Shooting Articles

Shooting Articles by Major John L. Plaster, U.S. Army Special Forces, (ret.)

(Please click on the title to open the full article)

Ballistic Data Cards
by Maj. John Plaster, (ret.)
Years ago I coined the axiom, “You cannot shoot more precisely than you can aim,” to underline the importance of a crisply focused reticle,
properly set elevation and correct sight picture. The essence of precision shooting is applying such factors consistently, shot after shot.

Building & Using a Tripod Rifle Support
by Maj. John Plaster, (ret.)
As a precision shooting instructor, I always emphasize the importance of support for your rifle, no matter the terrain or your body position.
Whether it’s leaning into a tree, plopping your rifle atop a sandbag, or raising your knees in a solid sitting position, you’ll always shoot more
accurately with support, especially beneath your rifle forearm.

Calculating Mil-Dot Reticle Holdovers
by Maj. John Plaster, (ret.)
The mil-dot reticle — found in Millett LRS and TRS scopes — has proved popular with tactical and long-range shooters as an accurate means of
calculating distances; it is, infact, the most precise way to do so, short of a laser rangefinder.

Converting Rifle Trajectory Tables
By Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (Ret.),
You don’t need a computer or a degree in physics to compute your own tables. Learn how here.Think of how many times you’ve examined a cartridge
manufacturer’s tables and found the trajectories calculated only for, say, a 100-yard zero, but because you intend to hunt out West, all this data is irrelevant –
your hunting needs demand trajectory information for a 200-yard zero. What can you do?

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Dry Firing
By Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (Ret.)
It’s simple, convenient and inexpensive but many rifle shooters don’t realize the value of dry fire.
The simplest, most convenient means of rifle practice is dry-firing; since no recoil or muzzle blast is present to mask the shooter’s
reaction, dry-firing enables you to diagnose tiny problems with jerking, breathing and so on, and overcome them.

Extended Ballistic Data for the Federal .308 Match Round
By Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (Ret.)
All the data you wanted but couldn’t find — wind, moving targets, trajectories, etc. After nearly a decade of instructing police and military students in
counter-sniping and precision shooting, I’ve amassed a useful variety of .308 Match ballistic data.

Jeff Hoffman’s Wind Formula
By Major John L. Plaster, USA (ret)
In addition to being the founder and president of Black Hills Ammunition, Jeff Hoffman is a reserve lawman and senior SWAT sniper – and, understandably, a pretty fine
rifleman. I’ve witnessed him make first-round hits with a .338 Lapua Magnum at 1250 yards, which attests to his ability to apply the ballistic theories inherent in his business.

Know Your Spray
A story related to me by an Anchorage police officer.
An Alaskan bush pilot was airlifting an ecologically sensitive New Yorker to a remote salmon river and, noticing the apparent greenhorn lacked any firearm…

Making a 2700-Yard Shot
By Major John L. Plaster, USA (ret)
Just how feasible is it to make a shot at 2700 yards?
A British sniper, Corporal Craig Harrison, recently set a new world record in Afghanistan by dropping a Taliban fighter at that distance plus 100 feet, besting the previous record
set 8 years ago by Canadian Army sniper Robert Furlong, also in Afghanistan.

Mathematics for Precision Shooters
By Major John L. Plster USA (ret)
Recently my old friend Steve Langford of Millett Sights and I discussed the many formulas, measurements, math shortcuts and rules-of-thumb that are of value to
precision shooters. He and I jotted down quite a collection which I’m passing on to you.

Point Blank Zero – Fast Shots versus Precision Hits
By Major John L. Plaster, USA (ret)
The fastest way to get off an effective shot is to set your scope’s elevation for a Point Blank Zero.
When done properly, all you do is aim and fire – no need to carefully estimate range, dial‐in elevation or
even hold over the target. Just aim dead‐on, fire and hit.

The Rifle Data Book
By Major John L. Plaster, USA (ret)
To track the performance of your rifle and ammunition, and to discover tiny variances between “book data” and your own combo of rifle-scope-ammo, a precision rifleman
uses a Rifle Data Book — which we are simplifying by giving you a free page that you can duplicate and bind into your own book.

Shooting in the Wind
By Major John L. Plaster, USA (ret)
A little while back, I found myself in South Dakota at Brent Hoffman’s Rifle Ranch for
some long-range prairie dog shooting. Problem was, the weather proved downright
uncooperative, with cold rain and winds gusting to 30 mph.

Shooting Uphill and Downhill
By Major John Plaster, USAR (ret)
Of all the ways a precision rifleman must compensate when firing – such as for distance, for wind and for target movement – the most confounding and confusing is compensating
for shooting uphill or downhill. That’s because it’s logical — even instinctive — to lead amoving target, to aim into a crosswind and to hold high when shooting beyond your zero distance.
But shooting up or down?

Target Knob Settings at 0.1 Mil Increments
by Major John L. Plaster, USA (ret)
A long-range rifleman recently asked me to provide target knob settings so he could properly adjust the elevation knob on his new Millett LRS scope, which has increments of 0.1 mil-per-click.
He wanted to be able to shoot all the way to 1000 yards, and had looked on the Internet but could not find this data anywhere. Instead of providing the data solely for him and his load, I’m going to explain how you can calculate this yourself, for any load and any caliber rifle cartridge.