Long-range shooting can be an incredibly rewarding pursuit, whether it be in a quest for accuracy at the range, competition, or on a hunt. But it’s often a daunting pursuit as well, with practice for larger caliber rifles reaching a high cost per-round, so some of the finer skills beyond simply hitting a target can sometimes land on the back-burner.
If you’re new to long-range shooting, ask yourself: Do I know how to use my mil-dot reticle to range a target?
Gun Digest recently reviewed a new product that can help rifle shooters learn to use the ranging features of their scope, whether you use a mil-dot reticle or one with milliradian subtensions (MRAD) or MOA subtensions.
The Shooter Ready simulation program helps you get a basic understanding of how to use mil- or MOA reticles to range targets, and how to make elevation adjustments and wind holds in either mils or MOA. Then it lets you assess yourself and improve your weaknesses with feedback like hit results, ranges, and wind info, which are displayed after you take the shot.
The simulation (the review makes sure to point out it’s not a game) has pre-programmed calibers including .223, .264 (6.5mm), .308 Win. Mag., .338 Lapua Mag., and .50 BMG. The flight characteristics of individual cartridges programmed and handled by Sierra Infinity 6 Exterior Ballistic Software. It’s not a ballistic calculator, so the loads aren’t customizable—that’s not the point of Shooter Ready.
“The focus of the simulation is an introductory training tool to exterior ballistics as related to long-range rifle shooting,” Developer Karin Christensen told Gun Digest. “The stages were developed to show how different conditions affect the bullet in flight, and this includes how different calibers are affected, not to practice with individual systems. I always recommend to users that they obtain some exterior ballistics software once they have a good grasp of the basics, which they will learn if they practice with the simulation.”
“A gunsmith I knew found that his clients did not know how to use mil-dot reticles, which he was installing on rifles. I created version 1 to teach the use of the reticle partly for the fun of playing around with the animation software,” he said in the story.
“In the process, being a scientific sort of person, I ended up becoming fascinated with exterior ballistics, so I included it in the early classroom sections. It also didn’t seem possible to teach use of the reticle without understanding exterior ballistics. I hadn’t shot long range myself until I started working on the simulation. To test everything I had learned, I went out to a range, calculated the distance on a target that was, if I remember, 900 yards away. I hit it on the second shot, and the first was not far off. The first version only used the .308 system and was very simple. It was so popular I developed version 2 with more calibers and stages. The current version was developed to incorporate the mil turret system, and I added three more calibers as well as more challenging stages,” he added.
To see how exactly the simulator works and for more information, read the full review on gundigest.com here. It takes you through each stage of the simulation: calibers, warm up, temperature variation stage, angle shooting, wind challenge, taking cover. 223, moving targets .223, and hostage stage .223.