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Jack Carr's Long Range Shooting Setup | Navy SEAL Sniper & Best Selling Author

Jack Carr's Long Range Shooting Setup | Navy SEAL Sniper & Best Selling Author
April 7, 2021

Jack Carr spent two decades as a Navy SEAL sniper where he led assault and sniper teams through Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond. In this episode of Gearbox Talk Jack Carr breaks down his approach to long range shooting and his personal gear setup. Jack explains what the primary factors for ammunition selection are, his approach to spotting scopes, how to approach wind meters and ballistics software, how he uses D.O.P.E. logs, and he shows two of his long distance shooting rifle setups that he uses for hunting. Jack Carr became a New York Times best selling author when he rolled his real-world combat experience into an incredible thriller series.

Jack Carr's Long Range Shooting Gear

Swarovski Z6(i) 2.5-15x44 P (BT)


Sig Sauer Cross Bolt-Action Centerfire Rifle


Ballistic D.O.P.E. Cards


Sig Sauer Elite Hunter Tipped 130 gr EHTG 6.5 Crd Ammo

Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 4.5-14x40mm (30mm) Target Riflescope (Duplex)

Remington Model 700 Long Range Bolt-Action Rifle


Swarovski ATS or STS HD Spotting Scope


Jack Carr's Recent Books


Jack Carr spent two decades as a navy seal sniper he's led assault and sniper teams through afghanistan iraq and beyond this seal became a new york times bestselling author when he rolled his real world combat experience into an incredible thriller series and today I'm proud to have Jack join me to break down his long-distance shooting and to share his personal setup when you read the terminal list true believer savage son probably my favorite or the new one the devil's hand you'll certainly connect with the league character's journey but you'll also come to realize just how much of a gearhead Jack Carr is as I was first reading the terminal list I knew I had to get this guy on the show today Jack is sharing his decades of experience as a long distance shooter we're going to discuss primary factors for ammunition selection spotting scopes wind meters and ballistic software Jack's dope logs and of course Jack is gonna show us his entire rifle setup if that sounds awesome it is even more awesome this will not be Jack's last appearance on Gearbox Talk so hit the subscribe button hit the bell icon just to make sure you don't miss anything all right let's pull the trigger on this one this is Gearbox Talk with the Jack carr

Jack Carr welcome to Gearbox Talk man how's it going
Jack: dude thank you so much for having me on this is awesome I always love talking gear which you'll know if for those who have read the book so they'll understand that they're kind of they're gear heavy and geary tells a story so I love I love talking to you it's a it's beautiful yeah
Brad: love your books and and if anybody has read your books they know that you have to be drawing upon something to pull all this knowledge around long distance shooting on and I know you like you kind of just said before we started recording here I know you've been out of the game for a little bit but people are going to be super pumped to see your setup for long distance shooting and I'm excited to to really be able to go into this but before we start talking gear here I really just wanted to ask you what do you think is one of the biggest mistakes people make when they're getting into long distance shooting
Jack: I think it's that the barrier to entry is having to have this crazy understanding of ballistics and coefficient this and that and buy something that's super crazy expensive with a crazy with a scope that's even more expensive and all that sort of thing so I think it's that there are these barriers in place that might seem like they exist if you were to do just a google search on it but it's just being discouraged out of the gate because there's so much information out there today and you don't really know just like a lot of things you don't know what to trust who to trust or how to get going so I think it's that I think that's there's this barrier there that doesn't exist
Brad: yeah I think if you're new something you just said as part of it like you don't know who to trust so you don't know who the authorities are and you can end up on on platforms or websites that certainly overcomplicate things and and today we're going to try to break down all this really simple for for the person that's new to long distance shooting and you know what some of you veterans might learn a little something along the way too so what is one of the primary thing what's one of the primary things to consider for your ammunition ammunition selection for long distance shooting
Jack: that your rifle likes it so rather than just buying x rifle x x box of ammo with this these scope rings and this glass it's if you're starting from zero actually I would say that the most important thing is to go to a school first where you're going to learn these things you're not going to make a mistake out of the gate and be like why did I do that once you have the more information so if you have a certain amount of dollars to invest in this I would invest it in the school part of it so you're going to there's some great schools out there now my experience happens to be with thunder ranch for the most part in oregon with clint smith or ftw ranch down in texas there are other great ones as well but but those are the two that that I I've been to multiple times and can recommend because I've been to them so if I was gonna just start I would go to one of those schools and call them and say hey can I borrow a rifle do you guys do that and if one does then I would go there and while you were there in that class now you're talking to people that have been doing this for years in many cases that is their only job is to know rifle scope ammo combinations and then for just in the conversations you have during class and in many cases after over a drink or something you're learning more about the culture you're learning more about the options and you're learning hey this isn't as intimidating as it might have seemed online when I saw these crazy pictures and scopes and all this expensive stuff pop up so i'd say initially that's where I would start if I was like at the sniper school in the military you're going to school and then you're getting this this weapon you're going to school you're getting given a certain rifle you're going through a certain course of instruction with that rifle you're getting another one you're building but it's part of a school it's not you just they just don't hand you the rifle and say go forth and do good things so for me I would say invest that in that training part maybe with a rifle that they have to lend you at first so then you can make better decisions and choices as to what gear you need for your particular application
Brad: I love that answer it's a great answer on you know kind of a different way to think about that and it's certainly not something that's going to be common to other content you might be seeing out there let's talk a little bit about your setup what's your I know you got a couple on hand here let's look at what you got on hand for your long long distance shooting setup
Jack: yep so I have a few things but this one I when you said to grab something and I'll scoop it back a tiny bit you can see the full thing so I figured I would grab the rifle that I grab more often than not when I'm hunting these days this is a rifles inc it's a 300 winchester magnum and which is the rifle that was the workhorse for the seal team snipers when I was in we do see a lot of different calibers now and we did at the time too they just added to that arsenal but but this is what I what I grabbed more from that because I like the lightness in iraq and afghanistan if you look at pictures on instagram with me at the beginning of the war and then later on you'll see that I've slimmed down and that's just not from running and working out that is gear-wise so getting a little more mobile moving out of vehicles in and out of helicopters and out of windows over compound walls that sort of thing so slimming down was very important and going as light as possible and people that have spent time in the backcountry know how important that is to to shave those pounds shave those ounces down so this is a very light rifle but you don't need some this is a very expensive rifle but you don't need the rifle I want to make sure that people understand that that you can get the job done with something that's that's not not custom that's just right out of the box there's so many great companies out there just throw some good glass on and you and you're you're good to go after you understand your reticle scope rifle ammo combination which you'll understand a lot quicker and a lot more in depth if you go to one of those but yeah I put good glass on swarovski on there this is the z6i right here but for the last 10 years I want to say maybe just just shy of 10 years this is what I have taken out more often than not so super light great glass I get a dope guard with it so I can shoot by dialing or by holds in this reticle and each reticle can be different there's choices out there but once again going to that's going to those schools we'll we'll we'll cue you in on what's going to work best for you so you have options
Brad: I was going to ask how you're logging your your dope so can you can you talk through that for a newbie that has no idea what you're talking about
Jack: yep so so we were just talking earlier about how you can go back you can find some instagram pages that show people going out in the 1940s with jeans and cotton-based layers and red flannel shirts and coming back you know either a bolt action 30x6 or a lever action 3030 and and getting the job done so you don't need all this crazy gear to to go do it but for this one this has a hunter zero meaning that it's set and depending on which rifle it is it's usually either 200 yards 250 yards that's probably the average so I know that if something pops up at 50 a hundred and fifty a hundred and seventy eight yeah two hundred two fifteen two hundred three hundred I'm good with whatever with that dope that is in there I don't need to dial I don't need to think about it that's it now each rifle caliber everything else is going to be different but then if we start getting over that if I get over that 300 yard mark for the target well I'm going to dial or I'm going to hold based off my reticle so that's typically how I do it so this card tells me and I have two of these typically for each rifle one goes here on this particular setup the other one will be in my pocket or in my pack somewhere else so I always have a backup of a picture of it on my phone as well so I so I have this and I can go okay 700 yards okay this many clicks okay got it boom it has some wind information on here that sort of thing as well reminds me what ammo this rifle likes because once you have more than one it can get confusing especially if you have a lot of different rifles yeah is it the 165 grain or the 180 grain that this one likes I can't remember and it might not make a difference at 250 or 100 but you know if you're taking a shot pretty far out there then
Brad: what what is your preferred for the for this particular rifle
Jack: 165 I think so so 160 actually this is for the other rifle behind me but 165 oh here we go there it is right there in front of it 165 grain psx which is what I thought so yeah so 165 grain for this one and then the card that I had in my hand which is for a different rifle that I'll hold up here and give people a little bit
Brad: yeah so say we saw your old faithful what's your other setup you got here
Jack: yeah so this is a little newer and I like this from sig buh because this this stock is that across yeah here's the new is the new cross this is 6.5 creedmoor and so this one likes sig 130 grain cet ammo so it tells me on this card and it was just right there you can see if you can see on the screen so it tells me exactly so I have all these other ammo on the shelf like I forget which one this was oh it tells me on this card here okay the 130 grain boom yeah check so I get that and I go so this is for this rifle it has has my name on it has the rifle on it has the ammo on it has all the dope on it right there so that'll go with this rifle so I wanted to keep this one all said so I put some sig glass on here and 6.5 creedmoor of course it has a magazine right there and it's super light and pretty affordable and you can fold this thing up I really like you can fold this thing up and put it in in a backpack or yeah or whatever really cool feature yeah so put a bipod on this one typically my hunting rifles don't don't have that but when I'm sighting them in then I put a bipod on there just to get the get the sighting down so that's this one look it looks cool too
Brad: what I'm going to ask you off the cuff question here for hunters the 6'5 creedmoor is like either the greatest gift or it takes so much flack what's your what's your take on why that is I hear a lot of people beating it up but I'm kind of curious from you as someone who has a ton of shooting experience you obviously selected that can you talk through some of that criticism you often hear
Jack: yeah so I i chose it because I didn't have one in 6.5 yet my daughter did I got her one in uh 6.5 grendel it was a little little different but I wanted to rifle in 6.5 for that reason I had friends that took this round to africa and just slayed it with with a plains game in particular so it's it's it's it's all shot placement I mean but for me I grew up essentially in the seal teams with a 300 win mag so I'm very comfortable with that round I know it just intuitively by shooting it so much I haven't shot a 6.5 as much because it's my first one but so I don't know it as well off the cuff I just don't have that relationship built with it like I do with a 300 win mag but yeah you know if you get shot with this in the chest or with a 300 win mag in the chest like you don't want to be you won't be shot by either yeah so
Brad: shot placement that's the answer you you talked about your your 300 win mag the what what are the primary differences between that and what you were using when you're an active sniper or like are there any really between that or is it the class or is that pretty much your setup
Jack: yeah no there there are choices here now that I'm in the private sector so in the military side of the house you didn't have that many choices particularly when it came to to the rounds you had more choice with the 556 rounds than we did with the with the 300 win mag rounds but so you were given a round you're getting a rifle and you're having scope rings in scope and we started with leupold scopes the mark fours which are on this right here so this I just made when I left team five kind of harkens back to some of the it's a remington 

model 700 but it's yeah I kind of wanted one of those old-school type rifles this is the the the scope that we used back then before we switched over to the to the night force but uh yeah you were just given you didn't have a choice yeah the big the big difference is like we didn't put much thought into all the options because there weren't there weren't any you had a certain tool and you learned to use that tool and you got used to what it what it could do you learned its capabilities and more importantly its limitations and your limitations with that weapon system which is almost more important than just knowing the capabilities so both those things I think are probably the most important things for people to understand about their chosen rifle its capabilities limitations and your capabilities and limitations with that and by going to one of these schools you're shooting 50 yards out to 1500 and it's not that you're going to take a shot on an elk at 1500 but it's just so you get to know that round a little better in different conditions and so when you go to take that 200 yard that 250 yard shot at an elk that 100 yard shot at an elk you are so comfortable because you hit steel at 2200 yards with it in some cases depending on your setup so it's just really something that teaches you what you can do to give you that that to give you that confidence in what you can do with your chosen weapon system when you're a lot closer
Brad: yeah archery it reminds me archery very much the same way you know you shoot out to 60 70 yards to tighten up your your 30 to 40 yard shot you know makes it makes a lot of sense you know the the the closer distances are a little bit more forgiving but you learn some discipline at that long distance and you can apply that at the shorter ranges hey to kind of pivot here into a different piece of gear but I'm sure is vital to your setup what kind of spotting scope are you using you know in your civilian life these days when you're out just you kind of practice shooting yourself
Jack: yeah so I have the I usually I borrowed friends up until this point actually have friends that have the swarovski setups I think there's two there are two main ones that swarovski has and I can tell you off the top of my head because I don't own them yet but they're on my on my short list so I have a I don't have it in here but I have this new sig spotting scope out there and I haven't had a chance to take it out and really put it through the paces yet just because I'm so kind of in tune with the swarovski stuff and and I like that the seal teams we had leupold stuff or for the most part I think we had a few other things as well because you could do off-the-shelf purchases for things that weren't programmed items okay now we're getting a little heated on that side of the house but but yeah typically the most the the quote-unquote best glass that I can afford that's what I'm gonna go with but on the other side you don't need the swarovski crazy setup to get the job done like you can get it done all the glass all the big-name glass companies now are so good like everybody is like you know there's I can't think of one that's not good if you know the name you've heard it before and they probably have a good some good at least one line is going to be good out of all their at all their offerings so the glass companies have come so far in the last 20 years they're all they're all good stuff these days from from my experience anyway
Brad: yeah yeah and most people I've talked to on this show and just in general say that really during the day they're all the same it's it that lasts 15 minutes yeah that last life yeah yeah which it is important hey I shot my my deer this year I got my buck at last light there's a lot of activity happens at last light but but if you're I guess I bring that up because if you're not using it for hunting and you're gonna be just generally shooting like my co-founder zack is really into long distance shooting but I don't think he's is interested in hunting is that something to factor if if you're looking at pricing because the glass can get expensive really quickly so if that is the case that it's all during the day you know really you're not having as much differences it seems like that'd be something to factor that maybe you don't need that last light performance
Jack: yeah maybe I'm more of a I'm definitely a glass snob
Brad: I say I'm asking the gear guy if he should take shortcuts
Jack: yeah so so for me that's why I'm i'm I'm waiting to get the swarovski set up but you know you can totally get it done with anything else that's just me being me you know I just haven't
Brad: no I i just had some buddies on the show we talked about bear hunting and bear hunting relies so much on your glass and and those guys both said the same thing of you know if you're putting your money into anything put it into good glass because kind of like you said about the rounds like you can get it done elsewhere a lot of different ways but if you don't have good glass then then it's just going to make a huge difference in your hunt so sounds like it sounds like you're kind of in agreement there and the show I'm talking about we did just launch if you want to check that out we'll put a link to it in the show notes that's with cody rich and james nash who also shoots that that sig spotting scope that we were just talking about too he vouched for that yeah nice so I i want to shift over to kind of talking about the wind you know there's so much technology out there today for reading wind but I'm kind of curious on your approach and and how you set it up and then maybe your recommendation for a newbie
Jack: yep so the wind is tough so when I went through sniper school it was an art so I went through sniper school in 2000 and what we learned was typically based on the experience of guys in vietnam we're using the same type of rifles which were essentially of hunting rifles painted camouflage and there wasn't really a revolution in technology behind sniper sniper weapon systems until september 11th until we started getting that experience on the battlefield shooting at altitudes across canyons in snow you know cold weathers that down then in iraq and basra and hot you know summer that sort of thing so we started to evolve and guys came back and they started debriefing and writing up lessons learned and figured hey what this is what I wish I had had there if only I had had this more guys started going to SHOT Show and going on into the private sector and seeing what long-range shooters were doing in the private sector what they were using why they were using it hey can we adapt this for military purposes that sort of thing so there was it really took september 11th and going down range to war for tactics techniques procedures around sniper weapon systems and tactics and gear to change and to evolve so now I'm dated on all that so I've been out for a few few years now and I can only imagine what they're doing now because as I was leaving you know we're shooting other things we're shooting 338 lapuas we're doing the accuracy international stuff you have tremendous scopes coming out I think on a few things of course we have lasers on on our on our rifles as well we have auto loading weapon systems we still have bolt action weapon systems a lot of the people we have these these pdas that are now attached to the scopes that are talking to each other and we have wind you know the kestrel meters and all that stuff so there's just a lot more information for guys to apply to that shot whereas I tend to be because of how I came up in it still more of the art type of person just reading that wind down range hey what's it doing here at the muzzle at the at my end of my barrel and then what is it doing down there near my target is it swirling down there is it going the opposite direction of what it's doing up here what are the trees doing what are the leaves doing are there any other indicators out there that I can look at to give me more information to tell me where to hold as I take this shot so so mine's more of that
Brad: good skill to have as I've read in savage sun I think you know sometimes that technology goes out on you
Jack: that's right exactly so it's like what's more like my personal experience apply fictional narrative but but guys today yeah very you get very technical very scientific about the science versus the art and of course there is a an overlap there and probably the best snipers are have the ability to do both the capability to do both understanding of both and then of course they have to know what happens when this thing stops go when this goes down when the wind meter doesn't work when their pda doesn't work that sort of thing when something happens quickly hey back when I was in everything was dialed and now we probably missed quite a few shots because we didn't understand exactly how to hold with our reticles now reticles didn't really lend themselves to be able to do holds very well now there's some great reticles out there that allow you to do holds very quickly as well and change from a close shot to a long shot without looking at your scope and dialing and counting those clicks so so things have definitely evolved out there and that's but hey once again that stuff you don't need to that that might be a little too technical you might just need that that rifle that's sighted in at 100 150 200 250 whatever that is and you know hey I'm not taking a shot over 300 yards of this thing or you know what I'm if it's a if it's if it's a really windy day and it's coming in from from right to left hey I can still make a shot at 100 yards but you know what I can't do I can't make a shot at 300 yards where I could if there was no wind so that's the part that's important to understand as a hunter and as a shooter so you can make that ethical shot
Brad: are you using any kind of like you kind of talked I don't know where your art stops with your your tooling and and what you would recommend too like do you use any wind meters or ballistic software today are you still kind of leaning on more of your own personal judgment
Brad: I have a ballistic software that I think I did not update with my new phone so I saw I've used ballistic software in these different shooting schools I've so I've i've used that I've done the calculations and all that sort of thing but as soon as I get home I get on the field I i don't do that yeah I go back to what I know which is that rifle that round how to hold how to look at that that wind and where to hold in that wind depending on which rifle I'm using before I take the shot but more so it's just about understanding those capabilities and limitations
Brad: that's all the questions I have but I do want to wrap up with one last question on this one what is your number one advice for somebody who's trying to get a long distance shooting and think they're interested into it and this may be some summary of what you've kind of said but I'm just kind of curious on that take home advice what's the the one piece of advice for somebody that's getting into long distance shooting
Jack: yeah it's to go to sign up for one of these courses and get out there and do it if you think you're you want to do it then this is your year get out there make it a priority and get out there and do it you know there's not there's in the way of prep it's just that mindset it's but it's signing up it's putting that date on the calendar it's blocking it off and it's getting out there there to do it now of course you can teach yourself you know online probably can go on youtube probably and do it but I like to I like to go to learn from someone in person whose only job in life and his passion in life is understanding these things and then teaching that to others so so I just like that interaction
Brad: get out there and do it would probably be the tagline of Gearbox Talk man so many people at the end of the day just tell you like stop thinking about it and just go try it go try it go try it go try it that was that was the last show I recorded that was the take home advice there so I think that's awesome awesome advice if you have not checked out Jack's books I don't know what you're thinking you got to go do that right now they are fantastic audiobooks they're great physical books however you like to read go get his books Jack where can they find your books and where can they find you on social media
Jack: yep so officialJackcar.com and if you go back in the blog section to the earlier posts there are some articles there on some of the weapons that I used downrange so the mark 12 mark 11 sniper weapon systems that sort of thing so you can go and do a little more of a deep dive than you'll get from the novels in some of those earlier earlier posts so you can find me there and then on the social channels at Jack Carr usa and I'm most active on instagram and twitter on those
Brad: awesome and we have another interview with Jack Carr he's on our restless native podcast I don't know exactly how the timing is going to work out but make sure you subscribe to us restless native so you don't miss that show Jack thanks for coming on man
Jack: thank you so much for having me let's do it again soon
Brad: yes sir

all right thank you Jack for doing the show reminder Gearbox Talk is a product of GoWild if you have not downloaded the GoWild app please correct this right now you can join literally hundreds of thousands of people who are posting about shooting hunting fishing and more more things that you like to do outdoors the social media app is available in all the app stores and I'll put a link in the show notes now I have to say Jack Carr is literally one of the most humble people I've ever had on any podcast either this one or my other show restless native he was actually grateful for me allowing him to be on my show meanwhile the new york times bestselling author who has literally been on like joe rogan he's I walked in a bookstore the other day and he was on the cover of I think three or four different magazines this guy is the real deal but he's so down to earth you have to appreciate that and not only that I have to say thank you to Jack and all of our audience who have served this great country reminder all of the gear Jack mentioned is in the show notes all purchases through these links help us raise money for a camp that teaches kids to shoot hunt fish thank you for helping with this initiative and supporting the show and GoWild thanks for watching until next week I'm out

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