Posted on: 2011-04-04 20:02:00 -0400

Yesterday’s one-on-one precision rifle training with Robert "Shep" Sheppard taught me a bundle. I brought my LaRue AR-15 and several boxes of Hornady .223 75 gr. TAP training. We started with a quick classroom session on building a shooting position, range estimation using a mil reticle, the different types of shots (clean cold bore, etc.), and using the sheets in the precision rifle data book (he recommended the three- or six-ring model; I got the latter). We then moved outside and tweaked my 100-yard zero before working out a dope sheet at 50-yard increments from 100 to 400 yards. Shep called my shots, recommended adjustments, and filled out the book while I worked the trigger.

The range-estimation exercise came next while my rifle cooled. He placed five silhouettes at varying distances and ranged them with a laser. I made range estimates with my scope and got all of them within seven yards. Interestingly, I estimated short on all the targets. Several of the targets were in a mix of sun and shade, which made the estimation tricky.

He then had me fill out a range card for the seven steel targets set up at 50-yard increments from 100 and 400 yards. After that, I engaged the targets using both adjustments or holdovers. The racks of clay pigeons came next. I started having trouble at 350 yards and couldn't get consistent hits at 400. I came to the class thinking that my rifle/ammo combination was good for ~1.25 MOA and didn’t see a reason to change that opinion.

The surprise of the day was getting consistent hits on the 400-yard silhouette with my SBR by aiming about three feet high. We ended the day with some position shooting and giving my rifle a good scrubbing, which was also informative.

Shep’s teaching left nothing to be desired. I filled up several pages in my notebook with new information on both technique and which products do or don’t do the trick. He worked very patiently and confidently while keeping the instruction moving along at a good pace. I'll be scheduling another day of instruction for sure. The tax stamp for my suppressor will hopefully have arrived by then.