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4-Day Precision Rifle

Front Sight Course Review

Ed D. (Taken May 2012)

Editor's Note: This is a review for the 4 Day Precision RIfle Course class offered at Front Sight.
  • 4 Day Precision Rifle

  • Student: Ed D.
  • Occupation: Pilot
  • Weapon: Remington 300 Winchester Magnum "5R Milspec"
  • Ammo Used: 187 rounds
  • Number Course Taken: Second time taken
  • Student Rating: 9/10
  • Course: Front Sight Course
What were your reasons for taking this course?

I took this course last year in May, as well, but I wanted to perfect my ability to shoot long distances, especially in the wind.

Having taken the class previously, I was able to extend my range that I felt confident to be able to hunt a large animal, so that on a hunting trip back in October, I was able to take an elk at 460 yards!

General Comments

I thought that the course was run really well. It was a lot to take in during the 4 days. Unfortunately, the range the only went out to about 575 yards; I wish that it would have gone out a little bit farther than that.

Last time that I took the class, Ken, who runs the course, was able to chronograph all the rifles. I know that it takes a lot of time and effort for him to do that. The chronograph gives you an idea of how fast your bullets are moving. He was able to put that in to the ballistics program and then give us all data cards. This time he just gave us generic cards with generic speeds, and then we had to offset from that point. In a way, it gives you the ability to learn a little bit more. There are applications available now that work on the Android or iPhone that calculate ballistic information, as long as you put the correct variables in it. An app like that would be helpful to use at this course.

The instructors there are always very good. They keep a close eye on you, even though you don't know they're watching you. After I had shot my volley of rounds, they came up and said "Hey, you could have done this better" or "That shot was really good."

How do you rate this class?

I would give this class a 9/10. I wouldn't give it a 10, because I think there is always a little bit of room for improvement. I would bring back the chronograph, so that students have a good idea of the speed their bullets are traveling, as this changes with temperatures and altitudes. I know that it is a lot of work for Ken to do, but maybe they could do it on a lunch break or something for only those who are interested and don't already have an idea of what their bullet speed might be. I had already done my own, but I know that there were others in the class that didn't have a good feel for what their bullet speeds were.

Do you have any tips for first-time students?

A lot of guys bring bi-pods, but they recommend shooting off of a backpack to get better accuracy. Therefore, I would recommend bringing a backpack to shoot from and leaving the bi-pod at home.

In a normal 4-day rifle course, everything we do is with a rifle sling, so that the barrel and the muzzle are controlled. Because we are shooting from prone position in the Precision Rifle course, you are always up and down all the time. I recommend leaving your sling at home and putting your rifle in either a drag bag or a regular rifle case. It is a lot easier to transport it back and forth, because you are getting up and down often and moving from 100 yards all the way back to 575 yards.

I also recommend bringing a shooting mat and a stock rest that is filled with sand or pellets to put underneath the toe of the rifle to support the weapon. That way you have a little more control over your rifle, when shooting at a distance.

So, to recap, I would recommend the following:
1. Bring a backpack to shoot from, rather than a bi-pod.
2. Bring a drag bag or regular case for your rifle, rather than a rifle sling.
3. Bring a mat to shoot from.
4. Bring a stock rest.

Would you suggest this course to others?

Yes, absolutely! Especially, if you are interested in pursuing game, like elk, deer, or even coyote, at a significant distance, I think that you would get a lot out of the class. It covers the basic principles of judging distances, as well as wind conditions, to make your shot successful.

How did you get there?

I drove from my home in Las Vegas, which took me about an hour or hour and fifteen. Even though I live here in Las Vegas, I still prefer to stay out in Pahrump and relax. That way I don't have to come home and worry about all the things I have to deal with while I am at home.

Where did you stay?

I like Saddle West and I stayed there on this particular trip. I have also stayed at the Best Western.

How did you handle the ammo situation?

On this class, Ken will allow you to reload your own ammunition. The main reason is that in order to be able to shoot with any kind of accuracy at a distance, you have to really pay attention to the way you reload your ammunition. It has to be exactly precise; and if it's not, you aren't going to shoot well. I talked to Ken about it and discussed the ammunition I planned to reload, and he was fine with it. In most classes, they won't allow this, especially in the pistol classes. You don't need to be nearly as precise in those courses, as you are only shooting 5-25 yards. When you are shooting in the Precision Rifle course, you get to shoot from distances from 600 to 1200 yards at the end of the class. If your ammunition is not spot on, you won't hit anything. If you are not familiar with reloading precision match grade ammo, I would recommend that you purchase match grade ammo with the same lot number if you can.

How did you handle the lunch situation?

I usually bring my own. I pack a cooler with some sandwich meat, apples, and things like that. There are opportunities with the various venders, like Saddle West and Beach Café, out there that allow you to purchase lunches.

Do you have any dinner suggestions?

There are a couple of restaurants out there that I have been to. There are a couple nice Mexican restaurants and a Chinese place. I have also eaten at the hotel itself one evening. I usually eat there for breakfast, but I figured I'd give them a try for dinner as well.

What other courses are you planning to take in the future?

I am signed up for the 4-Day Practical Rifle course in June with my daughter. This time I plan on shooting the class with open sights, instead of the telescopic sight. We'll see how much better I can get!

What other classes have you taken at Front Sight?

4-Day Defensive Handgun
2-Day Handgun Skill Builder
2-Day Advanced Tactical Handgun
4-Day Practical Rifle
4-Day Tactical Shotgun