This past weekend I taught the “Beta” version of the Designated Marksman course that I’ve developed. It incorporated the suggestions and changes from the “Alpha” version I taught back in April. I had one holdover student that took the Alpha course and two newbies.
Day one morning was the lecture part of the course work. It defines terminology, the purpose of a DM (in my opinion anyway) and the fundamentals of the skill set that I will be working through on the range. I’ve included an image of the training flyer that summarizes the course and equipment.
After lunch we moved to the 50-yard range and their 22LR training rifles. You’ll note that everyone in the photo ended up with the Ruger American 22LR as their training rifle – it was not purposeful but kind of interesting. One fellow brought a conversion kit for his scoped AR, but it simply proved too finicky to use so he used my training rifle.
The goal of this portion of the course is to move the shooter toward shooting 5-round groups on 2 inch targets at 50 yards with a 90% consistency (Accuracy) and a group size averages of 2MOA – or 1-inch sized groups (Precision) . To get there, I work them through all the fundamentals rifle shooting and simply work our way through all the basics. As you can see from the three targets the Accuracy was reasonably achieved but work remains on the precision.
At the end of Day One they all sent 5 rounds through their selected DM rifles to confirm their zero at 50 yards and the day ended.
Day two saw us move out to the 100-yard range beginning with their 22LR trainer rifles. I believe this step is key. The goal here for both rifles is that 90% of all their rounds fall within 3-inch targets (Accuracy) and that their group size averages 2MOA – a 2-inch group (Precision). My reasoning for starting with the 22LR trainer is that it’s more cost effective to build and maintain a shooting skill set with ammunition that costs $.09 per round rather than $2.00+ per round. If you can’t meet these requirements with a 22LR trainer, you won’t with a larger caliber DM rifle. The morning was spent working on all the fundamentals that would allow them to meet these requirements. It’s at this point that folks begin to realize phrases like . . . “I can shoot ½ MOA all day long” . . . may be a bit of a stretch. Each target sheet contains 5ea. 3-inch targets. After around 4 boxes of 22LR – 8 completed target sheets – we chatted about what they had all learned, talked about how to apply that to their DM rifle and broke for lunch.
After lunch we moved to their individual DM rifles. We had a .223 scoped AR, a Ruger American in 6.5 Creedmoor (the best overall performer) and a Ruger M77 in .308. Again, the same shooting standards were held . . . and again the phrase . . . “I can shoot ½ MOA all day long” . . . took a bit of a beating. All shooters ended the day with work remaining to be done but with a solid training approach of how to get there using a training rifle and their primary rifle.
We had a final debrief and the day ended. As is often said, shooting is a perishable skill. It is certainly true with rifle shooting that needs to be both Accurate and Precise. They all seemed happy with the process that was taught, the elements of the skillset and the dual approach of a training and primary rifle. “A fine time was had by all!”
This was the end of the primary testing of the course, I will bring it live in the Spring of 2024. If you’re interested, drop me a PM.