5 Important Tips to Shoot Like a Long-Range Sniper
Sniping is all about stealth, patience, and accuracy. You want to place a clean, humane and fuss-free shot.
Your first-round shot must always hit the target. If you miss the first shot, you mustn’t delay for more than a few seconds to fire a follow-up shot. The last thing you want is to sell your position to the target.
Snipers shoot from longer-range distances than 600-yards. When you shoot past 1000-yards you shouldn’t ignore Coriolis effect, transonic stability, aerodynamic jump, and spindrift.
Other than a lot of practice, you need the appropriate gear. Your selection of a rifle, cartridge, and long-range sniper scopes can make a difference between first-round hits and misses.
So, before you hit the store, bear in mind the following five tips:
- Select the best rifle
- Use chronograph to determine the best bullet
- Shop for the right riflescope
- Create a Ballistic Data (DOPE) for Your Rifle
- Request for a custom turret
Select the Best Rifle
Choose a rifle chambered in aerodynamic calibers such as 6.5 Creedmoor, .28 Nosler, 6.5 PRC, .280 Ackley, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 PRC, and 7mm Remington Magnum to give you stability and accuracy. With these calibers, the bullet’s energy will remain adequate when its velocity goes below supersonic.
Use Chronograph to Determine the Best Bullet
Aerodynamic calibers have a high ballistic coefficient and are effective against drag. Nosler, Barnes, Norma, Hornady, Winchester, and Federal are ideal aerodynamic calibers.
Use a chronograph to determine which among these calibers fits best with your rifle. A chronograph measures the muzzle velocity. If you don’t have a chronograph, you can seek information from the ammunition box and the Internet.
Shop for the Right Riflescope
Besides, the quality of glass making up the optic is paramount. Shop for a scope with the longest adjustment range.
And the scope shouldn’t be too heavy to wear down your muscles and tendons when moving across hilly terrain. Moreover, choose a scope with a “zero-stop” so you can go back to zero after a long time of the shooting.
Create Ballistic Data (DOPE) for Your Rifle
DOPE stands for Data on Previous Engagement. To collect data on environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and air density, you need a Kestrel weather meter.
You’ll feed these data into a ballistic computer, which will process them. Use the barometric constant 29.92.
A modular databook can come in handy to store the data. Alternatively, you can print a data card and laminate it.
Other than environmental conditions, caliber, weight, ballistic coefficient, custom drag model, muzzle velocity, and type of a bullet are other data you need to feed to your ballistic calculator.
Here’s how to go about validating your data:
- Sight in your rifle at 100-yards. Shift the zero of your group by 0.75-inches to the left of the bull’s-eye.
- Enter the ballistic and environmental data into the calculator. The calculator will produce a chart that indicates the elevation minutes you need to dial on the turret to strike long-range targets.
- Print the data.
- Practice target shooting at long range, say, 600-yards. Take three-shot groups.
- Take note of the distance of the center of the groups from the bull’s-eye.
- Take another three-shot group at 600-yards. Note the distance of the group’s center from the bull’s-eye.
- Check the ballistic data on the calculator and vary velocity to match the come-up on the DOPE.
Request for a Custom Turret
Send the DOPE information to the manufacturer, requesting them to make for you a turret with yardage markings. The information should include caliber, bullet weight, muzzle velocity, zero range, zero elevation, zero temperature and validated target at 600-yards.
To conclude, you require more than skill and luck to become a successful sniper. Having the right rifle, ammunition and scope can decide whether you can hit or miss. As range increases beyond 1000-yards, environmental effects such as Coriolis, transonic stability, aerodynamic jump, and spindrift come into play. But then again, you need to deal with environmental conditions and bullet behavior inside of 1000-yards.