Proper long range shooting technique?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by ergceo, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. ergceo

    ergceo Member

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    I have hunted deer for years and am comfortable with the bolt action rifle but I am no more than an average hunter and am no expert. What tips, techniques or pointers can some of you experts provide me, the lay rifleman, that will improve my shooting? I rarely shoot standing off-hand without support and mostly shoot off my knee, off shooting sticks, rail of my tree stand, prone, etc.

    Anything at all appreciated.
     
  2. RBetts

    RBetts Well-Known Member

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    The Basics, Starting Out - LongRangeHunting.com Online Magazine and Forums
    Go through all the basics. It is best to use a video camera to document your progress. This will also give you an insight as to where your technique may not be optimum. Once you can identify those breakdowns, you can correct them. Without the video work you may continue with bad habits without even knowing your doing it.
    If you cannot identify any mistakes/bad habits, have someone that instructs or a good local gunsmith eithere have you shoot or at least watch your video work to help you.
     

  3. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    Rule #1: Do all of your development, testing, tuning and experimenting on the bench.

    Rule #2: Practice with your pet loads at the range the same way you will be hunting. Prone with a front rest of sorts.

    Rule #3: Offhand, kneeling, or squatting only help you take quick shots up close. These practice sessions typically make very bad habits such as punching the trigger or trying to time the trigger. Go ahead and practice these things on occasion, but for LR shooting, long range practice is key.
     
  4. dirtball

    dirtball Well-Known Member

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  5. Catfish

    Catfish Well-Known Member

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    My first rule when hunting is to rest the gun if possible no matter what the range. For deer hunting most deer rifles will shoot point blank to at least 300 yrds. and some to over 400 with a proper scope setting. To shoot out there and from there out you will need a good range finder and a cheap 400 or 800 yard range finder is not good enough. With a good range finder and a good drop chart range is all sience. BUT, wind drift is an art. With a 10 mph cross wind at 500 yrds. a 150 gr. .30 cal bullet at 3,000 fps will drift almost 24 inches. That is if it is constint, but in the field the wind can not only have several different velocities within 500 yrds, but often different directions, especially in the mountains. So I also recomand that you get a divice to measure wind speed. To check my drop charts I use a Kawasaki Mule. I have a shooting bench in the back then lazer off 100 yrd. segments to check the drop chart.
     
  6. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    My variation of Michael's rules.

    1: Do all of your development, testing, tuning and experimenting prone with bipod and rear bag, the same way I'll be shooting at game.

    2: Practice with pet loads the as in Rule 2 and in the same place you'll be hunting. Do it in the off season when no big game are in the area.

    3: These positions apply to me only during coyote hunting which is done a fairly shot range.

    For some strange reason my life got better when I did away with the shooting bench. I have no idea as to why....:rolleyes: Guess it's a personal choice.
     
  7. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    That is good advice Roy. My only problem is for me to practice where I hunt would take a lot of time, energy and coin to get there only to shoot a few bullets! :) It will either be a 3 day excursion or a 650 dollar super cub ride!!
     
  8. wyorat

    wyorat Member

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    Hi ergceo. I'm assuming you're talking about hunting at long ranges. I hunt mostly deer and elk in Wyoming. In the last 4 years I have set my guns up to shoot long range. Number one. You need an accurat 1MOA or less rifle to play this game. If your, there are some nice rifles out there. If you don't reload, shoot until you find a round your rifle likes. I have a Weatherby Vangaurd that groups .5-.75 inches at 100 yards. Not bad for a $400 dollar rifle + a Timney trigger for $130. I have a Bushnell 4200 4-16x40 with Kenton wind and elevation knobs. It sets in an Axiom stock with a Limbsaver recoil pad. (I'm only 150lbs and not a fan of recoil). I also carry a cheekpad in my bag for practice to protect my face from muzzle jump. I can put a 100 rounds in the prone position in a t-shirt and not feel a thing. I bedded the front reciever lug. Harris bipod ($120) with pivot for terrain. This is my backup rifle. I switch over to my primary hunting rig a couple months before the season. Same caliber with exact scope and ballistics. I only have a Limbsaver on it and tend to shoot only 20-40 rounds each practice session to save barrel life. Also, Catfish is right. You will need a good range finder capable of 1000+ yds to get fast and more accurate readings. You need a proper scope set up for your ballistics. I have dials made by Kenton Industries set at averages for my altitude and temp. My guns are set at 8000 feet and 50 degrees. Most of my hunts are between 6000ft-10,000ft. For me my max range is 700yds. My shots will be within +or- 4 inches with my 300 win mag at any of these elevations or temps. Do your homework using ballistics software like Remingtons to test your theories. Everybodies skills are different. Your style is similar to my hunting style. I prefer to shoot prone. I prefer broadside standing still shots. I have no problems sending rounds out to 500 yards in the seated position with my harris bipod. Beyond 500yds, I really prefer to be prone using my hunting pack(which I use to practice) or my bipod. And since I'm a hunter, I will always try to get as close as possible before attempting a long shot. Still, I practice(Very Key) out to 700 every week for a couple months before the hunting season starts. Work on all the positions you are comfortable with. Prone, kneeling, sitting,etc... Laying on a side hill, downhill, uphill, level terrain, etc. I know it's work, but it will pay off.

    As for the shot...and others my chime in here...I'm not an expert, but, I am a pretty decent shot
    1-Stay loose. Get comfortable behind the gun. If you feel out of position, you probably are. Sometimes terrain will not allow it. Make the best of it. Develope a routine for consistancy. Here's what I do....Check range. Check parralax. Check for correct BDC, or elevation and wind dials. Check safety. When sitting or kneeling, I push into my bipod slightly to stabalize. Exhale and hold. Nice trigger squeeze. Easier if practiced consistantly. Prone. Same, except, my free hand is under the buttstock being used to help make slight correction in aim by stalbilizing the rear of the rifle. If I'm using my pack, my free hand stays clear. The pack Is more stable than the bipod. Only my trigger hand is on the rifle.
    2-Concentrate on your crosshairs. An animals front legs are usually very close to perpindicular. Make sure your scope is level by using there legs as a reference( same with target when you are practicing. just make sure you keep your targets pretty level). This will keep you from canting the rifle, also. Not good for long shots.
    3)Your probably already familiar with breathing techniques. I'm sure you know, when hunting, the pressure is on. If you have time, work the trigger a couple times. I have a snap cap and will use it on animals I never intend to shoot. Even when hunting, you can still be practicing. I often do this a couple times early in the my practice sessions to loosen up. Later and just before the season opens, I always send a cold one down range to see how Me and My rifle are doing. You don't always get a second shot. That first shot is the most important. I always pick a range between 400-700 yards. This is the only test, IMO, that is the most important. I set up 3 to 4 targets and shoot one round into each in no particular order. This style of shooting doesn't allow me to get into a groove. Remember: I'm not a bench shooter. No offense. I'm a hunter and I practice as such. The only time I send two rounds is when I'm practicing fallow-up shots.

    Hope this helps a little. Sorry if it's a little dry. Just remember the most important thing here is practice. If you shoot 100-200+ rounds this way, you will be 100times better than the guy who goes out and shoots a couple rounds just to see if his rifle is on. It's not very ethical either. Practicing this way, I am able to send single rounds on targer(I shoot at 8 inch shoot-n-see targets) out to 500 yards in sitting and kneeling positions pretty effortlessly. In the prone, 500-700 yard shots for me require good breathing technique and a good trigger pull. Know your rifle. Know your scope. Know your limitations.

    Best of luck and get out there and shoot!!!gun)
    Practice. Practice. Practice.:D
    .
     
  9. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Wow, didn't think of that. Every thing is so close here compared to what you describe. In a couple of hours you can fly to the center of the wilderness area, guess I otta try it but don't know if I'm man enough.

    Vehicle wise the furthest drive is a day trip. All of my other "hides" can be driven and hiked to and shot from in a day.

    The difference seems to be that where you go there is game to shoot.:)

    Also I was severely reprimanded by a 50 cal shooter that the line of bore should "EXACTLY" parallel the line of your spine with feet straight back. Pretty uncomfortable but doable at the range. Then I see Shawn Carlock shooting it looks like he just flopped down and went to shootin' but it appears that he flopped down the exact same way every time. I think the 50 cal shooter was a bit full of himself.......
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  10. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I've heard and read the same about being straight back, inline with your rifle, but in the field that may not always be possible. You have to play the cards you're dealt. I figure it's a good idea to practice in different positions, getting the crosshairs on target and maing a clean break. Darrel Holland has a video out that does teach getting behind the rifle but it isn't quite inline with the spine and barrel. It's in the LR Hunting Video Library forum.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f73/holland-long-range-shooting-school-prone-position-52449/
     
  11. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    Plenty of good advice. I would like to add that if you have a place that you hunt from often, it's great to build something more permanent. A good example is my favorite elk hunting area. I built a "WICKY" on the side of a 60% slope by digging out enough soil to make a flat floor area and constructed something that resembles a duck blind out of mountain maple. I put a tarp over the top for bad weather! It is constructed such that I have sandbags for the fore end and stock that can easily be adjusted for height and is "rock solid"! It's in a great elk feeding area which is very difficult to hunt any other way. I am shooting across a canyon and look into a huge area of slope and benches. I have killed several elk and bear in the 1000 yd. range and have potential to shoot up to 2000 if I wanted. It's well hidden and to this point, no one knows it's there:D Being comfortable enough to wait it out is part of the success and this really helps. I tie flagging on the opposite side (in the shooting area) which helps me dope the wind, although shooting across a steep canyon can be a bit tricky. I try to limit my days in this stand to favorable conditions. So far (knock on wood) I have killed everything that I have shot at because I feel completely prepared ,familar and comfortable in what I'm doing. I also make my own bullets which perform very well at long range which I feel is VERY important. The bad news is most of my elk have been shot in late afternoon and the race across the canyon before dark is a real challenge! Once I spent the night sleeping (well laying) :D in an elk trail on a 60% slope with no sleeping bag. Boy do we have fun or what!...........Rich