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Guides and LR shots

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Unread 05-22-2007, 12:16 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 178
Re: Guides and LR shots

The vast majority of my clients shoot 1 1/2 MOA rifles with factory ammuniton sighted 2 inches high at 100 yds. Anything over 250 yds is stretching it. What we deal with far more than someone's ability is their inability to control their emotions. Also known as buck fever. Shooting any distance just compounds the shakes but fortunately it doesn't take much range to cause a miss. As a guide/outfitter this is the major concern of mine when shooting very far. The unfortunate part of this equation is that the guy who really spends time with his rifle is the guy who really wants that big buck so he gets the shakes the worst of anyone. I blame it all on horn porn on the TV but if I feel someone has descent nerves I will let them shoot as far as they are capable of.
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Unread 05-22-2007, 11:21 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: on the rifle range in Utah
Posts: 2,704
Re: Guides and LR shots


Nice to meet you at the BR match last weekend and put a face with the name!

Unfortunately, many of our clients have been turned down the opportunity to shoot long range on game despite almost going to blows to convince the guide it could be done with the rifle we sent them afield with and the practice they had done. On the other hand, some of our clients were given the opportunity to prove they could make a long shot in camp before they went hunting. When they dusted rocks at 1000 yards repeatedly, a dall sheep at 600 yards doesn't look so ominous anymore. It really just depends on the guide.

I know for my money, if I was in the situation to shoot long and it was the only option besides going home empty-handed, the shot WOULD BE TAKEN even if I had to knock the guide out to take the shot. I would just have to explain that we had some meat packin' to do once he came to. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

Buffalo rancher,

I understand and agree with your comments about rack porn and overemphasizing the importance of a big rack. But when it boils down to it, whatever causes buck fever is not relative to shooting long or short. Some guys get it and some guys don't. I tend to get buck fever more when that buck is 50 yards from me than when he is 1050 yards from me. I trust myself to kill him at long range more so than at close range. When he is standing 10 football fields from me, ice is in my veins. When he is breathing down my neck, I cannot hold as still. Guides should come to understand each hunter's abilities and personalities before taking the client afield and before making a decision about how far they will allow a shot in my opinion.
Find it
Range it
Click it
Pull it
Dump it

If it's not far, it's boring.
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Unread 05-23-2007, 12:01 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 4,895
Re: Guides and LR shots

A guide would be required for a nonresident hunting grizzly bear or sheep in Alaska. I can't speak for what your guide may or may not allow with respect to long rang shooting. I think others have already given you some good advice there. I've hunted all three of these game animals for the past 30 years, and from numerous first-hand experiences, I can say that sheep and moose are relatively easy animals to dispatch at either close or long range. But grizzlies, coastal brown bears, or even black bears need to be hit very well on the first shot.

A moose offers a huge kill zone, making it a pretty simple task to hit the lungs at longer ranges. A lung-shot moose won't go very far with any expanding bullet that penetrates far enough to get through both lungs. Dall sheep are relatively frail animals. They are disabled and die under less physical trauma than other similar sized animals I've seen harvested, such as goat and bear. Sheep hunting can present very long shots. You'll not only need to know your cartridge's ballistics on level shots, but also on angled slopes up to 50 degrees if you intend to shoot at any distance. There's a big difference in bullet trajectory over long, sloped distances compared to shooting on the level. You will spot sheep a long ways away (as will they you if given the opportunity). I've killed dall rams from 13 yds to over 750 yds. I hasten to even mention this for fear of being piled-on by those quick to impose their ethics; should you happen to hit a sheep less than perfectly with a first shot, the terrain is often wide open and based on their nature, you'll generally be afforded additional standing shots. With any kind of decent hit, they won't be able to muster an up-the-mountain escape. You'll usually have opportunity for additional shots to ensure a wounded animal isn't lost. But as mentioned by another poster above, you have to consider the setting and the animal's ability to quickly reach cover, cliffs, or terrain which could prevent recovery of the animal.

Bears are in a different category. They die easily enough with a good hit through the lungs, but the difference with bears is you better hit them pretty darn good on your first shot. Bears usually get up and go at the first hit without offering a lot of second chances for standing still follow-up shots. Once they've been hit, they won't run a short distance and then turn around to figure things out. They generally keep going until they reach cover or disappear over the mountain, if in mountainous terrain. Nothing harder to recover than marginally hit bears. I shot one high in the lungs on Kodiak Island last month. Tracked him for about 400 yards across completely white covered mountainside. I never found even a red speck of blood against that completely white background - I mean not one drop of blood. Fortunately, the bear was hit hard enough that he bedded down out on the open mountainside about 1/3 mile from where he was initially hit, and we were able to finish him off. I'm really hesitant to shoot bears at longer ranges, due to the difficulty in recovering marginally hit bears. Plus they bite back if given the reason and opportunity.

I believe your '06 is up to the job for these three animals - provided by bear we mean black bear or inland grizzly. For large coastal brown bears, I believe you'd be better served with a 338. Yes, you'll kill them with an '06, but a 338 RUM class cartridge will hit them with notably more authority, which is never a bad thing.

Thought you might find my experiences of interest. Enjoy your hunt. As has been mentioned, do what you can to help ensure you get a competent and compatible guide.
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Unread 05-23-2007, 08:45 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 9
Re: Guides and LR shots

I neglected to mention the wind factor. In that mountainous terrain, wind velocity and direction are fickle. A gentle breeze where the shooter is located can be swirling from a different direction and much stronger where the game is standing. The farther you shoot, the more deflection you must deal with. There are no flags to help you with the shot.
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