You might be deadly with your long range rifle at 1,000 yards, but can you spot, engage, and hit your game in a vital spot out to 300 yards, even 400 yards without a bipod, rangefinder, anemometer, turret dials, or ballistic reticle? Branded Rock Canyon shooter training can show you how.
Today’s ubiquitous long range shooting schools are fantastic. They, along with competitions like Precision Rifle Shooting, have dramatically revived interest in rifles and rifle shooting. New rifles, new cartridges, new scopes, and racy new VLD bullets are helping reinvigorate the tradition of the American rifleman. Dan’l Boone and Dan Morgan. The Kentucky Rifle. The Hawken and the Sharps. Buffalo hunters. Hathcock and Kyle. We come from a long line of superb long range rifle shots, but there’s a problem: getting lost in the haze and hype of long range seems to be the everyday, ordinary hunter’s skill of quickly targeting and hitting game at unknown ranges.
How to Become One With Your Gun at Branded Rock Canyon Shooter Training
This year several skilled assistants and I will be teaching “Be One With Your Gun” classes in a spectacular canyon near Grand Junction, Colorado. The objective is to provide students the knowledge, tools, and skills to confidently find, engage, and hit game anywhere from the muzzle out to 300 yards, perhaps as far as 400 yards from field positions in real hunting country within ten seconds of identifying the target.
Whoopee and big deal, right? Only 400 yards? I’ve been to shooting schools that taught us to engage and hit targets out to 1,250 yards.
Yeah, I know. And that seems to be the problem. More and more hunting guides are complaining that their clients — armed with the latest long range rifles, super scopes, range finders, anemometers, calculators, bipods and suppressors — can’t get an aimed shot off at a bull elk standing broadside at 60 yards. Or a mule deer calmly walking through an opening in the sage 232 yards away. Or a black bear foraging on grass 30-degrees uphill and only 300 yards out.
“I say ‘shoot!’” a guide recently told me. “And then I sit there with my fingers in my ears and wait and wait… and when I finally turn to look, there’s my hunter dialing turrets, twisting bipod legs, consulting ballistic charts or metering the wind — anything and everything but what they should be doing! Just shoot!”
I think we might be putting the cart before the horse these days. Back when I was a kid — heck, throughout the long history of the United States — kids learned to shoot by hunting. They went out with Pa, Ma or Granddad and watched. They were given a 22 rimfire and one cartridge and told to return with a rabbit. This happened so regularly and so often that shooting became as ordinary and natural as throwing stones.
These days, with hunting harder and harder to access, we seem to start with technology. An elaborate rifle with Picatinny rails covering half its surface area. And then we fill these with lights and lasers and scopes and witness sights and flip-open bipods. We load ballistic software onto our phones, create custom turret dials for our scopes and install custom reticles just in case. And then we drive two or four hours to a long-range course where we lay out drag bags and set up spotting scopes that could count the craters on Jupiter’s fourth moon. By the time Johnny and Suzi get to hunt their first squirrel, they’ve already bumped off steel at 2,000 yards. But they may have never fired off-hand at 45. Or even shot a rabbit.
It might not be that bad where you live, but these guides and outfitters can’t all be lying, either. If you suspect you might be overly prepared to shave a gnat’s eyelash at 1,000 yards, but woefully unsure what to do if a buck stepped into an opening at 173 yards, you might want to consider this class. Because bucks and bulls still show up inside of 300 yards from time to time. In fact, data indicates the vast majority of game is taken annually inside of 300 yards. That means most of it is missed inside of 300 yards, too. So why not train to hit?
Branded Rock Canyon Shooter Training Features
In this 3.5 day course we are going to shoot. A lot. Uphill and down. Steeply. In side winds, updrafts and downdrafts. From flat and steep slopes and rocky spots. Offhand, kneeling, sitting and prone. Lying over boulders and against trunks. Off portable and attached bipods and tripods and monopods. We’re going to walk with hunting packs on our backs, spot life-size game targets, engage them and hit them until we learn what works. For you. Not for everyone, but for you. There is no one proper way to set up for a hunting shot, but there is the steadiest, most comfortable way for each shooter, and that is what each student is going to discover.
Of course we’re going to cover some ballistic basics so you understand what those magic bullets are doing downrange. How high do they cruise above your line of sight? Where do they peak? How quickly do they drop? How high must you aim at 200 yards, 250 yards, 300 yards, 350 yards and 400 yards? Can you stretch a shot to 500 yards? Is there a bullet or load for your rifle that can extend your effective range?
It may be that you’ll discover you don’t have the best rifle/cartridge/bullet for your style of hunting. Perhaps your rifle’s too heavy to whip into action. Maybe it’s too light to hold steady. Too butt heavy to hang on target properly. Too short, long, wide, high… We will help you decide (both with ballistic data and field shooting) what might be better. Carry weight, recoil, trajectory, wind deflection… We cover it all.
And we don’t forget scopes, either. Rifle scopes are now integral parts of the rifle, but too many shooters set them up for the worst possible performance. A scope shouldn’t be so obtrusive that it appears you’ve hung a rifle under it. A hunting scope should not get in the way, but when you raise the rifle it should reveal the animal with the reticle plastered over it. You shouldn’t have to search for it, shouldn’t have to search in the scope, or even think about the scope. The reticle should just be there, on target, and we’ll help arrange that for you and your rifle/scope. Lots of details about what makes scopes tick. Brightness, eye relief, field-of-view, parallax, ballistic reticles, turret dialing…
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. This Branded Rock Canyon Shooter Training course I’m teaching is designed to make you a better, more confident, deadly effective hunting shot. When you graduate I don’t want you thinking about minutes-of-angle or mil-radians or subtending 3.6 inches at 100 yards… I want you thinking “There’s my bull. There’s my steadiest rest. There’s my sight picture. Bam! Now where’s my knife?” When you can hunt like this, knowing that you know what you need to know to succeed, then you are ready to move on to a long range precision class. And Branded Rock Canyon Shooter Training has those, too.
Branded Rock Canyon Shooter Training is not inexpensive, but you’ll get 3.5 days of instruction, targets, range time, transportation to and from the Grand Junction airport, gourmet meals, and 4 nights in a 5-star lodge.
It would definitely be less expensive walking from the farm house with a 22 and one cartridge to bag a squirrel. On the other hand, if this training raises you to the level where you’ll never again question your abilities, never again doubt you can find your game, find your steadiest shooting position, and drop your bullet into the vitals from 400 yards every time — without the aid of turrets, computers, wind meters, and batteries — well, what’s that worth? You could save tens of thousands in unused tags and unsuccessful trips over a decade of hunting.
And when that buck or bull of a lifetime doesn’t get away? Priceless.
For more information and pricing, reach out to the team at the ranch: firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 970-283-1145. The website is www.brandedrockcanyon.com. Classes begin in March. We’d love to have you.
Ron Spomer has studied long-range shooting at six different schools during the past eight years. He’s perfected “field shooting” during 50 years of hunting and shooting around the world. His longest shot on game is barely over 530 yards. He took his largest bull elk inside 50 yards with a 300 Win. Mag.