I have found my true love – long range tactical shooting. I am just getting my feet wet, but it is a great challenge! I have a couple of great guys teaching me what they know and the more I do it, the more I want to learn. This weekend, we went to a location where we could practice on 1,000 yard targets. It is hard to see, but in this picture you can see the naked eye distance from our position to the target. (The target was about the size of a human torso, painted white – located just in front of the red arrow in the photo.)
I have been learning to dial in my elevation and windage as well as range my target. Because we knew the size of the target, we could use simple math and our reticle to range, but we do have an “app” for that as well. I will talk about some of the iPhone apps we use in a different post. We also had the luxury of a range finder. At 1,000 yards you have to be very steady to make it work. (And I learned that invisible twigs and small branches “get in the way” of range finders!)
In this photo, you can see what the target looks like through a spotting scope. For those of you who have never had the opportunity to shoot such a long distance, the picture through the scope makes it start to seem very possible. On this very cold day, we checked our wind, ranged our targets, and then took turns spotting for each other. I saw a vapor trail for the first time through the spotting scope – very cool to see!
I have read that military snipers and their spotters must be equally qualified in tactical shooting. I bring this up, because I thought it was harder to spot for someone than it was to shoot. My eyes became extremely fatigued, and I could not always tell where the round went (if it missed) so I could help them make the needed adjustments. This made me think of some of the books I have read about snipers in Iraq or Afghanistan and how they held their positions with their spotters for hours or days with extremely little movement, watching – always watching. To be still and watch a target for so long takes a very special type of strength, and I am in awe of the men who do this for a living.