Thunder Ranch Mid-Range Rifle Review
Here is my quick review of Thunder Ranch Mid-Range Rifle:
I attended the class with nine other students at the old Thunder Ranch facility in Mountain Home, TX. I have been to this site a few times before and am glad that most of the old facility is still there.
The class was taught by Clint, Ray, Heidi, and one newcomer. The instruction was top notch (as usual).
Equipment: I brought my Remington 700 SPS Varmint Left Hand in .308 Win. with a Leupold Mark 2 3-9x40, 20 moa base, and BALS MK-2 Sniper bean bag. My backup was another Remington 700 SPS Varmint .308 with a Trijicon Accupoint 3-9x40 which I didn't use. I shot a mix of 168gr Hornady Moly Match and Privi Match, Big mistake, more on that later.
The class began with a half day of instruction which included safety, bolt gun basics, and recommended equipment. I love Clint's lectures and this one didn't disappoint.
The next half of the first day concentrated on 100 to 300 yards on paper. It was here that I noticed that I did not bring optimal equipment. Everyone in the class shot .308, but it was a mix of Robar, GA Precision, Noveske, and other high-end customized sub moa rifles. Scopes were all Leupold and Nightforce at magnifications well above 3-9. Everyone else shot Federal Gold Medal Match or Black Hills. I started out jittery, but calmed down after a couple of courses of fire. While I am not a huge fan of my low dollar Leupold, it held zero and stayed crisp at the 9X setting I used throughout the course. I had several great groups at various ranges, but fliers were common due to me yanking the trigger and not keeping my head on the stock. I am stuck with a 100 yd range at home, and gained a new perspective on long range shooting. The dope on my rifle was couple of clicks different than what I expected, but repeated each time we changed shooting locations.
The second day brought more shooting at 100-300 yards, but quickly progressed to steel at 400-900 yards. The 400-500 yard targets were relatively easy, but got progressively more difficult at longer ranges. I was amazed at how much the wind effects long range shooting. I hit several targets with holdovers of 3 mildots. The spotters were amazing! They called wind accurately and helped tremendously at hitting targets. This is where equipment started to matter big time. Some students ran out of elevation on their scopes. I was lucky to have selected the 2 0moa base. Those without mil-dots or TMR's were at a disadvantage on the spotter calls. We also got to take our scopes back to zero and use holdovers, which was no as accurate, but great in a pinch.
I fell apart on the third day. I ran out of Hornady and had to switch to the Privi Match. I had tested it previously in my rifle at 100 yard and noticed slightly larger groups, but it did not perform at all at longer ranges. I was already at a disadvantage in experience, rifle, and scope. The ammo made it extremely difficult to shoot as well as I had the previous two days. My saving grace was a lucky hit at 900 yards. Other than that, it was a frustrating day, but important lesson learned. We pulled out our spotting scopes and the third day. I learned another important lesson that your spotting scope should have the same reticle as your scope. I brought a Leupold green ring and didn't help my partner much, so I switched to spotting with my rifle scope. He was a great shot. Once he got on target, he hit steel till he was out of ammo.
We finished the day with 1000 yard shooting from the tower. I didn't hit the target, but got awful close. Had I had more than 8 rounds left, I am confident I would have got it.
Overall it was an amazing class. This was my second favorite Thunder Ranch course behind urban rifle and ahead of defensive handgun. I learned a boatload about long range shooting a few short days. I highly recommend this and every other class at Thunder Ranch. While it is expensive, it is worth every penny. I look forward to defensive handgun 2 next year.
Sounds like a great class. Thanks for the AAR.
Great first post.
I took Urban Rifle from Clint in Oregon a few years ago. Expensive, but worth every penny.
Did Clint tell you not to eat anything bigger than your head? Love that guy.
With a 223, wind starts to get me at 300y. I can't imagine how tricky it is at the 1000 yard line, but I bet you'll get it next time. Running out of good ammo is tough.