Which Rifle & Scope to Start Long Range Shooting?

I received this email from a young man wondering which rifle and scope to start long range shooting with:

“I am interested in learning how to shoot long distance—hopefully out to a mile eventually. Any advice on how to get started on this journey, such as optics or rifles to purchase, or good ways to practice? Currently, we have a Smith and Wesson AR-15 with a red dot. “

So, Which Rifle & Scope to Start Long Range Shooting?

I would not buy any new equipment yet unless you comfortably have the means.  Where do you live this summer, Jackson?  If so, your AR-15 is perfect for now.  You will need a new scope for it though.  I have a few questions to help you hone in on the best forward route.   Let’s see!

Which Rifle and Scope to Start Long Range Shooting
Budget situation.  OK, it is in bad taste to ask this, but I must.  If you and your family skimp on eating out and would be able to save $537.68 by December for a gun and scope combo; your situation is very different than if you decide that “as long as we keep the cost of the gun and scope under $15k this summer, it will be a good start.”  🙂
Where will you be for the upcoming years?  If you live in LA and only visit Jackson for 1 week each year, a .375 Cheytac is overkill.  If, on the other hand, you live in JH in the summer and go to school in the open country of Utah, Wy, AZ, ID, MT etc… well… this will matter as you hone in on Which Rifle and Scope to Start Long Range Shooting.
Personality.  Some of my friends with a mechanical engineering personality prefer shooting at paper targets because they get “data” on each shot.  I prefer shooting at steel targets.  If I miss 79 shots and then get a hit with one, I have had a fun day in the desert.  🙂  This was an awesome day for me:

So, having said the above, for your next rifle, you will likely be best off getting a 6.5 Creedmoor.  They start at $400 for a Ruger American and go up to $10k or more for a custom chic-brand option.  We can chat more about these options later.  The 6.5 Creedmoor has less kick than a .308 and is way more efficient, one of our long range shooting instructors, Scott Austin, hit a 1780 yard target 5 times in a row on a windy day with his 6.5 Creedmoor!

Scope.  I like busy reticules, sometimes called Christmas tree reticules.  Good glass is important.  If you have the means, you will be thrilled with THISscope.  Read this article: https://shootinjh.com/best-scope-long-range-precision-rifle/  also, this one is a “must read.”  http://precisionrifleblog.com/2013/03/07/best-long-range-scopes-buyers-guide-and-features-to-look-for/
A “must read” book for all long range shooters is Applied Ballistics by Brian Litz.  I understood about 20% of it.  It needs to be in every long range shooter’s library.  🙂

So, in summary, please respond with your thoughts regarding my questions above regarding Which Rifle and Scope to Start Long Range Shooting, then I will help hone in more!  🙂