Best Long Range Caliber: Long Range Shooting Guide

by David Lane

June 20, 2022



The world of long range precision shooting is filled with options and choices. From standard factory-made cartridges to wildcat homebrews shrouded in mystery, finding the right one for you can feel very intimidating.

What your goals are dictates what cartridge fits your needs. From hunting to competition to extreme long range, we have a list of the best long range calibers!

Best Long Range Caliber

.22 Long Rifle

Best For Beginners

  • Cheap
  • Easy to get
  • Easy to learn
Check Price
.308 Winchester

Old Faithful

  • Common and easy to find
  • Strong ballistics to 800 yards
  • Great “do-all” cartridge
Check Price
6.5 Creedmoor

Editor’s Pick

  • Hugely popular and widely available
  • Great ballistics to 1500 yards
  • Able to hunt any North American game
Check Price
6.5 Grendel

AR-15 Goes Long Range

  • Fits in standard AR-15 with just a barrel and bolt change
  • Rivals .308 Winchester ballistics in a small package
  • Good pricing and availability
Check Price
6mm ARC

AR-15 Long Range Improved

  • Lighter bullets moving faster than 6.5 Grendel
  • Pushes the AR-15 platform to the max for long range
  • Fresh, new cartridge
Check Price
.300 Win Mag

Reaper Of Elk

  • High energy on target
  • Classic round with proven track record
  • Wide range of ammo available
Check Price
6mm GT

The New Hottness 

  • Perfectly designed for long range competition
  • Newly SAAMI approved
  • Taking PRS by storm
Check Price
.375 CheyTac

King Of Two Miles

  • Winner of the “King of Two Miles” Competition
  • Designed for Extreme long range
  • Eats 2,500 yards for breakfast
Check Price

Best Long Range Calibers

  1. .22 Long Rifle – Best For Beginners
  2. .308 Winchester – Old Faithful
  3. 6.5 Creedmoor – Editor’s Pick
  4. 6.5 Grendel – AR-15 Goes Long Range
  5. 6mm ARC – AR-15 Long Range Improved
  6. .300 Win Mag – Reaper Of Elk
  7. 6mm GT – The New Hottness
  8. .375 CheyTac – King Of Two Miles

Caliber Specifications

Below is a list of our Best Long Range Calibers. So we can compare and line up the specs from each of the products and help you make the best decision possible.

CaliberAvg. Bullet WeightAvg. Muzzle VelocityAvg. Ballistic CoefficientMax Precision RangeAvg. Barrel LifeAvg. Felt Recoil
22LR40gr1,050-1,200FPSG1 0.135400 yardsUnlimited0.2 lb
308 Winchester168gr2,700 FPSG1 0.447900-1,200 yards8-10,00018 lb
6.5 Creedmoor140gr2,750 FPSG1 0.6461,500-2,000 yards2,500-4,00013 lb
6.5 Grendel123gr2,600 FPSG1 0.5061,000-1,200 yards5-7,0008 lb
6mm ARC108gr2,750 FPSG1 0.5361,100-1,200 yards3-5,0006 lb
300 Win Mag178gr2,900 FPSG1 0.5521,500-1,800 yards1,000-2,00026 lb
6mm GT109gr3,000 FPSG1 0.5361,400-1,700 yards2,500-3,0005.5 lb
375 CheyTac350gr2,970 FPSG1 0.9883,000-3,500 yards700-90065 lb

Best Long Range Caliber Reviews

Now we’ve had an overview and looked at our list, let us take the time to individually review each item. In this section we’ll be revisiting our specs, speaking into the product and looking at the pros and cons.

1. 22 Long Rifle

22LR Caliber

22 Long Rifle

While limited in raw yardage against the big cartridges, .22 Long Rifle is cheap, easy to use, and very challenging to master at extended range.

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range C
  • Ballistics C-
  • Average Recoil A+
  • Barrel life A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

.22 Long Rifle Specs

  • Bullet Weight 40gr
  • Av. Muzzle Velocity 1050-1200fps
  • Av. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.135
  • Av. Barrel Life Unlimited
  • Av. Felt Recoil 0.2lb

.22 Long Rifle Review

A lot of people scream that .22 LR isn’t a long range cartridge, well in my professional expert opinion — it absolutely is.

If you’re using a 10/22 to yeet Remington BYOB ammo, you’ll have a lot of malfunctions, and hitting anything with precision will be dumb luck at best.

But a well-made .22 LR rifle like a Bergara, Voodoo, RimX, CZ, or Tikka combined with match grade ammo and you can confidently hit sub MOA at over 400 yards.

The fact is that .22 LR is by far some of the best training you can get when it comes to long range shooting.

Two things are the biggest roadblocks for most of us when it comes to shooting really long distances — a place to shoot and the cost of shooting.

Centerfire match ammo is a dollar, two dollars, sometimes even more per round. The most I’ve ever paid for match-grade .22 LR is 30 cents per round.

Because .22 LR has horrible ballistics and drops like a rock, shooting at easy-to-find ranges like 100-300 yards can still give you a lot of room to stretch .22 LR’s legs.

.22 LR at 100 yards has the drop and windage of 6.5 Creedmoor at 400 yards.

.22 LR at 300 yards has the drop and windage of 6.5 Creedmoor at over 1,300 yards.

Now I can’t say that .22 LR at 300 yards is apples to apples like 6.5 Creedmoor at 1,300 yards, but it’s shockingly close in difficulty. 

For a training round or just for someone that wants to use long range skills but at a range that is easier to reach out to, .22 LR is amazing.

.22 Long Rifle Pros and Cons

  • Cheap
  • Accessible
  • Fun, Fun, and more Fun
  • Skill Builder
  • Does not teach recoil management
  • Highly Addictive

.22 Long Rifle Deals

2. 308 Winchester

308 Winchester

308 Winchester

Starting life as a military cartridge to replace the .30-06, .308 Winchester has since become one of the most popular cartridges not only in the USA but around the world.

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range A
  • Ballistics A-
  • Average Recoil B+
  • Barrel life A+
  • Value A

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

.308 Winchester Specs

  • Avg. Bullet Weight 168gr
  • Avg. Muzzle Velocity 2700fps
  • Avg. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.447
  • Max Range 900-1200 yards
  • Avg. Barrel Life 8,000 – 10,000
  • Avg. Felt Recoil 18lb

.308 Winchester Review

.308 Win has been around a long time and will be around for a lot longer.

Designed for combat, the .308 Win is a great all-around cartridge because it can do almost anything fairly well.

As a dedicated long range cartridge, it isn’t the best. While bullet technology and handloading have come a long way over the years, the fact is that .308 Win is lacking against some of the newer rounds in the world.

That said when you need a cartridge that can do almost anything well to very well, .308 Win covers a lot of bases and is a true jack-of-all-trades.

You can get cheap ammo for plinking, you can get match-grade ammo for real work, you can find a rifle from every brand on earth in .308, and it’s a well-known and well-proven platform.

While it might not be the new hotness, it is still a reliable choice that won’t let you down.

Even though it can be argued that .308 Win is on a slow road to obsolescence, the fact that 7.62×51 is a NATO cartridge will keep .308 Win and 7.62×51 NATO in stock for a very long time to come. 

.308 Winchester Pros and Cons

  • Good price and high availability
  • Almost every rifle on the market is offered in .308 Win
  • Easy to reload
  • Great do-all caliber
  • More affected by wind
  • Lower-end max range

.308 Winchester Deals

3. 6.5 Creedmoor

Editor's Choice
6.5 Creedmoor

6.5 Creedmoor

The best beginner long range cartridge you can find, 6.5 Creedmoor is quickly becoming America’s cartridge right behind the 5.56 NATO.

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range A
  • Ballistics A+
  • Average Recoil A
  • Barrel life B
  • Value A

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

6.5 Creedmoor Specs

  • Avg. Bullet Weight 140gr
  • Avg. Muzzle Velocity 2750fps
  • Avg. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.646
  • Max Range 1500-2000 yards
  • Avg. Barrel Life 2500 – 4000
  • Avg. Felt Recoil 13lb

6.5 Creedmoor Review

6.5 Creedmoor is honestly where 80% or more of us should start in our long range shooting. It gets meme’d on a lot, it gets made fun of by small-minded people, but the fact remains that 6.5 Creedmoor is an outstanding cartridge that is quickly approaching the point of outright replacing .308 Win as the default short action cartridge in America.

What 6.5 Creedmoor gives you is great ballistics, decent barrel life, much better wind performance, much lower recoil, and is compatible in any platform that shoots .308 Win. From AR-10s to bolt rifles, if a gun is offered in at least two calibers — it’s most likely .308 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor.

So why do people make fun of it?

6.5 Creedmoor was developed by Hornady for competition use. That is where it started and that is where it first was seen by people.

People hate change, but once 6.5 Creedmoor started to prove itself as a major contender they couldn’t deny that it worked.

So instead they made fun of it and the people that shot it.

That reached its peak about 10 years ago, but even now you’ll find people making “6.5 ManBun” or “6.5 Hipster” jokes.

Just remember that those are the people that are jealous of 6.5 Creedmoor’s flat-out better performance than .308 Win.

6.5 Creedmoor Pros and Cons

  • 25% less recoil than .308 Win
  • Great ballistics
  • Easy to find ammo and rifles
  • Easy to reload
  • Current availability of match grade factory ammo is expensive

6.5 Creedmoor Deals

4. 6.5 Grendel

6.5 Grendel Caliber

6.5 Grendel

Ballistically very close to .308 Winchester (except in bullet weight), 6.5 Grendel is an outstanding AR-15 sized cartridge for long range shooting.

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range A
  • Ballistics A
  • Average Recoil A+
  • Barrel life A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

6.5 Grendel Specs

  • Avg. Bullet Weight 123gr
  • Avg. Muzzle Velocity 2600fps
  • Avg. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.506
  • Max Range 1000 – 1200 yards
  • Avg. Barrel Life 5000 – 7000
  • Avg. Felt Recoil 8lb

6.5 Grendel Review

6.5 Grendel was invented by Bill Alexander at Alexander Arms as a cartridge to improve the performance of a standard M4 rifle. Basically, he wanted an AR-15 that could hit harder and shoot further than what 5.56 NATO could provide.

And that is exactly what he designed. 

6.5 Grendel is most commonly seen in AR-15 platform rifles. A new upper or just a new barrel and bolt plus some magazines and you’re good to go.

You can also find it in bolt-action form in a wide range of rifles now, but AR-15s are still far more common.

With a standard 16” barrel 6.5 Grendel is a 1,000-yard rifle on paper and steel. That’s pretty flipping amazing really.

Add some more inches to that barrel and at around 24” you’ll boost the muzzle velocity to around 2,600-2,700 FPS. 

That combined with 123gr highly aerodynamic 6.5mm bullets and you have ballistics and range that are almost identical to .308 Winchester, but with less than half the recoil, lower cost, and more fun (if you ask me).

The only thing missing is energy on target due to the much lower bullet weight. If you’re target shooting, this is a non-issue. But keep in mind that hunting ranges are lower with 6.5 Grendel than they are with .308 Winchester.

6.5 Grendel Pros and Cons

  • 60% less recoil than .308 Win
  • Outstanding barrel life
  • Easy to convert an existing AR-15
  • Wide range of ammo
  • Limited choice in factory bolt-rifles
  • Less energy on target than .308 Win

6.5 Grendel Deals

5. 6mm ARC

6.5 ARC

6mm ARC

When the DoD needed to reach out and touch something, they commissioned the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge from Hornady and Barrett. 

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range A
  • Ballistics A+
  • Average Recoil A
  • Barrel life A-
  • Value B+

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

6mm ARC Specs

  • Avg. Bullet Weight 108gr
  • Avg. Muzzle Velocity 2750fps
  • Avg. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.536
  • Max Range 1100 – 1200 yards
  • Avg. Barrel Life 3000 – 5000
  • Avg. Felt Recoil 6lb

6mm ARC Review

Most cartridges that are new to the market have some build-up, people hear things before they come out. 6mm ARC wasn’t one of those and popped onto the market in 2020 making it the newest cartridge on our list today.

Developed by Hornady with help from Barrett for a special contract with the DOD to be adopted by a “notable Department of Defense (DOD) entity”. That’s all we know, they won’t say who adopted it.

Needless to say, this cartridge is clearly doing some work in some bad places of the world in the hands of highly skilled shooters that mean business.

6mm ARC is a 6mm cartridge that fits and operates in a standard AR-15 with minimal changes made. A new barrel, bolt, and magazines and you’re ready to rock.

108gr rounds are more or less the standard weight for 6mm ARC and exit a 24” barrel at around 2,800 FPS. 

As far as precision potential goes, that’s pretty awesome.

Designed to give special forces operators a long range option that punches harder than what they had before, 6mm ARC also serves as a great long range precision option for us normal people too.

Great for mid-sized game like deer, hog, and sheep, 6mm has some outstanding bullet choices to pick from.

For a PRS gas rifle or just long range plinking, 6mm ARC is a fantastic option and improves upon the idea that 6.5 Grendel got started.

If you’re looking for the newest and coolest option for long range AR-15s, 6mm ARC is it.

6mm ARC Pros and Cons

  • Shoots 6mm Bullets
  • Soft Recoil
  • AR-15 maximizes for range
  • Very Fun
  • Ammo is hard to get
  • Ammo isn’t cheap
  • Reloading dies are meh

6mm ARC Deals

6. 300 Win Mag

300 Win Mag Caliber

300 Win Mag

An all-time classic cartridge, .300 Win Mag has hunted almost every game on earth, served the US Military for years, and is one of the most well-known cartridges ever made. When all else fails, .300 Win Mag will send raw kinetic energy down range that you can rely on.

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range A
  • Ballistics A
  • Average Recoil B
  • Barrel life B-
  • Value B

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

.300 Win Mag Specs

  • Avg. Bullet Weight 178gr
  • Avg. Muzzle Velocity 2900fps
  • Avg. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.552
  • Max Range 1500 – 1800 yards
  • Avg. Barrel Life 1000 – 2000
  • Avg. Felt Recoil 26lb

300 Win Mag Review

.300 Win Mag has been around for a long, long time — since 1963. It quickly became a go-to choice for hunters of big game like Elk and Moose as well as making its way into multiple military rifles that are used to this day, although they have started to be phased out in some units.

Back in the 1960s, Carlos Hathcock used a .300 Win Mag rifle to win the Wimbledon Cup. This was before he went to Vietnam and became a legendary sniper.

Based on the .375 H&H Magnum, .300 Win Mag throws the same .30 cal sized rounds as a standard 7.62×51/.308 Win, but normally uses heavier bullets and throws them a couple of hundred feet per second faster.

This makes for a lot of energy on target at some impressive distances. 

While I would never say hunting at 1,000 yards is ethical, 300 Win Mag puts over 1,000 ft.lbf on target at 1,000 yards — more than enough to drop a whitetail. Even at 500 yards, 300 Win Mag has almost as much energy as .308 Win does at 100 yards.

As a precision round, 300 Win Mag isn’t the best due to it being a belted cartridge. Belted cartridges are headspaced off of the belt at the bottom of the case instead of off the shoulder of the case like most cartridges are.

This makes it hard for barrels to be made and mounted in the best way possible to give the most accuracy, but it’s good enough for military snipers and big game hunters.

Something to keep in mind is that when it comes to long range precision you don’t need a magnum. 

Steel and paper targets don’t normally care how hard you hit them and in some long range competitions, cartridges like .300 Win Mag are not allowed to protect the steel targets.

But when energy counts, .300 Win Mag is a classic cartridge that doesn’t let you down.

It might not be the newest and coolest on the block, but it gets the job done.

300 Win Mag Pros and Cons

  • Lots of energy on target
  • Great for hunting at long range
  • Easy to find ammo
  • High recoil
  • Not beginner-friendly

300 Win Mag Deals

7. 6mm GT

6.5 GT

6mm GT

Designed for the Precision Rifle Series, this is a gamer’s cartridge through and through. Receiving SAAMI approval in Jan 2022, 6mm GT is an official cartridge that is ready to conquer the competition. 

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range A
  • Ballistics A
  • Average Recoil B
  • Barrel life B-
  • Value B

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

6mm GT Specs

  • Avg. Bullet Weight 109gr
  • Avg. Muzzle Velocity 3000fps
  • Avg. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.536
  • Max Range 1400 – 1700 yards
  • Avg. Barrel Life 2500 – 3000
  • Avg. Felt Recoil 5.5lb

6mm GT Review

6mm GT is a very new cartridge only hitting the market in 2019. 

“GT” stands for George Gardner from GA Precision and Tom Jacobs from Vapour Trail Bullets, the two designers of the 6mm GT.

The goal of this new cartridge was to make the perfect 6mm cartridge. 

It has been long established that 6mm is a great choice for high B.C. bullets and forgiving reloading nodes, but many 6mm cartridges have issues with feeding from a magazine since many of them were designed for single-loading bench rest competition. 

6mm GT set out to solve this issue and solve it they did.

While 6mm is entirely usable for hunting mid-sized game like whitetail and sheep, 6mm GT is really designed for PRS and NRL competition and that is what it does best.

Accepted by SAAMI in Jan of 2022 factory-made ammo will be available from Hornady very soon, but really if you’re serious enough about precision shooting to get this cartridge — you should handload.

Brass is available from Hornady, ADG, Alpha Brass, and others. Personally, Alpha gets my money.

This is a cartridge that has almost no recoil (especially when shot from an 18-25lb rifle as is common in PRS), has a ton of muzzle velocity, and is crazy accurate.

It is also a very forgiving cartridge to reload with several powders working well with it, a wide range of 6mm bullets with super high B.C., and very good brass life.

If you’re just getting started in PRS or NRL, shoot whatever you already have even if it’s grandpa’s .30-06.

But if you’re building a new rifle from the ground up, 6mm GT is a very compelling contender for the best of the best.

6mm GT Pros and Cons

  • Designed for competition
  • The best memes
  • Very slippy bullets
  • Soft recoil
  • Only one brand of factory ammo
  • Match grade only

6mm GT Deals

8. .375 CheyTac

375 CheyTac

.375 CheyTac

Someone looked at the .50 BMG and said “we can do better”. A lot of testing and design later, the .375 CheyTac has proven to be a big bore long range cartridge that knocks down big targets at very long distances.

Check Latest Price

  • Max Range A
  • Ballistics A+
  • Average Recoil A+
  • Barrel life A
  • Value B

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Ammo? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

.375 CheyTac Specs

  • Avg. Bullet Weight 350gr
  • Avg. Muzzle Velocity 2970fps
  • Avg. Ballistic Coefficient G1 0.988
  • Max Range 3000 – 3500 yards
  • Avg. Barrel Life 700 – 900
  • Avg. Felt Recoil 65lb

.375 CheyTac Review

.375 CheyTac started life as the .408 CheyTac. Designed by Cheyenne Tactical, the .408 CheyTac was meant to improve on and replace the .338 Lapua Magnum and in many ways, it did.

The case design for .408 CheyTac provided the Extreme Long Range community a great parent case to wildcat off of, and so was born the .375 CheyTac — basically, a necked down version of the .408.

Approved by the C.I.P. as an official cartridge in 2017, CheyTac started to offer their Intervention rifle system in the .375 CheyTac chambering.

So… what’s the point of the .375 CheyTac? Basically, hitting things very far away with a whole lot of energy. The same goals that .338 Lapua Magnum or .50 BMG fill in anti-personal, anti-materiel, and anti-sniper roles. But better.

.375 CheyTac is also just ballistically better than those options and gives it some insane precision range.

Extreme long range shooting is the art and science of shooting at 1,500+ yards, the hardest competition for this style of shooting is King of Two Miles where targets range from 1,500 to over 3,300 yards.

For the last several years, .375 CheyTac has taken at least 5 of the top 10 rankings in KO2M.

Throwing a 350gr pill at over 2,900 FPS .375 CheyTec stays supersonic past 2,600 yards and puts as much energy on target at 2,000 yards as .308 Win does at 400 yards.

Basically, this is a huge cartridge that knows how to send a lot of pain downrange.

The downsides? This is expensive. Like, really expensive. Factory ammo isn’t available for .375 CheyTac and handloading costs about $12+ for components per shot.

Barrels last about 800 rounds and cost about $1,000 a pop. That means between ammo and barrel life every trigger pull costs you at least $13.50. 

In a 5-round magazine, .375 CheyTac will cost you as much as a box of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo. Big oof.

That said, for putting big rounds on targets really, really far away — it’s hard to beat the definitive King of Two Miles.

Pro.375 CheyTac Pros and Cons

  • The coolest cartridge in your safe
  • Extreme long range
  • Big iron
  • Almost an anti-tank cartridge
  • Very expensive
  • Demands ranges of 1,000+ yards
  • VERY! Expensive!

.375 CheyTac Deals

Best Long Range Caliber – Buyers Guide

The simple idea is that these are the cartridges that I would recommend to 99% of shooters wanting to go long range. While the exact cartridge I would recommend for you depends on your goals, chances are that basically everyone will find what they want on this list.

How Far Is “Long Range”

People define “long range” differently. Some give a set distance and nothing else matters, some say it’s whatever range where wind becomes an important factor, some just quote their furthest shot.

The challenge behind long range shooting comes from all sides. Reloading great ammo can be a challenge, reading your environmental conditions can be the challenge, maybe what position you’re shooting from is where it is at, but for the vast majority of us, the most problematic issue will be wind.

Reading wind is art, science, and a little bit of dark magic. But close to always, the best shooter is the person that can read and adjust to wind the best.

With that in mind — I say long range depends on your cartridge and the distance that cartridge starts to become strongly affected by wind.

So… what does “strongly” mean? That’s up to you, kind of. Personally, I say it’s a mil or more of movement with a 10 mph full-value wind.

That’s an entirely arbitrary number, just what kind of feels right.

For .22 LR that makes “long range” around 80+ yards.

6.5 Creedmoor “long range” means 550-600+ yards.

.375 CheyTac won’t see 1 mil of wind until almost 1,000 yards.

However you define “long range”, compare that to how the cartridge you’re interested in performs at that range. If you want to shoot 1,000 yards, maybe .22 LR isn’t right for you.

If you only have 400 yards to work with, then spending $13+ per shot for 357 CheyTac doesn’t make sense.

What Specs Matter Most

Max Range – This really depends on a lot of factors from where you are shooting to the exact make of ammo you use to the rifle and optic you’re going to shoot with. The numbers given here are more guidelines than actual rules.

That said, they are based on some of the best factory ammo you can get right now and assume you’re using good equipment while also expecting a high level of repeatability. Anyone can hit a mile with .22 LR if you shoot 50,000 rounds, but doing it 9 out of 10 times simply won’t happen.

Think less about the cartridge’s max range and think about yours. If there isn’t a range longer than 200 yards within 3-hours drive of you, work within that limit.

But if you live down the road from a plot of BLM land with 2,500 yards of safe shooting, go nuts!

Ballistics – Don’t get bogged down in the weeds of ballistics. Frankly, if you’re reading this list then I’m guessing you’re new to long range shooting.

Some people get wrapped up in getting the cartridge that performs the very best but honestly, with modern ballistic solvers and modern ammo, the exact BC or MV or design of your chamber simply isn’t relevant to anyone outside of very, very high skill shooters who are trying to eek out that last few percentage points of performance in national level competition. 

That said — some cartridges are simply better than others. 6 GT is going to be better in PRS than .308 Winchester, that’s just fact.

If you want to live life on easy mode, do yourself a favor and get a cartridge designed for what you want to do.

Average Recoil – Know how you can tell someone doesn’t know much about long range shooting? When they say “recoil doesn’t bother me!”

When long range shooters talk about recoil and wanting to avoid it, it has nothing to do with our shoulders, but fewer bruises are a side benefit.

The real reason we hate recoil is that it disturbs us out of position and it disturbs our scope.

Long range precision is about consistency, always. Consistent ammo, bullets, wind, weather, heart rate, breathing, all of it is about consistency.

Getting whacked around by recoil makes you inconsistent. That’s physics. 

After taking a shot the best thing you can do to improve your next shot is to watch exactly where your bullet goes. Not only where it hits, but how it gets there. If you can track your bullet trace through the air from muzzle to target (or as close as possible) it makes adjustments SO MUCH EASIER.

Big recoil moves your sight picture and makes you lose your shot, soft recoil lets you stay right on target and track that shot to make the next shot perfect.

Barrel Life – A good rule of thumb is that people who care about burning out their barrel won’t burn out their barrel. People who do burn them out, don’t care.

Competition shooters will often go through 3, 4, or even 8 barrels per year. A barrel is a consumable and you can’t get around that.

Those people are also shooting 5,000-7,000 rounds per year at a minimum.

If money is tight and you need to make things last, I totally understand wanting to get a .308 Win with its 8k+ barrel life if that 8k will last you 10 years.

But really… long range shooting is expensive. No way around it. If you want the most performance and you have the money to throw down on thousands of rounds of ammo per year, you just gotta accept the cost of new barrels.

Availability – Factory ammo has come a long, long way in the last 15 years with some match grade offerings being simply outstanding!

But the best ammo will always be the ammo you load yourself for your rifle.

That said, both factory ammo and the components to make ammo are subject to the market like anything else. Pre-COVID there wasn’t really much issue with anything even sort of mainstream. These days… There are some major advantages to shooting the same caliber that everyone else does.

That said, there are still calibers that are going to be next to impossible to find — like 6 GT or 375 CheyTac. If you want to shoot these outliers, you NEED to reload.

Value – This basically comes down to barrel life and the cost of ammo. Not the cheap ammo, but the match grade stuff.

I know I said people who burn barrels don’t care about burning them, but let’s face it barrel life is a part of the cost for the system.

If you want to maximize your value, you gotta look at all sides of things.

The value I quote might not be the value you see. I shop online for ammo and components so I always get the best deal, but if you want to shop in stores around you then you’ll need to look at those stores for their prices.

More Resources

For more great resources on Long Range Shooting, be sure to pick up a copy of the Long Range Shooting Handbook. Along with that you’ll find a great series on Long Range Shooting by Ryan Cleckner over on WPSN.

Long Range Shooting Handbook


Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About David Lane

Learning how to shoot at a young age in the Boy Scouts, David now spends most of his time working on or with firearms. Be it shooting, upgrading, building, tinkering, or writing about them -- sharing his passion and knowledge of firearms with others is an everyday occurrence.

Recent Posts