Shooting cans 50 yards away feels great, but nothing compares to the exhilaration of knocking down targets from a 1,000-yard vantage point. If you want to get into long-range shooting, you'll need a good grasp of the fundamentals first.
10 Long-Range Shooting Tips for Better Accuracy
1. Apply Basic Physics
Several factors affect the impact of gravity. First, consider your position. Your shots will curve depending on whether you fire them upward or downward.
Second, measure the distance. Bullets that need to cover several hundreds of yards will drop a few inches based on speed, power, and wind resistance.
2. Always Measure the Distance
Generally, shots aimed at targets upward of 300 yards classifies as long-range shooting. However, if you want to experience the true challenge of long-distance shots, try covering at least 600 yards.
3. Hone Your Wind Reading Skills
Weather conditions have little to no effect when you're shooting targets 50 to 100 yards away. However, when the mark lies several hundred yards away, external factors like wind, hail, and rain will affect your bullet's trajectory.
For example, let's say you're shooting a deer that's 1,000 yards away. If the weather feels chilly with mild to moderate winds, you can expect your bullet to skew a few millimeters every hundred yards or so.
Considering these conditions, you cannot set your target in the center of the scope's crosshairs. Ideally, you will have to adjust your aim based on the direction and strength of the wind.
Note: Stay alert because wind patterns fluctuate almost every minute.
4. Collect Rifle Data
Preparation plays a crucial role in mastering long-range shooting fundamentals. For the most part, you will find yourself analyzing trajectory data, studying weather conditions, and reading long-distance rifle reviews.
To make your research more efficient, we suggest documenting your journey. Take note of every single shot you fire, scrutinize the data behind it, then peruse the findings later on.
Pro Tip: As mentioned, shooters have different preferences. Take every opportunity to explore various rifles and assess how their features line up with your needs. Of course, do not forget to record the data.
5. Know Your Gun's Condition
Seasoned shooters know that dirty and clean barrels shoot differently. Modern rifles have advanced features making them less sensitive to contaminants, but inconsistencies might still surface when taking down faraway targets.
However, unlike with old-fashioned pieces like muzzleloaders, long-range sharpshooters cannot simply clean their barrels after every shot. In fact, some people swear by shooting dirty—firing uncleaned barrels.
Instead of frequently wiping down the barrel, note how different variables affect your accuracy. No two shooters share the exact preferences, so you shouldn't blindly believe what others say about shooting dirty versus clean barrels.
6. Calculate Bullet Speed
Handgun users often focus on stopping power. However, bullet speed contributes a more significant role to trajectory and accuracy when firing long-distance shots.
Generally, slow bullets drop quicker than swift ones, so your shots will need more power and speed to land accurately on faraway targets. Otherwise, gravity will drag your bullets.
Shooters can use standard scoped rifles on targets positioned around 500 yards away, but consider upgrading if you need to cover a thousand yards or more. In the worst-case scenario, weak bullets might not even reach the target.
7. Opt for Heavier Bullets
Shooters can make accurate predictions to account for external factors while shooting, but ultimately, no one can control the weather. At most, one can only adjust his or her shots.
If you're shooting long-distance targets in an open range with mild to moderate wind, we recommend heavy bullets for less resistance.
8. Invest in Exposed Turrets
As you cover broader distances, you'll notice that the naked eye has many limitations. Even with accurate wind readings and steady trigger control, unforeseen variables can still cause your shots to miss by half a millimeter.
For superior precision and accuracy, invest in exposed turrets. Many hobbyists assume that these upgrades are reserved for uniformed officers and military personnel, but any civilian can get one.
Turrets have varying functions per model. In most cases, however, they should help you make more detailed, specific adjustments based on external variables. Seasoned shooters can utilize these upgrades to fire 100% accurate, error-free shots.
9. Trigger Control
Even with excellent scope accuracy and wind reading skills, a shooter can still mess up their shot if they neglect trigger control. Basically, you should never pull too hard. Keep in mind that poor trigger control will skew your gun to the side as the bullet exits the barrel.
Once you master the proper way to pull the trigger, you can work on other factors, such as:
- Finger Position: The trigger should lie directly under your index finger's cuticle.
- Grip: Vary your grip based on your rifle's recoil, but you should generally avoid squeezing the grip too hard.
- Breathing: Avoid holding your breath for too long—especially if you feel nervous or anxious. Otherwise, you will end up compromising your eyesight.
Pro Tip: Do not waste your time at the range practicing your finger placement. Instead, dry fire at home.
10. Posture and Position
You can make long-range shots sitting down, standing up, lying down, or kneeling. It does not matter what stance you choose, but make sure to observe proper posture.
When in doubt, go with the position you feel most comfortable performing. Trust us, getting pins and needles in your knees while taking aim will drastically affect your accuracy and composure.
Check out these long-range shooting tips from Mossy Oak:
Honing your skills as an aspiring long-distance marksman requires diligence and patience—don't feel discouraged by the pros in your group. Remember: even seasoned military snipers started as beginners. With enough practice, you'll soon find yourself sniping moving targets 1,800 yards away.
Also, consider enrolling in long-range shooting classes. Otherwise, you'll have a hard time finding wide, public spaces where you can practice your sniping skills. Studying the fundamentals of shooting differs from applying them in real-life situations.
Have you tried long-range shooting before? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
- Shooting with Both Eyes Open | Shooting Tips and Tricks
- AR-15 Basics: Shooting The AR-15
- Why You Need To Practice One-Handed Shooting
Disclaimer: All content on this site is for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer here.