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Affordable Precision Shooting: Getting Started

Over the course of the last ten months or so, I have taken up the desire to learn the necessary skills needed to achieve the maximum distance that my rifle can effectively reach. This desire really began with having to replace the antiquated scope on my hunting rifle. This particular rifle belonged to my late grandfather and is older than me by almost 20 years.

AFFORDABLE PRECISION SHOOTING: GETTING STARTEDThe scope setup I was dealing with was a Bausch and Lomb Balvar 8A . If you’re unfamiliar with it, I won’t fault you, as it is at least 50-year-old technology. I was fortunate enough to have a good friend who had loaned me an older Tasco 3-9 X 40MM scope to use until I was able to purchase a new quality optic.

AFFORDABLE PRECISION SHOOTING: GETTING STARTEDDuring the zero process, I spent many frustrating hours with the rifle and just throwing rounds down range trying to get the shot groups consistent. I was also kicking myself for not paying better attention during my course of fire classes I had to attend multiple times a year when I was an Active Duty Air Force Security Forces member. It wasn’t until I had a few conversations with Clint Terrill from MOTUS, that I learned to recognize the main issues with my struggle.

My inconsistencies were not the fault of the rifle but a different, two-fold problem. I was using a mix of reloaded and store-bought (albeit inexpensive) ammunition and an unstable shooting platform. Once I secured some match grade ammunition and some bench rest shooting bags I headed back to the range for another session and put the advice given me into practice. I was able to finally get the grouping size down from about six inches to less than two inches at 100 yards. While this is not excellent in terms of shot groups when discussing precision, it was a significant improvement and it will work for the rifle’s intended application.

AFFORDABLE PRECISION SHOOTING- GETTING STARTEDThroughout this trial and error process, I began to appreciate the nuances of precision shooting and have decided that I need to upgrade from my current platform. My grandfather’s rifle is a 50-year-old Remington 30-06 that I would like to preserve and just use for hunting purposes. This leaves me with the need to procure a new shooting platform.

Over the next several months, I will be purchasing various components and assembling a budget precision rifle in .308 caliber. This rifle will be built with a specific budget in mind. There are two main reasons for choosing this route when purchasing my new rifle. The first is that while every one of us loves to drool over the expensive toys, much of it is beyond reach in terms of price. While it is nice to flip through the pages of a firearms magazine and see all of the latest and greatest toys, I know I am never going to be able to afford that $10,000 precision rifle that was the main feature. I, for one, also like to see things that I can afford. I am going to bring that to you. The max budget for this build is going to be set at $2,500 or less.

Additionally, this series of articles will go in-depth as I cover the shopping experience, the build of the rifle, the various choices in ammunition, as well as some other topics. This is also meant to present this as a learning tool for the MOTUS Tribe as I am a novice when it comes to precision shooting and that is how these will be presented. The most experience I have with shooting long-range is from my Air Force days where the farthest targets we engaged during our qualifications was 300 meters. However, much of that was done on a short-range with targets designed to simulate what the target would look like at 300 meters. So as I learn and gain knowledge from my experiences so will you. Check back soon as I will begin the shopping process sometime in the next couple months.

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Finally settling in Florida, Jason has spent much of his life crisscrossing the United States. Growing up in a military family and being a 10-year United States Air Force veteran himself, he has been afforded unique opportunities with which to learn to function outdoors. As a youngster he was active in the Boy Scouts where he was tested on many of the skills he puts to use in his hobbies today. Although his time in the service did not allow for him to partake in his outdoor hobbies as much as he would have liked, his current path in life has granted more outdoor freedoms. He enjoys mountain biking, road cycling, camping, hunting, fishing, or blasting through the Florida swamps on an airboat. When not on one of the local trails or roads of Central Florida he can often be found on his local gun range honing those marksmanship skills or at the reloading bench loading his next round of ammo!

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