Long Range Marksmanship
Spoiler Alert – The MVT May 2018 Romney WV LRMS class was excellent!!
My Background: A retired engineer, long time hunter with no previous military service. Prior to this weekend, I can count on one hand the number of times I shot at something farther than 300 yards. I attended CTT/MOB Texas in Feb 2017 but this was my first time at the Romney WV site. Really wanted to attend the LRMS in the fall of 2017 but house construction made that a non-starter. As soon as the 2018 class popped up on the calendar, I signed up. It was a long drive, but hands down it was worth every hour spent on the road to get there.
I am focusing this review on three specific areas of the class, Facility, POI and the Instructors.
Facility: The class was held at three different places on MVT Romney, cabin for classroom, 100 yard range for zero checks and the absolutely beautiful 1000 yard range for the majority of the class time. As others have posted and shared in the AAR, no picture can do this range justice.
- The cabin provided an excellent place for the classroom portion of day 1. It allowed comfortable seating, organization of written materials and effective use of the dreaded PowerPoint presentation.
- The 100 yard range was nice, convenient and only utilized for zero checks and establishing muzzle velocities to input into ballistic calculators. There were also some drills we ran at that facility, more later.
- The 1000 yard range is where it was at! In addition to a stunning view over two ridges and the mountains beyond, there are three target areas specifically of unknown distances. Multiple sizes of targets at different ranges in each area provided challenges for the balance of the class time. And according to information shared in the AAR, this is not a static facility. Many upgrades and improvements are planned and underway. In fact the day before class, some additional clearing was done on the target areas. These additions will continue to improve an already impressive range!
POI: The course was an appropriate mix of classroom and field time. Although everyone naturally wanted to get out and shoot steel, a necessary understanding of ballistics and the process to shoot at long range was provided in the first half day. A well organized, interactive presentation laid the foundation for our range work to follow.
As mentioned, we then spent some time on the 100 yard range confirming zeros while at the same time gathering muzzle velocities for each individual’s rifle/ammo combination. A few drills at this point drove home some of the lessons form the classroom presentation, in an eye opening manner. No hints, you gotta go to class!
Finally we got to move onto the 1000 yard range where the rest of the class was conducted. No messing around here, we jumped right into a line of shooters firing at the near target area until everyone hit steel. Then we moved to the medium range, same drill and subsequently to the 1000 yard target area. Within 30 minutes of starting, everyone in the first group had connected at close to 1000 yards. Impressive results for the entire methodology used. Over the next day spent on this range the requirements gradually got tougher and required the students to do more and more of the work required to find a firing solution, until on late Sunday morning all you were given was a target designation and a time constraint to engage.
My previous record of 300 yards had been shattered. Small targets at just shy of 1000 yards and first round hits. This is a no bullshit class and a fantastic opportunity to learn how to shoot that far.
Instructors: Bottom line, John is a great teacher and wind guru. Kevin was an excellent AI, and no slouch on the wind calls either. The way things shook out on the firing line, I was shooting with John making calls on the scope so that why I can attest to his wizardry with the wind.
- Being an effective teacher requires, among other things, Organization, Knowledge of the Subject, and a Passion for and Dedication to the Subject being taught.
- Organization was an area that John could have used some improvement, as even he admitted during the AAR. Not a huge impediment to results, just that some parts of the class could have been smoother with a little better organization. That said, I will deal with a slight bit of chaos and take the rock solid calls on the scope ANY DAY!
- Knowledge of the Subject is self evident. Read the bio, listen to the classroom presentation and then watch John interact as those lessons are put into practice. The guy knows Long Range shooting. Most importantly in this case he was able to relay that knowledge and how to implement it to the class participants.
- Passion and Dedication: Just listening to John and Kevin talk about long range subjects, explain things with a mix of technical knowledge and war stories and become animated when things didn’t seem to be working attests to their passion. An instructor that will remove the scope from his personal weapon and put in on a participants gun to diagnose an issue is dedicated (and that was the case here). Turned out the scope had some issues so that person used Johns scope for the balance of the class.
- In summary, John and Kevin did an outstanding job teaching and coaching this class.
Suggestions for future participants:
- Bring all ammo from the same lot if at all possible
- Have your rifle zeroed at 100 yards and some rounds downrange with that zero
- Come ready to exceed your expectations!
Conclusion: If you want to learn about Long Range shooting, this is an absolute rock solid opportunity to do so and I highly recommend it. If the Advanced class that was the subject of discussion is scheduled, I will be one of the first to sign up.