These highlights are from the Kindle version of Home Schooled Shootist: Training to Fight With a Carbine by Joe Nobody.

Both the M16 and AK47 battle rifles have exceeded 50 years of service and are still the primary weapons found on most battlefields today. Outside of the physical appearance of the weapons, very little remains the same internally. The materials, machining specifications, feed ramp design, trigger modifications and numerous other changes have improved those original designs.

Much has been written regarding the topic of OODA loops. The acronym stands for Observe Orient Decide Act. Attributed to United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd (January 23, 1927 – March 9, 1997), the OODA loop is considered by many to be a standard in military, sports, and business training processes. Colonel Boyd was a fighter pilot whose work eventually pointed his distinguished career into the realm of military strategy. He is considered to be one of the primary architects of the Coalition’s successful strategies during the first Gulf War.

Throughout this work, you will see the phrase Natural Point of Aim, or NPA referenced several times. For snipers, this can be described as a position (or stance) where the weapon is naturally pointed at the target with as little support from the shooter’s body as possible.

Endurance and stability are the reasons why NPA is so important. Your endurance and the stability of aim will be greatly reduced if you are fighting with gravity more than necessary. It is also a fact that pulling the trigger from a strong NPA position will result in less barrel movement than if the weapon is being supported artificially by muscle and bone.

Another common term used by shooters of all levels is Minute of Angle or MOA. This term references an area or space in the dimensions of height and width. When dealing with practically any long gun, you will see discussion revolving around MOA, and this book is no exception. Most shooters use a rounded value of: 1 MOA = 1 inch at 100 yards

My advice to the reader is to be aggressive in mind, body and spirit, but remain humble and absorbent. If you approach a class, range session, or training with the attitude of, “I’m just a Joe Nobody,” you will be better off in the long run and might learn something in the process.

The operator stands ready with his or her weapon in any position desired, and then throws the Frisbee to engage. Critical note: The operator has to throw the disk It’s really not that difficult to hit the flying target if someone else throws it – but the sequence of throwing the target and then raising the weapon to engage takes some skill.

Slings come in two basic flavors, single point and 2-point. Both of these labels indicate the number of attachment points on the weapon.

The second most important aspect of your stance is commonly referred to as Natural Point of Aim, or NPA.

The Weaver stance dates back to the 1950s. The name was originated by one of the founding fathers of combat shooting tactics, Colonel Jeff Cooper. The stance was named after a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff, Jack Weaver. At the time, Colonel Cooper hosted some rather creative pistol matches, called “Leatherslap,” and Jack Weaver’s performance impressed him.

The modified Weaver stance, often referred to as the Chapman Stance, modifies the basic Weaver position by extending the strong side arm away from the body to a position where the elbow is almost locked. Ray Chapman was another influential pistol guru. Similar to Jack Weaver, he had a police background and was an instructor at the Los Alamitos Police Department. Mr. Chapman took the Weaver stance and changed it slightly.

As you train, the repetitive nature of various drills is designed to create reflex and muscle memory.

Many departments issue level IIIA vests that provide less protection under the arms than full military grade equipment. A stance that keeps the most protection (armor) facing the threat makes sense.

One method I have developed over the years I refer to as The Fulcrum. This grip is fairly simple. I canter the barrel downwards, with about two pounds of force, with my strong hand. On an AR15 platform of weapons, this means my right hand, at the wrist, is pushing the barrel downward using the pistol grip. This is a similar motion to casting a fishing rod, except the pressure is constant. This has the effect of pushing down on my weak side (left) arm. Since the butt plate of the weapon is against my shoulder, the result in the rifle being in a bind and steadies the platform during discharge.

The single biggest mistake I see with most shooters is they put too much finger on the trigger. My recommendation is to only place as much as your fingernail on the trigger. The reason why is simple body mechanics. You can pull the tip of your finger straight back much cleaner than if using the area of the first joint. Practice the motion without a trigger.

In a panic, many people yank the trigger, throwing the shot off even more. If your muscle memory is trained to only use the tip, the capability to yank or pull the shot off line is reduced.

I suggest you perform a search of Jerry Micluek videos, more specifically his world record performance in 1999. Mr. Micluek puts 12 rounds into a steel target in less than 3 seconds. While this feat would be impressive regardless of the pistol being used, Mr. Micluek performs this task with a 6-shot revolver. He reloads the weapon during the three seconds.

You should learn to release the empty from the rifle at the same time you are reaching for the full one on your chest rig.

Once the fresh mag has been inserted, tug down on it once to verify it is fully inserted. A partially inserted mag can cause failure to feed (FTF) or an empty chamber. The time taken to tug on the mag is minimal compared to clearing a FTF.

I slap the “ping pong paddle,” otherwise known as the bolt release, with the palm of my hand. I do this with an open hand as I often shoot with gloves on, and finding the little control with a finger can be difficult.

I tilt the rifle slightly to the weak side and slap the forward assist. If you are not using an AR, then this step is unnecessary. What I am really doing is glancing down at the bolt to make sure it is all the way forward.

Physical conditioning is an important consideration for anyone’s shooting skills, and especially so the aspirant Anhur. Years ago, I read a section in one of Colonel Jeff Cooper’s benchmark works. It essentially advised to select a weapon based on the capability to hold the rifle with one hand, arm fully extended, for 60 seconds.

Another helpful tool for improving skills is an ankle weight. In reality, any one to two pound weight that can be securely fastened to the weapon will do. I have found baseball swing weights work well with some rifles while ankle weights are the best match for others.

For working with a long gun, I have found a soft, flexible weight of about two pounds is best.

The logic for using a weight is obvious. Just like a baseball bat, tennis racquet, or golf club, practicing with a heavier item builds muscle, balance, and endurance. If you execute the drills below with a weight onboard, you will find you can train longer with less fatigue and your drill times will improve. My 7.5-pound M4 Carbine feels like a feather after working out with a weight.

Here is my weekly routine: Follow all firearm safety rules! Double-check that the weapon is unloaded. Load two magazines with a few snap caps each. 20 repetitions of bringing the weapon up, acquiring a target (normally a picture on the wall) and firing. Pick an angle or target positioned so that even if the weapon fires, you won’t shoot the family in the other room watching TV. 20 more reps left handed. 20 reps of firing, then switching magazines and chambering a new round (cap). Repeat, left handed. Place weight onto the barrel and do 10 reps, with each hand, of bringing the weapon up and firing. Keeping the weight on the weapon, hold the weapon in firing position for a count of 20. I do this 10 times with each side. Keeping the bat weight on the weapon, hold the weapon in firing position with one hand and count to 20. I do this 5 times with each hand.

Later, I started timing myself on the mag changes. If you follow a tight schedule, it goes something like this: 1. Click timer on wristwatch (or whatever you choose to use). 2. Bring weapon up and dry fire. 3. Eject the mag and let it drop to the floor. 4. Clear the weapon. 5. Insert new mag and chamber a snap cap. 6. Bring weapon up and dry fire. 7. Eject the mag, bend over, and pick up the first one. 8. Repeat 4 – 7.

During my normal workout, I take two dumbbells and hold them vertically. The grip is surprisingly similar to my rifle’s pistol grip. I hold the two weights in my shooting stance (Figure 5.3 above) and count for a number of seconds (I use 20). At first, I started using 10 lb. weights, but this didn’t seem to pose much of a challenge. My rifle still felt heavier. How can a 7.5 lb. rifle feel heavier than 20 lbs. of iron? I’m not sure why, but it does. I switched to 25 lb. weights, and that became a workout. The effort here is not to build muscle, but endurance. Most people start to tremble after holding the rifle for a short period of time in the offhand position.

Don’t adjust your aim – adjust your stance and grip.

Some ranges carry pre-printed targets that contain multiple common geometric shapes such as circles or triangles. These can work as well – just write a number in the shape. The next step is to pre-record someone reading a series of numbers.

The speed at which you record your target selection should increase over time. I actually have ten different recordings on my cell phone that progressively become faster. This drill will improve target acquisition times while restricted to a lane-based shooting experience. While the barrel movement between number 1 and number 6 is not significant, it’s the mental capability of picking the right target that receives a workout.

You can perform this same drill with a rifle. My advice as an instructor is not to focus on accuracy, but time. If the round is within the circle, even on the very edge, chances are it was a center mass hit. If your shots are all dead center of the circles, speed up your shots.

Another variant is to mix up the numbers, rather than have them move right to left, top to bottom, in order. This exercises target identification skills even more.

If acquiring the target involves either a horizontal motion or a vertical motion, then time is wasted. Executing a two axis movement (horizontal and vertical) takes more time, muscle control and doubles the chances of a missed shot.

Even if you are firing around (versus over) a barrier, crowding the cover is a bad idea. The whole concept of using cover is to reduce your exposure to the threat. Most people struggle with keeping arms, legs, and feet hidden as they pop out to engage.

When being shot at, it is human nature to want to hide behind something – anything. Many people will instinctively want to hug any available cover. It takes training and mental discipline to stay back a few feet, but it could save your life in a gunfight.

A more common scenario where sideways shooting provides an advantage is when shooting over a barrier. As the pictures below show, turning a long gun sideways when rising up from behind cover gives any threat a significantly smaller target.

The most common method of handling corners is to “pie” the corner. This term has nothing to do with the mathematical “pi.” The term references clearing a doorway or corner by slicing off small angles at a time – thus slicing the pie.

The subject of CBQ and urban combat is complex, and many military organizations have entire schools devoted to the topic. If you take a moment and visualize how you would hold your weapon, move your feet, and react in these types of maneuvers, you will see that the basic skills required to operate in and around man-made structures can all be improved using the drills and techniques described herein.

I have found remote control children’s toys provide an excellent, robust target system.

You can purchase these RC (remote control) vehicles at practically any store that sells toys. For our purposes, the bigger the toy you can afford, the better. Since these units will most likely see service in pastures, desert sand, and other unpaved areas, the larger robots will perform better.

The frames of these little off-road wonders vary. Using a little creativity and a coat hanger (or similar wire), you should be able to create a “post” or “flagpole.” You simply tie one or more balloons to the post, and you have a controllable, fast-moving target.

One of the most entertaining we call the “Circle of Death Drill.” In this exercise, a perimeter is defined in some manner. This can be an outline of tin cans, sticks laid on the ground, or a line drawn in the sand. The goal is to hit the robotic target before the driver can breach the perimeter. While this sounds simple enough, it can be a challenging contest.

Another favorite is to define an open area in front of the operator. The driver’s job is to get the robot from one side to the other. The operator’s challenge is to pop the target(s) before the little machine crosses the “finish line.” If the driver is wise, he will vary speeds, zigzag and maneuver to avoid defeat.

Competition is stress, and competency under stress is our overall goal.

It makes sense to have your scattergun set up as close as possible to your battle rifle anyway. Just as having the same stance for pistol and rifle eliminates one set of mental commands, having both long guns set up identically allows a single stance.

I have found several brands of shotguns with a pistol grip at a similar angle to that of my rifles. This is something important to consider if purchasing a new combat shotgun.

If you haven’t developed a proper safe off, fire, safe on habit, you should avoid waterboarding. This automatic manipulation of the weapon’s safety is another difference between a Shootist and a rifleman.

Shooting at a public range is one method of noise acclimation. If the range is busy, there will be dozens, if not hundreds, of weapons being discharged.

A string of common firecrackers, thrown in front of a shooter running a drill can have some interesting results.

Smoke is also common on the battlefield. Weapons, fires, explosions and smoke grenades all generate smoke. Smoke has an interesting effect on some people. The drifting clouds are a visual distraction at best. I have seen some operators completely ignore smoke while others seem to slow down significantly. Like most things, smoke can be a double-edged sword – it can hinder or help the Shootist. What’s important for training is exposure.

One of the biggest challenges for any type of instructor is to induce stressors that simulate a real fight. Obviously, the goal here is that; if someone can become acclimated to combat before actually being shot at, the chances of survival increase. Exercises must test skills and push you to the next level without injury.

The much-maligned 5.56 NATO cartridge used in the AR platform is considered by many to be the least powerful of the entire spectrum of modern battle rifles. While the debates rage on this topic, it is a fact that the ballistics of the cartridge enables it to reach out to 400-500 meters, with some people claiming terminal capabilities to 600 meters. I have personally watched the Army Marksmanship Team hit targets with iron sights at 600.

When considering distances over 300 meters, most shooters start thinking about magnification. Be it a scope, magnifier for a holographic optic or other device, accuracy for all but the most elite shooters improves if the target appears larger. When the all-too-common need to identify innocent versus hostile is thrown into the mix, zooming in becomes almost a necessity. More than once I have seen a situation where allowing a threat to get closer, so as to verify identity, led to trouble.

Don’t think that because you master hitting a relatively large target (man-sized) at 600 meters that you are now a long-range Shootist or on par with a sniper. Not only are the equipment, ammunition and skills different, each has a terminology all its own. Hang around a 1,000-yard competition and you will witness long conversations about “lands,” which has nothing to do with the surrounding terrain. It is common for these marksmen to refer to a weapon as a “hammer,” no doubt a derivative of the old phrase “tack driver.” For them, the rifle isn’t aimed, it is steered. Hearing phrases, such as head spacing, free bore and wildcatting, wouldn’t be unusual.

This book focuses on skills, ammunition, weapon, optic, and historical database (DOPE) as the five main components of mid-range engagements. The Shootist will be limited by the weakest link in this system.

In reality, there should be a sixth link in our chain – mindset. Without an aggressive, disciplined way of thinking, the rest of the process is flawed. Colonel Jeff Cooper’s books address the topic of mindset, and there is little this author can add to his work.

Of all of the factors that can impact the accuracy of any weapon, the alignment of rail (or mount), barrel, and optic is the most common cause of problems I’ve encountered.

The first mistake many people make is they align their optic with the 1913 rail. The optic should be aligned with the barrel.

For years, bubble levels were the most commonly used tool to align and mount optics. These common garage items are fairly accurate when used by someone with a practiced eye. Most serious armorers and gunsmiths have upgraded to lasers and digital technology in the last few years.

You can now purchase a combination digital, laser and bubble level at most hardware stores for less than $35.

On many weapons there is not enough of the barrel protruding to allow for an accurate reading. In this situation, I use another hi-tech gadget called a laser bore sight (Figure 12.2). These handy little emitters are commonly used to bore sight a rifle before heading to the range. Designed to get the first shot onto the paper, they are inexpensive and worth the investment if you find yourself zeroing a lot of optics.

This process is easy. You simply take the laser level and set it on the rail. Insert your laser bore sight into the chamber and trace the two laser points.

If you find that your base (or rail) is not properly aligned, there are a few things you can do about it. One of the first items I check is the torque of any fasteners holding the rail to the receiver. You should verify they are torqued to the manufacturer’s specifications. Very slight differences in incline can also be corrected by “lapping” the scope mounts. This process basically involves sanding down part of the surface where the scope intersects with the rings. A very fine sand paper or lapping compound can be used. A company named Weaver even makes special lapping kits designed specifically for scope rings.

Of course, all of this is done before any optic is even near the weapon. I want to know that my rails (all of them, including side rails) are pointing exactly flush with the barrel.

I cannot stress enough the importance of placing your body as close as possible to the natural point of aim. The U. S. Army Sniper’s Manual (FM23-10) recommends the sniper take position and aim, then close their eyes and take several deep breaths. When they open their eyes, the crosshairs should still be on the target.

The less support available to the shooter, the less accurate the shot is likely to be. Here are a few keys points regarding support: Tip: Use bones (skeletal support positions) over muscle-based support whenever possible. Tip: Use interlocking skeletal support positions whenever possible. Tip: Place as little of your body on the weapon as practical.

To increase my chances of a perfect shot, I would even put something (folded towel, spare shirt, gloves…whatever) between the rifle butt and my shoulder so my pulse and movements are not transferred to the weapon. The logic of this is simple – when the body moves, that causes misses. This is why hunters use sandbags, shooting sleds and other devices to zero their scopes.

Anything you can lean, brace, shoulder, hang or prop a rifle on that isn’t moving will help. Stack rocks, brace against a tree – get as much of the rifle away from your body as possible. Be creative. Think about how your sling or a piece of para-cord could be strung as a clothesline. Even the spare socks in your pack can be filled with dirt/sand and used as a shooting bag.

The bullet drop for a .308 is significantly less than that of a 5.56.

The term Ballistic Coefficient, or BC, is a number used to describe the effect of air on a bullet as it travels through its trajectory. The BC is a measure of the bullet’s relative efficiency. There is no absolute or invariable BC, but it is the most important factor for any serious ballistician with regards to accuracy at medium-to-long-distances.

In general terms, the larger the value of a projectile’s BC, the more efficient the bullet in regards to its trajectory. If the Shootist knows the BC and velocity of his bullet, the precision of any shot can be calculated with remarkable accuracy.

Since the BC is computed in relation to the air, many factors impact the value. Altitude, for example, makes some difference as the higher a shooter gets above sea level, the less dense the air becomes. Less density equals less resistance on the bullet in flight, and thus impacts the BC value.

There are actually numerous models for predicting the ballistic performance of projectiles, so you should verify which standard and model is used by your bullet maker. The most common is the G1, so I will use it for the examples contained herein. The standard environmental conditions for the G1 Model are as follows: · Altitude: Sea Level · Temperature: 59F (15C) · Pressure: 29.53 inches · Relative Humidity: 78%

All of these conditions are used by ammunition manufacturers when they established the BC for a particular bullet. These days, most of the big factories use computer modeling to calculate this critical number.

What were the conditions when/where you zeroed your rifle? I ask this question all the time when working with clients and far too often, they really don’t know. If you didn’t record this data, you now have thrown in a completely new set of variables to consider when adjusting your BC to a localized value before any shot.

There are numerous factors that play into how fast the bullet is moving as it leaves the muzzle. The most obvious is the length of the barrel. The longer the steel, the faster the bullet will be traveling as it waves goodbye to the muzzle.

One way or another, you have to know your muzzle velocity to achieve premium accuracy out of any weapon. This value is almost always expressed in feet-per-second, or FPS.

I’m the guy using a pencil as much as the trigger. Not only am I logging shots, I’m taking note of wind conditions, and other variables. If I am zeroing a weapon that may be used in a gunfight, I am definitely reading the conditions and writing them down.

On some weapons, the temperature of the air within the barrel can make a significant difference. The first shot out of a cool barrel is often referred to as a “cold bore shot.”

Shooting at a target that is higher or lower than your position adds some complexity to the final aiming solution. A small angle applied to a long-distance shot can change the aim point significantly. A large angle applied to a short-range shot can do the same.

By far the most common reticle is called the Mil-Dot. Since this is the optic used by the majority of military snipers, many people believe the “Mil” in the name refers to military, but it doesn’t. Mil-Dot reticles are scaled at mill radians – thus the Mil

The key to using a mil-dot is knowing the height or width of a fixed object and measuring it with the reticle to determine the object’s distance. For example, the average vehicle wheel (passenger car) is 18 inches in diameter. Perhaps the average fence post in your part of the world is 42 inches high. The average man is close to 6 feet tall.

Once you determine an object to focus on, estimating the distance is easy. Let’s say you are trying to determine the distance to a target in proximity to a pickup truck.

I always try and use an object’s width rather than height. This is because angles (being above or below the target) will distort height, but not width.

Another method is to use a ballistic computer. There are two basic classes of such devices, one being manually operated, similar to a slide rule, and the other being electronically based – similar to a calculator. There are even ballistic software programs that can be loaded onto smart phones for free.

If your budget allows, I would invest in a laser range finder and use it to verify my manual estimations (using mil-dot or other method) while training.

There are numerous methods long-distance shooters use to judge wind speed. I have watched very competent marksmen pinch a few blades of grass, hold them shoulder high, and release them. They then measure how far away from their body the vegetation flew in order to estimate the wind. I have never seen a serious rifleman lick his thumb and hold it up.

There are actually three sub-factors involved with wind: the wind speed, wind direction, and ballistic coefficient (BC) of the bullet being fired through the air. In windy conditions, the higher the BC, the less the wind is going to push the round during flight.

One very good, free source on the subject of reading mirages that every Virtus of velocity should study is the United States Army’s FM 32-10, Sniper Training Field Manual.

Another option that functions well in some situations is one of many free smart phone applications. These products utilize the shooter’s GPS location and the nearest weather station to report wind speed and direction as well as other data used to modify the BC. The specific one I use is called “External Ballistics Lite,” and it was free for my Android phone.

Breathing is probably the most critical aspect of control. The average human completes a full cycle in inhaling and exhaling every 5 to 6 seconds. It takes 2 seconds to both inhale and exhale which leaves about 2 seconds where the diaphragm is inactive. The length of this inactive period can supposedly be extended to 8-10 seconds with little effort by the shooter.

The critical part is that you establish a routine and stick to it. Snipers train by exerting themselves (running, exercise, etc…) until they are breathing hard and then force themselves to enter a cycle similar to the one above.

Most mid-range battle rifles have a trigger pull between 6-8 pounds. Unless modified by the operator, this is the approximate specification used by many militaries for several different reasons, with safety being one of the primary justifications.

There is a lot more to a good trigger than pull weight. Some shooters prefer a two-stage trigger while others like a single. Almost everyone agrees that the release should be smooth and quite clean. It is common to see trigger action being described as a “glass smooth,” and having a “clean break.”

Most firearms enthusiasts have some knowledge of the different military sniper schools at Fort Benning, Camp Robinson or Kaneohe Bay. (The Marines train some of their long-distance shooters in Hawaii as well as other bases.) While these courses are taught by some of the most skilled warriors in the world, what most people don’t think about is the quality of the armories servicing these schools (as well as the snipers in the field). To me, the experts building the rifles, mounting the optics, and manufacturing the ammunition are as important as the actual trigger pullers where accuracy is concerned.

There are four factors involved in zeroing longer-range weapons: Canting – The scope or optic being level with the barrel (left to right) Incline – The rifle barrel and optic being perfectly level (forward to back) Vertical – The optic being aligned for the bullet to impact, with drop at the distance desired Horizontal – The optic being aligned so the bullet doesn’t impact right or left.

If, and this is a big if, the weapon’s optic were mounted perfectly level, on a perfectly level rail that was perfectly aligned and level with the barrel, and you zeroed the rifle from a position of a perfect 0 degree incline and a perfect 0 degree cant – then you could adjust the aim point of the optic at 25 yards in two shots or so and call it a day. Without some additional equipment, I don’t know of any way to accomplish this.

In order for you to determine the range at which you should zero a weapon, there are some terms that you must both understand and consider. The following sections cover those topics:

Field of View (FOV) When using a scope, the field of view is the area that can be seen through the optic at 100 yards (or meters on some optics).

Limits of Adjustment Most riflescopes have a limited amount of adjustment available for both the horizontal and vertical reticle lines. Typically, the more expensive the optic, the more adjustment is available.

As shown in the section, Establishing the Ballistic Coefficient, my short-barreled M4 can experience bullet drops of over 78 inches at 500 yards. At that distance, each MOA is five inches, so the example 15 MOA scope can only adjust 75 inches. I can’t adjust the scope enough to compensate for the distance and drop. If I were to zero my weapon at 200 yards, then I would reduce that bullet drop to around 54 inches which is within the range of my optic. Zeroing my weapon at 300 yards would allow additional leeway.

Operating Range The single most important aspect of determining what range to choose in zeroing your rifle is the area of operations (AO) you will be working in. Obviously, open terrain such as prairies or deserts would push the distance, while forest, urban or other limited distance environments would reduce the distance. I have found that most shooters overestimate both the requirements of their AO and their capabilities as an individual.

I know professionals who zero their ARs at 25 yards because of the ballistic characteristics of 5.56 M855 military-issued ammunition.

In my opinion, one of the best ballistic calculators on the web can be found by performing a search on “JBM Ballistics.”

When a rifle is canted, it is tilted to the right or left. If the optics were properly installed, a large degree of canting can be seen with the naked eye. Anything less than 5 degrees is difficult to detect while focusing on the target and all of the other factors involved. Using a digital level or other method to assure your weapon isn’t leaning left or right during the zeroing process will increase the accuracy of your shots at all distances. If the weapon is zeroed at 100 yards with a five degree cant by accident, your shot can be off as much as 5 inches at 300 yards.

Throughout this work I have mentioned DOPE, or Data on Previous Engagements, several times. DOPE is typically associated with long-distance encounters. This begs the critical question of what constitutes long-distance.

As I continue to stress in all of my books: Ounces = pounds and pounds = pain

Here is my typical load out:

Cell Phone (stored in plastic bag – weak side, internal zipper compartment of load vest)
GPS Map Ballistic software
Ballistic history (spreadsheet format)
Weather Station
Barometer Altimeter Compass Temperature Flash Cards (sometimes called pull-up cards)
Windage Chart
Trajectory Chart

For logging information about actually shooting, you can’t beat the Army’s form used in sniper schools and other courses. You can download a free copy from several places on the web, looking much like the copy below. Form 5788-R is one of three commonly used by military sharpshooters and covers all of the critical information most people need to record for DOPE.

The serious Shootist will turn a lot of “money into smoke.” In other words, to keep your materials cost down, reloading is a must.

The Knowledge Center at the Midway U. S. A. website contains several videos and how-to guides. Almost every major manufacturer of reloading equipment and supplies publishes both books and free information online that will assist the novice. I also recommend “The ABC’s of Reloading” by Bill Chevalier as a solid beginner’s guide.

I shoot the stated 2,000-3,000 rounds a month, so reloading is essential from an economic perspective. Add in my family members’ rounds, and the number goes nowhere but up. My personal belief is that “rolling my own” is essential from a performance point of view as well.

Long-distance competition riflemen obtain world-class accuracy by pre-shaping the brass (casing). This is accomplished by firing the round through the weapon once and then reloading it for competition. This is a process a factory can’t replicate. This is effective because every chamber of every weapon is different. The same can be said of barrels, even within the same lot and model of rifle.

My go to weapon is an M4 carbine, 5.56 NATO with a 14.5-inch barrel. I have found that 69 grain, hollow point, boat tail match bullets provide the best performance through this weapon. Furthermore, I have found that 2760 feet per second delivers the best compromise of accuracy, stability, and stopping power.

As of this writing, 1,000 bullets of my preferred fighting rounds cost about $170. I can purchase 55 grain “cheapies” for around $100 per 1,000. I can load cartridges using the less expensive bullets that have similar ballistics to my fighting rounds and save thousands of dollars per year. While the bargain bullets do not have the same terminal characteristics, during training both pop a balloon or punch a hole through paper quite well.

There are three major stages involved in reloading: Case Preparation Primer and Charge (powder) Bullet seating and Inspection

I reload three ‘levels’ of ammo for all three calibers:

1. Fighting – Factory, or new brass only, digital powder weight, match grade bullets

2. Target – chamber sized, once fired, fighting rounds, digital powder weight, match grade bullets

3. Training – older brass, lighter powder, cheap bullets

Many people reload dozens of different calibers as well as inventing their own (wildcatting). Reloading is one of those skill sets that you can burrow very deeply into – even to the point of making your own primers and pouring your own brass cases if desired.

Most of the work in reloading is case prep. We recently did a 15,000 round, 4-day weekend and ended up with buckets of brass.  Every single piece has to be tumbled. We clean so much brass the electric bill probably looks like my household is involved in some sort of illegal activity. Tumbling involves a piece of equipment that is normally not included in starter kits. This machine is called, of all things, a “tumbler.”

I would advise the reader to purchase as large a tumbler as budget will allow. It hurts nothing to run this device less-than-full, and there will be times when tumbling brass is a bottleneck in the reloading process.

After tumbling, we size each case and then measure each for length. Sizing a case involves using a die and pressing the brass. Most sizing steps remove the old, used primer as well. After the brass has been sized, you have to measure each and every single one. About 45% will need trimming, which is the worst part of reloading in my book. We have an electric RCBS case trimmer and also run a manual one to boot. You can purchase once fired, pre-trimmed brass, and this might be worth the expense if you are building up an inventory of ammo.

Tip: RCBS (and others) make something called a 3-way trimmer. IT IS WORTH THE MONEY! It will trim, de-chafe and de-bur the brass all at the same time. This saves a lot of time.

Tip: I don’t wash (with liquid) training rounds. It’s not worth the time/trouble. I do wash target rounds and use a Hornady sonic cleaner (pictured below). It’s worth the money as well.

We run both a single stage press and a multi-stage press. A single stage press performs one action per pull of the lever. A multi-stage press performs up to four actions, such as size, de-prime, seat a new primer, and load powder, with one pull. Multi-stage presses are sometimes referred to as indexing presses. Right now the multi-stage press is a Hornady (on the left in the picture below – 14.5), but I have used Dillon and Lee equipment as well. You can’t go wrong with a Hornady or a Dillon. Our single stage is a RCBS (on the right in the picture below), which is known for making quality products too.

When reloading training ammo, I use the multi-stage press, and when creating a batch of target or fighting rounds I use the single stage press. A multi-stage press can create a lot of rounds-per-hour. I have read some internet forums where guys claim output above 400 rounds per hour. I have never achieved that level of output. Counting case prep, about 200 per hour is the best I have been able to do.

Tip: I don’t think you can “overcharge” a .223 round with powder to the point where it would hurt the weapon. The bullet would not seat. What is far, far more dangerous in my experience is a round WITHOUT powder. The primer is enough to start the bullet down the tube, but not push it all the way out. Fire the next round and…. well…. I am unsure what would happen, but it can’t be good.

Mike Adams, commonly known as “The Health Ranger,” is a rare breed. Regardless of who you talk to, his name is always mentioned in the top two or three as far as expertise in the world of alternative health care and nutrition.

Mike is the editor of a web page,, and it is a wealth of information. I asked him if he would be so kind as to write a chapter on nutrition and shooting. I, personally, have found what I consume is as much of a factor as physical conditioning, training, equipment and mental discipline.

Gunfighting is both a mental and physical activity, and both your brain and your muscles run on the same source of fuel: your blood. Your blood, in turn, is 100% made of what you eat and drink.

The primary sources of neurologically damaging substances are:

1) Processed food
2) Medications
3) Personal care products

The most widely used neurotoxic substance in processed food is aspartame. It’s found in diet soda, “diabetic” sweets and nearly all chewing gum.

Avoid all sources of aspartame, period. Don’t touch the stuff. That means you need to start reading labels of foods and over-the-counter medicines to make sure you don’t ingest any. Diet soda is one of the most common sources of this poison.

Back to vaccines: I can sit here and explain to you why flu shots are medically useless — especially if you take vitamin D which protects you from the flu anyway — but I’ve already done all that on NaturalNews. com. Just search the website for “flu shots” and you’ll see at least a hundred articles on the subject, including citations of scientific studies showing that for every 100 people vaccinated against the flu, 99 of them experience no benefit whatsoever.

People who get vaccinated are injecting their bodies with small amounts of mercury. Once injected, this goes right into your bloodstream and starts “eating” your brain away.

When reports of U. S. soldiers going ape shit crazy I can’t help but wonder if it’s not psychiatric drugs at work. These drugs have well known (and well documented) side effects that include outbursts of violence and suicide. Our present-day war in Afghanistan is the first war in the history of the world where more soldiers die from suicide than from combat. Ponder that for a minute and you’ll begin to understand the true toxicity of psychiatric drugs.

SSRIs (antidepressants) can turn you into a mass murderer. Remember the Columbine High School shootings? Those kids were on SSRI drugs. Most mass shootings in the USA involve people who are taking psych drugs. Even the comedian Phil Hartman was killed by his wife who was taking the psych drug Zoloft. ( If you take psychiatric drugs, stay the hell away from me on the range. I don’t want some psycho gunfighter to go crazy and think he’s suddenly playing out some video game where everybody around him needs to be shot in order to reach the high score. I personally will not knowingly be around anyone who takes psychiatric drugs. I find the entire concept to be insane, stupid and dangerous.

Statin drugs are the “big lie” of the corrupt pharmaceutical industry. They say statin drugs lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks, but what they don’t tell you is how they interfere with the normal production of cholesterol, and cholesterol is absolutely critical for two things you don’t want to screw with: · Your sex hormones. · Your brain cells.

Most conventional doctors have been exhaustively brainwashed by Big Pharma to push statin drugs and earn billions of dollars in profits for the rope-a-dope pharmaceutical industry. If you don’t believe me, go visit your doctor’s office sometime and notice how every pen, paper pad, calendar, coffee cup and clipboard is emblazoned with the name of a prescription drug. Many physicians have completely sold out to Big Pharma and are little more than legalized drug pushers.

One of the most common side effects of statin drugs is rhabdomyolysis. Wikipedia describes rhabdomyolysis as “a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle tissue breaks down rapidly. Breakdown products of damaged muscle cells are released into the bloodstream; some of these, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.

Want a clean, non-toxic soap? It’s called Dr. Bronner’s. Go get some. It also cleans range gear, load vests, body armor and compression shirts.

Want a clean, non-toxic laundry detergent? Buy Seventh Generation.

If you use a toxic solvent cleaner on your firearm, you’re absorbing poison. (I use Frog Lube. It’s non-toxic and it works.)

Next time you buy a soda, check the ingredients: You’ll find something called “phosphoric acid.” Then go down to your local Home Depot and ask for some “phosphoric acid” there, and you’ll find it is readily available in the stone mason section, where this acid is used to clean rocks and etch patterns into stone.

Astaxanthin is called the “king of the carotenoids.” It’s a neuroprotective, stress-adaptive superfood substance that I have literally seen double the cardiovascular endurance of some individuals in training. Guys who were out of breath in 15 minutes of martial arts, for example, could often go 30 minutes just by taking this one supplement for 30 days or so.

You can get astaxanthin right now in 4mg and 12mg doses. The brand I recommend is “Bioastin” because I’ve toured their farm facilities on the Big Island in Hawaii and I’ve seen their quality control. If you want to find sources for astaxanthin, just Google around and shop for the best price. To read more about this extraordinary supplement, here’s my website page on it:

The real solution to nearly all cases of so-called “high blood pressure” (a completely fictitious disease dreamed up solely to sell you more drugs) is to change your diet. Start eating more fish and fish oils. Boost your intake of omega-3s with chia seeds, flax seeds and healthy oils. Stop eating hydrogenated oils and fried foods. Magically, in nearly 99 percent of the cases “high blood pressure” disappears as the blood starts to flow more easily.

Avoid cheap fish oils that you buy at big box clubs and retail stores, by the way. Those are full of chemicals and will only make you worse. Three sources of fish oils I currently recommend are: · Nordic Naturals ( · Carlson Labs ( · Living Fuel (

Nearly all Americans are vitamin D deficient, and deficiency leads directly to all sorts of degenerative diseases, including cancer, diabetes and more. Importantly for shooters and soldiers, a lack of vitamin D makes your bones crack easily. While the medical establishment tells you that calcium makes your bones strong, the deeper truth is that calcium can’t even be absorbed by your body unless you have high levels of vitamin D circulating in your blood.

The government says you should take maybe 400 IU of vitamin D a day when, in reality, you probably need ten times that amount or even more. I take one pill a day that delivers 10,000 IUs of vitamin D. I know many doctors who routinely prescribe 50,000 IUs a day for weeks at a time to patients who are dangerously low in vitamin D.

I also recommend getting your vitamin D levels tested by your doctor. If they are anything less than 50, you’re deficient. Most people’s vitamin D levels range in the low 20’s.

Spirulina and chlorella are “microalgae” superfoods. These are the super dense sources of nutrition that power many elite athletes.

Aloe vera is a true miracle of plant-based medicine. Consuming it reduces the friction of the blood in your veins. It’s like using high-grade synthetic motor oil instead of the cheap sludgy oil. Aloe actually has a natural polymer that is incredibly slippery. This has huge implications for your digestion, colon health and blood performance.

Buy aloe vera from a nursery. Look for a typical aloe vera plant with thick leaves full of gel.

2) Grow the aloe in your own yard. If you’re in a cold climate, bring it indoors during the freezing months.

3) Once the leaves get thick enough to harvest:

4) Slice off one of the leaves with your macho combat knife.

5) Wash the leaf; put it on a cutting board. Fillet off the dark green skin — top, bottom and sides. This will leave a semi-transparent mass of slimy gel. This is what you want: just the inner gel, nothing more.

6) Drop that gel into a blender. Add frozen blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

NOTE: Do NOT drink the dark resin-like substance found in the green skin of the leaves. This will cause diarrhea. Only consume the clear gel of the aloe plant.