Hey, my name is Cal Zant and I’m the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. I am a life-long learner, and I love to help others get into this sport that I’m passionate about. I have been a hunter my entire life, but in 2009 I started getting interested in long-range shooting. I tried to learn as much as I could, but at the time I struggled to find reliable information that was approachable to a beginner and based on real data and an objective approach – not just one person’s strong opinion. Info was fragmented in forums, there wasn’t organized overviews or intros, and it was all filled with unexplained jargon. So, I started this blog to document things as I learned, in hopes that it might help others trying to get into this sport. PrecisionRifleBlog.com has grown dramatically since those humble beginning. PRB currently receives 4,000,000 views annually and is one of the most influential websites on long range shooting.
Over the years, I expanded the blog into new areas. I have conducted several large-scale, independent research projects on scopes, muzzle brakes, rangefinders, barrels, etc., which have been featured in several magazines, and even referenced by elite military units and serious defense research programs. I also regularly survey the top-ranked long-range shooters in the country and publish data and tips related to the gear they use, in a popular series known as What The Pros Use.
I was invited by Bryan Litz from Applied Ballistics, one of the most respected researchers and ballistics expert in the world, to contribute some of my original research to his book, Modern Advancements in Long-Range Shooting Volume II. In that book you’ll find the results of my large-scale research on precision rifle barrels, which was based on over 2,000 rounds of live fire testing.
In addition to print, my content has also been integrated into training material used by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Ryan Cleckner‘s Gun University, Gunwerk’s Long Range University, and many others. My independent empirical research has been referenced by most special operation entities within the U.S. Department of Defense as well as small arms research programs in multiple ally countries.
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I am an active competitive rifle shooter, and regularly compete in both PRS/NRL style precision rifle matches and Extreme Long Range (ELR) matches. I have won several regional precision rifle and ELR matches and have made first-round hits in competitions out to 2,640 yards (1.5 miles), but I certainly don’t claim to be the best shooter in the country. A couple of my highest finishes at national-level competitions include 4th at the 2020 Nightforce ELR Steel Challenge in Wyoming (a flagship match involving 200+ shooters from across the country), and 8th at the 2018 Battle of the States PRS Match in Oklahoma against many nationally ranked shooters. I’ve also qualified and competed in the King of 2 Miles at the NRA Whittington Center. I’m not bragging about those things (clearly there are better shooters), but I say it to show I’m not one of those keyboard commandos who just likes to talk about shooting on the internet. 😉 I’ve been actively compete in long-range rifle matches since 2013, which has provided both real-world experience and I’ve become friends with several top-ranked shooters. Those things help me stay in tune with current industry trends and the latest developments.
I help run a local shooting club that has a private range not far from my house with targets beyond 1 mile. This allows me to regularly shoot 1000+ yards in some of the toughest wind conditions imaginable (in a canyon in windy West Texas). That private range also serves as the “lab” for all my experiments and product tests.
I’m an engineer to my core, which leads me to have a very scientific, data-driven, logical approach. I have the natural drive and ability to break down a complex problem or topic to the most critical pieces. I try to question everything and am very deliberate about staying objective. I may occasionally state my opinion or recommendation, but I try to always make a clear distinction between facts and opinion – and try to limit the later. My goal on every article is to remove my opinion and bias as much as possible, and simply present the data and allow my readers to draw their own conclusions.
I don’t take money from any manufacturers and have declined several who’ve approached me to “sponsor the website” or sponsor me as a shooter. I’ve personally grown tired of magazine articles that are closer to paid advertisements than honest reviews. Unfortunately, a critical article might cause a magazine to lose an advertiser, so its understandable why most play it safe. I feel like every industry needs an independent voice. I’m fortunate to have a job I love in a completely different industry (president of a company that builds 1000+ homes per year in Texas), which means I don’t need this for my provision. That allows me the luxury of being an idealist that is simply in search of the truth to help fellow shooters! While I’m not out to burn any manufacturers (I’m in business myself and understand unfair criticism) – I also won’t pull punches and am committed to transparency and full disclosure with my readers.
I have a heavy technology background that allows me to do things like programming, databases, graphics, CAD drawings, and black-belt level spreadsheets very easily. I’ve been the lead software developer on some very high-profile websites (50,000+ concurrent users on the 1st day), so the technical side of this website and creating content/media is not a struggle for me.
I have formal training in technical writing, and am passionate about crafting content that is approachable and can be understood by even the novice shooter. I’m an experienced researcher – but most importantly I am a life-long learner. I’m constantly learning, reading, tinkering/experimenting, and trying to improve. I bet I’ve read the majority of the books written on this subject cover-to-cover – many more than once. I enjoy reading whitepapers from government-funded defense research while I’m on vacation or taking a walk around the park in the evening. I have an insatiable thirst for learning and growth. I’m never satisfied with the status quo and am committed to continuous improvement. (I’m probably hard to live with, huh? 😉)
Ultimately, my heart really is to help other people that are trying to learn about this sport that I’m clearly so passionate about. That is what gives me the underlying drive and discipline to put all the time into this. I know firsthand it can be frustrating and time consuming trying to sort through all the complexity and noise surrounding long range shooting, and I’m striving to make it simpler for the next guy that comes along.
The final thing that I think helps this blog be what it is, is that I’ve enabled comments for peer review/correction and an opportunity for other subject matter experts to chime in. I have attracted readers who are professional ballisticians, researchers, statisticians, scientists, leading manufacturers and gunsmiths, and world champions from a wide variety of shooting disciplines. This ultimately means I’m willing to put myself out there for criticism. I certainly appreciate constructive criticism but care so much about helping others that I’ll even tolerate the occasional cutting remarks or harsh criticism (I’ve already experienced a lot of that). If you feel like I’ve posted bad information or confused the facts, then by all means please enlighten me and we’ll all get better together!
I give all my content away for free, but if you’d like to support PrecisionRifleBlog.com you can learn more about how to do that here: Support PRB.