Shooting How Far?

Quintus

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Joined
Apr 15, 2013
Messages
623
I am fairly new to this site, but have been around a while and have watched the long range industry blossom. I have hunted in open spaces and mountains, woods and badlands. In the last 30, or really 15 years, equipment and components have come a long way as has the more average shooters understanding of exterior ballistics - Physics and the limitations of projectiles of any given construction. I have read scores of posts on several sites regarding cartridges and bullets being dropped from consideration because they were possibly marginally 'elk capable' at 800 or 1000 yards. Are there really that many of y'all shooting deer and elk at 800 to 1000 yards? I am not saying there is anything wrong with the concept, this is America. What I am wondering though is with variables like wind, humidity, elevation, temperature, mirage, shooting angle, field position, etc. how many guys are actually taking shots that long and if you are, what is the success rate? It can be difficult to find sign after a 200 yard walk to point of impact, I can't imagine trying to do it as the light fades from 1k. I am intrigued. What are your parameters when you approach a hunt with the possibility of a shot like this. Spotters, rangefinders, recording for replay? How do you approach a shot like that to ensure the game comes to bag?
 

swe123

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Oct 10, 2017
Messages
333
Location
Texas
I am fairly new to this site, but have been around a while and have watched the long range industry blossom. I have hunted in open spaces and mountains, woods and badlands. In the last 30, or really 15 years, equipment and components have come a long way as has the more average shooters understanding of exterior ballistics - Physics and the limitations of projectiles of any given construction. I have read scores of posts on several sites regarding cartridges and bullets being dropped from consideration because they were possibly marginally 'elk capable' at 800 or 1000 yards. Are there really that many of y'all shooting deer and elk at 800 to 1000 yards? I am not saying there is anything wrong with the concept, this is America. What I am wondering though is with variables like wind, humidity, elevation, temperature, mirage, shooting angle, field position, etc. how many guys are actually taking shots that long and if you are, what is the success rate? It can be difficult to find sign after a 200 yard walk to point of impact, I can't imagine trying to do it as the light fades from 1k. I am intrigued. What are your parameters when you approach a hunt with the possibility of a shot like this. Spotters, rangefinders, recording for replay? How do you approach a shot like that to ensure the game comes to bag?

Well, that should give the keyboard warriors something to chew on for the next week or so.
 

DUSTY NOGGIN

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Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
677
Location
salt lake city
chances are if you see an animal at that distance.. a real good chance you can get to within a hundred or 2 and still be undetected .. leave your guy with the telescope a the top and at radio and walk you right in

i just wanna know if you wound one at those distances. do you keep hunting ??
 

codyadams

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Joined
Jan 7, 2015
Messages
3,115
Location
Southwest Wyoming
In the last two years, my cousin, wife and myself have taken our elk at 713, 703, 710, and 816. 100% success rate, one got a second hit prior to going down, though it likely didn't need it. Another, though it had a good hit, traveled a ways and needed tracking due to poor bullet performance. All of them are on video. I video all my long range hunts, so that I can use them for reference if tracking is needed. Only had to use it once so far, the video of the elk that needed tracking was reviewed many times to determine shot placement, which we decided was within an inch or two of where we wanted it, but it still traveled a long ways. Many, many other deer and pronghorn (around 50ish) have been taken on hunts I have been on between 400 and 980 yards, all 100% success rate, never have lost an animal long range hunting.

I am now building a .338 Norma mag specifically for long range elk. I feel my custom .260 AI is fantastic for deer and pronghorn sized game, but elk, I have decided I want a little more thump.
 
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Elkeater

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Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
909
I’m set up to take shots out to my self imposed limit of 800 yards on game. Honestly the furthest I’ve ever actually shot anything was an elk at 404 yards. Last year antelope hunting we were all set to shoot out to 800 and I think the furthest shot on 7 antelope was like 240 yards. I think it’s probably a function of where I hunt and the terrain. I can usually see elk a long ways off but shot opportunities tend to be either at 1500+(too far for me) or around 300. My average shot distance of the last 5 elk I’ve killed has been 292 yards. I don’t purposely set up to take long range shots but I like knowing I have the capacity to make a long shot if needed.
 

the hunter

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Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
691
Location
mississippi
I am fairly new to this site, but have been around a while and have watched the long range industry blossom. I have hunted in open spaces and mountains, woods and badlands. In the last 30, or really 15 years, equipment and components have come a long way as has the more average shooters understanding of exterior ballistics - Physics and the limitations of projectiles of any given construction. I have read scores of posts on several sites regarding cartridges and bullets being dropped from consideration because they were possibly marginally 'elk capable' at 800 or 1000 yards. Are there really that many of y'all shooting deer and elk at 800 to 1000 yards? I am not saying there is anything wrong with the concept, this is America. What I am wondering though is with variables like wind, humidity, elevation, temperature, mirage, shooting angle, field position, etc. how many guys are actually taking shots that long and if you are, what is the success rate? It can be difficult to find sign after a 200 yard walk to point of impact, I can't imagine trying to do it as the light fades from 1k. I am intrigued. What are your parameters when you approach a hunt with the possibility of a shot like this. Spotters, rangefinders, recording for replay? How do you approach a shot like that to ensure the game comes to bag?
Bro, their is a guy on here who shot a squirrel at 1,300 yards with a .300 RUM.
 

Elkeater

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Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
909
Also forgot to mention my parameters. For me to take a shot over 500 yards the environmental conditions better be good. That means light wind or no wind, good light, and time to set up on a good rest. I prefer to have a spotter as well. This is just what I’m comfortable with.
 

d11r529

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Joined
Aug 7, 2010
Messages
101
Location
North Dakota
How far I shoot depends on the conditions of the day, how solid of shooting platform I can put together and how hard it will be to find the animal if it travels before going down. The buck in my avatar is a good example, 1032 yards, I couldn’t get closer, bench rest solid, less than 2 mph wind, fairly open area as he would have had to travel most of 1/2 mile to get into really thick hard to find him stuff and I practice to 1100 yards so felt confident in the shot.
 

YZ-80

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Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
1,147
Location
Maryland
Good post. I’ve often kind of wondered about these questions myself. My answers are “No” I’m not shooting deer or elk at 800-1000 yards. I am shooting deer at 375-400 and I think that’s a heluva long way and here in central MD I consider it Long Range. I used to max out at around 250 yards but then I got hunting privileges on a bigger farm and was able to reach out a bit more. That’s when I started to read up on what it takes to be accurate at “extended” ranges and it kind of coincided time-wise with my 6.5 x 47 acquisition. So, I started to pay attention to ES, neck tension, etc., and strived to keep all my shots less than .5 MOA vertical dispersion @ 300 (as far as I can shoot at my range).

My parameters for making a shot include knowing the range, having a stable prone shooting position (bi-pod) shooting mat, and decent glass with my dope card taped to my stock. Nothing fancy.

I’m intrigued by the prospect of shooting at longer distances and I like to read about it here. Truth be told, however, I’d be just as happy to “go out west” (like everybody says around here) and shoot an Elk or Mulie at 250 yards, hopefully someday with my son.
 

Greyfox

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Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
5,625
Location
Northeast
The OP’s question are very valid considerations for shooting at extended ranges. For about the last eight seasons I have operated with max range of 1000 yards. In reality, for 52 mule deer, whitetail, and antelope shot over this period, the average range for all game taken has been just shy of 500 yards. 11 animals have been shot between 800 and 1000(998) yards, (with one antelope shot at 1188 yards). I’m 100% on these extended shots, all were DRT, and taken with the help of a spotter. I will say that I have either passed or closed the distance on several times this number with game initially spotted at 800+ yards. I do believe in making a solid attempt to close the distance and have very high confidence on wind/conditions for opportunities at extended ranges. My average distance for all game shot is about 500 yards with my high confidence, LR sweet spot being between 500 and 700 yards. Ironically, my best of each species were initially spotted at +800 yards and stalked to under 500 yards. The big mulie(193 typical) in my avatar was spotted at 1002 yards but I could not get a clean shot at his vitals which were obstructed by brush. Ultimately shot him in the neck/spine at 200 yards after a 2 hour stalk, mostly on my belly at 15F temperature...ouch!! All but a few of these animals have been taken with the same rifle and load. Lots of practice on small rocks, coyotes, and PD’s at LR has paid off in spades. I compete(PRS,tactical,Egg Shoots) in the off season... to assist in my hunting/shooting skills...And constantly studying wind, IMO, the most critical factor for LR success.
 
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BallisticsGuy

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May 8, 2016
Messages
1,111
Location
Heck
I'm sure there are yahoos out there that don't know what they're doing and still try for long shots. That's a vital source of wounded and lost animals. If I wanted to take a shot at a coastal blacktail deer (we have these where I live and they're tiny) at 1000yrds, I just wouldn't. Not enough area to be confident in a good first round hit regardless of conditions. If it was an elk size animal, still no way unless I've got .338Lap level power on tap. I'm 100% certain I could get my first bullet inside the lower side of the chest cavity of an elk size animal at 1000yrds and that it'd die soon. I just would need to know that it'd die REALLY soon.

I know a lot of people that hunt at long range and never shoot animals at long distances. They usually find their critter under 200yrds away. They're hopeful optimists. I know a lot of people that go out with a .30-30 and angle for short and medium range shots. They're realists. My own experience is mostly of looking for ungulates 100-400 yards away and ending up within literal spitting distance to the animal and needing to either point-shoot it or let it wander a little farther off so I can see the whole thing in my scope and make a decent shot.
 

KyCarl

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May 10, 2017
Messages
1,872
Location
Petersburg Kentucky 41080
Those super long shots at game are outside my comfort zone so I don't.
Like a lot of guys my zone changes based on a lot of things?
But it's not out to 800 yards..
 

codyadams

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Joined
Jan 7, 2015
Messages
3,115
Location
Southwest Wyoming
I think a lot of it has to do with terrain. Here in Wyoming it's very open. The majority of the antelope we shoot are on flat open alfalfa fields and are does, and we shoot them from atop some bluffs that line the south end of the field. Shots can be as close as 250 if they are at the close edge of the field, but generally are 350 and farther. Shooting buck pronghorn, they are usually out in the plains. Flat sage or possibly rolling sage, with occasional bluffs, you can usually see miles from any given spot, and getting under 400 yards isn't always an option, at least not on one specific goat that you pick out.

As far as elk, I hunt high, and it is timber mixed with large openings, and I stay on mountain tops and glass, then work into place. Many times shots are across canyons or ravines, it's somewhat rare that you are in the same field with them. Many times we spot the animals we try to get in position for a shot from well over a mile away.

However, where my father in law lives in Arkansas, it is unlikely that you would even be able to see an animal from farther than 200-300 yards away, it is so densely wooded. Shots at 700+ are just not going to happen. Out where we hunt however, the average range we have been taking our game is just over 600 yards. We can take game closer, but the success rate is lower, and we often don't get the specific animal we are after. We have to settle for whichever elk shows it's vitals in the timber, vs being able to pick out the best bull in the herd, or pick out a yearling calf or a cow without a calf.

Another factor is also oportunity to practice. A 5 minute drive and I can set up targets over 2 miles away and shoot safely, thpugh the farthest I have practiced so far is a mile for fun. And wind is ALWAYS blowing here. 500 yards, even in decent winds (10-15 mph), is a relatively easy shot. My 12 year old niece took two of her 3 pronghorn this year in winds gusting from 13 to 18, at 350 and 430 yards, with perfect shot placement. But, if I never shot in winds like that, I would be mich more apprehensive to do so.
 

ATH

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Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
1,255
Location
Lizton, IN
I limit myself to 800 as well, but also use rifles others say are good to much further rather than one that is "just enough". Yes, one needs to factor recovery into the decision to take a shot. I have passed on shots I was fully capable of taking because it was too close to dark and I was not confident we could find the animal before leaving the field for the day and taking chance on predators/scavengers.

Things can look A LOT different from the position of the animal vs the shooter, so if you have more than one person hunting my method is to have the shooter stay put after the shot and keep their eye on the animal. Have another person go out and locate the animal. If it is hard to find the animal or sign, the shooter can use their rangefinder and hand signals to walk their partner into the shot location. Several times we've "walked the arc" like this at the range of the shot to find an animal in difficult terrain. Once my buddy shot a muley at 550 and we went out there and just could not find it. I went back to the shooting position and found where I thought it should be and guided him along an arc at the range and sure enough he found it only feet from where we had been looking, curled up in a depression we had walked right over 10 times.
 

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