Markmanship Training Review
On July 23rd and 24th, I attended Precision Rifle I & II course at North Texas Rifle Precision in Seven Points, Texas with Jay Ruby. I had the pleasure of meeting Jay in January at a match and again shooting with him as a guest on a Range Day that my nephew won at that match. After spending a little time with Josh, it didn’t take much for me to decide to arrange a training session with him. If you don’t know Josh, it will not take long after meeting him to recognize his passion for tactical shooting and teaching.
I was really looking forward to the weekend so when Jay invited me to arrive early on Friday the 22nd to hang out and look the range over; I pretty well jumped at the chance. First, I would like to overview the range it’s self. He has and is building a top notch shooting area complete with various barricades, 750, 1000, 1350 and 1780 towers. There is just about every conceivable shooting position right in one spot. Little did I fully realize just how many deviations would be derived from what I was looking at on Friday afternoon. Jay didn’t waste Friday afternoon on getting started on what I consider training. While riding around looking at the range, painting targets, etc. we started talking rifles, ballistics, fundamentals, density altitude and shooting in general. He used this time to determine my goals, expectations and to evaluate my experience with rifles and shooting in general.
Saturday morning, we started just before 8:00 and got straight to business. The first thing was review position, trigger control, breathing and the importance of driving the rifle the same way time after time to achieve accurate shot placement. After some evaluation of body position and the other fundamentals; we began to check zeros on both my .284 and LAR-8. I had bedded the rail on my .284 earlier that week and had not checked the zero – yep, rookie mistake number one! The result was that I got pretty frustrated; pretty damn quick – I had looked forward to this session for a long time and it was not starting the way I had envisioned it. First big plus for Jay, he did not say a lot he just said let’s try the other rifle for a while: I think 3 shots later with two in almost the same hole and we had zero on the .308. I mention this to point out that Jay did 3 really important things that are the traits of a “good” instructor - he took the time to 1) let me calm down, 2) be successful and 3) explain the effects of bedding the rail and recommended procedures without making me feel like a complete idiot. With very little adjustment the .284 and I were both on track.
At the 750 tower, we verified dope on the .284 to the 700 yard mark – then just when I was starting to get pretty comfortable with the whole thing then came the “now you can’t see out of your right eye” speech. What??? Yes, Jay will mix it up and keep you working all the time. Oh, and I have to brag a little, while at the 750 tower – I got the golf ball. If you want an amazing feeling, that is a small target and even more amazing this was less than 1 ½ hours after the little episode mentioned above. I really believe that Jay was as pleased with the shot as I was! Then we moved to the 1000 yard tower and finished up verifying dope on my rifle. The day was really looking up.
After lunch, we returned to the 750 tower and remember all those barricades that I describe above? Only then did I really realized just how devious this man can be. I truly believe that he made me shoot in almost every possible position off each barricade that you could imagine. Then only reason that I say “almost” is because if you give Jay a little time – he would have come up with another position. You will shoot both strong and weak side, off posts at 45 degree angles, sitting, standing, kneeling, off stair barricades, through inlet boxes, from inside an inlet box, through rabbit wire, under culverts, over culverts and even off barricades while he is stomping on the barricade – oh, I forgot to mention if you are too comfortable at the 300 yard target; Good Ole Jay just moves you out to the 750 yard one and if that gets a little too easy; out comes Mister Shot Timer! Second big plus for Jay, when he sees that you have become comfortable with a position or technique; he asked you to push the limits again! He didn’t ask me to shoot the rifle upside down; but he did mention it!!!!! It was crazy but most of all, you realize that the only thing that limits what you can accomplish with a rifle, besides the limitations of the load, is you.
My class included a night or low light course of fire. While we were waiting for the sun to go down –Jay came up with another variation. He had get my pistol and shoot the dueling target then move to the rifle – both sides of course. Then after a few rounds of that exercise, you guessed it: the “twist” – a friendly competition: Jay had his pistol; I had mine and had to duel at the dueling target (limited number of shots) the winner of the duel then had to engage the 750 yard target. And yes, I discovered why the name Captain Kick Ass – I didn’t even come close! I think I did win one but he may have thrown it.
The low light consisted of engaging the 300 yard target with 15 second of exposure to build position; light off for 60 seconds and then 3 seconds to engage the target or at least that is how it started. I was having a really good time and scoring a lot of hits when I noticed that Jay can’t count or tell time – the 3 seconds got shorter and shorter. Then the light was doing figure 8’s, up in the air and everywhere else except on the target. I don’t think we quit until about 11:00 pm end results: 1) I had a complete blast and 2) Charlie target – is dead!!! Noticed it looked funny right at the end and when Jay went to check it he brought it back in 3 pieces! One thing after training with Jay all day – you sleep really well Saturday night!
Sunday morning, we started at the 1 mile tower. First of all, that is a long, long way! We knew I was going subsonic about 200 to 160 yards short but decided to give it a shot anyway. Used the ballistic calculator to get a starting place and got ready to shoot. It took me 14 rounds to hit the 20” x 20” plate but I finally got it and was just like a little kid a Disney Land! Then I told Jay that I had run out of vertical @ 15.5 so I was holding the other 8 – that’s when he got excited. You know the funny thing is after shooting Saturday; I didn’t even think about it – I just held. Third big plus of Jay, he instills that mentality: if I just use the basics; if I use what I know and I will hit the target. The wind starting picking up so we moved to the 1350 tower; this is the new USA Ammo Pavilion and I got to help break it in. We finished off at the 1000 yard tower again running drills on hostage, center mass and 1000 yard target. Here I had to switch positions a full 90 degrees, under time and using holds – like every other time: you get comfortable; things are going to change!
This was truly an outstanding weekend, Special thanks to Mr. Rice for his hospitality. And Thanks to Jay when I left Seven Points; I was not and will never again be the same shooter that showed up that Friday. Nor will I ever look at shooting the same way; there are no limits! If you are interested in becoming a better marksman, if you’re willing to learn and put out the effort – North Texas Rifle Precision is the place to go. NTRP Shooter #68 and proud of it!