There is nothing more frustrating or perplexing than not being able to “get on
target” in a Long Range match. Assuming that you have already read “Sight
Settings for a Long Range Match” listed under the “Equipment” tab
of this web site, you should have some idea as to the Minutes of Angle (or
sometimes referred to as Points) that you will have to use for your 800, 900 and
1,000 yard settings.
Remember, one (1) M.O.A. (minute of angle) is 1” @ 100 yards, 8” @ 800 yards, 9”
@ 900 yards and 10” @ 1,000 yards. The same values apply to windage adjustments
as well as to elevation settings.
Finding The Target With Your Shots
Now for example, let’s say you are shooting at target number “10”
at the 1,000 yard line. You fire and the target does not go down. You call for
the pits to “mark target 10”. Your target goes down and comes back up with a
round orange indicator at the top center of the target frame indicating…a
Miss. But your target puller does not have a clue as to where the bullet
landed, indicated by the lack of a black Shot Hole spotter not being present
anywhere on the target frame.
Look For Signs Of Bullet Impact
if a Shot Hole spotter is not visible anywhere on the target frame, it means that the
person in the pits has no idea where your bullet landed. Oftentimes, the shot will have
either gone high or to the left or right of the target.
If the bullet’s impact was a miss low, hopefully two things would be apparent.
Sand or dirt in front of the pits would have been thrown into the pit area from
your bullet’s impact being short of reaching the target. Hopefully, your target puller
would have placed a black Shot Hole spotter in the bottom of the target in
addition to the orange indicator hanging from the top middle of the target —
indicating a miss low. If the range where you are shooting has grass or weeds
growing in front of the pits, chances are good that the bullet’s impact will not
be evident to your spotter.
Assuming that the target puller can determine if the errant shot went left or
right, high, or low, he would place a shot hole spotter in the appropriate
position on the target in addition to the orange indicator in the top center
If All Else Fails
At this point, in the example given above, you basically have no idea where your shots
are hitting. If that were the case, I would recommend that you bring your rear sight
down 10 M.O.A. (or 10 minutes of angle).
This adjustment (10 M.O.A. down) would bring your point of impact down
approximately 100” at 1,000 yards, and your next shot should either be somewhere
on the target (if you were shooting too high) or into the dirt in front of the
target (if you were shooting too low, or to one side or the other of the target).
Shooting On Your Neighbor’s Target
If this scenario were not the case and you fired again, and the target next to you
came down before the neighboring shooter had fired, you would now have a pretty good idea
that it was your bullet that hit his target. This would be the right time to make the necessary M.O.A. windage adjustments to your sights to move you back on to your target.
Your Spotter’s Input Is Important
Your spotter should be watching for bullet impacts that may have been missed by
the target puller. The input from your spotter is usually your most reliable
source of feedback.
A Final Word of Advice
Be sure that all of your cases are loaded with bullets from the same mould, and
the same type of
powder, wad, and primer, before attending a Long Range Match. Several times I
have seen shooters try to use mixed loads with poor results.
Do your load testing before the match, weeks before the match if possible. Keep
in mind that a wind from 9 o’clock blowing 1 mph will push your bullet 15”
off-course at 1,000 yards. A ten (10) mph wind from 9 o’clock will move your
bullet 150” off-course at 1,000 yards.
Head winds (blowing from 12 o’clock) will drive the bullet down and cause it to
impact low, while a tail wind (blowing from 6 o’clock) will actually lift your
bullet and cause it to impact high.
By George Liotta
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