Mil Ranging story

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Ian M, Sep 15, 2003.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    We were practicing mildot ranging on some of my full-sized decoys this weekend and damned if four mulie does didn't walk over to one of the decoys. Distance was 730 in to 550 yards. The guys spent about twenty minutes milranging real deer and also dry-firing on them to get the feel for the upcoming hunting season.
    We compared accuracy of mildot calculatons vs my Leica 1200 and the dots were surprisingly good. Easily good enough for first shot hits out past 800 the way these guys read dots.
    Accubonds flew perfectly with Match Kings out to 1000 from a nice shooting .300 Win. Match Kings went through my steel plate at 700 and 800, Accubonds dented it and the base was in the crater for some shots.
     
  2. bblaine2k

    bblaine2k Well-Known Member

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    Ian,

    Good practice advice! The only thing I would worry about would be a game warden/conservation officer asking why you have a firearm in your possession in the field during a closed firearms season. Once you explained the deal, I suspect he would realize you were legal but then again. . .

    Still, a great idea to get some practice. Tests those mil-dots, overcomes buck fever, trains the eyes and probably some other things I'm overlooking.

    Thanks!
     
  3. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Mountain,
    Good point. We had taken the bolts out of the rifles for the mil'ing and also had targets in one hundred yard increments out to 700 yards so I figured an LE type person would realize we were target shooting.

    I have taken just a mildot equiped scope out for practice and it is not the same as when you are on a rifle.
     
  4. David P. Herne

    David P. Herne Well-Known Member

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    Ian,
    Sorry to bother you with such low level questions. But I'm gonna be hunting on a ranch this January for Blackbuck antelope where 800-1000 yard shots will most probably be presenting themselves. Unfortunately for me, my laser rangefinder isn't gonna tell me anything about targets standing out beyond 600 yards. On the other hand, the rifle with which I'll be hunting is equipped with the 16X Leupold Mark IV scope (and yes, it has a Mil-Dot reticle).

    So assuming that the distance between the top of the avg. Blackbuck antelope's back and the very underside of it's chest measures 16" (0.45 yards) and this part of his torso fills in 1/2 the distance between two dots in my reticle, then the animal is 900 yards out. Right? I calculated this by the simple equation of multiplying the height of the target in yards (16" = 0.45 yds) by 1000, and then dividing by the target's height in milliradians (0.5).

    Also, what it the margin of error in this ranging method, especially given that the scope is only 16X and the target is pretty damn small. In other words, what's to prevent a 16" target that is ostensibly around 900 yards out, appearing to one man (through a 16X scope) as spaning 1/2 the distance between two mil-dots, while appearing to another man, as spanning 1/3 or perhaps 2/3 of the distance between two mil-dots?

    Regards,
    Dave
     
  5. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    **
    "So assuming that the distance between the top of the avg. Blackbuck antelope's back and the very underside of it's chest measures 16" (0.45 yards) and this part of his torso fills in 1/2 the distance between two dots in my reticle, then the animal is 900 yards out. Right? I calculated this by the simple equation of multiplying the height of the target in yards (16" = 0.45 yds) by 1000, and then dividing by the target's height in milliradians (0.5).

    Also, what it the margin of error in this ranging method, especially given that the scope is only 16X and the target is pretty damn small. In other words, what's to prevent a 16" target that is ostensibly around 900 yards out, appearing to one man (through a 16X scope) as spaning 1/2 the distance between two mil-dots, while appearing to another man, as spanning 1/3 or perhaps 2/3 of the distance between two mil-dots?"

    Dave,
    I am not an expert on mildots but I was trained on them by a couple of guys who are experts. I am fortunate that they did a very thorough and excellent job of explaining dots, good enough that I use them a lot in hunting and just for the hell of it. I can give you my take on your questions.

    First, the distance.
    The mildot formula that we use is :

    Size of object in inches times 27.77 divided by the mil reading.

    That would be 16 times 27.77 divided by 0.5 or 888 yards, pretty close to your 900 yard reading.

    In answer to your question about margin of error, I guess you could call that degree of accuracy - here goes.
    First, I think that the mildot system is not user-friendly. It takes detailed instruction and a lot of repetitious training to develope the ability to be accurate. We think in inches and maybe MOA, but not in frigging mils. Damn near as bad as metric.
    In a perfect world, the mildot reticle would have little hash marks between each dot indicating 1/10 mil readings. No such thing,,. you have to put them there mentally. I understand that really proficient guys can even cut those imaginery lines in half, therefore reading to half of one tenths, as in 1.25 mils. That is a skill acquired through a lot ot practice, I doubt if many hunters could do that.
    Biggest concerns are is that buck 16 inches or is he 17 inches thick, and is Joe's interpretation of a reading of 0.5mil right or is Pete's interpretation of 0.6 mil?

    Again, only experience will tell you. I felt that dots are very good out to 600 yards until we started practicing out to 850 and got nice consistent readings. Comes down to practice and experience. You can easily do the above math and switch some numbers to see the variations that occur.

    One great way to learn accurate use of the dots is to get a Mildot Master, and to use it for indicating exact mildot readings. Just look at the mildot reading rather than the distance reading. Laser a known size object so you know a distance, then the mildot master will instantly tell you what the correct mil reading is, then look through your scope to set that in your mind.
    Degree of accuracy? Not sure I can state what it is because it varies with the operator. I don't worry about it much anymore, I trust that my mil reading will be much better than my questimate - but not as accurate as my laser when it is working. Try to get comfortable with the process, get a mildot master and use it when your laser craps out. Only way to make the dots work for you is to spend literally days out practicing. We use both steel plates of varying dimensions and critter decoys that I have made charts of for basic dimensions. Takes a lot of practice but good to have in your back pocket. Plus it is a fun challenge.

    I believe that your MK4 16x is one of the finest long range scopes available, it will work perfectly for mil-ranging and long shooting. Long range blackbuck sounds like a great challenge, personally I would say that a 5-600 yard shot would be a dandy as they are such small critters.

    Wish you good luck on that hunt.
     
  6. David P. Herne

    David P. Herne Well-Known Member

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    Ian,
    You are most gracious for indulging my inquiry at such length. Indeed, the formula you use, relying on inches and the 27.77 constant, is better for ranging small(er) targets at great distances. And I assure you, I am not so complacent as to think that I can hit a Blackbuck antelope at > 600 yards armed with just the 'right' rifle and the 'right' mathematical formula. I will go into to this thing as prepared as possible.

    Incidentally, you will be flattered to know that I have been an attentive student of your thought/teaching on long range rifles and long range shooting for some time now. The rifle I have built and prepared (in terms of finding its best loads) for this type of hunting (rolling hills and open plains) was largely, if not wholly, inspired by you, sir. It's a .300 WSM - a cartridge that became part of my limited/exclusive repertoire after I read the research article you wrote for GUN WORLD over a year ago now. The subject rifle itself is built around a round class, single shot Nesika action, having a full length fiberglass (no silly, half-ass fills in the forearm or buttstock) McMillan A-2 and a 28" SS Krieger barrel. It's the most accurate of the 8 rifles I own and/or have owned, it's favorite load being a Lapua 167-grain Scenar in front of 64.5 grains of VV N550 (has shot a 10-round group with this recipe measuring 0.454"). By the way, this recipe is very, very fast - even for this cartridge - yielding a mean MV on 90+ degree days w/ 80% humidity and at sea level of 3325 fps!!! This should slow by over 100 fps, however, in the dry (10% humidity), cool (40-45 degrees) early mornings and evenings of West Texas in January, when I'm most likely to kill the pretty, little antelope from Western India.

    Oh yeah, and I intend to do something else between now and January as well. I'm gonna find out how tall the avg. Blackblack antelope is from the top of its shoulder to the hooves on its feet! It might just be right around 36" . . . a very convenient size for our purposes!!!

    Again, thank you, sir!

    Dave
     
  7. daveosok

    daveosok Guest

    Walk out to where your range finder maxes out and take readings beyond that to the 1000 yard mark. I have maps with all the ranges on them for where I hunt. I dont need a range finder anymore. I do still carry it and use it though but if I left it at home and forgot I have my handy little black book of distances.
     
  8. David P. Herne

    David P. Herne Well-Known Member

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    Dave,
    It's interesting you make such a suggestion. My outfitter practically demanded that I make my reservation for the subject hunt for 3 days, instead of the 1-2 day reservations made by the bulk of his customers. This way, he insisted, you can spend the entirety of the first day 'shopping' for wall-hangers and plotting all possible 'thorough-fares' down which you bullet will potentially fly to its victim.

    Regards,
    Dave
     
  9. texas

    texas Well-Known Member

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    Might not be a bad idea, but you should let him know that with the technology you have you wont need a full day. Sounds like he just wants more money [​IMG]
     
  10. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    ... or is equating the abilities of most of the guys on this forum with the avg. shooter.
     
  11. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Dave,
    Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate that a lot. Congratulations on building a fine rifle, it is a shooter but you are also doing very well to shoot with such fine accuracy! Interested to hear what scope you are using since you have such a superb rifle.

    If you would like to see some neat long range articles check out the current issue of Deer and Big Game Rifles, hate to blow my own horn but there is some nice info in some of the articles that you do not see often. I covered the idea of drawing simple field sketches and putting ranges of them, agree that this is a great hunting idea (borrowed from the tactical guys). I believe that there is a lot of info in that mag that has not been put into hunting mags, matter of fact I gave Len a plug for this forum in one of the articles.

    I was fortunate to hunt (cull is more correct) black buck does a while back, they were very challenging because of their size. Used in-lines out to 250 yards, very neat challenge. Meat is wonderful but did not last long. The bucks make a great trophy, beautiful animals. You are going to be well prepared and I wish you a great hunt - need a spottter? [​IMG]
     
  12. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    Ian, yes please let us know how to get a copy of that mag. with yuour article. Also any back issues about LR would be appreciated if you have a source.
     
  13. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    ss,
    That magazine is on the racks right now, it is a Harris publication and is put out annually. I have six articles in it, four are about long range and hunting, the other two are muzzleloader related.
    Hope you can locate it.
     
  14. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    Thks, i'll try