I went shooting a couple of days ago and shot on paper to 500 yards. The 100 yard target is shot #1, moved scope, shot #2 then moved scope and shot 3 shot group. The gun had been apart and bedded so the adjustments were needed. All day long there was a steady tail wind of about 20mph, so I didn’t think this was too bad. I then moved the target setup out to 500 dialed and shot the 3 shot group at 500. I know it's nothing fantastic, size wize, but I know it would have been smaller without the wind, but at least it was mainly a tail wind and the 500 yard target was over fairly flat ground.
Since the spot where I was shooting was limited to about 500 yards I then drove farther up the ridge to one of my favorite spots with some long range rocks etc. that range from 400 yards out to 1500 yards plus. I shot across the first small canyon at 647 yards at a rock about the size of an average pumpkin and hit it 2 out of 2 times. Then I ranged a rock across 2 small canyons at 868 yards and dialed for the shot. The first shot hit at the base of the rock, which was about the size of a watermelon. I knew from past experience that the shot should have been right on so the wind must have been doing a number on the bullet going over the ridge and 2 small canyons with the 20mph tail wind. I held on the top part of the rock and the next 2 shots puffed up rock dust pretty much center mass on the rock.
I was letting the gun cool when an elderly fella came by. We talked and he was a hunter/shooter just out for a drive. We started talking about the shooting and the ranges across the canyons and he said he had never shot much over 200 yards. I showed him the 868 yard rock and he was amazed that anyone or anything would be accurate that far away. We talked a little and then I put the 4th. round into the rock and he really got interested.
I asked him, since my gun and equipment was already set up, if he’d like to try a couple of shots. He hesitated but then said he’d love to. We ranged a rock at 426 yards, I set the scope, told him where to hold and on the second shot he connected. His eyes got big and he really got excited. He then wanted to know more about equipment etc. and longer range shooting. After we talked for a while we found him a rock at 615 yards. It wasn’t very big, about the size of a football but it was really easy to see where it was laying out in the sun in a dirt patch. He shot 3 times and never did hit it but came so close he couldn’t believe it. I told him he did pretty good for his first time at long range and with the wind, a strange gun, scope etc. One of the last things he mentioned was that he was going to see about getting a proper setup and getting in some practice at longer ranges before this fall’s hunting season.
The thing that seemed pretty typical about his comments and ranges estimation was that on all of his guesses he was way long on yardage. The 615 yard shot he guessed to be about 800-1000 yards before we ranged it and the 868 yard shot he said he would have guessed at 1200-1500 yards. Guessing ranges across canyons with nothing for a size reference can really be confusing. He had never used a range finder before, but said he would have one before his next trip out.
I wrote down the web address of this forum and told him about some other sites so I think I know what he’ll be doing for the rest of the summer. I told him he could easily find shots, with pictures and documentation, to 2000 yards on these forums and he was just amazed. No telling what kind of rig he’ll come up with but I would guess that, from talking to him, he’ll get a really good setup from the way he was talking.
Paper is fun but it sure is great to just go out and watch rock dust puff way out there.
Oh, by the way, the gun is 7mm Wby, stock barrel, trigger work, Holland QD brake, Leupold scope, 160 gr. Accubonds over 70.0 grs. of H4831SC in Norma brass. Action and chamber area glassed tight and barrel free floated.