Beyond the Envelope -or- How I was humbled!

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Dave King, Jan 13, 2002.

  1. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    After reading Warren's reply to a post it caused to to remember my latest venture beyond my personal experience/training envelope. I thought I'd share it with everyone here and would also like to hear some of your's.

    Some of you recall my recent endeavour to shoot 1 mile. Many of you know I'm a first round hit kind-of-guy and I figured I'd use my then-current knowledge to accomplish this task.

    I assembled a little computer program for use in this task and had tested it extensively at distances to 940 yards with adequate success. The rifle I elected to use was a Rem 700 custom chambered in 338 RUM using a 300 Sierra MK.

    My first shot at beyond 940 yards was from 1197 and it went very well but the rounds impacted a little high (4 inches on the cold bore and then 20 and 22 inches on the two subsequent rounds). I was a little disturbed by the 21 average inch elevation problem after cold bore. When I backed up to a little under 1760 the rounds impacted more than 36 inches high in all cases. I went home and reexamined the events in an attempt to understand the problem(s). I'm still not ready to try the 1 mile first round hit scenario but I'll give it a few more attempts this Spring and Summer.

    It had been a long time since I completely missed the entended target with all rounds but that first 1 mile attempt was a real eye opener.
  2. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2001
    My most humbling experience with long range shooting is actually pretty close range compared with yours, but I guess it makes the point that "everything's relative" and "know your limitations."

    I spotted a nice whitetail buck making his way down from the hills back down to the riverbottom. He hesitated for a little while, sniffing the ground and such, but I knew he wasn't going to hang around very long. It was now or never.

    He was a long ways away, but I had set myself up on top of a haystack and built a little "benchrest" out of haybales so I thought I could make the shot. I estimated the range at "around 450." I had the trajectory for my load memorized and knew how much to hold over (or so I thought). I placed the crosshairs accordingly and squeezed the trigger. He went down.

    But then he got back up--on only three legs. I had broken one of his front legs above the knee. As the thought "damn he must be out there" went through my mind, I made the correction with my next shot and nailed him through the chest. He went down for good.

    I counted 524 paces as I walked out to him. Oops. Even though I had gotten my deer, I didn't feel good about it. In fact, I felt pretty lousy. Lesson learned. I have yet to attempt such a long shot since. I was not equiped to be shooting at that range and I knew it.

    This was more than 10 years ago, when compact, affordable laser rangefinders hadn't even been thought of yet. The only ones on the market that the average guy could afford were optical ones. I thought about buying one of those, but their stated accuracy was so lousy at longer ranges (where it matters the most) that I figured it wasn't worth the money. Even with a flat shooting rifle, at those ranges the bullet is dropping so fast you need to know exactly how far it is.

    I know that's a pretty lousy story (in fact I think this is the first time I've told it in public) but I think it illustrates some good points:

    Although I can't blame my poor judgement on lack of equipment, if I had a laser rangefinder I would have known he was out of my range. The load I was shooting wasn't accurate enough to be shooting past 500 yards.

    Also, things can change. When I hit the field in 2002, with a rangefinder, more accurate load, alot more knowledge and a bunch of practice under my belt, what was too far then probably won't be now. That's why I hate it when people generalize by saying "X distance is farther than anybody should be shooting." Every person/equipment combination is going to have different capabilities.

    The key is to know what your limitations are and stay within them. That's what I plan to do, wherever they end up.
  3. cronhelm

    cronhelm Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2001

    Don't feel bad, it took me 17 rounds to hit my target at 1.1 miles (1890 yds). I was happy just to be able to hit anything at that range.

    For me the humbling part was just how much elevation was required to get on target at that range. I had 76 MOA on the scope (all the way top the top) and was holding on the bottom of the MIL Dot reticle and that still wasn't enough. I had to hold "a tree high" to even get close.

    While I tell people that I hit that target I am more than willing to concede there was a major element of luck involved.

    Once I got my scope base shimmed, I tried again at 2000 yards with no luck.

    These sorts of distances are a hell of a long eay to throw a little blob of lead and copper. Lets face it, if it was easy would you being doing it?

    I wouldn't!

    Peter Cronhelm