Want to Make Long Range Shots in the Field? Do This Drill

The Long-Ranger drill is simple, fun, and will help you make longer shots in the field

Long range shooting is a relative thing. If you’re shooting a 6.5 Creedmoor, long range is several football fields away. If you’re shooting a .22 Long Rifle, long range is not much farther than you can throw a football. I define long range as any distance where you must hold the sight off the target to get a hit. For instance, when shooting at a whitetail deer’s vital-zone-sized target—say, 8 inches or so in diameter—with most modern centerfire rifles at 300 yards you’ll have to hold high to get your hit. The Long Ranger Drill is perfect for this type of shot; it’s a combination of shooting at long range and using common field shooting positions.

To conduct the drill you will need four, 6- to 10-inch steel plates, such as these gongs. Place one steel plate at 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards. You don’t necessarily need a shot timer; you can use a watch or a smart phone to keep time. The goal of this drill is to get a hit on each of the steel plates, giving yourself 30 seconds to make each shot. If you want to do the Long Ranger Drill with a .22 rimfire rifle, use a 3- to 5-inch targets and set them at 50, 75, 100, and 125 yards. Sounds easy right? Not so fast.

Long Range Shooting Drill Prone Position
Shooting from prone is the easiest way to score a hit in the long-ranger drill. Richard Mann

How to Score Long Range Hits

The points you get for each hit depend on the position you shoot from. If you shoot from the standing off-hand position, you get 25 points per hit. If you shoot from the kneeling position, you get 20 points per hit. A hit from the seated position is worth 15 points, and a hit from the prone position is worth 10 points. When shooting from the standing, kneeling, or seated positions, you’re not allowed to use any shooting supports. From the prone position you can use a bipod.

At each distance you can fire two shots to get the one hit. If you miss the first shot, the second shot can be fired from any of the four positions, but, if you get the hit on the second shot, you only get 5 points, regardless the position the second shot was fired from. For example, let’s say you attempt the 100-yard shot from the standing position and miss. If you have any time left out of the 30 seconds you’re allotted, you can shoot again from the standing position or you could drop to seated or even prone. Still, if you miss the target on the first shot and hit it on the second, you only get 5 points.

If you hit all four targets at all four ranges from the standing position, your score would be 100, with is not only excellent, it’s master-class level shooting. A good score is 70 and a passing score is 50.

Long Range Shooting Drill Seated
Shooting from the seated position is more stable than off-hand or kneeling, but is worth fewer points in the long-ranger drill. Richard Mann

Head-to-Head Long Range Drill

There’s another way to do this drill that kicks the fun, and the pressure, up a notch—dueling with a friend. The targets, distances, allotted time for each target, and scoring stay the same, but to begin you flip a coin to see who goes first. From there it is like playing a game of HORSE in basketball. The first shooter can shoot at any target, at any distance, from any position. If they get a hit, they get the points allowed for the chosen position. The next shooter can then attempt to duplicate the shot or shoot it from a more difficult position to get more points.

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For example, let’s say Bob loses the coin toss and shoots first. He decides to try the 400-yard target from the prone position and gets a hit, which gives him 10 points. Dave shoots second, and in an attempt to better Bob’s score, he shoots from the seated position. If he hits the 400-yard target he gets 15 points. Since he is now in the lead, he picks the next target to shoot at, and the duel continues until all four targets have been engaged. If the score is tied, flip the coin again and repeat. The first shooter to finish with a lead is the winner and buys the beer.