There are certain aspects of shooting accurately at long ranges that can throw beginners for a loop. Whether you want to shoot accurately for hunting or for competition, finding the target is something that challenges many shooters.

We sat down with Dave Luu, founder of the Mid-Atlantic Rimfire Series, to learn about some of the most practical tips he gives new shooters for being accurate at long-range shooting. In today’s episode, we talk about getting on target.

Let’s dive in.

Practice with Practical Objects Before Shooting

One tip Luu gives is to practice with practical objects and find “targets” with them throughout the house or in the backyard. He gives the example of using a piece of PVC pipe or an old paper towel roll to find an object and to line up with the target. This will train your eye and brain to find the object first. This will also teach you to locate the target with the scope.

The same principle applies when going to the range to shoot a target that is hundreds of yards downrange. Find it with your eyes first. Make sure the gun is lined up, and then find the target in your scope.

Practice with the Rifle and Scope Doing “Dry Fire”


A little dry fire goes a long way. (Photo: Don Summers/

After you’ve mastered the art of finding objects with your scope, you can hone your skills with dry fire practice. Remember to follow all the basic firearms safety rules. Never have any live ammo in the room with you when doing dry fire practice. 

This step builds off finding objects and training your eyes and brain to respond to your rifle and scope. 

Understand How the Zoom Is Affecting You

Once you’ve started training with the rifle and scope combo, the next step is to understand how your zoom is affecting your ability to find the target. Luu, who shoots competitive rimfire challenges, has a very powerful scope capable of 20x zoom. But just because the scope can be zoomed in 20x doesn’t mean that should be your zoom.

Zoom out to find your target first. (Photo: Don Summers/

The more your scope is zoomed in, the less field of view you have. This can often be where beginners start getting into trouble finding an object. The remedy is to decrease your zoom to increase your field of view. Once you have a larger field of view, you can pick out your target and zoom back in to get a better shot. Luu will back off to 8x or 10x power to find the target before zooming back into full power.

Understand Your Parallax

The final tip Luu gives is to understand how your parallax is affecting your ability to find your target. There are parallax adjustments on nearly every scope these days. Dialing it to make the image in your scope as clear as possible is the best way to shoot. But what if you’re shooting competitively and have multiple targets at varying distances?

If this is the case, Luu suggests you set the parallax between the two targets. This is especially helpful in a timed event where you don’t have the luxury to adjust the parallax to your liking. For example, if there is one target at 100 yards and another at 200 yards, he’ll set the parallax at 150 yards so that neither target will be crystal clear. But they will clear enough to make the shot without adjusting parallax and wasting precious time.