Long Range for Dummies

You don’t need $8,000 worth of gear and Navy SEAL sniper training to connect at 500 yards. Get hits by keeping things simple.

By Richard Mann (RSS)
March 25, 2013

Whacking targets at stupidly long ranges has become the cool thing to do. Indeed, it’s gratifying to get behind a rifle, fire a single shot and hit a target the size of a guitar five football fields away. For many, this mastery of ballistics and pulling triggers seems as complicated as calculus and as expensive as an addiction. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, even an average rifleman with about $3,000 in equipment can be deadly efficient out to 500 yards, with no training at all.


Look at the gear many suggest you need for long-range shooting, and you’ll quickly see why the experts think we’re all trust-fund kids with money to burn. There’s no question the tools of the long-range shooting trade have become highly sophisticated and amazingly precise. They can also be overly complicated for the fellow who just wants to hit the range every month or so and impress onlookers.

Most modern long-range tools are designed for practiced military snipers. If that’s who you are, you’re wasting your time reading this; go play X-Box or watch “The Bachelorette.” This article is a reality show for real folks. With the right equipment, real, average guys can be just as effective out to 500 yards as most wannabe ninja operatives who call themselves a sniper—even if they have been to high-dollar, long-range shooting schools.

The Gear

For about $3,000, you can put together a system capable of nailing targets out to 500 yards using quality ammo. It starts with a quality rifle like this Remington Model 700 SPS Tactical.

You’re gonna need a rifle, and rifles can be expensive. I recently tested a very fine-shooting, custom sniper rifle that could repeatedly put five shots into a single hole at 100 yards. That rifle cost almost $4,000. I cannot afford a four-grand rifle, and the fact is, you don’t need a high-dollar model. If you want one and have the money, go for it. I have three kids and a mortgage, so I took a more practical approach and chose a Remington Model 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD in .308 Win. Suggested retail: $780. Street price: $645.

With the Black Hills 175-grain Match hollow-point load, this rifle shoots astoundingly well; just as well as the four-grand custom rifle. Combine this precision with a 1:10-inch twist, 20-inch heavy barrel (which also has a threaded muzzle), a Hogue OverMolded Pillar Bed Ghillie Green Stock and Remington’s externally adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger—which felt every bit as good as a Timney—and you’ve got yourself an incomparable bargain when it comes to precision rifles.

For long-range shooting in the field, a good bipod is a must. This Harris model adjusts from 6 to 9 inches high and is ideal for working from prone.

You’ll need accessories, too. For starters, there’s the bipod. Harris bipods have been the industry standard for a long time, and that’s the route I went. Serious long-range rifle work is conducted from the prone position, and from there, a 6- to 9-inch bipod is ideal. Both fixed and swivel versions are available. The latter offers a bit more leeway in positioning, but it’s not a must. I chose the fixed version and Brownells had one headed my way for $80.

A butt-cuff or cheek rest is a good idea, too. It positions your eye properly behind the scope and provides storage for extra ammo and important accessories. Shop around and find one you like. I selected the IVS Performance Cheek Pad from Blackhawk. It’s adjustable, and you can build up under it to create an optimal cheek weld. It also holds five cartridges externally and has a generous storage pocket that comes in handy.

Finally, you’re going to need a sighting system, otherwise known as a riflescope. The selection of the proper optic is the key to my tacti-simple long-range concept. Most tactical riflescopes have a mil-dot reticle, which is a very effective tool for long-range shooting, but can be confusing without a good deal of study and routine use. Also, it’s best suited to working with a spotter—who can give the shooter corrections in mils—and most average guys don’t have a skilled spotter to take with them to the range. Your girlfriend does not count.

There are bookoo long-range reticles in varied configurations, however. They all work. The problem is, many are as hard to decipher as Sudoku puzzle. You need to use them often to be able to employ them with efficiency and speed. Most tactical riflescopes also come with target turrets, which are elevated windage and elevation adjustments with ¼-MOA or .1-mil clicks. These turrets help you to dial in your hits at long range, but you have to know how many clicks to make at any given range.

I’m sorry: my life is already confusing enough. I spend a half-hour each day arguing with my smartphone. Leupold’s CDS (Custom Dial System) riflescope seemed like the hillbilly solution to the physics problems of long-range shooting. This riflescope utilizes a common duplex reticle and custom elevation dials, which have been marked to match the trajectory profile of your ammo from your rifle. If you want to hit at 400 yards, you turn the dial to “4” and shoot. Stupid simple!

With a Leupold CDS riflescope you can have an elevation dial custom built to match your ammo. You can also have multiple dials built for different loads and conditions.

The CDS concept works because you actually go to the range and chronograph your ammo to determine an average muzzle velocity. Then, just send that velocity, along with some other information, to Leupold and it will custom engrave a turret for your new scope. This is precisely what I did using the Black Hills 175-grain load, which averaged 2,525 fps from my Remington SPS Tactical at 2,200 feet above sea level. Leupold created an elevation dial to match that trajectory. Cost: $875.

Obviously, a riflescope has to be mounted, and the mount has to be solid. I learned a long time ago not to skimp on scope mounts—no matter what—so Leupold’s Mark 4 rings, which are also used by military and police snipers, were the logical choice. However, instead of going with a two-piece base, I chose a one-piece Leupold Mark 4 base that has a 15-MOA cant built in. This offset ensured I would have plenty of adjustment to zero the riflescope and still dial in a 500-yard trajectory correction. Cost: $359.

The last piece of gear needed was something to help me estimate range. Most tactards and professional snipers use the mil-dot reticle to estimate range. By comparing the size of known objects to the reticle and working a math problem, this is an effective method. I do enough math at tax time to last me all year, so I wanted a simpler solution. I found it for $399: Leupold’s RX-1000i TBR with DNA Digital Laser Rangefinder.

No more guessing and no more math. I’ve yet to point this at a target inside of 600 yards and not get a solid reading. Additionally, with True Ballistic Ranging (TBR) technology, compensation is made for the angle to the target, so it does not matter if you’re shooting at steep angles, up or down. Just put it on target and push a button. Also, the unit fits inside the accessory pouch on the Blackhawk IVS Performance Cheek Pad.


Proper Application

The heavy-barreled rifle with a good trigger, bipod and cheek piece provides a comfortable and solid platform. Fantastic optics in the Leupold VX-3L scope give a crisp view of the target and the RX-1000i rangefinder will tell you target distance. Once in position with a known range to target, simply dial in the distance. The only thing left to consider is wind. As complicated as correcting for wind can be, there’s a simple trick.

Let’s say you’re shooting at an IPSC silhouette target at 500 yards. Side to side, this target will measure 18 inches. Wind is rarely full value, and even more rarely is it constant from muzzle to target. But, let’s assume you have a constant, full-value 5-mph wind. It will cause a 175-grain SMK .308 Win. bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2,525 fps to drift about 12.5 inches at 500 yards. Your correction is simple: If the wind is left to right, hold on the target’s left edge.

What if you miss? Assuming you ranged the target correctly and didn’t bugger the shot, your miss was due to wind. If it is indeed blowing left to right and you held on the left edge, yet still missed, you misjudged wind velocity. So, take a calculated guess. When dealing with a known wind direction but an unknown velocity, the correction is always a half target. In other words, you hold a half-target more into the wind.

In this instance, with the 18-inch IPSC target, you’ll now be holding a half target (9 inches) to the left. If the wind is double your initial guess of 5 mph, your bullet will drift about 20 inches to the right. Since you’re holding 9 inches left, on an 18-inch target, the bullet should strike about 2 inches right of center.

By applying the half-target wind-correction technique, you can shoot accurately in the wind without consulting a log book or memorizing a bunch of holds. (click to enlarge)

It’s really a simple process. If you think there’s no wind, hold center. If you miss, correct with a half-target hold in the direction you think the wind might be coming from. If you’re already holding a half-target into the wind and miss, make another half-target correction. Granted, if you see the bullet splash off to one side of the target, simply correct an equal amount in the opposite direction.

Does It Work?

There was only one way to find out if my long-range tacti-simple approach works. I precisely zeroed my Model 700 SPS at 100 yards with the 175-grain Black Hills load and set the custom CDS dial to zero. I then went to a large crop field near my home, set up a target and limited my test to five shots: one shot each from 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards. I figured a miss at any range would constitute failure.

There was no failure. Every shot was a hit. Not a perfect, dead-center hit, but a hit. On the day I put these simple methods to the test, the wind was gusting from about 4 o’clock at an estimated 3 to 7 mph. To compensate, I held dead on at 100, 200 and 300 yards, and on the target’s left edge at 400 and 500 yards.

So there you have it. A $3,000 solution to long-range shooting that requires you to work no math problems or memorize wind values. The keys are knowing your rifle and zeroing it with a specific load, and then using a bit of technology while keeping it simple.

Of course, even though these techniques are uncomplicated, you still need to practice. Marksmanship fundamentals still apply. Get those down, and the rest will come much easier.

If you really want to be tacti-simple and tacti-cool, you can install an Advanced Armament Corporation suppressor on the threaded muzzle of the Remington 700 SPS Tactical and you won’t even need to wear ear protection. It will add about another $700 to your rig, but you’ll be able to hear the zombies screaming when you hit them from five football fields away.

Gun and Gear


Rifle: Remington Model 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD


Scope: Leupold VX-3L 3.5-10x50mm CDS


Scope Base: Leupold One-Piece Mark 4 with 15-MOA Slope


Rings: Leupold Mark 4


Bipod: Harris HBR


Range Finder: Leupold’s RX-1000i TBR with DNA


Butt Cuff: Blackhawk Performance IVS Cheek Pad


Ammunition: Black Hills 175-grain Match Hollow Point


Target: Tubb Enterprises Tango Stake Target




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90 Responses to Long Range for Dummies

  1. William says:

    Can’t really speak of shooting at 500 yards, but, I use to shoot gallon milk jugs filled with water at 300 yards with a Remington 700 ADL .243 with a Tasco 3-9 lying across the hood of a truck!

    • Buck Pence says:

      I recently started shooting again in the last few years and shoot a Remington .243 win. My father always set up my shots as a kid some forty years ago and we hunted in the 100 to 200 yard area. I currently hold a 3/4′ group at 100 and have shot about 2500 rounds to get there, but hadn’t shot more yards since I was ten. I was a bit surprised that it’s a bit of a new game at 300. I held about 3.5 to 4′ but noticed that I really need practice to reduce that group. It’s actually a thrill, but I want to hold tighter and then move up on yardage. This article gave me the needed confidence to keep at it. Thanks for writing this article.

  2. John Denson says:

    Excellent and very practical article Thank you.

  3. Bob Owens says:

    Or instead of spending three large, you can buy a service grade Garand from the CMP ($625, plus shipping), military surplus ammunition (Greek HXP still about $.50 a round) learn the correct shooting techniques, and do it with iron sights for a fraction of the cost.

  4. Nick chance says:

    I shoot to 500 metres in metallic silhouette using a standard Remington 700 in 7.62 mm [(]308 win[)] with a VX2 LRD using the same techniques. The set up was about $1800.00 Aud. great value for money.

  5. RCC says:

    Second Bob Owens comment. You don’t need a fancy scope or any of the other frills. A solid rifle with iron sights should be able to hit a man sized target at 500 meters. The only question is can the shooter?

  6. Lee says:

    same results less cost
    howa model 1500….. $450
    bushnell 3-9×40….. $60
    nikko stirling base….. $20
    weaver rings….. $15 (dont know had them layin around)
    black hawk 9-13 bi-pod….. $45
    no range finder just good old fashion educated guess
    fusion 150g .30-06 ammo….. $23
    8 lbs. water mellon….. $4
    grand total………. $617
    i am 26 years of age and i have only been shooting for 5.5 years. This is what u can do when u get to know your equipment

  7. Adam says:

    Yeah, spending $625 on a service grade CMP Garand, aka fence post, is really going to get you hits at 500 like this rig does. That would take years of practice and discipline, plus the luck of the Irish, to draw a service grade capable. The point of the article is to make consistent hits at 500 yards with a reasonable rig for a complete novice. It just chaps all of your collective asses that someone with $2.7K could shoot circles around you all with just a couple days of practice. You are all probably the same folks that go duck hunting with break open shotguns, 2.75″ shells, and #6s.

    • Patrick says:

      It does take a bit of practise with open sights but it can be done, the shooting club I belong to have been doing it for awhile but once you learn the basics of a rifle it come naturally and good spooter helps as well.
      I can consistantly hit a target with my field grade M1 Garand at 500 meter/yards as well with most of my surplus military rfiles with open sights.

    • Scott says:

      Adam – “Years of practice and discipline” to hit a target at 500 yards? Marine Corps Basic only let me have 2 weeks. Come to think about it, all the Marines I know only had 2 weeks and you don’t graduate unless you can do it consistently. AND there is nothing more Service Grade than an Garand from the armory at Parris Island… I also limit opening day dove with a 410 pump and 7 1/2 shot. Now let the adults talk.

    • Unseenusmc says:

      Any serviceable m-1is and excellent choice. Proper practice and practical knowledge is needed yes. But when money is tight you learn quick. Especially in these times when your life may depend on it. In 2nd recon bn. We couldn’t use conventional weapons that would identify our country. We used weapons that had been given to other countries such as the garand. Without scopes

    • Unseenusmc says:

      Also. A bit of research on ammo, knowledge on basic sight adjustment and wind age calculations are all that’s needed for a long range shot at 500yds. Don’t get chapped yourself if you can’t do it. I challenge you tp

    • Unseenusmc says:

      Ah yes I forgot to mention marine recruits must consistently hit targets out to 500yds with iron sights before they can even graduate and it takes a week to learn

    • Bp.David says:

      “That would take years of practice and discipline, plus the luck of the Irish, to draw a service grade capable.”
      Actually, it takes only about a week at Pendleton and a service rifle with iron sights to qualify as Expert Rifleman” on targets at 100,300 and 500 Yds. And that’s putting over 75% of them in the black.
      Semper Fi!

  8. Dear Richard Mann and your readers,

    Nice article. Thanks for the info.

    But, …

    I have to agree with Bob Owens, RCC, Lee and others; folks could do it cheaper, a lot cheaper by purchasing used gear and firearms.

    And, …

    Adam. I was going to be an asshole to you and write such things as ‘Don’t be such a retard;’ ‘You need to going shooting, instead of typing on a keyboard;’ ‘Don’t be such a gear nazi;’ or some other negative remark about your comment, but I thought about it.

    So, instead

    Attending an Appleseed event, buying used gear (yes, even a Garand), and a couple hours of practice, a shooter, even a novice would be able to consistently engage and hit a human-sized target with iron sights.

    Sincerely, SYK

    Mr. Mann, thanks again for the article. I plan to share it with others.

    • John says:

      I noticed you mentioned the Appleseed Project. Have you attended their training? I have been considering that as an affordable place to start learning rifle marksmanship since I know very little about it. Is it worth doing?

  9. Adam says:

    Please be negative, its just the internet. I won’t take it to heart. But as to your comment about being a gear nazi… I’m not the one telling people what they should be doing, or how they should go about doing it, or like above, making thinly veiled insults about the shooters skills because they bought some decent stuff. What’s wrong with someone who has money buying some gear and making 500 yard hits with ease? And its possible that a Garand could do it, but I’ve shot the $625 grade at 100 yards fairly often (I have one and regret buying it) and I tell everyone who recommends one the same thing. Either spring for a higher grade model or be prepared for disappointment.

    • captcooke45 says:

      hey adam,if you “regret” buying the grand ,i will buy it off ya for ahundered bucks,i could use a good rabbit gun

    • Bp.David says:

      I would bet one could have very similar results with a Mossberg ATR 100 ($300), ZOS Mil-Dot 6-24×50 ($75), NcStar 6-9″ Bipod ($19 on Ebay), Padded Cheekrest and Cartridge Holder (also $19 on Ebay) and $28 worth of name brand HP’s at Wal-Mart. All for less than half of the average reader’s paycheck.

  10. I get good results with a Mosin Nagant, and the cheap ammo made for it! I have to keep in practice or I lose skills quickly!

  11. Ron Rambuski says:

    Like your article very much. Just wish I could afford the equipment.

  12. Dave says:

    Lighten up. Save your energy fighting the anti-gun crowd. Anybody that believes in the second amendment & likes to shoot is good enough for me. Just my humble opinion.

  13. Mitch says:

    3 important items 1 your skill 2 your equiment 3 this one usually not mentioned= what SIZE TARGET

  14. Ronald L Duncan Sr says:

    I am 68yrs old and I shoot 500 to 800 meters most Sundays with my shooting club, we shoot as issued military rifles, using iron sights only. My latest rifle is a 1928 Mosin- Nagant, in 7.62x54R. I only payed $125 for it. You don’t need a lot of money, or scopes if you are trained correctly. We shoot at a range that is at 6000 ft above sea level, and has a lot of wind.

  15. Ariel Folonier says:

    We can do that, using my old Argentinean Mauser model 1909 (cal 7.65×54) and metalic orthoptic sigths.

  16. paul says:

    Thank you Mr. Mann for the well written article. Some forum comments were good while others showed poor character. Too bad so many have wrong attitude, about most everything, like to take their guns away from ‘em.

  17. Nate says:

    I use a Howa 1500 with hogue stock with a Nikon 4-16x50SF Scope on DNZ gamereaper mounts and shoot clay pigeons at 600 yards. I use Federal Seirra Matchking 168gr ammo. $600 rifle, $400 in scope and mounts. My 14 yr old nephew also uses this gun and shoot 600 yrds with no problem.

  18. james says:

    I agree with the others saying a CMP Garand with iron sights is the way to go for 500 yards. I’m on my way to an Appleseed shoot to do that (well, 400). I expect to hit the 5 ring at least half the time.

    Now, OP’s rig should help you go downtown – 1000 yards. I have no chance with irons on a man sized target out there. I’m looking at a Savage Model 11 in .243 Winchester. I understand it’s pretty easy to swap barrels if you shoot yours out, or want to change to another cartridge. The Remington has a lot of mods available, including just about every type of stock.

  19. Randy Humphries says:

    I was very pleased to read over your report. I might make a small suggestion and that is to hold out for a 26″ barrel vs. the 20″. I myself shoot a Herters J9 Custom Presentation Grade chambered in 7mm Rem Mag with a JP Howitzer muzzle brake and a mercury recoil reducer with a 25.5″ barrel. Gotta do my own spotting cause no one wants to stand behind me. I paid $575 for the gun and added on my old $100.00 scope. Best grouping at 400 yards is 3 inches. At almost ten pounds, it’s a bit much to lug around hunting. But at a bench, I’m there all day long in heaven.

  20. Eric says:

    I take from this article that it costs $3000 to overcome a small lack of knowledge about marksmanship. It’s great that you can buy all this stuff and make yourself look like a better shooter, but do you have the discipline to withhold your opinion when somebody who is trying to learn asks you for help?
    Mastering skills such as breath control, how to properly pull the trigger, and how to use the adjustments on your scope to put the sights on the point of impact is really not that hard. Some research, or seeking out a few days of good instruction will make you able to accomplish the same result with much less pricy equipment. The Second Amendment cause is helped more by educating people about how to shoot than by showing off what our fancy rifles can do.

  21. Richard Rhynehart says:

    I have been trying to shoot 1000 yds in memory and for the wish of my nephew who died in a car crash at 17 we would shoot 22 cal at 50 yards he always said he thought i could shoot 1000 yds it happened that i had a 4 wheeler accident put me out of work for 7 months he was killed shortly after my accident i couldnot go to his funeral so it came to me to make the 1000yd shot in memory of shane wilks never realizing what was in store we had always shot soda cans so i felt that would be my destined target at 1000yds he died in 2009 and i started my mission in 2010 had to research rifles chosen was a pawnshop purchase fr8 with custom1/14 twist was told it was 1/10 twist one year later at 400yds and many spent rounds checked rifling found to be 1/14 twist had custom rds made at first when thought rifle was 1/14 twist as you guys on the forums would say you got to find what the rifle wants in the end of a lot of money i even bought a used loader and rake cleared palmetto made 1000yd range and shooting platform 4ft up 8×8 because of the injury i sustained to my shoulder doctor said my shooting days were over i said no. The 308 has a cheap aim scope 10x40x50 clarity fair not greatest but can see soda can clear in evening time when mirage is gone wind dies alot also in fla. My 4w accident was memorial day 2009 i shoot soda can memorial day 2013 went straight from 600yd to 1000yds with only 10 rds i loaded that morning ran out of powder 3031 powder 147gr bt winn took 7 shots to aquire 7shot 1ft to rt of soda can so aimed 1ft to left hit can then put 2 in paper target 4 in from center.so in ending i want to thank you shooters who share info on these shooting forums you made it happen for me and i feel i payed tribute to a fallen shooter. Again thank you all.

  22. Mitch says:

    I shoot 500-1000 yards on a regular basis using a Savage Model 10 Precision Carbine topped with a SS-10X42 in Weaver mounts on a 1 piece 20MOA Base. I handload SMK 168′s & 175′s on a LEE Turret Press. I think one of the things many people don’t understand is that a good stiff 20″ bbl is just as accurate as a 24-26″ bbl in the right hands. Yes, you lose a little velocity but, when you have to hump that rifle all day and all night to get to your target believe me you Notice The Difference! BTW, there are some really good instructional videos on YOUTUBE for those of you who want to learn the CORRECT use of a Mil-Dot Reticle.
    Great Article!

  23. d allen says:

    Savage mod 11 300w.m handloads burris scope off backpack elk 700 yds deer 550 do it every year

  24. Duane Elms says:

    Great article, particularly for folks who are starting out and don’t want their experience ruined by questionable equipment. On the other hand, I also agree that pretty much anyone should be able to hit an 18″ target at 500 yards with iron sights and a decent M1.

    What I would like to see, though, is a similar article on what sort of equipment the winners at Perry are using. I’ve been out of high power competition for a while and it’s clear that the state of the art passed me by many years ago. So, what are the big boys shooting? The NRA pages seem to take delight in refusing to publish anything on the equipment being used. An article that got me back into the game with no excuses would be most appreciated.

  25. jimmy james says:

    Good article with good info but I have to agree the $3000 price tag recommended to get into 600yd shooting is a little steep. As to all the folks knocking out a gnat’s eyeball at 600yds with $125 rifles, iron sights and surplus ammo…sounds like a lot of wishful thinking. I know some folks can do it but most can’t. No one even mentioned age and eye sight. I’ve been wearing glasses for 40+ years and as for me using iron sights at 600yds, I might as well be blind folded.

  26. Seth Thomas says:

    $1200 browning eclipse 300 mag .,$ 850.00 Leupold 4.5-14 VX3 sub moa groups at 800 yards . Study your ballistics , set what ever you use up so that its put together solid . Get it shooting good consistent groups at 100 yards . My 12 year old daughter can hit a milk jug at 800 yards once I put the rifle on the bench . I’ve seen it done with a 300 $ gun and a 200$ scope .

  27. Realist says:

    Hmmmm… Interesting opinions. Hitting 1000 yards w a cheap rig compared to hitting one w a GAP Team rig. I would pick the latter any day. Doesn’t mean I can’t hit w the cheap rig but why bother when I own the latter and many like it. Those dollars also go to fuel the lobbying machine that keeps ur 2nd amendment rights in place. These comments read like the idiots’ shortsighted manifesto. The OP put together a solution that works for him. Personally one of my favs is a rem700 PSS w a Springfield police ii scope. Makes all newcomers I bring to the range an excellent shot after a 30 min run through on shooting principles. Those that choose to keep at it work up to the gap and surgeon rigs w hand loads – try hitting a series of 8′ dots at 1000 yards in a timed event w iron sights. Instead of praising shooters in their quest for accuracy and fun, while indirectly pouring $ into the machine that fuels ur rights, so many are quick to share backwater opinions to fuel their own uneducated ego’s. One with those opinions is not a marksman by any stretch of the imagination. This sport is meant for everyone. If some has the 3 large to spend, I sure as he’ll hope they spend it! I’m also fine w those looking to leverage the scraps- just don’t convey an attitude about it. I never within my life would expect some of these comments from fellow shooters.

  28. Southern shooter says:

    The man was just trying to help out the beginners. For some of the more export emceed shooter this article could have seemed sluggish and insulting. Iron sights or a scope I have heard and read so many testimonials about how good of a shot such and such is. Well what I say is prove it. Most people don’t posses the natural ability to shoot long range distance due the fact of there self not their equipment. People shake,or don’t control there breathing. Small things of that nature. So make a video post it on u tube and let everyone see the proof. And when u can hit an 18′ target at 250yd with a bow then let me know. Lol.

    • William Goodenow says:

      Actually I could hit an 18 in target at 250 yds w my bow … not every time but sooner or latter one of my 6 arrows would land into it … yea almost on top of it ! I love archery and the skills ive learned and the people I meet while shooting .I found this ad because I’d like to shoot a group out of a rifle 1000 yds sounds fun ! Ive never had the urge to exceed over 200 yds myself with a rifle until now . 15 years of archery teaches you how to pull a trigger , suspect it takes a bit of pain tolerance from letting the rifle kick you , we know you cant muscle the stock into your shoulder , let it float in the bench . Take your shot watch the splash and. Compensate with your scope , they call that dop, basically tune your scope to the splash of the bullet . Use what ever caliber you own . Now if you want to compete in long range and win , well thats where the money comes in ! All in All have fun

  29. Ernest says:

    It was a good article. Personally, the farthest I’ve ever shot was 100 yards (rifle & shotgun w/ slugs). Now, for those who are telling others to get a M-1 Garand, I have a suggestion. Not everyone is associated with the CMP (I know I’m not). So, why don’t ya’ll sit down & write an article on becoming associated with the CMP to get the M-1 Garands & submit it to Shooting Illustrated or some other periodical, and maybe they’ll publish it? Keep one thing in mind though, not everyone wants a semi-auto rifle, some folks like their bolt-action rifles (another reason I found this article, fitting in with the long-range crowd, seemed to have some interesting aspects).

  30. todd says:

    wow not much . here , no info. i have shot 500 yards. with iron . love to hunt with breake open shot guns i also know most any thing will work with practice.. and own a m 1. wheres the info do you have a pet load, or something else to contribute.

  31. Michael says:

    Richard, thanks for the article. Ignore the know-it-alls. If they knew everything, they’d know when to shut up.

    For an absolute newbie, help me understand: If the wind is coming from 4 o’clock, isn’t that from over my right shoulder? If so, would I hold target right?

    Thanks, Michael

  32. tony parfitt says:

    hi guys tony here from the land down under interesting reed long range shooting should be reserved for the ranges and not in the field or is fair chase and ethical hunting a thing of the past

  33. Bret says:

    Thanks for the straight forward info. I’m looking at a very similar setup based around the 700 SPS Tactical. I tend to think that a guy could find a lot of value that would lower the cost to closer to $1200-1500. For example, a $500 range finder is a big expense. Most ranges have well marked distances and if you are shooting in the field, most people can pace off distances that are accurate enough to get hits on IPSC targets…you have to walk out there to set/retrieve targets anyway. Mil-dot ranging is simple if you have a mil-dot scope. Hell, even google earth will get you close enough once you are talking about 500 yards. I can’t argue with buying good rings, rail and glass but a fixed 10x scope with mil-dot reticle will get you on paper at 500 yards even without any training for less than a fancy variable power scope. It’s all beside the point though. Shooting is fun, hitting targets a LONG way away is fun. This is a good source of some basic info “for dummies”. Currently, I’m training to consistently stay on paper at 500 yds with my Mosin 91/30…I shoot off of stumps and logs, across a mountain valley, often in the rain and I don’t have a spotting scope or spotter that can reliably see hits/misses at that distance. My $120 rifle shooting $.19/round milsurp is teaching me how much it must have sucked to be holding off the Nazis and how unbelievable some of the “I shoot better than 1/4MOA at 1000 yds with iron sights, its a real tack-driver” stories are.

  34. Bruce Ryan says:

    great articles, I shoot a 300 Browning with a very expensive Léopold Scope. Its great on big game and for fun shooting I shoot ground hogs (sitting) at 1,2,3,5,1000 yards. Lots of fun.

  35. Garrett says:

    I would love to shoot against anyone of youclaiming to shoot 800 yds open sights
    With my Remington 700 built close to the rifle described in this article.

  36. S. Burk says:

    Thanks Richard Mann for the article. Shooting stories are like fishing stories. I have come to lovingly refer to the naysayers as “Armchair Experts”. It’s great they can hit 800yrds with iron sights but fail with spell check. The title says it all, “Long Range for Dummies” not “Long Range for Cheap-ass experts with lousy equipment”. This article helped me decide on the Leupold VX-3 CDS scope for my custom build .308. I was looking at a Vortex Viper, both scopes are $600 and the CDS system sold me! I’m no expert, but I want to get into shooting long range. They say buy good equipment and you only cry once. I want a nice gun, does that make me snooty? My build is reaching $1800 and it’s my pride and joy, far more capable than I am!

    It’s intimidating coming on these sites being a newbie. You have to learn the language, and heaven forbid you be proud of yourself for something, there’s always some jerk to kick you down. Can everyone just be nice? I thought we are all here because we like shooting, let’s celebrate success and help one another.

    On a different subject, talk liberals into going shooting with you. If they take you up on it they’ll leave with a different attitude about guns!

    • Bp.David says:

      S.Burk, Nice response to the article. I have always said that Gun People are the nicest and most polite people in the world. However, some of the responses to this article, make me rethink that statement. Maybe, if having the force of weapons in their possession does not give them the confidence to be polite, then they do not have the temperament needed to own them.

  37. jphillip says:

    Great article thanks

  38. John B. says:

    My 1903 A3 Springfield with iron sights has consistently given me hits at 600 yards. My first day at these distances I was able to consistently pull this off. At 900 yards I was aiming 12 feet high and 16 feet to the right of my target, but I was still holding my own. I’m all for sinking a few grand into the sport, but don’t let a lack of funds keep you from shooting.
    I had a range officer laugh at me because I was zeroing an inexpensive .22 in at 100 yards. I proceeded to shoot a smiley face pattern into my target and gave it to the RO when I left.

  39. Michael Judah says:

    Thank you for the info. I have some of the gear you are taking about I have already. A little bit at a time. I’m glad I was going in the correct direction.

  40. Steve K says:

    Great read. Just getting started but having fun. Bought a Armalite AR-10 with a 20′ bull barrel & a Vortex Viper scope. My groups at a 100 are not great but I am getting there and having a blast. My goal is sub .5 for 3 shots till I move out..

  41. Bryant Flick says:

    Well, I bought a $700 remington 700 in 300 Wim Mag and a Nikon scope. It made me feel pretty good to be shooting tighter groups closer to centerpunch than guys with $2300 in a scope and $2000 in a gun. I think being able to do it better and cheaper makes you feel like you didn’t waste your money unnecessarily.

  42. big shooter says:

    Heck i could shoot lizards out to 10yards with my crosman 1077 with a 4×16 50mm scope. I could even shoot hole for hole at 6 feet away with bench rest gun clamp

  43. kelley says:

    im 41 been hunting since i was 18 my wife had a custom 30cal 338 made for me love it in to better things bought a 300rem. ultra mag BDL $750.00 new AND A ZEISS CONQUEST from my local pawn shop 2.5 -10 x44 mil dot $275.00 i reload all my bullets and a leupold range finder RX1. $250.00 muzzle break $150.00 grand total $1425.00 best shooter i have

  44. Leonard Hartle says:

    I started out with a SKS and worked my way up to a rem 40x in .308. That was in the early 90′s . I started reloading and competing in 1000 yard bench rest . I shot MOA groups for two years never winning anything. Finally buy 1998 I was shooting half min. Groups[(]5′[)]@ 1000 yards it was a lot to learn. It not enough to just hit a target @ 500 yards for some of us , we want 3′ groups or better consistently . And I think that’s what the man who wrote the article was trying to convey. It may not cost $3000 to set up a 500 yard rig that’s shoots half min. But fact is his rifle is suitable for 1000 yard targets easy. I know because I’ve been playing this game for awhile. I have a rem700 with a 20′ inch barrel in .308 I load 168 amax@ 2700 fps. I can shoot moa @ 1000 yards [(]10′[)] anytime with this rifle. You will have a tough time doing this with your $125 dollar relic. Nor was it meant to. If you have the money to spare to build a 1000 yard tactical rig that’s great. But in doing so let compare apples to apples. I thought it was a great article buy the way. I learned to used the mil-dot though instead of buying a range finder, its really simple. Open sights at 1000 yards with a strap instead of a bipod is a great discipline but not for everyone. They have my respect. I shoot f- class these days. There are a lot of shooting disciplines these days for the high power rifle pick one and have fun!!! Quit doggin your brother for doin his own thing!!!!

  45. Bryant Flick says:

    It seems to me that most of the discussion is about the shooter’s ability as compared to the gun’s ability.

  46. Joe P says:

    Not doubting what you say, but $3,000 is A LOT of money for most “normal” people to spend on 1 rifle setup. Here’s another option: Marlin 308 and Savage 308 $360, Bushnell 6-24x scope $200, $40 bipod, $100 on match ammo. No rangefinder needed, just estimate. This setup will 600 yards regularly, if YOU do your part. Take that extra $2400 that you saved and spend that on a trip to the Appleseed Project, then a vacation to Costa Rica with the wife/girlfriend!

  47. Jay Gorski says:

    If that POS X-Mark pro trigger feels as good as a Timney then Timney triggers suck, too. And you spent way too much for your rings, you can get TPS rings for 75 bucks, and they ROCK!

    • Bp.David says:

      Jay Gorski, Your’re right–somebody need’s to start shopping at Ebay and AliExpress and stay away from high-dollar gun shops for a while. A Mossy ATR 100 in .270 Win. and a PayPal account got me all I need for under $500!

  48. Mark Schmidt says:

    Well, I have a late 1970′s Savage 110 in 30-06 that I have put in another Savage walnut stock and added an old Weaver 6 power fixed scope…I’d bet it will shoot with that $3000 rifle and scope, at least well enough to be in the same league…My entire “rig” cost a little over $400.

  49. Steve says:

    Hi Richard,

    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

    Forgive me for asking what might be a really dumb question, but can you fit a laser sight to a Remington 700, please? (I mean the type of laser that puts a red dot on your target, not the kind that measures range.)

    I appreciate laser sights might not be effective at long range because of the angle of trajectory, etc., but I only need to know if it’s feasible to fit one to a 700.


  50. Marty says:

    It is refreshing to see a fellow marksman exhibit so much common sense, and with just the right amount of humor tossed in.

  51. Unseenusmc says:

    I have a 308 bolt action built on a 98 Mauser. My dad is an amazing gunsmith in Texas. I’ve hit targets at 1000 yrds repeatedly with that rifle. Basic mc marksmanship, sniper school training and some common research make it possible every time it look through that cheap scope that never fails me

  52. James says:

    I’m fairly new to shooting and with my $450 Savage .300 win mag with included scope a $35 bipod and a ballistic sheet. After a few weeks of practice I’m shooting milk jugs at 500 yards. So I guess if someone wants to buy there way to distance shooting that’s there problem.

  53. Jack says:

    Thanks for an informative article. I’m having a hard time hitting to 500m. I have a nice rig and will apply the techniques and will report.

  54. Don Barton says:

    There were a LOT of Marines that were taught to shoot in the mid to late 50′s (me included) that fired expert with off the rack M1 Garands and issue 30 cal ammo. Up to 500 yds. My best was 235 out of 250 with a rusty bore M1. Now I will admit that I have no recollection of group size but….
    So why do we need even $3,000 rifles to make hits on ringers at that range? Hmmm.


  55. Dave R says:

    I think this was a very good article, thank you!
    I shoot long range with a Savage Striker bolt action pistol in .270win. I use a Nikon Monarch3 4-16×42 sf mildot and 20moa ramp.
    It is good to 1000 yards, but only if I do my part. at a 15′ steel target. I have about $1000 into my set up and it works great .
    If you can afford to by good equipment I see no problem with that. I want to buy a NightForce scope for my Striker one of these days. Why? Because it will make the groups smaller because the glass is much better and you can see the target better. Yes I can hit a 10′ steel at 500 yards with my open sighted Mosin Nagant M44 and it’s a lot of fun and a challenge. But shooting out to a 1000 is heart pumping when you hear that ting way out there. Keep up the great writing and build guns how you want them, no body said you had to build it their way or at their cost, just use what you want and have fun doing it. It has to do with the sport and one mans way of building a rifle that he likes. Who cares if you or anyone else does or not.
    Childish comments just shows your lack of maturity!
    Thanks again for the great article!
    Dave R

  56. jake says:

    Whatever you spend on ur rifle u should spend on optics. Precision is not free

  57. Larry Stewart says:

    I have two (2) well three (3) long range rifles 7MM, 6.5×284, and 308 and have many 1000 yards hit with all of them. I reload my ammo and it is custom for each rifle. All of them shot sub .25 groups at 100 yards. I think it is a key to long range shooting that you have custom ammo for your rifle. If you are shooting 1 inch groups at 100 yards it just get worse as range increases…. My opinion however……

  58. lenny says:

    Good to know that long range has been redefined to be 500 yards.

  59. ron says:

    Nice article and yes lots of practice does matter, I had been practicing shooting a 22 long rifle all summer 1981 and hit a crow sized target on top of a telephone at 1120 yards, one shot.

  60. David Lansdale says:

    Richard Mann is 100[%] correct in what he is saying you don’t have to have a $8,000 dollar gun and scope to shoot long shots , I read a lot on long range shooting am a avid reloader I shoot weatherby rifles most of my groups is in the .040 at 100 yards there is lots of guns for sale that will shot 5 shots in a hole if you have done your home work and worked up a good load for your gun and not cost you a arm and leg.

  61. Ralph says:

    Great article and I agree with David, If you do your home work a lot can be accomplish.
    I have an Armalite AR-30 in 308 and a Remington 700 mil-spec in 308, both guns shoot very well pass 500 meters. My best groups to date with the armalite are .825 in. and 1.125 in. five shot groups at 500 yds. Taken out clays at that range is no problem, but what makes this possible is the fact that I spend almost a year developing the right load for this guns. Nothing comes easy, And the weather has to be perfect to.

  62. Joey gihban says:

    This is all well and good, till you see the target cost. Rolleyes

  63. bob in deer lodge says:

    ok guys. I can hit a 500 yard cantaloupe in 20 mph wind backwards using a mirror with my daisy red rider. Don’t need to sped the big bucks ($200) on a surplus military pos.

    All it took was 1 week @ ft. yeeehaaa in the cub scouts in -30 degree weather in my skivvies.

  64. Gavin says:

    This set is a great. There’s to much money to go into it though. If you want to shoot long range, you can shoot 600 yards with bone stock .243. 1000 bucks can get you to 1000 yards with a little bit of know how and some practice. I have a R700 that shoots a 243 winchester sitting on a $200 stock, $110-$200 trigger depending on where you get it, $180 scope, and a $50 bipod. I’m not the best shot, but I put out good groupings at 600 yards. Anyone can do it as long as you know the basics.

  65. Jerry says:

    The whole point of this article is simple, whatever your budget, if your goal is to get good hits at 500 yards consistently, it can be done, within reason. This guys budget was $3k. Mine was $1.5k, for 800 yards. If someone else only has $700, which I think is within reason, it can be done. The majority of military surplus 7.62 NATO is more than capable of consistent hits at 500 yards. And there are a few good rifles that can be bought brand new for under $650. Mossberg MVP 7.62, Remington sps in .308, and howa 1500 in .308. The How’s and Mossberg are both under $600 and are of equal or better quality than the new REM 700 sps. Scopes at Walmart will work just fine, most under $75. And you don’t have to have a bipod. Sand bags work fine. And yes the military teaches how to shoot in a weeks time, as a full time job, basically. So when someone says years of practice and you break it down into actual time shooting, you might only get 50-75 hrs a yr, figuring 1-1.5 hour per weekend. Its all relevant. No reason for anyone to get butthurt or try to make their point the best point, like mine ;[)] , just stick to your budget and have fun. Have fun and practice practice practice!

  66. Marts says:

    I was deer hunting back east a few years ago and spotted a deer at 200 yards. From a standing position with my 7-08 browning X Bolt nikon 3×9 40mm I shot it right through the spine. Everyone was amazed at the shot. Of course I never told anyone I was aiming for the shoulder.

  67. Mike says:

    Great article , too bad some people can’t just read it and either use it’s information or not use it . He’s just throwing out his ideas and his set up . If you can hit a target with a BB gun at 2 miles , good for you , this article isn’t for you . The ones on here tooting their own horn how good they are with a rifle are the same ones that will say a bug flew in their eye when someone out shoots them on the range . This article is simply suggesting a set up and way that works for him in distance accuracy . I’ve been shooting a long time and still got something out of it .

  68. James says:

    This is article is misleading! You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to hit at 500 yards! I can hit all day long at 500 yards with my AR with a 6×42 Russian scope that only cost me only $269 bucks! I have a Swiss K 31 that has hit out to 1500 yards with open sights! YOUTUBE it!

  69. Allaces says:

    An M14 and ball ammo and you too can own every man-size target out to 500 yards, with iron sights.

  70. Chuck says:

    Interesting read and informative for those who want to prove they can thread a needle at 500 yards. I wouldn’t even think of hunting anywhere I had to shoot 500 yards. I have killed deer consistantly at ranges of 250 to 300 yards with a .308,30-06 and a 270. I rarely ever see a deer over 200 yards.

  71. jedagi says:

    I believe you can have a cheaper setup than this. It doesn’t take a 900 dollar scope. Your paying about 450 for the mentioned name brand.

  72. Core says:

    The Remington sells other rifles in that price range that can reach out 500++. The 700 has the capability to reach out and 1000, there is also a fair amount of documentation that would allow someone to take a factory 700 with a heavy barrel and turn it into a serious precision rifle. Great advice in this pub, but I would recommend to buy an optic that can handle 1000 yards and 2000 yards for magnum cartridges respectively. This way you don’t find yourself re-investing $1k+ into a second scope. The old 300 WinMag is a great common cartridge if you want to punch holes at 1000+.

  73. Shawn says:

    Remington 700 sps 26′ barrel .300 win may $590, black hawk axiom stock $180,scope Nikon monarch 3 5-20×44 $491, Leopold rings $18 , weaver one piece scope mount $35, black hawk bipod 3-9 $45. Total $1359

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