Email from Byron mentioned in Episode 34:

Good evening gentlemen,
Last week I finished catching up on the podcast. Which was awesome, thanks for the good times. The whole time I was wondering if you guys were ever going to figure out how to train marksdwarves. I’m sure you have something working, but I thought I’d share my technique with you. Marksdwarves are occasionally super-useful as they will one-shot a FB from 30 tiles away, saving the fort a lot of bloodshed. It always depends, they are useless against armored things.

I’m playing 47.04, but this has been my method since back in 0.28ish when I picked this up. I play vanilla, and make heavy use of the 11×11 geometry from the shift+arrow keys when designating. 

So … to train marksdwarves you need two 11×11 rooms. designate one of them as a stockpile for bolts, no bins. In the other you need three 3×10 “hallways” with an archery target at the end. set the targets as ranges shooting in the appropriate direction, then assign your marksdwarf squad to “T”rain at the ranges. Do not set up another training area for the squad.
I think the further the distance to the target the better they learn. I also use PoWs as live target practice. This works using fortifications but sometimes gives them bad thoughts (but is great skills training).

I’ve found that dwarves will use whatever combat skill they are best in (i.e. biting) so if you train them in close quarters sparring then they train as hammerdwarves, and will use the crossbow as a (poor) hammer. I train them at the targets until they are elite marksdwarves, then assign them a room to train melee skills (so they are not useless if they get caught in the field). I use bone bolts for training, gives me something to do with all the bones. I don’t want to keep them but, bonus tip, if you do then channel out behind the target and the bolts that miss will fall in the channel and can be reclaimed.

I’ve attached a picture showing a squad I put together just for this demo, they are a brand new squad and headed straight to the targets. Hope this helps. 

And … on an unrelated note I just had a fort taken down by a werepanther. See.. it was a visitor in the temple when it turned, and got beaten to death right away. But another visitor who happened to know the secrets of life and death thought it would be cool to bring it back. Then I had an intelligent undead werepanther with super-strength and magic powers, and that was the end of that chapter of dwarven history.   -Byron