An update on our last day on the hunt.....
Both of us were using Swarovski range finders. While they are very well rated range finders, the one complaint we have heard about them is their broad beam divergence. Well, we discovered this first hand.
One our last day, we spotted a herd of 15+ antelope. We finally did it right and drove past them until we were out of sight, jumped out the truck and stalked over to where we thought we could get in position. After a short walk, we spotted the herd coming out of a draw at quite a distance. We dropped to the ground and started ranging. We were getting 650yards and 610 yards. We continued to range and more regularly got 650. Put the kestrel
in the breeze, did a wind cacluation and doped our scopes. Because it was our last day and late in the day, we agreed that we would shoot simultaneously. We also agreed that given our previous experience with poor bullet performance, we decided we would go for high-shoulder shots. On the stalk into position, we went over the shooting sequence....3, 2, 1, shoot! and that's just what we did. We shot so simultaneously, that I wondered if Oliver had shot and he wondered the same thing about me. We both watched our respective antelope in our scopes and proceeded to watch them run away seemingly totally unscathed. both of us let out a WTF! I then worked the bolt on my rifle to confirm to Oliver (and myself) that I had actually shot. Oliver did the same.
The group of antelope then moved farther away and we closed the distance a bit. We got back on the ground and started ranging. 840.....810....840....810....then we started to regularly get 840. Dialed the scope, doped the wind, 3, 2, 1, shoot! and watched the doggone 'lopes run off again...clean miss...AGAIN...WTF!
The herd took off for a quick half mile jog. We ranged them again at 1500ish. So we got up and closed the distance to 1050. At Wyoming altitude, 1000 was right on the ragged edge of our effective range. but because the herd was potentially on private land and we were unsure if we could get the truck to where they were AND we had just missed twice, we decided not to shoot.
So we gathered our gear and proceeded to walk back to the truck. On the way, we continually wondered out loud how both of us missed. Given that we had hit at 670 earlier in the hunt, did seem logical that our dope was off. We were confident in our wind call. Both of us are experienced longrange shooters and felt good about our hold and trigger pull. As a result, we concluded that given the wide beam divergence of our range finders, we were doped for 650 and 840 when they were in reality at 610 and 810. As a result, we determined that with a point of aim on the high-shoulder, we clean missed riiiiiight over their backs'.
Determined to confirm our theory, we proceeded down the road to a prairie dog town where we could shoot ~500 yards. Apparently, the prairie dogs had gone to bed early. So Oliver glassed a rock waaaaaaaaaay over there! He ranged it and although he got multiple values, he regularly got 1268 yards. I also ranged the rock and came up multiple values including 1268 and 1515. Oliver doped his scope for 1268 and without telling Oliver, I doped my scope for 1515. He shot first and his bullet struck low. Then I took a shot and my elevation was correct, but struck just a bit to the right (forgot to compensate for spin drift and coreolis). Anyway, this is a long way to say that we confirmed the beam divergence issue. We would regularly get two different ranges for a target. It was just a matter of choosing the correct range. Rather pleased with ourselves, we proceeded to ping that rock at 1515 several times!
We then moved across the road where we dumped the rest of our ammo on rocks at 623, 640 and 740. Every first round shot was a hit. This further confirmed for us that our dope was right and that the cause of our misses was ranging error.
Not sure yet how we will resolve this issue in the future, but it is top of mind at this point.
Oliver - did I miss anything? mischaracterize?