need advice for first long range attempt


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2001
I love this site! This is a bit long, but please bear with me....


Getting prepared for a 400 (not long range for this board!) shot for late doe season here in NE. Will be my first shot of more than 175 yds for a deer.


I am an experienced handloader and prairie dog shooter. My batter includes a cooper 21VE in .223, a Ruger Varmint in 22-250 accurized by John Lewis at Carolina Precision, and a .257 Roberts AI built on a Sako long action with a 26" 1.25 diameter bbl., fluted, with 0 taper. the cooper is the most accurate, with a load of 27.5 gr. of H335 behind 40gr. BT's consistently under .4 inches at 100 yds. for 5 shots.

The ruger is a little less consistent, but a MOA gun. The .257 is a problem child, and the only load with good accuracy (better than MOA) is a 75gr VMAX even though the twist and throat were spec'd out for the 100gr. BT.

All guns have Leupold 6.5-20 Target scopes.


with the 22-250, even with the Barnes 53gr. XCL FB I am worried about low down range energy and wind drift.

with the 75 gr. V-max I'm leery of the bullet construction.

My other choice is a plane jane Ruger 77 in .270. Only accuracy is a 2.5 lb crisp trigger. It's accuracy is OK--3 shot groups around 1 to 1.2 inches at 100 yds with factory ammo. I have some 130 grain BT's, some 140 gr. Hornady SPBT's, and some 130gr SST's in inventory I could work up loads for. I've never handloaded for this gun because it has been plenty accurate with factory stuff for the typical deer ranges.

The setup will be a prone shot with a Harris Bi-Pod. I will be in the back of my Suburban with tailgate down (staying warm!).

My shot will be North to South, which means on most days no crosswind. I will only attempt shots on day with less than 10MPH winds. I use a laser range finder.

SOOOOOO, after all that, what advice would you guys have for me? Besides build a 6.5-284, which might be down the road...

Thanks all you long range gurus!

[ 12-21-2001: Message edited by: rogerinneb ]
Rogerinneb.What I would do if I were you and were shooting under 500 yard's.Is to work up a good load for your 270 with the SST's.Make a good drop chart and go get some deer.The 270 should do quite well at that range.If you plan to shoot farther I would invest in a bigger caliber.A buddy of mine killed a big doe with my Sendero in 300 Rum this year at 728 yard's and she might just as well been hit by a Mack truck.I'm sure Darryl or somebody else will add some idea's too.This is a good place to learn.

[ 12-21-2001: Message edited by: Boyd Heaton ]
Your 257 AI with 120 grainers would have enough out to 5 or even 600 hundred if you could get it shooting.
The 270 would be even better. The 130 SST would be a good one to start with. At 400 yards, even if you can only group 6 inches, that is plenty good enough for a whitetail.
Merry Christmas

I've loaded up some test loads with the SSTs for the 270 tonight. I'll check them for accuracy tomorrow and then work out some approximate elevation numbers based on the velocity data.

If all goes well, then...

I have mounted a full size deer target on a piece of plywood and will do a full blown practice session at the actual hunting spot. I'll be able to let it sit for over 10 days before the late doe season starts.

I'll be very interested to compare "real world" drop compared to the software apps. and charts!

Ho Ho Ho!


Thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately the wind is steady at 20mph today with gusts up to 30. So no shooting today. Tomorrow's forecast looks better.

Speaking of forecasts, here is a website that forecasts wind direction and velocity for 4 times each day out about 36 hours into the future.

This is for North Platte, don't know just where you are in NE. (windcast)
Don't worry about calibers, just get yourself prepared and go do it. Confidence is a major factor, sounds like you will be more than able to make your shot. After you have heard the boom (rifle discharge), pause (bullet flight time) and whack (as the bullet does its job) you will be hooked and will never look back. Relish every moment!

Look forward to hearing about your hunt. Good luck and have fun.
I'd go with the 270win and 130gr SST's. However, out to 400yds or so I would prefer the extra comfort of a 7mag or 300mag.
Best advice I can give is to range test your load at the longest possible range around (up to 400yd). One thing you learn fast is that 1" @ 100yds only equates to 4" @ 400yds in a book! To really know what to expect from a cartridge at 400yds, you have to shoot it at 400yds.
I have been shooting my old 270 this year as I sold my first long-range gun and I am waiting for my new one to be built. It grouped so well with factory ammo (under 1/2")that I started working on taking game at the 300yd marker. I was using the Fed load with the Sierra 150G Gameking and so far I have been very unimpressed with this bullet. I have killed 2 deer this year, both heart-lung shots, one at 310yds and the other at 100yds.
The 310 hit a rib and left many bullet fragments on the entrance skin and took out 3 ribs on the exit. The close one was identicle only no fragments found. Both died instantly but should'nt this bullet have stayed together better?
What would expect different from the SST's?
Thanks all
It's hard to find fault with a bullet that expands well, penetrates the vitals, exits the opposite side and kills dead. I've seen much worse performance.
My only complaint with the Sierra Gamekings that I've used on whitetails was jacket/core separation. I won't complain too much because all the deer made it to the freezer.
As for the SST, it shoots exceptionally well from my rifle and is SAID to be constructed a little stronger then a Nosler Ballistic Tip of similiar weight. I have only shot them at paper so far. With the same load, both bullets will shoot about .30" from my 7STW.

Today I went shooting. I put a Hoppes full size deer target on a plywood board (I attached the plywood to a real-estate sign frame, worked well!). I placed it at 400 yards.

If you recall, my idea is to shoot prone from the back of my Suburban with the tailgate down so I can stay warm during the late doe season.

I positioned the Suburban along a line of brush/weeds that separates two crop fields. The distance was 410 yards.

I haven't had too much time to work up the perfect load for the SST's, but a load of 53grains of IMR4350 with a Fed 210M primer yielded about 1.2 inches at 100. Jumping to 54 grains opened things up a bit so I left well enough alone. I hope to see if a max load of 55 grains shoots. I know this isn't great accuracy but we are talking about a stock Ruger 77 here. velocity was 2780. I wished the hotter load would have grouped because the velocity isn't great, but what the heck.

Anyway, my first three shots were dead on elevation wise. one was within .25 inch of the aiming point (the center heart zone on the target)! Another was a lung shot about 4 inches from the first. Unfortunately, the third shot was about 7 inches right of the aiming point. That shot would have been behind the lung area and not likely to a "classic vital zone" kill.

Generally, three shot groups were around 7 inches. Not great, but it was interesting. The wind was a brisk 15mph from the NW. I was shooting dead North to South so I had a quartering wind, which my software indicated would result in 6 inches of drift which did work out.

At any rate, it was a very interesting experiment. I'd like to say it was a no brainer and I could have kept the shots in a six inch circle all day long, but hey, it's the real world.

My yardage is to the furthest edge of picked soybean field against a tree line. My experience is that the deer wander out a good 50 yards into the field at first light. I'm pretty confident that I can ethically make a clean kill at 350 based on my practice session today at 410 yards.

Thoughts from the Gurus?

P.S. I'll try and post some pics. tomorrow.
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