and questions answered. Several Sniper/Scounts gave their opinions on shooting, gear, and rifles. Several were gunsmiths, so there was no shortage of technical detail. We wrapped up the day with a pig roast and party.

I had time to reflect upon the busy week as Larry roasted some fresh pork loin. Prior to the course, I had considered three hundred yards to be a long and difficult shot. I had no idea how to operate my scope and had never used a vapor trail to talk a shooter on target. Wind was a mystery. Looking back on it, I can see just how effective the lessons of each day were. As the group gained confidence at one range, the pressure was slowly increased. By the end of the course, every student knew his scope and rifle--and that it could get hits at 1,000 yards. I certainly feel confident that I can repeat this process at home. In all, this experience has dramatically improved my confidence in my own shooting abilities. The shooter makes all the difference.

If you would like more information about upcoming Long Range International classes, please go to http://www.longrangeinternational.com. Go into the "LRI Courses" forum. The courses, gear, and directions are listed there.
crebralfix is offline  
Old November 30, 2009, 03:52 PM   #2
mlun55
Junior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2009
Location: Gainesville, VA
Posts: 7
More Info

Your Post regarding Long Range International's Long Range Hunting Course was exceptional. I have been looking for some time for a course like this and this description solidified for me that this could be what I am looking for. The website you listed does not seem to still be working and I am having a hard time finding contact info for the company. Do you know if they are still around? I have been shooting for years, but am just now getting into the longer range shots. I like the fact that I can use my own equipment...
Thanks
mlun55 is offline  
Old December 1, 2009, 08:12 AM   #3
crebralfix
Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2006
Posts: 41
Hi mlun,

It seems that LRI has closed. I will try to find out if any of the instructors are still doing training somewhere.

I just want to emphasize the point that you do not need a special gun to learn the long range shooting game. A specialized rifle is required if you wish to compete and win. But, any hunting rifle with decent scope should work. I used the Savage and another guy used a Winchester Model 70 in 30-06. Both guns performed quite well at 1,000 yards. My setup was around $1200, but I bought an expensive scope mount and rings. A $300 scope (look at a Super Sniper 10x) should be fine. The only requirement is some sort of hashes in the reticle. Mil-Dots are good, but other systems are available.

The Appleseed project is a great way to start with long range shooting. It is more "basic"...but fundamentals are what this is all about! If there is not an Appleseed anywhere nearby in the next few months, look for a CMP Garand Clinic (odcmp.com). I shot a 1950's Garand out to 300 yards in my first Garand clinic...it was great! I score hits even though I was terrible. Both events were very educational and fun.

Google around for "long range shooting course" and "precision rifle course". There are many schools that train to 1000 yards and beyond.
crebralfix is offline  
Old December 3, 2009, 12:00 PM   #4
kraigwy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 9,336
I havent been to any one there courses. Been meaning to get down there meet them and check out their operations.

BUT; I've conversed with the owners a bit, via the internet and e-mails. I've been around the long distance shooting game a bit to understand what its about. To know what to look for when asking questions of a instructor.

Based on my dealings with the owners of LRI, I'm pretty much convinced they know what they are talking about. Though I havent been to their rance I know the area around Lance Creek, (not too far south of me). I know Wyoming Wind. If you shoot down there you are gonna learn to shoot in some pretty wild conditions and long range shooting is all about conditions.

For what its worth, I would recommend LRI, its not near as pricy as many of the schools around now days. If I was looking for a shooting school they would be at the top of my list.

I would like to add one point about shooting schools LRI or any other. You probably will learn a lot, but you cant stop there. Shooting isnt like riding a bicycle, its an art that WILL be lost if you dont keep it up.

Its my opinion, after attending this any other school, take up target shooting, High Power, 1000 yard matches, F-class, or what ever, too keep and improve the skillls you learned.

JMHO
__________________
Kraig Stuart
CPT USAR Ret
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old December 12, 2009, 12:44 PM   #5
mlun55
Junior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2009
Location: Gainesville, VA
Posts: 7
Kraig,

Thanks for the insight. I have a good friend who lives in Cody, WY and would like to find a course in that part of the country. I appreciate your comment on practice. Unfortunately, I live in Virginia, and I can't find anywhere to shoot over 100 yards..I am not ex-military so Quantico (great long range facilities) is not avaliable to me.
Mike
mlun55 is offline  
Old March 15, 2010, 10:49 PM   #6
captjordan
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 27, 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 8
LRI and co. is alive and well. There have been some websight difficulties and issues with keeping the internet venue of advertising up and running. But, I assure you fellows, this is an excellent company run by some very competent instructors. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I will fill you in on the details of this years classes.........

June 11-14 LRI hosted shoot- price TBD, pay for lodging, chow only

July 16-19 Basic Precision Rifle- $1100 includes lodging & chow

July 23-26 High Desert Sniper- $1100 includes lodging & chow

August 13-16 Basic Precision Rifle- $1100 includes lodging & chow

Come on out, I promise you will learn a ton, and meet some experienced shooters that have much knowlege to share.........

Thx
Jordan
captjordan@juno.com
__________________
AMMO IS LIFE ITSELF
captjordan is offline  
Old March 16, 2010, 05:01 PM   #7
mapsjanhere
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 2,342
hmm, that's just up I 25 from me. 650 miles of I 25, but who's counting
__________________
F 135 - the right choice
mapsjanhere is offline  
Old July 5, 2010, 01:07 AM   #8
anglinphoto
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2010
Location: Long Island
Posts: 1
Long Range International website or contact info?

Hey all,
Just saw crebralfix's amazing review of his experience at LRI's long range course and wanted to find out how to contact LRI in order to get myself and a friend into the next school. However, I can't seem to find a website.
Any help would be great!
anglinphoto is offline  
Old July 5, 2010, 08:25 AM   #9
TheNatureBoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2007
Posts: 1,176
Good information. Well put together.
TheNatureBoy is offline  
Old August 8, 2010, 10:27 PM   #10
berrywood
Member
 
Join Date: March 10, 2007
Posts: 16
Seems like a cool outfit. Can someone post their contact information?
berrywood is offline  
Old December 30, 2010, 04:31 PM   #11
captjordan
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 27, 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 8
The primary instructor(s) of LRI have taken a job(s) working the "private sector" overseas for an undetermined amount of time........all LRI classes scheduled for 2011 have been canceled. Any questions, call/email Jason or Shep..........tell them Jordan sent ya.
thx
jordan

Please contact LRI with any questions or concerns.

Jason
LRI Instructor

Jason- jmh8541@yahoo.com (713) 202 5640
Shep (Chief Instructor)- shep8244@yahoo.com (307)359 3804
__________________
AMMO IS LIFE ITSELF
captjordan is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10427 seconds with 9 queries