I was recently sitting on a break reading one of the few hunting and shooting mags I still read regularly and there was an article about the ins and outs of long range shooting by a guy that is a pretty well know gunsmith.
It was a decently detailed article for the novice shooter to read and get an idea what is needed for long range shooting but the only thing that really bothered me was how matter a fact he made it sound. In fact in once of the first paragraphs he talks about long range varminting and that shooting out to 3600 and 3800 yards is totally doable with the right equipment.
Then he went onto talk about rounds such as the 6.5-284 and 300 Baer, both great rounds but hardly what I would consider +2 mile rounds. He made it sounds like all that was needed was to make a scope adjustment, take a couple shots, see where your bullets hit then adjust the scope again and you will be hitting your target.
I kind of took a bit of offense to this knowing just how difficult it is to get consistant groups at 2000 yards let alone 3000 yards and beyond.
His comments were that you really need to know your environmental conditions when your shooting at these ranges and thats why you have to have a handheld wind meter
. Never was it mentioned about taking wind estimations at mid range or at the target. Certainly the conditions at the rifle are most critical but changes in wind direction over the trajectory of the bullet can cause severe impact changes.
I suppose the thing that bothered me the most was the attitude that any round can easily reach out to these ranges if shot out of the right rifle, presumably built by him?????
If we take a 6.5-284, loaded to the hilt with a 140 gr class VLD, you will reach around 1600 yards with super sonic velocity. Not once in the article did I hear anything about the effects on a bullet as it goes transsonic.....
Now I know some bullets handle this transition much better then others. Still, all bullets are effected to some degree by this and never in a good way. I have found that a hyper stabilized bullet will be more consistant after it drops out of super sonic velocity then a bullet that is stablized with the traditional twist rate for that bullet.
My question is how can you expect a 6.5-284 to produce consistant predictable hits at ranges even past 2000 yards when it drops out of super sonic velocity nearly 400 yards before that.
I have tested this issue with many of the larger 338 magnums. In my results using the 300 gr SMK, once that bullet drops out of super sonic velocity your pretty much done with predictable bullet impact.
In the 338 Kahn, loading the 300 gr SMK to around 2900 fps, your pretty much limited to around 2100 yards in range with super sonic velocity at normal altitudes. That is a significant boost over the 6.5-284. Now past this range, your pretty much screwed. In fact, I have shot groups on paper with my kahn at 2000 yards that were 3/4 moa and then shot groups at 2150 yards that I could not keep three shots on a 4x8 foot sheet of plywood covered with white paper!!!!!
This was at 60 to 70 degrees, 15 to 25% humidty at my 3500 ft altitude. Can not remember what the Bar pressure was on those tests.
I have also witnessed testing my brothers 338 Kahn with 4" longer barrel and a load he pushes a bit harder. Same 1-10 Lilja with same bullet and he gets an additional 150 yards of consistancy at max range because his loads start around 3100 fps but the results are very similiar. Groups at 2100 yards are 3/4 moa and at over 2200 yards, don't expect to hit anything smaller then a truck!!!
In testing my 338 Allen Magnum, I can extend this predictable impact max range to around 2700 yards with the same bullet. At 2800 yards, your relying on only luck to get close.
Switching to the 265 gr AT RBBT, I have gotten consistant predictable bullet impacts out to a slight hair over 3000 yards but looking at my numbers, I predict that anything much past that I may get consistancy issues.
MAYBE not however because at the muzzle velocity of the 338 AM, the RPMs are dramatically higher then the smaller Kahn which I believe will help the bullet pass through the transsonic stages more predictably.
Anyway, back to my point, I hear these guess all the time talk about using 308 Wins and 6.5-284s to shoot out to 3000 yards and beyond, sometimes WAY beyond. In my testing and actual shooting out to these ranges, I find this hard to believe they are doing it with any degree of predictability or consistancy.
If any of you have used the 308 or 6.5-284 to get consistant groups past 1600 yards or a mile I would be very interested in hearing about your results. Maybe I need to build me a 308 and test things for myself but I just have a hard time believing this is possible.
I also have a very hard time putting up with so called experts that make it sound like its a simple matter of cranking the scope up and dialing in for the wind after a few spotter shots to make hits at ranges out to 3800 yards.
Hell, I would like to ask the guy just how many moas he would need for a zero hold on a prairie dog at 3800 yards!!!! I would bet I would just get a blank stare!!!
Anyway, just ranting, if any of you have experience with the 308 past 1600 yards or the 6.5-284 past 2000 yards I would be very interested to hear how consistant your rifles were performing at those ranges.
The 308s good for around 1400 yards with super sonic velocity, Its got less then 600 fps at 3800 yards............. The 6.5-284 is doing alot better, its got an additional 50 fps of velocity over the 308!!! Hell, even my 338 AM only has around 950 fps at that range.
Anyway, your experiene please, would be most interesting and if I am proven wrong, I will learn alot from your experience and have my eyes opened.