Misting rain and heavy fog greeted the crew this morning as we prepared to film Day 3 of FTW Ranch’s Sportsmen’s All-Weather All-Terrain Marksmanship (SAAM) training course. While the weather may have meant the hassle of extra jackets and covers for the camera gear, it was also an incredible and realistic training aid.
As hunters we can’t always predict the weather, especially on destination hunts, and even when we can it is rarely ideal and almost never the same conditions as when we trained with or zeroed our rifles. This morning the temperature was nearly 30° F cooler than the previous two days, and the air was very moist compared to the dry heat we’ve been experiencing. When it came to shooting, this translated to about a 0.5 Mil drop in point-of-impact for my rifle at 500 yds. That is more than 8.5” of drop at that distance, just from the change in the weather. It was really an eye-opening experience and one I won’t soon forget. The lesson: If possible, train and zero in the same (or as close to) conditions you will be hunting in; that could be once a season or once a day, but confirming your rifle’s DOPE will ensure that your equipment is ready and dialed-in.
Thankfully, the day warmed up and the clouds burnt off. In the afternoon we were able to get some great footage demonstrating field shooting positions and how to build solid shooting bases using your body, the items you bring to the field with you and the support structures nature provides. I now believe that the importance of pinning, or securing, one’s shooting arm cannot be overstated. A little wobble imparted on the buttstock translates into a lot of movement at the muzzle. Using a pack or an extra set of shooting sticks to steady your position can make all the difference, particularly for long-distance accuracy.
For more insider information and behind-the-scenes photos, check back right here at AmericanRifleman.org. And be sure to catch all the action this summer by tuning in to "American Rifleman Television," airing Wednesday nights on the Outdoor Channel.