Old Rifle Course – ORC

Course Description

The Old Rifle Course is formatted to address all rifles from single shot era i.e. Sharps to the modern era circa 1959 to include the M14/M1A platforms. This is a marksmanship course but as well a forum for the student to learn and nurture defensive skills with rifle types that may seem to be archaic to the unknowing and unwashed. Paper and steel targets will be engaged from muzzle to 700 plus yards or bluntly as far as the student can continue see or get repeat hits on the targets presented. Primary ranges are 0-300 yards or ranges that are considered to be danger close. Additional drills will address movement and use of cover and concealment and tactical issues appropriate to the rifle being used…i.e. Black Powder rifle fire leaves a significant muzzle signature, loading the M1 Garand en bloc clip in prone as subtle examples. Modest over watch movement up and down, prone, kneeling some lateral and back and forth movement. It is not a heavy run and gun, be on fire course but there is physical activity. If your rifle will mount a bayonet bring it…you will need it. Nominal 450-500 ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION Notices: It is important TO KNOW AND CONFIRM your ammunition type NO armor piercing /steel core or tracer ammunition is allowed in this course…it is dangerous and that is good and it’s supposed to be, but not in this format, it will create fires, fragmentation and ruin armored targets. Ball ammunition as an example .30-06 for a 1903A3 Springfield / M1 Garand are acceptable and lead bullets for Sharps rifles are all good. Rifle examples, not limited to these rifles: 98 Mauser, Krag, Arisaka, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, 1903 / 1903A3 Springfield, 1917 Enfield, Jungle Enfield, Sharps / Rolling Blocks Remington, M14/M1A, Lever Action Rifles Winchester 1873/1892/ 1886 / 1894 Eye ear protection at knee elbow protection light mat for prone firing. Load bearing gear and or a bag for ammo and extra ammunition systems magazines i.e. if required.

All Tuitions for Courses and Tutorials are to be paid in full at the time of registration. Please be sure of the class you want. There are NO REFUNDS and NO TRANSFERS. 

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Old Rifle Course – ORC

March 22, 2018 8:00 am
March 24, 2018 4:00 pm
Thunder Ranch Oregon 96747, Hwy 140 East, Lakeview, OR, 97630   View map
Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 4 customer ratings
(4 customer reviews)



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4 reviews for Old Rifle Course – ORC

  1. Rated 5 out of 5


    I had seen the ORC on the class roster a few years back and put it on the bucket list. When I saw it offered, well ,no time like the present. I’d owned this 1903 Springfield for almost 11 years and had never fired more than 30 or 40 rounds through it.
    As a long time follower of Clint, I had been to Thunder Ranch (Texas) in 1993 for an Action Target Training Camp. Took my first carbine class from Clint then. I knew what I was getting into and knew it would be worth every minute.
    So I gathered my gear, sling, ammo, rip off Chinese bayonet and headed to Lakeview.
    Beautiful facility, great location (cooler than Texas). Day one in the classroom solidified why Clint is a training icon. NO B.S. straight facts, a good brief but sound history on rifle/cartridge development. I’ve been to a lot of training over the years and one of the biggest stand out points was that this was not about Thunder Ranch or Clint Smith, this was about the student.
    The simple clarity of the instruction and the why things are as they are. On Day 1 the TR staff got us zeroed at 100, we worked on solidifying that and understanding how to work the sights with adjustments and hold offs.
    Most of us had time with the more modern platforms, no recoil, “baskets of bullets” hung underneath. Now to work a bolt and know that in 5 rounds you need to stuff that gun to stay in the mix was a challenge for me.
    Then we went to work on the “Punisher” course. A series of different barricades and facades that had us shooting from some fairly unconventional positions (such as lying over a pile of jagged rocks) engaging targets at 100/200 yards.
    Day 2 back to the prone to get some zeroes past 250 on out to 700 yds. I gained a new respect for the 147 gr 30-06 over these 3 days. It will do whatever you need it to do and once you understand how to operate the sights you can “own” anything easily to 300 yds.
    More “Punisher” runs capped the day. Back to the hotel for a quick scrub of the bore a little lube and some Aleve.
    Day 3 more work on the extended ranges with a little more pressure to get the shots off quicker. TR staff were excellent spotters and were calling in the steel rain on the distant targets. We had M1 Carbines clinking the targets at 700!
    Then it was time to go to bayonets. Unfortunately mine lasted exactly two rounds, it came off and was struck by the round leaving the muzzle. Fortunately Clint loaned me his so we could go through the “forest course” seeking targets in tree line and having a couple of opportunities to give a few of the targets a “run through” with the bayonet. I found every mud/snow puddle to go to prone. TR staff kept us occupied with no down time. If you were not in the forest you were on the “Punisher” if not there you were back on prone working on the distances.
    It was disappointing to have to leave. Clint’s final story of the range where we had spent the last 3 days was quite impressive. The Adam Brown range and the “ammo tree” will be with me always. Remembering those who fought with these guns to allow us to be here doing this today.
    Leaving there you feel like leaving family, the Smith’s are gracious hosts, their staff is top notch. One of the best/informative courses I have ever attended.
    Thank you!
    Highly recommended!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5


    On March 9-11 I attended the Old Rifle Course at Thunder Ranch. As this course is not offered as often as some of the other courses, I jumped at the chance to sign up as it appeared there would be information relevant both today, and in using the older designed rifles, Improve my shooting performance in general.
    As one who attended Gunsite in the late ’80’s on three separate occasions, I found this course, the staff, the facility, and the content brought back those same feelings of satisfaction one gets when they’re receiving truly great training.
    Never was there a question that went unanswered, the content was always well thought out and dripping in common sense. Safety was stressed constantly, while
    Clint and Heidi-and their staff, were attentive to each one of us. They created and maintained an environment of learning, enjoyment, and fellowship!
    Obvious true concern for our comfort, performance, and in obtaining everything we expected of the course was present every day.
    To be able to receive instant feedback on shooting at distances (that exceeded my expectations for my equipment) was one of the highlights of the course. The mixing in of the static line firing at various distances, and the more physically challenging “Punisher”, along with the pleasant walk through the woodlands engaging various targets, broke up the learning and made, what we gained on the static line, applicable to a real world environment.
    After review in the evening of the days events(after leaving the facility),I ended up with seven pages of legal size notes that I will use in passing on to the people who train with me here in Southwest Florida!
    Simply put, it was worth the distance traveled, flying commercial, and the costs to take this course. I am confident that all students are treated so well, and recommend Thunder Ranch to anyone seeking to improve their gun handling! DVC
    Jon Buehler
    Longboat Key, Florida.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Mike (verified owner)

    I learned a hell of a lot, and enjoyed myself tremendously, at the Thunder Ranch Old Rifle Course (ORC) 9-11 March 2017. This three-day course examines and proves the proposition that you can defend yourself effectively with something less than the newest and most expensive branch on the evolutionary tree of the AR rifle. In fact, you can defend yourself from close distance all the way to 700 yards with devices of wood and metal made as long ago as 1917, an even century old.

    Clint Smith’s YouTube videos about ORC highlighted US rifles, and most people brought 1903 Springfields, M1 Garands, and M1 Carbines. However, a CETME user and I, toting a Swedish Mauser made in 1917, represented the foreign-rifle contingent. Just as advertised, it’s not about having the best gun, it’s about using whatever gun you have to best effect. The class included people with military and/or law enforcement backgrounds as well as pure civilian gun enthusiasts, and we all got along famously. We ranged in age from the twenties to, well, folks like me who are drawing an awful lot of retirements and other age-related benefits. Clint and Heidi and the Thunder Ranch staff treat everyone like family, and it’s like going to Cheers, the bar where everyone knows your name. And even if you’re there for the first time, they’ll learn your name right away.

    No Thunder Ranch class would be complete without Clint’s lecture at the beginning, which alone is worth the price of admission. Safety is highlighted and stressed without ever squeezing the fun out of the course, and I was aware of no range safety issues throughout the three days.

    The instruction was thorough and yet easy to understand. Thunder Ranch has always stressed mastery of the fundamentals, which is nowhere more important than with old rifles. Between exercising the fundamentals of marksmanship and the outstanding and expert spotting support we received from the staff, everybody ended up hitting at all distances from 50 to 700 yards on a superbly laid-out range. All of us were most impressed with the M1 Carbine shooters achieving the same goal.

    Clint has recruited and developed an outstanding staff who combine subject-matter expertise with an ability to teach. For instance, on the afternoon of the second day, my rifle’s bolt developed an internal looseness that prevented firing. Roger noticed, came over, and fixed the problem with his bare hands while I was fumbling for a screwdriver in my bag, and I never missed a firing evolution. And Roger had never used a Swedish Mauser before, by his own admission. I am convinced that our achievements in hitting that far out were due at least as much to expert spotting and coaching as to our own marksmanship.

    No one should worry that the presence of staff dilutes Clint’s presence or hands-on, one-to-one help and assistance. Not only did he introduce each new topic, he cruised the line, spotting problems and solving them with each individual. He improvised an excellent tutorial on tourniquets for the lone member of the class with no experience of them. Clint, Heidi, and all the staff are laser-focused on student welfare and progress.

    Finally, one unique aspect of ORC is the teaching and integration of the use of the bayonet (or a tomahawk for rifles that do not take bayonets) in the course of a woods walk that includes shooting at various ranges, done both individually and as a team.

    While the chances of the use of a rifle to defend oneself at 700 yards, or the use of a bayonet defensively in civilian life, seem rather remote, the ability to do so illustrate the capabilities inherent in any rifle skillfully handled, add self-confidence, and in these days, who knows?

    The value of a review of this type depends in large part on the qualifications of the author. I spent over 40 years in the Army from swearing in to the Retired Reserve, enlisted and officer, combat arms and support, Active, Reserve, and National Guard, from scout squad leader to brigade commander, with time logged in combat zones both before and during the most recent long-running unpleasantness. Thunder Ranch improved my skills and knowledge in a way that no Army school ever did. I first came to Thunder Ranch in Texas in 2004, and have returned several times, bringing various members of my family on most occasions so they could benefit as well. If you come to Old Rifle Course, or any Thunder Ranch offering, with a good attitude and alertness, you will come away with your skills honed, your morale sky-high, and your view of life improved.

    Hope that helps.


  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Steve (verified owner)

    Old Rifle School was a great class. The students brought a variety of WWI and WWII era rifles. This course thoroughly tested the students and showed us just what these old rifles are capable of. M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, 1903 Springfield’s and others, all had hits out to 700 yards with iron sights. This class reinforces the Principles of Marksmanship and everyone became a Rifleman. I highly recommend this class to anyone who owns a rifle.

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