Now, on to the show. Long range shooting is a loaded topic. It’s not only about your gun and your gear but also your capabilities. So, this week on The Revolution Derrick will talk about some mistakes long range shooters make, the difference between premium grade and more economical ammunition, the importance of sighting your rifle in with precision and the custom build process. To kick things off, Derrick talks ammunition. Your ammo is the one and only thing that physically connects you to the game, or target, you are aiming at. When you go to the store to purchase ammunition, the options are endless, but the price really sets different brands apart. While it can be tempting to save yourself some cash and go with a more economical load, you have to wonder if the premium grade ammunition is better? Derrick will give us his take on this subject. He tells Jim and Trav that for him, it all comes down to the bullet and what you are asking that bullet to do. If you get premium ammunition loaded with a certain kind of bullet you can’t always expect every gun to shoot it perfectly, but you do get more consistency in the powder charge. He’ll also look at fluctuations in velocity and how that can cause issues with achieving tight groups, especially at a distance.
When it comes to distance, long range shooting means different things to different people, but Derrick says you need to define what that magic number is for you. He tells Jim and Trav that at a particular distance, you should strive to be consistent and know exactly where you’re going to hit. In order to achieve that, he recommends shooters finding a place where they can shoot out to 400 or 500 yards and really work on where they are aiming versus where the impact is. Shooting over and over again trying to hit your mark doesn’t make you a better shooter. Instead, Derrick says you should be logging your shots, analyzing why you miss and making corrections based on that information – ultimately, that will improve your skillset. Wind is also a big factor, especially when shooting long range. Derrick says that in the past he kept a log of bullet speed, where he hit and where the wind was coming from, in order to learn how the wind affected his shot. Many shooters like to practice only when the conditions are perfect, and they are subsequently very proud of their tight groups. However, Derrick says that shooting in less than ideal conditions and honing your skills to be able to achieve a good shot, even on a windy day, is important.
Derrick will then talk about zeroing your rifle and how important it is to be precise and critical about your close-range shots. While many people work under the assumption that they are dialed in perfectly when they are close to their intended target, Derrick says that even being 1/4 to 1/2"- inch off, at close range, can mean much bigger misses at longer ranges. He tells Jim and Trav that he precisely zeros his rifle in at 100 yards and then goes to out 400 yards and zeros it left and right to negate spin drift to the bullet.
Switching gears, Derrick will dive into the custom build process. It really begins with understanding what kind of game you’ll be pursuing and geographically, where you’ll be hunting. After that Derrick says he likes to find out what platform you’re used to shooting and then try to build a platform that is the most accurate for what you’re going to do. Building a gun that the shooter can handle well – one with the correct cheek rest, the right weight, a well-balanced platform, the right scope – all of these factors create a custom package that works for the individual shooter and can make them more accurate. Having a custom gun built can be a lengthy process, but Derrick tells Jim and Trav that at Horizon Firearms they want to be able to get the gun in the hands of the shooter as quickly as possible, in many cases, in as little as 4 weeks. In order to achieve that, they build their stocks in-house through their company iota Outdoors and instead of waiting for a deposit from the buyer to purchase parts, Horizon stocks barrel blanks, lots of actions, scopes, etc., in order to speed up the build process. A quick build process doesn’t mean a lack of quality though, they still shoot every rifle and guarantee them to shoot ½ MOA.
The Horizon Firearms team is beginning a build for The Revolution and Derrick will talk about the staple components of this build. We’re going with a 6.5 Creedmoor with a 20 to 22-inch barrel and we’ll also be putting a Thunder Beast suppressor on it. In the 600-yard range in the flat lands of Kansas, Derrick says he also wants to make sure it has enough velocity and ballistic coefficient to deal with the windy conditions of this particular area. It will be built on a custom iota stock called the Kremlin and Derrick will explain what sets this stock apart from others. We’ll be topping this rifle with a Leupold scope. Derrick talks about how they mount and square your scope and then shoot your rifle to dial in the accuracy that way it’s ready, right out of the box, when it gets to you. Follow the build with us here as Derrick comes back throughout the process to talk about the custom features going into this rifle.