Western Rifle Shooters Association

Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Precision Riflery: You Too Can Do It!

Spent the weekend taking an outstanding precision riflery class with Vernon "Flea" Harrison at his Central Virginia Tactical school. What a terrific learning experience!

Based on the recommendations of other students at Sniper's Paradise, we stayed at Vern's home, rather than a motel. For a very reasonable $50/night, we were fed, housed, and welcomed into Vern's family. Just as importantly, by staying there, we were able to immerse ourselves in the learning environment every waking hour of the weekend.

Classroom topics covered included:

- Wind estimation
- Wind effects on projectiles
- Doping wind
- Riflescope recommendations
- Ammo and load recommendations
- Spotting scope recommendations
- Use of the mildot reticle
- Mils vs. MOA
- Use of range cards and ballistic programs
- Proper rifle cleaning techniques and products
- Gear recommendations (sandbags, laser rangefinders, dragbags, knives, tripods, scarves, boots, etc.)

In addition to these topics, we spent several hours in two range sessions at CVT's magnificent 2000 yard (!) range. Vern's emphasis is on repeatable accuracy and absolute precision in both the calculation and execution of each shot, so our range work included a test at 100 yards to confirm zero and to assess what each shooter/rifle combo could achieve. I struggled with my Savage, and discovered that even with the buttstock bagged, neither I nor Vern could achieve the minimum 1/2 MOA standard necessary to proceed with the course. I then switched to Vern's school rifle and its 10X IOR scope, which took the equipment out of the equation and allowed me to meet spec.

Day two at the range consisted largely of ranging practice on a series of 10" wide by 17" tall steels, scattered over ranges from 400+ to 900+ yards. Each student was required to use the mildots in his scope, along with the equations from his classroom work, to range each target. Once all students had completed their estimates (and learned the "whys" of their mistakes!), it was time to shoot. With Vern spotting and calling both range and wind adjustments, all students were able to connect and expand their view of the possible.

Simply put, the two-day tuition of $500 (plus $50/day lodging) at CVT with Vern is the best shooting-school value I have found. Vern's explanation of wind and mildot ranging was simple, practical in the extreme, and repeatable. His advice re what gear works and why, and his emphasis on value for the buck, also allows the student to recoup the cost of tuition immediately by avoiding bad/overpriced gear.

Most importantly, Vern's friendly teaching style allows students of whatever level to get comfortable and add volumes to their existing skills/knowledge base, whether you are a newbie or salty from years of precision experience. Vern really means it when the CVT motto says:


For those of you who can get there, contact Vern at flea@armygrunt.com. It's some of the best money you will ever spend. If I can learn this stuff, so can you!

Those of you who can't get there, go over to Sniper's Paradise, where Vern is a moderator on the SP forum and which contains piles of practical info. Ditto for this site, which has scads of links to help you improve your precision skills. Both sites have been added to the "Shooting Resources" on the left margin of this blog.


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