dialing in long range game

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by smoak, Sep 15, 2003.

  1. smoak

    smoak Active Member

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    I am going to CO as many of you are and this being my first time i have a few questions.

    Fist of all what is th best way to dial in the ranges for elk. I have 300RUM with the Leopold Long range scope along with a range finder. Is there a crtain way I can just find the range, say 400 yards, and dial in the scope so it will be dead on?

    Also, I know the accubonds are new, but would they be safe to use on elk?

    And should I need a bi-pod for colorado and if so, which is the best?
     
  2. Randy in Va

    Randy in Va Well-Known Member

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    I hope you still have a little time before you go or you will likely waste your money.

    You need to know the exact trajectory of your chosen load over the entire range you expect to shoot. You don't get it from someone else, you find a chronograph and use ballistics software to project a path you you have witnessed for your gun with your loads.
     
  3. smoak

    smoak Active Member

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    Maybe I was a little vauge with my question. I do have a rangefinder, I reload and I have a chronograph. I usually just sight my rifle in for 300 yards and If anything is out to 400, I hold a few inches over. I have only taken whitetail out to 400. So Elk is new for me. I just got this long range scop which is 6.5X20X50 so i was wondering if I could just dial it in instead of holding over. I have a software that tells all the ballistics.

    What about that bipod?
     
  4. Randy in Va

    Randy in Va Well-Known Member

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    Smoak, you have software that gives your the theoretical ballistics. You need actual for the speed and bullet from YOUR gun.

    Doing less would be like chartering a $1500 dollar offshore fishing daytrip and taking bargain lures and old rusty hooks.

    Hold over is appropriate for two reasons I know of:

    You need to shoot to fast to click and
    Your scope is too cheap to stand the clicking all around!
     
  5. smoak

    smoak Active Member

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    Okay, I have a neighbor with an open cow field. I can practice to about 700yards which I guess would be adequate.

    WHICH BIPOD IS THE BEST???
     
  6. frankg

    frankg Well-Known Member

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    I have a harris bipod and I am happy with it. I think you will find a lot of people are happy with the harris.
    As far as your scope adjustments, the least complicated thing would probably to be to just take your gun to your range and fire at the different distances and write down the scope settings at the different ranges that give you a correct bullet impact when you hold dead on.
    The more complicated method involves using math and trajectories and stuff,you will find it in the "basics" section of this forum. But for the distances you are talking about I think shooting at targets every 100 yards and writing down your scope settings is a good way to go.
    Take the information you get from your range experience(A drop chart) and put it on something convenient to take with you.
    I tape my drop chart to the butt of my rifle with packing tape.That way I don't loose it. A drop chart and a rangefinder should serve your purposes just fine out to the distances you are talking about.
    Remember,when you get to Colorado the altitude and temperature will effect your bullet flight and you will have to do some shooting out there to see what your new bullet impact is.You will have to adjust accordingly.The longer the distance the greater the difference in the new point of impact. The shorter the distance the less you will have to worry about it.
    Good luck,wish I was going too.
     
  7. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Edited.. post Frank45/70's post...he typed faster than I did I guess... Guess I said in a long winded method the exact same thing he said!....4 hours of typing wasted [​IMG]

    smoak


    Quick review of how to get your trajectory data.

    First method... chronograph actual rounds...run a ballistics software and get the theoretical drop at desired ranges then calculate the necessary "come-up" for the desired shooting ranges...and lastly go out into the field and verify these "come-up" against actual targets while shooting from your "field" position(s).

    Second method...get a BIG target backer... zero the rifle at 100 yards...move back to 200 yards and shoot at the target (center on the bull)...go to the target and measure the actual drop (in inches) for the group you just shot from 200 yards... divide this drop (in inches) by 2 (for 200 yards)... for example...we'll say the drop was 3 inches from the center of your aiming point to the center of your group...divide this by 2 to get 1.5 MOA (Minutes Of Angle approximately)...this is your 200 yard "come-up"... Now it get a little tricky unless you have a very large backer... Your scope elevation at this point should be sitting on the 100 yard zero setting (elevation turret reset to -0-)...add the 1.5 MOA to the 100 yard zero... you're now zeroed at 200 yards. Now move back to 300 yards and shoot another group...aim at the center of the bull...walk to the target and once again measure the drop (in inches) from your point of aim to the center of your group... divide this by 3 (for 300 yards). Your 200 yard to 300 yard "come-up" is this result... if your 300 yard group was 6 inches low...we divide by 3 to get MOA for 300 yards... the result is 2 MOA...this 2 MOA is an incremental value...in other words to get from 100 yards zero to 300 yard "come-up" you must add the 200 yard "come-up" (in our example 1.5 MOA) and the 300 yard come-up (in our example 2 MOA) to get 3.5 MOA up for a 300 yard data set. Repeat the scope setting procedure...set the scope for 300 yards (3.5 MOA up)..go back to 400 yards and shoot again (aim at the bull), measure the drop (in inches) and divide by????? right divide by 4 for 400 yards (MOA conversion). This new value is your 300 to 400 "come-up"....repeat this process until you get to the desired max range plus 100 yards or so (Murphy's law). Take this new data and attach it to your rifle or rifle scope. Once you get to your hunting location you should/must reconfirm this data as it'll change due to temperature, bullet, altitude, or a myriad of other things... don't verify at the close ranges and say good enough...do the far ranges...400 and 500 yards (or further if you plan to shoot much further) at a minimum...this will give you a feel for the degree of change.

    Make sure you not only record the turret setting to elevation but also the vernier "rotation" mark from the turret tower. This little setting will enable you to double check that you're not a full revolution off when returning your scope to your 100 yard zero.

    Remember to reset your scope to zero by going the correct direction...a common error is to rotate the turret the incorrect direction and end up 15 MOA too high.

    This is a mind set and something that must become second nature...you're starting a little late but the good thing (I'd guess) is that you're starting.

    Once you have your come-up for your rifle and load it's nearly a "chip-shot" (I love to irritate "hunters" with that term) to 500 yards (depending on wind). Adjust the scope to 500 yards, hold dead on and press the trigger nicely....blang! dead elk/deer/flying squirrel/coyote/rock/steel plate/etc,etc.

    Best bipod for a hunter??? Harris of course! Which type Harris??? That's a problem...there are a lot of them and it'll be up to you to decide how tall, swivel, 2 extension, 3 extension, prone, sitting, etc. I get the LM series exclusively (but I'm a little "not right" so you better wait for someone else to answer before buying the LM version.

    [ 09-15-2003: Message edited by: Dave King ]
     
  8. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

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    The one thing I would add to Dave's most excellent advice, is that after you measure the actual drop in inches and adjust for the new range, verify it with another group to see if the setting you figured actually brings the group up to the center of the bull. There is a chance you could be high or low a few inches if your scope isn't calibrated correctly and it must be verified.

    You should be able to match your fired drops up to a ballistic program at each interval they were shot at if you know your average MV, and by adjusting the BC of the bullet until the drops on the program match your fired drops. If you don't have a perfect 100yd zero, the program will likely be quite a bit off at distance, as it assumes you are not .25 or even .5 MOA or more off to begin with, so dial it in well at 100yds.

    Once you get the actual drops matched up with the program at say, 100 yards increment, the program will be able to predict the drop for ranges in between them pretty accurately, BUT this is no guarantee it will predict farther distances accurately, and it probably WON'T either. The BC drag curve and other things will affect its modeling ability so it needs to be verified well.

    This will also give you more confidence in your load and shooting technique, and also your real world grouping ability at the various ranges which will help you determine how far you might be able to shoot in the same conditions etc.

    Good luck, knock one dead! [​IMG]
     
  9. Jeff In TX

    Jeff In TX Well-Known Member

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    Smoak,

    I think Dave King hit the nail on the head and has given you the best advice. I'll add one more thing that piggybacks on what Dave said and Brent mentions.

    Knowing your actual come-ups for each yardage value is critical. Then being able to match that to a ballistic program is the next step. But there is one more thing to consider and this is will tie it all together.

    You said your going to hunt in CO for the first time. Depending on where you recorded your actual shooting data, it may be null and void once you get to CO and you’re hunting in colder temps and higher altitudes. Say you recorded your data at 600’ elevation and 80 degrees and your going hunting at 9000’ and temps in the 20’s & 30’s. Your data is not going to be accurate. Also, there comes the additional factor of shooting up or down hill. Again, your ballistic program you can help you with this.

    Now, if you can get your ballistic program to match your actual recorded data, then you should be able to adjust it for altitude and temps and be very close once you’re in CO. Keep an accurate logbook and make lots of different data charts covering different altitudes, temps as well as up/down angles.

    But all of this will be null and void if you don’t practice shooting at those distances.

    Keep us posted on how you’re doing. If you give me your actual data on your velocities and come-ups, I’ll run it through my ballistic program and see if I can get it to match. Then let me know the conditions you’ll be hunting in and I’ll run some variables for you.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  10. frankg

    frankg Well-Known Member

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    Smoak, A little more information may be helpful in answering your questions.Most importantly,how far are you expecting to shoot? And what experience do you already have with long range shooting? How accurate are you and your gun?
     
  11. Darryl Cassel

    Darryl Cassel Well-Known Member

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    Smoak

    Do not attemt any shot that you have not practiced hitting a target at every 100 yards across the field of fire you are attemting.

    Make up an actual fire drop chart for "YOUR" rifle and start learning the clicks needed at each 50 to 100 yards to get to the target.

    If you have a holdover type reticule then practice with that so you will know where to hold on the animal.

    You MUST know the exact range you are shooting and that calls for a good rangefinder.

    Practice long before you go out west and also look at the elevation you intend to shoot at.
    This will change ballistics from lower elevations to higher.

    Suggestion-----Go practice ASAP.

    DC
     
  12. bblaine2k

    bblaine2k Well-Known Member

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    Smoak,

    Don't take our suggestions as flames. We're protecting our sport from those who would take it lightly and resulting in unsportsmanlike results.

    As the guys above have mentioned, the best thing for you to do is just get out there and practice. Try a few shots at 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and so on. Know what your bullet will do at those ranges. Once you know how far the quarry is, you can have a good idea where your bullets are going to hit. Practice in the wind and not just off a bench but with your bi-pod or field shooting position. Of course, get a rangefinder. If you have access to those computer programs like Oehler and a chronograph, so much the better. However, the best gun, chronograph, computer program and other stuff won't, by itself, make you a good long range shot. Only practice will!

    Good luck. LR shooting is time consuming and can eat up some $$$ but it is fun and well worth it.