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Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Mr. Ed, Oct 18, 2005.
What kind of techniques are required to make successful kills on deer at over 300 yards?
1) Quality of gear comes into play. You can kill deer at 125 yards with a military surplus Bulgarian mauser, but at 300 yards, the planets would have to be aligned just right for you to have much of a chance to do it (ethically).
2) Practice, practice, practice. That's self-explanatory!
3) Confidence, not arrogance, in your ability combined with the humility to know your limits.
That should cover most of it.
IMO, there is no room for luck! Know your limits and stick to them! Get lucky on the range, and let it transform into skill in the field.
Sewwhat89 has pretty much overed things very well so I will simply review what he has already stated.
It is imperative that you have gear that you know is top quality. You can not learn long or extreme range shooting skills unless you know the equipment you are using is fully up to the challange.
The reason is that if you have a rifle system that is up to the challange and you make a poor shot, you know that you are the weak link in the system and you can learn from that miss and do better to prevent the same thing on the next shot.
If you do not have quality equipment, you will be wondering it the problem is the rifle, the load or you. Nothing will come from that, espeically confidence.
2. I agree on the practice issue, it is second only to the equipment in importance. This is a year round thing, even if in limited ammounts, you need to shoot year round to stay proficent at longer ranges.
Also, practice at the ranges you will hunt or better yet even farther. If you practice at 500 yards all summer, when the buck shows up at 400 yards you will be ready to take and make the shot.
Practice at varying ranges. Get your rifle/load system set up and ready to roll and then practice at varying ranges, do not set a target up at 200,300 and 500 yards and shoot only on paper at these ranges.
Set water filled gallon milk jugs up at varying ranges, range them, look them up on your drop chart and target them. If you hit record the hit that your drop chart is on at that range. If you miss, record the miss and by how much. Doing this over many ranges will allow you to tweak your drop chart until you can run the table from the muzzle out to however far you want with an accurate drop chart and rifle/load system.
3. Confidence and even more importantly humility is key in long range hunting. It is vastly more important to know when NOT to shot then anything else. Remember that a wounded animal at long range is much more difficult to correct then a wounded animal at close range.
Neither is acceptible but it is critical at long range that we know what we can and can not do. This will vary with field conditions.
I will admit that in good conditions I would take 800 yard shots on big game. If the wind picks up to 10 mph or so I will drop this range to 500 yards at the most. In heavier winds, I will limit my shooting to 300 yards at most. This is what you need to learn and again, it only comes from practice.
To that point, do not only practice when its nice out. Some of your most valuable range time will be in windy conditions. Unless your zeroing a scope or testing the accuracy of a load, get out there and shoot when its windy!!
John Burns has a few tips about long range hunting on his website at The Best of The West
And a darn good video as well. I just purchased the first one, Beyond Belief, the title was true to its name. A cow elk at 1100 yds one shot by John Porter of Morning Creek Outfitters in Cody.
To add the all these great responses, I will add what I say when the 'ethical' debate of LR comes into discussion.
This is LR hunting NOT LR shooting. You must have the confidence in your equipment and your shooting skills that HITTING the target is a given. Finding the target is the challenge!!!!
So test and tune your rifle, improve or develop your shooting skills so that you know every shot, under the conditions and ranges you hunt, will be a killing shot. The ability to have a sighter at moderate ranges is rare.
Now the hunting part of positioning yourself, spotting and engaging game at extended distances can start.
Marksmanship consist of 3 basic things:
1. Sight alignment
2. Trigger control
Of these 3....I pick POSITION as probably the MOST IMPORTANT because considering the fact that you have the worlds most accurate rifle and know how to control the other two....without knowing how to build a suitable shooting position....all is lost!
Read much, ask questions, shoot, and shoot, and shoot a whole lot....and keep accurate records on what you discover and if you listen to these guys on this forum....you'll be a long way down the road to learning what they already have paid the price to learn! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
These guys are right on, but let me give it to you from the perspective of more or less a newcomer to the LR scene. until just a few years ago a deer killed at 300 yds or better was cause for a celebration. Then being a gun nut anyhow I decided to have a custom rifle built, Mark Bansner of adamstown pa built me one of his rifles on a rem 700 chambered in 7mm STW, accuracy was awesome, over the next several years, the 300 yd shots were wonderfully simple. Then I started studying ballistics and when ballistic programs for the home computer became popular and I understood how to use them I concluded that I could in fact make the unheard of 500 yd shot with my STW without making any adjustments to the scope. Just 19" of holdover and the deer was in deep trouble. 4 years ago I had premier install target turrets on my 6.5x20 leupold, now I can dial it in, however the extremely light barrel and configuration of my Bansner UR-1 is diffacult to shoot in field positions so my self imposed limit with this rifle is 625 yds.
Scince 1998 I have shot at a total of 18 deer at 400 yds and overout to 627 yds. 17 shots have been fatal hits with no tracking. The 18th one well the first time dialing my scope in I screwed up on a doe at 489 yds, and over shot the intended target but killed one standing just beyond it. Its not that diffacult once you have confidance in your shooting system and your own abilities, but you must,I repeat this YOU MUST work within your limitations.
I now wait for kirby to complete my new LR rifle so I can go into the next phase of LR shooting, and am looking forward to it.
10 years ago you couldn't convince me that a 223 rem could be lethal on chucks beyound about 380 yds. With what I have learned from these guys here and picked up through practice in the field, I know my lowly AR-15 will take chucks to 600 yds. confidance in your equipment and your own abilities will take you along ways.
<<will allow you to tweak your drop chart until you can run the table from the muzzle out to however far you want with an accurate drop chart>>
So...basically what you're saying is "shoot at varying distances and RECORD your zero when hits are gotten! That's the way I read your info! Frankly...in my experience...as far as me taking a ballistic program and using the data presented....that DOES NOT WORK...for me!! It may work in theory...but in actual application it does not work! What DOES WORK for me is to shoot at many varying distances and keeping a record of the zeros. Ballistic programs IMO are fine for getting a general idea of the amount of drop but due to varying barrel contours and different harmonics...nope..they don't work! Might be close....but in the final analysis...what works best for me is actual shooting and data recording the zeros for the varying ranges involved! Interpolation helps with the "in-between" ranges very well! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Practice so that you are a MOA shooter at the desired distance with every shot. Not one time but every time you pull the trigger. This has to be done from different shooting positions not a bench. Once you have a distance you have absolute control over move to the next distance. You say you only have X amount of yardage to practice at. Practice till your a 1/2 minute shooter at that distance.
Get a chronograph. If you think your load is going 3000fps because the loading manual said that recipe did that, your just guessing. Learn how SD/ES can change impact at range. A chronograph will help get you to that MOA or better shooter by eliminating equipment variations. Read how benchrest shooters prepare their loads. This is to again eliminate variables. The less variables in your shooting system the more consistency your system will achieve.
Your current reloading equipment will accomplish very good consistent ammo. As long as you fully understand how to use it. A micrometer bullet seater does no good if you have mixed lots of brass or primers etc. The various reloading manuals have all the information on how to produce world class ammo. Take the time to study the steps
Kirby had a great point about humility. Know what you are capable of and pass on opportunities you are not 100% sure of a clean kill. If you miss you should be surprised, not surprised when you hit.
Anybody can hit a deer at 800 yards in a 20 mile an hour wind uphill on a computer!
Don't get wrapped up in the talk. Know your weapon and your abilities. Work up a great load for your rifle and an accurate drop chart.
Get a good range finder that is effective at the ranges you shoot. If you are shooting under 500 yards you probably don't need the swaro $1000.00 unit. Get a good $500.00 unit and spend the savings on quality optics or ammo.
A wind gauge and use it a lot. Learn what trees in the area you hunt look like at 10mph so you can see wind effects from your rifle to your target.
My brother and I shoot a lot of rocks in the summer at various ranges in the National forest. Spend lot's of time in the field shooting.
i'd say confidence in your own ability through practice is key, then upgrade your equipment to hone your skill set. A decent trigger is a must, i use jewells on my long range stuff. Second is position, you have to find out what fits your shooting style and it will soon come together. Optics........well, goes without saying you have to be able to accurately image what you trying to shoot. Hope all is going well......Gary