Rifle

  • Serviceable rifle in .243, .308, .30-06, .270 (call about any other caliber questions)
  • Ammo management gun/belt carriers, Ear protection (rifle compatible)

Bear in mind that Gunsite teaches practical gun-handling and marksmanship skills. Most of our rifle work will be done at 200 yards or less, under reasonable time pressure and using intermediate or field-expedient shooting positions. If you’re a hunter or prospective hunter, bring the rifle you plan to carry in the field. Iron-sighted military-style weapons (e.g. M1A, M1 Garand, FN/FAL) are also suitable. If you choose to bring a heavyweight precision rifle mounting a high-power scope, be aware that it won’t give you an advantage and will actually hinder you in some of our firing drills.

Rifle Fit: Almost every standard production rifle buttstock is too long for the fast offhand shooting, quick position assumption and rapid reloading that much of our training involves. For scope-sighted rifles, eye relief (the distance between your eye and the scope’s eyepiece) must be adequate to prevent injury during recoil, but a length of pull (the distance between the trigger and buttplate) much greater than 13” will almost certainly prove awkward, no matter what your proportions. Although we can sometimes correct this problem, it’s best to have it addressed by a competent gunsmith before you arrive at Gunsite.

A note to women/youth clients: If you plan to train with a rifle borrowed from a spouse, friend or relative, you will have trouble unless you and that person are of similar size and build. If in doubt, please call us for advice on this and any other gun-fit issues well before your class.

Telescopes: Although any rifle scope can break under hard use, we believe in sticking to contemporary products from reputable manufacturers. Experience has taught us that Leupold scopes give excellent service at a reasonable price and we recommend them highly. For advice on other makes, please call. Target knobs, complex ‘ranging’ reticles and magnification higher than 8X are all unnecessary. Any scope should be mounted securely and as low to the rifle’s receiver as possible. If you have access to a collimator, bore-sighting your weapon before you leave home will save you time and ammunition on your first day of training.

Accessories: We require a sling on your rifle. A simple leather or nylon carry strap is adequate, but still better is a 3-point or military loop sling that can also provide shooting support when properly applied (effective use of a shooting sling will be part of your training). Our Pro Shop carries several styles and makes.

You’ll need a way to carry a magazine’s worth of readily-accessible cartridges, other than loose in your pockets. Belt pouches, belt loops, military magazine pouches and buttstock cartridge carriers will all suffice. Again, our Pro Shop can help if you find nothing available locally. If your rifle features a detachable box magazine, have at least one spare with you.

If you normally carry and use compact binoculars in the field—and we feel there’s no excuse not to—bring them! In our field simulators or on our ‘animal walks’, you’ll be searching for indistinct targets in natural surroundings and at unknown distance. Binoculars offer a distinct advantage.

With any equipment, whether rifles, optics or accessories, you get what you pay for. Economizing on equipment and/or ammunition causes our clients more problems than anything else. Some rifles have failed to make it through the first day of class without breaking, and we’ve sometimes been unable to repair them with parts and materials in stock. Again, contact us if you have questions.

Cartridges

Any centerfire caliber is acceptable, with non-magnum cartridges preferred (this saves wear and tear on both our reactive targets and on your shoulder, over five long days and 500 rounds’ worth of shooting). If you plan to hunt with a magnum rifle, consider bringing an additional rifle of similar (or identical) design in a lesser caliber, with which to do most of your shooting while with us.
If you plan to supply your own ammunition, you’ll need to ensure that it fits, feeds and fires reliably in your rifle before your arrival at Gunsite. Match-grade performance is not essential, but experience has taught us and our clients to avoid foreign military-surplus loads, low cost notwithstanding.
We don’t allow steel-cored or tracer ammunition on any of our ranges.