If you are thinking about entering the somewhat mysterious world of long range shooting, buy this book before you buy anything else!
It’s one of the best lessons author Ryan M. Cleckner drives home in “Long Range Shooting Handbook: A Beginner’s Guide to Precision Rifle Shooting.”
Ryan is a natural choice for authoring a book like this. He’s a former Special Operation sniper who served in 1/75 Ranger Battalion from 1998 to 2003, and he still teaches precision shooting to this day.
His Second Amendment credentials are impeccable, having managed government relations for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms industry, and served as a VP for the Remington Outdoor Company. Nowadays he’s an attorney who specializes in helping folks get and keep an FFL.
While it’s tagged as a beginner’s book, I read it from cover to cover and learned a lot.
It’s loaded with tons of great insight and advice for shooters of all abilities — all neatly packaged in easy-to-digest chapters.
To be clear, this is a handbook. It’s not meant to sit on a bookshelf. It’s meant to be used and carried with you.
“I made the cover orange so that it is easy to find in your gear at the range,” Ryan wrote.
He divided the 311 pages into three sections: equipment, fundamentals and applications — to include ballistic tables, a blank logbook and targets, which are downloadable from his website.
Equipment covers ammunition, rifles, optics, accessories and, most importantly, how to select the right stuff.
The chapters on fundamentals cover the basics of marksmanship, as well as ballistics, environmental effects and more.
Applications — the meat of the book — puts everything together, including a host of techniques.
“You may not like the techniques introduced in this section,” he writes. “All I ask is that you try them. If you don’t like them, you don’t have to use them.”
Ryan takes the reader from mounting and zeroing the scope, through shooting and spotting using different shooting positions, to cleaning your rifle.
I found the chapters on estimating distance, wind and angles to be the clearest and easiest to understand advice I’ve read on the subjects.
The book is chock-full of truisms, which are separated from the text by black rectangles. I found myself skimming ahead to read them. They’re that good.
Here’s a couple: Consistency is the key to accuracy, and Quality low power glass is much better than cheap high powered glass.
Ryan’s handbook is doing well.
So far, he’s donated nearly $50,000 to both charities.
Ryan is soon to release a sequel: Advanced Long Range Shooting.
We’ll be reviewing that book as well.