Long Range Shooting With Bergara Barrels and Tony Smotherman
You can take animals at long distances, if you consider two major factors. First and foremost, you need a rifle platform and a barrel with sub-minute accuracy at 100 yards. Regardless of how well you think you shoot, if you don’t have a rifle and barrel with that performance, making long-range shots will be extremely difficult. Bergara offers custom rifles built to those standards, and the company takes the guesswork out of choosing ammunition. If you prefer, you may want to consider a CVA Apex platform, get the Bergara barrel caliber you plan to shoot and sight the rifle in yourself.
After you have the equipment you need, take a lesson from our bowhunting brothers. Some Western hunters practice shooting their bows at 100 yards or more. They aren’t anticipating taking a shot at 100 yards, but if they have to, they have the confidence to make that shot. The main reason they practice at 100 yards is to make them more consistent at 40 to70 yards. This principle is the same one long-distance runners use. They practice running fast at greater distances than they plan to run. Then on race day, the race is much easier to run.
After you have the right equipment, three keys will help you to shoot accurately at long distances: practice, practice and practice. Repetition creates muscle memory, and muscle memory enables you to take that long shot without having to think through it. Most hunters will pick-up their rifles before hunting season, go to a rifle range, shoot 5 to 10 rounds and say to themselves, “I can harvest any deer I see.” We often forget shooting on a rifle range is shooting under perfect conditions. Rarely, if ever, do we have sandbags, a lead sled and a perfect rest to make an accurate shot under hunting conditions. Many little things have to come together for you to be a consistent shooter. You can purchase the most-expensive custom rifle Bergara makes, but if you don’t train yourself to shoot accurately, you won’t get the performance you anticipate. For instance, you need to:
* always put your trigger hand on the same place on the rifle stock;
* make sure your cheek is in the same place every time you shoot;
* be certain your stock is in the proper position on your shoulder each time you shoot;
* put your hand in the same place on the forearm of the rifle every time you shoot;
* feel at one with your gun;
* get the same sight picture every time you bring your gun to your shoulder; and
* become accustomed to the recoil of the rifle.
A professional baseball pitcher in the big leagues doesn’t think about his foot placement, the way he holds the ball, and what he needs to do to make a proper windup. Once he gets the signal from the catcher, he goes on automatic pilot to deliver that pitch. Hunters who shoot consistently at long ranges have to shoot enough to become that familiar with and that confident in their rifles to take shots out to 200 yards or more.
By Tony Smotherman, producer and host of the “Travelin’ Hunter” TV show on the Sportsman Channel. Prime time airing is Sunday nights at 9:30 EST.
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