Long-range shooting is no joke. You must practice and perfect your skills to become a pro. You must be careful about how you hold, aim, and fire your weapons because being able to hit targets accurately at distances is no small feat. There are many opinions about the types of rifles, scopes, sights, accessories, and ammunition to make you a better sniper. However, the truth remains whether one kind of gun is better than another. With proper training and practice, anyone can achieve excellent results, regardless of their ability level.
To shoot excellently like a sniper, you must adopt some best practices. These tips are recommendations from professionals. Adopting them can help you become a better long-range shooter. Here are a few tips to help you shoot like a long-range sniper.
1. Get the Right Rifle
Many firearms are out there. They range in cost to features. So, you need to consider the best rifle you can access. Research and test fire before buying to know what you are getting into. You must also consider the resources available to you and your experience when choosing a rifle.
2. Be Choosy With Optics
After the rifle, you must choose excellent optics to match. One of the most important decisions you must make when selecting a scope for accurate long-range shooting is the reticle you would like to use. It would help if you considered magnification, lens clarity, parallax adjustment, and eye relief. Then, it would be best to think about how long you wish to shoot in a session and how far you intend to go. These factors will affect your choice of scope size, weight, and ability to adjust quickly for wind drift.
Great snipers master the art of camouflage. Camouflage can keep you hidden for long periods and help you gather intelligence. It would be best if you blended in, and this requires camo. Therefore, you should prepare camos that are as close to the environment as you operate in. You can quickly learn how to make ghillie suits made of camouflaged vegetation.
4. Go Prone
A precision shot requires a good rest, so use the prone position whenever possible. Lean into a bag or a pack, or support the rifle with a bipod if needed. Keep the barrel off any supports. Cushion the weapon on the support. Make sure this stays in position. The location of the gun support is essential. The ideal location is just behind the forward sling swivel. Keep the rifle’s balance off the support, not allowing it to sway from side to side. Recoil must go straight back into the shooter, and the gun support needs to let this happen freely.
5. Zero Your Gun
Many long-range shooters will admit that they shoot without fully zeroing their guns. However, if you inquire from a pro shooter, they will say that a rifle is not truly zeroed until they can place three consecutive shots into the same spot at a hundred yards. To maintain precision, practice the same level of accuracy yourself.
6. Learn the Wind
Army snipers are great to know about the effect of the influencing factors of the surrounding environment on their bullets. These include air pressure, air density, temperature, and humidity. These factors can affect a bullet’s trajectory during long-range shooting. The shooter must consider the wind speed and direction before firing his rifle, especially if he intends to hit his target from a distance. Bullets are usually heavy, but not enough to stop them from being blown around by strong winds. Because of this, shooters should aim left or right of their targets depending on the wind’s direction.
The most crucial wind consideration for a sniper is the wind at two-thirds of the way between you and your target. Multiple wind directions and speeds between you and your target can occasionally occur. You need to recognize and correctly respond to these changes when they occur.
7. Watch Your Breath
Your body temperature and heartbeat can be regulated better by relaxing and breathing. You can ruin your shot by even the slightest amount of shaking or jerking. Whenever you need to adjust, make sure to do so with care. It would be best if you shot when the air left your lungs. You can take three deep breaths, exhale all your air, and then feel for one to three seconds of dead air on the exhale before you trigger your shot.
8. Control the Recoil
The best way to reduce recoil is to firmly grasp the weapon and pull the trigger gently, gradually easing off the pressure until the shot is fired. Release once the bullet is out of the barrel and the barrel has returned to you. After firing, keep squeezing the trigger and slowly release the trigger so the weapon can smoothly return to you. Often the seconds following the shot are the longest. You must align the weapon to yourself and your target to hit your mark.
9. Avoid the Common Errors in Long-Range Shooting
There are a few errors common to long-range shooting. You want to avoid these errors as much as possible. Some of them include the following:
10. Parallax Error
When your scopes’ reticles and objectives are on different focal planes, this is where you can get into trouble. This error is more common when shooting long-range or wide open than when aiming close up at the medium range. You should make sure that both your reticle and objective are level.
11. Poor Weather Conditions
Weather plays a huge role when taking distant shots. Factors such as wind speed, wind direction, air pressure, and temperature can negatively impact range. However, it is possible to mitigate these effects through proper equipment selection and usage. For example, if your target is in an area where the weather is cold (below freezing), the air may be too dense for your rifle to utilize supersonic ammunition effectively. On the other hand, the same bullet used in warmer weather conditions would travel faster due to decreased air density.
12. Scope-Mounting Errors
If you are an avid hunter, you must know how to mount a scope onto your gun. To do so, you should consider starting with high-grade rings, bases, and mounts. Once these three components are correctly installed, you can level your scope. Follow the instructions carefully, so you will not have any issues later.
13. Practice Makes Perfect
Practice is vital, yes, but practicing is not just about shooting. It is also about being relaxed and confident before a shot, reading the situation correctly, and knowing what to expect.
14. Take Professional Training
Anyone can learn how to shoot long-range firearms effectively with proper instruction and practice. Find a course that provides fun learning opportunities and hands-on exercises. Professional training can help you acquire better shooting skills in less time.
Hunting and shooting sports are exciting. Shooting long-range can also help you set aside fear, worry, and anxiety. It allows you to make decisions quickly and confidently. That is why it is essential to know how to shoot effectively. With these tips, you could become an excellent long-range sniper in no time. Remember, practice makes you better.