AAR: K&M Precision's 4 Day Comprehensive Precision Rifle course, Oct 9-12, 2021 (Long)

Paulie771

Private
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 16, 2006
52
6
40
Middle Tennessee
TL: DR: Great course. Amazing facility with even better instructors. You should go.

Location: K&M Precision in Finger, TN.
Date: October 9-12, 2021
Rifle used: Remington 700 5-R in 6.5CM w/ 20 moa base, factory fluted barrel set back to 22", new chamber cut and trued, Trigger Tech Special flat face trigger set at factory weight, Magpul bipod, and Magpul AICS mags.
Optic: Zero Compromise 5-27x56mm w/ MPCT2 reticle in a Spuhr 6602 6 mil mount.
Suppressor: YHM QD Phantom
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Ammo used: 332 rounds of Prime 130 OTM Match+ chrono'd TD1 with K&M Magnetospeed at 2766 average over a 4 round group and 107 rounds of Hornady 140 gr. ELD-M. chrono'd at 2672 on TD4.

Prime 130 gr. Magnetospeed data:
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Hornady 140 gr ELD-M data:
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My background as a shooter: I shot 1000 F-class TR for several years before we had our daughter. She's almost nine now so it's been a decade plus since I did more than shot at 500-600 yards. Before this course I took a single day, eight hour course that focused on the fundamentals at 100 yards and got a good zero, regularly shooting 3/4 or less moa groups with Hornady 140 gr. ELD-M white box. While I generally prefer no less than five round groups, ammo is hard to get and very expensive when you can, so I had to reduce group sizes in the name of economics.

Typical groups from the one day course I took as prep for this one:
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I arrived at the facility at roughly 1830 CDT the Friday before the course in order to check in and grab a bunk in the bunk house that's included in your course fee. To say this facility is nice would do it a great disservice. It's the single nicest shooting facility I've ever been to and this was stated by people who have been to some of the big facilities like Raton out west. I would liken it to Disney World for long range shooting. K&M had just hosted the largest single long range competition the weekend prior in a hell of a rain storm which had evidently wreaked havoc across the ranges. When I arrived, it was obvious K&M had just had almost all gravel replaced and it was immaculate. Near the bunk house is the classroom/club house/pro shop. Cell phone signal was almost non-existant except for one range at the top of a nearby hill, but satellite internet was supplied and a decent wi-fi signal made texting and interneting possible. When I arrived, there were already several people in the bunk house and more arrived over the remaining evening. Everyone introduced themselves, shared beers, stories, showed off gear, and prepped for the following morning.

One of the bunk compartments in the bunk house. The bunk house can sleep 25 or so people, has a full kitchen, two full bathrooms, and a small sitting area with TV.
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TD1 started in the classroom at 0800. The class totaled 18 or so shooters from all walks of life. We had a group of ten or so shooters from New York and New Jersey that contained current and retired NYPD cops, prospective FDNY recruits, and a couple of Navy pilots. We also had a electrician from Illinois, a father/son pair who work in finance from Chicago, a lineman from Florida, political staffer from DC, entrepreneur from Puerto Rico, and myself, a railroader from Tennessee. Experience ran the gamut of brand new shooters who had just purchased their rifles to guys who had attended the same course the previous year.

We had an introductory period with Shannon Kay (owner and lead instructor of K&M), Mike Rogan, and Jerrod White, followed by a safety brief, and a couple of classroom segments going over common terminology, the fundamentals of marksmanship, interior and exterior ballistics, moa vs. mil, how they ran things, etc. We then went to the 1200 yard range to get our initial zeroes and speeds. Once completed, we broke into groups of four or five and started getting DOPE from 400 out to 1200 yards. We broke for lunch, had another class or two, and then had a few more sessions on the range working on our fundamentals and position. Dinner was provided by K&M that night and not only was it very tasty, there was plenty of it.

The 1200 yard range. 100 yard zero berm on the left, various berms starting at 400 on out on the left and right:
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My data at 1200 with the Prime 130s:
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TD2 started at 0700 in order to get in as much training as possible before the end of the basic two course for the vast majority of the class to leave. We started with another class, this time on shooting movers and using our reticles for range estimation. We then again went to the 1200 yard range, confirmed zero and made any corrections, then started at 600 and worked our way to 1200 yards, with almost all shooters making hits (I don't want to say all but I can't remember anyone saying they didn't get a hit). We then worked on positional shooting from positions off the ground, including kneeling, modified prone, and standing from items ranging from car hoods, and helicopters to windows and concrete culverts. We moved ranges and practiced mil-ing targets and then engaging them. We shot movers at 300 and 500 yards which was insanely fun, made easy by the classroom portion and the instructors doing the spotting. We shot plate racks at various distances of various shapes and sizes and had shoot offs for those that cleaned the racks. Once we had completed the training evolution for that day, the guys only staying for the two-day basic course were thanked, certificates handed out, and an AAR held by Shannon and his crew. The rest of us were free, so we roamed around the facility, sharing stories, and seeing the various ranges that we weren't able to use. Have I mentioned how amazing the facility is?

Mover range:
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UKD range. I believe the rear berm is at ~750:
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TD3 started with the five of us remaining shooters meeting up with the three instructors at the clubhouse/classroom and heading to the 1200 range to again confirm zero and stretch from 600 to 1200. We rotated through various locations on the facility shooting all sorts of distances and target arrays. We were blessed with a storm front moving through the area and had a constant 15-25 mph wind throughout much of the day. The staff made a big deal of how rarely this occurred at K&M and took advantage of it by getting their rifles out and shooting next to us. It was both humbling shooting in these conditions but also extremely beneficial to have some of the best PRS/long-range shooters in the country (world?) lying next to you or spotting behind you asking you what your wind call is and why and then explaining what they see. This day alone made the cost worth it as the wind is something that has always flummoxed me. I'm saying I'm good at it, but I do feel like I have a better understanding of it, how to read the mirage, and what to look for. Also, watching Shannon sent 6 or 8 rounds in a 30 second iteration at a 4" plate at 660 yards, never miss, and then realize that one of his rounds had sent the plate back through it's chains and was hanging at an angle for the majority of those rounds (so a smaller target presentation) was fun and humbling to behold. Due to the low number of students, we finished up slightly early and were released to the bunkhouse at 1530.

I called this the head shot range. We shot head shot targets in the facades and the school bus as well as the plate rack in the back. This is where Shannon did his performance for us. Wind at the 660 plate rack was metered at 13 mph when we were down inspecting the targets:
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TD4 again started with meeting up with the instructors at the clubhouse, Shannon giving us several courses of fire and stating we were having a final "competition" for the honor of class Top Shot for a K&M challenge coin. Again, we confirmed zero and chrono'd our loads, then stepped it out to 1200. We then shot several stages, from plate racks at 450 and 600, to head shot targets over cars at three different distances from 400 to 500, several others I can't recall, ending with two stages on the mover range. Pentultimate stage was prone at 500, 10 rounds in 90 seconds followed by a stage that brought everything we had learned together in one event. We started in the door of a connex with our rifle loaded (bolt back, mag in) and bag in hand, then had to engage the 300 mover twice from five different windows in 90 seconds. Once that was complete, we had our own certificate hand out, Top Shot honored, a quick AAR session, made sure the bunk house was clean, said good bye to my fellow shooters, and I departed the facility.

Comments:
This was absolutely the best course I've ever taken in my life. I've spent thousands dollars on various hand gun, carbine, and long range classes in the past. My home range is owned by a world record holding long range shooter who gives great classes and has a nice range that I enjoy shooting at. K&M is on another level. If it's not world class, I can't imagine what such a facility would look like. I learned a ton about myself, improved my understanding of the discipline, found my failure points, know what to work on and what to keep doing. It is a great feeling having a top-level shooter tell you, "good shooting" when you clean a target array or center punch a plate at great distance in high wind.

Improves:
I normally do not shoot my rifle with a can and, as shown above, the rifle is able to hold very good groups. With the number of brakes on the line, though, I decided on TD1 to shoot with one. I also normally shoot Hornady Match 140 gr. ELD-M, but couldn't find enough for the class' required round count, so I used the Prime 130's I had been accruing. Between these two changes, I'm not sure I shot as well as I could've. It was frustrating for myself and Shannon, and after watching me to make sure I wasn't doing something with my fundamentals to cause the problems, on TD3 he shot my rifle. However, he wasn't able to get the rifle to group very well with the Prime 130s either and stated it could just be a situation where that combination wasn't able to group any tighter than I was already doing. I also had to consistently add .2 or so mil to whatever DOPE the Kestral was giving me. We had to SWAG the G7 BC on the 130s and that probably caused some of the inconsistencies with it. I need to get it out on the range and refine the data to get it to align with my actual holds.

I believe the ammo change was a fatal flaw for my TD4 performance as well, which was by far my worst of the course. The Hornady grouped better than the Prime had been on TD1-3, but I believe I messed up my zero. I was in a hurry to get it done as everyone else was just reconfirming and I had more than a little self-induced stress that compounded as the day progressed. I was now I missing shots at 600 yards that I hadn't missed even before the class, much less during. TD4 was by far the most frustrating and discouraging of the course. I missed easy shots in low wind at fairly short distances (600-800) yards, head shots at the 400-500 car stage, etc. However, I was able to perform well on the two mover stages at the end of the day so it wasn't an entire loss and it ended on a positive note. Even through it all, the instructors and the other shooters were encouraging and helpful. I definitely have stuff to focus on and Shannon was sure to give me advice and drills to perform once I'm able to get back to the range. He also stated he wanted to know how the rifle performed once I took the can off.

Sustains:
My rifle was 100% reliable, if not as accurate as I'd have liked at times (and honestly all of that was me, in the end), and I didn't have any equipment issues in that regard. I liked the Magpul Pro 700 chassis and will continue to use it. The ZCO 527 is absolutely the nicest, clearest, and most accurate piece of glass I've ever owned. It tracked true and was crystal clear at all ranges. I picked up the Kestrel 5700 w/ Link in the Proshop and that was a very worthwhile purchase as Shannon and crew took the time to show us all that had them how to use them. I also picked up an Armageddon Gear Gamechanger bag to replace the small Weibad bag, Tad bag, and random rectangular bag I took with me. The Gamechanger is amazing and I used it for both my rear bag at all distances when prone and as my barricade bag for the various positions we shot in. The Crosstac shooting mat was a pleasure as well. While not as convenient as a roll up mat that I could strap to my surplus assault pack, the fact that it folded up and had handles made it easy to transport. It also made it something comfortable to sit on on the trailer or while waiting.

I learned some tricks from my fellow classmates, such as using painters tape on your arm to write down your come ups on stages in which you couldn't dial DOPE and had to use your hold overs instead. The instructors were great about critiquing your positions, especially off unstable items like tires or barrels. Advice such as flipping the bag, shifting a foot, applying less pressure to the stock, or holding the scope down in a different way were very helpful.

Conclusion:
This is an amazing course for all level of shooters. The facility, camaraderie you form with fellow shooters, and the caliber of instruction make it an absolute re-take level course for me and I look forward to attending it again. Hell, I might even try out PRS in the future.

Thanks for reading.
 
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mountainman308

Sergeant of the Hide
Full Member
Minuteman
Jul 20, 2012
460
271
WV, USA
Cross-post from the Desert Tech subforum. Good shooting with you Paulie.


After Action Report: K&M Comprehensive Precision Rifle Course
Shooter: Mountainman308
Location: K&M Precision Rifle Training, Finger Tennessee, USA
Event: Comprehensive Precision Rifle Course (4 days, first two days are the basic class, the second two days are the advanced class)
Dates: 10/9/2021 - 10/12/2021
Rifle: DT SRS A2 covert, chambered in 6.5 CM. Barrel from ES Tactical, 20 inches w/ a 1/7 twist
Ammo: Hornady ELDM 140 Gn Factory. Chrono'd on site at 2639 FPS with an SD of 3.4 over 3 shots (not a good statistical sample size, I know, but ammo is expensive).
Note: As I am often the only DT shooter at events, I thought an AAR with some DT specific notes might be useful for the general knowledge base of other DT shooters.
Background: I have been shooting my DT SRS A2 since late 2019. I shoot small club matches with it regularly, hunt with it, and shot last year's GAP Grind with it. I believe I am fairly competent with the platform and know how to utilize it just as well if not better than any other firearm I own. It had 1040 rounds on the barrel entering the class, and left with 1508.

Narrative:
I arrived for the class at 7:00 pm Friday night, with class set to start the next day at 8:00 am. When I got to K&M I found the bunkhouse easily and got my kit unloaded. There were already 10-12 other students there, as the bunkhouse was opened at 6:00 pm for arrival. The bunk house was spacious, well appointed, and easily accommodated the 17 or so of us. The bunks themselves were set into bays, 3 bunks to a bay with each bunk stacked on top of the other. This means that you want the bottom bunk both for ease of access and because its guaranteed to be the most comfortable temperature.

We generally got up around 6:00 am every day so we had time to rotate through the bathrooms (there are 2 full bathrooms in the bunkhouse), make breakfast (you want microwave burritos, Jimmy Dean, or similar for breakfast and lunch), and go to the classroom. The first day's classroom time focused on the fundamentals of marksmanship , common terminology, and the foundations of a functional knowledge of precision rifle. The first day's range time was spent on K&M's 1200 yard range. We first checked/adjusted our zeros at 100 and then started shooting fundamental drills. We then broke up into groups of 5 and gathered data from 400 to 1200 yards after a brief classroom session on the basics of ballistics and techniques for using holdovers.

Day 2 was spent between the classroom and the range learning the fundamentals for shooting moving targets and using our reticles for range estimation. We were broken into two groups and turned out. Shooting 66% IPSC targets at 300 and 500 yards was a joy, and I saw marked improvement over my performance shooting movers at the GAP Grind. By the end of the movers portion I was making repeated hits at both distances, often landing between 4 and 6 shots per target exposure. Pro tip, whatever you set your magnification to for this task, lower it. I first tried to shoot movers at 24x and it was difficult. 14x seemed to be the sweet spot for me. After we finished with movers we went to the unknown distance range and practiced miling targets. I had zero experience doing this and barely fared better than a C in my maths courses at school, but with the high quality of the instructors I was able to make clear measurements and calculate ranges to enough of a margin that my solutions generated hits. Do not let the math scare you away on this one. The instructors will help you out. If my classmates from FDNY can do it, so can you. At the end of the day those only staying for the beginner courses were briefed out and sent home. I understand that time and budget are huge factors for people, but I would encourage you to stay for all 4 days regardless of your skill level. Anyone who went through the basic would have benefited from sticking around for the advanced class.

Day 3 and Day 4 were almost entirely done on the line. We rotated rapidly through various drills and ranges practicing modified prone, positional shooting, and engaging in more movement/dynamic shooting than we had in the beginner class. Positions included shooting from rooftops, out of connex boxes, off of towers, and from irregular surfaces like rocks, tires, helicopters, and car hoods/trunks. We were also blessed (or cursed) with a high wind day on Day 3. Wind gusts were measured in excess of 10 mph which is unusual for K&M. Even in this wind, we were able to get solid hits on small pieces of steel to extended ranges. Time constraints were also introduced as a way to add pressure and focus us a bit. Another pro tip, do all of your cleaning and packing at the end of Day 3. You will be tired after Day 4, and you won't want to sweep out the bunkhouse or wipe down toilets. Day 4 began with shooting out to 1200 and included the participation of the instructors. We shot as they train, with good natured ribbing any time a student got closer to the center of a target than an instructor. The end of day 4 is a surprise awaiting those who attend the training. I will not spoil it for you, other than to say that it was every bit as challenging as the hardest shooting at the Grind.

At the conclusion of the course we were given diplomas, top shot honors were awarded, and we discussed our thoughts on the course with Shannon, Mike, and Jarrod.

DT Specific Notes:
As usual I was the only Desert Tech shooter in the group. Additionally I had the shortest barrel by at least two inches. Others in the group were running the gambit from AIs to MPAs, GAPs, to Remington 5Rs and Tikkas. My DT held with and often outshot guns that weighed more, had longer barrels, lighter triggers, more traditional ergonomics, or were in the newest 6mm cartridge. I was able to run the DT as fast as or faster and as accurately or more accurately than any other student on the line, including running reloads. I experienced one rifle related malfunction over the 4 days and nearly 500 rounds, though that was caused by me improperly manipulating the bolt after realizing that I had to move bolt open, and trying to rectify the situation. I cleaned the bolt, raceway, and lugs/chamber face once at the midpoint of the class, though it probably didn't need it. The magazines held up well and fed reliably. I ended up using an expended 6.5mm case as a magazine loading assistant because I was skinning my fingers trying to load 10-12 mags a day. The only thing I would change about the system is the magazines. A tall bipod was also helpful given the height of both the pistol grip and the 10 round magazine, especially as we began to reach out to longer ranges and adopted unconventional positions. I was running a Versapod (more on that later) and found the height to be right. The shorter Harris type bipods would not have worked for the class given the previously stated factors. Also having a quick detatch spigot type bipod was very helpful, as this gave me more real estate to work with between the Covert hand guard and my game changer bag. Obviously being right handed the chirality of the rifle didn't hurt me at all, but we also didn't do any weakside shooting. The compact nature of the SRS, even with a suppressor, meant that I was much more maneuverable generally, faster getting into and out of positions, especially within the confines of a connex box or the helo, and I felt that I could track the movers more easily than I would have been able to if I had to swing a 25 lb 5 ft+ long rifle around.

Failure Points:
I experienced an adjustment failure with my ERA-TAC base when I added 5 mils to the base to reach out to 1200 without having to hold over and the result was a 6+ mil adjustment that left my data no longer matching my scope settings. The mount returned to zero after being reset and fired 5 times, with each shot getting closer to my previous zero until it had completely returned. I have not experienced this failure before, so I need to circle back and do some diagnostic work with it.

My Versapod, which had previously held up ok at the Grind, failed over the course of the 4 day class. A massive amount of slop developed between the bipod and the spigot, and the spigot and the rail section. I ensured the rail section was tight, and isolated the slop to only the Versapod parts. No matter how much I tightened the pan knob I could not take any more slop out of the system. Large wear spots had developed in the interface between the legs and the body of the bipod. I will be looking for something else to replace it. Perhaps Blk Lbl will release an SRS bipod after their MDR bipod last year? If not, I will be looking at TBAC, Elite Iron, etc.

Lessons Learned:
#1: Pack light. You don't need as much gear as you think you do. Below is the picture of what I packed to use at the course (tripod not pictured):
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I made a point of segregating the gear that I used at the course. Below is a picture of all of the gear I ever took to the line.
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Shannon tells you to pack light. It can be done.

#2: Listen to the instructors. I completely retooled my positional shooting, and substantially changed how I shoot prone, and I saw dramatically improved results, both in terms of group size at 100 and hit probability and capability at range. My confidence with this rifle is now both greatly increased and proven.

#3: You are the limiting factor, not your rifle. Especially with a DT that printed groups between 1/4 and 2/3 minute multiple times a day over the course of 4 days. Build solid fundamentals and your gear will deliver.

#4: The DT is just as capable of playing in the PRS arena as any of the other guns. We ran a lot of scenarios that were similar to or a copy of PRS match stages. I heard a lot of people say that I would be handicapped by a short barrel, relatively heavy trigger (2 lbs), nontraditional ergonomics, and "weird" mags. I was not. I would not have traded my rifle for any other rifle in the class. I also had a number of other students come up to me and ask about the platform, including a shooter with an AI.

Final Take Aways:
Go get training. If you can afford it, go get training at K&M with Shannon. I've attended courses and clinics at Raton, Ridgeway, and a number of other locations. Shannon and his team provided the best instruction I have ever shot under. The facilities, instructors, and course material is worth every penny. Stay for the advanced class, even if you don't think you are an advanced shooter. This course made me a measurably better rifleman.

Best,
Mountainman308