It’s easy to pack too much or show up to a new event without critical things. Today I’m breaking down the contents of my NRL Hunter range bag.
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NRL Hunter vs. PRS
Every match is different and requires different equipment. NRL Hunter and PRS matches are similar, but there are some differences. A PRS match has a 90 second par time (time limit) and an obstacle you must shoot off of or utilize in some specified way. NRL Hunter matches use natural terrain and are designed to mimic real-life hunting scenarios. You can compete as an individual or as a member of a team. Time limits are much longer and you have to find and range the target yourself. (In PRS you are given a specified distance.) Oftentimes, there are more than one target at more than one distance you must engage from one or more positions.
What’s in the Bag?
To state the obvious, you need a rifle (won’t likely fit in the bag) and cartridges. I’m currently using Gavin’s custom-built 6.5 Creedmoor with 147 grain ELD-M’s and 140 grain Bergers with various powder charges.
Besides this, I always carry:
- AXIL Hearing Protectors
- Gloves and Hat (in case it gets cold)
- Rags (for wiping off my gun and gear in weather)
- Rear Bag
- Multi-purpose bags
- Wrist coach
- Athlon Cronus 10×50 Laser Range-Finding Binoculars
- Backup Rangefinder
- Weatherflow meter
- Wheeler F.A.T. Stix
- Rite in the Rain Notebook
- Extra Magazines
- Eye Protection
- Reading Glasses
- Wet Erase Markers
- Rifle Cover
- Food and Water
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I’ve found that NRL Hunter matches often require a different bag than my single go-to bag I use for PRS, so I take along two. I also greatly value my Athlon Cronus laser range-finding binoculars as they allow me to locate and range the target without having to change gear. As a side note, I really only use the Weatherflow meter at the beginning of a match and if I notice some major change in conditions.
Tools are another handy item to have on hand. I personally carry a set of Wheeler F.A.T. Stix along with some extra tools in a separate pouch. (An easy way to separate and store equipment is to use organizational products designed for shooting and/or school supply pouches for something more economical.)
Having and keeping data is very important. A Rite in the Rain notebook keeps that information protected even in wet weather. I also bring along another plain notebook for extra scratch paper. I should have enough between my Rite in the Rain notebook and the area for writing on my wrist coach, but that isn’t always the case. So what is a wrist coach? It is essentially a band that goes around your arm and holds a paper or some chart underneath a clear coating. I use wet-erase markers to add notes I want to have within easy reach and sight during a stage.
Outside the Bag
I carry all of this gear in an old Eberlestock rifle scabbard-type rifle backpack. I tend to just carry the rifle and use the scabbard portion of the pack for rain gear or a jacket, but it’s nice to have options. Another must-have piece of gear is a tripod. I love my QDT tripod from Two Vets Sporting Goods. I have added grip tape to the leg I place my left hand on while carrying it. The tape also helps me to keep track of how I have the tripod positioned. The grip tape goes to my left, every time. I’ve also added a homemade tac-table— a carbon fiber plate with an arca rail on it and a bag strapped on top. This is super handy to use for stabilizing binoculars while rangefinding. By doing this, the table should already be oriented towards the target and ready for your rifle.
On My Person
I wear a bungee cord system threaded through the belt loops of a sturdy pair of range pants and a gun belt. I carry another shooting bag attached to the bungee system. (A quality pair of well-fitting pants and a sturdy gun belt keep everything upright.) This bag’s strap has a buckle closure which makes it easy to get on and off. I also carry an extra magazine on my belt.
Knee pads are another item I wear whenever I am on the range because I know I personally need them. I don’t have to worry about looking carefully for rocks or sticks that may be painful to rest on as the kneepads provide protection from them.
In full transparency, I wouldn’t have all of these items with me if I was on a real hunt, but I would have 75% of them. I’d want to have everything I needed to fix and adjust my rifle if necessary as well as build the most stable position possible to take the most ethical shot I can. I’d definitely bring my tripod but maybe change the backpack style to accommodate other needs.
Reach out and let me know what I’m missing or what you think is too much!
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