I’ve been following the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) for quite some time now and I still have yet to take the plunge into becoming a competitor myself. At a recent media event, I had the pleasure of meeting Troy Livesay – a professional PRS shooter who attended the event to give us all a good rundown of a few new Bushnell optics (XRS3 and DMR3) as well as give us a few of his personal tips for improving your performance at any PRS match. Troy gave us these 5 tips in the hope that it would help spring PRS shooters (like myself) and bring new shooters to the sport.
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Troy Livesay Gives 5 Tips to Improving your PRS Performance
#1 Trust Your Equipment
Troy says first and foremost it is important to have good glass, a good stock, and good action. If you can’t trust your equipment then you’ll likely be second-guessing yourself as well out on the range when you’re running your course of fire. Not trusting your equipment leads to you wondering if it was you that misread the wind or shanked that shot or if it is your scope rings coming loose, your glass not tracking properly or any number of other concerns that can pop up inside of your head when you’re under the thumb of the shot timer.
I’ve personally witnessed this happen on multiple occasions across several different types of competition and it definitely pays to run your rig beforehand in a controlled environment to make sure that it is operating as you would expect. The last thing you want during a match is to find out that you doped your rifle incorrectly or that your equipment can’t handle the rigors of a PRS match.
This game is pretty mental, you should have a sold stock, solid optic, and just have a real solid setup. I think if you have confidence in your gear then that allows you to do your job and you’re not worried about a shifting zero or worried about if you’ve got 1,200 rounds through your gun and its going to start slowing down.”
#2 Create a Routine that works for you
I’ve come into contact with this a little bit throughout my short tenure as a Rimfire PRS shooter. Routine is an all-important method for not only keeping your equipment ready but for keeping your head in the game. Having a solid routine will keep you on point and focused, and will also ensure you don’t walk up to a course of fire without a loaded mag or your scope dialed back to zero. Troy says that everyone’s routine is going to be different but it is important that everyone has one that keeps them ready for each stage of a match no matter what.
What works for me is that I get done with a stage and I typically like to run back to my match bag and load up magazines so I don’t run up to a stage with 5 rounds or 2 rounds like a ding dong. Then I’ll double check my dope on the next stage and then dial my scope so I limit my mistakes on the next stage. Find what works for you and what you can repeat and just go with that.”
#3 Run Through the Stage Mentally
This is yet another tip that applies across the board when it comes to different types of shooting competitions. Courses of fire are generally posted online in advance of a match or at the very least will be unveiled to the competitors the day of the match. At that point, it is essential that you start generating a mental image of how you’re going to perform each stage. PRS stages can have all sorts of obstacles, positional changes, mandatory magazine changes, and even non-dominant hand shooting requirements to spice things up. Troy points out that it is important to choose landmarks and really have your own routine for the stage in mind so that you’re not having to come up with solutions on the fly under the timer.
Try to run the stage before you start as many times as you can mentally…” Burn that into your mind so you can do your best and subconciously complete the course of fire. A lot of times when you hear that beep goes off its like the flashy thing from Men In Black, you just go brain dead and if you run through it mentally it gives you a better chance of bruning right through the stage.
#4 Come up with your own wind plan
For PRS shooters, the wind is the ultimate element of chaos on the range. It’s unpredictable, unreliable and depending on the caliber you’re shooting, it can be the difference between a zero hold and a two or three-tenths MIL wind hold. Either way Troy says it’s important to come up with your own wind plan. Oftentimes you will hear people talking about holds they made during their course of fire to land a shot but by the time you walk up there, it could be entirely different and cost you precious seconds.
I find that you will shoot some of your better matches if you just come up with your own wind plan. I’ll hear wind calls from other the other guys but if you just go up to a stage with just four-tenths of wind, five-tenths of wind, or six-tenths of wind of hold and you won’t make a correction. Come up with a few different wind brackets and pick which bracket works best for you
#5 If you Miss – Make a Correction – Any Correction
Missing is a part of life for PRS shooters. No matter what level of competition or class of shooting you’re in, you’re going to miss at some point (probably more often than not if you’re me). Troy says that it’s probably one of the most important tips he has on this list and that is to make a correction even if it’s the wrong one. Often times we can be stubborn about our preconceived notions about what we think the bullet or the rifle or the wind is doing and not change something to create a different outcome. Unless you’re 100% sure that was you who shanked the shot, it’s important that you change something about the conditions of the shot in order to force a different outcome than a miss. The point here being is that even if you make the wrong correction, you’ll still have more data on what is happening so hopefully your third shot can start homing in on that missed target.
If you miss make a correction , any correction even if its wrong. Just make an educated guess and move. You may see something you didn’t before on your first miss. That is one of the most important tips I have to offer.
Overall, it was a joy to be able to shoot with a guy like Troy Livesay. Troy has been in the PRS shooting scene for about 3 years now and he is currently a sponsored shooter with Bushnell, RCBS, as well as a few other companies and he, has thus far participated in over 29 Pro Series matches, and 71 total PRS matches. Troy finished first in the Red Brush PRC Series – 2019/2020 Season Match #10 out of a total of 88 competitors. Once again, I’d like to personally thank Troy for showing our group the ropes when it comes to PRS shooting and to Bushnell and RCBS for providing the equipment we used throughout his lessons. Lastly, I hope this article has helped those of you who are just beginning your PRS shooting careers, and hopefully, this article also inspired a few of you to pick the sport up yourself!
You can follow Troy Livesay on Instagram here.