So you want to teach your kids to shoot long range? That’s cool, but what’s next?
Our family recently embarked on a journey to learn long range precision. Are we experts at this point? Absolutely not, but we are learning, growing and refining the art.
In order for me to adequately answer the key question in the title of this article, I have to give you some background information. I am blessed with a great wife of 18+ years and she enjoys shooting as well, and that has enabled us to spend range time with our three children who are 13, 10 & 8.
We have always enjoyed shooting, but up until last year never shot further than 100 yards.
Our oldest son who is 13 and I have been through Long Range Precision Rifle training now and have successfully shot out to 850 yards. While that may not seem far for some, going from 100 yards to 850 yards was quite the accomplishment for us and has certainly made us hungry to go further.
If you have interest in learning Long Range Precision Shooting and you want to teach your kids, I would offer three key pointers which have helped us.
1. Do not try to jump into it and feel like you have to buy the latest and greatest tools unless you just have excess funds sitting around to spend. You do not have to invest a fortune to be successful. Start simple and be conservative….. For example, our 13 year old son began his journey using an inexpensive 22 LR with a very inexpensive scope. He started shooting pennies at 20 yards and backed up from there. As he continued to see he could do it farther, he backed up farther.
Set goals, celebrate accomplishments and then re-evaluate and strengthen the goals to learn and grow more. We have a dear friend who is a retired scout sniper and he was instrumental in ingraining in our minds that bigger is not always better when learning. A pellet rifle or rim fire rifle is a very useful tool in learning fundamentals and it trains your mind that there is no recoil when you pull the trigger.
So to summarize point #1, don’t think you cannot get started if you do not have a very expensive firearm and optic. Start with the basics and grow from there.
2. Seek mentors who will coach you along the way. There are plenty of phenomenal marksmen who are more than willing to take the time to talk about how they got to where they are and many are very willing to share pearls of wisdom which will certainly add value in your journey. Don’t be afraid to ask why. When you go to a class or a competition, seek out helpful mentors and ask them, why do you do a given process one way or the other? Nine times out of ten, they will joyfully explain it to you and I’ll guarantee you that you will learn from their life experiences.
3. When you are ready to purchase a long range precision rifle or precision gear, do not be afraid to look for used products or sales and explore the pros and cons of the products you are looking at. Do you need an $8,000 rifle? Or could you use a $500 rifle and get very good with it and then upgrade? The same holds true for equipment. Perhaps like us, you cannot afford a brand new laser range finder to start with. But when we started, we did find a pre-owned range finder that works amazing and we paid $60 for it.
I say all that to say, seek out quality products, but do not feel like you have to buy everything new or every little gadget you see in a magazine to be successful.
You do need a quality gun rest bag in order to eliminate frustrations for you and your family. A stable rest is key to precision and success. There are many options out there and if you cannot afford one right now, a backpack stuffed with a pillow may be a good place to start. Nevertheless, once you are able to, I would highly recommend you explore the shooting bags offered by Black Branch Shooting Sports. The Gecko II is one of the most useful bags we have acquired and I can assure you it will add value in your journey to becoming a Long Range Precision Artist.
If I can help you in any way, look us up on Facebook at Willow Swamp Precision or on Instagram and feel free to send us a message and I will be more than happy to discuss the topic further. For now, aim straight, strike the steel and don’t forget to smile. God Bless the USA! D.M. Mixson, Jr. lives in South Carolina with his wife and three children.