Long-Range Expert Rei Hoang Talks Shooting, Social Media, and More
Here’s what it takes to ring the gong at 3,000 yards
My parents were from Vietnam and weren’t into the outdoors or firearms. But ever since I was a kid, I liked guns and camping. I loved action movies and always wanted someone to go to the range with me, but I couldn’t find anybody. I’m not the kind of person to give up, though, so I figured it out myself.
In 2015, for my 33rd birthday, I bought myself a Remington 700 in .308, my first bolt action. After shooting that for three months, I built my own custom rifle—a 6.5 Creedmoor on a Defiance action with a Manners stock and Bartlein barrel that I chambered and threaded myself. I was hooked.
One big learning curve was all the terminology in precision rifle shooting. I had to figure out the military talk and the long-range talk. Another was that in Northern California, I only had a 100-yard range to shoot at. I would go every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and shoot dot drills. It was boring, but good practice.
What I love about long-range shooting is that you take these ingredients—bullet, powder, and brass—and you put the data in your ballistic calculator, press the trigger, and hit something 800 yards away. It’s amazing. You can feel it in your soul.
I borrowed a rifle—a .375 CheyTac—for my first ELR match and did my load development the day before at the range. I got a hit at 3,565 yards on a 36×36-inch target. That’s the fourth-longest ELR shot in a match ever. I got some pushback from that. Some ELR shooters who’d never seen me thought I was just some lucky gun-bunny. I might have been new to ELR, but I wasn’t new to long-range shooting. Internally, I know I’m a shooter first. The media comes second.
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Documenting what I go through is something I enjoy, and if people actually look at my social-media content, they’ll see that I’m passionate about this. No one spends 13 hours rolling around in the mud or in 100-degree weather without being serious about it.
There’s definitely a sisterhood of long-range shooters. I am part of a secret Facebook group called Precision Rifle Ladies. We have over 170 members, and we talk about things that are shooting-related and lady-shooting-related. We give each other tips, and when someone does well, we all cheer her on.
Years ago, I got a Hello Kitty piggy bank and put a note on it that said Gun Fund. I put all my $10 bills in it, and that’s how I got my first several firearms. I still have the piggy bank, but now I have to put fifties and one-hundreds in there to afford what I want.
I’ve gotten messages from fathers who say their daughters want to learn to shoot after seeing me. I love that! Shooting levels the playing field. I can’t compete against a man in football, but with a rifle, it is all equal.