Bryce Bergen, founder of LRSU, is the primary instructor–and he is excellent–but he has several assistants who help students with spotting and wind calls, and other tasks related to the class. People come from all over the country (and sometimes from around the world) to take this class, and are not disappointed. Two of my classmates had driven 35 hours from Massachusetts to take the course, and there were also two gentlemen who had traveled from North Carolina. Everyone had a great time and we all agreed it was well worth the trip, the time, and the money.
The class size is limited to around 14 students so you’re assured lots of individual instruction. The cost for the course is $600 in 2022, and this is a bargain for 2 days of professional instruction on a top-level range.
The 1,200 yards, 1,500 yards, and 1-mile “milk jug challenges” are optional (and cost an additional $20) and take place after the class ends on the second day. The majority of my classmates stuck around to shoot one or more of these bonus challenges and I think pretty much everyone got their “milk jug challenge” stickers/awards.
According to the LRSU course description, “students will learn:
- Theory, Mindset, Skillset, and Equipment needed to achieve precision & accuracy at long range.
- Fundamentals of Marksmanship (Body Position, Natural Point of Aim, Trigger Control, Breath Control)
- How to mount, level, and torque your rifle scope & bubble level for proper fit and eye relief.
- How to Zero your rifle and how to use all the functions of a model rifle scope.
- How to set up and use a ballistics application to generate elevation & windage adjustment to 1000 yards +.”
This section particularly intrigued me: “By the end of the course, students will be able to derive accurate wind drift & drop data for any condition and effectively engage targets to at least 1000 yards on their own with no coaching. We guarantee that all students will complete the 1000 yard milk jug challenge before going home.” (Emphasis mine)
Prior to this class, I would have considered hitting a milk jug at anything over 300 yards to be nigh impossible, so Bryce really had his work cut out for him if I was going to hit a milk jug at 1000 yards. Turns out, if you get the right instruction and use the proper gear, it’s not that hard!
Gear and firearm requirements for the LRSU Intro to Long Range Shooting course
Bryce is very communicative via email (and phone if needed) with registrants prior to the course and strongly urges students to bring a proper, sub-MOA-capable rifle (bolt action preferred) with at least 120 rounds of match ammo and a good, high-magnification scope with external turrets. A half-MOA rifle is better. Potential students are required to send Bryce a photo of a 5 shot group shot at 100 yards to verify that your rifle/ammo can shoot sub-MOA, that is, put 5 shots inside of 1" at 100 yards. However, if you’re a complete novice and can’t provide this requirement, you can rent an appropriate rifle for the class, which, being a complete tyro to the sport, I elected to do (more on that later).
As far as additional required gear for the class goes ear and eye protection, a good bipod that cants from side to side, a bubble level mounted to your rifle or scope, an adjustable cheekpiece, a sidewinder drop/dope chart/holder or similar, downloading “Shooter” ballistics app on your phone, and a quality rear bag are a must. A “nice to have” (but I’d say mandatory since you shoot from concrete and possibly gravel surfaces) is a durable shooting mat with loops you can press your bipod into.
Students are required to pack lunches for both days, and coolers with ice and lots of water and snacks are a good idea. The range has limited space in a fridge and also provides a microwave, but it’s better to bring your own cooler if possible.
Don’t forget to dress appropriately for varying and potentially extreme weather conditions. At higher elevations in the desert it can be cold, windy, rainy, and even snowy well into the summer months, so bring warm gear as well as sunscreen, chapstick, ear protection, and eye protection. As Bryce says, “Remember we shoot rain or shine so PLEASE PREPARE FOR THE WORST and hope for the best.”
Also, remember to bring at least $20 cash for the 2-day fee for use of the excellent North Springs shooting range and facilities.
Can I rent a rifle and gear for the LRSU Intro to Long Range Shooting class?
For me it was easiest and cheapest to rent a rifle and gear from Bryce. He provided me with a Ruger Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor with a Vortex Viper PST 5-25x50 scope in MOA. The (currently $299) rental fee included 100 rounds of match ammunition that I’d need for the course, which is about $175-200 worth of ammo these days. Some shoot more, some shoot less, but Bryce says you should plan for at least 120 rounds of match-quality ammunition to complete the course. You can purchase additional ammo from Bryce if you shoot more than average (assuming he has your caliber available in these ammo-scarce times).
In addition to paying for the use of a very nice rifle/optic and bipod (and the match ammo), the rental fee also includes all the shooting gear you’ll need, including a bubble level, dope cardholder, dope cards, shooting bags, and a shooting mat with loops for use with a bipod.
Key takeaways from the LSRU long-range rifle class, and my experiences as a first-time long-range rifle shooter
Class started at 8:30 both days, and it was July, fairly windy, and HOT on the range (98 degrees in the afternoon). Day 1 was primarily classroom instruction, with some limited range time at the end of the day. This was basically a supervised sight-in/confirmation of your rifle’s zero on the 100-yard range, and adjustment of your scope position or rifle ergonomics if needed. After that, students were free to shoot on the 600 or 1,000-yard ranges, but the instruction was done for the day. On day 2, we were on the range all day.