This course focuses on building a foundation in ballistics and the technical side of shooting with scenarios relevant to the rifle hunter. Attendees will build complete confidence in their ability to achieve precise bullet placement to 600 yards in severe conditions. Longer range engagements will be explored, so the hunter can have the education and experience to know his/her limits to ethically engage big game at further distances. Shooting engagements in this course will focus on distances from 100 to 1000 yards. We will shoot to further distances to confirm trajectories and learn the science. Novice shooters will learn the basics of rifle set up and mechanics of long range shooting including ballistics calculations, wind reading, and field deployment tactics, as well as discuss the ethics of shooting game at long ranges, and shooters will quickly learn their capabilities at these distances. Knowledge gained shooting long distance targets will also serve to increase shooter confidence at conventional hunting distances. The final day of the class involves a moderate hike on a steel safari course where hunters will develop glassing techniques to find and identify targets. Hunters will then develop a shooting solution and build a position to engage the target. Targets and scenarios will replicate shots on big game.
We advise course attendees to familiarize themselves with the basics of precision rifle mechanics by reviewing provided course material prior to the class. Each shooter will need a rifle and optics capable of 1000 yard engagements using ballistics calculations and scope turret adjustment methods developed in the class. A 6mm cartridge with an appropriate bullet can be effective in this course.
Rock Lake Rifle Range, St. John, Washington
Rock Lake Rifle Range is Washington's playground for the rifleman. Purpose-built for rifle shooting, this range offers a monstrous array of challenging shots and eastern Washington's big winds. Rock Lake is our host site for the Long Range Rifleman's classes and Precision Rifle Match Preparation Classes. With a full array of the typical props and targets used in a precision rifle match, and the site of the Rock Lake PRS and NRL matches just over the hill, Rock Lake Rifle Range is the ultimate location in the Pacific Northwest to master precision match shooting.
Lodging during your course at Rock Lake is provided at Satterlee's "Bed and Breakfast". The precision hunters' education experience extends into the dinner conversation and aftermath, often with demonstrations at the loading bench and other beyond the range topics.
Expanded Course Description
- Class Duration: 3 days
- Class Hours: 0800-1700 (approximately) with a lunch break
- ?Class Size: 12 students
- Class Cost: $1395 with lodging and meals provided
Lead: Scott Satterlee
Assistants: Doug Glorfield and Matt Yore
Skill level prerequisite
This course creates long range shooters. As a prerequisite, we require that the students are comfortable behind a rifle and can safely interact in a training scenario. Reference material is provided at the link below to help understand the ballistics computing introduced in the course and to help you gain familiarity with the ballistics computer we will use in the course. Please go through these materials prior to the class.
Rifle system requirements to participate in the course
Make sure that your equipment is up to the challenge of this course. In general, you need to compare your riflescope's usable mechanical adjustment range to your cartridge's ballistics and ensure you have the ability to adjust turrets to compensate for the distances at which we will be shooting. Not all projectiles and optics are capable of effective use at these ranges. A reference article is provided at the link below for prospective attendees to verify their equipment's mechanical capabilities prior to registration. Please inquire about rental equipment that may be available for use in the course if needed. We recommend a 6.5 mm or heavier caliber rifle and variable magnification scope with turret adjustments. High ballistic coefficient bullets are necessary to be effective at these ranges. The rifle and ammunition should be capable of MOA accuracy on 100 yard targets. The riflescope should have a magnification range of approximately 4-20x with up to 35x on the high end. Most shooting will be done around 15x to provide ample field of view and to help see through mirage. For this class, cartridges such as the 7mm Rem Mag or .300 Win Mag offer a good balance between ballistic performance and recoil. A cartridge such as the 6.5 Creedmoor in a heavier weight match rifle can be highly effective with gained shooter comfort over the magnums. Consider bringing both a heavy weight, light-recoiling rifle and a lighter weight hunting rifle in order to gain confidence and skill with the fun rifle, while learning to apply the new skillset to the hunting rifle. We will include time to confirm trajectories and gain experience with the second rifle.
Ballistics calculations will be taught using the Shooter ® ballistics app. Please preload this app and familiarize yourself with it using the provided material at the link below to set up a profile for your rifle and ammunition. These calculations will allow the shooter to determine if their equipment and projectile choice are mechanically capable of shooting the distances we will be working at in the class.
- Class introduction, expectations, and safety brief
- Rifle System and Components Setup - riflescope, laser rangefinder, ballistics computer, ammunition,
- Eight fundamentals of shooting and building prone position
- 100 yard dot drills and adjust for zeros
- Reinforcement of fundamentals
- Tall target test
- Obtain velocities and confirm other inputs for ballistics calculations
- Discuss shooter/spotter communications, elevation adjustment/wind hold methodology
- Data confirmation at long range
- Discuss wind reading and geographic influences
- Begin to shoot at distance and confirm trajectories/note discrepancies
- Discuss reading wind for extended range, cross valley effects, and big landscape conditions
- Discuss extended range shooting, earth based effects, Coriolis, angles, spin drift, atmospheric cross-valley conditions
- Shooting session at extended distances
- Discussion of effectiveness on big game at long ranges and typical conditions
- Discuss terminal ballistics
- Scope and rifle manipulation
- Confirm and true ballistics on hunting rifles
- Introduce new concepts: dialing vs holding, moving targets, multiple target engagements, alternate supported positions
- Discuss glassing techniques and pre-shot hunt planning
- Walk through Steel Safari course finding, identifying, and engaging targets under time constraints, in hunting scenarios
?Required gear, including the rifle system mentioned above
- Rifle capable of MOA accuracy
- mounted riflescope with target turrets (with mechanical capability to adjust for your bullet drop at 1000 yds)
- ?bubble level mounted on your rifle or scope
- Eye protection (clear and tinted)
- Ear protection
- Shooter ballistics calculator pre-loaded on device
- Rear squeeze bag
- Range finder
- At least 200 cartridges
- Appropriate seasonal hunting clothing & boots
- Backup phone charging system
- Calculator, paper, pen
- Binoculars (10x40 recommended)
Recommended gear and personal items
- Padded shooting mat
- Insect repellent
- Hat that provides sun protection
- Rain gear
Instructors will have an array of bipods, bags, tripods, and slings to test out. Feel free to bring other gear with which you would like to gain experience.
Breakfast and dinner will be served at the lodge. These family style meals are fit for a cowboy and shouldn't leave anyone hungry.
During the days, we will be away from the lodge. A sandwich lunch will be provided along with snacks and water.
Additional Notes for Rock Lake Rifle Range
The range is in the rolling hills of Eastern Washington, far enough from the highway that cell service is patchy to nonexistent. Please plan accordingly.