40 Round Perfect PRS Practice
By Jim See
You must ask yourself, am I practicing for performance or am I just out here burning powder? Think about that for a minute... are you getting the best return on your practice investment? Well this article is going to give you some well-deserved advice on getting the most out of the fewest rounds.
I rarely shoot 100 yard groups, ever... About the only time I fire at 100 yards is after loading a new batch of ammo (300-400 rounds) and that is to confirm no zero shifts. I rarely care if they are 1/2" or all in the same hole. 3 shots and I will move on to important work.
I'll test the consistency of my loads at 500 yards. If 5-10 shot groups are under 2.5" under good shooting conditions, i.e., low winds and little to no mirage, then I am satisfied. I once shot my 6.5 Creedmoor that had 3000 rounds on it with the intent that the barrel was probably ready for retirement, well after 7 rounds went into 1.5 inches and 5 of them were less than 3/4"@ 500, I ran the barrel in another 2 matches.
We all like hitting long range targets shooting prone. This is an area I excel at and it gives me a cushion on the competition, but don't put too much emphasis on your prone game if you are suffering in positional work and barricades. Practice for your next match. If you’re heading to K&M or the CORE shooting center you need to hit the barricades hard. Likewise, if you’re headed to Oklahoma or Nebraska, be ready for a long range field match. The internet is a great source of match intel. Search out the past matches and see what videos or pictures reveal about the COF.
Some of Jim's ideas could be adapted for use in a hunter's shooting practice.
So what do I do to sharpen my skills? Well, you might be surprised; I conduct my practice on a 500 yard range. If you only have 200 yards, don't use that as an excuse. 2" or 3" shoot and sees at 100 yards make great barricade targets. Adapt and overcome, that's the name of the game, so think about that next time you procrastinate about your short practice range. Below is a list of drills I do at 90% of my practice sessions. I would much rather conduct this formatted practice than to just go out and burn up 100 rounds without a plan of attack.
Match Skills, Practice processes: (40 rounds)
Approach barricade, build a solid position, and fire 10 rounds at a 2-3 moa target from different positions on barricade. DO NOT time yourself. Once you can produce consistent hits, start timing yourself at 2 minutes. Your goal is to build a solid position first, then engage your targets. Rushing through this program initially won't allow you to realize how stable you can be when you take your time. As you master the barricade, put a clock on it. 10rnds
Prone accuracy training
If you feel like you are anticipating each shot with an involuntary reaction, dry fire from prone. Process: set up and aim on target using a stiff/hard rear bag, close your eyes for 3 seconds, dry fire, then open your eyes. Your crosshair should still be on a 1 moa target.
Live fire practice on 200-400 yard targets that are 1 moa and smaller, I like ¾ moa. The shorter range takes some of the wind reading out of the equation but forces you to aim small and follow through each shot. Concentrate on a smooth trigger pull. Proper bag and cheek pressure will maintain your aim. This is where you work on your fundamentals of marksmanship. On my range, this drill is incorporated on a KYL rack. That way I shoot the bigger targets first to get a good wind call, and finish up with my last 6 shots on the smallest target. 10rnds
5 targets on a rack, start prone mag in bolt back, engage each target with one shot each in 20 seconds, 1.5 moa target size. 5rnds
Practice speed in conjunction with a troop line shot near too far and back. 3 targets 2 moa, 5 shots in 30 seconds, engage; near, middle, far, middle, near, you will use holdovers. 5rnds
Both these drills will help you learn to shoot without thinking about the fundamentals: trigger squeeze, cheek and shoulder pressure, bolt manipulation, breathing, should become second nature. If you have not mastered these fundamentals you will struggle with these drills.
First stage nervousness. This is a common problem. To help eliminate it, use your practice trips as a real match start. What I mean is rather than do your normal routine of shooting dope or zero, have a buddy run you through a stage; cold bore/cold shooter under time constraints. That’s what happens in a match so why would you not practice it? 10 rnds
The art of building an internal clock in your physical system is totally an act of routine. If you use matches to train for this it will take you years, or you will never obtain the skill. If you practice and set a clock for every mock stage, you will speed up the process, it took me 2 years to develop my internal stopwatch.
Recognizing your weakness:
This might be a hard fact to accept but when you do, you can work with your limitations. What some of us call gaming is actually adapting a system that works for you, and seems unorthodox to others. Think about the process and come up with innovative ways to approach new barricades.
I hope this 40 round practice session helps you with your shooting. Try it once a week for 8 weeks and I guarantee you will see positive results.
Jim See currently competes as a Pro in the Precision Rifle Series, having finished the last 4 seasons ranked in the top 15. Jim has worked in the precision bolt action rifle industry since 2007 as owner of Center Shot Rifles, Quality Manager at Surgeon Rifles action division, and currently operates “Elite Accuracy” Training and Gunsmithing Business in Decorah, Iowa.