Hi Everyone, We don’t get a lot of postings in this sub-forum. I thought I would give a quick review of my precision rifle rig and how I got here. I got the long range bug bad two years ago and have basically only been shooting percision rifle with a little USPSA. I’m running a Surgeon action, HawkHill barrel, MPA comp chassis and a Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56, Mrad, Mil-C reticle. Caliber is 6XC pushing the 110gr SMK w/H4350. My Smith is Hunter Phillips of HP Precision in TX. Hunter is a newer and up-and-coming rifle Smith, who is a Robert Gradous protégé. I can’t say enough about Hunter’s and Robert’s work. I highly recommend them if you’re going to have a custom rifle built. My rifle is an absolute hammer.
My original rifle, a GA Precision built 6mm Creedmore was toast in 850 rounds. I smoked the barrel in 850 rounds running the 105 Beger Hybrids at 3050 ft./s. I decided to go to 6.5 caliber for bbl life, but didn’t like the recoil off of barricades and other shooting platforms. You have to be able to see your impacts in this game, if you don’t, you’ll have no idea how to make corrections. That said, a 6 mm is preferred in my opinion. Many are successful with 6.5, but I find the 6 mm much easier to shoot. My 6.5 experiment was short-lived and I talk to Robert Gradous about other 6mm’s that would give me better barrel life and he suggested the 6XC. He suggested running a 110-115 grain bullet (which both have great BC) at a slightly slower velocity. My current load with the Sierra is only going 2930 ft./s. I’m 7.4 mils at 1000. I’ve taken her out to 1200 yards and I feel I lose nothing with this caliber. I’m hoping for 1500 to 2000 rounds of barrel life with this combo, which should be realistic given the research.
The MPA chassis is awesome. I really like the features of this chassis, especially the barricade stop which is very nice for shooting barricade stages, which you will see in almost every match. I also like the ability to move my bipod forward back on the bottom of the chassis. This is important if the bipod of the loud but the prop your shooting off of is small. There are many great chassis and stocks out there, so just pick one that is comfortable for you. I really love the J Allen chassis, but just can’t justify $1800 for a stock.
I was running for Vortex optics, but after three of us all had problems with our AMG’s (All had to go back to vortex for repair), I decided to give NF a whirl. I loved the AMG and their reticle, especially the .2 wind holds. I decided to give the new NF Mil-C reticle a try. I shot one major match with this optic. Loved the reticle and optic. I feel the only downside to this reticle is the lack of wind holds off the lower vertical stadia. This is really helpful when doing holdover stages where you also have to hold for wind. Other than that I love the optic.
For those considering getting into precision rifle, I suggest that you go into it with an open mind and check your ego at the door. Even if you’re a great pistol or three gun shooter, precision rifle is a whole other world. I got my ass handed to me in my first two major matches. I took what I learned in our local monthly PRS matches and in my first two majors and applied that to my third major. This helped me improve by over 30 places. I still have a long way to go, but if you’re willing to learn from your mistakes you can be successful in this game. I find it very challenging and I’m absolutely hooked on the sport.
I will also say that you do not have to go out and buy all top tier gear to get into the sport. I’ve always wanted the best equipment, so I like buying great gear. That said s Ruger Precision rifle, a Savage, or a Bergara with a Vortex PST Gen 2 or a Bushnell optic is a great place to start and you can be very competitive. One of my good shooting friends kicks our asses with a Ruger Percision rifle (although highly modified) on a regular basis. To a large degree it’s the Indian not the arrow, but you do need a certain level of precision from your rifle/optic combination.
As far as how to shoot stages, ask questions and just jump in with both feet. Shooters are very helpful and you’ll learn a lot after even one match. One piece of advice is to put all the points in the bank on the closer target. Learn and practice shooting off of barricades and various props. Efficiently settting up on these props and learning how to build a stable position quickly is the key. The pros look at the total points for a match and intend I shooting/hitting every target. Match winners are generally only down 10 or less points over a 15 or 20 stage match. The last thing I’ll suggest is shooting in the wind. Elevation corrections are easy and not hard to determine once you spend some time behind the rifle and confirm all your dope. Learning to shoot in the wind and making a good first wind call is a hard skill to learn. This is why it’s so important to be able to see your first round impact should you make a bad wind call.
Hope this helps and I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving.
PS- I’ve gotten out of 3gun and have a TSS shotgun and a JP upper available if anybody’s interested. They are posted in classifide section.