Some projects turn out worse than you thought they might. Others turn out about like you thought they would. Yet others turn out far better than you ever imagined they possibly could.

My weekend was in the last category.

I have been talking about a precision long-range rifle class that Nobles County Pheasants Forever was hosting as a fundraiser for veteran appreciation events.

It was held this past weekend in Ransom Township near Rushmore. A precision rifle class is instruction on how to find, interrupt and then use specific information to execute the necessary steps to be able consistently make shoots on targets out to 1,000 yards.

The average hunter uses regular hunting equipment in the field, and for the vast majority of them they would limit their shots to distances of 300 yards or less.

This would be for calibers designed to make shots of that distance. Deer hunters that use a shotgun to hunt with would normally limit those shots to distances of 150 yards or less.

Training in precision long-range shooting does not for a moment create a mindset where a hunter would take a shot at a deer at extended ranges. It just makes for more confidence when making shots at distances that are slightly longer than the normal range.

Precision shooting is very challenging and is growing in popularity. We had eight students who all attended a classroom session for about four hours and then spent the next one and a half days practicing using the tools that were provided to them.

Equipment varies greatly, but most of the attendees were using their regular hunting gun and scope. They started by making sure their guns were properly adjusted to shoot at a target that was 100 yards away. This is called zeroing a rifle.

The students had downloaded a phone app in the classroom and entered all of the data specific to the gun and bullets they were using. Things like caliber, bullet weight, muzzle velocity, sight over bore distance, wind speed and distance to the target were entered.

The app would then tell the shooter how to adjust the scope to allow them to hit a specific mark at whatever distances they chose. There were very few attendees that had ever even attempted shots in excess of 300 yards. This was the closest target they used on day one.

As I am sure you know, the further the distance to the target, the higher you have to aim to hit it. Gravity pulls the bullets down to earth. One click on a scope adjustment is about one-fourth of an inch at 100 yards. When shooting much longer ranges you might have to aim 50 inches higher.

The students all used the knowledge and tools that were taught to them, and by the end of the first day consistent successful shots at the 500-yard range target were very common. These shots were being made by folks who had never attempted a shot longer than 200-300 yards.

As you may or may not remember, the winds last weekend were 25-30 mph at sustained speeds. Making a 500-yard shot with no wind can be challenging, and these shooters were doing it in a very stiff wind.

Day two was a repeat of the prior afternoon, but the 750- and 890-yard targets were added to the mix. The target is actually a thick metal plate about 12 inches in diameter hung from a post. They are painted white so you can see them better.

When the bullet hits the metal plate it disintegrates and leaves a big black circle where it impacted. I had to add a fresh coat of paint to those targets about three times each day.

I was volunteering that day, so I did not do any trigger pulling. What I observed was that shooters who entered the class with little confidence to shoot at targets more than 200 yards away could now consistently hit targets out to 800 yards.

Every student was thrilled by the results of what they learned. Todd VanLangen, a veteran sniper with over 25 deployments, will be back again to do another class on June 12, 2021.

The class is limited to 10 and has four spots filled already. Cost is $850, and proceeds will be used for veteran appreciation events.

Call me today and reserve your spot for next year: scottarall@gmail.com or call 507-360-6027.