Back in the day, I sweated through plenty of final exams, but I can’t recall a pressure-cooker like the one Jim McKenzie worked up in the last hours of my long-range shooting course. He put it together just like a real-life hunting situation: Out of the truck, hump over a ridge, then slide into position with a view of a small herd of elk at an unknown—but way out there—distance.

OK, so the herd was actually a group of 3-D targets, but you wouldn’t have known it by the bull-fever thumping of my heart. McKenzie played the role of guide, calculating distance with his binoculars. The rest was up to me. Pass or fail. No extra credit. See the first part of my Kessler Canyon training here.