by Adam Wilson
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to South Florida to team teach a new precision rifle course, Riflecraft 450: Extreme Long Range Precision Rifle training program at the ALTAIR Training Solutions facility with Ashbury Precision Ordnance Mfg. (APO). Ashbury, well known for its patented SABER® modular rifle chassis and high performance precision rifles, has worked closely with experienced precision rifle training specialists, combat veteran military snipers and professional hunters to construct a series of unique Riflecraft marksmanship courses for its many clients.
This particular APO Riflecraft program was a custom course being taught by myself and Matthew Peterson, Ashbury Precision Ordnance’s Product Development Coordinator for client Jim Field. Field recently purchased a custom ASW-375CT Ultra Long Range (ULR) Precision Tactical Rifle from Ashbury after only being introduced to long range shooting in 2015 at a class I taught at the NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico. Field is a retired apparel industry executive and former cowboy action shooting enthusiast who considers ultra-long range shooting a new and compelling challenge he can work towards overcoming.
Working together as a team over several intensive days, the three of us quickly surpassed our initial training goals and Field ultimately went on to shoot an impressive .042 MOA group at 775 yards and an exceptional .171 MOA 3-shot group at 1,956 yards on IPSC full size 18”x24”steel chest plates. Due to his strong-minded determination Field also achieved consistent impacts on a 2,223 yard target which to say the least was impressive, as was his shooting over the entire week. What makes these results even more impressive is the fact that he isn’t a veteran competitive rifle shooter or even a combat experienced Sniper. In fact Field has zero military or law enforcement long gun experience and had only nine days of precision rifle training prior to this course. Jim Field you see is a spirited 68 year old example of youthful American inspiration!
As a student I’ve been on the receiving end of the “cookie cutter” approach to firearms training and know how frustrating it can be when every shooter is treated the same regardless of skill level. Experienced shooters often feel they aren’t being pushed to surpass previous limits and novice shooters struggling to grasp the fundamentals many times feel left behind due to a lack of much needed attention. One method to avoid this issue is to clearly outline individual training goals and each student’s expectations for the class prior to launching rounds down range. As this Riflecraft course was a private offering we were able to identify his training goals and work towards those goals throughout the week. Field you see is keenly interested in making an ultra long range shooting world record attempt as an individual, seeking new ways to challenge himself and inspire others along the way!
As this Riflecraft training program progressed, the three of us soon realized this week wasn’t about breaking in Field’s new rifle, or even shooting a 2,223 yard target, it was about laying the foundation for greater things. At one point I told Field “I don’t care if we don’t successfully engage every target out here as long as you understand the core concepts of precision rifle marksmanship at the end of the course. Conceptual understanding of the principals of long range marksmanship is more important than simply hitting the target.
Ultimately I want you to visualize each trigger press is ‘the’ 4000 yard target.” The goal wasn’t to simply check off all the long range targets at the ALTAIR facility’s 2 mile long rifle range, it was about building Field’s confidence, skills and ability to consistently engage a target at 4000+ yards. Focusing on the individual client like this isn’t always an option in a larger group setting, but Riflecraft programs are design to do just that. The focus of good training should always be on