Frequently Asked Questions and additional info...
(Listed are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. If you can't find the answer to your question listed here, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
An aside: If you like thriller novels, check out Dan Newberry's Killer Trace series on Amazon...
equipment recommendations... click here
Can you send me a copy of the upcoming schedule? Yes, we can give you open dates in a given month, or series of weeks. Just email and let us know *about* when you'd like to come, and we will get back with open classes in that time frame. We do not send out a full yearly schedule at once, as some dates may be altered or moved entirely due to unforeseen events.
What are the credentials of your instructors? Are any of you ex-military snipers? Currently we don't have any ex-military snipers on the instructors list. Most of us are self-taught just like the first military snipers would have been. We're good at what we do, as our unsolicited online reviews will attest to. We employ competition shooters and long range hunters and other knowledgeable individuals to help you meet your goals. Please read this article if you've ever been influenced to attend a school because there is an ex-military sniper on the instructor's roster. Competition shooters proven more accurate than military snipers by US Army study. Please understand that military sniping is far more involved than simply hitting long range targets; give our guys in uniform their due--they richly deserve it. But know also that with the right training from the right folks, you can be an outstandingly accurate American Rifleman--and be a valuable asset to our nation's security.
How should I mount my scope?
Loose scope bases are a significant problem for many of our clients. Gunsmiths are notorious for under-torquing mounts. Scopes mounted in big-box hunting stores should be removed, with all mounting hardware checked and mounted as described below:
Use a degreasing agent such as brake parts cleaner, Gun Scrubber, acetone, carb cleaner, etc... and clean the screws for the scope base. Clean the bottom of the base, and the top of the receiver. With a pipe cleaner, or dental proxy brush, clean out the screw holes in the receiver, using the degreasing agent. You need to remove the oil from these areas or the thread locker will not work!
Then, using blue or purple thread locker (you can even use red, just touch a toothpick into a drop of it, and touch the screw threads to get a very small amount in 2 or 3 of the threads), mount the base with 20 to 25 inch pounds of torque (do not use 15 inch pounds as is often spec'd by manufacturers... that ain't enough ;) )... You don't need to thread lock the scope rings caps.
While you're at it, check action screws, and torque to manufacturer specs. If you can't find action torque numbers from the rifle maker, 40 inch pounds is normally about right, but don't exceed 50 inch pounds unless you have manufacturer data specifying a higher torque rate. Savage action screws are hardened and can gall into the receiver. Grease the threads before torquing.
It is okay to bed the scope base a bit with the blue or purple thread locker. Some rifle builders will use red thread locker, but it will require a bit of heat to remove screws sealed with the red stuff.
Can you send me your prices? Please read the "course outline" page linked above, and you will see the prices of the various options we offer.
How many people will be in the class? If you're taking a regular 2 day class which runs on Friday/Saturday, there will be around 6 to 8 persons in the class. (As of August 2017, we're limiting class size to 6 persons). Some classes may have more, some less. Many classes can have as few as 4 persons.
If I leave a personal item behind, will you mail it to me? Yes--but you'll need to send us a pre-paid flat rate USPS box, addressed to yourself, and we'll pack your item in that box and get it back to you. (email for our address) ...
Do you all sell t-shirts? Yes, they are in our Teespring store, and on occasions throughout the year we will sell shirts to raise funding for law enforcement classes (watch our Facebook page) for those. A link to the Teespring store is HERE.
What time should I arrive on class day? We typically meet at 11:00am at the Subway sandwich shop in Bland, VA. Special start times may be used in some instances--read your emails!
Can I schedule a "bad weather" back up date for the class? Yes--but only in the winter months. If you book time with us, please plan on keeping your commitment, even if the weather looks a little disagreeable. We have a sheltered area to shoot from in the event of rain, and high winds can actually be a lot of fun, once you understand the process of gauging the wind, and holding or dialing corrections. We do not cancel classes as a rule; and there is no such thing (on our end) as a class getting "rained out." We do shoot in all kinds of weather, and feel that shooters should take full advantage of every opportunity to shoot in less than favorable conditions. Remember our motto: "This ain't golf." :)
I want to rent a Saturday range day, or private class day, can I do that? As of now, we are no longer doing any range rentals. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for any changes to this policy.
What happened to the Bolt Action 101 class? We still offer BA101--but have found the best formatting for this class is done during a private day clinic. (See the next question below).
I'm a novice to rifle shooting. Can you still work with me? Yes. Your best bet in such a case would be to book a *private* day clinic, at the 360 dollar rate for the day, and we will work it as a "Bolt Action 101" class, and get you up to speed very quickly. And we promise--you will hit steel at 1000+ yards the first day, and you'll know how to do it on your own when you leave the class. That said, you'll do fine in a regular 2 day weekend class--we'll meet your needs, not to worry.
Can you help me with an OCW hand load which I will then use when I come to take a class? Yes, but we do need to charge the 45 dollar OCW Consulting fee for this service. See the "OCW Consulting" page linked above, or click here.
Can I come to the range to "just shoot?" Unfortunately, no. The shooting facilities we use are generally working cattle or sheep farms, and we must supervise all shooting that occurs at the range to ensure the safety of the livestock and farm equipment. Our business is Long Range Rifle Training--we are not an open range for the public.
I want to bring more than one rifle. Is that okay? In most cases, yes. If you're booking a private class, and have already had the basic 2 day class that we offer, you might want to get trajectory data for 2 or even 3 different rifles during a private 1 day class. That said, for learning the art of long range shooting, you're going to want to choose the best rifle available to you, and stick with that rifle for the entire course. It's okay to bring a back up rifle, just in case something goes wrong with the primary rifle you plan to use.
Do you have rifles we can rent? Yes, we do. They will be chambered in .308 Winchester caliber, and all you would need to do is bring good match ammo (factory match, not hand loads) and you can rent the rifles for 30 dollars per day of shooting. (note: hand loads are fine if you're using your own rifle). We need to keep the brass from your factory loads for the 30 dollar rate. Rate is higher if you want to keep your brass, email and ask for specifics.
Are there motels in the area? Yes, we have a corporate rate set up with Country Inn & Suites in Wytheville, VA. Our agreed rate with them is 80 dollars per night, for up to 2 persons in the room. Call 276-223-1058 to book your room.
What about camping? Yes, check out Deer Trail Park. 276-228-3636 Tell Ted and Kathy we sent you. :)
Can I bring my 338 Lapua Magnum, 50 BMG (or other heavy magnum) to a class? We prefer to keep the rifles used during the regular class to 300 Winchester Magnum power limit and lower. You can, however, shoot the big magnums and even the 50 BMG during a private class.
What about muzzle brakes or suppressors? They're both fine for our classes, not a problem.
I have a group of 4 to 6 shooters who want to do a private weekend class. Is this possible? Yes, just check with us about the weekend you'd like to book, and we will let you know about pricing and availability. Such weekends will need to be booked well in advance, and a deposit (non-refundable) will be required. We will base the private weekend class on a six person minimum at 400 dollars each (2400 dollars). So for that amount, any lesser number can attend a private weekend class.
Do you teach position shooting other than prone? Yes, but we do that within the setting of a private class. See private class details on the "course outline" page.
What is the minimum age for a student? If accompanied by a parent, and the parent is confident that the child is ready for the class, we actually do not have a minimum age. We've had shooters as young as seven years old do a very good job. This is a decision the parent will need to make.
Can you advise me on what rifle or scope I should get? Yes--but only *after* you have booked a class with us. We don't have time to give recommendations to everyone with regard to equipment choices, so we have to limit our resources to advising only those who have already booked a class with us. There are, however, recommendations on the equipment list page (link above) to help you make a good decision. And you may choose to take advantage of the phone consultation option, see link on "equipment needs" page.
What are the most common cartridges people use in these classes? The most common cartridge we see is the .308 Winchester. After that, we see the .243 Winchester, 260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, other 6.5mm cartridges as well--including the 6.5 Grendel. Also, in the magnum realm we see the 300 Winchester Magnum, and other "short mags" as well as the 7mm Magnum, and Weatherby mags. Of course the 30-06 does a great job, as will the 270 Winchester and the 25-06. For smaller bore cartridges, be sure to use heavier bullets for best results. And as mentioned elsewhere in these pages, the .223 Remington when using bullets heavier than 68 grains will make the 1000 yard plate just fine.
Can you recommend a cartridge for long range shooting? The most common cartridge we're seeing as of late 2019 is the 6.5 Creedmoor. The 308 Winchester is also popular, and with the right bullets will do just fine in the course.
Do you offer any group discounts, or any other type of discount? No, not at this time. If you'll check around the web, you'll see that we are the lowest priced long range shooting school out there. We don't have a big land lease to pay, and we're not trying to get rich--so it's easy to keep the costs low. The prices we require are very fair, we believe.
Why don't you have a page of testimonials? Good question. We believe that any website builder can contrive a bunch of fake testimonials signed by "Bob K from Podunk, CA" for instance. We recommend searching the web for our school's name (BangSteel) and type the word "review" in the google search along with our name. That's how you'll get true reviews. Do that for our competition also while you're at it. :) Also, check out our unsolicited reviews on our Facebook page (search for BangSteel at Facebook)...
How much magnification do I need to shoot long range? We've had folks complete the course meeting every objective to 1100 yards with 6 power scopes. Our preference would be for a scope with a high end magnification of no less than 9 power, however. Maximum magnification used should be around 16 power for normal long range work.
Can I use my hand loaded ammo for the class? Yes, but we need to know the *exact* load recipe you will be planning to use. There are minimum velocity needs which must be met in order for your shots to reliably make the 1000 yard plate. If you plan to use hand loads, please get in touch with us before you load up a bunch of ammo--just to be sure it will meet the needs of long range shooting.
Will 168 grain Sierra Matchking bullets work for 1000 yards from a .308? Actually, yes. Contrary to what is commonly taught on the inter-troll web shooting forums, the 168's routinely make our 1000 yard plates, and even our 1100 yard plates. Are they ideal? Perhaps not. Heavier bullets designed for long range such as the 175 grain Sierra Matchking and clones are probably going to shoot tighter at ranges beyond 800 yards, all other factors being equal. But the 168 grain Sierra Tipped Matchkings are an excellent choice since their G1 BC is around .535 ...
Will my 6 to 9 inch bipod work? Yes, but we'll likely need to put the bipod feet up on sandbags for the longer shots. You'll find a 9 to 13 inch bipod much more user friendly. Get the Harris SLM in 9 to 13 inch. You'll thank me later. :)
Do I need to bring a sand bag? Not really, we have bags on site you can use. You can bring your rear bag, however, if you choose to.
Do I need a shooting mat? No. We have carpet remnants that shooters can use to lay prone on. But you can still bring your own shooting mat if you choose, as they can be helpful.
Do I have to shoot prone? Don't you have a bench I could shoot from? Beginning in the 2017 calendar year, we cannot promise the availability of a shooting table--however, you can bring your own portable shooting bench, and use that if you'd like. Shooting tables for regular weekend classes are not available. It's best to book a private class if you would like to use a shooting table, as we would really like our weekend class clients to shoot from the prone position.
Why do I need a rifle mounted anti-cant device (scope level)? We will explain that in class. Please plan on getting an anti-cant level prior to coming to a class. If you show up without a scope level mounted to the rifle or scope, you'll place an added burden on yourself and the instructors.
Should I get a MIL scope, or MOA? Either is fine. We go over the difference between the two systems in class, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. But both work equally well. We do not at this time recommend one system over the other.
Why do I need a 20 MOA scope mount? This will ensure your scope has enough elevation travel to get hits out to 1100 yards. Some fast, flatter shooting cartridges may not need the 20 MOA rail, but it's better to go on and get it just to be sure. In lieu of a 20 MOA scope base, you can get the Burris Signature rings with offset inserts. If you cannot get a 20 MOA scope base or rings, you can still attend the class--we will show you solutions to get the most distance practical from the equipment you have. Most scopes will dial out to at least 800 yards on a flat base for most rifles.
Do you hold classes in the winter? Yes, as long as the weather permits, we'll be there. During winter months we like to schedule a preferred date for the class, then a back up date in case weather is too inclement. We operate on a reduced class load during the December through February part of the year. Our preference is to book classes on *short notice* during the winter months so that we can anticipate the weather conditions a bit better.
Do I need to prepay for the class? Not necessarily. You can pay when you come. Cash or credit card. We don't take checks, however. Also note, there is a 4% extra charge for credit card payments.
Can I get directions to the range just so I can look it over? No, we like to keep the locations that we use as private as possible. You'll be shown the facility you'll be using on class day. We use beautiful farm land settings as a rule. You won't be disappointed. :)
What is involved with shipping my rifle by airline, should I choose to fly? Since these rules may change on short notice, it is best to check with the airline to see what the requirements are. If you are planning to put your rifle with the check on luggage in the plane, be sure to get a very high quality rifle case such as the Pelican, Starlight, or similar. Any case costing less than 200 dollars is probably not going to do the job. Ammo may need to be shipped separately. You can elect to have your ammo shipped by UPS or other such carrier to our location ahead of time. You can even buy ammo online and have them ship it here to us.