How to Determine Your Effective Range for a Hunting Shot


Mar 6, 2008
With the growing interest in and popularity of long range shooting, both for targets and hunting purposes, there has also been an increase in the disapproval of such shots. This disapproval is not only coming from the anti-hunting crowd but also from our fellow hunters, and rightfully so. We have all heard horror stories about hunters taking unethical shots and wounding game. As responsible hunters and stewards of the land it is our duty to do our best to make ethical, clean kills. All hunters know that things don't always go according to plan, but to help minimize the chance of wounding game we must ask ourselves a very important question: "How far is too far?" Read More...
This is a thread for discussion of the article, How to Determine Your Effective Range for a Hunting Shot, By Cameron Cool. Here you can ask questions or make comments about the article.
evening, this is a double bladed question. each shooter has his limits. the shooters experience, being practiced and comfortable with the shot, what kind of weapon, access to animal that is down and using shot common sense. very humane kill.

thank u

just countrylightbulb
The major points of this artical are spot on and can't be repeated enough! We see it all too often in threads, those believe their equipment will do the 'work' for them! The "best" can help, but it won't do it for you!
This is a very good article addressing pretty much what I always keep in mind. Like a man said one time 'You gotta know your limitations!' This has kept me from making some iffy shots in the past 40+ years. Although I have sometimes wonder'd later what if? I still know I made the correct choices thru the years by not taking those shots. By education, practice and reloading and shooting regular I have extended my range gradually thru the years. Once again Great article!
Good article.

Sometimes it depends on you, the shooter, for reasons that are hard to define.
Sometimes I aim at a particular target and there's no doubt that I'm going to hit it. I might go out the next day, aim at the same target, at the same distance, under more or less the same weather conditions, and I'm wobbling all over the target and figure it's 50/50 on whether or not I hit it. Maybe I'm more tired one day than the other, maybe too much caffeine or too much stress. Who knows? Could be any combination of things. But when I level the crosshairs on the target I know if this is a (nearly) sure thing or if it's an iffy shot.
As soon as ethics comes into any discussion you will have as many points of view as you do participants and rarely will they agree.
I think the article covers the major points and how to make the decision for yourself well.
I started out big game hunting at age 57 in 2008, shooting (4) deer at between 400 and 500 yards based on range finder, 100 yard groups, and hold over from charts.

I missed half the animals I shot at. Especially they ones running. Then I had 76 elk walking toward me at an angle and I started shooting at 620 yards. Eventually the whole herd turned around and went back unharmed after I had shot up all my ammo. My hunting partner, who had been hunting for 40 years, chewed me out.

Since then I have been long range target practicing and give myself a rating each year for sure thing shots. Most rifles are 400 yards, but some 7mmRemMag rifles, some years, are good to 500 yards.

In 2013 I was hunting with the same guy, and he saw me shoot a deer at 477 yards and hit in the middle of the front 1/3 of the animal. He said he would not have believed it he had not seen it. He Thought I was still the same lousy hunter I was in 2008.

We can all get better, but the most important thing is to know how good we are.
Good article, but the question still remains. With equipment developing so fast this issue is going to be a never ending issue. I remember something which Richard Lee, of Lee Precision the reloading manufacturer in Hartford WI, once said: " even if you make the best equipment possible, remember there will always be some idiot using it." Given that sage advice I believe the maximum effective range for most Americans is fifty yards! OK, maybe seven yards.
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