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Advice From Top PRS Shooters

Advice From Top PRS Shooters

Earlier this year, I asked the highest ranked shooters in the Precision Rifle Series a simple question:

If you could just give one piece of advice to a new shooter wanting to get into this sport, what would that be?

Their answers are packed with hard-earned wisdom. I personally learned a lot, and this advice has changed my approach and how I practice. I’ve shared a few of these quotes in previous posts, but I just wanted to share the full list with all my readers, because it is so helpful.

Although these guys each completed the survey individually, it’s easy to spot a few resounding themes in their answers. The way I see it, if any of these guys gave me advice, I’d take it very seriously. But if I hear the same advice from several of them, I’m going to write it down as the gospel truth! There are a number of nuggets like that in this post.

Thanks to the guys who took the time to fill this out! I know this question took more thought than a simple one like “What brand is your scope?” But I believe the answers to this question provide a ton of value. Your advice certainly helped me, so I appreciate your willingness to share this with the rest of us!

Get one caliber, learn your data, and don’t chase the new shiny.” – Tyler Payne, #1 Open Division

Come out to a match, big or small, and see what it’s all about. Watch or shoot … it doesn’t matter. That’s the quickest way to see what the sport is all about.” – David Preston, #3 Open Division

DRY FIRE, DRY FIRE, and then DRY FIRE some more. Also shoot a match to learn from the veterans of the sport.” – Joe Walls, #4 Open Division

Dry fire until your finger hurts.” – Jake Vibbert, #6 Open Division

Train 30% prone and 70% positional!” – Shannon Kay, #7 Open Division

Don’t give up or be intimidated. The first few matches are learning lessons and then you grow from there.”  – Matthew Brousseau, #8 Open Division

Never give up. There will be many times you will want to, but keep pushing forward!” – Brian Allen, #9 Open Division

PRS shooting is a recoil management game. Go with 6mm and learn how to free recoil your rifle.” – Paul Reid, #10 Open Division (How-to video on free recoil)

Do not go overboard with in-depth reloading techniques. Keep the process simple/consistent and spend more time on the range.”  – Cory West, #11 Open Division

Don’t chase the hottest/latest calibers. Pick a solid caliber like 6 or 6.5mm (unless you are planning on competing in the tactical division). Learn it and master it.”  – Jason Greene, #12 Open Division

Don’t get wrapped up in the gear race. Focus on fundamentals and shoot your own matches. It’s all about having fun.” – Ben Cleland, #13 Open Division

Be safe, have fun, and get out and shoot matches. They will show you your weaknesses and where you need to spend your time practicing.”  – Kevin Shepherd, #14 Open Division

To shoot a lot more and worry less about calibers, scopes, stocks, barrels, etc., etc.” – Justin Vinyard, #15 Open Division

Practice fundamentals of marksmanship first and foremost.” – Travis Stevens, #16 Open Division

Focus on your shooting YOUR match. Don’t get wrapped up with what everyone else is freaking out about.” – Brandon Green, #17 Open Division

Go shoot.” – Nick Gadarzi, #18 Open Division

Don’t over complicate things or go gadget crazy…… select a basic caliber and shoot the exact load for a year so you can figure out what works for you before you spend lots of money chasing the latest new gadget. Consistent performance is more important as most points come from mid-range positional targets.” – Curtis Winner, #19 Open Division

Always be positive!” – Jerry Karloff, #20 Open Division

Get out and do it. Everyone is here to help you. The longer you put it off, the more likely you are to never jump in.” – Tate Streater, #21 Open Division

Don’t pull the trigger until your reticle is on the target.” – Jim See, #22 Open Division

Get off the couch/internet and go shoot a local match with what you have.” – Regina Milkovich, #23 Open Division

Get a set-up that you can afford and show up.  You will learn more at a single PRS match then you ever will from reading about it.”  – John Griswold, #24 Open Division

Pick a round that you have done extensive research on. Including everything from barrel life, accuracy, bullets options, availability of factory ammo if needed, and stick with it. Learn that rifle and everything about it. Don’t get caught up with the gear race.”  – Ronnie Bryant, #25 Open Division

Don’t chase speed/calibers. Spend money on ammo practicing and learning to make good wind calls.”  – Aaron Hipp, #26 Open Division

Get with someone who is a good shooter and has experience shooting. Watch, listen, and learn. Then ask them questions.” – Austin Orgain, #27 Open Division

Save your money and buy the best equipment you can. And practice! Build barricades, RO matches, and interact at competitions.”  – Rhett Walters, #28 Open Division

Shoot as many 1 day matches as you can. Everyone will bend over to help you and these are what they are using as practice for the regular matches. Keep an open mind and remember to have fun.” – Brandon Hembree, #29 Open Division

Find a local club to join. That’s a great way to find some experienced shooters to shoot and train with.  Get some professional instruction.” – Rick Reeves, #30 Open Division

Go shoot a match!  You will learn more in one match than reading forums for weeks.” – Matt Gervais, #31 Open Division

Go to matches, get some training, and then buy your set up. Remember to be safe and have fun.” – Scott Satterlee, #33 Open Division

Shoot as many small local matches as possible.” – Scott Decapio, #34 Open Division

Don’t hesitate to shoot a match.” – Robert Pugh, #35 Open Division

Spend less time tinkering on the reloading bench, more time shooting.”  – Morgan Lamprecht, #36 Open Division

Don’t listen to the internet. Go to a match and see what works for you.”  – Zach Scurlock, #37 Open Division

Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook from guys that shoot 2 matches per year. Get advice from seasoned shooters. 99% of us will help a guy out if approached correctly.” – Justin Shireman, #38 Open Division

Shoot as much as possible and don’t worry about buying all the latest gear and reloading crazes.” – Jeff Badley, #40 Open Division

Show up and shoot. Don’t wait until you and your gear is perfect. Just get out there.” – Kevin Dittoe, #41 Open Division

Take a class from a good instructor. Also, RO some matches; you’ll learn more than you can imagine.” – Jesse Redell, #42 Open Division

Worry less about gear.  Worry more about technique. Get help from experienced shooters and work on your positional shooting.”  – Chris Gittings, #43 Open Division

Practice. Practice. Practice.” – Aaron Segura, #44 Open Division

Just shoot the rifle as much as you can. Don’t get ahead of yourself with all the gadgets available.” – Wes Rolan, #46 Open Division

Talk less and listen more.” – Gerald Delk, #47 Open Division

Don’t be intimidated to shoot a PRS match. Most of the shooters are very helpful and more than willing to help you through your first match.” – Ken Sanoski, #48 Open Division

Learn to spot impacts.” – Ethan Carey, #49 Open Division

Don’t chase calibers. Pick one in 6mm or 6.5mm, then stick with it and learn it. Once you have something in either 6mm or 6.5mm it is the shooters ability after that. You’re not going to swap to a magical caliber and all of a sudden start winning matches.” – Bannon Eldridge, #50 Open Division

Practice … a lot!” – Dorgan Trostel, #51 Open Division

Focus more on the fundamentals instead of the fancy gear.” – Solomon Manansala, #52 Open Division

Don’t worry about gear or rifle. Use what you have and come to a match. You will learn far more that way, and then you can make an educated buying decision for the rifle, optic, and gear that best fits your budget. Just come and shoot!” – Clint Adams, #53 Open Division

Get out and shoot.” – John Stimpson, #55 Open Division

Go try the sport. Don’t buy a bunch of stuff first.” – Tim Milkovich, #58 Open Division

Focus on performance. Smooth movements and solid positions.” – Troy Lawton, #61 Open Division

After every training day or match you shoot, spend the extra time to sit down and think about what you learned, what you did well, and what you can do better. Write those lessons learned down and review them before the next time you shoot.” – Clayton Smith, #62 Open Division

Regardless of where you place, this is the best rifle-shooting education you’ll ever receive. Keep at it.” – Tom Beckstrand, #63 Open Division

Practice building solid positions and dry fire a lot.” – Nate Oines, #65 Open Division

Shoot in local club matches and run whatever gear you have or can afford. To a large degree, it’s the Indian and not the arrow. Try to avoid being sucked into the gear race.” – Christopher Tressler, #68 Open Division

Be patient.” – Danny Matthews, #69 Open Division

Don’t skimp on the scope. Pay for quality.” – Reid Driscoll, #71 Open Division

Start.” – Nate Dinger, #73 Open Division

You can’t miss fast enough!” – Duane Gardner, #74 Open Division

Don’t get hung up on buying tons of gear, or looking for the magic caliber. Come out and start shooting. Just jump in because we are all here to help you, and share this sport we love!” – David Cooper, #75 Open Division

Buy quality stuff.” – Adam Cloaninger, #76 Open Division

Find a shooting buddy that is equally interested in the sport and learn together.” – Dan Larsen, #78 Open Division

Spend your money on training.  No amount of equipment you buy will make you a better shooter.” – Andrew Reinhardt, #79 Open Division

Do it.” – Ryan Castle, #80 Open Division

Just go and shoot a match. Everything else will fall into place.” – Tyler Frehner, #81 Open Division

Get out and shoot whatever you’ve got. ‘Run what you’ve brung!’ Too many shooters now feel like they have to be running high-end equipment to enjoy this game and that is completely false.” – Austin Overman, #82 Open Division

Save your money and buy the best equipment you can. But once cry once as the saying goes. Always try to shoot with people better then you.” – Brix Birckner, #83 Open Division

Don’t get caught up in thinking you need all the gear and just go shoot a match. We all started out just like you and are here to take you under our wing just like the pro’s that took me under their wing my first match.” – Matt Rooks, #84 Open Division

Go to a match! You will learn more in one match that you will ever learn reading about it on the internet.” – Kris Desrochers, #87 Open Division

Don’t get too caught up on your gear. Pick quality stuff and learn to use it. Spend more time on the range then on the internet.” – James Jeffries, #90 Open Division

Find a local club and shoot small one day club matches. As long as you have a scope that can be dialed or has a good reticle, you can jump right in with your own rifle. Most people will go out of their way to help, and will even lend you a rifle.” – Daniel Davis, #92 Open Division

Practice more ‘positional’ and less prone.” – Phil Cashin, #93 Open Division

Show up, have fun, and learn.” – Cody Howell, #94 Open Division

No gear can substitute for practice.” – Matt Clem, #95 Open Division

Be committed, no matter what it takes.” – Jack Culotta, #96 Open Division

Try cocaine instead … it’s cheaper and less addictive than shooting.” – Adam Lucksinger, #97 Open Division

Take your time with everything, you can’t rush this sport. Make every shot count. You will get more points per stage if you hit your targets, even if you time out and don’t complete every shot. Don’t get frustrated when you miss. The best shooters have been shooting for years. You will get better with practice.” – Donald Traub, #98 Open Division

Buy once, cry once. That goes for gear and gunsmithing.” – Patrick Middlebrook, #100 Open Division

Practice with what you have.” – Gary Dean, #101 Open Division

Get out and shoot a match. Chances are if you are having trouble someone’s already been down that road and is more than willing to help.” – Boone Miller, #104 Open Division

Be methodical in EVERY part of setting up your gear and shooting positions.” – Kevin Dimartino, #105 Open Division

It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian!” – Seth Dingle, #108 Open Division

Barrels are cheap. Shoot your gun!” – Bobby Bellows, #109 Open Division

Know your rifle and equipment. Don’t chase the latest and greatest product. Instead focus on fundamentals to improve your shooting.” – Justin Pender, #110 Open Division

Learn and develop good gun safety etiquette and have fun!!!” – John Snead, #111 Open Division

Jump in feet first. Don’t ever give up!” – Christine Allen, #112 Open Division

HAVE FUN … cause in the end that is really what it is all about!” – Melissa Gilliland, #114 Open Division

Don’t take it too seriously. Just have fun.” – Jim Saunders, #115 Open Division

Practice.” – David Tubb, #125 Open Division

Build the heaviest gun you can handle carrying.” – Adam Williams, #130 Open Division

Go shoot a match with the gear you have. Don’t postpone shooting match until you have all of the “perfect” gear, because a) you’ll likely change your idea of what ‘perfect’ gear is after your first match, and b) it’s delaying that first learning experience that is invaluable. Even if you only have a stock .308 … just get out there and shoot a match.” – Travis Derouin, #132 Open Division

Believe the bullet.” – Travis Shelton, #146 Open Division

Find a veteran and ask a lot of questions.” – Shane Kepler, #172 Open Division

Just get out and go shoot a match. People will try to tell you all sorts of things, just get out and go learn hands on.” – Micah Hedgecoke, #216 Open Division

Tactical Division

Start small and have fun.” – Jered Joplin, #1 Tactical Division

Start simple, practice, and develop your technique.” – Alton Johnson, #4 Tactical Division

Come shoot! There are a lot of really good guys who will help you get going in the right direction. MOST of us don’t bite.” – John Bishop, #6 Tactical Division

Don’t be scared to go to a match. You’ll be surprised how helpful everyone is!” – James McDonald, #7 Tactical Division

Spend more time shooting rather than on load development.” – Scott Parks, #9 Tactical Division

Take a class from a well experienced/respected group or instructor. Too many people spend all their time and effort on matches in the beginning because it’s the ‘fun’ way to shoot.” – James Stroope, #12 Tactical Division

Find a mentor. Sign up for a class. And then, dive in.” – Candice, #15 Tactical Division

Be comfortable with the gear you have and don’t get caught up in the gear drag race.” – Joe Caley, #21 Tactical Division

Production Division

There are a handful of jack@$$es on Facebook that in no way represent the majority of the PRS shooters. Come shoot a match and just enjoy the experience.” – Andru Evans, #1 Production Division

Follow the fundamentals. Dry fire practice a lot. Get out and shoot dome matches. Club matches are getting very popular.” – Carl Janysek, #2 Production Division

Buy once cry once…” – Lee Blackman, #3 Production Division

The production class is a great feature the PRS offers. Just try one match and I guarantee you will be hooked!” – John Herring, #4 Production Division

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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  1. Dennis Cattanach

    Thanks. As soon as triple digit temps leave off to the range

  2. Thanks for putting this together. By far the best thing I have read in a long time.

  3. Thank you kindly!! Very good info.

  4. This is all terrific information. I will say this. I also started out gleaning over the info that you have collected Cal. That was a very big help for me in choosing my equipment. With that figured out I finally started competing in the MOST series. This is an amazing group of shooters, everyone is friendly and willing to give advice. Competing with these guys and gals has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. This truly is the way to learn, where the rubber meets the road. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend some of the multi day events next year. Thanks to you Cal and everyone else that takes the time out to help a new shooter like myself.

    • I appreciate the encouragement. Glad to know it’s been helpful! Honestly, I’m learning right alongside you guys. Pretty much just reading a chapter ahead! Every topic I write about is simply because I’m interested in learning more about it myself. This is a great example. I was genuinely excited to learn from these guys, and I figured my readers would be too. Glad you agree! Thanks for taking the time to tell me.


  5. “Try cocaine instead … it’s cheaper and less addictive than shooting.” – Adam Lucksinger

  6. Dennis Cattanach

    Sent to my friend in Fort Worth Texas. Great article

  7. Thanks Cal & crew!
    Bwaaaahahaha!! “Try cocaine instead … it’s cheaper and less addictive than shooting.”

  8. Hey Carl,
    You forgot some of the sharp looking and shooting galls
    Mss Gilliland and Wonder Woman !

  9. Thanks Cal for sharing all the invaluable information you gather/learn, it really helps cut thru the clutter. In reality it has cost me a small fortune, maybe I better try the cocaine…..better yet, apply what I just read and go practice/train!

  10. Overall a consistent theme of quotes. Only ones that were somewhat contradictory were around “1. Buy once, cry once…or buy the best you can afford vs. 2. Just shoot whatcha got.” With #2 perspective being much more popular. It was a fun read, especially seeing the names of who said what.

    • Agreed. I noticed the same thing. I think the guys saying just dive in with what you have were thinking about new guys in particular. Many rookies feel like they can’t join in until they have all the gear and the “perfect” setup, so the guys were just saying don’t be paralyzed by that fallacy. Others were likely reflecting on their own dissatisfaction when they tried to save money on gear, and later regretted that decision. If you’ve been at this for very long, you’ve experienced that. I think Travis Derouin summed it up pretty well: “Go shoot a match with the gear you have. Don’t postpone shooting match until you have all of the ‘perfect’ gear, because a) you’ll likely change your idea of what ‘perfect’ gear is after your first match, and b) it’s delaying that first learning experience that is invaluable. Even if you only have a stock .308 … just get out there and shoot a match.” That’s not to say you should stick with a stock 308 as you progress, but just don’t delay going to matches because you’ll learn way more than you think.

      It is crazy how many people said something along those lines. It’s great advice!


  11. Thanks for this, I just took an intro to PRS class this weekend and am looking forward to shooting my first match next month. Seem’s the most consistent thing might be just go shoot a match along with practice, practice, practice.

    • That’s great! Sounds like you’re off to a good start. And you’re right. Shoot a match and practice a lot. There are no shortcuts, unfortunately. I’d bet there is a strong correlation between who spends the most time practicing and who ends up at the top of the overall rankings. There is just no substitute for time behind the rifle! Best of luck to you.


  12. Thanks Cal. I just came across this great blog in the last month and you have done a fantastic job.
    I’m in Australia and shoot palma style but I’m getting into Precision Service Rifle which is very similar to PRS as you guys in the US know it. This advice and your other blog topics have been very valuable in making some decisions. You can really pick up on a common themes in the advice of practice, participate and know your OWN equipment from the responses provided.

    Once again great work on the blog

    • Thanks, Simmo. Glad to be able to help. It’s good to hear this style of shooting is becoming popular in other parts of the world too. It’s a lot of fun!