The title of this post might more accurately be called: can a computer long range shooting simulation teach me how to shoot long ranges or at least help prepare me for it? That’s a bit wordy though, and in truth I won’t answer that question in this post alone. It is a question I do hope to answer though. Let me explain. I have very few options in Maryland to shoot long distances. There are a couple of ranges that go out to 200-300 yards but they either have limited or no public access or they aren’t particularly convenient or affordable. My home range is limited to 100 yards so that’s what I use to practice and train on. At this range I can work on the fundamentals: breathing, trigger control, proper & repeatable cheek weld to name a few. What I don’t have to deal with and can’t effectively train for is bullet drop at longer distances, ranging targets, and the wind. Sure it can get windy on my range, but I don’t think I’ve ever identified a shot as off by any substantial amount as a result. Not at 100 yards anyway.
I have committed myself in 2017 to spend time and money on more training. Earlier this year I attended an AR-15 armorers class and in a few weeks I will be spending the weekend with a couple other guys learning to shoot out to 1000 yards and perhaps a bit further. In preparation I have a new rifle which I won’t go into detail about right now. More importantly I have a new scope. This “budget” long range tactical optic is the most expensive scope I have ever purchased and whether I learn to use it effectively will have more to do with my success than the rifle. What is particularly new about this scope is that it uses MILS for adjustments and has a MIL reticle. I’m not going to go into explaining MILS and MOA in this article. It would simply be too great a tangent. Look it up. There are countless articles that explain each or both. None or which I will reference here because I have always felt a certain dissatisfaction when trying to digest this material.
I won’t say it’s the fault of the writers of these articles, I think its more likely that my brain doesn’t easily grasp these spacial concepts. I will say however that I am very familiar with using MOA and my mind thinks in terms of yards and inches as opposed to meters and centimeters. Using MILS exclusively was going to take some fresh thinking and although I understood intellectually the differences I needed some practice. Enter the Long Range Shooting Simulation version 3.0 which was developed and owned by Karin Christensen. The software can be found at www.shooterReady.com and can be purchased for $43.95. Not cheap. I was however going to be investing a considerable amount of time and money into this upcoming weekend and if this program delivered the type of instruction and practice it promised, I thought it a worthwhile purchase. You can try a limited version of the program before purchasing and after doing so I felt like it was an easy decision. I’m not going to do an extensive review of the program itself. Visit the website and search online for reviews. There are several. The best and most comprehensive can be found at GunDigest.
What I have found most valuable about the Long Range Shooting Simulation is the ease in which I can practice my ranging skills and get some repetitions in making and understanding the types of calculations necessary to make the proper adjustments to my scope. These repetitions are especially important to me because I have always used scopes that adjust using MOA. Although the theory isn’t any different when using MILS, it does require a shift in perspective. For whatever reason, this is a difficult shift for me to make. So far the practice has been invaluable. The program takes you through a sequence of steps that a shooter would take in the field including: ranging a target using your reticle to determine its distance, understanding how to read and interpret a ballistics table, and finally, adjusting your scope for distance and wind drift to make the hit. The question is: will this help me in the field when I’m prone behind that rifle learning to make these shots in real life? I hope so. At the very least I hope to have a head-start. The less new-information I have to wrap my head around the more I hope to concentrate on those fundamentals I practice so much. I’ll let you know.
Categories: Firearm & Gear Reviews