Long-distance shooting is a separate art from close range marksmanship. Becoming an accurate long-distance shooter involves mastering the human element and choosing the right tools for the job.
Let’s break down the five essential tips that all long-distance shooters should follow to increase their accuracy.
How to Become a Better Long Distance Shooter
1. Make Sure to Zero Your Rifle Accurately
At distances of less than 50 yards, zeroing your rifle or another weapon, or even adding an optic in the first place, is much less important.
But if you really want to be a long-distance shooter (that is, it targets for many hundreds of yards away), you’ll need to learn how to zero your rifle correctly.
Zeroing is the art of making sure your rifle’s optics and/or sights are aligned correctly with the actual impact point of your weapon.
A well-zeroed rifle will work perfectly with its attached optic, while a poorly-zeroed rifle will barely be able to hit the broad side of a barn.
2. Buy and Mount a Good Optic
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Speaking of optics, don’t skimp when it comes to a good scope or sight.
As with practically all components for a firearm, pricier but better-made optics and other attachments are usually a better bang for your buck.
These optics will come with multicoated lenses, steady reticles or even illuminated reticles, and easy-to-use mounting rails or rings.
You should also take care to mount your optic properly and tightly.
You’ll want to give yourself plenty of eye relief so you don’t bruise your orbital bones when you take a shot with a high-powered rifle.
More crucially, you’ll want to ensure the optic stays steady and works well at a distance.
3. Experiment with Ammunition
Ammunition plays a key role in long-distance shooting, particularly since some types of ammunition or loads will group more tightly or otherwise perform better with your rifle than others.
Longtime marksmen usually have a go-to rifle that they love to use and have found, through experimentation, kinds of cartridges, or powder loads that work well with their firearm.
You should aim to do the same thing.
If you’ve just purchased a new long-distance rifle, spend some time experimenting with different cartridges and powder loads to find the bullets that work best with your gun.
You’ll get the best performance possible and be able to hit long-distance shots if you pair your tool with the right ammunition.
4. Keep Your Breathing Steady
This tip is even more important for long-distance shooters than it is for handgun users or backyard plinkers.
Your breathing can significantly affect barrel drift or how your body movement can impact the endpoint for your bullet.
At long distances, even being a hair off of your target can translate to huge misses.
Spend some time practicing with your long-distance weapons and master the technique of pulling the trigger when you breathe out smoothly.
Only breathe in when you aren’t about to take a shot.
5. Master a Clean Trigger Pull
Like breathing, you’ll also want to master your trigger pull technique.
Long-distance rifles may have heavier trigger pulls than average, but this doesn’t necessarily mean your accuracy will tank.
Instead, spend lots of time dry-firing your rifle to get used to the trigger pull.
Make sure you can pull the trigger smoothly and cleanly without affecting the position of your rifle.
A good trick is to balance a coin on your rifle, then dry-fire pull the trigger.
Make sure you can pull the trigger without disturbing the coin, then start using the rifle in real, live-fire scenarios.
Ultimately, mastering all of these tips will ensure better long-distance shooting accuracy and help you make the most of any rifle you decide to take on your next hunting trip.
What are the issues you face when practicing as a long distance shooter? Let us know in the comments section!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 17, 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.