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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Rural suburb of southern California
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    1,588

    Default AAR- GUERRILLA SNIPER - Leupold Optics Academy, Madras Oregon Sept 29-Oct 1

    I will begin this thread by thanking those who made it possible, and then everyone who wants can add their thoughts and share their perspective.

    Thank you to Jeromy Hasenkamp for inviting me to come to Oregon and for arranging the awesome range location. It was an 18 hour drive to get there, but worth it. Also, many thanks for arranging the discount deal and introducing us to Buck and setting it up for him to educate us on scopes and the history of the Leopold company. Their story is truly an American success story and there is a reason their products perform. I have even more confidence in Leopold scopes now that I know what goes into making and testing them and the guarantee behind them. Thanks again Jeromy!

    Thank you to my friend Jeff Pope, who I first met when he attended one of my classes several years ago, for rearranging his schedule so he could go with me and do the driving, as the cataract in my eye makes it unsafe for me to drive still, especially at night. Jeff got dehydrated and spent most of day 3 resting and getting back on his feet. He is a PT animal and this is a reminder that it can happen to anyone. Stay hydrated! Thanks again Jeff for making it possible for me to take my rig and all my class support gear.

    Thank you to my son David, who drove from Utah to photograph our event. I am looking forward to seeing his great work.

    Thank you to Michael "Buck" from Leupold for his friendly and enthusiastic hospitality and his contribution to making this course unique. The range facility is truly an outstanding one and offered us the opportunity to shoot on steel out to a mile! Michael is my kind of guy, smart, fit, questioning, and can build stuff with his hands. I look forward to training with him in the future.

    Thank you to fellow SI instructors Brent and Ted for joining us and adding your professional examples and enthusiasm for the work!

    Thank you to everyone who attended this course. It was fantastic to meet in person WT members I have come to respect from their contributions here. Each person helped to make this course a fun filled time of learning and fellowshipping with like minded souls. I know it is not easy or inexpensive to ready one's gear and schedule to attend a course like this, and I am truly honored you put your faith in us enough to do it. Jeromy and I tried hard to make this class worth your effort to attend and to help everyone meet their goals and expectations for the course. Please share your thoughts with us and let us know what you got out of the course.

    We covered a lot of ground. We drilled the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship, positional shooting, including improvised positions and using a partner, barricade, bipod and tripod. We learned about optics and how they work. We were particular and began the process of documenting and learning our cold bore shot. We learned about offset and shooting through loop holes and ranging targets and confirming our DOPE and pre and post shot checklists and wind estimation and holding and reticles and spent time with our ballistic solvers and wind meters and spotting scopes. We learned how our scopes performed in low light and dark in comparison to others. We shot past 1,000 yards and a few of us shot out to a mile and hit!

    We learned about communicating with a partner and moving in contact teams and camouflage and building hydes and carrying our gear and controlling our breathing, or trying to. We got our heart rates up! We learned our gear can break and the need for having a back-up plan.

    We saw old friends and made new and we celebrated being an American and being able to make the sound of freedom ring though the crisp morning air!


    Let us hear from others..
    Dave Sauer
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    "The path which leads to truth is littered with the bodies of the ignorant." --Musashi

    Onward & Upward!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    6,528
    What an amazing experience this was! Truly one of those memories of a lifetime.

    A few thoughts off the top of my head:

    Training with Dave Sauer is always a blast, I wish I could do it more. His skill both with the pistol and the rifle inspires me. I leave class a more dangerous fighter every time I train with him. As an instructor, I study other instructors to see what I can do better, how can I be more effective...and I always learn something new with Dave. He is a joy to watch; his humor and positive attitude is infectious.

    In particular, I've been looking forward to taking this class for several years! Huge thanks to Kamp for setting this up!

    More to come...
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
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    6,528
    The Leupold facility is an incredible location, and they will be making even more improvements over time. The ability to take shots at so many targets at so many different ranges was such a huge opportunity. I look forward to training there again and seeing how the place grows.

    Buck, the Leupold facility instructor, was a wealth of information on a variety of subjects. I truly enjoyed learning about about Leupold history, and the in-depth briefing on scopes was very illuminating.

    A few things about Leupold:
    *They are a 5th generation family company, and they have prepared the company to hand over to the 6th generation when the time is right. That is an incredibly rare accomplishment and truly they are an American success story.

    *They got their start not with hunting optics but with survey equipment for the American west. One of their founders was a hydrologist, and he recognized the need for waterproofing their survey equipment for the rough and tumble environment surveyors had to navigate. This lead to Leupold being the first to develop waterproof scopes.

    *Another of the company leaders was a hunter, and after the frustration of missing a critical shot with a poor scope, he vowed to build a better one. I identify with that attitude!

    *They used black widow silk for their reticles until the 1950s! Imagine milking a damn black widow! (We were informed that the correct term is "silking".)

    *They were the first company to develop the duplex reticle.

    *Company vision statements are often a load of BS, but every now and then you find a company that not only has a good statement, but actually believe in it. I think Leupold is one of those companies.

    image.jpg

    Some things I learned about scopes, in no particular order:
    *The tube diameter (1", 30mm, etc) has nothing to do with the amount of light the scope will gather. The bigger tubes just allow more room for the mechanisms inside, allowing more room for adjustment.

    *Just because a scope says it has 98% light transmission that doesn't mean it's true. That only means that one of the lenses in the scope transmits 98%...so there is a degradation with each successive lens (98% of 98% of 98%...)

    *A heavier does not equal stronger. More weight in the scope means there is more mass that gets banged around on recoil. Lightweight, strong materials are much better for this application. Much of the weight in lesser brand scopes comes from excessive use of brass inside the optic.

    *Argon and Krypton molecules are apparently very big...too big to fit through the seals of the scope and thus contributing to water and fog proofing.

    *Leupold scopes are optimized for color and light transmission at that critical time of early morning and dusk when it's not truly light or truly dark. Many other brands optimize their scopes to transmit showroom lighting. That sounds like company propaganda (well, it IS their propaganda!) but it's true. We spent some time looking through different scopes in twilight and I can tell you there's a huge difference.

    *Leupold is serious about the destructive testing they do on their scopes. Buck told a story about one of their engineers that built a lightweight rifle in (I believe) 375 H&H in order to test the limits of one of their scopes. Every time he shot the thing he blacked out! As I recall, he was able to perform 10 shots, blacking out each time, before he called it quits. The rifle broke the engineer but not the scope! They named the rifle Hell Bitch if I remember correctly and now it's hanging on the factory wall.

    *There is what is called the "Optical Triangle": Eye Relief, Magnification, and Field of View. These three components are dependent upon each other, and if one changes the others have to give. The overall perimeter measurements of the triangle must remain the same, thus each component affects the others. Common sense really but it was good to see it articulated that way.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    6,528
    Learning new skills, expanding your capability, becoming more dangerous to our adversaries...these are a few of the reasons we go to class in the first place.

    But honestly my favorite thing about these classes are the friendships you make. Challenging each other, learning together, laughing, and truly becoming a brotherhood of like-minded warriors is immensely rewarding.

    For me, the best thing about this class was that it brought together several of my favorite people, from Arizona to Alaska and all the western states in between.

    And just as cool, meeting new friends who after only 4 days you feel like you've known a long time.

    I already said it, but I wish we had more time together.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Exiled in Texas
    Posts
    7,546
    Absolutely amazing class. I had wanted to train with Dave for a while, but really did not want to go to California. I also really wanted to learn more about precision rifle work, having been mostly a pistol shooter. This class was the perfect opportunity. The range facilities were absolutely stunning. The information from Buck, at Leupold, was eye-opening. And this was the first time that I hit what I was aiming at out to 1,000 yards. (Though it was, admittedly, not consistent.) There were principles that I understood in theory, but that I had never before been able to observe first-hand. This class added a lot to an area of study where I needed the work. I am definitely a more dangerous man today than I was a week ago. I'll come back later, when I have more time, and cover some of the specific things I learned.
    Virtute et Armis

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Exiled in Texas
    Posts
    7,546
    First specific topic: Leupold.

    I think we all came away from this class feeling a little bit awkward about being inducted into the cult of Leupold. There was a bit of sales pitch to the first day's presentation, in the guise of a better understanding of optics manufacturing. Initially, I just accepted it as a cost of getting to use this awesome range that Leupold leases, but I was a bit dismissive. Polite and attentive, but at least partly dismissive. By the end, though, I was sold. Mike (Buck) invited a Pepsi Challenge among optics, and all of his boasts were proven true.

    I have known for many years that there are only a few glass manufacturers in the world, and they make the glass for everyone's scopes. So the glass itself can't contain any special sauce. It's all the same glass. What distinguishes one manufacturer's glass from another's is the overall design of the interplay between lenses and the treatments applied to the glass. Glass can be coated in an effort to reduce glare, increase contrast, or highlight a particular spectrum of light. In sales brochures, you hear a lot about "light transmission," but we quickly learned that more light doesn't necessarily make a better optic. If an optic transmits lots of light, but has little contrast and fails to eliminate glare, then you just end up with a bright grey blur rather than a dark grey and well-defined target.

    The most insidiously manipulated of these characteristics, though, is the spectrum of light that the glass is tuned to best convey. What light conditions are most important in an optic? Bright mid-day sun? Shooting low into the sun? Dawn and dusk? Depending on your answer, you could design an optic that performed better under particular conditions. So what light conditions do most manufacturers focus on? You got it: the fluorescent light of a department store. They know that you'll likely select your optic while comparing it to another optic in the store. When you peer across the showroom at a mount hanging on the far wall, which optic appears more clear? But you won't be hunting under florescent light. Bright mid-day sun is the easiest to deal with. All of the optics in class were fine under the mid-day sun. You could discern some difference among different optics when shooting low into the rising sun. Our range faced east, so we got the chance early each day to see how well our optic performed at reducing glare. But the real difference became apparent when the sun was well below the horizon.

    We all walked the line looking through one another's scopes after dusk. This was a high-speed class with lots of superb gear. There were no Tascos on the line. Among the scopes on hand were Schmidt & Bender, Bushnell Elite, U.S. Optics, Vortex, and--of-course--Leupold. During the day, the S&B looked beautiful, and the only real complaint about the Vortex was that it weighed as much as a boat anchor. But at night, our opinions immediately shifted. In the dark, we were left with this: Everyone except Leupold sucks. Expensive optics with 30mm tubes and 56mm objectives clouded over to darkness. Looking through the Vortex (Razor HD G2), it was as if someone had blocked the objective with a giant ball of cotton. All of the Leupolds, though, showed their targets clearly. This was true from the $450 Mark AR up to the $2400 MK6. The clearest optics were the MK6 (1-6x) and MK4 (2.5-8x and 1.5-5x). With these optics, you could actually see and engage targets through the glass that you could not see with your naked eye. This was not true of the scopes from any other manufacturer. The difference was striking and absolute. Every Leupold allowed you to confirm targets for at least 30 minutes beyond when every other scope failed.

    I just recently bought a Spitfire AR from Vortex, and I've been very pleased with the Strike Eagle. Dollar for dollar, they are great. And I'd still be willing to use their optics on a gun that was just a play toy for me. But for any serious tool, I will now be going with Leupold. Period.
    Virtute et Armis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    western WA state
    Posts
    10
    So the GS 1 and 2classes were my first SI courses. And another thing about me is thatI am relatively new to firearms. So, I didn't feel quite ready orprepared for what I saw were the “advanced” courses of GS 1 and2. Thing is, though, that I live only a few hours (5) from thecourse location (Madras, OR) and the other SI courses I haveconsidered have been geographically “far away.” So therefore,when I saw a SI course near me, I snatched it up. I can tell youthat I am very impressed with SI, the SI instructors (Dave, Jeromy,Brent, Ted), my fellow students, the Madras Leupold course facility,and our course Leupold host (Michael, aka Buck). Despite being arelative newbie, I felt welcomed by all, and I got a lot of good tipsand ideas and suggestions and feedback from all, and also I learned alot by observation of what everyone was doing, how they were set up. Things that I really appreciated about the course set were: 1) theawesome presentation on Leupold scopes by Michael – I knew Leupoldwere considered top of the line scopes, but now I know why (andMichael showed how to properly mount a scope – good to know for me at this time), 2) the initial focus on fundamentals, 3) the addedon/stacked on additional challenges (so you can shoot at 320 yards,well then, how about you do that through a small rectangular hole cutinto a cardboard target about 10 yards away?), 4) the “survey”nature of the courses – covering everything from info on“practical” camo to info on shooting from unconventionalplatforms such as a pick up truck bed.


    So I learned a lot,shooting my new gun (SCAR-17) and my new Leupold 3-18x scope (thankyou Jeromy and Michael for the special Leupold offer), at distances(while “short” to the accomplished) heretofore “inconceivable”to me. I was introduced to the fundamentals, and I now know what Ineed to do next, and I now know what the future (my future) lookslike from there. Any way, I highly recommend the GS 1 and 2 set to y'all … and I hope to get better connected to the SI team up here in the Pacific NW USA.
    Last edited by iridium; 10-04-2016 at 09:12 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    27
    Gentlemen,

    I am totally bummed I wasn't able to attend this class. Like Iridium, I too am only a few hours drive from the Leupold facility. I'm up in the American Redoubt. Unfortunately my schedule just didn't mesh. Due to time and financial constraints, traveling outside the region is difficult for contuing training, so this class was an opportunity I would have loved to have taken part in had my schedule worked.

    Are there plans to do another such course at the Madras facility in the future? I work in agriculture, so for me the fall and winter are when I have time to train.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    6,528
    One of my favorite drills from the class:

    Target at 100 yards. 20 loose rounds placed roughly 20 yards uphill from the firing line. On GO, run uphill, pick up one round, run back to the firing line. Load the rifle and fire. Complete this sequence for all 20 rounds, firing five times standing, then squatting, then sitting, then from prone. Competing for both time and accuracy.

    Watching Ted Demosthenes complete this drill was an inspiration...lesser men would not have even attempted it. Bravo!!!
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    110
    Last edited by David M Sauer; 10-09-2016 at 07:23 PM.
    If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.

    Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.
    -George Washington

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