Long-Range Sniper Accuracy Tips
When it comes to hunting and long-range competitive shooting, trimming down your fire group is all that matters to hit that prized buck or 6-inch target at over 700 yards. For all of your long-range hunting or competitive sniping endeavors, here are some simple but effective tips to bring your accuracy to superb levels.
- Take notes on the area
A good long-range marksman always takes note of all of his surroundings and how they might affect the shots he/she will take. This is always the first step to great accuracy! Make a range diagram with labeled distances to various landmarks, and how those distances will affect your bullet’s trajectory. Scout out the area to find the most efficient starting position to comfortably hone in on your target and steady yourself.
- Steady your body square behind the stock
Most riflemen shoot with their bodies slightly to the side of the stock when firing either standing or sitting, but long-range shooters and snipers need far more stability when firing rounds hundreds of yards past that of a standard rifle. In order to gain greater stability, it benefits a sniper to lay prone with a bipod and steady their body square with the stock. This makes it so you’re almost “hugging” the firearm, holding firmly but not tightly, in order to minimize recoil and create the most reliable position for quality and consistent follow-through. Sacrificing stability (even with very minimal movements) can seriously hurt the accuracy of a shot.
- Keep a shooting log
Long-range riflemen and snipers are interested in having the utmost accurate shots at the farthest distances possible, and so careful consideration and analysis is needed before each shot and between every time out firing. A shooting log, or DOPE (data of previous engagement) log, is absolutely necessary when firing for long-range, because it allows the marksman to collect invaluable information on each previous shot to improve the accuracy for the next shot, and other future shots. Having a thorough log can help a marksman to account for all types of environments, weapon conditions, weather conditions, and distance.
- Practice in wind — a lot
Compensating for wind when making long-range shots is as much of an art as it is a science. Though there are tools like wind meters to closely estimate the wind at a given distance, there is almost no way to learn to compensate for wind except to do it. Always remember to calculate the wind at your location, the target location, and everywhere in between. Although wind meters are a great aid, a marksman needs to be able to understand how the wind moves according to the terrain, like valleys, hills, and trees. It can help to take note of what the grasses and trees look like at a given distance, such as if, when, and how they are swaying.
- Fire quality ammo
Though this ought to be a given, it must be said that firing for long-range differs from medium-range in that the ammunition must always be of top-quality. Medium-range riflemen can sometimes get away with firing more inexpensive ammo depending on the situation since cheaper ammo might not seriously affect accuracy at medium distances. However, long-range riflemen and snipers can not afford this and must use higher quality ammo to maximize accuracy at the distances fired at. Of course, test different loads for each individual firearm to judge what works best for your sniper rifle, but do not settle for less than what’s optimal!
- Use a barrel cooler
Although snipers and long-range marksmen take longer time between shots than medium-range riflemen, a barrel cooler could still greatly benefit the sniper and improve his/her accuracy. Depending on the situation, a marksman may need a barrel cooler because they are firing successive shots faster than normal. Sometimes, a sniper might be set up and ready to take a shot, but the barrel hasn’t cooled down enough. The Original Barrel Cooler from Area 1 Sports can improve your waiting time by up to 60% and allow a sniper to take faster consecutive shots should they wish to. It might just save you the winning shot!