Long range or precision rifle shooting is a firearms discipline that I absolutely love. It requires very different equipment (and some skills) compared to some of the other genres of shooting. The quality and characteristics of equipment can be a limitation when trying to make “precision shots.” When putting together my rifle, I focused on a few key components to give me the best chance for success. These components are your barreled action, stock/chassis, and optic.
Barrel and Action
The heart and soul of the rifle is the barreled action. I chose a Remington 700 SPS short action in .308. The Remington 700 barrel and action are adequate. Right out of the box this gun is capable of shooting a group just under an inch at 100 yards.
Remington unfortunately over the last decade has seen a decrease in the quality of their firearms, but the 700 series is still one of the most popular barrels and actions off which to base a precision rifle. I knew there would be plenty of aftermarket upgrades for this rifle to increase performance. There is no shortage of aftermarket barrels to choose from if your budget permits an upgrade such as this.
I got rid of the rubberized Hogue Stock and upgraded to the Ridgback Stock from Grayboe. The Ridgeback is a composite stock that vastly improved the ergonomics of the rifle. If you are uncomfortable when shooting a rifle, it will have a negative impact on your shots. The Ridgeback’s adjustability in length of pull and comb height allows you to fit the rifle to your body and optic height. This adjustability minimizes straining and discomfort when mounting the rifle.
The Ridgeback is one of the only composite stocks that I have seen with metal MLOK inserts. This makes it easy to attach bipods, lights, rangefinders, etc. The under belly of the stock is a flat surface which makes the rifle more stable when shooting off of structure. The Ridgeback is loaded with user friendly features and comes in a modest MSRP of $600.
You can only hit what you can see and even if you can see it there maybe some calculations involved before you pull that trigger. Glass is one area where people try to cut corners. It does not need to be the most expensive, but optics are typically a “you get what you pay for” type of component. The glass needs to be clear, hold zero, and have repeatability when dialing elevations and windage.
I chose the Leupold MK5 HD 3.6-18x. The 35mm tube takes in great light and provides a wide field of view. The Horus H59 reticle makes hold overs and follow up shots a breeze. The turrets are tactile and have repeatability when dialing. It is an all around exceptional piece of glass with a price tag that reflects its quality.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Starting the journey into precision rifle shooting can be overwhelming. Making shots at 500 yards and beyond involves skill and knowledge. It is a huge confidence booster knowing that your gear will help you accomplish the task as long as you do your part. Fighting with faulty and uncomfortable equipment will not do you any favors. Keep these key components in mind when building your precision rifle. You may not choose these exact components, but they should share similar traits of quality, usability, and reliability.