Training Courses Review of The Ballistic Edge 3-day precision rifle course @LMS Defense in Fernley NV

VKC

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First off, I would like to state that I’m not affiliated with either organization except that I have taken several classes from both. I do not have any financial interest with them either, and am taking my personal time to type up this review only because I feel that this course was absolutely amazing.

The course was held in Fernley NV at LMS defense’s Combat Development Center which is a 40-acre range facility with 10 live fire ranges with plenty of space to safely shoot out pass 1000 yards. We had the whole facility to ourselves and shoot at multiple locations up on hills, down in the valley, etc and not just on a static range. LMS Defense | Law Enforcement Training | Classes & Courses

The facility is in a flat valley with several hills and small mountains surrounding it, so it provided multiple wind conditions from different directions. Wind varied from 0 to 30+ mph with funneling, swirling and changing of directions depending on from where we shot from.

One definite good thing about Northern Nevada is the amply open space and average of 252 Sunny days per year. The 3-days for this precision rifle course were no different, sunny and starting the day at high 60s and getting up to the mid-90s degrees. It was hot and dry, but not unpleasant. The temperature variation that can occur in during one day in the high Sierra desert is great for helping to estimate powder velocity changes with temperature without other multiple variables changing.

Dan Flowers was the instructor (The Ballistic Edge - Sniper Training). He is a true gentleman and scientist. He teaches you based on evidence and not just because of some unproven dogma. He makes you question everything and pushes you to find a reason or explanation instead of just accepting it as fact. If there is something about precision rifle that you have a question about, chances are he knows the answer…and if he does not, he won’t make up something, but rather just tells you why there isn’t a solid answer and what evidence is lacking. He is very practical with what he teaches and is easily approachable.

One of the most impressive things about this course was that the instructor made us commit our DOPE to memory including wind drift. All the students were able to make impressive hits at extended ranges in a final exercise competition without a ballistics calculator, DOPE card, Kestrel or any electronic device except for a range finder. This was something that I was skeptical and worried about doing, but was very impressed as to how well everyone did. Here is an example of some of the impressive hits; all the students hit a bowling pin at 450 yards within 2 shots, and hitting a head size target hidden behind a barrel at 400 yards.

Here are a few things we learned:
- Accurate wind calls, almost every student eventually learned to call direction and effect of wind within 2mph
- Effects of barrel conditions (e.g. cold bore, hot bore, clean bore, copper fouled, carbon fouled, any combination of those)
- Temperature effects on powder velocity (fps/degree F) depending on caliber
- Calculating our actual bullet velocity from accurate corrections in drop by shooting paper targets at range
- Alternative supported and unsupported shooting positions
- Prone shooting and fundamentals of marksmanship
- Rifle maintenance and cleaning
- Memorizing DOPE and wind drift, Not to depend on a ballistics calculator or Kestrel

I could keep going on and on, but the rest has been well-summarized by this following post on calguns.
 

VKC

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AAR: LMS Defense, Public Safety Marksman (modified) 3-5 June 2013

06-20-2013, 10:08 AM
Josh Jackson Josh Jackson is offline
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Default AAR: LMS Defense, Public Safety Marksman (modified) 3-5 June 2013
Training location: LMS Combat Development Center, Fernley NV

Dan Flowers, Primary Instructor

The 3 day course was conducted in and adjacent to the CDC, under clear skies with temperatures ranging from high 60’s to mid 90’s, and a myriad of wind conditions from calm to 30+ mph. Calibers used by students ranged from 6.5 Creedmore and .260 Rem to .308 Win. Training days were 9.5 to 11.5 hours in duration.

Initially the course was intended to be a 30 hour basic level course covering all of the skill sets for a public safety precision marksman. Upon arrival of all of the registered students, we found that all were return customers who had attended either the same or other equivalent precision rifle course with LMS within the last 12 months. In light of this fact and at the request of the students, we shifted the format and content of the course to move forward rather than re-hashing that same course content. After a review to verify the student’s ability and grasp of the level 1 material, we started straight into the Level 2, intermediate course content.

Day one began with an equipment shakedown and optic tune-up to achieve optimal reticle focus, and strategies discussed to eliminate or minimize parallax. A brief lecture was given on the effects of light direction and intensity on target image displacement and movement of shot groups due to this effect. Afterward, a statistical zero was conducted, and special note of light conditions recorded. An offset zeroing technique was done as a strategy to cancel spindrift from the firing solution.

After statistical zeros were completed at 100 yards, groups were fired and statistically measured at 400 yards (for bullet drop) under the same environmental conditions. A lecture was given on various methods used to interpolate this downrange data into a dope card for all ranges using either ballistic software, or a card made for the purpose by The Ballistic Edge. Students then produced dope cards for ranges to 1,000 yards using their collected data.

The first of 2 blocks of instruction on wind reading followed. Each class member learned the wind value which gave them a specific amount of wind drift per 100 yards, and how to work in fractions or multiples of this value based on wind speed or direction. After the first wind class, range was increased to 600 yards to confirm and validate the student’s interpolated dope. Before pairing off to practice spotting and wind calling, instruction was given on the proper positioning of the spotter, and correct shooter / spotter dialogue required to engage and re-engage targets rapidly before wind conditions could change. The students’ dope cards were spot on, and all were quickly striking the 10” x 8” flapper, using good dialogue and making excellent wind calls within 1.25 hours.

A class on scanning and target detection followed, capped by a practical exercise in which students, working in pairs, were required to find and engage hidden targets at unknown distances between 50-550 yards.

Day 1 closed with a 100 yard diagnostic zero check in light conditions similar to the morning, but with the sun coming from the opposite direction. Some amazement was apparent among the students at the effect of this overlooked and often discounted variable. The group was dismissed with very specific instructions for achieving the best bore condition for the next days’ cold-bore shot, and instructions NOT to bring ballistic computers or wind-reading devices with them for the remainder of the class. Homework was given in the form of learning and memorizing 10 easy 1 or 2-digit numbers.

Day 2 began with a cold-bore shot for score, followed by a procedure to determine the center of cold vs. hot bore groups using statistical processes. Between shots and groups, we covered internal ballistics, barrel harmonics, and effects of bore fouling on pressure, harmonics and trajectory. Students learned adjustment factors for environmental conditions such as temperature and altitude, and learned the velocity change effect caused by ammunition temperature and how to account for it. A method was taught which allowed the students to calculate bullet drop in 10 yard increments out to 1,000 yards from their MEMORY, without computers or dope charts.

The second wind class was conducted using a method which provided exact feedback of the actual measured wind the students were observing through the spotting scopes at the range it was being observed and in real time. This allowed students to properly quantify the mirage conditions to judge the “effective wind”. The exercise was conducted over a large area, at various angles to the prevailing wind, and at various points on the terrain so that terrain effects on the wind could be seen and understood. This exercise concluded with a test in which each student was asked to call the effective wind at various points downrange, and their performance checked by a downrange walker with a Kestrel. All students passed handily in winds running between 3-18mph, at varying angles.

The late afternoon exercise consisted of a team event in which teams were required to detect and engage 7 unknown distance targets between 370 and 825 yards, over a 175 degree front. All elevation come-ups and wind-doping was done without use of any devices, charts or cheat-sheets. The groups’ performance was outstanding with a majority of first or second round hits on almost all targets. The 825 yard target proved the most difficult, because of a terrain-induced wind funnel along the flight path of the bullet that created a full value wind over twice the velocity of what was apparent at the firing point or the target. Once the effect was discovered, it was used as a learning point by using dust cast into the air column to make it visible. Day 2 concluded with another diagnostic zero under the afternoon light condition. The Day 2 AAR was overwhelmingly positive with everyone amazed at what they were able to do and achieve in terms of wind reading and calculating come-ups without any devices or calculators.

Day 3 started with the obligatory cold-bore shot & zero check and then went immediately into alternate position marksmanship. Shooters worked a series of 4 unsupported positions before learning the best ways to add alternate support to both the shooter’s skeleton and to support the weapon. Various methods of alternate support were taught and practiced.

After a break, techniques for firing under stress were discussed and practiced. The physical, intellectual, and psychological aspects of marksmanship were broken down, an order of operations established, and strategies introduced to maintain composure, clear thinking, reasoning ability and physical capability to make the shot under various types of stress.
Before the final exercise a brief block of instruction on shooting magnetic azimuths with various compass types was given in order to facilitate the final exercise, as well as some recommendations on required equipment to carry to the field for various sniper missions.

The final exercise was designed to cover each and every skill covered and acquired during the previous 2 ½ days. The students were told to prepare their loadout as they deemed necessary for an exercise of unknown distance and duration. Carrying their gear, the students moved out at a fast pace for some distance before being presented targets that they were directed to engage either individually or as a team, and within a VERY short timeframe to increase the stress level. First target was 220 yards from a specified alternate unsupported position. From there, a fast march took them a few hundred yards to the next firing point, where they were given a general compass azimuth to their unknown distance hidden targets. The team had 3 minutes to detect, range and engage the target twice by the first team member, then allowed 2 minutes for the second team member to engage the target twice. The firing points were specifically chosen to force teams into alternate positions, to use alternate support, and to work quickly and efficiently as a team to make the time limits. Each station was at a different point on the terrain, and shots arranged at different angles into the prevailing wind. The same engagement format was used at each firing point, although some had as many as 3 targets which were required to be engaged from the station. A hard climb up a steep hill was used to induce physical stress between stations 2,3, & 4. Stations 5 and 6 were extremely challenging stations in terms of wind and elevation calculations, requiring accuracy of 1 MOA or less. Target distances at stations 2-5 were 250-720 yards. A hard hike back to station 7 prepared the group for long distance shots (390 yards)from more alternate positions, before a 100 yard sprint back to start point and a final 161 yard hostage-rescue type shot to finish. The exercise took a total of 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Positives: The weather was great, if a little warm and the wind was perfect for teaching due to its changing of velocity and direction. The terrain around the CDC was ideal and the variety of targets and ability to set up so many different scenarios was outstanding and ideal for our training purposes. There were no safety issues at any time or with any of the students. The group readily embraced the methods in the course and gained proficiency at an amazing rate. Student performance on the final exercise was outstanding overall, and I was extremely pleased at how fast everyone progressed and the ending level of competence.

The wrap-up AAR was overwhelmingly positive and the final exercise yielded valuable information about weapon and equipment strengths and weaknesses, and areas for individual improvement. One of the most heard remarks was about how many things and gadgets that they previously carried that they could now discard. Overwhelming demand from this group of students will require a level 3 course in the near future.

Negatives: None. An outstanding training event.

EOR.
__________________
Josh Jackson
Senior Instructor Nor. Ca./ Nor. Nv.
LMS Defense Inc.
Cell: (530)403-9420
Email: [email protected]
LMS Defense | Law Enforcement Training | Classes & Courses
 

Bigalfromfl

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Sounds like an excellent class. Seems as if you came away with some good knowledge as well! Very cool.
 

VKC

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46E0990F-4A15-477C-958C-8D1CAF020E15-34894-0000114D1EDFF8F8_zps317b70b0.jpg
 

Bigalfromfl

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^^^Made this thread even better! Looks like a great place for some long range shooting. Very nice!
 

VKC

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I've been corrected by another student at the class, the bowling pins were further than I thought, 550yards.