Is starting with a pre-charge pneumatic (PCP) air rifle and engaging targets at 80 to 90m, long range? In the realm of air rifle shooting, yes it is, and achieving regular hits on small targets at these ranges can be a highly challenging endeavour.
PCP air rifles have elevated the humble pellet gun into a completely different performance envelope, with five-shot groups of under 10mm possible at 50m. The .177'' 10.34gr projectile is severely limited in ballistic co-efficient (BC) and velocity, suffering radical drop and drift at 100m. To successfully engage targets at varying ranges up to 100m requires a good grasp of the pellet trajectory and the ability to read and adjust to subtle conditions. These same skills are fundamental requirements for success in the different shooting disciplines that can be classified as long-range shooting.
Let’s take a look at some other formal shooting disciplines commonly practiced.
Bisley shooting is an internationally recognized discipline practiced from the prone position at fixed ranges. The fixed ranges eliminate one variable – distance to the target – but all the other elements such as wind, mirage and atmospheric variables are present. Bisley shooters are recognized as some of the most skilled in the world at reading conditions. They rely on highly accurate weapons and ammunition loaded to the highest possible standards to ensure consistency and repeatability. Targets are typically engaged from 300m to 900m and there are various classes with limitations on sights and cart- ridges, as well as open classes with limitations only on the weight of the weapon used. In Bisley shooting, each shot’s point of impact on the target is clearly indicated to you by men in the shooting butts, so you are able to make immediate corrections based on this information as you proceed, which is a tremendous advantage.
The National Benchrest Shooters Association in the USA has a long-range category which is shot at 600 and 1000 yards. This definitely qualifies as long-range shooting, the intention being to shoot the smallest group possible from a bench at fixed ranges. Assistance in the form of fixed ranges, solid shooting platforms, and “cost no limit” permitting the best of everything, is used in the quest for a one-hole group. Benchrest aims for extremes in accuracy and consistency and matches can be decided by fractions of a millimetre.
The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is a relatively new sport which originated in the USA and is definitely a long-range sport. The new generation of tactical rifles and scopes currently so popular is largely due to the evolution of this sport and the ever-changing needs of shooters. Targets are engaged from a variety of positions at ranges between 200 and 1500yds. Most of the targets are steel and are scored Hit/Miss with a point allocation. Ranges can be given or unknown and competitors shoot for score and time. Condition management and range estimation are critical to success. The high rate of fire at targets at unknown ranges has been the primary driver of bullet and cartridge development in recent times.
Read the full article in the July 2018 issue of Magnum.