Book Review: Long Range Shooting Handbook-Beginner’s Guide to Precision Rifle, by Ryan Cleckner
North Shadow Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2016)
With any book review, I like starting off by establishing the credentials of the author. In my mind, I need to confirm that the author is not just spouting off their opinions or is combining a bunch of already published work from other authors. I want to know that the person doing the writing is a subject matter expert (SME). I also want to know how they got to be an SME. Enter Mr. Cleckner…
Winner-winner, chicken dinner! To start, here is what the about the author profile from Amazon says:
Ryan Cleckner served as a special operations sniper team leader with the U.S. Army’s elite 1st Ranger Bn. on multiple combat deployments. Ryan is a graduate of the premier Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC), among other military training courses, and has taught snipers and police sharpshooters from around the world. Ryan has a series of online instructional videos known for their ability to explain complex topics in a simple and digestible way. Ryan is currently a firearms industry professional and an attorney.
Though only a thumbnail sketch, it’s impressive. If you want a more detailed description of Mr. Cleckner’s credentials, one can be found the book’s main web page. He has obviously been there, done that, and has the t-shirt to prove it. He is exceptionally well qualified to write on the subject matter found in his book. If you are still not convinced, just ask yourself how many people do you know that can make an off-hand, first shot hit at 1000 yards, with a .50 caliber BMG Barret M107? To see Mr. Cleckner do just that, click here.
There Is More To The Man
I also feel that Mr. Cleckner’s heart is in the right place. 25% of his book sale proceeds will be donated to two charities: The Special Operation Warrior Foundation and The Sua Sponte Foundation. At the time of this blog, his book has spent 20 months on the best-seller list, sold 26,211 copies and has raised $47,440. Since Mr. Cleckner clearly passes the SME test, let’s look at the book’s content and what makes it so different from others in the same genre.
It Was Exactly What I Was Looking For
In my opinion, shooting how-to books tend to miss the mark because they focus on their content and not their target audience. Though there is always something to be learned from any book, I don’t want to purchase five books if I can get away with just one.
This book is different. It assumes nothing and takes you from A to Z. I find it to be a useful knowledge dump, where Mr. Cleckner covers everything you need to know without getting overly technical. The author makes no assumptions and writes for the lowest common denominator. It’s tailored to someone just getting into long range shooting and makes no assumptions about prior shooting experience. As a matter of fact, this book is so well written it will serve anyone who needs to read it cover to cover or just wants to review a particular topic. Whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced shooter, this book is for you.
What It Covers
The book has 250 pages and broken down into three basic sections; equipment, fundamentals, and application. It also has an appendix with useful resources covering ballistic tables, log books, and targets.
You will learn how your rifle, ammunition, and scope work. It’s a step most people dismiss and then wonder why their rig doesn’t hit the target. You will also learn about equipment setup which is something else people tend to ignore as they think you just slap things together. There is definitely a precise way to set things up if you want to do it right and not waste time and money later on.
You will also learn about equipment setup which is something else people tend to ignore or let someone else do it for them. There is definitely a right way to set things up if you want to do it right the first time. We all need to shoot more and tinker less.
What I needed most were the sections on MOA and understanding mils. Though I have a military and law enforcement background, I was never a sniper so this was new territory for me. I’m used to aiming center mass and pulling the trigger. I switched to Mil-Dot scopes in order to have a range finding capability without having to buy other pieces of equipment.
In addition to reading his book, I also viewed Mr. Cleckner’s videos on the subject. He has series of very useful videos from his association with the National Shooters Sporting Foundation (NSSF). Combine the book, the videos, and some range time and you have the complete package.
Another section that helped me a great deal was the one on ballistics. Mr. Cleckner’s explanation peaked my interest in learning more. That lead me to buy two more books from Applied Ballistics written by Bryan Litz, a well-known expert in his field. I purchased Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting 3rd Edition(2015) and Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets 2nd Edition(2015). As expected, I found these books to be more technical but are written in a way anyone can understand them.
I highly recommend this book. The Long Range Shooting Handbook should be considered a primary textbook for anyone teaching long range shooting. I found this book to be a great one-stop-shop reference. It should be in every person’s library that wants to improve their distance shooting, accuracy, and knowledge of ballistics. Well done Mr. Cleckner, well done.