The one, the only, Todd Hodnett!
Let’s be honest. The main reason I do all of this is so that I have the perfect excuse to sit down with guys like this, legends in the shooting community and get to pick their brains and ask questions about long range shooting.
My original introduction to Todd was through the Magpul ‘Art of the Precision Rifle’ Videos – as, I imagine, would be the case with many of us, I repeatedly rewound and repeated the videos – especially when the mild-mannered Texas Cowboy hit the ‘third grade arithmetic’ that forced brains that hadn’t had to deal with maths for a while into a bit of a twist.
Todd Hodnett is an absolute wealth of knowledge. Through his company, Accuracy 1st, he has been teaching this for close to 15 years – and it’s obvious that he loves to share that knowledge as well.
Help us bring him down!
We are trying to bring him down in 2019 for a civilian class or two – so, if you haven’t already – make sure you sign up to let us know you would be interested –
Todd also released a ‘new’ DVD called ‘Long Range Made Easy‘ around four years ago – which is chock full of information for both new and experienced shooters – highly recommended.
Want to learn more about long range shooting? Check out our article all about it – https://precisionshooter.info/field-shooting-in-new-zealand/ – maybe you would like some one-on-one training in the meantime?
Q: You had a background in cowboy action shooting?
Q: Did you have a nickname?
A: Yeah, my alias was Hannibal Doc.
A: It’s a weird story. Back then, at that point in my life, I was cowboying fulltime. We had a ranch that we leased, and a farm. That’s kind of what I did every day. And so, I had a big handlebar moustache; Texas cowboy thing.
I went from that into the cowboy action shooting. And, everybody assumed that’s where I took the name from, was my handlebar moustache, but Handle Bar Dot, is the only world champion son of Doc Bar, which was a quarter horse that revolutionised the quarter horse industry. And, at that time, I had owned a son of Handle Bar Dot, that we used as a stud, breeding our mares, and we had Handle Bar Dot mares; so, it was taken more from the horse side than the handlebar moustache.
Most people don’t know that, but it’s okay. Let them think what they want, that’s fine.
Q: I could see how it would be a quick association.
A: Yep, absolutely.
Q: I mean that’s was the thing. To be [01.59] between you and Sam Elliott, it would probably be half the inspiration for the way I grew my beard now. Because it was just like, “Ah, if you’re gonna do it; let’s actually do it.”
One thing, just to clarify as well; like, you haven’t had a huge military background as such?
A: No, I’ve had zero.
Q: Zero, okay. But, you got into it, essentially through competition, which lead to your work with [02.24], and then, with the military contacting you to do training?
A: Yes, correct.
Q: How have you found it’s been different, basically with a civilian background rather than a military background, now for your training of the military? Is it a bonus?
A: It’s a huge bonus. From what the military guys have told me. I would never have had access to the groups that I have now; if I would have been former military.
Q: Oh, okay.
A: From what they tell me. If I would have been former retired, any branch, whether it was seal, marine, ranger, anything; so, they said that if I would have been seal. Every seal would have thought, ‘He went to the same school I went to; so, what does he know that I don’t know’. So, it’d have been real hard. And, it’d been hard to go in and train the special forces while being from the navy, because they’re not going to listen to the navy.
So, it’s a huge bonus that I was not in the military. As far as having access to the military to do training with them, I’m not having to beat down those hurdles, and show them that I may know something that they may want.
So, I think it’s been a huge benefit. Obviously, you still have to get your foot in the door. And, the foot in the door, was actually the competition. So, once I’d started the competition stuff, what we call the sniper competitions, and had won enough of them that the companies like [03.58], asked me to do demos to the military.
We went from there, and then the military asked me to come back and teach them how to use the product again; and so, I went back and taught them how to use the product. And, they said, “Hey, you’re not teaching us how to shoot.” And, I said, “I’m staying in my lane.” And so, as a cowboy, etiquette wise, you don’t get out of your lane. You stay with whatever they ask you teach, and you don’t talk outside what you’re not supposed to.
So, they came back, said, “You hadn’t taught us how to shoot.” I said, “No, staying in my lane. You asked me to teach you how to do the radical and the ballistics.” And so, they said, “What would you change about the way we shoot?” And so, we started making a list, and immediately they stopped me, and said, “Okay, we want to hire you for a month.”
So, like I said, I was ranching, farming at the time. So, it was winter time. I had month to give them. So, I went and trained them. But, prior to that, one of the guys from the recon-marine, came out on the range while we were training in that initial week. And, they said, “Hey, we want you to come back in three weeks, do training with us.” So, I went and trained them.
And about a week or two after that, we went in there and did the month training with the unit called [05.01], which was a stand up for MARSOC, before they even knew what a MARSOC was. It was kind the tier community, the marine core, at that time.
It was a good relationship there. I worked all the way through [05.16]; through their total existence. Then back into recon and force; all the way through that. Then special forces jumped in pretty quick. Obviously, from there; things went full blown.
Q: I would figure as well, like you mentioned. Not having that military training, you were bringing something new that they probably hadn’t already been going through; and reteaching and reteaching and reteaching.
A: Yeah, and the problem with long-range, as scientific as it is. Back in the day, the guys didn’t have ballistic engines. We didn’t have the computers. We made a lot of rules based on what we perceived was going on.
I’m of that generation, because I’m 54 years old.
It’s you kind of go back to where we were, as far as technology and what kind of options we had; what we thought was real and things that we decided was real. And, what we found out is; a lot of that was not correct.
Q: But, it’s function; if it’s works. Then at the time, it’s…
A: It worked to a point, and that was the problem. Then we made excuses why it wasn’t working and started looking. But, on the backside, when we came back in and started doing the actual training, and from my shooting competition days. I started testing everything to see what was real, and what wasn’t real.
By that time; we had ballistic engines. We started really looking into the science of it. Then we started looking into what was taught in the military, and what was actually wrong with those teachings. And, the problem with the military, as far as the establishment in the teaching at the [07.02] schools; a lot of it was built out of Vietnam, in the 1970 era, and then we moved forward with that, as far as sniper evolvement, in their school houses.
But, most of the time, like any military around the world. You have instructors that go in and they teach for two to three years; they bounce out. They’re back on a sniper team, or not. They may go through sniper school, run as a sniper in a sniper team for two years, maybe four years. Then they roll back out; they may teach. A few of them may teach.
Then they’re out of the sniper community, because it kind of turns into a career progression at the point, for the military. So, they say alright, you’re good at that; now, you need to be good at something else. They move onto something else.
So, really a lot of the knowledge that they teach is the old knowledge, and it’s just retaught; it’s not changed. So, it needs to be quick, easy, handover packages that a guy can pick up and teach, without losing any continuity. And so, it’s really hard to make the changes that needed to be made in the military.
That’s what we’ve been fighting for about 14 years, since I’ve been doing this fulltime. And, we’ve had a lot of success with it. I would say in the States, but now it’s actually become across the world.
We’ve been in Norway, in Germany, in Switzerland. We teach the Dutch, Danes; SBS, SAS. All the guys all over the world. [08.26], Canada; SSR, and two commandos. So, it’s gotten in towards, deep into all the school houses now as well.
Q: So, with your travelling and teaching around the world. Have you sort of noticed any major difference between European style shooting, American style shooting; shooting down southern hemisphere, like that? Or, is very consistent; is there different approaches to it?
A: No, I would say it’s very consistent, as far as the styles that we shoot. And, what’s funny is, a lot of the things that we are doing wrong, or doing wrong all over the world; so, but there has been a quick progression, and a willingness to change and move to a better way.
I mean, there was always areas that you get pushed back. But, they’re usually from people my age; so, it’s usually that gentlemen that was thought of as the head guy in the community at that time, in that group. And, nobody likes to feel like they’re losing face, and it’s really not.
It’s two different types of personality; so, I’ve had that individual that was always willing to grow and move and do more. I can remember teaching at the Navy Special Warfare school, at [09.50]. There was an old gentleman there that was sniper in the Marine Corps, and he’s got to be near 70 years old.
And, everybody assumed that he would not listen to me whatsoever and be anti-everything I said. I think initially, we had that tendency the first day in class. But, to his credit, by either the end of the first day, or the second day; he was adamant about needing to change and get on the right side.
But, he’s been around long enough that he could see the need for it. He knew what we were teaching was right, because it was working on the range. He wasn’t trying to save his credentials; he was trying to make sure that the younger kids were getting the best that we could give me. And, a huge proponent for it.
You see guys like him that are willing to grow. We can’t ever stop growing, no matter where you think you are in that chain. Someone like him is a gold mine, because even those he’s 70 years old, and could have said we don’t need it; that’s not the style that we shoot, that’s not what we do.
Q: The more we do is working enough.
A: Yeah, exactly. We hear that a lot. You get those guys, and it really progresses; it hits them real fast, then goes. You always get the guys like, “No, one part per 100 metres, 10 power scopes, 1,000 yards. That’s all we need.” “We don’t need first vocal plan; we don’t need [11.11] radicals; we don’t need ballistic computers, they take batteries.”
Q: Don’t need iPods.
A: Oh yeah. You always run into those guys. But, they will leave; they’ll moved on. Sometimes it may take five years before we can get back into that school and get that going.
But, like I say, we’ve been doing this fourteen years; so, we’ve outgrown most of the guys, and things a new grill.
Q: Just patience.
A: Yeah, just patience. Yeah, just keep doing what [11.40] you do; keep your head down, nose to the ground, mind your own business, keep moving forward.
Q: Fives years later, I’m back.
Q: Like you say, going back, you got into a lot of this via the competition. We talked about this earlier. But, the competition, it is something you’re still able to be involved with much at all?
A: Oh no.
Q: Too busy?
A: Yeah, absolutely too busy right now. And, have been. The first year, I think I did four classes. I was still ranching; farming at the time. The next year, we had eight classes; the next year we had 16 classes. By the fourth year, I was pretty much booked year around.
And, I always thought, ‘it’ll slow down’. Once we get everybody kind of up to speed, things will kind of drop off, and it’ll get something that’s manageable. I can go back and shoot some competitions and play around. And, you can talk to my wife; it’s not slowed down.
Q: Any year now!
A: Yeah, any year now! I think she think’s it’ll slow down.
There was a period there; for about five years I was on the road, all but 30 days a year. Now, all the guys come to me, mainly. Instead of me going to them, they come to me because of the environment that we’re shooting it, or where I live.
So, we have average 17mph winds every week. I think, since I’ve been training in that facility for the last 12 years, since 2006, we’ve never had a week, that I had a training group there, that we didn’t see winds over 20mph.
We may have a couple of what we call low-wind day, which are 12. Then it may gust and may blow 45mph, while we’re there. We just keep training. It’s just a bigger number that you shoot; it’s just maths.
It can actually be easier when the winds are blowing, than when winds are light and variable; so, light and variable can be actually very tricky. Winds that are 30, or inconsistent and they blow. It’s sometimes really not that hard to shoot in.
But, most of the guys come to me. I have 360-degree courses; so, in a short time you can walk a quarter mile loop. Actually, one of the groups out of Australia, came over to my ranges, and recreated the same range in Australia.
Most of the time when we go to a military base; they’ve booked a range three months in advance. And, whatever winds we have; that’s what we have all day. We have very restrictive range fans at most military bases; so, by the time you take your third shot, you know what the wind is, and the training values pretty much ceased at that point.
So, that’s why I love the 360. And, that’s why a lot of the guys come to me; they say they’d rather train there for five days, than me come to them for 15 days. Because, every target is a brand-new wind call; you have stop, you have to have say what’s my code sign.
It’s a trained featured wind course. So, we have, what we call cap-rocks, or hills that are flat on top and then valleys. It makes us look at terrain; how terrain manipulates, and wind flow patterns.
And so, you’ll have compressed airflow, katabatic winds, or graphic winds. You kind of really have to assess what the winds doing based off the terrain. Where your bullet is in thought-pad, compared to where the terrain is.
Some of the guys have actually said in European they call it a post-graduate course; when they shoot on that course. Because it’s 100 percent learning on every target. And, it’s what they call, next level; beyond what college would be for shooters.
We try to make a lot of ranges like that. We have what we call a golf course. It’s a driving course through the terrain which is the same things, but we’re down in the terrain. You see the shooting over, across terrain; we’re down in it. Now, you’re having to looking at what amount of the air was blocked by the terrain feature. And, how to make a wind call, based off that.
It’s entertaining to say the least.
Q: A lot of the field shooting or the gong shooting, or steel; however, you want to call it, in New Zealand. The competitions we have are generally held on similar sort of terrain, because it’ll be off a farm area. We having to use the terrain as our danger space, and our backstops.
A: Yep, exactly.
Q: The flat ranges with that distance, are generally F-class. And, it’s a different thing, it’s not field-steel. So, it’s quite interesting, and like you say, you’ve done it. You sit down on a flat range, that first shoot, you know you’ve got the wind pretty much sussed for it. Whereas, a lot of Simon, who’s a gentleman who organises a lot of the competitions in the lower North Island; he loves wind.
Because if there’s no winds; where the balance.
A: It’s not training.
Q: Yeah, once you’ve got that evaluation sussed and the rest, it’s give me wind; give me wind.
A: Yep, that’s what I say all the time. If the winds not blowing, that’s not training.
Q: It’s something I’ve learnt to actually appreciate. You learn a lot more when you’re forced. Even if you’re completely wrong, you’re learning more, compared that day which so flat.
So, my introduction to you was through the mag-pool, series of videos, which were…
A: A decade ago.
Q: A decade ago; dang, okay, alright.
Q: I think for a lot of people who were not involved with your training, or military; would have been the introduction to it.
A: Yeah, that was the first time that we ever stepped up. Matter of fact we had no real market, outside the military. When I say market, there would have been some if we wanted some. But, we kept it very strict, military only; we didn’t advertise, we didn’t do anything on my website. It was one page, and it didn’t talk much about anything, or what we taught. It was really just a point of contact information for the military to get a hold of me.
And then we kind of moved from that, forward. It’s still not much more than that. Only because we really don’t get into exactly what we’re teaching to all our competitors; we’re not there to kind of show them what we’re doing.
Everybody’s already coming to me anyways. As far as the military goes, we’re booked. I’m booking actually; I think I have about six, seven weeks in 2019, that’s not booked. So, about booked nearly to 2020 right now.
So, and it stays that way. It’s something that you can’t gripe about, being busy. But, it’s hard, only in that, if I do training this week with a group; if they don’t book that same week, six months ago. They’re not going to get it.
That’s hard. I like it better when I go and do a week, and they go, “Hey, can we have this week next year.” And, I go, “Yep, you’re good; we’ve got it down.”
Q: You prefer that consistency?
A: Yeah exactly. So, but most guys are getting good. We have a five-year contract with the Navy Special Warfare, for the Seals, for ten times a year. So, that’s going to continue on for the next fives years. And then most groups understand now; where they’ll go ahead and book out.
Most groups will call me up, and say, “Hey, let’s book fives times between now and 2020.” And, they’ll book out that far out in advance; just so that they can have slots.
Q: Last year you released, not the follower, but you’ve released your own DVD series of it; the long-range?
A: That wasn’t last year. I think that was like four years ago, maybe.
Q: Oh god; okay.
A: Yeah, actually that one’s pretty old too.
Q: Yeah, I know! There was a decent gap between those two though. And, even watching that second one, there were slight changes between them.
A: Oh yeah; there’s been lots of changes.
Q: So, for the guys who are still catching up. In New Zealand anyway, that mag-pool one was never official available down here. We couldn’t actually get it. They wouldn’t have seen it outside of New Zealand. So, there’s lots of people who watched though.
So, that came through, then we got the second one. Was some of the key changes?
A: I think it kind of goes back to the point…
Q: Or refinements, really.
A: Yeah, we never quit growing. We never quit trying to make it easier for long-range shooters to do their job. Never giving up accuracy. But, always making sure we can give them speed; four speeds available. So, and then precision is always final.
So, it’s something that we’re always progressing; we’re always changing, we’re always making. Like even the wind formulas; making that much easier. So, the quick wind formula went from, range plus wind, or range times wind plus wind. And, we’ve changed all that now; now we don’t do that anymore.
It’s still range time winds, but it’s times wind of whatever the multiple is, and half multiple. And then we favour with the 1mph that we may be off, instead of do math on it.
So, and we get into [20.19] into [20.20]. But, it’s actually much more accurate this way, and faster.
Q: Which is what I had to do with that footage, is getting it; sitting down with a note pad, and just being able to rewind and go through it with you again. Because the first time, even I remember on mag-pools; I remember you standing in front of the targets and explaining it all. And, about ten minutes, I was just like, ‘okay, I’ve got to go back and watch it again’.
But, after you follow along a few times, actually do some of the working it out yourself, it starts to make a bit more sense.
A: Yeah, and my deal with videos; we could have slowed it down and run at a very slow pace and gave 100 examples for each one, and the guy would have got minimal training out of the video.
But, what I tried to do was; I knew all everybody has a rewind button.
Q: Yeah, that’s it exactly it.
A: So, give as much information as possible. Make sure you talk through it enough that the guys can understand it. Once they’ve gone back through, the information’s there, but they have to stop and slow down and rewind. Do it three, four, or fives times before they go, ‘oh, that’s the part I missed’.
As long as all the information’s there. We wanted to make sure we got as much in the whole segment videos, as we could; so, that it was more beneficial to the client.
Q: Well, it occurred to me, until I went back and started listening to that, and doing it. I hadn’t done any real form of like calculus or maths, or having to actually figure stuff out, since I left school.
For a lot of what we do, as shooters or adult, we don’t have to do that in our heads; so, you just lose it. But, as a kid, it would just all fired off anyway. So, it’s just practicing and getting the brain up and going and doing it. I think that was the big thing for me.
People still refer those original mag-pool things. I think sometimes it must frustrate you a little bit. Because you’ve already released another thing, and your teaching would be quite different from that.
Q: But, there’s still a few things that stick. And, I’m obviously thinking about some of the grip things and the loading the bi-pods now.
A: Yeah, and we’ve even changed that. Loading bi-pods has changed with me. In that, we still load bi-pods to a level. So, what we teach now is that when we’re shooting precision fire, we still put fingertips on the front of the grip. We still load into our shoulder with our fingertips. Because it’s consistent. And, that’s the number one thing that we’re looking for, is consistency.
Once we touch a weapon system; we’re only taking away from the accuracy that it’s capable off. So, it’s capable of ex-amount of accuracy with guns, optic, and ammo. And then, as soon as we touch it, we’re degrading that.
So, what we want to do is become a ransom [23.00] platform that allows; the weapon system had the same consistent pressure points on it, every time detail allow it to be consistent.
So, as we use the fingertips, pulling into our shoulder, and then lightly loading the bi-pods until the bi-pods start to move away from us. At that point we hold it and shoot. We don’t stop and back up, but we hold that amount of pressure.
And, the reason we started to doing it that way, was to have more consistency when you’re shooting off pavement, or on top of the vehicle, or out in the dirt. It was something where you could recreate.
So, digging in bi-pods heavily, and pushing loading really hard. Not only were breaking bi-pods, but you cannot recreate that same consistency off a vehicle, or off a roof, or some of the places that I may find my military guy shootings, or even myself out hunting.
I was looking at a deer one day, and it wasn’t a long shot; it was only 800 metres. And, I was shooting off the top of my pickup. When I got ready to take the shot, I loaded all my bi-pods, and I was like, ‘Mm’, it moved away from me. And, I was like, ‘this is not the same way that I shoot’.
Q: It’s not going to work, yeah.
A: And so, sure enough I went right over his back and missed him. And, I was like, ‘alright, this has to stop’. I went back in. I tell the guys, everything’s not always black and white. There are times that I load my bi-pods really heavy. Those times are more if I’m shooting at something that’s close, and I have to spot myself. I’m not going to move myself minute of angle of the capability of the weapon system, off a close target.
So, I’ll grip it really tight. I’ll load heavy into my bi-pods to give myself more capable, or more of a capable way of seeing recoil, or managing recoil and seeing impact; so, second shot corrections.
So, when I know I need to spot for myself, and I need that capability, then I’m going to load heavily into it. If it’s there; if I can. But yeah, we’ve changed some of the ways that we’ve taught a lot of that stuff.
But, like I said, we’re always progressing, always growing, and always trying to find a better way.
Q: So, there’s another question I’ve got have, which kind of ties onto that, and that was one that Simon actually asked I think originally. It was shooting from position where your NPA; your natural point aim, just isn’t possible. Where you’re going to cantered off; you’re out. Any quick tips to do that?
A: Yeah, actually a lot of our training is we’re training our brain; so, we’re telling our brain what’s acceptable when we’re shooting. So, that’s when we lay straight behind the weapon system. Load out, our elbows straight to the right, or through recoil, it’s not breaking our shoulder down, but it’s actually pushing the whole body away from the weapon system. So, really, the gun falls back down on line.
So, basically when we line up that way; it does give us some capability. Obviously, we had shooters, F-class shooters, and shooters before that shot. Phenomenal groups that were [25.50] on weapon systems. So, it’s not that you can’t shoot that way, it’s just a better way of shooting to give you the capability to see impacts and make quick adjustments.
So, more when you’re shooting off your natural point of aim. And, I’m real big on natural point of aim, or you pull the weapon system into your shoulder. You find your target preloading. And then once you find your target, then you load. But, when you load on target, actually at that point of time, you’ve loaded into your natural point of aim.
Because if you push, and then start digging, looking for a target. Now, you’re off your point of aim under recoil; the guns going somewhere else. You didn’t see the impact. So, what I found though, that your body will compensate once your mind knows what it needs.
So, if you’re shooting in an area that’s off your natural point of aim; you’ll find yourself rolling your shoulder and putting more pressure into it. It may not manage all of it, but you can probably get 80 percent of it.
Q: But, the training you’ve previously done, with work and with NPA. Yeah; like, gets your brain, and it’s like that. It should feel like this when I’m going to be off.
A: Yeah, exactly. So, you know the implications and the results of what’s fixing to happen. And then your brain goes, ‘Well hey if I do this’. I think it’ll help manage some. And obviously, through training. And, I tell people all the time, we need to train for those times.
So, it’s not always, lay perfectly behind the gun on the range. It’s, now my groupings good; my wind callings good. Now, you want to take it to the next level. Now, you need to shoot of barricades; maybe shoot around the corner, maybe shoot off a log.
Doing something; make sure you’re doing training all the time, and not just laying out shooting.
Q: For a lot of shooters in New Zealand, the civilian shooters, most of their training is all done on flat range. So, when they get up and start doing some field shooting with us, and come out to a couple of competitions, apart from maybe the couple of shots they take, hunting during the year. It’s the first time they’ve actually intentionally got up off there and shot.
A: They’re not comfortable.
Q: No, you turnaround and point out to them; if they’re hunting, and that’s what they doing it for, you should be doing more of that than the flat shooting.
Like you say, once you’ve sussed the system and you know that that’s all good, you can get off your belly.
A: Yeah, and maybe it is. It’s just like always in my training; we start out on the flat range. I say flat range, we start at prone. And, we move from prone, all the way round it. I get guys come to me all the time, and they say, “Hey, we don’t want to be shooting off our belly, as little as possible. We want to be on tri-pods, bi-pods.” Whatever, unconditional shooting position that they may want to work on that day. And, I’m like, “Yep, fine. We’ll do as much of it as we can.”
And, we get out to the wind course, and sit down. And, the winds blowing 23 mph. And, they pull out their tri-pods, and I’m like, “Alright, let’s go ahead and start.” And, pretty quick, we’re back to the prone.
A: I laugh, and I tell them, “That’s great training, but that’s the training we do when the winds not blowing.” And, not saying that I would never shoot where the winds blowing off the tri-pod, but we train for up to that.
I’ve had military come in, and they go, “Hey, I want the guys in body armour and helmets, and blah, blah, blah, the whole time.” And, I’m like, “We’re going to be crushing their brains with math and problem solving. So, let’s ease up that for a little bit.” I said, “I’ll tell you what, when the guys are actually hitting all their targets, or at least 70 percent of them. Then we’ll put them in kit and make them run.” And they’re, “Hey, that’s a good idea.”
Most of the times we never get to the kit. We may get to the kit on the last day for competition, for play a little bit. But, we really need to focus on; only one reason we miss targets, is wind.
So, it’s not elevation. I tell everybody, in a box ammo, you’ve got to be able to take a scope that I give you, mount it on your gun, or a gun. Get your gun zeroed, get your gun trued. Now, you have everything out to transonic, inside of supersonic. And, do DSF, which is at least 200 metres into subsonic. In a box of ammo, and in ten minutes.
This is quick. This is known; this is science. So, this is not anything that’s, I need forty rounds in half a day to get my dope, like we used to. Or half a day was a joke, usually it’s two days to get your dope. And then we’d never even got out to the distances we’re shooting today, in ten minutes. So, it’s something that has obviously changed in a lot of the school houses that went to that.
You can shoot through a chrono, and if you have a custom drag model; it’s gonna work, and that’s the proper way. And, if something along the lines doesn’t work out, you true the system up, and that fixes it. And, it’s usually, some other area that we’ve incorporated in the system.
So, there are also other contingencies like, potentially your barrel is degrading the BC of the bullet inside. I can remember a time that we had an Allure-88 sitting there. It was like Mark 13’s, which was Special Force, 300-win mags. And, everybody had a consistent, somewhere around .533 for the BC. And, I had one gun that never made .5 shooting the same ammo; same everything.
So, even if you shot that gun through a chronograph. Took it out and had a custom drag-more model for it. It’s not going to work.
Q: It’s different enough.
A: Yep. So, since it had a degraded BC; the barrel was doing. We couldn’t use the [31.06], with the custom drag model, that it was giving to us by the chronograph. So, we had to bend the [31.14], to accommodate for the bad BC, which was now an unknown.
We knew what it was, because we had Allure-88. But, you would have not known without the $20,000 88/8, or taken it to Doppler. So, but it was quick fix. You true the system, everything worked fine.
So, all the way he shot just as good as everybody on the range. And, that’s the key point of what truing is. It takes everything and fixes a math for you. Whether you know what the problem is or not.
So, we’ve been doing this. I tell people, I’ve have 700 people a year, for the last 12 years. And, out all those people, over 7000 guys; I’ve never had one person that truing didn’t work, if he did it right.
So, I’m sure we’ve had hundreds of people all over the world, that said, “Yeah, I tried truing it, it didn’t work.” But, I promise you, they’re not doing it right.
Q: Hence, and Kestrel, with one of their recent updates, added in the easy mode as well, to actually walk you through. If a guy using the Kestrel’s; they actually true up with it. It’s something that I was listening too. I think it was interview with yourself, Brian Litz. I forget his name, but the gentleman from Kestrel, at one of the shot expos.
A: Probably Nick [32.24].
A: So, Nick is our code writer. He does a lot of the integration between a laser range finder in the Kestrel talk; in the blue tooth. So, that’s his huge part of the system, is he’s our code writer and our intergrader; so, he’s our head tech guy. You might say.
Q: So, that’s the thing with truing for me. Because, there’s a lot of common thinking now. They’re talking about truing your BC’s and doing distance with that.
A: Yeah, the problem; so, let’s stop real quick there. On truing BC’s, we’ve all done it back in the past. I think, back in the day, when I first started; we didn’t have a truing option. So, it was, we played with our BC’s, and we played with our [33.08]. And, we played everything that we could, to try and make everything match up and work.
I can remember, I had to have three different guns. And, I’d played with each of them individually to make a gun work. So, I had zero to 500; and, 500 to 700; and, 700 to 1,000. And, I just select the range. But, it’s all the same gun, but it was a different set of ballistics that kind of made it work. Obviously, we didn’t know what we were doing.
So, we moved away from that. And, at the time I was actually truing BC’s, and I can remember asking Ken Allure, because I was doing some testing for the government. I talked to Ken Allure, the Allure 35P inventor.
So, Doctor Allure told me, he said, “Hey Todd,” I told him I need to buy an Allure 45. He said, “What are you doing?” I said, “Well, I’m doing some military testing. I need actual BC’s and data.” He said, “How are you doing it?” I said, “I kind of hate to tell you, because it’s kind of country.” He said, “Well, tell me what you’re doing.” I said, “Well, I take a sheetrock, and I put it out at transonic, and I shoot through a chronograph, and I shoot ten shots. I take the average [34.07]. So, I plug it in, and I change the BC in the system until it matches; for me and my groups printing.”
He said, “Don’t buy my equipment.” And, I thought I’d pissed him off, and I said, “Hey look, I kind of need it for this government test.” He said, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” I said, “I know, that’s why I need your equipment.” He said, “No, what you’re doing is giving you perfect real BC’s.” The problem with that though. So, now we can move forward.
So, he agreed that we can find our BC that way. But, when we find our BC, you’re actually finding your comparative. Comparison of efficiency is basically what you might say a BC is.
So, a G1BC is 1BC. The standard G7BC, or the standard G7 drag model, is a 1BC. They’re both one inch in diameter, and weight one pound. The problem with that is, if I take the 1BCG1 standard model, compare it to the G7, now it’s 8.512. So, it’s no longer a G1, that’s a 1BC. It is now a G1 that is a .512 in a G7. So, the G7 number four, it’s .512; the G1 number four, it’s 1.
So, what has happened when you true out your BC’s. You’re actually changing or accepting a G7 or a G1, as the drag model that you want to use, which is obviously not what your bullet is. It maybe closely resembled by the G7, but it’s not the G7.
So, the math that we use for it, is not perfect. Now, I tell everybody, and we teach in our class; G1, G7 custom drag models. And, even a bad BC that’s trued. So, if you get a bad BC off the internet and you don’t know it’s bad, but you true the systems out, which basically means you just true your [35.53] out. What you’re gonna find is you’re going to be perfect to supersonic. And, with all of them.
So, even the bad BC with the bad [36.01], is still within a tenth of a mile, and we’re looking at every 100 metres all the way out. Once you trued that system out. So, everything works perfect, until you get to and into sub; so, now the G1 is not going to give you correct math, and the G7 isn’t going to give you correct math. The G7 isn’t still better, and I’d advise you using it, only if you don’t have a custom drag model.
The custom drag model [36.25], spends a lot of time to actually developing. Once he came down and looked at truing, and what we’re doing with truing. He started making custom drag models, and we adopted the truing into the AB. It was already into the [36.37] at the time, under [36.38]. And, I had BC extrapolation, which basically has turned into a DSF. We’ve just changed the way it actually works in the system.
So, it’s subsonic truing. Once I built that into the system. We kind of kept it in the system, with Brian. And, then he built custom drag models at that time for each bullet. So, now we’re using the math made for that bullet.
So, anytime that true BC, you’re actually degrading your capability once you get into sub. It works find in supersonic.
Q: I think that’s the thing, as well. You see so much conversation online and locally, and guys having this conversation; we’re talking about truing and all these bits and pieces. And, then you realise, we’re talking also about shooting five, six, 700 metres anyway, and we’re going deeper and deeper.
It’s the thing of seeing guys on the line; they’ve taken a shot, they’ve missed. And, the first thing they do is get their phone out; get the [37.25], get a chart. Trying to do all this high-end maths on it.
I remember saying to a guy, “Did you see where the bullet hit, or where you missed?” He’s like, “Yeah.” I said, “You’ve got a reticle in there?” “Yeah.” Well? Stop overthinking it; at this distance it’s okay.
That was a good day for me, because I got to watch this guy do it, and previously I’d been the same. If I’d missed, I would have figured out how my maths was wrong.
A: Yeah, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of other errors. Take extreme spread of your ammo. I see a lot of guys, they get all wrapped up around, they shoot. But, there’s a lot of other variables that come into play. Like, MB temp tables, and are you managing the temperature sensitivity of the patter for ammo.
When we look density altitude; we can look at 700 metres. 2,000 for that density altitude change, which is 16 degrees of Celsius change. Which we probably already had this morning, from the time I got up at day break until now, or close to it.
That’s 2,000 feet, or what 600 metres of density altitude difference. But, at 700 metres, it’s only .25mls. So, there’s not that much. But, we may have also seen an increase of 40 feet per second in your powder; in your burns rate. Because, of the hotter temperature.
So now, the density altitude and the MB temp tables, are totally separate monsters that we have deal with. Density altitudes easy; temp tables something we have work on. And, if you’ve shooting ammo that is temperature sensitive, that 40 feet may be. Well, it will be, it’ll be more like a .35mls, at that distance.
So now, if it doubled; if it was increased in velocity and increased in DA, which it would be as it got hotter. Now, we’re .5 off. So, it’s actually there’d be .6 off in total, between the two.
But, then they look at it, it’s like; well, I need to true my system. Well, in a way, if they recollect their atmospherics and re-true the [39.27], now everything’s correct. But, they’re only managing more of the 1D world, instead of a 3D world.
So, if he goes out in the morning, and tries to shoot a fowl at 700 metres, he’s gonna miss.
Q: It’s out again.
A: Yeah, because he’s not managing the system; the system still includes MB temp tables.
So, I went [39.43] this year, up in Wyoming. I’d looked at the forecast, and it was not supposed to be somewhere between 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and maybe 60 degrees Fahrenheit, for the cold to the hot of the day.
I went out and I froze ammo; got it to 18 degrees. And then it was 66 degrees ambient temperature that day, after lunch; so, I left the ammo in the car all day. Went out and grabbed my cold ammo and went out shot it immediately after lunch; 1200 metres, hit the target in the centre. Grabbed my hot ammo; stuck it in, hit the target centre again, boom. H1000’s not very temperature sensitive; so, it’s awesome. So, I didn’t have to build a quick MB temp table for my 300 Norma.
So, it was something that we need to manage more. It’s one of the biggest problems I think, that people don’t manage, because they don’t understand it. But, if you’re a long-range shooter, and you’re not running MB temp tables. I don’t consider you a long-range shooter. Because that is a huge part of the problem.
Q: You hear a lot of the guys who are reloading, where sort of the winter will say, is almost the off season; so, that’s where they’ll do a lot of their reloading, load testing. Everything like that. And, you get to summer, nice wonderful day field shooting and everything, out in the beating sun. And, they fire that load that they’d got up to max pressure, in winter. Suddenly, bolts are stacking. Well, it’s not hitting, and everything as well.
A: That, blowing primers. Yeah, and velocities are nowhere near what they thought they were, or what they did test; what they really were. But, it’s something that, not only in load development, but in actual use. Even for the military. If we go out and we train and it’s zero degrees, and then we go train and it’s 40 degrees.
Unfortunately, we’ll lay down; check our zero, get a quick true, shoot the rest of day. We’re all good; we hit every target. Everything’s awesome. We may have missed for wind, but we always miss for wind. That’s when we train.
So, that gives a good warm and fuzzy. But, unfortunately in the hunting world, and my passion is long-range hunting. But, in the hunting world, just like in the military, [41.42] world, when they call you out; you’re expected to take one shot and hit a target, no matter what the temperature it is.
And, if you have shot all day. The day prior, and it was warm that afternoon. You go in the next morning at zero degrees, when you have to take a shot at daybreak. If you’re not running MB temp tables, you’re not hitting long-range targets. So, if your ammos temperature sensitive.
So, obviously the number one thing is, like me; grab the H1000 powders that shoot very well. Hot or cold, and something you can rely on. But, unfortunately most of the militaries around the world don’t have that capability. They’re not shooting H1000; they’re shooting other things.
So, it’s an issue. But, it’s something that is very deterministic. We know what the answer is. We know how to find it. We plug in the MB temp tables in the Kestrel. Now, when you collect your ambient temperature, it gives you the correct [42.29]. We’re off and running; easy day.
Q: Something you said, just reminded me of something else I got to see recently. And, it’s good, because it gets guys into the shooting and encourages them. But, shooting out. For example, I was shooting my 308, out over a kilometre; so, a bit of distance. And, I just knew with my load, I was in transonic. I hadn’t trued it out to that distance.
So, I had one round going it. The next one would go off to the side; I’m going for side. They all felt good to me. But, I just knew, that I was at that point with that system, that I wasn’t going to be hitting all the target all the time, even if did my best.
A: Yeah, just extreme spread, it’s going to happen.
Q: Yeah, and I knew that was okay. So, I sat back, and went, ‘yeah, that’s right, I know I’m at my limit’. But, I was also observing guys who would take the same amount of shots at me, hit one. And, now that was it; now, they’re a long-range hunter. Because they’ve done it once.
Q: So, do you, for guys who are wanting to get into long-range hunting. It’s something that’s growing all around the world, down here as well. Do you have sort of a guideline for guys? Because, maybe the person who does it, doesn’t have a guideline. But, for guys who want to go, ‘What’s my capacity now as a long-range hunter’. Is it hit every time?
A: It really goes back to what your confidence level is; truly. I’ve hunted all my life. I even put my guns down for seven years, and strictly hunted with a bow. Just bought a bow here recently, to kind of get back into bow hunting.
It’s the field craft; it’s being close, it’s the adrenaline, it’s everything that hunting is. It’s awesome. But, in bow hunting, I hated the guys that hunted with crossbows. Because, the science in the trigger. That was rifle shooting. Short-range refile shooting is what called it.
So, we didn’t think that they should be able to hunt in our season, which was, really when you understand bow hunting, it’s not getting close to the animal; it’s actually, once you get close to the animal. Now, you have to draw your weapon, or draw your bow back without the animal seeing you. And, being able to be still enough, quiet enough, to get the shot off.
So, getting up that close is not a kill. It’s actually getting at to full draw, with the animal getting into the shot; exposed. You may be at full draw, and then he turns. And, then you’re sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting, and waiting for him to turn; so, that is bow hunting.
So, to sit there and pick up my bow slowly, or my crossbow, slowly pick it up and shoot quickly. That’s not bowhunting in Todd’s world; so, that’s my opinion. There’s a lot of people would be pissed at me right now. But, I still agree with myself.
Q: Once you get used to that, [45.09].
A: Yeah, I’m used to people being pissed with me. So, that’s okay, I’m used to it.
So, my deal is, and it goes back to, there is a certain season given to bow hunters because of what it is. Maybe crossbows should be the week after that. But, it shouldn’t be in our season. I’m not saying it should be illegal to hunt with them. I’m saying it shouldn’t be in the same early season that the bow hunters get.
And then, same thing, once we get into rifle shooting long-range. My son killed his deer last year at 2040 metres. So, we’ve killed at 2040; 2009; 1630. We’ve had pig kills at 1873; 1504; 1550, two weeks ago. So, it’s we’ve done a lot of long range shooting.
I know the competencies of the guys that I shoot with. So, a buddy of mine, owns the ranch next to me. The guy that actually patented deer cloning. Me and him went out and saw a big deer, and he decided he was going kill it. It was on his own property, and seasoned; so, it’s all legal.
We go out the next day and we get set up. And, we ended up taking the deer at 700 metres. Well, that’s not long-range, but it was his long-range; so, there’s nothing derogatory. I have people ask me all the time, “What’s long-range?” And, I’m like, “What’s long-range to you?”
What I hate is when people set rules based off their limits, for me. So, if they go: we should never shoot deer over 300 metres. I would never shoot with a gun, properly I’d just hunt with the bow. If that was an actual law. Not that there is anything wrong that; it’s just not for me at that point.
I consider long-range, whatever long-range is for you; that you feel you should be able to hit and you’re competent that you should be able to hit. My son, we work at it hard to go out, and we practice. And, when we were filming the long-range made easy video. He was shooting my 300-Norma. And, we got ready for the mile shot. And, we’ve got a 308 with me, and the 300-Norma with him.
I said, “Alright, go ahead and make your call.” I give him a wind call, and Brian’s looking at the Kestrel, and doing winds. He gives a wind call, and we sit there, and he shoots a first round, hit. It’s on the 16-inch plate, with 12H head. And, immediately a first round hit. We’re high-fiving; happy.
So, the cameras get up and move around. I tell him, I said, “Alright Coby, here’s the deal. We’re not lying. You hit the first round.” This is beauty role; so, we just need a different angle of the same thing happening. So, this is just for camera work.
I said, “When you see your bullet hit the dirt and miss. Now, make sure the time of flights correct. And then, we’ll high-five again. Just like we did the first time.” And so, he shot four out five, first round hits. And each shot had about a 15-minute variable by the time they got set up.
So, it was truly a first round shot. But, he was able to get four out five, in a mile. He’s very good at long-range shooting. So, a mile shot for Coby is, I’m not going to say easy, but we do it enough that we’re very competent at it. Especially with that calibre.
Now, if you said, “Hey, I’ll give you a $1,000 to hit that target at a mile with your 308, but if you miss it, you’ll give me $100.” I’m not going to take that bet. Because, I’ve seen how many bullets we put down range, trying to hit targets in.
Once you understand the math; the extreme spread of the ammo. What the actual minute of angle capability you have at that range, based off your ammo. So, if I take military ammo, I know I could be a half ml higher, half ml low, and do the best shot in the world. And making perfect wind call. I also know you’d be off half ml and miss the targets.
So, and we can’t judge. Especially, when you’re shooting winds that are potentially 16mph to 20mph, at those top ranges, or even a variable; six to eight mph wind. You’re probably missing 80 percent of the time with the 308, just based off the extreme spread.
So, once you understand the math. The math, the knowledge, kinds of tells you what you’re capable of. So, if you’re shooting a 300-Norma that’s very capable at that distance as far as extreme spreads, and minute of angle grouping. That tells you kind of what you should be able to do. And then you have to look at winds; how competent are you with your winds, do you have MB temp tables built, what temperature of the day is it, what’s your ammo.
But, once you learn more, and have more knowledge of the system. Then that allows you to go further. Not saying that everybody that understands the maths, should be out there shooting deer at 1600 metres.
Q: No, because you still need to do your part on it.
A: I’m a huge fan of anybody getting out, pulling the trigger. I don’t care if it’s at 10 metres with a pellet rifle, all the way through to a 50, at 3000 metres. But, I think we should be very competent when we’re taking those long-range shots. And, very responsible also, because what we don’t want to do is lose our hunting rights because we’re wounding animals.
It’s the same thing with the bow and arrow. It wasn’t that we had to share with the crossbow guys. It was that we didn’t like the fact that you could pick up a bow at Walmart, the night before bow season, and not even know how to sight it in; go out the next morning and legally hunt in our season.
The reason we didn’t like it is because of the extended season a month, they would do that, and they’d stick a deer in the rear, and run off. And, now everybody sees there’s a deer with an arrow sticking out of him. Everybody’s like, we need to stop bow hunting.
Well, they don’t stop and look at how many hours we put in with a bow, and same with a rifle. What they look at is see one irresponsible person that just run out there and took a long-range shot. Threw it out over the mountain, and then it hit the deer, and he’s walking around with the back leg broken. And, will that happen, yes; it’s going to happen.
Q: But, I think you need to accept that as a hunter, at some point.
A: I know plenty of guys that have wounded and lost animals at 200 yards.
A: Or, 60 yards.
A: So, it’s not something that we’re fixing by saying no long-range hunting. I can guarantee there was more animals wounded and lost inside of 200 metres than there probably has ever been, wounded and lost, at long-range.
I’m not saying that we should all shoot long-range. I’m just saying that we can’t look at small instances. And, it’s hard put limitations on anybody. I think it must be self-done.
With bows, I wouldn’t mine having to hit a pop-plate at 20 metres; to be able to have a bow hunting licence. Only because it’s helping us. I don’t like regulation. I don’t like big brother. I don’t like more government, at all.
But, we must have fuel to fight the anti-world. The anti-hunting world. We have to say we’re managing our deal; we’re taking care of it. We’re trying to do the best that we can to be responsible for you.
Q: I often say to people. If you don’t self-regulate, then government and somebody else must come in and regulate for you. And, they must do it so heavy handed, because they’re now not regulating for you. They’re regulating for lowest common denominator.
Q: So, you much better to self-regulate. In that way, because you set your own boundaries and negotiate that.
A: Yep, I agree. But, then I wouldn’t want anybody taking a 556, and shooting at a 1000, at a red deer, either. To me that’s irresponsible. Again, with knowledge. And, I don’t know how we regulate that stuff. Because, it’s a long hard deal to self-regulate, and say this calibre is no good.
I’ve had people say a 22/250 is no good for hunting mule deer. I’ve killed more mule deer with a 22/250 when I was young, than any other gun I’ve killed a mule deer with afterwards. And, only shot them one shot. So, and we’ve shot them out to distance with it. I’ve only had to take one shot to dispatch one. I think shot placement; it’s everything.
I would hate to see the day that a father and his son, couldn’t go out and go on a hunt. And, that we set restrictions, he must be 13, before he can go hunting, or 16, or 18. I’m not opposed to calibre restrictions though. To where if you’re going to hunt, you can’t hunt with 22, for deer.
A: We have a similar thing for the regional parks, and stuff. You can’t go out with a 22. Sorry, a 22 [53.55]; like, a 22 LA. You can’t hunt with those in the bush. That’s not to say people haven’t dropped animals in situations with them.
Q: Yeah, I know. It’s very lethal. It is something that can be done. And, it’s just a 300-blackout. I’m not a fan of 300-blackouts for hunting. I know too many people that have lost animals with them; so, for that reason, I’m not a fan.
But, there is nothing to say that it’s not a lethal weapon in the right hands. But, you must assess it and look it, realistically. Then you must always stop and say, am I being the responsible hunter and not jeopardising everybody else’s rights, based off my desire of wanting to kill something with a 300-blackout, or something like that.
I think it’s just being responsible is important.
A: Something I often share with people. Is Stephen [54.48]; meat eater, over in the States. He said, “If you take a shot at an animal, and you’re surprised that you hit. Then that’s not ethical.”
A: You should be surprised if you miss. That should be how it is. But, you see guys who take a shot, and they’re all going, “I actually hit the thing.” You’re like, “You expected not to?” Even himself, he’s had stuff where he’s missed. It’s like, don’t know what happened. But, it’s just that mindset.
Q: And, there’s other opportunities there. It depends on how people want to look at it. But, there is pest animals, in the United States; like, the indigenous pig population. It’s destroying fields. And, farmers, they hate them; they’d love for people to come in and kill the pigs. And now it’s becoming a cash crop, because many people would like to go down and go hunting pigs.
But, if you did shoot at a pig long-range, and you were surprised you hit him. That’s an animal that they want dead anyway. So, it’s kind of like, you were surprised you hit him, you hit him, everything goods. Even then I would still hate to wound one even though he’s a pest animal.
But, that would be a good start for a long-range. Especially, for people in the States who have access to come down and do some long. And, it’s year-round; there’s no real season on pigs.
So, it gives people the opportunity to maybe potentially like and train for a deer hunt. That they might want to push their limits on. But, actually train to the level they very good and confident.
Q: Like you’re not saying, I want to suggest that it just means that it’s open day to wound and injure these animals. It also means if it’s not the perfect meat saver shot, on the animal, for example. Then it won’t matter. For us we’ve got the goats. We’ve got wallabies down south. It’s still ethical. We still want to do everything to make sure that they drop.
Q: Retrieving is maybe not always a concern. Because they’re a pest animal; they can just go.
A: Yeah, exactly.
Q: So, anyway; hunting.
A: Yeah, it can go on; on and on and on.
Q: And, so many subjects; cool.
One thing as an interjection; how long have I got your for? While I think about this.
A: Oh yeah, we’re good; I’ll tell you.
Back to the shooting technique side of it. And, this is sort of a bit of selfish question. Because it’s been something I’ve been working on recently. And, it’s a two-part thing, I suppose.
I’m a lefty; left hand. As a [57.14]; I was left eye dominate. So, when I first picked up my first air rifle; left, left. No problem. Many years of doing photography and videography. I think, I’ve actually trained myself to almost switch over to the right eye.
So, when I started up pistol shooting. A couple of years ago. They did the whole test, and everything. And, now I was right eye dominate. But, there’s nothing that would make me pick up a magnified optic or a rifle, and make me want to look through it, through my right eye.
So, it’s two questions. Because guys talk about cross-eyed dominance. Which I’ve never been able to really read or figure out.
How practically does that affect somebody shooting a magnified optic, where they might just close their off-eye? And, the other thing that backs into, it’s something I’ve been playing with recently, is shooting with both eyes open, verse one eyed closed.
Q: I shoot with both eyes opened all the time. When as soon as you close your eye, you start putting strain on your eyesight. I have a friend that I met way back, in the cowboy action world. And, she had set several world records, in the military shooting rifles. And, she was crossed eye dominate.
But, she would take scotch tape and put it on her glasses, to where it would blur. She couldn’t see through it. But, it would be like, light to go into her eye; so, that she didn’t put the stress on everything.
I don’t think it’s a problem a lot of times. I’ll push a weapon system that’s maybe set up to fire right-handed and push it over to the left shoulder. And, still fire it right-handed, but with the left eye.
We trained military that way for years. And, the guys seemed to get on real well with it and have no issues. They can still run the bolt fast. It’s set up for right-handed weapon systems. Shoot through the left-eye, left shoulder, and just use the rear back here, and run everything, and it’s not a problem.
Q: I think the only physical time I found a challenge, is running a right-handed fire arm and shooting left for me, is some of the positional stuff. Where I’m hold together, and then just when I move my hand.
Prone makes really little difference. Because I’m supported enough; I don’t need to do it.
A: That’s a big part of positional shooting, is problem solving. A lot of times they may go; alright, this a weak side position. And, everybody’s running into the same problem that you’re running into here.
Q: We do it with one of our competitions; the 22 com. We force people to switch shooting left-side, right-side of post. And, you need to shift over to your left or right shoulder, and [59.32] your eye.
One of the competitors pointed out me, he was legally blind in one of his eyes. It’s all good; he still did okay with it.
But, what I found just practicing, and I think the big thing for everyone. You just try these things. I just tried shooting, both eyes open; left, and I was still hitting targets. It’s more just getting used to that.
A: All times you try to focus harder too. You’re working, and you end up shooting better.
Q: Yeah. Well, we did that with the course I did recently. And, I’d mentioned to them at the beginning, one of my goals was to learn to shoot right-handed. So, occasionally I could do it. Or, I picked up a stock that was not ambidextrous. And, half way through the course, he said, “You’re doing very well. Now, just put it on your other shoulder.”
I think what it was, is I didn’t have any bad habits, because I’d never done it. So, it was like starting; shooting again.
So, you mentioned like with aiming. I think it was in the long-range shooting, four years ago. But, the recent DVD. Aim at the reticle; aim, aim, aim, aim. I’ve heard other people say reticle, reticle, reticle.
Have you got, called it in here, a mantra. Have you got sort of this shooting check-list that you run through in your head every time?
A: Yeah, I think everybody does.
Q: And, what is it for you.
A: So, a lot of it is, you start out with natural point of aim. So, you make sure your alignment, if it’s available; you make sure you have proper alignment for recoil management. The most important thing after the shot, is to be able to see where you missed, potentially. And, make a good fast shot correction.
So, recoil management should be nearly a starting point. To allow yourself a better position to potentially be able to see impact. But, after that, it kind of runs back to that making sure what your elevation hold is and knowing it without having to go back and check again. And, my deal is all about speed.
As hunters, when you’re hunting, so many times you get to a point; you found the animal, by the time you got your gun set up and now you looked at your dope sheet, whether it’s in your kestrel or wherever you’re keeping your dope sheet. And, you look back, and the animals gone! But, he was there long enough to take a shot, if you would have been ready.
And, I think being well prepared like that, is huge. So, again, to me loading out. Again, part of the recoil management in that initial starting process; getting set up, looking at my dope, removing parallax. Now, I shoot with a scope shutter, on every shot.
So, it also removes parallax, if I don’t have time to set up there and remove it. I’ll remove parallax if I have the time; if I have the leniency to do that. If I don’t scope shutter, or I’m shooting with scope shutter; it does the same thing.
So, what it means is the perception of where your reticle is; is exactly where it is. It takes care of that for you. And then, I’m gonna aim all the way through the shot; so, I’m always looking at a major reference point, on target.
And, by doing that, it’s always reticle, reticle, reticle; as you’re pulling your trigger. So, you’re focus, focus, focusing. And, you always stay cognisant; so, of what the winds doing.
So, if my baseline wind, like right now while we’re setting, is probably 10mph, from the left or maybe from ten o’clock; then I would set that up in my mind. But, if I start to feel a change; I’m always thinking about what the winds doing while I’m standing up pulling trigger.
Because so many guys get wrapped up; they make a wind call, and they’re going to shoot it, come hell or high water. And, we need to be flexible. We need to say, ‘hey, the winds dying, I’m not going to shoot 10; I’m going to shoot 8 right now. And, we need to be able to flex and know what that wind is. Or, at least, potentially make those small incremental changes.
So, I think in something that it’s a living, breathing environment, in it’s real time. And, I think too many people get wrapped up in, ‘hey, I need to do this 27 check-list’. Our 27-point check-list, and by the time they get ready to take the shot; the animals coming up the next hill, in the background again. So, now they must redo everything. But, it becomes useless, at a point.
So, I think too many guys think the bigger the check-list, maybe the more seasoned they are. And, I’m very pointed about certain things on my check-list. I want to make sure how I’m loading my bi-pods into my shoulder; my natural point of aim pushing into the target. Removing parallax, if I have the time. Aiming through the shot.
Breathing is not something that I do the way that normal competition shooters do. I’ve shot competition. We take a big deep breath in to oxygenate our eyes; you let it out, take another one in, let half of it out. That’s when we then shoot on your natural pause. That’s competition shooting. That’s not hunting, and that’s not military.
So, the wounded ducks we call them; the little biddy spots in your eyes as you’re losing oxygen, that kind of start drifting away. Or, if you’re looking at your reticle, how it can kind of blur out on you, and then come back in. Those are things that happen with oxygen lost.
Obviously, I’ve haven’t seen a wounded duck, or had a reticle disappear, while we’re sitting here talking. So, the point areas; I breath while I’m shooting just like I breath when I’m talking.
So, it’s slow breathes out, like we are when we’re talking, and then a slow breath back in; if I have the time. If I may need to; I may take a quicker deep breath in and let it out, like I’m talking. So, what that does, it gives the same capability, but it gives a speed that we need.
And, I hate it when I hear; I get behind the guy and he’s fixing to take a shot. And, he takes this big deep breath in, and likes a big deep breath out. Like, he’s trying to impress everybody around him that he didn’t forget to breath.
And, my deal is, ‘oh, why don’t you already take the shot’? You made your wind call now five minutes ago; so, the winds changed, all because you’re going through your 27-point check-list. And, that’s nearly a guaranteed miss.
But, he probably maybe did the wind call before he laid down. He probably would have hit more targets that day, if he wouldn’t have been adamant about going through his self-imposed check-list.
And, I’m not saying any of that’s bad. But, it needs to be realistic; needs to be condensed. It needs be something like; know why you’re doing what you’re doing.
So, I would advise people to go through their own check-list; then let it grow, based off problems. But, condense it; ask yourself why is number one number one, what is number two, and why is it there. Do I really need it; how could we work around it, where I don’t need that part of the check-list.
So, instead of being that guy that says, “Hey, you ought to always grow your check-list, because as you get more seasoned you’re gonna have many more things that you become knowledgeable of, that you need to take care of.” And, you will. But, you can remove number three and four, because nobody has to tell you, point your gun at the target, anymore.
Q: You would hope with the practice, in some ways; with the more practice, the more ingrained it becomes and less of a challenge, that it’s muscle memory – the loading processes. Maybe we shouldn’t have to be consciously thinking about them as much of that trigger, because hopefully we’ve done enough practice to knock it out.
A: I can’t tell you, in the last many years, I had to think about my trigger. So, my trigger, because I shoot as much as I shoot; my trigger is just as natural as breathing, as far as pulling a trigger.
Obviously, we’re not slapping triggers. Doing stuff like that. But, it’s a slow gentle squeeze. There is a surprise break; while I’m aiming the whole time. That’s my trigger control.
Q: My involvement is primarily competition. And, there’s nothing like putting a 60 or 90 second time limit, buzzer, on someone; to see how their shooting actually is. Because, like you say, you go to the range, you can sit there all day until everything’s comfortable, and the wind drops back down. But, it’s like, you’ve got 60 seconds to do this; it won’t be perfect when you do it, it’s gonna be a case of as good as possible.
A: I love time constraints, because stress is so involved in most of our shooting, especially in the hunting. And, in the military for those guys, and in law enforcement; most of the time when a real shot is taken, there’s a lot of stress involved.
So, the only real way we can put stress on ourselves, most of the time, is through time limits; so, it makes you hurry up. And really, it’s perfect for, even if it’s self-imposed, get a packed timer, set it on two minutes, and then when you start beating the two minute-one, start setting it as a second and a half.
Q: But, what I’ve noticed for the long-range shooting; is while you put a time limit on most people, they do the opposite. Say you’ve got five shots; you’ve got 90 seconds – they’ll get them done in 30 seconds. And, you actually have the opposite. You’re like, ‘you’ve got more time than you think, slow down’.
And, through observation, for the competition; the guys who are really good, who are experienced, they’ll take all of the time that’s available. No more, but if they’ve got 60 seconds; that’ll be 55.
A: Yeah. Well, that’s a maturity. So, what you learn, through setting self-imposed time limits on yourself, is I had more time; I could have taken a couple more seconds aiming to break the shot. And, it’s the same thing in hunting.
A lot of times if you’re rushed, and you get set up and you want to hurry to take the shot, but if you’ll just pause for a minute; you look around, the stags got another 100 metres before it gets to the wood. He’s not running. He’s not even walking. He’s following that hind. He’s going to go where she is.
He’ll present a shot, and probably a standing still shot. Be patient. Don’t take the trotting shot while he’s chasing her; if they’re all running towards a herd that’s still standing. Because they may get to them and stop and give you that luxury of a not steal shot.
So, I think it’s maturity; knowing when to slow down, knowing when to say hold. Just let it mature; let the shot mature. And then while you’re doing that, breath; relax, reset your position.
Instead of being tense the whole time. And, now you’ve got lactose acid built up and you’re shaking all over the place. And, you forgot to breath.
Like I say, I love hunting. And, if hunting ever gets to the point that it’s not exciting; I don’t want to do it anymore. That’s why we go and do it. You learn how to manage those situations that when there’s excitement, you can slow down. And, then you train for it.
So, if you’re beating the two second time limit, but you’re rushed; try to learn to slow down, and just beat the two second time limit. And, then put a faster time limit on it. But, be smooth; smooth is fast. Learn; make sure you’re always smooth.
And, I see guys – it’s usually poor planning – they get everything set up, and they forgot their rear bag; so, they run back, or reach over, set the gun down, get it set up. And, they forget their kestrel; then they reach back and grab their kestrel. And, it’s just like, be you prepared; mentally go through it.
But, that’s what training does; it teaches you how to prepare. And, when you make a mistake, learn from the mistake; don’t repeat it.
Q: Yeah, I think that’s also an important thing with training. Is people focus, maybe just on that pulling of the trigger. That’s their training. It’s also that setup initially when you get behind the rifle; where is everything around you. Like you say, where’s your kestrel, where’s your range finder. Set up your workspace. That’s part of your training; do that. Put everything away, do it again; oh, actually it’s better if it just there.
A: Yeah, and a lot of times for me, it’s also, we’re going to be in this situation when we reach over and grab the kestrel, and the kestrel battery dies. A couple of years ago, I took a guy on a hunt, and the battery died; and, I always carry two kestrels.
Obviously, if it was on, what I call a real hunt – if I would have been down here in the South Island – I would have made sure I had a brand-new battery in that thing, that morning. I wouldn’t have walked out with four percent.
But, it’s one of those things. The kestrels stay in my vehicle, and I’ll just reach over and grab one. And, we were set up and running.
Now, through knowing more about what I know. We’ve developed new ways of shooting long-range like that. I say long-range, that was a 700-metre shot that we talked about earlier.
But, I’ve developed a new method called speed-drop. For no other reason, then I didn’t have time to think about whether they wanted to name it; so, I just called it speed-drop. But, now I can give you your hold every ten metre, all the way out to a range, which is what we still consider inside speed-range.
So, like with my 300-Norma; out to 1200 metres. With a 338; out to 900 metres. But, from 300 to 900, until you drop every ten metres; based off one number. So, you don’t have to remember anything.
So, I wrote an article in the Sniper magazine this year, about speed dropping. It’s like with a 338 [01.12.36] with a 300 grain, or 250 grain; it may be a minus two, minus one gun. So, when I say minus two. You look at your range at 700, minus two; would be 5 mls. But, if we said; alright, now it’s 730, minus two, minus one; would be 5.2. So, it’s that fast.
So, and now, as soon as you hear range; you already know your holding, and you take your shot. And, you set your limit of accuracy that you want; so, you may be .2 mls off, but that’s two-thirds minute of angle and spray within your capability of the weapon anyway.
If you want more accuracy, it’s easier with your range; decreases slightly if you want the .1 level of accuracy. But again, when we get set up and fast. I tell guys all the time, “Know what’s going to happen before it happens.”
So, we go up and do long-range hunting in the evening; November, December, and January. And, every evening, we’re on top of the hill shooting at animals, anywhere between, usually 700 to 2000 metres, and most of its past 1500.
But, if a cow shows up on the field. We always take the cows out first, and the deer don’t seem to care when we’re shooting at the cows; so, they don’t even move. And so, we’ll set up.
But, the main deal is, like you said, have your workspace done; so, know what range the centre pivot is, know what range the deer stand is, know what range the back fence is, know what range the deer feeder is. And then when something pops out; you’re not stopping and ranging it.
Obviously, the range finder is attached to the spotting scope. It’s hang off it, to where we’re not running over there to get it out of the pickup and coming back. Set up your workspace; set it up right. Be able to be quick, but with proficiency and accuracy.
Efficiency is a huge deal when we’re hunting. I see a lot of guys miss opportunities; just because they weren’t prepared.
Q: I was going to ask you about, I guess, practice; and, I was going to ask you about drive fire. But, I would imagine, you don’t really need to do much in the way of drive fire, you actually do live fire?
A: Back, when I was shooting pistols a lot, especially back in cowboy action stuff. I would drive fire three hours a night, every night. So, in the pistol world, drive fire is more important than anything.
If you had me teach somebody how to shoot pistol. And, we had two people that I had to train them differently. I would have a one drive fire, three hours a night. And, we’d have another guy shoot 2000 rounds a day. I would nearly bet you money, the drive fire guys going to beat him when we shoot a competition in a month.
And, the reason why. Is you don’t see the mistakes you make when you live fire, but you do when drive fire. Now, rifle shooting; I like drive firing a rifle usually the first couple of times, just to know the trigger. If I know my gun; I don’t need to drive fire it anymore.
So, if I was borrowing a gun, here in New Zealand. And, was fortunate enough to get to go out on a hunt. First thing I’d do, once we got to the hunting area, I’d lay down; pre-pulling the trigger on an animal, I would drive fire. And, just make sure I knew when the gun was going to break.
Triggers are strange animals; they can be hard to pull, they can be way too light. They can be a little bit of everything. So, but once you know what it is; it is what it is. So, I’m a big fan of drive firing. Knowing where your reticle goes, when you drive fire; it tells you a lot about the pressure points that you have on your hand or shoulder, or something.
So, it’s something that I don’t practice anymore per say. It’s like, I’m not going to tell you I drive fire, 1,000 rounds a week. That doesn’t happen. But, if I borrowed a gun. I would definitely drive fire at prey ten times.
Q: Well, like you say, get used to that trigger. I’m currently reviewing one of the [01.16.09]; the tack A1’s.
A: Amazing guns.
Q: Part of it is because it’s a two-stage trigger. I’ve traditionally shot single, for field, on a Remington. And, I don’t want to go any lighter on that, because it’s a single. I don’t want to a bench-rest trigger. I’ve shot them. I would not take one into a field.
A: What calibre are you shooting at?
A: Yeah, it’s amazing.
Q: And, I needed to go and shoot a 6.5 [01.16.35]. Because I had other guys in it. So, but same thing, is I also lightened that trigger down the second stage as possible. Because that’s why I wanted to try it. But, I then spent a couple of evenings drive firing it. Because it was way lighter than I was used to. First couple of times on an empty chamber. Yes, I had a few, what would have been MD’s.
Q: So, I actually had a round up the spout. But, by the time I got out there and shot in the field, I was now used to it. And now, it’s going to be hard to go back to my [01.17.01]. That’s going to be the biggest challenge.
So, that’s the drive fire point of it. It’s just yeah, like you say, at least knowing the system.
The other part of that then. Beyond, like for practicing for a lot of us; I think the big thing most guys who are shooting out in the field, can do. One of the best things I think they could do, is practice calling the wind. Rather than being reliant on the kestrels.
A: Well, what we teach you; is calibre yourself. So, I don’t want you to get out, and pull out your kestrel, look at it. And then go, ‘okay, that’s 8mph’. What I want you to do, is get out of the vehicle; look at the wind. Put your hands up; kind of feel the wind. Get a feel of what it’s doing on your face.
Really try to guess, like your life was dependent on it. What is that wind right now. Why do I think it’s that? Calibrate yourself. And then take your kestrel, and go, ‘okay, I guessed eight, it’s only blowing six’. But, now you go, ‘alright, that’s six’.
Do that several times a day. Do that until, actually when you guess; you’re shocked when you don’t guess within a mile an hour of what the winds doing. So, I do that with my military guys.
So, starting out. They’ll get out of the vehicles. I’ll go, “Right, what’s the wind?” And, they’ll be like, “Shit, it’s blowing.”
Q: We refine it a bit more.
A: Yeah, it’s blowing, “So, how much do you think it’s blowing?” And, they’ll go, “I don’t know, 25?” And, I’ll go, “What do think it’s doing?” And, we’ll talk through it, “So, it’s probably only around 20, 21; gusting to maybe 23. So, pull out your kestrel, and look at it.” And, sure enough.
I’ve lived in [01.18.32] all my life, where wind is an everyday occurrence. So, it’s something I’ve calibrated myself too. But, that is also the next level. When the guys come out and they leave their kestrel in the vehicle, and then they shoot the wind course with known ranges. And, because they know their gun, they know their hold, and they’re guessing wind. To me that’s the epitome of where we should be.
The kestrel is an amazing tool. With the applied ballistic engine in it; it gives us the speed and accuracy. And, the density altitude; and, the wind. All wrapped up in a little package. Which is an amazing tool. But, it’s a tool; not a crutch. So, we need to use it as a tool.
I always tell the guys. We need to be able to do the job without it. But, use it for speed and accuracy. So, too many guys, if they left their kestrel in their vehicle. And, run out to shoot a stag on top of the hill, and forgot their kestrel; they wouldn’t even know what to do.
They would be totally lost. And, I’m not saying, just stag here down in New Zealand; anywhere in the world, the United States. Most hunters, if they run down the hill are like, “I don’t know where my kestrels at?” They’d be lost, and what their hold was; they wouldn’t know what the winds was, they wouldn’t know what wind call to make.
And so, that was one of the initial reasons I started making the trimmer reticles. Was to give a guy, give Billy a knowing winds, without doing any math. So now, if he just memorised his holds, which now speed-drop does that for us.
And, now I know my hold, and my wind, because it says there, it’s 4, 8, 12, mph. So, it’s like, I think it’s between 8 and 10; look down there and go, ‘well, I have 8 and 12mph dots on his kill zone’. So, go ahead and pull the trigger; I’m good.
Q: So, it’s been interesting. And, I’ve gone through it, and again, so much more to learn. But, I’ve sort of observed; you get to this point where you get every single gadget that you possibly can.
What really got me going, talking to another of friend of mine, Christian, we were watching some of Thomas’s Norway; THLR, the Norway. And, the same thing. They’re in a process, like you, simplifying, simplifying, simplifying.
So, it’s almost this process I think a lot people go through, of trying to get every single crutch that they can, and then realising it’s taken them half an hour to come up with the solution.
And, I did it, the same thing; I grabbed a kestrel. Because I was sweet; I won’t have to learn to read wind, I can just use a kestrel. Then one day, like you said, and one of the last times we went out shooting. There was a group of us. We sat on top of hill. We all wrote our guesses for distance and wind. And then, got the kestrels out.
And, that was probably more beneficial to the shooting, than it would have been going through two boxes of ammunition. And, not thinking about it.
Q: Absolutely. It’s the same way that we teach a miling target. So, in the military, guys would sit down and mil targets, the way; basically, be setup. They’d put the e-top in the back of a Humvee and drive out on the range, and then the guys would mil it. And, they’d go out and drive a little farther, and they’d do that five times.
Then they’d come back in two days, and I’d say, “Alright, you all suck. You’re gonna fail, if you don’t get better at this.” But, they gave them miling class; it was in the classroom. It was a good class, but it wasn’t a good class for a beginner.
So, what I started doing; proof for concept. We did 38 classes for the US military with guys, had not shot scopes before. And, we took them out. We gave them a trimmer-3 reticle; we gave a ballistic engine and kestrels. And, taught them how to shoot; groups, the first day. And, made them mil targets all afternoon. The next morning, shoot groups all day. The next afternoon, mil and shoot, based off what they milled it.
But, the first day, I numbered all the targets. I would say, “Right, mil every target.” And, they’d mil them. Then I’d go, “Right, target number two, what you’d get?” And, everybody would tell me. I say, “Right, that target mils .63. So, if you’re off more than .603. I want you to re-mil the target right now. Lay down; turn around. And, whatever you have do to make it be .63; do that.”
So, I said, “This isn’t an argument. You will make it read .63.” Because guys go, “There’s no way it’s .63. The only way I can see .63. Is if I do this.” I said, “Whatever that was. Do that the rest of the time you’re here.” So, and what do we call it, it’s calibrating your eye.
So, by doing ten targets. And, this is one of the things I see a lot of times in the military. They go through [01.22.41] school; they’ll learn how to ml. But, there’s still limited time that they get to shoot.
So, when the guys go out, and they book a range. They get steel put up. They don’t want to sit there and mil targets; they don’t want to waste two hours miling targets, when they get very limited training time. Because they do so many other things.
And then, once they lay down. It’s like, “Hey, I want to shoot all day. I don’t want mil targets.” So, they lose that skillset. And, I notice that when I put them on course of fire that is miling and shooting. They suffer a lot worse that when I give them ranges.
And, it’s really a known distance, if you know how to ml. So, what I tell them is, “Recalibrate at least four targets every day. So, if you hit the range, I want you to first mil it, and then I want you to range it; and, then you go into your kestrel and you change your image size until the range equals what it really ranges, and look at the image size; and, you think it’s 500, but it shows up being .65. Well, now you go; .6 is 500, so, .65 is like 460. And so, you go back in and you go, ‘ah, okay, it’s 460’, and the target is milled properly. So, now you say; okay, that’s .65; I can see it’s .65 now. So, you go to the next target.”
So, now you’ve maintained your skillset with four targets. But, it didn’t take long. You go out there and you it mil first. Take a guess. Then you actually range it, and then you change the image size until it shows that range. That’s the size it is. No argument. Make it read that. Do that four times. Now we’ve recalibrated our brain.
So, it’s works, and it keeps us good, and we’re not wasting time. You can do this in five minutes; so, and then you spend all day shooting. Which winds are the number one reasons that we need to keep practicing.
Q: The more I do it, the more I realise. It’s just like everything is good; it’s always going to be wind.
A: Oh, it’s always going to be wind.
Q: Another question here, which is again relevant to everything. We’re now pushing this whole idea of the recoil management. And, getting behind the rifle; so, that a big part of it is so you can see your hits; so, you can see your misses.
So, is there any tips, or suggestions; if you’re in a situation where you simply can’t see your misses either?
A: Yeah, you may be shooting in an area that there is heavy vegetation; the ground sweat, heavy vegetation. You’re not going to be able to see impacts. Again, that’s one of the hardest environments. That’s when you’d want a spotter, obviously.
I teach heavy single shooter; no spotters. I also teach heavy spotters. Because when you have a course fire that is heavy spotter related. The spotter learns more than the shooter. So, you remove the performance portion of his day. And, now all he has to do, is just go and call winds, and spot. And, he gets better.
So, I have three problems in my class. Number one problem is parallax. People don’t understand it enough, and don’t fix it good enough most of the time. Because most of the time in my world. The military, their eyes are young. And, their eye changes so fast, it’s hard to remove parallax completely out of their scope. For them.
The next ones, canning other rifles. So, we’re shooting without [01.25.54]. More wind calls are missed, not because they made a bad wind call. But, because they were candid when they shot.
Number threes, spotting. So, guys suck at spotting. They see the bullet. They see a portion of the trace; they see plume. But, they didn’t see the strike, which was well below the plume. The plume blows up in the air and gets sheared off. They go, ‘oh, there it is’. But, it’s not down there, where that actual impact was.
So, I see spotting is probably the number three problem that we have with long-range shooting. Now, you remove that. Like you said, put them in an area that there is none of that. The spotter was a huge portion of that shot; to be able to see trace and watch trace. And, we’ve talked trace wrong for years.
In the military they say, focus on the target; back out a quarter turn and look up. And, that’s a spotting class. That’s absolutely wrong. We know where the bullet is at all times; so, there’s not an option – the bullet doesn’t get to vote. So, we should never back out on target; you should be focused on target the whole time.
The backing out, a quarter turn, was to move you back to [01.26.58]. So, the actual bullet would have been in focus, and the trace; a refraction of light. Would have been in focus at the mid-rangers; where the bullets reaching max [01.27.09].
And, really where that band is; the bullet looks like it’s hanging in space, because it’s in my three inch [01.27.15] and it’s rising arch and downward arch. So, in that period, that’s where we focus back to.
That’s only for the guys to be able to see it the first time. After that you should never have backed out. Because if you know what trace is, you’re going to be able see it; focus on the target. And then on those days where impact is minimal. You can see impact if you’re focused there. But, if you’re backed out and your blurry. You’ll never see.
So, that’s something that we worked hard to change in the military. Is get that old rule out of there. You should never back out a quarter turn ever, nowadays. We’ll only teach it to the start.
So, since we know where trace is. Half way the target, plus ten percent of the half; so, 800/440 would be exactly within ten metres of where trace is going to happen. Know your hold for the targets. Subtract your range before the range of where max [01.27.59] going to be. So, if it’s 800 and 440; you’re taking 9mls, subtract 3mls. Your trace is going to happen 6mls of the target. If you’re going to hit the target. It doesn’t have an option. It has to be 6mls. So, look, focus, 6mls. And, boom, there it is.
So, it’s easier to see trace. And, it’s easier to train to see trace. Without having a lot of the old techniques that were failure points for guys. Because they’d [01.28.26], and they’d lose impact.
They saw trace. And, I always heard, “I had it, I had it, and I lost it.” Well, you lost it at the most important time. Didn’t matter you saw it half way. You didn’t see it when I needed it.
So, to get back to your question: That’s one of the hardest points. Because without it, you had to look at the maths side; what was the highest probability of my miss. Was it potential range. If it was a range problem. I’m thinking high and low. If it was wind, like normal. I’m thinking did I feel the wind gusts. I’m gonna add some more wind and take a shot.
So, we have to look at the maths to what happened. Did the wind lull. Maybe I need to take off a little bit and take a shot. But, obviously that’s one of the hardest environments to shoot in, as far as gaining knowledge after the shot.
Q: I had, recently with the ticker; we shot it out to six, and then I was going further. But, it was me by myself. I was shooting essentially on trails; so, we didn’t have a lot of area around [01.29.20] miss. And, in the end, I stopped, because I couldn’t see it. So, I could have just emptied out the magazine. And, not learnt anything.
And, afterwards getting back, working; I was using a different calculator. I thought I might as well change everything at once. Why not do it that way. Just to make it hard on myself. And, realised I was a couple of ml out from where it should have been. Anyway, so I was never going to see it. It wasn’t even close.
But, I consider myself lucky, that earlier on in the peace; I was not forced, I was asked, but I was essentially forced to spot for a very good shooter. And, I remember him taking a shot. And, he would stop until I called his correction for him. And, he’d seen it. He knew damn well where it had actually gone. But, he’s like, “I just want to know; forcing you to make a decision and call it.”
And again, it was one of those days; I probably learnt more behind the spotting scope.
A: True, always. We always learn more I think behind the spotting scope, especially about pulling the trigger.
Q: So, I encourage everyone. I don’t know, I need to practice more spotting as well. But, I enjoy it.
A: Oh yeah. I’m very fortunate, because that’s what I get to do; I get to spot every day – I live on the spotting ship. People think your jobs awesome; you go all over the world. And, shoot all day every day. And, I’m like, “No.”
I do have to travel all over the world. And, I never to get see any of it. Because I’m always on the range somewhere. But, other than that. Yeah, I’m not on the trigger very much at all anymore.
Yes, I’m always, nearly excited when a gun has a problem. Because I get to shoot the gun; see what kind of problem it has. Bring me a mag; so, I get to shoot a little bit.
Q: I guess because of what you’re doing. It sorts of answers itself. But, the other question is; when you’re back in the States, are you now shooting mainly factory ammo or reloads?
A: No. Most of the time I’m shooting only factory ammo. Because I’m testing for companies. So, we’ve worked with [01.31.14]. And, of course, Prime is [01.31.22]. But, a lot of the different ammo companies will send me ammo to test.
So, most of my ammo. Unless I’m dealing with a wild cat, like my 7mm 300-Norma, which I would have load for. So, but most of time I’m shooting factory ammo, because we’re always doing testing.
Q: And, it’s something you notice. Obviously, you watch guys over in the States shooting; a lot more guys are shooting the factory ammo. Because it’s probably also got up in quality. Compared to where it used to be; you’d have to reload to get the most out of it.
And, in New Zealand, we’re still lagging a little bit. We don’t have Prime down here, for example, or a lot of those, the premium size.
Q: To be honest. If I was shooting competition; I’d still reload.
A: Yep, okay.
Q: It depends on the amount of time one has. Nowadays, there is quality ammo that you could shoot competition with. Myself, knowing the variables that are in play; I would still load my own ammo. If I was shooting competitions.
Long-range hunting, we shoot factory ammo. But, it’s been tested and it’s very good. If it wasn’t; I would definitely be loading my own ammo for that.
A: In something I’ve done recently; the next article we’re putting out. I went out at [01.32.32]; did the SD on whether they match, compared to what would be my reload. Well, I don’t have 6.5 [01.32.39] anyway; so, I wasn’t very low for it. It was interesting going through the process of comparing it. But, relating it back to what we were actually shooting.
So, when I first got this. And, people were talking about 6.5 [01.32.51]. They’re like, “How’s it going to shoot out at 1.5k?”
Q: Does very well.
A: Yeah. But, more so, the point of this rifle for the competitions I’m going to go to, most of the targets are between six and nine. So, it’s consideration, but that’s not my focus on it. So, it was a case of looking at this factory ammo, for that distances for guys going out. And, the SD variants, everything, is like…
Q: Yeah, and that’s just part of [01.33.13]. Your SD’s are usually refined enough, normally; to stay on that distance. Your extreme spreads are not. So, your extreme spreads are going to take you off target. But, like you say, you standard deviation, your 90 percentiles, will still stay on target.
The biggest point there. Is make sure your guys understand the math. And, know what their extreme spreads are; so, they’re not moving, based off in that round. So, if you shoot, say at 1.5k; and, you’re just off the left shoulder. And, your next shot is just of right; maybe hit, as far as elevation. And, you next shots, a half ml high. Don’t come down a half a mil. Leave it. That’s you high round. Leave it alone. It didn’t happen. You know, re-engage.
And, too many people go; ah! They’d come down a half mil. And so, the spotter yells out, “Come down a half mil.” It’s like, stop; do not come down a half a mil – re-engage. And, he says, “Hey, but I saw it.” “Yeah, I did too.” Don’t move a guy once we know he’s good.
Extreme spreads, highs, and lows; we forget. Because you have to understand ballistics well enough. Otherwise, 90 percent of his next rounds are going to be low. So, I would never move him off a potential. You know, something inside of his SD. And, to make to where he had to have another high extreme spread to hit the target.
So, the problem is, in a real world; so, now you take a shot and we’re shooting – when we say 5, 600 metres, even our extreme spreads are on the target; so, we don’t have to worry about there – but, let’s say we’re shooting 1300 metres – and, we’re shooting, hunting this evening – your first rounds high; maybe .3 mls. Should you come down .3mls? You know your maths good. You know you’ve tried to account for everything. Should you come down? Absolutely, because there is one bullet out there; we only have that known.
So, is there a good chance we’re going to miss low?
Q: There is a chance. I’m not going to say it’s good. But, there’s a chance. Now, when the next round missed low. Now, we know what we did, and we know what we did wrong. So, now we can move back and be comfortable that we’re probably going to be good on the next round. But, that’s the hardest one.
So, when you take that first shot, and you miss high or low. And, it’s at distances where extreme spread can really mess with you. You have to be mature enough to make, and we’re gonna probably go ahead to make the correction, for the correction.
But, after where your next round goes. Now, we have a group size that we continue with. And, if the next round was actually in my normal pattern. That now, I forget the high round.
So, I would normally split the two, and be in-between those. But, if I have high confidence level in that second round. As far as being correct with my estimations. That is now my primary, and I look at minute of angle based off that.
Q: So, when you’re evaluating ammunition as a part of a system now. How much weight are you giving, say the group size at 100 verse the SD and ES? Because, it seemed to further we go out…
A: Yeah. SD and ES at 100, is nothing. Because, they not changing anything. Sometimes your fastest round can be the lowest bullet printed on paper at 100. I’m a huge fan that we actually check weapon systems for a capability to add a 100.
When the ASR programme came to my house. And, looking at selecting calibre and weapons, and this kind of stuff. The government engineers wanted to shoot groups at 1500 metres, because this is a 1500 metre gun. I said, “You can’t do that.” And, they said, “Why not, it’s 1500 metre gun?” I said, “You don’t have 1500 ammo.”
So, if we had half minute of angle; ammo at 1500 metres. Yes, bring all the guns in, we’ll test them. But, I said, “If you have a half minute gun at 100. Your guns a half minute gun.” Now, you’re shooting half minute; the guns shooting half minute. It’s proven its capability at 100. Now, the further we go out, it’s ammo.
So, if we go to 700, and now you have 45 feet per second extreme spread; you’re over a minute capable now. So, if you go to a 1000 metre; you’re two and third minute capable now – extreme spread.
So, that’s going to be the size of your group. So, when you have flyer. It’s, “Oh man I had a flyer.” That’s just ammo. So, it may not have even been used. So, you have to understand the math of ballistics, to make those decisions.
So, I’m a huge fan of shooting 100 metre groups from known capability of the weapon systems when I’m testing. When I’m testing ammo; ammos pretty easy. Once we sit down and test standard deviations and extreme spreads. We kind of know what it’s capable of.
So, if I’m dealing with single digits; standard deviations and extreme spreads of 15. I’m happy. If I’m over 20 on the standard deviation, and I’m above 50 on extreme spreads. That’s not long-range ammo; I’m not happy anymore.
So, and then you can convert that. That’s real easy. So, you take your kestrel, and you plug in, like 2800 feet per second on your 65. And then, same BC, but plug in 2850. Just compare the two; side by side. When do you change over minute of angle? And, that will show you real quick, what 50 feet per second extreme spreads going to do your group sizes.
So, this is a minute of angle, different than this one. Pass that. You’re not capable of minute of angle. Because when you reach in that box and get that one bullet out. You don’t know if it’s your fast round or your slow round. So, unfortunately, we had to play the math all the time. But, be knowledgeable with it.
So, I had [01.38.34], the army Markman-shipping, at the house the other day; getting ready for a comp. And, they joined up, strap hanging deal with another military group. I asked them, I said, “I know who loads your ammo,” because it’s individual, in the house there with them. I said, “What do you all consider bad for extreme spread?” And, they said, “15.” I said, “These guys don’t even have 15, for standard deviation; much less extreme spread.”
But, that’s why [01.38.58] does what they do; and, went into the competition and said they win.
So, kind of back to your other point. If you have good quality ammo; you can kind of do it. But, it’s very important. Again, it goes back that whole knowledge piece that we talked about earlier. If you’re deciding on what the true capability of you shooting a deer at distance, long-range hunting. You better have the ammo that’s capable. Otherwise, you’re rolling the dice.
So, if somebody said, “No, I’m comfortable.” You know what; 1.5k, 100 percent of the time, I’ll take the shot. And, we shoot his gun, and he’s got 60 feet per second extreme spread. Wrong; bad answer.
Q: Well, it’s been good, because they’ve got the applied ballistics; the desktops work with [01.39.37], or the weapon employment zone calculation. And, I’ve got [01.39.40], with their error budget. And, it’s enlightening. Whether they read it, and they just ignore because they just want to shoot long-range anyway.
A: Oh, that’s one of the best tools.
Q: But, you run that with a guy. And, you go, “Look, I’ll even introduce the minimum of variants, of your ability… Have you got a range finder with you? Well, we’ll just say that you’re able to, and then put SD of the [01.39.59] and everything.”
Like you say, you get that chart that comes out; that beyond this distance, no matter what you do, you’re shooting wider than six inches, eight inches. Whatever your perceived thing is; and, it’s often a lot shorter than people realise. And, then you say, “We’ll take you out. We’ll pretend you’ll doing everything perfectly; not breathing hard, not… Your weapon system by itself, is not capable of doing it.”
A: Is not capable. And, it’s smart. So, once you look at the way it’s programmed. You can take your ammo that is known; so, you go shoot through a [01.40.31], and it says this is what you’re shooting.
Let’s say you call wind perfect, and let’s say that you’re a perfect shooter. Just looking at your ammo, you can go, ‘I really shouldn’t take a shot pass 600, with ammo’. And, you may shoot half minute gun. I had people all the time, they tell me, “Todd, we got a gun we want you to shoot. It’s quarter minute of angle.” And, I go, “Yeah. Alright, so you brought this on yourself. So, this is what I want you to do.”
So, if he’d have said half minute. I would have said, “Hey, send it to me and I’ll play with it. But, you said it was a quarter, so this is what I want you to do.” I said, “Ten shot groups. Ten groups on one piece of paper. Send it to me. And, then send me your gun, if it’s a quarter minute.”
In 14 years, I’ve never seen one piece of paper, much less a gun from that company. Because the reality is they don’t have that capability. Everybody shoots three shots, and then covers up their flyer with a diamond. And, takes a picture of it.
Q: Or, they’ve already done 42.
A: Yeah. So, that becomes the problem. So, the reality is, that would be the first place I’d start with the system. It’s like hey, I want to go long-range this evening; what is my ammo capable of. And, we may actually try to go out this evening and bounce around, or sometime this week. But, I won’t take a long-range shot. Because I don’t have a [01.41.47], and I don’t have the knowledge of what the ammo is that we’re going to be using. I didn’t bring my own weapon system, and that kind of stuff.
So, it’s, I don’t think it would be ethical, out playing now. If we put out a piece of steel at 2200 metres; be happy to swing at it now.
Q: Sure, and that’s why I encourage guys to take up the competition shooting. Because they do all that. Even though I’ve thrown all this money at a firearm, got everything; still doesn’t mean I’m going to hit. There’s still additional work to do. It’s a good start.
A: Yep. I think the way this programme’s awesome. And, like you say, you don’t have to go out and have the [01.42.27] programme. You can take a [01.42.29] and build a gun. And then go shoot through a chrono, and go, ‘hey, this is my extreme spread’. Build another gun with that deviation, or that delta in velocity. So, if you’re running 2800, but your extreme spreads 50. Build a 2850 in, and as soon get pass minute of angle. You’re done.
So, that’s the capability of what you have right now. It’s nothing against you. It’s not a slam. Maybe get into reloading or buy different ammo.
Q: But, you get all the pretty graphics by using the software though. And, then you can put up on your blog.
A: I wasted probably, at least an easy week of my life, the first time I got the [01.43.05] programme. Just because I got to play with ballistics.
Q: But it’s awesome, then you go; so, what if. We’ll reduce everything. Okay, I range it five metres. Now, what will that do? Oh, okay. But, all the time, I always look at all the errors. And, then it comes back to wind. That’s going to be my biggest variances. It always is.
What’s your – and I know it won’t be one – but, your shooting a lot of the 300-Norma, at the moment?
Q: You were also I read, which might have been a while ago as well. But, you were talking about a 260, as one of your favourites picks, cartridge wise?
Q: Now, is that still the same; what are you enjoying shooting, what are you shooting at?
A: So, in my world right now. I would say I could nearly get by with three guns. So, the three guns; [01.43.55] Norma being my big gun.
Let’s back it up, and we’ll talk through several calibres.
So, the 300-Norma’s my favourite long-range gun. I’m not for sure, if may be replaced by my 7ml 300-Norma. Because I can shoot a 755BC and G1, at 33, 3400 feet per second. So, it’s a barrel burner though. So, it’s not a fun toy. Probably 700 rounds a barrel.
So, but my 300-Norma, or something like that. And, I know there is a lot of other calibres that getting close and doing stuff. That’s fine. It’s just, big long-range, high BC, high [01.44.30].
Next down. I’d pick a 300-win mag, shooting the 230 Berger; a 215. Because if you compare the ballistics with, like 28/50 [01.44.40] with a 230 Berger. It matches all the 3/38 [01.44.43]. Even 300 grainer high BC’s. Because I’m nearly there with them on BC’s, at a .74. But, I’m faster; at 28/50. Then that 300 pushing that 26/50.
So, now without the recoil. And, we call it a warmup gun. Because, in the States, I can get 300-win mag, out of anywhere.
Q: That’s always a big thing for us. We’re down in the South Island; I forgot my ammo.
A: So, it’s a gun that if I carried my 300-Norma down there. I’m not buying ammo in the South Island period, for it. But, if I’ve got my 300-win mag, I’d probably get ammo. So, we call it Walmart guns. But, only because of the accessibility of the ammo. It’s not a degrading point. We’re just saying that it’s a great weapon system. Good ballistic. And, you can also buy cheap ammo. If you want to go blink around and play.
Maybe after you’ve killed something. And, you want to, say up and shoot rabbits. You don’t have to shoot your six dollars a round ammo, doing that. Or, going out and shooting a competition. Just for fun. Learning to call wind. You don’t have to spend high dollar ammo to do that as well.
So, 300-win mags. Great for that. And, then we get into like a 260. I think 260, or a 65 [01.45.51]. They’re twin sisters, ballistically. I’m a huge fan of 260 in the [01.45.57]. Because the slight angle of the case, has less propensity for my functions, than a 65 [01.46.04] and a [01.46.05]. Because as it expands, everything has [01.46.07] back equally on time; to make sure it doesn’t ever malfunction on the [01.46.11]. Just the physics of it.
The 260, you’re able to push tolerances a little bit more. And, still have it extract easier. And, it’s 65308; so, 308’s been around in the [01.46.23] forever. So, as we’re not trying to learn something new, or do something new.
So, a huge fan of 65 [01.46.29], and 260. Even for hunting; out to a 1,000. I think they’re a great gun. I’m not a fan of 308. But, I tell guys every week. They say, “Hey, what should we bring?” I say, “Bring your 308’s.” And, they go, “Well, we’re thinking about bringing our big guns.” I’m like, “Yeah, bring them.” But, they shoot most of their time with their 308, because you learn more. You’ve got to work for the hits. Don’t let BC’s and [01.46.54] get hits for you. Learn to be a better shot.
So, you have to call in so much better with a 308, to get a hit. Therefore, I’m a huge fan of the 308, for a training tool. But, that’s where 308 stops with me.
And then, I’m a big fan as well with 556, for what it gives me capability wise; aerial platform shooting, as far as number of rounds that it can carry in the magazine. What that weapon system can do.
But, the number one thing, like you mentioned earlier; it’s what do we want. So, are you shooting an animal with it? Well, you need something that does it job on tissue. So, everybody goes, “Well, 556 won’t work.” Well, what bullet are you shooting? Because I have several bullets that work very well, on tissue. And, we’re not shooting animals four and five times. So, some rounds work better than others.
So, again we need to select; the bullet is our number one. So, when the military came to the house, and they said, “We’re looking for something long-range.” I said, “Intentions on target; what do you want?” “Obviously, we’re shooting at people. So, we want to make sure we have expansion on target.”
We’re not shooting steel; we’re not shooting papers. So, let’s just say we’re hunting. So, in a hunting world, I don’t want certain bullets because they may hit, but they’re not going to expand. And, they going to through like an ice-pick.
So, a lot of ammunition. People get out and look, “hey, which one matches.” It really doesn’t matter what you want to match. I want to know what expands on tissues.
Q: And, if it’s expensive; it must be good.
A: Yeah. So, the next step is. They go, “Well, I want a high BC.” Well, high BC, they’re correct there. I have to hit the target to make my expanding bullet do something. So, you can go down the wrong road, and say, “Well, I want the best expansion bullet there is on the market.”
But, that bullet has a horrible BC. So, now you’re limited inside the 200, to be able to shoot anything with it. But, what we did. We went out and picked the highest BC. So, me and a couple of gentlemen from the G8 went around. At a shot show. Got the highest BC’s, in 30 cal. And, we walked across and picked up everything. Then we shot everything through Doppler.
Then out of what was the top in the Doppler test for BC. We put it in the terminal ballistic testing. And then, out of that a selection was made. But, we really selected the highest probability of hitting something, with the highest probability of getting what we wanted for the terminal ballistics.
So, it’s something. And, the hunters should go about it the same way. So, they should say, “Hey, I need something that’s good for [01.49.27] ballistic.” But then, a high BC. So, in the end, that should be how you determine it’s your bullet, and then you turn your load bar; extreme spread and set your deviation.
Q: Well again, it goes back to that idea of instead of working from gun forward, it’s almost from end result backwards; which leads us to a projectile, which probably leads us to a cartridge, which would then lead us to probably a firearm system. And then some people even say your grip, and your stock, and everything almost as a dressing, around the delivery system as well.
A: Correct. Yeah, it’s the same as you said about the [01.50.02]. So, now we’ve elected the [01.50.06]. We’ve selected the twist rates; so, to optimise that bullet. So, now it’s not, we’re not having companies show up with a tin twist 300-Norma. And, it maybe the best gun on the planet for what we’ve wanting. But, now it’s not going to be selected, because it had the wrong twist rate.
So, we made sure that the companies had a formula. Or a recipe for success. They said, “Hey, use eight twist, use [01.50.32]. With this information you’ll be able to make a gun.” Because, it was many of them that we knew that were on the market; are not on the market, they had sold.
A lot of friends of mine were shooting exactly the same thing. We had never seen a bad one made. Everybody’s guns; it was awesome. So, that’s the way we into it; if you’ll do this, we know you can make a gun that’s quality. Or, if you can make gun, this will give it what we’re wanting.
So, that’s basically how we ended up. And, we know now that when the soldiers get to test; they’re just going to be testing to see what furniture they like. How is this going to [01.51.06]; how is the shoot ability; what’s the recoil management on it.
So, all of that stuff is the shoot assessment. But, now they’re not going, “I like this one, but one shoots so much better group wise.” We don’t want that; we want all of them to shoot.
And so, we help the company’s understanding, what it would take to get it to shoot. Because previously, too many other times, we go, “Hey, this is what we want. We want a minute of angle gun.” And, whatever calibre; its got to reach 1,000.
And then they go, “That’s it? There’s no more guidelines?” “Well, what else is there? Do you want it folding? If you got one that folds, bring it.” And, the companies drive themselves up a wall and that, because they don’t know. We want to take that away; this [01.51.52], this twist rate.
Legally, we can’t tell them which barrel we want. Or that kind of stuff. But, it has to be able to fold. So, there was a big list of what we wanted on there. So, and that’s seems to be always evolving too.
Q: What else is in the future for you? Is it just more training? Have you got more work with [01.52.14]; new reticles coming out?
A: Yeah, we’ve got more reticles. We’ve got the T8 line. I developed the Trimmer-8, a couple of years ago. And, we’ve been involving it more into a hunting market place; so, more for the average guy. Ballistic dots on a mil-based reticle, with wind dots. But, not as busy, ballistic dots; only the 600 [01.52.41] really starts changing things.
And, we don’t give a guy a tool, like a [01.52.46] that goes out to 800 metres. It’s only good at one point in the world; where density altitude allows it to be good. That’s at sea level. So, what we wanted to make sure, is the guys; we gave them information out to the point that they can use it, and it wouldn’t be wrong. And then pass that point, they’ve got to do something different; go back to mils.
So, say there’s a reticle they can grow with. But, it also is more reticle that, you know for hunting out the 600, which is a majority of hunting in the States; probably 300N’s 90 percentile.
Then we have the group; maybe 600N. But still, it’s kind of not rear, but it’s as far as when look at how many millions of people hunt in the United States. What percentage wise does anything over a 1,000. It’s tiny.
So, but we want to give a reticle. Give them the capability that we enjoy as long-range shooters, with the [01.53.38] reticles with the wind dots. And, the speed and the ease of the wind dots there, and what it does for them.
So, that’s the next line. It’ll be ballistically driven obviously. So, there’ll be choices of reticles that they can pick up. But, it falls all under my patent, with the wind dots. So, and then I have a new design of a [01.53.57]. That is unique as far as capability wise.
So, that will be probably coming out, I hope in this next year. And then, other than that, we’re doing stuff with drones; with the winds. And so, I work with the government and an entity called Technical Support Working group. It’s the R and D of DOD. And, I consult with them.
I’ve been a pilot since was I 18 years old. So, we can do the math on how long ago that was. But, for a good while now, I’ve been a pilot; so, about 36 years. So, it gives me the capability to look at wind differently than most.
So, that where I started looking more at orographic winds, and katabatic winds. So, that’s more of a pilot thing, than shooters. I never found a shooter that understood what an orographic or katabatic wind was, that wasn’t a pilot already.
And so, that’s was where I learnt about it. So, I brought that into the shooting side. But, in most of my aeroplane sites; so, I do a lot of flying and have several planes. So, the planes I’ll have cross-wing components. And, they tell me what is as I’m flying.
So, I’m thinking, ‘If it can do it here, why can’t we do it in the drawing? When can I see it’? So, when shooting 2000 metre shots, we have a device; it’s kind of like a GPS, that where the soldiers can see kind of what’s going on around them. And, they can drop a pin; it will give them distance to that pin.
Well, if we gave them distance to the pin. But, we also gave them that distance and a mil-hold for the weapon system that they selected, and I real-time wind call. So, you look at apps like ‘my radar pro’, and turn on weather, or turn on winds. And, you can see the winds flowing across where you’re at.
And then can go to like, ‘primo hunting’, and it has a app to where it shows the winds blowing, and the velocity across where you at. So, there’s a lot of different apps already out there, that kind of show wind.
Basically, all they’re doing, is pulling up winds off the airports. And so, that’s where they’re gathering wind. But, if we had a micro wind reader; like a drone that I could send out, that would quickly read wind based off the topography. So, now I’m geo-spatial wind calls. And now, since I know it’s reading 12 here. But, as it runs down there, over that little hill, it’s peaking 15. And, as it comes back across the valley, it says 10. Now, when I know it peaks up to 14. I know that’s 17, and I know that’s 12. And, now when I drop a pin. It’s given me my wind call based off topography readings.
So, I think it’s kind of next level. And then we can place the drones at the height of the [01.56.33] effect. And, then actually call real time winds, where the bullets at.
So, I think it’s next generation. I think it’s coming. The government will do something with it next year. So, we’re already heading down that road. We’ve already got some drones and playing with it and see what we can do. It’ll probably be military for a while, just because of the cost of some of it.
I would love it, and the ideal is, I want to see people enjoy hunting. I never want to say I wouldn’t give it to hunters. The only reason I wouldn’t want hunters to have it; I don’t want to walk into the woods and have 15 drones above me, from all the other guys out hunting.
Q: I think we’ve had at least one case, I can remember of one getting shot down over a regional park. The same thing. They’re not meant to be there anyway. But, yeah, somebody just disturbing the peace.
A: I mean, if it’s your own private property. And, you want to use one, and it has that capability. That’s all fun. You’re making a good ethical kill. But, you can’t destroy somebody’s silence, by you running your drone around all the time. Because, I’d probably shoot it down too.
Q: Awesome. Alright, guys who want to grab a copy of your DVD. Catch up more with what you’re doing. Where do they go to; what do they check out?
A: The DVD’s are still current. The last one, ‘long-range made easy’. Me, and Brian Litz; I brought him in. It was basically, something I want to sit down, as far as a kestrel class. Teach people, really how to use it properly. And, we kind of covered the science behind the ballistics; using the kestrel really, as a medium to do that.
So, the kestrel is a great handheld weather meter. But, there’s a lot of handheld weather meters. It’s applied ballistics in it, that makes it what it is, as far it’s very accurate; it’s very fast. Once you learn it. And, you can learn tons about ballistics, by just sitting in the living room and playing with it. You don’t have to be out on the range.
See, like you said, like even with the weather systems, sitting there and playing with that as well. But, it’s a great tool.
I think that kind of information is probably the most important. A lot of people get wrapped around a lot of other stuff. That in my opinions, not needed. But, the more knowledge you have, it’s you know what you should be doing, and you shouldn’t be doing.
So, gaining more knowledge, sometimes is not going to shooting schools. Gaining knowledge is gaining knowledge. I get asked this all the time. They say, “What books should I read?” I’m like, “Go and get Brian’s books.” They’re science based, but they’re new.
So, a lot of times, we look at old shooting books. Like, there is one, [01.59.17] wrote a book called, ‘Beyond fundamental practical shooting’. It’s a great book for the mental side of shooting.
Now, he was pistol shooter. Shot with Rob Latham, back in the early 80’s. They kind of developed the way that we shoot pistol today. But, he then went into the mental side of human performance stuff. And, I used to teach mental shooting seminars, in Vegas.
And, it was kind of the same thing. I didn’t know about his work. But, when I found about it, I immediately went and bought the book. And, now that’s one of the first books I tell people to read. It’s fantastic.
Q: Yep, a great book.
A: And then, reading Brian’s books. Some problems that too people, and not for the bad reason. But, too many people will buy like five different books from every author and go out and read it. And, you’ve got to know what’s not correct.
So, they go, “Well, I don’t know what’s right. I read this book and he said this, and I read this book and he said that.” And, that’s where the problem starts. Because it’s like, “Well, I kind of understand this, and I kind of want to do it more like this guy says.” But, I can tell why it’s wrong and it doesn’t work. Just because you don’t understand it, makes it right.
And then other guys, they jump in, they go, “Well, you don’t need any of that. You just data books, and you need these range cards, and blah, blah, blah.” And, he’s still dealing with the 1970s. And, there’s whole shooting schools based on, how to build the [02.00.35] books. And, work off range cards. And, I’m like, that’s find but that’s so 1970.
And, we can give the shooters a high level of success very quickly. Which, in my world is great. Because if I can save you time and money and make it more enjoyable. And, you hit more of the targets. It makes our sport grow. And, the more of us we have, the better.
So, now we have a larger voting base; more rangers open up, more hunting opens up, more competitions. Because we’re buying more, prices go down. I never want to make anybody think, ‘I can’t get in the long-range shooting, because there is so much I have to do to understand it. It’ll take ten years’.
I’m like, “No, it’ll take five days. Come see me. This is easy.”
Q: It’s approachable.
A: Yeah, it’s very approachable. With the right information.
Q: That’s what I’m saying to people now as well. Not necessarily within competition, within the shooting realm. That’s not what I’m trying to do. What I’m trying to do, is get people who want to take up a new sport. Instead of saying, taking up golf or racing cars; they decide to get into shooting; long-range shooting. Now, they may then go off to hunting; they may go do other things. But, it’s just another thing people can get involved in. And, if it’s more people’s recreation. Then like you say, it’s stronger for all of us.
A: Yeah, it’s a huge benefit.
Q: And, it’s a positive way of pushing it.
A: Oh, yeah. And, I always say, when people would say, “You have to be military to know how to do this, or to be good at it.” And, that’s absolutely incorrect. I mean, my son is very good at it. And, him, just like me, was never in the military.
And so, he’s very good. He’s not a sniper. What makes you a sniper, is not actually pulling the triggers. It’s everything else that they do; all the camera work, getting into position. Doing everything else, which is a lot. But, the actual pulling the trigger. I would hope my wife could lay down and do a good job at pulling the trigger.
I took my best friends daughter out, when she was like 13, and she shot a deer at, I think, 780 metres out. First round hit. His youngest daughter, I think was 11, the first time I took her out. Again, first round hit; no problem.
And this is, we’re shooting what people consider long-range. It’s not long-range to us, but it’s distance shots that little girls are taking. And, shooting my 300 Norma; that’s a big heavy truck axle of a barrel. So, it weighs a ton; so, it doesn’t even recoil.
So, I go, “How did that feel?” And, the little girl I took out hunting this year; she’s a tiny thing, and she shot. I said, “How did that feel?” She said, “What.” I said, “Alright, well you hit the…”
The big deal is; learn all you can learn. Even with myself, never read it and go, ‘that’s good; that’s gospel’. Even if you read my stuff. If you figure out the why, of what I’m saying. And, if it’s actually real or not. Then you have knowledge.
But, if you just read something, and gain the information. That’s not knowledge. So, once you actually define why it’s real, or why it’s wrong. Because, you’re going to get into a lot of books, and get a lot of probably different cassettes or DVDs from other places, that you may go, ‘Ahhh’.
Even like, maybe let’s say, the mag pool videos. There may be something I taught in there, that I’m ashamed I even taught back then. Because we’re always evolving. So, somebody may look at some of my stuff, and go, “I really don’t like that as much as this way of doing it.” And then, I’d be like, “Yeah, I agree with you. That was like 15 years ago that we did that DVD. I hope I’ve grown since then.”
So, we’re always trying to continually grow. But, I think it’s smart that guys, when they say, “Hey, this is good. I like this.” Put it against the [01.04.39] programme. Try to figure it out. Does it work all the time, or some of the time?
It’s not wrong if it doesn’t work some of the time. Just use it some other time. It like a [01.04.50] and high angle, and rifleman’s rule, and improve rifleman’s rule. They’re horrible. They don’t work. But, they work awesome when it’s short-range. But, they don’t work at all, in real long-range.
So, I was in Switzerland this year, shooting a high angle with a KSK. It was, you sit there, and you’re doing the rifleman’s rule. It’s just like, ‘this doesn’t work at all’. But, I have my own formulas. But, the kestrel’s perfect for it.
I mean, we’re sitting there shooting 30 degrees at 1200 metres, and not having any problem. So, we didn’t have any problem that day in the target, other than wind. So, which is crazy wild.
So, me and the head instructor for that area. We got put in by helicopter. And then, they had some jet went down. It’s a prop jet, went down and they had to go find him. So, we lost the helicopters. And so, everybody else had to walk up.
So, me and the instructor are sat down on the hill. And, we got to compare notes. And, we both agree, high angle is simple; high angle is nothing. So, it’s easy once you determine what angle it is. And, most times it’s a lot less than you thought it was.
The math to correct it is easy. It’s in the kestrel. It’s there. It works perfect. Nobody’s had a problem. So, I’ve got angle schools. We go to Switzerland for angle. And, everything, I’ve never had a group that said, “Oh yeah, this isn’t working.”
And, I hear this stupid comment that people say, “Yeah, it works at Todd’s, but it doesn’t work anywhere else.” I wish I was that smart to make something, only working mathematically at my house, but math doesn’t work anywhere else in the world.
Q: There’s a special range [over-talking]
A: I use special math; Todd math.
Q: You’ve got magnets sitting on the hill.
A: Yeah, exactly. It’s a stupid comment, but it happens. So, but it’s little stuff like that. But, understanding why something works, and why it doesn’t work. So, a lot of times, unfortunately, most of the world doesn’t get to do high angle shooting. And then, since they don’t do it, they just read about. And, when they read about, they go and try to do what, like the Rothman’s rule, where you may take a [02.06.45] of distance.
So, if you’re shooting 800 metres at 60 degrees, that’s 400 metres is what you would shoot. You’re going miss by a mile. So, know why; I compare that to the kestrel. The Kestrel’s on.
I mean, when I say the kestrel; the applied ballistics is on. So, it’s perfect. We’ve shot at the high angle. We know it works. So, when something doesn’t compare, find out why. It maybe something that you put value in, that’s actually incorrect.
And, unfortunately, a lot of the formulas that we used in the military, they were incorrect. And so, we started going through the whole manual. Read something, and I’d tell my instructors, “Never teach anything unless you’ve actually put to the test.” So, which makes them, actually have to just go out and shoot it.
So, if they do it and it works. That’s great. But, like I said, 800 metres, 60-degree angle; you’re miss by a mile. But 400, the rifleman’s rule would be 200, and you’re gonna hit perfect inside of a tenth of mile. Know where it works, and where it doesn’t work.
So, there’s nothing wrong with the rifleman’s rule; at the ranges that it works. But, you’ve got to know and find out where it doesn’t work. And so, you have to do the math, and I kind of figure that out.
A: Other than that, like I said, booked until 2020 still; running 100mph. So, next year, where I’m trying to book five weeks in New Zealand or Australia. One, so I can go back down, maybe do some hunting in the South Island. Because we love it down here.
But, be back in probably two weeks, if not three weeks in Australia. And then in two weeks over here. Maybe I need six weeks, so I can get a week off.
We get a lot of interest from guys that call me from down here. Send me emails, that want to do a shooting school. The law enforcement; they want to do stuff with us. Obviously, the guys that I’m working with this week, and then the hunting. Yeah, we’re getting more and more.
It’s just time. I don’t think it would be hard to fill up classes. It’s never about that. It’s just the time.
Q: If you can find the time; we can get the people in front of you.
A: I mean, we may end up trying to do something like that. Trying to set up a class with you. Get somewhere where we can set up class. I don’t know, the South Islands usually harder to get too. To get everybody down there.
Q: It’s all like that for everybody though.
A: Yeah, exactly.
Q: Awesome Todd, thank you very much.
A: Yep, this has been fun. Yep, you bet.
Q: Cheers buddy.
Originally published: April 11, 2018
Lasted updated: June 4, 2018
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