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Road to Mammoth Episode 4: A Fundamental Change in Training

Gear + Kits
Gear + Kits
September 25, 2018
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There’s no arguing that the key to (successful) long range shooting is consistency. Not just consistency in hit targets but consistency in every aspect of the endeavor. From ammo to sight picture to trigger manipulation, the more things you are able to keep the same shot after shot, the fewer variables there will be affecting your shot. Seems elementary enough, I can almost hear a chorus of “tell us something we don’t already know,” but it’s much easier said than done.Consistency comes by controlling and/or eliminating variables where ever possible. In long range shooting however, the degree to which we can control variables changes dramatically with time and distance. Generally the closer we are to things the greater our control over the variables appears. At very short ranges there are fewer variables which dramatically effect our ability to hit a target consistently. There’s simply not enough time or distance for the effect of any single variable to act in a significant way on our projectile. Over time and distance, however, the effects of a variable can be more demonstrable. A 3MPH crosswind over 50 yards barely affects a 140GR 6.5 CREEDMOR. That same crosswind acting on the bullet over the time it takes to hit a target at 1100 yards has much greater effect. AGAIN, I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.So how does this relate to a “revelation” that impacted my entire approach to training for Mammoth? It was by understanding consistency, that came the realization of where my true focus needs to be. If consistency means controlling as many variables as possible and variables are harder to control the further away they are from you, then the logic follows that consistency will increase if I can master control over what is closest to me. Nothing is closer to me than ..well… me. At it’s most basic level three things must be present and work together to have any hope of hitting a target; an object to hit the target with (ammunition), an implement to send that object towards the target (rifle) and someone action upon the implement that sends the object down range (a shooter). Manipulating any of those three basic elements effects how successfully (or unsuccessfully) a target is hit. Eliminate any one of those and there’s silence; no bang and no ting of lead hitting steel. There’s nothing wrong with spending lots of money on a great rifle and/or ammo. You can definitely “buy down” the detrimental effects some variables have on achieving your goal of ringing steel. It is a problem, however, if that equipment becomes a means to shortcut the path to skilled marksmanship. The Godsmack of reality that happened in my four days at Sorinex Tactical with Buck and Tyson from Leupold, is the time spent obsessing over which rifle to use and which caliber is time better spent polishing your skillset through repeated practice of the fundamentals; learning to control what’s up close and eliminate those variables. Yes, there is the consideration of what gear to use to conquer Mammoth and I will definitely use this space to explore what options my teammate and I are considering and why. I will also discuss my decision logic in choosing 6.5CM over the .243Win I’d been shooting. But I’ll be making a concerted effort in my mental prep to worry less about gear and the competition so as to truly focus on the fundamentals and focus on functional training. I think it would be a misstep if didn’t spend more time talking about my mistakes, successes, lessons learned and used in trying to perfect my marksmanship fundamentals along my road to Mammoth. In the near future, I hope to relay conversations with top shooters, industry movers and shakers, and top instructor and impart some of the knowledge and wisdom shared with me.

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