Sunday, December 12, 2010

North Texas Rifle Precision

         In July, I completed North Texas Rifle Precision Reloading and Long Range Rifle 1 Course. And I have to say that it was beyond what I imagined. I started by getting to know Jay (Josh) Ruby (Captain Kick Ass, on Sniper's Hide) and if you have a pulse, you will like him immediately. His outgoing and gregarious personality will put you at ease the second you shake his hand. Unfortunately this is a trait that gets more and more rare in today's society. Jay makes you feel like you are the only one that matters and your success is his goal. He graciously allowed my family to come and meet him for dinner on Day 0. He brought along his Wife, Molly, who is also an NTRP Shooter. We could not help but feel like they were immediately part of the family. 
        Day 1 began by Jay giving the standard Safety Briefing and his personal do's and don'ts. After that I pulled out my notebook and began scribbling furiously as he started giving the layout of an effective Hand Loading Station. If you take one of NTRP's courses have a notebook, tape recorder, and memory ready because the information will come quickly. The speed of instruction is not a bad thing. We covered ground that was a refresher for me. He slowed down when we started crossing into the processes I was less familiar with. Though I set the new worlds record for the slowest reloading, Jay didn't rush me or take over as often happens when learning from someone that is a World Class Shooter and Hand Loader often does when dealing with someone who is not. I finished the Reloading Course with 200 rounds of .308 caliber ammunition and confident that I could go home and replicate what I learned on any caliber I may need. I have to give a special note to Mrs. Ruby for preparing an AMAZING meal for us after the day of reloading was done. That night Jay checked my rifle, scope, and gear for Day 2. This is not probably part of the usual training Method of Instruction. but Jay is unrelenting when it comes to setting the student up for success.
          Precision Rifle I, began by confirming my 100 yard Zero. I was using a Factory Remington Model 700 rifle in .308 (7.62x51) caliber with a IOR 4-14x50mm Mil/Mil scope. I had never fired match grade ammo before and my groups started as large as I was used to. Which is to say "all over an 8x11 sheet of paper. Jay focused on my position behind the rifle. Then moved on to my position in relation to the barrel, which effects the path of recoil, and thus the impact of the bullet. Last he adjusted my grip on the weapon and my trigger control. The next 5 round group was AMAZINGLY small (for me.) At this point Jay started showing me how to work up a load based on the ammo I made the night before. With chronograph set and targets hung, I started learning how the process works. I saw the the chronograph numbers that were best and discussed the bell curve of velocity, pressure, and what was optimum for my rifle. Based on that information a specific combination became MY load. Knowing what the bullet will do as the primer is struck, travels down the barrel, and into the target, makes a major difference, all the difference in building confidence in your equipment. We (Jay and I) moved back to the firing line (300-780 yard berm) and started the fun. 
         My next block of instruction was in wind reading. The environmental conditions that day were not bad, but they weren't good either. But, how often do you hunt or compete in optimal conditions. There was a steady 10mph cross wind and it rained on and off throughout the day. To me, this was another outstanding aspect of the training. How often do you shoot in PERFECT conditions? Probably not often. Within 3 shots I knew the effects the wind had on MY bullet and could still engage the target, even as the wind gusted. From there I started engaging Steel Reactive Targets (produced by Outback Welding in Weatherford, TX) from 300 yards to 500 yards. This developed more confidence in myself, equipment, and ammunition. Jay was there every shot coaching, mentoring, and teaching. And.... reminding me to breathe. By the time I was on my second box of 100 rounds I was hitting a 6 inch target at 780 yards. We took a break at this point and started playing with a pair of Bushnell's Fusion LRFs. I was throughly impressed. Jay often has new equipment and will give a student the opportunity to put the equipment into operation in order to judge its applicability to the type of shooting the student wants to focus on. Jay takes the data from the new shooter and passes it along to other shooters, vendors, or files it away in the vast hard drive that is Jay's mind.
         At the end of the break I was introduced to positional shooting. I figured I would have been good at this, having done it for years in my current line of work. But there is a DIFFERENCE in positional shooting with an M16A2/M4 and a Remington M700, IOR Scope, and Harris Bipod. But the method, tips, and tricks Jay taught had me hitting steel again, repeatedly. There was never a range, position, or condition that Jay did not shoot first to show me that it could be done, on my rifle, with my scope zeroed for me. I never second guessed his method because it worked. We finished the 100 round box with only a hand full of fliers/missed rounds. I feel bad for Jay in this because I took my time with every shot and he called them all through the 2 hours it took. We were able to pack up and get headed back to McKinney, Texas before a MASSIVE rain storm hit.
         My final thoughts on this NTRP course is, if you are looking for the BEST 1 on 1 instruction don't look any further. After the classes were done, I would have gladly paid twice what NTRP charges for the quality, focus, and attention of the instruction I was given. Not once did I ever feel like I was anything but the center of attention of NTRP. I also don't feel that there were any "Secrets" that were not imparted, and no special methods about hand loading or shooting he didn't teach. I know that NTRP taught everything he could. Forget the distance you may have to travel, forget the time at work you might miss, go to and get signed up for a class. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. Chances are you will be like me and already be signing up for Long Range II. On a personal note, Jay and Mrs. Ruby are the nicest, most sincere people you will ever meet. If you don't walk away with two new friends that treat you like family, you probably need to have your heart examined, because it isn't beating.

         Since taking NTRP's Precision Rifle 1, I have bagged 4 whitetail deer (including 1 Trophy Buck) at various ranges and conditions. Before the class, I would have passed on several of the shots. But the confidence in my my ability to engage the target and hit with first round accuracy are attributable to Jay's teaching. Also, I have purchased a Custom Rifle, developed a load that gives me optimal performance, and have begun training for my first competition. I know that when I put my reticle on a target that I know where that round is going before I ever squeeze the trigger. I look forward to my next NTRP Course and making shooting a family hobby!

Stay in the Fight!

5 GOLD STARS. I will use NTRP again and again, or until Jay tells me to go away.

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