Reaching out to 1000+ yards for the first time
Up until writing this article, I never shot anything beyond 250 yards – and the delayed ring of steel at 250 yards always brings a smile to my face. However, last year I decided I wanted to reach out beyond that and set a goal to learn to shoot out to 1000 yards. As part of that process, I decided to buy a rifle and accessories specifically for that – because why not.
I did some research and found a shooting range with a 1000 yard rifle range (Best of the West Shooting Sports). With that out the way, I started on the rifle.
I remember hearing an in-law with a bunch more shooting experience than me raving about how cool the .338 Lapua Magnum was when I first got into shooting sports. Of course, I googled it and learned about its use by military snipers and how it’s referred to as the “mini 50-cal” – and that was enough for my easy to influence mind to settle on the round. What I didn’t learn until after purchasing the a rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum was that it’s cost prohibitive to shoot it frequently (or in large quantities). The street price for a 20-count box of match grade .338 Lapua ammo is about $100.00 USD. Yep, that’s right, that works out to about $5.00 per trigger pull.
Here is what the the setup looked like after all was said and done:
- Savage Arms 110 FCP HS Precision rifle
- Athlon Cronus BTR 4.5-29×56 APRS FFP IR MIL scope
- Vortex Precision Matched Rings
- Harris Bipod (HBRS)
- Tourbon cheek rest
- Pelican V800 Vault case
- Hornady 338 Lapua Magnum 285 gr ELD-Match ammunition
- Shooter Ballistics Calculator (iOS app)
For the most part, I am very happy with the set up… with the exception of the cheek rest. I’m considering getting a Bradley Cheek Rest sometime in the near future, but I’m still not 100% certain. I’m open to suggestions on that.
Anyway, it took several months of saving and waiting for orders to arrive. Just as the rifle was ready to take to the range, I learned the 1000-yard rifle line was shutdown at the range I selected. I could rant a bit about why it was temporarily shutdown… indefinitely. But I will save that rant for another post.
I waited for about 6 months until I decided to find another place to shoot.
Good news is that it’s not hard a place to shoot thanks to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s. They have a website aptly named WhereToShoot.com (they have an iOS and Android app as well but I haven’t tried them) that can help you find a near by shooting range quickly (although the map on the site doesn’t always refresh after applying filters on my web browser, the list of ranges seems to work well enough). The bad news is ranges with 1000+ yard rifle lines lack in abundance. I did end up finding a place, but it took a while – and planning around a 3ish-hour drive there and back.
In the end, I accomplished my goal. I shot several five-dollar bills at steel targets placed at 305, 505, 565, 700, 765, 865, and 1060 – and it felt great. I also had a little (more like a ton) help from Paul Butler at Evolved Ballistics (thanks Paul). I highly recommend checking them out if you are interested in learning to shoot at long distances (and no I don’t get any kick backs from them).
I want to do it again… but I need to save money for more ammo or reloading equipment. Given the cost of the ammo, reloading is probably a better idea. Not that I need an excuse or anything to learn about reloading. But either way, it will be a hot minute before I do this again.