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Want to shoot better? Now is your chance

The Outdoors
Lead Summary
Scott Rall, outdoors columnist

A few weeks back I spent some time in this column running through the basics of shooting at long-range targets. I am no expert on this subject matter but certainly have gotten bit by the long-range-shooting bug.
What prompted my entry into this discipline was an introduction to a gentleman by the name of Todd VanLangen. Todd is a 25-year veteran of the Army Special Forces unit where he spent 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan leading hostage rescue missions.
He spent his last five years of service as the lead instructor at the Army’s sniper school. He is an all-American war hero. Today he is the long-range ambassador for Beretta Arms Company. They make all kinds of different guns but have several specialty companies that produce rifles for both the rank-and-file big game hunter as well as for those of us who think hearing the chime of a bullet hitting a steel target at 1100 yards is a very pretty sound.
I met Todd at one of our first Veterans Appreciation Hunts six years ago sponsored by my local Pheasants Forever chapter. He was so impressed with this event he offered to drive all the way from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, back to southwest Minnesota to teach a precision long-range rifle class. This will be the fourth or fifth time he has made good on that commitment.
He is teaching a class in Worthington, Minnesota, on Aug. 4, 5 and 6. The first class is going to be a tactical pistol class. I took the pistol class last year, and it is hard to explain just how beneficial it was. The class will be from noon to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4. The participants of this class will learn all about tactical pistol shooting,  shooting while moving, strong hand versus weak hand shooting, timed pistol plates and a friendly competition pistol tree.
He covers the ins and outs of all kinds of handguns and gear and what has worked the best for him over the years. This class costs $200. The participant will need to forward their class fee to Nobles County Pheasants Forever; PO box 1033; Worthington, MN 56187, in order to hold their spot for this class.
The precision rifle class starts at 10 a.m. Saturday Aug. 5, with a 2-hour classroom segment where the students will get all the ins and outs of shooting ballistics, scopes, range finding, windage calculations and oh so much more. This class is limited to 15 participants, and the class is currently about half full.
You are encouraged to use your own rifle but can utilize one of the instructor’s guns if you don’t have a suitable one. Ammunition will be available for purchase at a reasonable rate. The bottom line is that each and every participant who enrolled last year was consistently hitting the 860-yard target by the end of the very first day on the range.
We had a young man who had purchased a $350 gun/scope combo from his uncle the week before and even with a rudimentary scope was all smiles when he heard the chime of a bullet on steel at ranges far longer than any he had ever attempted before.
Several students dialed in their primary gun and still had time to shoot several of the other guns they brought will the same level of success. One year we had winds in excess of 30 miles per hour, but even so, hits out to our maximum ranges were still very consistent.
Participants can expect to shoot about 250 rounds at the pistol class and approximately 150 rounds during the long-range class. If one chooses to take both classes, there is a $50 discount for doing so. The long-range class requires a $200 deposit to the same Nobles County PO address I listed earlier in the column.
This is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get your feet wet or greatly improve your shooting if you consider yourself an experienced shooter.
We have one participant who took the class last year and enrolled again this year. He told me when he called that just the opportunity to visit with Todd would be worth the fee.
I have a flyer ready to go with more detailed information and will be glad to send it to anyone who would like a little more detail.  Just drop me an email at and I will get it out to you on the spot.
Class participants will receive a much more detailed communication about addresses and other gear and supplies you will need or might want to bring along about a week before the class.
You don’t have to have any advanced level of proficiency to take part in these opportunities. I certainly learn more each and every time I observe. You either need just a little curiosity or an interest in learning something new. Class size is limited so reach out soon to reserve your spot today.
Scott Rall, Worthington, is a habitat conservationist, avid hunting and fishing enthusiast and is president of Nobles County Pheasants Forever. He can be reached at

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