The NRL Hunter series is a great new shooting competition series not only for fun competition and improving your precision rifle skills, but also to help you get ready for the hunting season. Check them out on their website NRL Hunter, you can find out all the rules and how the competition works. But this post here is intended to get you prepared and show you all the gear you need, whether shooting the NRL hunter or just getting ready for hunting season, this is the gear what are you going to take out in the field.
We will discuss what are you going to use and to be able to practice with that so as far as gear goes for the hunt itself is going to depict the type of gear that you’re going to bring. We are going to go over the main core essentials that you should have when you are hunting or shooting an NRL Hunter match.
The number one most important thing in our opinion, obviously other than the rifle is the binoculars. It helps to run a pair of rangefinding binoculars that has got your dopefor your rifle and load, usually the same as you have in your Kestrel weather meter. This will ensure once you range, your rangefinder binoculars is going to give you a ballistic solution that you have tried and trued at multiple distances so you know it’s completely accurate.
You can run rangefinders without built-in ballistics, but having that eliminates you from having to do a hard dope card or a range card.
Next what we consider almost to be equally as important, is a good tripod. So obviously when you’re hunting you’re going to carry everything inside your pack. It is a good idea run a tripod with a little tac table as most like call them or some sort of platform on top, to just place your bag on top of to rest your rangefinders on top of to range animals and find targets, and then to shoot with your rifle over if there is not other stable platform or no area to be able to shoot prone from.
So when you are getting to a position whether you are hunting or shooting a match, you get down set your tripod up and shooting your gun shoot from a standing position kneeling off of a rock using the tripod as a rear support whatever you’re going to do from a hunting environment the key to it is getting out there and actually practicing with it. If you just get the gear the day before a match or a hunt, you will not know it comfortably and you will waste time, not get stable and not get the shot off in time or on target.
If you go to a hunt and let’s say you just get a tripod the day before you hunt you get up there and you get set up and you have this buck of a lifetime step out you’re not going to be comfortable with it whether it’s you decide not to take the shot because it’s not within your skill set or you make a bad shot and end up wounding the animal basically you just want to get out there get familiar with the gear that you’re going to run. If it’s gear that you’re not familiar with it practice with it or leave it at home just take what you’re comfortable with.
3. Shooting Bag
Because you will be using a bag to stabilize your rifle no matter what you are shooting from, getting the right one that offers you and your shooting style the best is very important. Yes shooting bags filled with sand are much heavier to carry for instance, but they also stabilize the rifle much better with lower rebound and movement, so carrying one heavy sand bag for me is worth it.
Wiebad Fortuner Cookie Bag
To get stability, you need sand, although heavy and some will suggest a light plastic pellet filled bag for NRL hunter, it will never get near the stability of a sand-filled bag. The Fortune Cookie by Wiebad is a shape that works for literally any type of barricade it is used on. I love mine and take it everywhere with me.
You will either suffer from pain and agony the whole day carrying your gear, or you will work up a sweat, but still enjoy the process and shooting. The difference all comes down to your backpack, within which you will pack all your gear that fits, and strap all your gear to that does not, yes, that is how important having the right backpack for NRL Hunter and hunting is.
5.11 Tactical Backpack Rush 24
Although some may rather recommend the larger Rush 72 backpack from 5.11 for precision rifle shooting, for the NRL hunter series, I found it too big and either I pack way too much stuff and it is uncomfortable to carry, or it is not filled enough and hangs sloppy and again uncomfortable to carry. So I specifically bought this Rush 24 model, for not only the NRL hunter match league, but also for my hunting, and it is perfect! Great size, very comfortable to carry, the same legendary durability that 5.11 gear are known for, and because I keep my shooting mat rolled up inside it, it doubles as my pump pillow or large sized shooting bag if I need one on a NRL hunter match stage.
There are many different makes of bipods, and in both NRL Hunter with it’s rifle weight restrictions, and normal hunting where you carry your rifle all day, bipod weight becomes a factor. But it does not help having the lightest bipod, but it is not stable, or you cannot deploy it quickly when needed.
Atlas BT47-LW17 PSR Tall Bipod
Although I use a MDT Ckye pod on my PRS racegun, and an Accushot BR-2 on my long range rifle, they are both too heavy and large for my NRL hunter and hunting rifle setup. I bought this Atlas PSR model in the taller leg size as I expected to have to use it in longer grass for some stages of the NRL Hunter matches, and I am very glad I did. It has served me perfectly, is light enough to keep my rifle under the weight limit, and does not get uncomfortable or in the way when carrying my rifle for longer walks.
6. Ammo Book or Ammo Binder
You do not want to walk around the whole day or scare animals away when stalking because it sounds like you have a whole toolbox or box of candy in your backpack. So a good ammo book or ammo binder not only protects your ammo, but also keeps it quiet and easy to get out when needed.
Cole-TAC Ammo Novel
Most new shooters don’t even know they need one of these ammo files until they shoot their first NRL hunter match with their normal plastic ammo box. After a day spent walking with the constant sound of a box of ammo shaking and bouncing around in your backpack, you will immediately order one of these when you get home.
6. Other Gear
Boots are very important, not only sturdy ones to support your feet and ankles over rough and slippery terrain, but also to keep them dry and comfortable as you will be walking the whole day with heavy gear on you.
A glove on your supporting hand will help prevent that hand from get cuts and nicks when quickly setting up on a tripod, or against a tree or a rock.
A hat is an obvious must, to protect from the sun and even when it rains it keeps the rain of your eyes and scope whilst aiming and shooting. Just make sure you train and are used to shooting with your cap in the correct position so you do not keep bumping it into your binos or rifle scope when getting in position to shoot.
Sunscreen and bug repellent are two of those things you will really regret not having when you need them, so pack some compact ones in your backpack permanently.
Energy bar or shake or pouch, think along those lines as you do not want to go hungry, dehydrate and loose energy throughout the day. Your snack game can make the day enjoyable or miserable so pack what you love and enough of it.