Had a question from a reader regarding the guest posts by Historian covering using the 22 as a trainer for long range work. I think it was a great one, as is Historian’s reply. – NCS
I have been enjoying your articles on Long range 22 matches. We have a group of us that are wanting to put a match together. Your lat post on 1 Dec 19, mentioned the close target size but nothing out at the longer distances. Could you give me some sizes from 50-400 yards that you would recommend. Thank you for your time.
Here are my responses to the question posed by your reader:
Keep in mind that the point of .22 long range is to help you become able to hit 18-20″ wide targets with your centerfire rifle in the wind. 500 yards is the “rifleman’s quarter mile” and that takes being able to deliver the shot within 4 MOA in the wind. Long range precision shooting is about being able to hit the same sized targets out to 1000+ yards, and to hit 6″ targets out to 500+ yards. Hitting a 20″ target at a thousand yards means shooting inside 2 MOA in the wind, and hitting a 6″ target at 500 is shooting inside ~1 MOA in the wind. Long range shooting is about ranging and dealing with wind, and .22 LR long range will help immensely with that, without the need for 500 or 1000 yard ranges.
The small close targets really test your basic ability to hold tight groups, as well as to judge and hold for wind. As stated in my December article, 100 yards with a .22 is roughly equivalent to shooting at 500 yards with a centerfire rifle, and 200 yards with a .22 is roughly equivalent to shooting 1000 yards with a centerfire rifle. If you can hit a 3″ target at 200 yards on the first shot, consistently, then you have the skills to hit a 20″ target at 1000 yards with a good centerfire rifle.
The larger longer range targets test your ability to range as well as judging the wind; at those distances, SD and ES of the ammo becomes an increasing factor, and if you want to moderate the costs for equipment and ammo, I think it makes sense to make the more distant targets a bit bigger. An 18″ target at ~400 yards, which is about 4 1/2 MOA is surprisingly hard to hit with a .22 especially with any wind, due in part to ammo variance. Brian Litz’s books cover this ground in great detail.
A few other thoughts-
I would vary the ranges on each stage significantly, as well as varying the azimuth of each target in each stage significantly too. Ideally, your targets would cover a 90 degree azimuth or more from left to right, (45 degrees each way) and range from <100 yards to >300 yards on each stage. If you can get significant target elevation shifts safely, so much the better. All of the matches I’ve shot offer these challenges to some extent and really add to the enjoyment, as well as the effectiveness of the experience, but that may not be possible.
Moving targets would be cool, too. A moving 4 MOA target at 100 yards would be an eye-opener, putting a time limit on top of everything else.
One last suggestion is that I would provide ( if anyone has one available,) a LabRadar or good chronograph unit to get accurate muzzle velocities. You need not do this the day of the match, but having good MV is much more important for long range .22 than it is for LR centerfire. You can have the best ballistics program out there, but without good MV data you’re in trouble.
So there you have my thoughts on organizing a rimfire LR match, NCS. Maybe a follow-up post?
Warm regards for the New Year, friend,