Sniper Instructor’s One-Box Ammo Drill Will Make You a Marksman

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Most hunters would practice their shooting more if it wasn’t for two things: time and money. Well, there is a shooting drill that can save you both. If you have a plan and know what you’re doing, you can get actually more out of shooting one 20-round box of ammo than by blasting away with a case of 200 rounds. But a one-box range session wasn’t my idea. I first heard about it from shooting instructor Chris Roberts.

A competition shooter and co-founder of CR2 Shooting Solutions—a company that offers rifle-shooting clinics all over the country—Roberts used to teach snipers how to shoot in the Army, and now he teaches the general public. To do all of the above, he needs to keep his shooting skills sharp. What may surprise you is that he can do so by shooting just 20 rounds at a time.

“When most people say they’re going to go out and train with a rifle, they don’t really train,” he says. “They just go and shoot. I think that’s why they don’t see a lot of progression in their abilities.” According to Roberts, you’re better off shooting fewer rounds and really focusing on improvement. At the range, he can confirm data for his rifle, practice shooting positions, and challenge himself with a few difficult shots all with just one box of ammo. Here’s how he does it.

The Warm Up

If you’re at the gym or about to go on a run, do you just start running? Probably not. You’ll usually stretch first and maybe do some warm-up exercises. The same is true for the range. Before Roberts cracks open his one box of ammo, he gives his rifle a once-over. “Check your rifle, check torque, check turrets, and make sure everything is functioning correctly,” he says.

Next, Roberts goes into dry-fire practice. Most of his training is based around building shooting positions. With a target downrange at 100 yards, Roberts will build positions for standing, sitting, kneeling, and prone shots, dry-firing for each one.

Every time Roberts builds a position and pulls the trigger, he focuses on his shot process—or the mental checklist he runs through for every shot. He’ll check to make sure his position is solid and that the crosshair isn’t moving; he’ll confirm that he has a good natural point of aim and make sure can breathe and keep his sights on target. He’ll also look at his sight alignment, sight picture, and parallax. “Typically, bad shooting has something to do with stability,” Roberts says. “You have to find the weaknesses within your shot process, isolate them, and work on those specific things.”

Roberts might go through dry-fire practice a dozen or more times in different positions. He suggests doing it more than you think you should. A good way to tell if you’re building stable positions is if your crosshair only wobbles inside the edges of your target, or doesn’t wobble at all. If your target is a 1 MOA dot on a piece of paper, then it shouldn’t leave that dot. “At this point, it’s more about what you do before the bullet leaves the gun than what you do after,” he says.

When you break the trigger during dry-fire practice, make sure your point of aim stays on target the whole time. If the crosshair wobbles too much or drifts off target, you shouldn’t bother firing live ammo. Instead, work through your process to get steadier.

Related: Best Long Range Rifles of 2024

Start Shooting to Isolate Your Weaknesses

Once Roberts feels comfortable with his dry-firing, he’ll move into a live-fire RifleKraft drill, and use it to isolate weak shooting positions. The drill consists of 12 shots on a 8.5×11-inch paper target at 100 yards. (Find out more and download a target at Each shot must be taken from a different position, and the shooter usually builds and breaks positions between shots. At the end of the drill, you should have a group of 12 shots on paper, and a general idea of how good you are at keeping a rifle steady. Using the target, you’ll also get an idea of how far you can shoot without the influence of wind and trajectory. Shoot under 2 MOA, for example, and you can theoretically hold for a 2 MOA target out to any distance in almost any position.

The beauty of shooting at 100 yards is that you can work on your shot process away from influences like the wind at long range. You can also use this time to practice recoil management and follow through.

Roberts usually shoots the Kraft drill standing, seated, kneeling, and prone with a tripod for support. He trains for these positions with long-range competition in mind, but hunters can modify the Kraft drill to the positions they’ll most likely take in the woods. For example, you could shoot the drill unsupported in three different positions, or you could shoot off of things like tree branches or a backpack. The most important thing is to train how you expect to shoot in the field and challenge yourself to be consistent.

Shooters who want to find their weaknesses for specific positions can break up their shots between multiple targets. For example, instead of using just one RifleKraft target, hang four and only shoot one position for each target. This will give you an idea of your consistency for each position. A sound position and good follow through will give you tight groups leave your crosshair on target after the shot.

High Intesity Training

The author practices shooting offhand at the range. Sabastian “Bat” Mann / Mossberg

With eight rounds left, Roberts will move on to the hard stuff. Usually, he’s at a range with long-distance targets. If you aren’t, you can use the rest of your ammo for other difficult tasks, like snapshooting and building positions under a time constraint. Roberts also suggests using these rounds to introduce new ideas, like a tripod for rear support, or shooting hold-overs vs dialing for distance.

“I like to simulate stages I might run into in a competition,” he says. “I do timed drills, build-and-breaks [for different positions], and I shoot into the wind at distance.” With his focus in long-range shooting, Roberts will also collect data for different things he observes while shooting at distance. “I don’t have to shoot dozens of rounds to get tangible data,” he says. “This is just one day worth of training.”

One way Roberts likes to train for wind calls is to set up from different points to shoot at a single long-range target. That way, he can practice and gather data for eight different wind calls on just one target.

A PRS competition shooter fires a rifle rested on a barricade.
With the rest of your ammo, practice more challenging positions and wind calls. Jack Hennessey/Sierra Bullets

Cool Down

After his last shot, Roberts will assess and review. He believes that if you don’t review what you’ve done, where you came up short, and what you’ve accomplished, you’ve wasted a day. Start by logging your RifleKraft target to compare to future range sessions. Record any positions you may have struggled with, and investigate why you may have struggled with them.

Next compile any data you may have gathered by shooting at distance or under time constraints. Data from shooting in the wind can help in the future. Recording the results of your timed drills can help you track improvement.

To get even more out of a range session like this, Roberts suggests filming yourself while you shoot and watching the video after. I did this in one of his classes, and it was incredibly helpful. You can see what you’re doing wrong and compare that to what you see on your paper target.

Roberts suggests repeating a range session like this as often as you can afford. For him, it’s about three times a week, but even a few times a month during the offseason can help you improve as a shooter and hunter.

Read Next: 7 Long Range Shooting Tips You Can Learn From an Army Sniper Instructor

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