Shawn handed out a blank notebook for each student, stressing the importance of this Shooter’s Book. In it we kept notes on how our rifle’s load was performing at various distances, things we learned about wind in certain valleys at certain times of the day, etc. I have continued to use mine for tracking adjustments I make to my scope’s settings as I go west for a hunt and then return to my home state of Wisconsin. Elevation and temperature changes need to be monitored.
Shawn Carlock after successful fight with bear
Much time was spent by each shooter being sure that his rifle’s trajectory had been “validated”. This meant shooting at 1,000 yards or so in good conditions in order to establish an accurate trajectory profile. For example, I determined that I needed to assume a little lower velocity in order for my “Shooter” ballistics program to accurately predict vertical MOA adjustments for first-round hits. I had always done that -- sort of -- but now came away with a more organized approach to the principle.
This class was the beginner/advanced combo class. Shawn had sold out his classes early in the year so fast he decided to add one more set of dates. Since it was added later in the year he ended up with just three of us this time. All were somewhat advanced in our experience so less time was spent for us on shooter technique and much more on ballistics, spotter/shooter team technique and the topic of most interest to me – “Doping The Wind”.
I have always thought that “the wind is not my friend” in long range hunting and shooting. It certainly is the main limiting factor in determining the longest possible distance for a successful and ethical big game shot. What I learned at Shawn’s Long Range Shooting Class has taken me to one more level of ability in wind calling.
Wind call and shooter/spotter team practice
We were “roughing” it with wonderful chef prepared meals utilizing a Dutch oven. Also included were wonderful from-scratch brownies, steak, pork and noon-time sandwiches. Clint Eastwood, shoot-em-up movies were watched in the evening on a 50 inch TV while sitting near the bonfire. After the meal we also had the opportunity to do a little more shooting, this time at ranges up to 2,500 yards. Bob had brought his custom designed shooting bench which enabled us to elevate the bench surface upward for these super long shots.
The 50 inch TV was also used with a high definition camera to watch in real time the bullets’ impact up the mountain right there in camp. The flight time of the bullets out to 2,500 yards was so long that at one point Shawn was able to pull the trigger, get off the bench and make it back behind the TV in time to see his bullet impact up on the mountain. Pretty darn cool!
Shawn spotting his own 1.5 mile hits on 50 inch TV