When shooting long range (600 yards to 1200 yards) there are many places available, however when searching for two and three mile shooting locations, many more problems arise. This is true of private property and the government’s land. As technology has made it possible for our gear to stretch out further, land issues have not become easier. I have searched for extreme long range shooting locations in many states and have only found a couple places that allow two mile shots. Three mile shots are almost impossible. WHY?
A mission of the BLM is to restrict motorized access to as much of the land they manage as possible. Many roads and trails have been closed and motorized vehicles are not allowed off of designated trails.
There are many “wilderness areas” and “special conservation areas” and “restoration areas” scattered around. Motorized travel and shooting are not prohibited in these areas.
It is not legal to shoot over roadways, even if you can see both directions for miles!!
A 1,200 yard shot is close enough that a spotting scope can be used to see dirt “splash” when a bullet misses the target. This allows a skilled spotter to “walk in” the shots. At one mile and beyond, this splash is harder to see, even with a high-quality spotting scope with high magnification. (Mirage often makes the high magnification worse than lower magnification.)
A partial fix for this problem is a target camera system that is set up close to the target. (These camera systems are imperfect, but do help … when they work)
The area behind the target should be dirt. Rocks are safe enough in remote areas, however seeing splash on rocks at over one mile is rarely possible.
Target & camera access
A four foot by four foot 3/16″ target weighs 120 pounds, and steel posts and mounts must also be taken to the target location. Why not “man up” and carry the 120 pound heavy load through cactus and over rocks for 3 miles? Yes, I like that, except for a new problem. The camera system only lasts 4 to 8 hours, so it must be turned on right before shooting for the day. This means the camera must be quickly accessible (for example, via an ATV). As mentioned in the “Legalities” section above, ATV’s must stay within the government’s designated areas.
Using OnXMaps app, we find a great place for a three mile shot. However, the closest that at ATV can get a target or camera is 1.5 miles. Darn it.
Yay – a new possible location has a road that gets within 100 yards. Unfortunately, the area behind the target is comprised of rocks and shrubs that would hide the splash.
Having loaded the ATVs back onto the trailer and driven to a new possible location 10 miles away, we discover that the trail has been closed and the area is designated as “wilderness” so no shooting is allowed.
After moving to the next location, we see that there are electric power lines running between the shooting location and the target. We can not shoot near power lines. Next possible place?
After moving to the next location, we start up the road, and see that it goes through a private property and has a locked gate.
The next location is not safe because a miss could ricochet onto the highway 2 miles beyond the target.
The next possible location has sagebrush or Joshua trees that block the view from the shooter to the possible target location.
Finally!! …A perfect location! Oops, the off road trail emerges nearby from behind the backdrop hill. With the bullet’s flight time, it is simply not safe.
Yes, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming maps seem to offer many great opportunities for extreme long range shooting, however when investigating locations on the ground, finding two and three mile shooting locations is very difficult. Many more options for one mile shooting ranges are available. Locations for “busting rocks” at 1,200 yards are very plentiful.
We enjoy helping locate great places to shoot at extreme long ranges! The above challenges are overwhelming for most busy people, and I am excited to help you find the best possible place to shoot. A search of a 1,000 square mile (20 miles x 50 miles) area can take 10 days of hard work, and often the result is that there is not a perfect place for a one, two or three mile shot. If there IS a place though, we are proud to be your best option for finding it!
What is YOUR goal and where do you want it to happen?