Follow Through Consulting
Scoped Carbine Class
Teasdale, UT March 18 – 20, 2016
By: Seth Young
Training Day 3 – Sunday
After a quick breakfast at the Lodge we met at the LaRue targets at 9:30am. Buck took us through more barricade drills focusing on the approach and setup. On my turn Buck had me knock down the four LaRue targets on the close cliff face, then we displace to another barricade to engage silhouette targets further out. Two of them were about 500 meters away. I had 4 MOA dialed onto my scope for the drill and held on the top of the LaRue target heads with good results. For the two at 500 meters I had to hold an additional 5 MOA over them to make the hits.
After each of us went through the barricade drill we walked with Buck up the trail to the area we used for the low light scenario the night before. It was surprising to see how close the targets at the second camp fire looked compared to the way they looked the night before. Buck told us a story about one of his experiences getting ambushed in a convoy at night and how everything seemed much further away in the dark at that time also.
From there we went to flat range #1 and went through the 12″ drill again. I was back on my SR25. I quickly wrote down the different MOA measurements I’d made from the first day (3.5, 3, 2.5, 2.25, and 2 MOA). I calculated the distances for them by the formula: target size in yards divided by measured target MOA Size times 100 yards, and recorded that as well. Then using the ballistic solver I wrote the dope for the measurements. As we worked through the 12″ plates as a group I dialed to whole MOA values and made notes on where to hold for refinements. That method worked very well and gave me confidence in being able to quickly measure and engage targets with a little prep work done before hand on a basic MOA reticle.
After moving through the 12″ plates we shot at a 760 meter target for a truing reference. I ended up with an actual elevation that matched my ballistic solver pretty well. Then we shot at a 1060 meter target. At this point the wind was being a bit squirrely and it felt like our rifles were more area effect artillery pieces at that range. Even so, once our elevation was squared away a sustained string of shots would put hits on target regardless of the odd round or two pushed off to the sides. With the long shooting in the books we broke for lunch.
We met back up and caravanned to flat Range #2. This was an area on the south end of the valley away from the cliff face we had been using. The shooting area was on a flat shelf overlooking a ravine that raised up into a hillside with sage and scrubby trees. Dispersed among the cover were half-painted 12″ circles all between about 300 to 400 meters. We went through the targets doing the 12″ drill like at the other range, but these were much harder to spot. I found myself zooming out on the scope to find the plate, then zooming back in to measure it out and engage. The wind was fairly steady from left to right which required a hold on the left edge of the circles, sometimes a bit more for stronger gusts or further shots. I wrote down my measurements and holds and found I was shooting a bit high. If I wanted to hold on the top of the plate I needed to take off 1MOA from what I had been dialing to put the impact near the center of the plate. By the second time we went through the plates as a group I found it easier to find the plates and I had my holds dialed in and recorded in my notebook. From then on it was a good exercise in finding the targets, re-measuring to confirm range and dope, and reading the wind.
After that my ride and I had to head out to get back up to Salt Lake City before it got too late. The rest of the class shot a bit more on a different range and did another night session shooting the 12″ drill in the dark. After that they worked on sustained fire strings at 500 yards.
As far as applied DMR/SPR type classes go, this one is impossible to beat. Through the repetition of the 12″ drill on the flat ranges I saw a noticeable increase in my ability to range targets, read wind, and make high probability first or second round hits. From the barricade instruction and practice Buck’s method for approaching, setting up on, and shooting from positions stuck on me as well. The several drills Buck took us through individually pressed home the mindset he wanted us to have. To give weight to the methods Buck taught he was able to tell us stories from his deployments about why he teaches things the way he does. His experience running recce type operations directly influences the entire curriculum. The class could more aptly be named: “Mindset and Skills for a Running Gunfight in the Hills.”
For those thinking about taking the class, do it. Be familiar with your rifle, scope, and other gear. This course uses the fundamentals to step up to bigger and better things, but assumes a you know your way around your own rifle. The gear list in the course description was accurate about what was needed in the class. I strongly recommend having your rifle zeroed before the class.