What is holding you back from competitive shooting?

Sevens

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
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212
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Dallas, TX
A lack of ranges past 100 yards, and this annoying "work" thing that seems to continually interrupt my life. What time I can spend, particularly at longer distances I use only my hunting rifle and the loads that i hunt with.
This!

I really do want to do some NRL hunter matches, but none are close and I really don't have the skillset to shoot some of those long targets. When I do get the opportunity to shoot past 100 yards, I like to maximize that practice with the rifle I'll be shooting live target with as hunting is priority 1 for me.
 

cliffy109

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2022
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21
Funny this should come up right now. I've spent the last several months exploring long range shooting and my plan is to get my rifle set up so it is possible, follow up with a training class and then find a match to test my gear, training and skills.

I have tried hard not to fall into the rabbit hole of equipping for a match. I am trying to be a well rounded rifleman, not the most effective long range shooter. My rifle weighs 9 pounds including scope, bipod, sling and suppressor and I feel that I've selected all of this correctly for a general purpose rifle without slipping into specialization.

I worry about a tripod. Am I just wasting time and money on a match if I don't have a $1200 tripod? Is a $200 tripod just pissing money away? It honestly sounds like it is. I also have heard that borrowing one is an option so maybe this isn't such a big deal for my first match or two.

Here's the more concrete problems:

1. Very few places to train. Within 2 hours of me, I don't think there is a single range open to the public that allows for true long range shooting. I have access to a farm where I can set up 350 yards and might be able to use a bulldozer to stretch that to 450 but that's it.

2. Lack of matches near me. I'm in Central VA and I know about Pigg River but it looks like those are PRS only which really doesn't sound appealing. Even then, they are 3 hours from me and have very few matches on the calendar. There are no NRL Hunter matches within a 1 day drive, except for a single 1 day match in TN and they don't have the date listed yet. There is a 2 day match at Arena but it is early Feb and I'm not sure I'll be able to get a long range class under my belt before that one. Shooting a match without having actual DOPE and a bit of training seems wasteful.

I want to do this. I'm going to do it, but there are hurdles. I do have a plan for training and that is the guys at Bang Steel in Wytheville VA. From their web site, podcast and the articles they have written, they look like a good match for what I'm trying to do. NRL Hunter seems like a good match as well but wish they did more East of the Mississippi. The Guardian matches also seem promising and I'll see if their 2023 schedule comes this direction.
 

FLS

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
521
I shoot local tactical PRS style matches. I enjoy a one day match, the PRS match fees have gotten too high, it’s become a gear race and I just don’t enjoy two day matches anymore. The biggest obstacle is cost, second is time, third is fear of failure. I saw the same thing happen to 3 gun. it gets popular, more expensive, and the average guy/ gal finally says **** it I’m out. I see this happening with PRS.
I think competitive shooting is the best thing a shooter can do to improve their skill set. It will expose any weakness quickly. Getting in a stable position, getting an accurate range, and adjusting to changing environmental conditions are skills you will need to master if you want to be competitive.
The idea that real killers don’t compete is stupid and wrong.
 

wind gypsy

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Dec 30, 2014
Messages
5,987
What I've learned from this thread is how spoiled I am where I live. I have two ranges to go to that I can easily shoot anywhere from 100 yards out to 2000 yards 15-20 minutes from my house.

Colorado folks have it good with range options. Even the public operated one I went to last year was great compared to what i've seen in much of the country.
 

svivian

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Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
1,881
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Colorado
Colorado folks have it good with range options. Even the public operated one I went to last year was great compared to what i've seen in much of the country.
The new one they added out here is state of the art. So good i actually bought an annual membership for it.
 

Stinky Coyote

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Joined
Mar 25, 2013
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Alberta
I’m a big believer in the idea that no one rises to the occasion in moments of stress. Everyone falls to their level of training.

I don’t have any desire to enter matches, but you can compete with your friends and get a lot out of it. Set a timer and have a series of shots at varying distances and different shooting positions. Put some
money on it so you have something to gain/lose.

Agreed. What most hunters are doing is not training though. Shooting your rifle at the bench or prone is not training, and that’s what most guys, including myself up until a few years ago, do.

Yes. Field stress on game stress is very different than competing against people stress. We all know the range pro's who when presented with a deer in front of them can't hit the broadside of the barn, empty their gun without touching the trigger, drop the magazine, completely sh1t their pants etc. etc.

And you can also just compete with yourself, your own gongs, your own pack, there is nothing more humbling or honest about that right there. You will learn, adapt, grow and test against the most important person in the game...yourself. And then when your range pro (and hunting pro) buddy calls you out afield for a single 'trophy of a lifetime opportunity' and you lay down and get it into the imaginary kill zone really quick as the pressure is almost 99% the 'trophy of lifetime' 1% prove to your buddy (again) that you're prepared for the real deal...and you run right with your pal on accuracy but are much quicker to shot with zero commentary or help(100% solo effort)....you know you prepared the right way for hunting when. ;)

You will learn to set your equipment simplest way possible to achieve your shooting distance goals, your practice levels adequate to maintain acceptable accuracy levels to those distances/goals ensured no fat, no complications, no extra noise to get in the way for 'the real deal'.

Guys laughed at me bringing up say a Jim Shockey or Chuck Adams, or Archie Nesbit or Tim Wells etc...who prioritizes the hunting while a couple of them, specifically Jim...who's dealing with the added pressure of a camera over his shoulder (his camera) and his money on the line (big money for trips/show)...not sure a competition would be anywhere near that pressure really but I digress and that sumbitch got it done...a ton.

Also you know who tried to bring up prove top killers are not also top competition shooters?...well, it's pretty obvious, not sure that's necessary, have yet to read about an all star competitive shooter that equals other other top dawg range stars AND has walls of animals to match those shelves of trophies that both the top dawg legend killers have. You sort of have to dedicate to one or the other to get to the top so there's that bit of obviousness. I've been reading material, books, mags, forums, studying ballistics, hunting obsessed for many decades and you see one or the other, and every now and then you'll see some that do at least respectably at both but they simple can't top at either as you need to go all in to do so.....but that's it. So whatever, just have to take the butt hurt sometimes. It is what it is.

Yup I don't have competition experience as the essence of this topic is about, but I do compete, could care less about beating people at this stuff, yet when called out by buds who do both on field situations...I run right with them....when I go to the range with them I do respectable but nothing special...so what does that say? Hey, apparently some here have a pressing need to educate a lot of people quickly on how to get in the game...sure, ok then, but please staaaap with the this is 'be all end all' only way to get good at this bs. Giving way too many folks the wrong ideas about what it takes to be an effective long range hunter.

And the other guys who did go all haywire into the competition confirmed it...shot his face off against others and didn't put any animals on the wall OR in the freezer. So ya, it takes away from the real deal. It will prepare you and fill you with lots of noise you're going to need to strip out of for the real deal. Some can identify all that and point it out (hi). While others seem hell bent on promoting something that will keep selling tons of gear and running a bunch of people's wallets thin and you can't be a bad ass afield unless you prove yourself in competition...lmfao, ok. There seems to be a lack of guys on this particular hunting forum that run down a far simpler more 'hunting only' focused approach to all this gear and prep. Just trying to save the day here is all and bring some perspective to all this.

Also, I'll go back and catch up on all the posts since mine and see if there's been some corroboration or further discussion to the psychologies at play in this competition vs hunting stuff and how we aren't all wired the same to produce your best system for 'hunting'. I think I skimmed a few confirmations that others have zero desire to compete against others but love shooting so that's good but for those insistent on ramming this competition stuff as the holy grail way to fly...maybe just keep that in mind that while you may be competitive against other people in any game or way possible and that drives you to excel.....not everyone is like that, maybe try to assess that out about people before you go all in on them lol. It's pretty amazing what you can do with a 7 lb all up factory rifle that's sub-moa with factory ammo and a 3-9x scope, a rangefinder, a gong, and some very hunt focused prep and study. Few here seems to wanna acknowledge just how simple you can go in this game. There are practical limits and rules that apply to majority as soon as it's 'hunting' and as soon as that's acknowledged a whole shat ton of the gear/methods that keeps coming up on here is no longer necessary and just extra noise that more likely to be in the way than helpful.
 

nobody

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
912
Don’t know how I’ve missed this for the last while, but I’ll throw my thoughts/reasons into the mix.

I’ve always been intrigued by matches, especially the NRL hunter stuff. But I’ve not entered or participated out of legitimate fear and worry that I’ll be judged or looked down upon or whatever. I’m really self conscious about my skills (or lack thereof) and lack of knowledge, and worry I’ll stick out like a sore thumb. I’ve done LOTS of shooting out to about 800 yards recreationally around home, but it’s always been on my own terms. I’m afraid I’ll tank and people will say things.

But after some experiences this fall and coming to the realization that no matter how much money I spend to hunt out of state, there’s always way more opportunities to travel and see stuff if I’m willing to get into competitions. That, and I finally realized that as much as I enjoy hunting, I really LOVE shooting a ton.

So, as terrified as I am, I’m patiently waiting for registration to open for the NRL Hunter match to open in Vernal and I’m going to enter the skills division. I’ll be running a factory Tikka T3X CTR in 6.5 creedmoor, factory ammo, an inexpensive tripod, my hunting optics, and I can’t freaking wait!

That said, I wish these organizations would put out some detailed videos with FAQ’s and explanations of what someone can expect in a match. There are videos out there from random YouTube channels, like from Mike and Kili Lilly, but I wish the org’s would put some out themselves.
 

Stinky Coyote

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
635
Location
Alberta
Funny this should come up right now. I've spent the last several months exploring long range shooting and my plan is to get my rifle set up so it is possible, follow up with a training class and then find a match to test my gear, training and skills.

I have tried hard not to fall into the rabbit hole of equipping for a match. I am trying to be a well rounded rifleman, not the most effective long range shooter. My rifle weighs 9 pounds including scope, bipod, sling and suppressor and I feel that I've selected all of this correctly for a general purpose rifle without slipping into specialization.

I worry about a tripod. Am I just wasting time and money on a match if I don't have a $1200 tripod? Is a $200 tripod just pissing money away? It honestly sounds like it is. I also have heard that borrowing one is an option so maybe this isn't such a big deal for my first match or two.

Here's the more concrete problems:

1. Very few places to train. Within 2 hours of me, I don't think there is a single range open to the public that allows for true long range shooting. I have access to a farm where I can set up 350 yards and might be able to use a bulldozer to stretch that to 450 but that's it.

2. Lack of matches near me. I'm in Central VA and I know about Pigg River but it looks like those are PRS only which really doesn't sound appealing. Even then, they are 3 hours from me and have very few matches on the calendar. There are no NRL Hunter matches within a 1 day drive, except for a single 1 day match in TN and they don't have the date listed yet. There is a 2 day match at Arena but it is early Feb and I'm not sure I'll be able to get a long range class under my belt before that one. Shooting a match without having actual DOPE and a bit of training seems wasteful.

I want to do this. I'm going to do it, but there are hurdles. I do have a plan for training and that is the guys at Bang Steel in Wytheville VA. From their web site, podcast and the articles they have written, they look like a good match for what I'm trying to do. NRL Hunter seems like a good match as well but wish they did more East of the Mississippi. The Guardian matches also seem promising and I'll see if their 2023 schedule comes this direction.
Sounds like you've dug deep into this and well on you're way to get the proper perspectives and set up for your goals. Which are?...Hunting? If so....Maybe the more important questions for you now are...what's your typical 3 shot group accuracy in field conditions? Is your first shot (cold bore, cold body) always on the mark? That you can then apply to how far you may be shooting at critters. Are you closer to moa than not for majority? Moa takes guys to about 600 yards which coincidentally lands around that 3/4 second time of flight where both rifle and archery guys seem to have on game distance limits on but don't really corroborate that back to time of flight on animals and they may be invisible barriers but barriers worth paying attention to. Confirmed even by Form here very few consistent killers beyond 600 out there, I'm sure plenty good at killing steel after some sighters and with pals giving them directions lol...so ask as many questions as to why that is. I think I've given you the two/three best indicators to start with...the amount of competition you do may not help you go any further, unless you're consistent half minute or less, always on mark 1st shot cold, and really really extra on your wind and animal reading calls as you stretch into the 1+ second tof and 20' elevation arcs and beyond. Practical limits apply to more of us than not when it comes to game, although gear can go well beyond it without risk on target.

You start to do some reality checking on your limitations to the say the 'average limitations' of even most 'long range hunters' and then maybe you don't need to really shoot that much further than 350 in prep?...your moa group size won't be any different at 550 etc. so I could definitely get by with only 350 yard practice while still being set up to go realistic 600 afield. The more you lay over your pack, and or, your Harris 9-13 swivel and throw some 3 shot groups on your gong or board target with the large 200 yard targets stapled to it the better (gongs/spray paint save on walking and spotting scope needs), run two gongs if you can, zero and long as you can up to 75% of expected limits, 350 laying on some old coveralls that were in the back of the truck, the more you'll be ready to kill shizzo than whatever the fack you're gonna do at some match worrying about if a $1200 bipod will affect your score or fit in the fashion game? You need zero approval from anyone but yourself about what you'll be capable of out there.
 

Formidilosus

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Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
4,591
Yes. Field stress on game stress is very different than competing against people stress. We all know the range pro's who when presented with a deer in front of them can't hit the broadside of the barn, empty their gun without touching the trigger, drop the magazine, completely sh1t their pants etc. etc.

There are practical limits and rules that apply to majority as soon as it's 'hunting' and as soon as that's acknowledged a whole shat ton of the gear/methods that keeps coming up on here is no longer necessary and just extra noise that more likely to be in the way than helpful. (Snip)


Stinky Coyote, are you familiar with the Dunning-Kruger Effect?
 

Stinky Coyote

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Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
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Alberta
How do you know this to be true?
Re; Levi Morgan vs the 3 legends...it just is, he spent too much time circle jerking around the 3d circut while the other guys were out there killing after doing what was minimally necessary to be proficient with the gear of the time. He simply could not make up the time. The books will show it (archie/chuck). As for Tim, well his shit on film, no one alive can touch him as a killer with stick and string. There may only be one like him.
Actually, yes. I see between 30-50 big game animals a year taken, almost all by those same people.
You are the one living in the non-realistic world, no one seems to know anyone or a select group of hero's like you and your team. You have a pressing need to speak common languages among multiple people and teaching newbs quickly. That's not normal for hunters or hunting. Why not just caveat that more often. Your needs or recommendations don't necessarily crossover 100.
And you know this because of what experience competing?
Just against my fluent range pro/hunting pro pal. One of us enjoys both and excels pretty well at both also, and from what I've seen he is a rare combo but he's had some issues afield caused by the target gear and set up, it's cost him, he's told me and I've witnessed as well. And I've competed against him..In the field...very successfully, but at the range he shoots smaller groups.
Well I’m killing multiples of hundreds of game animals, and seeing thousands killed by others, I would say that second round corrections are very important and nearly as important of a skill as first round hits past 300’ish yards. Past 500’ish second round corrections done quickly is more important that first round hit ability. Or at least that is what has shown up in those animals killed.
Bold statement on a forum lol, I dig it, as they say, you can't kill anything if you don't shoot at it, lmao. Real ones know and closers close. Not sure what we're arguing on this point but I have a much stronger stance and personal limitation on 1st round hits, cold bore, cold body, 1st shot in a field situation with the gear you'd normally have is how I prepare for hunting. Not really down with sending sighters on animals lol but hey if you're a closer you'll get'r'done. Our gear far exceeds our own typical limitations and also the typical field limitations on game that are present. The juice isn't worth the squeeze trying to chase down the next level of performance nodes you'll likely never apply afield on game. Wasting your time competing against other people for nothing useable in hunting, 12" squares, 600-1000 yards etc.
How do you know this? I don’t generally miss- I’ve missed twice in the last 60-70 animals; but I people do miss and in over 90% of cases they get a second shot. For someone that is trained correctly, they will spot their own impact/miss, correct and send another round as fast or faster than a spotter could could call it.
Yes, and we've confirmed here in this forum that our brains are wired spatially and visually. So doing the math with reticle, measuring miss, then applying correction to now moving animal is training in the wrong direction...works on steel targets that don't walk or run away when the shooting starts lol. But on animal we will have already measured the miss and applied the hold without anything other than the main crosshair needed because that's how our brains are wired. Hang on mr. sheep, I didn't mean that one, hold still a second so I can re-measure and try that again lol. Are you really using reticle hold points on the follow ups? Man if you are then you're bypassing the brain's visual/spatial wiring and complicating things. When I used wind hold reticles the last thing I used on follow up was those hold points, brain took over and just ran on auto pilot. So eventually went away from the useless noise.
I never said that it’s “marginal if not detrimental to the killers focus” beyond 600. Most people, regardless of equipment, do not have enough knowledge, skill, or ability to be taking shots on animals past 450’ish yards in broken terrain- that’s factually true. That has nothing to with what is the best “setup, gear and practice”. That can only be determined by shooting and tracking performance differences in hit rates and time to hit between techniques in large data sets…. Generally called competition.
Could not agree more with the first half of that. So what thee fack are we talking about here? We are talking about the typical human limitations, cold bore first shot with actual gear hauled afield and typical field accuracy capabilities, typical game/field limitations. So you are essentially agreeing with pretty much everything I'm saying...but then you say you should use gear and methods designed for varying needs unrelated to hunting? You can track hit rates, time to shot, field accuracy, cold bore cold body readiness with a 7 lb, 3-9x, rangefinder, backpack and be deadly af within the ranges here and much faster than with all the stuff you're talking about. If you didn't have a pressing need to educate countless newbs and speak a common language to groups in competitions then I don't think you'd be shooting what you're shooting. Just say so, be real about you live in a completely different world somehow than the majority of hunters. There's something I learned early in my hunting career, more practice isn't better, less of the right practice is best. Same goes for gear, less of the right stuff is more.
Actually that’s not we’ll known at all. That is an excuse that people who don’t perform when measured objectively use- “ya, well if it was real, I would have totally dominated”. What had proven out repeatedly in every single study and research project measuring stress and ability is that there is no “magic” ability to perform above someone’s baseline under stress. In other words- if you can’t do it consistently on a range, you can not do it consistently “for real”.
Ya I'm down with that. Remembering hunting. Sub-moa to moa gets er done. Yup my bud can shoot half minute or less all day with his custom everything and out does me at the range on group sizes, but I'm there all day long with my 3/4 moa average 3 shot groups with my factory stuff. And really there in the field, super fast. So this is where the accuracy obsessed target guys get lost all the time. Chasing groups and ultimate accuracy on the range spending 90% more time chasing less than 1% more effectiveness for hunting proficiency and needs.
The highlighted part is so laughably false, it boggles the mind as the information is not hard to find. Point in fact, historically the best units in war (read most effective) very often had high levels of competitive background, or outright demanded their members to compete. All of the data collected over the last decade since it has been really measured and looked at has found a direct correlation between someone’s on demand shooting skills, and their performance under stress. So much so that an entire branch of the US armed forces has completely rewritten their marksmanship doctrine.
War has fack all to do with this. You're not protecting your nation. The animals aren't shooting back, how much and what kind of stress should you train for? Systems that need to be cross trained readily and quickly to many people and triple and quadruple the distances and pressures than hunting or competitive shooting. Chasing unrealistic and unrelated goals spending unproportional amount of time for little to no gain for task at hand. Why do that? Not sure how you go there. Remember you agreed, most struggle past 450 and few will consistently kill past 600 and field consistent moa works.

So much noise to do something very basic and simple. When you stay on topic, long range hunting, and realize 450 a typical soft limit and pretty solid guys can squeak out some 600 yard work and moa works then what's the rest for? Where do you really need to focus to be a killer?
 

Rich M

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
3,604
Location
Orlando
Im not real competitive but do enjoy shooting w others and dont care if someone shoots better or worse than i.

Issues:
Places to practice/shoot - closest places are an hour or more each way
Muzzlebrakes at public ranges - too loud
100 yard is typical distance down here
Cost and avalibility of ammo/ components
Schedule

Similar things w hunting:
Places to hunt a reasonable distance from home
Cost for out of state licenses
Permits/ preference point crap
Finding time to go more than a few long weekends or a 9-day trip
 
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