Day 2 of filming at the picturesque FTW Ranch is in the books. Today was all about taking a 100-yd. zero and, using scope adjustments and reticle hold-overs, stretching it into an effective range that, for me, was greater than 600 yds. By “effective” I mean consistent first-shot hits on 9” targets, and by “greater” I mean wringing every last bit of velocity out of the Hornady .308 Win. 168-gr. A-Max loads and the Ruger SR762’s 16” barrel in order to score hits on 1,000-yd. targets. What a challenging and ultimately rewarding shoot.
Besides learning how to properly use my scope’s reticle and adjustment dials, I also got a crash course in wind calling, a critical skill when shooting at long range. FTW doesn’t use any wind flags, and for good reason. How many orange socks have you seen flapping in the wind mere yards from a trophy buck? None, and that’s why the instructors here prefer to train shooters on how to use the sway of distant vegetation, drifting dust and even mirage in order to observe and ultimately correct for wind. My tenderfoot skills were quickly tried on the ranch’s broken terrain. One range we visited had targets arrayed throughout a gulley that had wind currents fed in through five adjoining canyons. Talk about a challenge, the winds shifted, swirled and changed so much that even the instructors had a difficult time keeping up.
There is no doubt that I am learning with every shot fired out here, and I can’t wait to share tips and techniques with American Rifleman readers and "American Rifleman Television" viewers. Check back here for more on shooting and filming at FTW Ranch, and be sure to see the final cuts during the new season of "American Rifleman Television," airing Wednesday nights this summer on the Outdoor Channel.