Help... Am I making long range shooting too hard?

jcoxdmd

New Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
3
Location
Colorado
I am fairly new to long range shooting. I have read many posts here, books, articles, and watched tons of youtube videos. I have taken two different three day courses. I know how to sight in my rifle, make a dope card out to 1000 yards, and even put it all info into my app's. I do not plan on shooting for hunting over 500-600 yards, but I love shooting out there further.

I still feel overwhelmed and unsure of everything for my hunting trips coming up. I think I am making this too hard! I feel there are too many variables. I sight in my gun at a certain temperature and elevation... It is rare that I will be at that exact same temp and that exact same elevation combo on any hunt ever. So the dope cards will never be for that certain situation. Do you make hundreds of dope cards for tons of elevation and temp variables? The temp is very different first thing in the morning vs afternoon. Do you absolutely have to buy a kestrel for everything? Do I need to get my phone out, put in all of the data exactly before each shot when hunting?

Once sighted in and dope card made, how do you know it will be on when you move to another location? I can re-zero at that site, but will all my other data on that dope card be accurate? I don't know if this makes sense. I appreciate any input to understand this.

I think I am making this too hard!
 

T3ninja

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Messages
765
Location
NW indiana
You are making it too hard.

If you are only hunting to 5-600 yards... do yourself a favor and check this out in all your apps. Use the DA (density altitude) setting. Then play with it. This is why I (and I’m betting most) that shoot/hunt long and travel use 100 yard zero. It’s easy to find a spot to confirm a 100 yard zero and there would have to be a MASSIVE change in conditions to make your 100 invalid and needing change. ( unless we’re talking poor temp stable powder and extreme temp differences, but that’s something totally different).

Anyway, I bet you’ll find that inside 600 yards, there’s not much to worry about. Especially if you make your cards into “brackets”. Say, 3-7kDA, 7-10, and another 10-12k.
 

dfanonymous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2016
Messages
1,406
I am fairly new to long range shooting. I have read many posts here, books, articles, and watched tons of youtube videos. I have taken two different three day courses. I know how to sight in my rifle, make a dope card out to 1000 yards, and even put it all info into my app's. I do not plan on shooting for hunting over 500-600 yards, but I love shooting out there further.

I still feel overwhelmed and unsure of everything for my hunting trips coming up. I think I am making this too hard! I feel there are too many variables. I sight in my gun at a certain temperature and elevation... It is rare that I will be at that exact same temp and that exact same elevation combo on any hunt ever. So the dope cards will never be for that certain situation. Do you make hundreds of dope cards for tons of elevation and temp variables? The temp is very different first thing in the morning vs afternoon. Do you absolutely have to buy a kestrel for everything? Do I need to get my phone out, put in all of the data exactly before each shot when hunting?

Once sighted in and dope card made, how do you know it will be on when you move to another location? I can re-zero at that site, but will all my other data on that dope card be accurate? I don't know if this makes sense. I appreciate any input to understand this.

I think I am making this too hard!
I use a kestrel, and it’s good for every situation.

Chill out who you listen too for advice, online or in courses. Paper dope is great to know how to do. However it’s about as obsolete as milling a target to get a range estimation.

A tip for paper dope however.
A long time ago, I and most other snipers I knew before we had kestrels, use to just organize paper dope for density altitude. 0 to 8000 is a pretty diverse range.

No need for every elevation for every temp range. But seriously, just get a kestrel.
 

QuietTexan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2020
Messages
501
Location
Texas
Making it WAY too hard. Temp and DA and all the nitty gritty environmentals will make a difference if you're going from 100* to -25* or sea level to 10,000 feet, but if you run the app once you get where you're at even a 10-20* temp swing/ +/-1000' DA is going to make maybe a 0.1-0.2 mils difference. Most likely well inside the margin of error from your ability to shoot from a field position.

Wind and range are the variables that will make the biggest difference. Get a Kestrel, get a range finder, that's the fastest way to increase accuracy compared to estimating those two most crucial variables.

Field dope is all about brackets as previously mentioned.

One alternative since 500 yards is basically short range - zero at 100 and run two MBPR calcs (essentially elevation brackets). You'll end up with something like 50-300 yards +0.3mils, 300-500 yards +1.1 mils. Get into place, range the main places you expect to see the animals, dial the one you're most likely to use. Animal steps out, hold the center, shoot. I normally glass an animal for more than long enough to twist a knob a couple clicks. Or if you're dialed short, it's only one hold to memorize. Run a couple of wind brackets, and you're all set.
 
Last edited:

xsn10s

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Messages
2,387
I'd also get Kestrel and get out there and play with it. Gaining confidence by dry firing in your field positions will help too. Shooting is a mental game so gain confidence with practice. I'd also start thinking about stalking closer. it doesn't have to be a long range shot and the closer you get the more confidence you'll have with your shot.
 

Huntnful

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
416
Location
California
If you're keeping it at 600 yards and closer just make a card for the average elevation and average temperature of the area you'll be hunting. It'll hammer whatever you shoot at.

I have RF binos, but keep a small chart in my scope cap for 8000' and 50 degrees. Came in handy when I left my binos behind on accident during a quit hike up the hill. Turn up some bucks at 540 yards. My buddy had his little hand held range finder. We were at 9000' and probably 40 degrees. Set my turret based off my little dope chart and we both hammered the bucks with my rifle. They were dead 20' apart. 600 is a safe yardage to not have to get to compicated.
 

Hunt_4life

Active Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
39
Location
manitoba
For the matches I shoot I only use hard dope on my arm and use a kestrel for wind and can make first round impacts out to 1100 yards. For hunting I really like the idea of have a 0-300 and a 300-600 drop slot. Then just hold a bit of wind and be done with it. But is u can swing is a kestrel it is awesome for hunting.
 

StanleyActual8541

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
403
Location
N. Idaho
Makin it to hard dude . If you’re going hunting, just shoot to the range youre
Confident at. Should be fun, not stressful.

kestrels with ballistics are awesome and I recommend but I always have hard ballistic dope cards for different DA’s (every 1000’ DA)


-check DA on kestrel, and dial what your kestrel tells you to.

if using hard ballistic cards:

-choose correct DA Ballistics Card

-Dial your scope for your MPBR so
Anything that pops up from you to your MPBR, no adjustment needed. Point and shoot.

-if critter pops up beyond your MPBR, chances are you have a little time, range it, refer to your ballistics card, dial elevation, hold your wind and squeeze

Ez peezy meat in the freezer man
 

Bang4theBuck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
506
Don't mean to pile on, but I kinda suffered from the same thing last year when preparing for my first wilderness horseback Mule deer hunt. I have a kestrel and love it, but not so much for hunting. Or should I say not to carry around on the hunt.

I would simply run the numbers based on expected Temps and altitudes and convert them to DA's. I printed 3 cards to carry with me. One was middle of the lowest potential DA range (say 2500ft), one for middle on the middle (like 7500) and then one on the high end (10000). I then simply added a note on the card to tell me what every 10f and what every 1000ft elevation represented in moa.. Our Temps ranged from 28 to 58 , and our elevation ranged from 4500 to 9000, and I was never really outside of the usefulness of the 3 small cards.
 

StanleyActual8541

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Messages
403
Location
N. Idaho
I still feel overwhelmed and unsure of everything for my hunting trips coming up. I think I am making this too hard! I feel there are too many variables. I sight in my gun at a certain temperature and elevation... It is rare that I will be at that exact same temp and that exact same elevation combo on any hunt ever. So the dope cards will never be for that certain situation. Do you make hundreds of dope cards for tons of elevation and temp variables? The temp is very different first thing in the morning vs afternoon. Do you absolutely have to buy a kestrel for everything? Do I need to get my phone out, put in all of the data exactly before each shot when hunting?

Once sighted in and dope card made, how do you know it will be on when you move to another location? I can re-zero at that site, but will all my other data on that dope card be accurate? I don't know if this makes sense. I appreciate any input to understand this.

I think I am making this too hard!

Here’s a good read on DA if you haven’t already seen it.



also, don’t worry about your zero shift. One of the main reasons you zero your rifle @ 100 yds is because environemntals are negligible at that range. It’s the closest you’ll get to a “true zero”for your weapon system. Obviously you want to confirm it once you get there, but im bettin that zero is gonna be **** near dead on. Just make sure you do some dry firing prior to sending that cold bore shot (cold shooter). It’s makes a difference

As an example, I zeroed my rifle at seal level probably 85deg. Went on an elk hunt in Utah at 6500’+ and 40deg. Confirmed zero and I was within a 1/10th. You’re not gonna see much of a Change at 100yds if any at all.
 

BrentM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
3,094
Location
Meridian, Idaho
Dope cards? That is what we did 15 plus years ago before the PDA and ballistic app. Today we have kestrel and phones with amazingly accurate apps that take care of the issues. A dope card goes in my pack for the off chance I have an issue with a device. At most I may have 5 cards for the areas in which I will hunt. With a little experience, especially 500 and less, you'll not see that much difference unless going from one extreme to another, which is rare. You can literally use one card and make small adjustments. So if you are set on a card, make a card, and play with your app for the average. I bet you find very very little difference in a 2000 ft elevation change and 20f temp swing to 500.

Zeroing. Most rifles zero changes very little from temp and elevation unless you have very sensitive powder. In that case, it's all about the temp and you zero is likely only going to be effected by the change in velocity. I may zero at 2800 feet and hunt at 9000. My zero doesn't change, so it's nothing I worry about.

If your ammo and rifle profiles are dialed in with extremely accurate data all you have to worry about is accurate ranging, accurate atmoshperic input, wind call, and shooting fundamentals with a excellent stabile shooting position. In the end, wind, and fundamentals are your biggest problems to face in the field while hunting.
 
Top