How to fix your rifle to shoot out to a mile

With long-range shooting technique and a few techie tweaks, Andrew Venables and the guys from Mauser get a cheap rifle, a Mauser M18, to shoot to 1,000 metres, and then its only slightly more expensive cousin, a Mauser M12, to shoot to 1,500 metres.

▶ To find out where to buy a Mauser M18 or Mauser M12 Impact, go to
▶ For WMS, go to
▶ For high-res, free-use pictures from the shoot, visit

So, how did we achieve bang-to-clang with an ordinary hunting rifle? How did Barton Gunworks angle the scope on the ordinary Mauser hunting rifles, the M18 and the M12 Impact, so they could hit targets at 1,000 and then 1,500 metres? Let’s get techie and talk about cant and angle. There’s a guide to the jargon below but, if you can live with it, read on.

When you adjust the elevation dial on the scope for ranges longer than the range your rifle is zeroed for, you will eventually run out of elevation in the scope. It stands to reason – you are winding the reticle on to a target that requires the muzzle of the rifle to angle higher and higher.

You solve this by using a rail with an MOA cant. 20MOA is common. If you look at the rail side on, you will see that it is angled slightly downwards towards the muzzle of the rifle.

Success! the team achieve a clang

The Barton Gunworks picatinny rail on the M18 is 10MOA to assist with longer range shooting. This means it aims about 10in high at 100 yards and 150in high at 1500 yards.
In order to hit a target at that range, the rifle is lobbing the bullet which describes an arc from the muzzle to the target. Strictly speaking, you do not fire a bullet at a target but at the highest point of the bullet’s arc on the way to that target.

To slip from imperial measurements into metric (so as to improve your vocabulary!) when shooting the 1,500m target, the 6.5×55 match bullet goes 23 mil above the target. Multiply that by 1.5 to get metres = 34.5m (1,360 inches) above the target. The Mauser tracer bullet goes even higher – around 45m above the target, then dives in at around 50 degrees.

The 10MOA rail gives us enough cant to zero the rifle accurately enough to allow the spotter to instruct the shooter where to aim in order to hit the target. We ‘talk’ the bullet on to the target and that immensely satisfying clang.

Does that mean you can’t shoot a target nearby? It can do. Using 10 or 20 MOA rails, you can zero to 100m, or normal hunting ranges easily on all scopes. If you use a rail with MOA of 30+, the actual internal adjustment available on most scopes will not allow zero at 100m. In these instances, scopes can be zeroed at 300-600m, making the rifles useless for any hunting purpose, but probably capable of lobbing bullets out to 2000m when using suitable long-range rifles. We don’t use MOA rails for hunting because it is risky taking shots on animals at distance.

Robert Sajitz aims his Mauser M12 Impact

Incidentally, you probably notice how long it takes between the bang and the clang. Sound travels at 1,100fps, and our bullet muzzle velocity = 2,800fps. With the bullet slowing down, it takes 1.8 seconds to travel to a 1,000m target and the sound 2.9 seconds to travel back from it = 4.7 seconds.
At 1,500m, the flight time for the 6.5 bullets we used (the ones from the 6.5×55 round) is about 3 seconds. They may start travelling at 2,800 fps but by the time they arrive they are only doing about 900fps, below the speed of sound. Those bullets have a ballistic coefficient of 0.62. The 8mm bullets are 0.45BC and take 3.8 seconds.
The clang sound actually takes about five seconds to get back. The total elapsed time is about eight seconds. At a true mile, it is almost ten seconds, with 3-4 seconds for the bullet to arrive (depending on calibre and BC) and six seconds for the clang to return. At WMS, you can occasionally hear Andrew Venables counting: ‘One elephant, two elephants, three elephants…’

Angle. The relative distance (usually measured in degrees) between two intersecting lines or surfaces at or close to the point where they meet.
Ballistic Coefficient. BC is a measure of how streamlined a bullet is, as a decimal fraction of 1. The more streamlined a bullet, the higher its BC.
Barton Gunworks. Gunsmiths and maker of the 10MOA rail
Blaser Sporting. Distributor of Mauser in the UK
Cant. Inclination from a vertical or horizontal plane. In the case of marksmanship, it refers to inclination from a horizontal plane.
Mauser M12 Impact. Mauser’s 2012 hunting rifle, specially kitted out for longer-range shooting, and available from UK distributor Blaser Sporting.
Mauser M18. Mauser’s new hunting rifle, priced at £750 and available from UK distributor Blaser Sporting.
Mil. Mil or milliradians is the metric version of MOA. There are 6.2832 (π x 2) radians per circle. There are 1,000 mils per radian so, there are 6,283.2 mils in a circle. At 100 meters, 1⁄10 of a mil equals .9999 centimetre. Practically speaking, 1⁄10 of a mil equals 1 centimetre at 100 metres. Rounded up, one mil equals 3.6 inches at 100 yards.
MOA. A Minute of Angle (MOA) is an angular measurement. A MOA is 1/60th of a degree. 1MOA spreads about 1in per 100 yards. (actually 1.047in). There are 3.4377 MOA per mil.
Picatinny rail. The Picatinny (called the Pic rail in the USA), also known as a MIL-STD-1913 rail, or Standardization Agreement 2324 rail, is a military-spec standard accessory mounting platform that attaches your scope to your rifle. It consists of a hexagonal rail with multiple transverse slots, similar in concept to the earlier commercial Weaver rail mount used to mount scopes.
Reticle. The crosshairs inside the scope, each of which are adjustable up, down, left and right so you can find zero. Adjust the horizontal crosshair for elevation and the vertical crosshair for windage
Target. In our case, we use steel targets, which give an audible clang, event at more than half a mile. These are available from WMS Firearms Training.
Windage. How far the wind pushes the bullet left or right as it travels to the target.
WMS Firearms Training. 10,500 acres of ranges and targets out to a mile, run by Andrew and Helena Venables in West Wales

The Mauser – a perfectly ordinary rifle – can shoot to 1,500 metres

This film was first shown in Fieldsports Britain episode 447. To watch the whole show go to

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