I believe we should simply use common sense based from actual shooting in the field. Computer generated energy numbers are - numbers. I know that the .308 Win. kills effectively out to 600-650 yards on deer. Deer are hit with enough energy (how much I don't know or really care to know to the exact ft/lb) that their systems are overwhelmed by a chest hit. Shock happens. Best performance with the various bullets we use is from 500-650 yards. After 700 we still kill deer, but they don't show evidence of shock. More likely the bullet just doesn't open up enough (frontal diameter is the key) so energy is not delivered as quickly. Frequently the bullets go right through.
Having this knowledge I would not shoot at an elk or moose at 700+ with my .308's, that is where the .300/.325/.338's take over. If I had to use the .308 I would limit shots to 4-500 yards and do just fine with heavier, tougher bullets. Only makes sense. Once again I don't know exactly what the energy dumped to the ft/lb is, that is only a number. I do know that the larger or faster bullets hit harder and kill better. Only makes sense.
Don't forget, distance is also only a number. We should kill as cleanly as possible, we owe that to the animal. Getting closer is still the best, every rifle shot by guys on this site will hit harder and closer to the point of aim at shorter ranges than at the outer boundaries. We learn the skills and get the equipment to confidently make long shots - but we should never quit trying to get as close as possible for the kill shot. The few seconds when we are putting two or three pounds of pressure on the trigger is it - everything has to come together so we make a clean kill. I can always place my bullet better when the shot is as close as possible, but sometimes "close as possible" is pretty far out there.
Determine how far you can maintain lethal field accuracy. That is placing your first shot into a 10-12 inch paper plate with the first shot every time, regardless of wind, angle, available rest. If you and your rifle are good to 500, then don't shoot past that number. Use proven bullets - how do you determine that if you are new to the game. Very simple. You ask the guys on this site and you will get real-world info.
Where are ethics in this consideration. No where. Your ethics are yours, mine are mine. Game laws and regulations set boundaries ethical hunters stay within. I might have a problem shooting at a deer with his left eye blinked or closed, you might not like shooting one bedded down. Keep that stuff to yourself - we have no right to impose our "ethics" on others, nor theirs on us. This site is not about ethics, hopefully the guys here have realistic boundaries that they have set regarding enjoying the outdoors and taking the lives of animals.
Good luck with your entry into long range hunting. There are habitats and critters that make long range shooting skills a definite asset. We don't shoot long to "try to hit" a critter. We should fire the shot with 90-95% confidence that the bullet will hit where we aimed. Many guys cannot shoot with confidece past 250-300 yards so they use the ethics bullcrap - nobody likes to admit they simply cant do what someone else can do. We can make long shots, everyone's "long" is different. I believe most guys here are interested in extending their confident long range ability, that is why this site has such fine people. We all owe many thanks to Len for making Long Range Hunting such a great place for us to hang out.
end of sermon [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
There are so many issues concerning penetration/energy requirements I don't think a set value on any one element will make the package whole. Some guys want rapidly expanding bullets for chest shot wound channels some guys want near solid bullets for penetration. It does not take much penetration ability to clear a chest cavity. If you shoot a rapid expanding bullet it takes more velocity to pass through (up to a certain point where the bullet fails ) and if you shoot a bonded core slow expanding or solid it takes less. I believe that you need enough penetration to pass through a shoulder into the chest cavity. Most people I tell that to tell me, "well I shoot behind the front shoulder. I am a bit more of a realist, a guy just doesn't always get the hit he is shooting for due to a number of factors. I plan on shooting the front shoulder and set my requirements for that shot both in bullet construction and impact velocity. All of that being said penetration / energy are not my range limiting factors. I shoot a 300 Ultra 200 NAB and 338 Edge 300 SMK as my primary rifles. Both rifles have more than enough power and penetration. I have seldom seen conditions that would allow me to shoot either to its' power limit. Simply put I usually run out of shooting conditions before I run out of power. I run high horsepower, high BC, and heavy weights so that my concern is how good are the conditions not am I on the edge of the power curve.
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Re: Maximum Range
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But if you can't hit what you are aiming at, what difference does it make. I think you guys are right on with the concerns, but I think I would put accuracy #1.
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Most of the time yes. In the case of elk and their large kill zone, a liitle less raw accuracy and a little more energy transfer is key here. For deer and speed goats, alot more accuacy is called for and quite a bit of energy expension can be sacrificed.
Accuracy #1 and energy #2 and vice versa is VERY subjective.
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I think that the whole energy debate is well and fine but I think that it boils down to deposited energy more than retained energy. I meen if you shoot an Elk with a 378Wby and a 300gr Solid bullet desgined for penitrating FEET instraed of inches then you not gonna kill him any faster than a 243 with a 80gr Partition. The big solid just won't leave enough energy in the animal to shut it down as fast as the smaller more violent round.
If you stick a 45acp in the ribs of a bull elk and shoot it hes gonna die pretty quick due to the massive damage on the lungs , the bullet may only just get to the second lung but it will kill him pretty quick and thats with less than 500ftlbs of energy.
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Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (where the shot goes, how big the group is, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
In my opinion, max range has very little if anything to do with the chamber of the rifle in that if you are hunting elk and feel longer shots may be possible, you had darn well be carrying a rifle with plenty of bullet weight and velocity to get the job done from any angle you personally feel is an ethical shot.
A quality bullet needs to be used. Do not confuse "quality" with what are being called premium bullets now day. Premium bullets such as the swift A-frame or Fail safe or other similiar bullets are great terminally at moderate to close ranges. Their limits is bullet to bullet consistancy and accuracy at long range suffers as a rule.
When I say quality bullet for elk, I think heavy for caliber with a high Sectional Density. If you punch a hole through both lungs of a bull elk he is dead. If you punch the top of both shoulders you will clip both lungs, break both shoulder blades and more then likely shock the spine as well and a bull will drop in his tracks, most of the time.
Its putting that bullet through the vitals that is important and as long as the bullet will do so with at least some expansion I feel it is a quality bullet for the job of LR hunting.
I personally feel energy is a waste of time to use as a max range estimating tool. It just is to vauge of a thing to be really meaningful on determining how well a certain level of energy will put down a big game animal.
My general big game rifle at this point is my lightweight sporter 7mm AM. I shoot the 200 gr ULD RBBT to 3150 fps. Energy wise she is packing 2000 ft/lbs out to around 1160 yards. At a mile its still got 1250 ft/lbs and at 2000 yards over 1000 ft/lbs.
Does this mean that the rifle will cleanly take elk out to 1000 yards, probably pretty easily to be honest but how about deer out to a mile? The energy is more then enough, even out to 2000 yards but the rifle will not put the bullet consistantly enough into the vitals to make that shot.
In many cases you need to also consider the bullet you are using and its velocity perameters as in how it will perform as the velocity drops. If your using an X bullet at extreme range where the velocity drops to 1500 fps or less you will not get much expansion at all whereas an ACcubond at that same velocity will give much more positive and consistant expansion.
Consistantly being able to hit the vitals is really the only criteria that is critical in my opinion. If your hunting elk at long range, the bullet used and chamber of the rifle should be adiquate before you even go on the hunt.
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
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This is my own personal opinion:
#1---Energy---on Elk I would like to have no less than 1200 ft-lb energy.
#2---Accuracy---on Elk I need to hit a 20" diameter plate consitantly. on the conditions I plan to shoot.
Your maximum range is that at which you can hit the 20" diameter plate consistantly and still producing 1200 ft-lb or energy or more.
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Agreed but I like 2k of energy for elk [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
"Weatherby was too long so I nicknamed it "Bee""
I like 2000 ft-lb better too! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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It's happening again!!! God sent to us His prophet, and His Word
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I set MY parameters as such. For deer, 6.5 is the min cal. Bullet weight 140gr as this is the best range of bullets. Max distance is dictated by impact velocity. Mechanical accuracy is a given.
For larger game, I really like the 7RM and 162gr bullets.
My max range is whatever my Leica 800 can give me (940yds). My max shootable range is whatever I can hit a pie plate 100% of the time under the conditions presented.
That max range also coincides with the Leica UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS. In a rain storm with heavy gusty winds, this max distance may only be 200yds.
I have two bullets, the SST and Amax both 162gr. Luckily they shoot in similar POI from my rifle.
I want either bullet to hit the game within their ideal impact velocity range to ensure plenty of expansion. For the SST, that is 2000fps and the amax down to max distance.
With a 3000fps launch speed, the SST can go out to at least 500yds, the AMax the rest of the way. The more consistent accuracy at LR of the amax also makes its use further out wise. In practise, I want to use the Amax for shots 300yds and out. I just feel more confident hitting a target with this bullet. The SST is equally accurate so more in the mind then on paper.