Scott Austin – Letter of Introduction
I’m guessing if you’ve picked this book up, like me you get extreme satisfaction out of ringing steel, powdering rocks or punching tiny holes in targets at crazy distances. Maybe you’re just starting out, but making those connections at long range seems to be all-elusive.
If you were to ask me what drives me in this genre of the shooting sports I’m not even sure I could fully explain it. One day’s explanation might be different than another’s. Here’s a list of reasons that come to mind:
– The sheer amazement that I was able to send an object (bullet) in flight to connect with another object (fixed target) at extreme distance. I think our God-given desire to witness physics in action has a mesmerizing effect on all of us, whether it be gymnastics (strength & grace), motorsports (speed & maneuverability), planes and rockets (jet propulsion & aerodynamics) or performing our own physics experiment while making “environmental impact statements” of our own with gunpowder and lead.
– Good old-fashioned bragging rights. Yes, pride can definitely be a motivator, especially if you shoot competitively. Then you get schooled by someone who’s just starting out in long range shooting (happened to me with one of our new instructors the other day) and you realize that you’re not quite the “fancy pants” you thought you were. Back to perfecting that reload recipe. It couldn’t be the shooter!
– Reloading prowess. From an avid (honestly, totally geeked-out) reloader’s perspective, I like to see my cartridge recipes function at their highest levels. When my tediously crafted reloads shoot accurately and consistently it gives me the same fulfillment as taking a very difficult, end-of-semester test and getting a great grade on it (with star stickers to boot), knowing that my time and effort was well spent.
– Community. I get incredible joy out of the people I meet in this sport. Long range shooting runs the gamut from old to young. It’s easy on us “low speed/high drag” types and challenging to the most physically fit PRS groupie. Most of us have a life outside of the sport and the variety and backgrounds of the people I meet is extensive. This is one aspect to the “spice of life”. It’s a time consuming pursuit which tends to build lasting relationships. Some of my best friends are avid long range shooting nuts like me. I’m convinced quality time can’t be had until you have quantity time. It just so happens this sport provides both.
We have a gentleman who shows up at our range with his walker on a weekly basis who’s in his late 80’s, if I’m not mistaken, and he will outshoot most people who will ever grace our range steps. Been-there-done-that kind of guy.
Sometimes while instructing our guests on the 600 yard plate, this gentleman will be 10 benches away from us, dinging away at that same plate, just to show us who’s boss. He’ll even look at me (with a twinkle in his eye) across the range, almost bidding me to just try and outshoot him. I don’t dare!
– It’s technology rich – or not. You choose! I am a technogeek, always enamored with the latest/greatest gadget out there, hoping it will give me an edge over Shepard.
Well guess what? He generally outshoots me, “out wind reads” me, etc., but that latest “range-finding-particle-reading-DOPE-producing-atmospheric-altering-BC-defying” MagLapuaSpeedR43 has got to be the bomb!
If you’re into gadgets like me, this is a great sport for you. If not, it still is, you’ve just got to put more time and effort into it which almost always makes for a better shooter. I’ve seen guys show up with the most basic equipment and shoot “lights out” at amazing distances.
– Discipline. I have a friend who spends a good bit of time at the range simply working on his physical shooting skills (foundation/platform, cheek weld, sight alignment, trigger control, follow-through, breathing, grip etc.). He rarely shoots further than 200 yards, but the discipline he practices to get tiny, consistent groups is mind-boggling. He is perfecting his craft.
I challenge you to come up with why long range shooting thrills you. Before you continue reading, finish the statement that applies to you: “I love long range shooting because…” or “I want to get into long range shooting because…” ___________.
This pursuit is incredibly multifaceted. Your answer(s) can ultimately help you refine your hobby (budget, equipment, location(s) to shoot, friends/resources with certain skills to pursue, competitions to sign up for, books/websites to research, etc.) and put you on the fast-track of long range success.
A number of years ago Nissan had an ad where an elderly gentleman says “Any car can get you where you need to go, a special car gets you there with a smile on your face.” He then goes on to say, “Life is a journey, enjoy the ride.”
Our hope is that the pages before you cut through the fluff of long range shooting and get you on target, but with a smile on your face as you enjoy the ride. We truly love shooting and want to share the passion, tips, tricks and shortcuts that we have gleaned over the years.
We’re not sponsored by anyone and that is on purpose. We have no allegiance to any one product or manufacturer but you, our fellow shooter. Because of this, we will share what works for us.
“I look at shooting like this: I have a toolbox made up of tools – intellectual knowledge, skills and fundamentals that work best for me. You too have a toolbox. If I give you a tool in this book that works, stick it in your toolbox. It’s yours. If it doesn’t work, toss it. It’s that simple.” -Scott Austin
This sport is constantly evolving. What works best on one day may not be the best for tomorrow. I’m sure 10 years from now we’ll look back and say “Wow, I can’t believe we suggested that!”
Having been involved with shooting now for the last 46’ish years, passions for different genres of the sport have come and gone. Whether it’s .22 plinking, shotgun (trap & skeet), tactical defensive shooting/competition, no category has given me more thrill than the long range pursuit. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve mastered it, move your target a little further.
Recently I heard of someone hitting a target at 6,000 yards. Wow! We have not done that, even prone! Who are we to offer advice?
Some of the best counsel I ever received early on as an instructor was “Just pretend you’re taking your best friend out for an afternoon of shooting.” I can do that. That keeps the passion fresh and uncluttered.
My hope is that this book only fuels your fire to continue learning as you keep moving that plate. -Scott Austin
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