Precision Rifle: the Spirit of the Rifleman
Learn from Professor Paul Markel, host of This is Rifle Country by Student of the Gun. Class takes place on the very range featured in the series.
Hit targets at 1,000 yards… even if you have never shot a gun before!
Enrollments close on
August 5th 2022
We know 1,000+ yard ranges are rare.
That's why we invite you to this training class.
How often do you have the opportunity to truly test the capabilities of your favorite rifle?
Additionally, when is the last time you were able to truly test and evaluate your skill and ability with a rifle at distance?
For a good rifle, one or two hundred yard shots are just warming up.
What kind of long distance accuracy can you legitimately get from the combination of your rifle, ammo, optic, and your skills?
Precision Rifle: the Spirit of the Rifleman is a unique opportunity to push your rifle and your skills farther than you have ever been able to before. Most 1,000 plus yard ranges are either reserved for "members only" or are found on elite military ranges.
During this intense, 2-Day course you will have the opportunity to use your rifle in a way that only a small percentage of rifle owners ever will.
You will be challenged and come away with skills that you may never have thought possible.
Precision Rifle: the Spirit of the Rifleman
Precision Rifle: the Spirit of the Rifleman is a full immersion training program. You will be on site for the entire course, staying in a classic mountain lodge and being fed by our in-house Celebrity Chef.
The course will begin with an intense focus on the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship, moving on to various shooting positions. Targets will be engaged from 100 yards out to 1000 yards if your rifle/optic/ammunition combination is capable of such distance.
In addition to "Known Distance" targets, you will be challenged with unknown distance targets and unconventional shooting positions.
Date: Choose your preferred date when you click the "Enroll Now" button
Location: Silver Spur Ranch, Hanging Bull Mountain Lodge, Encampment, WY 82325
Seats are limited to 10 per class. Secure yours today!
Here is What You Will Get
When you sign up for Precision Rifle you'll get a confirmation with more specific details about the location, times, what you need to bring, etc. Reserving your seat will guarantee you have a spot in the class, a comfortable bed, and hot meals for the weekend. Upon graduating, you will be presented with the coveted Student of the Gun certificate for Precision Rifle: the Spirit of the Rifleman.
A Full 2-Day Live Training Class
America is a nation founded by riflemen. Precision Rifle is a course designed to rekindle the Spirit of the Rifleman and to provide the instruction and training necessary to enable you to realize your full potential with a rifle.
Stay in a Bonafide Mountain Lodge
The Hanging Bull is a classic, western mountain lodge located on the Silver Spur Ranch in Wyoming's beautiful Platte Valley. The scenery and fresh mountain air is worth the trip. You'll love it.
Meals Prepared by a Celebrity Chef
Our Celebrity Chef will prepare your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As with lodging, all meals are included with the cost of the training package. Arrive with a healthy appetite and come ready to eat delicious country cooking.
Camaraderie with LMIs
One of the greatest benefits of leaving behind the comfort of home is the fact that you can meet and train along side Like-Minded Individuals. In our modern world, it can be difficult to find people who truly "get it". Peer affirmation and support is not a benefit to be overlooked.
Location: Silver Spur Ranch, Hanging Bull & Elk Hollow Lodge, Encampment, WY 82325
The Silver Spur mountain lodge is reserved for students only. If you'd like to bring your family and they won't be participating in class, we recommend booking a room at The Copper Line Lodge by calling Dan Pont at 402-885-5611. If you're coming in early or staying a day or two later, call Dan a reserve a room at The Copper Line Lodge.
Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Sunday: Breakfast and Lunch
For More Info, Click to Expand Each Topic
Rifle and Ammunition
Most any rifle can be used in a precision rifle course, from .223 Remington to .50 BMG (BMG is restricted on many ranges due to the damage it does to steel targets). From a cost perspective, the .223 Remington rifle is the most economical. You get more bang for the buck. Medium rifle calibers, such as the .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor drive up the ammo bill. Magnum caliber cartridges; .300 Ultra Mag, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum are generally chosen by people with either serious disposable income or those spending taxpayer money.
The Ruger American rifle in .223 Remington is a good alternative for someone looking for an entry level precision rifle that they can afford to shoot. Average retail price is around $469, minus optic.
The Savage Model 110 bolt-action rifle in .308 Winchester can be had from $459 to around $649 depending on the particular features of the gun. Again this is a good entry level gun in a medium rifle caliber.
The Patriot Revere rifle from Mossberg can be purchased at an MSRP of $875 (lower at some dealers) and it is chambered up to .300 Winchester Magnum.
You'll need at least 400 rounds of ammo for the Precision Rifle class.
Generally speaking, if you are serious about precision rifle shooting, you should spend about the same amount of money on your glass as you did your rifle. Yes, I know many people choke on that advice, but I said if you are SERIOUS. Any knucklehead can throw rounds down range at 75 yards, that does not take much skill. How about 100, 300, 500, or even 1000 yards? The $89 discount scope from your local store is not going to cut it.
The issue with rifle scopes is that there are just so many that it can be a very confusing issue for the shooter. There are potentially a hundred companies online selling riflescopes, what is cheap and what is actually a good deal? I will not recommend glass or riflescope of which I have no experience. Here are a few that I have used over the years.
The Burris Predator scope has external adjustments and is a solid, entry price optic. I recently used one to shoot prairie dogs beyond 300 yards. The price point is around $300.
A Leupold VX-3i rifle scope will not break the bank, but it is not entry level either. I have been using Leupold products for over 25 years, toured their factory, and have supreme confidence in them. The VX-3i version is priced just under $900.
Nightforce Optics have a stellar reputation with US Military and Law Enforcement, the SHV series will give you the clarity and adjustments to shoot extreme long range. Expect to spend around $1300.
When matching your scope rings to your rifle, do not go cheap. It makes no sense to have an $800 rifle, a $700 scope, and then bargain shop for rings. Afterall, the rings are the only thing keeping the glass attached to the gun.
I have used Vortex 30mm rings and never been disappointed. Expect to pay around $50.
When attending a precision rifle camp, do not expect to spend much time sitting at a shooting bench. You will likely be prone, kneeling, or sitting. A solid, quality shooting mat is a good investment. There are many mats available. I have had good success with the ones from MidwayUSA.
The Pro Series competition shooting mat is a solid piece of gear and will run you $50 or so.
Depending on the type of rifle camp you attend, a good pair of knee pads may pay dividends. A good friend of mine once said, “Knee pads are cheap, new knees are expensive.” I have had great success with Alta Brands.
The Alta Flex knee pads are adjustable and fit over your range pants. Cost; about $25
Every shooting academy or rifle camp that I know of, will run their training rain or shine. You need to be prepared for wet and windy weather. That means some kind of quality rain suit or jacket. Unfortunately, my favorite Blackhawk rain suit is out of production. I know a lot of military instructors who swear by Frogg Toggs gear.
A Frogg Toggs rain suit is flexible and not too heavy to be worn while shooting. Expect to pay about $40 or so.
Every precision rifle course I have attended required the shooter to have a notebook to record their progress and dope (data on personal equipment). I have been using some type of Rite in the Rain notebook for as long as they have been available. Price: about $12 for a 3 pack.
Every precision rifle shooter should have a compact set of binoculars to go with their kit. Though perhaps not an absolute for rifle camp, you will need them eventually. Like the rifle scopes, there are so many models that this can be confusing.
The Vortex Crossfire set is good as a general purpose, entry level binos. Price: around $140
While working as a Military Contractor, I used Steiner MM1050 binoculars, they are rugged and reliable and offer excellent clarity. Price: about $500
For those with disposable income, Swarovski SLC binoculars offer amazing clarity and quality. However, they do not come cheap. Price: about $1600.
Here’s what people are saying about the training
We can say great things about our training all day long but it will mean more for you to see what your peers have to say about Precision Rifle: the Spirit of the Rifleman.
I was so pleased to be able to have the opportunity to take this class. I was able to be with like minded individuals, from different walks of life and areas of the country, in a most beautiful region of the country.
The instruction included the basics to the advanced specifics. Professor Paul presented each important bit of instruction clearly and in such a wonderful understandable way. Proper body position, correct trigger pull mechanics and follow through, and also how to figure out scope dope. (It has taken me two months to review and absorb all of the magnificent information given during the two days of the class.)
The first time I hit the 1,000 yard, 18x24 target, I thought it was great. Then, hitting the target for a second time, and a third and fourth and fifth time, sent my spirit, mind and being into the stratosphere. I learned how to work my 308, model 700!!! A dream come true. The lodging was wonderful. The chef's meals were always great.
Thank you to all involved at SOTG that made this possible.
Back to the Basics and More!
This class was more then I expected. I just purchased my first rifle last year and hadn't used a rifle since my time in the Marine Corps which was 10 years ago. I still remember some knowledge I learned in the Corps but knew that I had forgot a lot. I had not used my rifle for more then within 50 yards, and had not really had the chance to really learn my equipment like i should.
Coming to this class changed all of that. I was able to remember some of the thing's that I had been taught before like BRASS-F and Dope.
The one big thing I took from this class was being able to just adjust my Dope and hold over for wind rather than adjust my scope for wind as well. Being able to transition to targets in a fast manner was so much easier by simply adjusting my Dope. I was able to reach out to 800 yards with my ADM Rifle with my Strike Force 1/6 scope and reached out to 1,000 yards with a fellow classmates rife, which was way easier to do when the Dope was already adjusted on their rifle.
Honestly though with all that knowledge learned the biggest thing I took out of the whole class was learning more about myself and finding myself more. It gave me time to relax and learn with like minded individuals, and it was spiritually opening being out in God's Country with such folks.
I think everyone will take different thing's from such a class but one thing is certain. Get out there and train and take a class with SOTG!
A Fundamentals Class That Everyone Should Take
This class along with "Beyond the Band-Aid" should be considered a primary classes that everyone should take. In reality A large majority of us who follow "student of the gun" live in an environment where we don't get the chance to get to a range that has targets further than 100 yards. This class starts at the basics at 100 yards and refines your skills up to 500 yards and beyond. While using an AR platform with 5.56, I was able to engage the 300 and 400 yard targets with consistency and minimal thought. This class teaches you the actual ability needed use your rifle to its full potential at range. Shot placement is still number one rule.
Prof. Paul is an excellent instructor who shows through his instruction that he has a lifetime of experience to share.
Needless to say the cadre and the lodge or superb. I have been to other classes where lodging was included and this was the best. The meals were incredible and were actually cooked by a real chef. There was plenty of food to eat. The rooms were clean and spacious. Everybody in the Town of Saratoga was very friendly and I felt very much at home.
On top of the instruction I was able to test my gear and my choice of rifle accessories to see what works and what doesn't in real world activities.
During the weekend I was able to meet like minded individuals and build new and lasting friendships.
I was extremely pleased with this class and plan on returning as soon as possible for further instruction.
Your instructor has a lifetime of knowledge and experience and is excited to share it with you!
The Core Fundamentals of Marksmanship
We will lay the foundation upon which to build our long range shooting platform. Without a solid fundamental foundation, high-powered scopes and match grade ammunition are a waste of money.
Some of the fundamentals include; sight alignment and sight picture, natural point of aim, bone support, stock weld, trigger press, trigger reset, follow-through, breath control, and more.
These are time honored and proven fundamentals used to train the finest marksmen in the world.
Running the Gun: Manipulating the Rifle from Any Position to Get Back on Target
The rifle is a tool, you are the operating system. During our Precision Rifle course you will learn to, and then practice, running your rifle so that it will become a tool over which you have command.
Our training program is designed to give you the opportunity to master your rifle under all circumstances, not just the static position of a range bench. Every rifleman's goal should be to take their rifle to the field and place shots on target, on demand, regardless of the shooting position.
Mastery of the rifle also allows you to engage multiple targets in rapid succession. In this class, you will practice this very thing on targets near and far.
Mastering 4 Foundational Shooting Positions
We shoot from the stability of a range bench in order to test and evaluate the performance of the rifle, ammunition, and the optic. We also use the bench rest to verify that our optic is indeed zeroed with the ammo we have chosen.
There are no range benches out in the field. In order to be a well-rounded and proficient marksman, you must learn to master the four fundamental shooting positions; prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing. All of these will be explained, demonstrated, and practiced.
Calling the Shot: Intimate Familiarity with the Rifle, Ammunition, Optic, and Your Capability
During this course, you will have a unique opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with and have a deep understanding of the capabilities and possible limitations of your chosen optic and ammunition, as well as the viability of any aftermarket accessories or add-ons to your rifle.
By the end of the course of training, you will have such a profound understanding of your skill and gear that you will be able to accurately call your shots as well as learn to make corrections and adjustments when needed, without the need of a coach.
Consistency: How Can We Become a Shooting Machine?
Because of the exclusive nature of this course, with only ten students maximum per session, you will have the chance to put more rounds, effectively and purposefully, on target than during an average rifle course.
Learning the Wind: Knowing the Effects of Wind on Long Distance Shooting
Every experienced rifleman understands that the wind has no mercy. Regardless of the weight of the bullet or how fast it is moving, the effects of gravity and wind are always present. To be a skilled marksman, you will need to understand much more than simple elevation adjustment, you must be able to read and "call" the wind.
The best way to learn to read and call the wind is to get out and actually do it. Our training facility offers a tremendous environment for you to learn to master the wind, even to distances as far as 1,000+ yards.
Camaraderie & LMIs
This Precision Rifle Course offers you a chance to engage targets at distances rarely available to people outside of the US Military. Combining this tremendous facility, which includes comfortable western lodging, home-cooked meals, and the chance to share the experience with others like yourself is truly a unique opportunity for any American looking to improve their skills with a rifle and expand their capabilities.
All Inclusive Training!
Get the Rifleman 101 Downloadable DVD Free
Rifleman 101 is the perfect downloadable movie for you to watch and enjoy. When you reserve your seat, you'll get immediate access to download or stream Rifleman 101. We recommend watching this before you show up to the live training class.
Access to a Graduate-Only Private Group of LMIs
Keep up with the connections you make in class. We talk about how important it is to have like-minded individuals that you can communicate with so we built a secure, private forum for you to stay connected with your fellow graduates.
Get a FREE copy of the best-selling book, Black Autumn.
A U.S. Special Forces commando has been home barely a month when a Black Swan event cripples the rattled American society. His family and friends link up with a well-prepared group, but nobody is truly ready for the violence of a pampered America gone savage. You'll get a copy of this thriller for free when you arrive at class.
About The Instructor,
Professor Paul Markel
Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor.
Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for more than two decades, with hundreds of articles in print and several #1 Amazon Bestselling books.
Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force.
Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades. He has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program.
Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.
Here’s what people are saying about the course instructor
Perfect Application of Fundamentals With an Unmatched Social Experience
I'm not skilled in writing enthusiastic reviews so bare with me. The class started with a wonderful dinner that I can only describe as an extended family reunion, none of us really knew each other but there was this sense of belonging and family I find hard to describe. This was followed by wonderful fireside discussions into the late evening.
The class started after breakfast on Saturday morning with the all important safety briefing. Professor Paul seems to have the perfect balance of information and application of fundamentals without overwhelming new shooters or boring those of us with more experience. The facility's are fantastic for the shooting, eating and sleeping. I would highly recommend any class you have an opportunity to take and I'll be returning for more instruction in the future.
Thank you SOTG!
Excellent - Truly the Spirit of the Rifleman
I attended the inaugural Precision Rifle: Spirit of the Rifleman course in Saratoga, WY the weekend of July 28, along with my wife and two daughters. As a summary, the entire experience was excellent. Lodging, food, fellowship, instruction, results; it was money well spent.
Prior to the course, my family had never shot past 100 yards on an outdoor range. After, they had all successfully hit out to 500 yards, were well versed in sighting in and managing their own DOPE. To see my wife striking 3 different targets in 7 seconds and my daughters’ new confidence and proficiency was worth every penny spent.
Paul has a great method of instruction – factual, direct and loaded with practical experience. I learned the use skeletal structure vs. muscles to achieve a natural point of aim, avoid fatigue and increase accuracy. I learned how to properly record and manage DOPE. I learned the importance of consistency, breathing.
The camaraderie with others at the lodge and on the range was incredibly. No big egos, no jerks – everyone from different walks of life, different experiences, different skill levels all coming together to learn and demonstrating patience and respect for everyone else in the class.
Finally, the range location, target distances and scenery is magnificent. Targets from 100 yards to 1 mile, terrain from flat rock to cactus covered uneven hillsides, there was plenty to challenge us and force us to grow.
Truly a first-rate experience that I look forward to repeating.
World Class Training Experience
I try to attend at least one training class a year, and I'm so glad that I chose to attend the first SOTG Precision Rifle class offered in Wyoming. It was an absolutely beautiful setting. The range was ideal and gave me the first ever opportunity to shoot steel at 700 yards with my little .223.
Paul Markel is a world class firearms instructor, and he helped me become much more comfortable with my rifle. I learned to shoot from multiple real world positions instead of the silly shooting benches that you see at so many ranges. He helped me to dial in my equipment choices, and me to build a good foundation of skills that I can now build upon with practice.
Accommodations were excellent. The lodge that hosted us were very comfortable and the food was amazing. Not only was this this an incredible training experience, but the value that I received for what I paid was excellent. I highly recommend this excellent course. #StudentForLife
Course Enrollments close on August 5th, 2022
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
We will make sure you have a great experience. If after the first day you do not feel like you're getting your money's worth, please let us know and we will make it right.
Look at what past students have to say about this course
Best Precision Rifle Class I've Ever Taken
A great class on the theory and application of long range shooting fundamentals. In full disclosure, this is the ONLY precision rifle class I've taken ... so I have nothing to compare it against. Never the less, Prof. Paul is a top notch teacher. He broke down the "mystery" of long range shooting into easily digestible and applicable fundamentals.
No "voodoo" or "magic" here ... just real ballistic problem solving. Who knew, it's science! There are only two variables, the RIFLE and YOU. If you're not ringing steel at 500 yards guess what, it's not (99% of the time) the rifle.
I'm so glad I seized the opportunity to take this class. Not to mention spending the weekend with awesome like minded individuals. I now know what I didn't know, and what I need to practice. I would take this exact same class again!
Great Course, Amazing Instructor
Prior to taking this course the most exposure I had to long range rifle marksmanship was qualifying in the Army (out to 300m) and sighting in my hunting rifle at 100 yds. With such a lack of experience I thought for sure that I would be behind the curve to start out with but Professor Paul was an amazing instructor that got everyone from being challenged by the 300 yd target to hitting targets at 700 yds with regularity by the end of the first day.
By the end of the second day everyone that had a .308 was hitting the 1000 yd targets steadily and the two that had .223 ARs were hitting targets out to 700 and 800 yds with regularity.
What you can expect to learn from this course:
- How to check zero with your optic
- How to gain DOPE (Data On Personal Equipment) for your rifle/scope and how to utilize it to get consistent cold bore shots on target at varied ranges
- How the choice of round can affect your point of aim and point of impact
- You will be very intimate with all the equipment you brought (rifle, optics, magazines, rounds, packs/bloods etc.)
- How to shoot from different terrain and different shooting positions
Overall this is a great course for anyone to attend that wants to push themselves and their weapon to the max. I never thought that I would be hitting the 1000 yd target with my R-25 after just a weekend of instruction from Professor Paul and the rest of the Student of the Gun staff. The lodging and food was amazing as well!
This course is a must take. Period
Precision Rifle - From a Beginner's Perspective
Prior to attending the Precision Rifle: Spirit of the Rifleman class in Wyoming my longest rifle shot was 100 yards, indoors, from a bench rest. I didn't know how to use my rifle or my scope properly, only safely. After attending the class, anything inside 250 yards is simple and 250-400 seems relatively simple.
Spending time with LMI's and the Markel family was a definite highlight during the weekend.
I would highly recommend this course to riflemen and riflewomen from beginner and advanced. I believe everyone can learn valuable information from Professor Paul. We had a diverse class ranging from young ladies up to older gentlemen and everyone absorbed all the knowledge they were able.
I would recommend taking extensive notes and, especially when you’re on the range, listen to the instructor – LISTEN LOUDER!
Many thanks to the entire crew and to our celebrity chef! I will be back…
Frequently Asked Questions
Is lodging included?
Yes! You'll be staying in a mountain lodge in beautiful Encampment, Wyoming. The mountain lodge is well-stocked and is about half a mile from the range.
What dates is the training offered?
You can see the current list of available dates by clicking the button below.
Is food included?
Absolutely! Your delicious meals will be prepared for you by a special Celebrity Chef.
How many rounds of ammo should we bring?
Please bring at least 400 rounds of ammo for your rifle.
Are there any discounts available?
Yes! All members of the Student of the Gun Grad Program receive a 16.68% discount on this class. Ask us how to become a grad program member!
Are rental rifles available?
There are no rental rifles available. It's important that you bring your own gear so you can learn how to use it.
How much is the training?
- 2 Full Days of Instruction
- A two-night stay in a bonafide mountain lodge
- Meals cooked by a special celebrity Chef
- The complete Rifleman 101 downloadable DVD
- A copy of the best-selling book Black Autumn
- A copy of Precision Rifle Range Book
All for only $1999!
Can my family stay at the lodge?
If they're participating in the class, absolutely! The lodge is reserved for students only.
If you'd like to bring your family and they won't be participating in class, we recommend booking a room at The Copper Line Lodge by calling Dan Pont at 402-885-5611. If you're coming in early or staying a day or two later, call Dan to reserve a room at The Copper Line Lodge.
How far can I shoot my rifle?
The range you will be on has targets out to one mile. In class, we will focus on hitting the 1,000 yard targets. If time permits and you have the right gear, you will have an opportunity to stretch your rifle out even farther.
Can I come a few days early or stay a few days late?
Absolutely! We highly recommend enjoying the beautiful Wyoming landscape while you're in town.
The class price includes a two-night stay at the mountain lodge, if you plan to come in early or stay late we recommend calling Dan Pont at The Copper Line Lodge. His number is 402-885-5611. Tell him Student of the Gun sent you.
A note from Professor Paul
Of all my activities with guns, engaging targets with a precision rifle is my favorite.
For thirty years I have been involved in passing along marksmanship training to others. I am grateful for the chance to pass on my knowledge and experience to you and I look forward to seeing you in my favorite place on Earth.