Originally Posted by bigbuck
Thanks Kirby. I thought several folks would have chimed in by now. I plan on taking a white tail this year or atleast that is my goal . so I will shoot at say an 8'' orange target dot. Thanks for your advice.
I know alot of guys like to shoot at paper targets or orange dots on a target board but if you do alot of this long range shooting, you quickly realize that it is a HUGE investment in time to set up a long rnage target, shoot some round, drive up to the target, see what you did, make an adjustment, head back to the shooting position, shoot again........
In reality, its not all that realistic either. Here is what I do.
1. GO out to an area where where you can shoot at a variaty of ranges if you have access to a place like that. Its good to have a place where you can shoot from 500 to say at least 1000 yards depending on your rifle. In some cases its good to reach out farther. For instance, when I practice with my 338 or 375 Allen Magnums I set up from around 800 yards to 1500-1700 yards.
2. Have a premade drop chart of your ballistic program with you at the range. Its best to have your handheld program with you so you can run each shooting solution when testing a drop chart.
3. Find a closer range, say 500 yards. Range it to be sure, run the distance and environemtal conditions into your handheld and get a shooting solution. Dial in the solution into your rifle for drop and windage, set up and take ONE shot just as you would in a big game hunting situation. Its always good to have a spotter but its can be vastly more valuable to you as the shooter to have a good video camera set up behind you so you can refer to the video after the shot.
4. Take the shot and record the impact in relation to your point of aim. DO NOT make any adjustments at this time. Review the video so you are sure to have a positive idea of bullet impact. Sometimes things appear different through the scope, VIDEO NEVER LIES!!! This is another reason I say get off paper. There is no way to tell at really long ranges where you hit. Shooting at rocks will give you a clear idea of bullet impact especially viewing video results.
5. Find another target to shoot at in the 700-800 yard range. Repeat all the steps above in preperation for the shot. On the video make a comment of the range and conditions just for your records. Take the shot, again, record bullet impact but DO NOT MAKE adjustments to your drop chart.
6. Find another range, 1000-1100 yards. Repeat steps above and again comment on video of range and conditions and record shot placement again after the shot.
7. If you can step out to 1200-1300 depending on your rifle system if its accurate to these ranges and repeat all steps.
8. After this you will have four shots at four different ranges. If you have a reasonably accurate rifle with a consistant load, you will have just recorded the information needed to plot the actual trajectory of your rifle/load. YOu should know your zero range, and you will have a drop record for a 500 yard drop, 750 yard drop, 1000 yard drop and possibly 1200+ yard drop. These points will plot a trajectory of your load.
9. Go back to your home and using this recorded information, compare it to your ballistic programs drop chart, you should see a pattern. With an accuracy load and rifle and in good consistant shoting conditions you should see a real pattern. Say your a bit low at 500, you will be a bit more low at 750 and low at 1000 and 1200 as well. You can tweak the data points in your ballistic program to bring your predicted drop chart to match your actual trajectory.
10. Head back out to the range and repeat all of the above to test your actual drops to your programs projected drops. It often takes several trips to the range so you can see why its sometimes important to not shoot groups at paper, you could throw alot of lead!!!
If done correctly, by the time your done, your predicted drops will match up perfectly with your actual trajectory. You can learn more from 10 shots of practical field practice shooting then 100 rounds fired on paper. Its all about recording your impact data accurately.
Video can be invaluable, even if you have a spotter. Best thing I ever started doing. Really cuts down the number of rounds you need to put down to get things matched up. PLus, you have some cool video at the end of it as well!!!