Emily likes a challenge. She’s a long-range shooter who lives for the thrill of victory on the shooting range. Shooting high-power precision competition presents a unique set of challenges that must be accounted for when packing a range bag, and there’s a lot to make sure you bring along.
“Shoot Like a Girl”
I have shot precision rifle competitions my whole life. So, I have amassed quite the collection of shooting gear over the years. I started out with small-bore 3-postion .22 then graduated to high power across the course with AR-15s.
My main rifle is my scoped AR. It is a custom-built Colt lower with a Douglas barrel. Barrels tend to last 5,000 rounds, or about 6 months in high power shooting. Less if you shoot Rattle Battle.
I also have a Celestron spotting scope for watching the mirage and calling wind. Comes in real handy at 600 yards.
High-power requires a lot of gear. So much that I have a shooting cart to carry all my gear around.
You have to remember this is precision shooting, we aren’t running around. We have time to set up for the shot and call wind. 20 minutes to shoot 20 rounds standing at 200 yards, and you bet we take all 20 minutes. So the key to remember here is ‘precision shooting’.
Range carts. Mine is kind of a build based off of the Creedmoor Sports range cart. It’s lighter but misses some of the perks.
I was in high school and college when I was buying gear, so I got the designs in my head from what many companies were selling and made my own.
The main thing is that it’s lightweight and can handle the weather. Then I have my shooting coat. When you put the shooting coat on and have it buckled up it feels like you are leaning on a post for standing.
The goal with the coat is to have rigid and stiff support. The coat also helps to take the recoil from the fun wood guns like the M1A and M1 Garands.
After the coat is the mat. The mat needs to have good non-slip padding so you are not sliding around in prone. A centimeter of movement on one elbow at 600 yards can knock you out of the 10 ring and lose you the match. Once again Creedmoor has some of the best, but you can get the mat anywhere.
On to Ammo. I would say ammo is going to be specific to the shooter. High power shooters handload everything -- It’s just too expensive to go and buy ammo every time you go to a match.
I personally shoot Nosler bullets with Varget or RL-15 powder, whichever I can get cheaper at the time. You will also have short range and long-range ammo. When you are reloading you require brass, which you get from shooting, so a brass bag is really helpful.
Another thing I have is a shot book. The goal of this is to plot all your shots for the string so that you can see where your problems lie. It also helps to call the wind and to make minor adjustments to your sights.
A mitt or shooting glove is also helpful. It dampens your pulse – yes, even your pulse can affect a precision shot at 600 yards – and it also adds a layer of protection between your hand and the rifle.
I have a Champions choice mitt because I can’t stand to have my fingers covered in a glove. The majority of shooting gloves/mitts will have padding in the palm and a texturized rubber on the palm and fingers to help keep the rifle from slipping.
This is more of a preference thing – find what works for you.
So, the next thing is what you are actually going to use to get the rounds down range: the magazines. The general rule is 20 round mags for across the course and 30 rounds for rattle battle.
The next few items are things you pick up along the way as you go through high power precision competition. Things like a rain cover for your gear.
My rain cover is simply a giant canvas weatherproof poncho that fits over everything to keep it dry. Nothing worse than shooting in a soaking wet shooting coat.
The last thing I’ll mention is Sight Black. This is becoming more obsolete due to the fact that everyone is moving to scopes, but for the shooters that like old school shooting, this is a must.
This is the general basics of a range bag for high-power shooting. The great thing about high power precision shooting is that when you decide to get into this type of shooting, all you have to do is find a range.
Literally anyone on that range will see a new shooter and do everything in their power to help you out and get you started. Don’t have a rifle or ammo? Don’t worry. Everyone there has at least two if not three. Oh, and a general rule of thumb on ammo… bring enough for a small army.