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Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

 
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:02 AM
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Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

I have been working up loads for my 300 win using Berger bullets. So far the first two loads i have tried were, 10 thousands off the rifling which shot just under an inch at 100 yards and 15 thousandths which shot just under .75" at 100 yards. The same rifle with speer 165 grain spbts' shot between 9/16" and 5/8" So my question is, Just how accurate does a rifle need to be in order the shoot out to 800 yards for elk and mule deer?
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:41 AM
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Re: Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

You've got to be able to hit within a few inches of your POA at whatever distance you want to shoot to. Don't get hung up on 100 yard group size. Stretch it out and see how it does at the distance you want to shoot. If you can hit within 4" of your POA then you should be good. An inch or less at 100 SHOULD be ok to 800 but you must shoot to longer ditances to verify how it does.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:19 PM
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Re: Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

I agree with Gene that a hunter needs to be able to hit close to his point of aim, at whatever range he's hunting. Given a reasonably accurate rifle & load, the prime limitation is shooter skill.

We often talk group size, and that's fine, but more important to me is if I can make the hit, with the first shot, in the field or at the range.

Try that rifle of yours out at 300 - 600 yards to see how the groups hold up. Often groups open up considerably at longer ranges, when they were solidly sub MOA at 100 yards.

I've got rifles I'm perfectly happy with, for their role, that really don't group very well. Am not looking to do any long range/precision shooting with my .30-30 Marlin or my .50 cal traditional muzzle loader for instance. Have an old beat-up .30-06 that continues to deliver the goods although it's well past the point where it could use a new barrel. It's good for 300 yards, but I wouldn't ask much more than that of it. At 100 yards, it can still produce roughly MOA accuracy.

The two rifles that I do consider my long-range hunting rifles can shoot 1/2 MOA out at 300 & 600 yards, when I'm doing a decent job of reading the wind and making good shots. I feel confident in the rifles, loads, and scopes - and I realize that with those rifles, I'm very much the weak link in the equation.

FWIW, Guy
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:52 AM
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Re: Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

what rifle? scope?
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:16 PM
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Re: Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

The rifle is a Remington 700 in 300 win with a 26 inch barrel with a 1 in 10 twist wearing a vortex scope with Leupold rings and 15 moa bases With my previous load of 165 gr speer spbt over 72 grains imr4831 this rifle would hold under an inch at 300 yards under 3 at 500 yards and under good weather conditions would shoot 7-12" at 1000. I felt very confident out to 700 yards but I had problems with not being able to use the magazine and I felt the single feeding rounds made for a poor hunting rifle. So I am now trying 180 grain sst's and 210 gr bergers. So far I have had groups with the bergers grouping 3/4 to 1/2 inch at 100 yards.

Do I continue to try for a more accurate load or start practicing at longer ranges with this load, and if I continue to try loads at what point is it good enough?




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Old 03-22-2011, 07:04 PM
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Re: Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

100 yards is just a beginning benchmark for accuracy. You need to stretch the distance and see if the accuracy holds up at longer range.

In terms of how accurate must the load be? I think that has been answered....you and your rifle need to accurate and confident enough to be able to put the bullet where you want it and whatever range you are shooting. As an example, my 260 I've taken 1200 yard shots at targets but to shoot at deer I am confident at 500-600 yards.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:42 PM
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Re: Just how accurate does a long range hunting rifle need to be?

The rifle has got to hit the kill area of the game you are hunting at the range you intend to shoot it every shot. I shoot my rifles out to the max range I can consistently hit the kill zone and that is where I call it with that rifle. 100 yards really doesn't mean much. Typically I start shooting targets at a quarter mile and go out from there. Rarely do I shoot closer, everything inside there is a gimme anyway. I just want to know I am on at long range then I know I can get the gimme stuff.

Remember the 100 yard groups don't mean much other than you know if it is in the ballpark. One of my best long range shooters does good to hit .75" at 100 yards but will shoot 5" groups at a half mile. Bullets stabi;ize as you go further down range so you may be 1 moa at 100 and .5 moa at 800. That is bad terminology but what is usually said. Actually the bullet is stable but flies on a circular or eliptical path along an axis. In other words looking at your group the rifle did not sling one bullet left and another right or one high and one low. They are traveling in that circular path and where they impact the target along that path is your group. As the bullet travels downrange the bullet path around this imaginary axis shortens so your groups tighten as you go downrange. I do better describing this like Gus on lonesome dove talking with my hands (great actor). Hard to come up with the words to explain. But the army paid us a lot of money to test this at white sands quite a few years back.
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