What do you guys think?

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Ian M, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Len and I have been discussing the idea of putting some short articles pertaining to LR and shooting on the site. Possibly in a separate location. I know that Darryl and others have written some interesting material.

    Here is a piece from a column that I write. Perhaps you long-rangers could give Len some feedback if you think a few longer pieces would be worth adding to the site.

    The following was written with tongue-in-cheek, intended for much less sophisticated shooters than you guys - but...

    "How do they do it? How can this ammo shoot so well? Box after box, year after year - how does this ammo manage to always shoot such tight groups? Can handloads match this performance?"

    Those questions never fail to run through my mind after I see a sub half-minute group shot with factory ammo. Sub half-minute means that five bullets must shoot into a group measuring less than one half of an inch at one-hundred yards. That is not a big circle. Factory ammo will do that you say! Not the stuff you buy at the local Walmart store, that's for sure. We will discuss this magic ammo in a moment.

    Here is a controversial statement that many reloaders will not like to hear - I seriously doubt that the average handloader can produce reloads that will shoot one-half minute groups. I am not talking occasionally, I am talking consistent one-half minute accuracy. This is a tall order. It is one that I am not sure that I can fill despite the fact that I have been reloading for a long time, have good equipment and know all the latest tricks. There are benchresters who beat this accuracy standard by a huge margin, but I am talking about the average reloader.

    Before I get into this, I should make a couple of other statements about one-half minute accuracy. For many years the magic "one minute of angle" (MOA) or one inch group at one hundred yards was the standard of accuracy for hunters and shooters. It seemed that everyone at the range could shoot one inch groups regardless of their personal skill, the quality of their equipment and last but not least, their ammo. Individuals who hadn't shot "old Betsy" since the previous hunting season generally report that they went to the range and shot a one-inch group, so they are sighted in and ready.

    With the new millennium the average "gunshop-group" has shrunk to one-half inch, and many guys are talking much smaller than that. No doubt you have heard the talk, either at the range or at your local gunshop. Some guys just don't shoot groups that exceed one-half inch and that is with magnums, pump rifles and probably spears. That must be nice! Something bothers me about this. Talking about shooting such small groups infers that the shooter has the skill, his rifle has the accuracy potential and his ammo will shoot bugholes all day long. What am I doing wrong?

    Without arguing about the difficulty of shooting one-half minute (as in damn fine shooting skills) or about having a rifle that will put five into "point-five", I seriously wonder where these guys are getting their ammo. I get to shoot a wide variety of factory ammo and know what to expect. I only know of one type of factory ammo that WILL shoot into one-half minute. Match ammo, pure and simple. Few shooters get to experience just how good factory match ammo is, so I will describe my experiences with the "good stuff" from Federal, Winchester, Hornady and Black Hills Ammo.

    Factory match ammo is not loaded in many calibers since the primary users are the military and law enforcement agencies. Serious target shooters also burn up a lot of it. These guys mostly shoot .308 Winchester rifles and they also use .223 Remington's and the big .300 Winchester magnum. The .308 Winchester is by far the main caliber loaded to "match" quality. Bullet weights in the .308 Winchester range from 155 grains to 175 grains, usually Sierra hollow-point boat tails are used. Match ammo is always loaded with hollow-point boat tail bullets, the 53 and 55 grain in the .223 Remington and the big 190 grain in the .300 Win. mag. Obviously hollow-point boat-tailed bullets are the most accurate design on the market.

    How good is match ammo compared to premium or standard grade factory loads? Let's just say that some rifles will shoot factory hunting ammo into groups that are less than an inch at one hundred yards, but that is truly exceptional performance. Run of the mill factory ammo from Federal, Winchester and Remington is reliable and shoots well enough in a broad range of firearms. I regularly approach one MOA, but two to three MOA is more likely. The more expensive premium lines of ammo will usually deliver slightly better accuracy, regularly shooting right at one MOA. This ammo offers significantly better bullet performance on game since they feature some of the best bullet designs available including Trophy Bonded, FailSafe, Nosler Partitions and Swift A-Frames and Sciroccos.

    Match ammo, available from Federal, Winchester, Remington, Norma, Lapua and Black Hills Ammo is significantly more accurate since it is loaded with the most precision that each company can deliver. The best components, most experienced operating personnel and rigid quality control are standard. Special techniques that even the most meticulous handloaders cannot employ make this ammo very uniform, accurate and expensive. An example of the above is the fact that Federal seats primers while the priming compound is still moist, thus avoiding crushing the compound and changing its performance. Not a big deal you might say, but attention to such details results in superior ammunition.

    I have watched Black Hills Ammo employees check and recheck the accuracy of their assigned reloading machines, then a supervisor comes along and repeats the same checks, not once but twice. Attention to the smallest detail requires that EVERY primer is checked before it is seated, I doubt that many handloaders go to that bother.

    Just how good is factory match ammo. Let's start with Federal Gold Medal since it sets the standard that the other brands must meet. From top quality rifles, shot by expert marksmen, this ammo will average well under one half inch groups at one hundred yards. I have seen groups in the "twos" occasionally, that is five shots into two-tenth of an inch! Federal match ammo is the most amazing product in the ammo field, it shoots so accurately, so consistently that it must be used to be appreciated. Shooters who use a lot of Gold Medal report that there are "hot" lots and some lots that are just plain good. Just plain good lots still shoot into 1/2 inch!

    Another brand of match ammo that I have used a lot is the relatively new Winchester Competition Supreme. Loaded with Nosler 168 grain match bullets, this ammo will shoot into one half minute with ease. Winchester is making some of the best factory hunting ammo on the market, and their match grade ammo is superb. I have shot a lot of Winchester match ammo at long range, even out past 1000 yards. We shoot at a life sized steel buffalo set up at 1100 yards and I have placed some nice groups on the shoulder area with this ammo. Winchester's match ammo is very consistent and reliable.

    A brand that is setting records and getting a lot of serious use is Black Hills Ammo. This match ammo is made by a bunch of dedicated accuracy fanatics down in Rapid City. In only a few years they have captured some of the most prestigious matches in centerfire competition. When the U.S. army and Marine Corps rifle teams start shooting your match ammo you are playing with the big boys. BHA ammo is capable of winning on a consistent basis.

    During a recent visit to the BHA factory we were invited to shoot a variety of calibers through some superb target rifles. Jeff Hoffman, owner of BHA has an excellent range with targets placed from 600 to 900 yards. Shooting various .308's, .300 Win mags and the superb little 6.5-284 we had no problem ringing the steel. I placed 20 consecutive shots into a foot square group at 800 yards with Jeff's .308 Winchester Robar tactical rifle. The excellent rifle and ammo made hitting the military-style silhouette easy. We had virtually no wind and the weather was cool enough that the barrels did not heat badly, perfect shooting conditions.

    The fact is that very few shooters ever try factory match ammo. If you want to find out just how accurate you and your .308 Winchester, .223 Remington or .300 Winchester magnum can shoot, buy a box and put it to the test. I am willing to bet that it will significantly out-shoot any other factory ammo, and probably your reloads.
  2. rlipson

    rlipson Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2001

    This is great stuff. I sure can't find all those folks getting sub MOA groups with stock hunting rigs when I go to the range. Just go over to Saaed's site and read the reloading forum threads and you'll find post after post about such guns...I hate to be a skeptic, but....

    I have one honest bug hole machine, a Cooper VE21 in .223 with a 1 in 14 inch twist. 27.5 gr. of H335 and match primers behind a Danzac coated 40 Nosler BT is the magic load. I have a target on my safe door that has a .221 inch cloverleaf that represents five shots at 100yds. This involves a Bald Eagle windage top front rest and a bunny ear rear rest. I can honestly say that it is a consistent sub MOA rifle and on a good day 1/2 MOA. I have two other rifles that have sub moa potential, but cannot do it consistently like the Cooper. It has been a humbling experience to get rifles to this level of accuracy. It makes me cherish a truly accurate, consistent gun. As you know from my other posts that I'm in the market for a super accurate 6.5x284 for long range deer hunting. A new project is always SO exciting!

    R [​IMG]
  3. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Good reading Ian.

    I haven't used much Black Hills 308 but have used a lot of Federal.

    I personally think I'd enjoy having various articles here on the website. I enjoy reading long range articles but don't particularly care to spend time in lines at the supermarket to pay for a magazine and then have to search through the ads and jibberish looking for the one article on Long Range shooting.

    It'd sure be a lot nicer to read them from a consolidated lot on the website.

    [ 01-10-2002: Message edited by: Dave King ]
  4. jhendri2

    jhendri2 Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2001
    This is an article I wrote for Varmint Hunter, it hasn't been published yet, but here is a preview....hope you enjoy it.

    Magnum Varmint Rifles?!?!

    By Jim Hendrickson

    There has been a lot of talk about magnums these days, good and bad. Most of the proponents claim better killing power at longer ranges and quote enough foot-pounds of energy to penetrate a tank. The opponents of the magnums claim overkill and all of the power they generate is not necessary. Well, I guess it’s time for me to put in my two cents worth.

    First, let me say I like magnum and standard calibers alike. I like them all because all of them are fun to shoot. I enjoy the magnums more because I think the power they generate makes it more fun. I forgot who said this but it is so true, “You can go to the range and shoot a brick of 22’s or shoot 10 magnum rounds have an equal amount of fun.” I don’t go around quoting foot-pounds of energy or other nonsense (though I do study it and know what all of my rifle are capable of, not just the magnums). The point is there is no such thing as overkill. I have to as of yet “overkill” anything (at least none of the animals I shot told me so). I always say “dead is dead, there aren’t varying degrees of it.” Some of the magnum opponent’s claim the magnums tear up more meat. Well this may be true but who cares when your varmint hunting. While on the subject of tearing up too much meat on deer size game and larger, let me ask all of those opponents “Do you eat the rib meat? Do you make steak out of the shoulders, or do you grind it for sausage and hamburger?” If you answer these questions the way most hunters do, then who cares how much meat is destroyed, most of us make hamburger or sausage anyway, so what if you waste a few more ounces. Time to get off my soapbox and back to the subject.

    My brother Joseph Knotts and I normally partake on a yearly hunting trip. Whether it’s Jackrabbits, Ducks, Hogs, Groundhogs, or whatever happens to be of interest to us that year. Well we decided on a jackrabbit/hog hunt at the Rio Bonito Ranch a while back. I decided to bring my 7 STW and my 330 Dakota, while Joseph brought his 308 Winchester and 338 Lapua (more on the rifles later). The 33’s were brought in hopes of getting a shot at a hog or two but as luck and the hunting gods would have it we were skunked on them. But did we ever make up for it on the jackrabbits and raccoons. The hunting in Texas is done “safari style”. Basically this means you ride around in a custom truck with a back seat set higher than the cab. The guide holds a spotlight shining the fields. It is a pretty easy and fun way to attack varmints.

    On the first night of the rabbit hunt, it was quite cool and breezy, so Joseph and I bundled up grabbed the rifles. I brought the STW and he brought his 308. Joseph got the first shot with his 308 and dispatched the unlucky rabbit with authority. Well, the next shot was mine. I had loaded the STW with Sierra 120-grain Varminter bullets going around 3700 fps. With the rifles initial crack, I found out why the bullets were called Varminters. The rabbit looked as if a grenade had detonated in his chest. It was an amazing kill. We went on the alternate shot schedule all night and preceded to wipe out 20 of those grass munchers. Never had we had so much fun as when that STW let out it’s loud bark.

    The next day my brother and I were sitting around the lodge discussing the plan for that nights jack hunt. He had made up his mind to bring the 338 Lapua instead of the 308 to see what it would do to a jack. Well, the guide rolled up in our truck, but there were noticeably more people in the truck when he arrived. I asked the guide what the heck was going on, he replied that he told the story of the STW to the other guides and they had to come along to actually see the devastation in real life. What a night this would be. A weather front was rolling in; so all the critters were out feeding, getting ready to bed down when the storms came. As luck would have it, it was my turn to shoot first that night. We rolled up on an old abandoned barn when the guide spotted a big jack at approximately 40 yards. He stopped the truck and verified it was ok to shoot toward the barn. I rested the rifle on the roll bar and slowly squeezed the trigger. At the crack of the gun I knew the results had been what everyone had expected, because all I heard after that was giant laughter coming from the cab of the truck. The rabbit had been obliterated and left a huge blood splatter on that poor barn.

    The next shot of the night was kind of different, but has a great story. My brother had readied his Lapua (we only loaded one round and only when it was our turn to shoot). The guide(s) had noticed a pair of eyes glowing in an old woodpile; only the animal didn’t look quite like a jack. Reason being, it was a large male raccoon. My brother took careful aim with that big Lapua and let the round fly. His loading was a 180 grain Nosler ballistic tip traveling at 3450 fps. We saw the raccoon flip about 4 feet in the air, but Joseph didn’t due to the recoil. He went off to retrieve his raccoon as the guide left the light on so he could see where it was. Well the raccoon’s eyes were still glowing in the light, which led Joseph to believe the animal may still be alive, so he picked up a stick and started poking the dead raccoon with stick “just to make sure.” Well, he has never lived that one down. Shoot a raccoon with a 338 and have to poke just to make sure it died, this was too much for a sibling who also has a twisted sense of humor. After he brought it back to the truck, we noticed it had been completely eviscerated. Which led to Joseph getting an even harder time, now we have an eviscerated raccoon shot by a 338 Lapua, which he had to poke with a stick to make sure it was dead. Sorry Joseph just had to tell the story again. This was an amazing night of jack hunting until the storm rolled in.

    The last night of the hunt went well but was pretty uneventful except for the porcupine. At about 200 yards our guide had spotted a rather large porcupine in a wooded thicket. The reason our rancher hated porcupines was the damage these rascals do to their trees, by stripping the bark from them. So it was imperative for us to take out this little sucker or suffer the wrath of the ranch owner (just kidding, she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet). I was up for the shot and missed this slow moving target. I felt kind of bad until the porcupine reversed direction and my brother had the same shot only in the opposite direction and missed. The porcupine reversed direction again (sort of like a live shooting gallery) I shot and flattened it. As we examined the porcupine we found no massive destruction. The biggest thing we found was this little critter stunk worse than a Diane Feinstein law.

    It’s time now for a little examination of the rifles. The first is the 7 STW, the rifle is a rebarrelled Winchester Model 70 Laredo with a Blackstar #12 HV barrel, wearing a Burris 8-32X scope. The total weight on this rig is about 17 pounds. Meant for long range target shooting but works well on varmints too. The 330 Dakota is a factory Dakota model 76. My brother’s rifles were a Sako TRG-S 338 Lapua with a KDF style muzzle break wearing a Burris 6-24X scope (we bought a pair of these rifles and got consecutively serial numbers, hmm…nothing says brotherly love like consecutively serial numbered 338 Lapua’s). The last rifle used on the hunt was Joseph’s 308 which is a Remington Varmint Synthetic. This rifle is quite nice since he had the barrel cut down to 20 inches and fluted. This combo makes for a very nice handling rifle. Too bad it’s left-handed or we would have to try some family procurement on that one.

    So can you use a magnum to varmint hunt with? Of course! Though it is more expensive and takes a toll on your shoulder after a while (though if set-up for varminting or long range shooting the recoil can be cut considerably). If you have a magnum deer rifle, take it out sometime and shoot some ‘chucks or jacks for some practice. I think you’ll become addicted.
  5. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Thank you for an enjoyable read. You guys provided the coyotes some very tenderized meat.

    I have only hunted from a high-rack truck once, it is a unique experience. Hunted on a Texas ranch this year where they were not permitted because someone somewhere got hurt really bad, fell out or the truck tipped or something - big liability concerns.
  6. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Here is one more, then I will give it a rest for while.

    Through your scope you can see the huge buck tense his body as he swings his head in your direction. Ears erect, nostrils flared, he is taking that last look before he lunges into heavy cover. He is farther than any critter that you have had a chance to kill. Panic swells in your mind as you wonder where to place the crosshairs. Then a black thought pushes away the indecision - you have no right to pull the trigger because you don't know where to hold for a clean kill. As the crosshairs wobble he swings his huge rack and is gone. Deep inside you know you made the right decision but…

    With a sad heart you slowly pace the distance to where he stood. You want to know just how far away that buck really was in order to justify your passing on him. Maybe you also want to know that he was not as far away as he looked. Four hundred and thirty paces gets you to his tracks. Since you know that your pace is less than a yard you call it four hundred yards. Too far, but was it? You had the time to make a shot, you simply did not know how.

    Another year, another huge buck. You have been sitting in a ground-blind for over six hours. You know that an active scrape line crosses the old logging trail you are watching. Before dawn you placed a doe decoy near a scrape and doped it with fresh "hot-doe" scent. The decoy is standing at two hundred and thirty yards but you can see at least three hundred yards further down the old trail. The only decent spot to hide is in a slight bend in the trail. Otherwise you cannot see the decoy or active trail because of dips in the terrain. You would like to have been closer but there was not much choice, so you opted for the long shot.

    Shadows start to work their way across the trail. Suddenly you are aware of a highlight in a shadow patch some distance down the trail behind the decoy. You slowly bring your binocs to bear, and instantly catch a tiny movement as a huge whitetail buck twitches an ear. The entire animal leaps into focus and you wonder how long he has been standing there. After a brief look at the huge rack you note that the buck is only a few yards from a large grey stump that had earlier caught your attention. Since you had lasered the distance to that stump you know how far out the buck is standing.

    Slowly placing the binocs down, you glance at the sketch that you had drawn in your little field note-book when you got settled in the blind. The drawing confirms that the stump is four hundred and ten yards away so you quickly check a drop chart and decide that you will need seven and one-half minutes of elevation for a four-hundred yard shot. You turn the elevation turret, watching for the seven minute mark and add two clicks. You decide that wind is not a factor as you find the buck in the field of view. With complete confidence that the bullet will hit within inches of your point of aim you slowly tighten the trigger.

    Two four-hundred yard shooting opportunities with the same shooter and equipment. The difference is that the second opportunity occurred after the shooter had gained two important ingredients for success - skill and knowledge. Long range shooting SKILL and the KNOWLEDGE required are not easy to obtain these days as few hunters shoot as much as they would like, nor do they have access to suitable places to shoot long.

    Fortunately there is an excellent way to learn the basics of long range shooting - several tactical training facilities throughout the country are offering special courses for hunters and target shooters. Before you get excited about the term "tactical training" you should understand that although these courses are derived from military long range instruction, they are not intended to be military training. Hunting and the "black art" of sniping share a common objective, the accurate placement of a single shot into a vital area of the target. The ability to place that shot is stressed in the training, and believe me, there is a lot of knowledge to gain before the skills start to develop.

    I have been fortunate to take a couple of long range shooting courses in the past several months. How worthwhile are they? Let's just say that every student I met was completely satisfied with their experience and most have returned a second time to further polish their abilities. There are two types of courses offered, basic long range shooting instruction and long range shooting training for hunters. The first style of course is more military based, focusing on sniper-style basic instruction. The second course is oriented more to the needs of hunters, with the primary difference being that shooting is restricted to six hundred yards. Let's look at each type of course and what is offered in them.

    Most basic long range shooting courses key on marksmanship, wind and mirage reading, firearms maintenance, shooting positions, optics and the many factors that effect accuracy and shot placement. Students learn to use the Mil-dot system that is employed by the military so Mil-dot equipped scopes are pretty well essential. Mil-dots are a wonderful hunting tool when they have been mastered. They provide accurate distance readings without concern about battery life and/or weather conditions that hamper the ability of laser rangefinders. They do require the use of mathematics although there is a great little device called a MILDOT MASTER that essentially eliminates the need for a pocket calculator or pen and paper. Mil-dots also necessitate that the user has knowledge of the size of the target being ranged, so hunters must make an effort to learn certain body dimensions of the critters that they are seeking.

    Another military based tool that is stressed is the data book. Most hunters are not accustomed to keeping detailed records of our shooting - certainly not a record of every shot fired. The military has learned that this is a necessity for snipers, so that they can eliminate as many variables as possible as they decide how to set their scope for a long shot. I found that the data book instruction was surprisingly useful and I have since used it in my hunting. Obviously the "data" required includes zeros at various distances with whatever rifle, scope and ammo combination that you are shooting. Techniques for drawing field sketches showing lasered distances of key landmarks observed from your blind or shooting position are also taught. I use this idea every time that I set-up in a blind overlooking a long range shooting location. The little drawings provide a huge amount of confidence as I can instantly determine how far away critters are when they show up.

    Long range instruction keys on wind reading - there is a saying that "the wind owns the bullet". Since bullet drop is relatively easy to determine, wind drift is the biggest challenge that the long range shooter must face. Instruction includes nifty methods of determining wind velocity and the effects that wind direction has on bullet flight. Again the dreaded MATH enters the game, but there are simplified charts and easily remembered "dope" to apply when shooting in wind. The use of mirage as a wind indicator is also explained, although there is only one way to learn to read mirage and that is through experience. If range flags are present instruction on determining wind strength and direction will also be covered.

    These courses have quite a lot of classroom time before hitting the range. When the students do get on the range the first thing that they do is determine their one-hundred yard zero. Then they progress down-range, determining the essential zero information for whatever distances are offered, usually out to 1000 yards. Students do a lot of shooting, during which they will be assisted by the instructors and tutored if they have problems. Specialised shooting, as at moving targets and from elevation will probably also be tried. During their time on the range students must adhere to strict safe firearms handling rules and they also are expected to utilise a unique "dialog" to ensure perfect communication with their shooting partner.

    The objective of the long range hunter's course is to extend the shooting ability of the average participant so that he can take full advantage of the capability of his rifle/scope/ammo combination. This probably means that the participant will increase his field shooting ability from two-fifty to three hundred yards out to five to six hundred yards. The long range hunter's course is quite similar to the other course but with more emphasis on meshing the shooting instruction with hunting requisites. Classroom time is somewhat shorter, although most of the basic long range training is covered. A key point is that scopes must be properly focused and adjusted for parallax so the proper method is shown. Most hunters arrive itching to shoot, so the instruction is continued on the range. Mil-dot ranging is taught by field instruction and since most hunters do not have Mil-dot scopes a method to use duplex reticles for Mil-ing is taught. Animal targets and life-sized decoys are used for Mil-dot instruction rather than human silhouettes.

    Since marksmanship is essential to long range accuracy the students are drilled on breathing, trigger control, body position, cheek weld and other basics. Shooting from treestands and other elevated positions is practised. Shooting at moving targets is also taught and practised as this is a key element for some types of hunting. While the students are shooting they are encouraged to keep good notes on their scope settings and windage corrections. This accumulated information and knowledge will be useful in the future.

    I recently attended a unique long range hunter's course put on by Bobby Whittington and Steve Suttles at the Badlands Tactical Training Center in Grandfield Oklahoma. A group of students gathered to premiere the new hunter's course and to provide feed-back to the instructors. Participants ranged from hunters who had never shot long in their life to law enforcement trainers who teach SWAT snipers. The class size was kept small, only three pairs of students so that the instructors could spend a maximum amount of time with individuals.

    Randy Brooks, co-owner of Barnes Bullets and his daughter Jessica Treu partnered on the course and the progress that they made was very impressive. Neither person had shot long under field conditions, with the exception of Randy's recent 540 yard shot on a Marco Polo ram in Russia. Randy admitted that although he had practised with his .300 Weatherby to that distance he was pretty apprehensive about the distance of the shot. The "Barnes Folk" came to learn and they had their eyes opened during their visit to the Badlands. Randy and Jessica asked a lot of questions as they learned the Mil-dot system, wind measuring parameters, mirage reading and details of precision marksmanship.

    Bobby and Steve covered a lot of material in their lectures using a variety of visual aides, handouts and hands-on demonstrations. Steve's son Eric, a wildlife biologist by trade, did an excellent presentation on whitetail deer management. Although the classroom instruction was top-notch, by the end of the first day everyone needed to get outside into the warm Oklahoma sun. We drove out to Bobby's 1000 yard range and spent a couple of hours confirming zeros and "warming up" for the coming days. Since my partner Richard Poaps and I had arrived a couple of days in advance we already had our zeros. We let Jessica and Randy clang some bullets off the 1000 yard gongs - just to whet their appetite.

    The next morning we finished the classroom instruction and headed out to a huge pasture and spent a couple of hours on our bellies, ranging a bunch of targets with our Mil-dot scopes. With repetition the accuracy of our readings improved significantly to the point that we were ready to use the Mil-dots on the range. After lunch we returned to the big range and combined Mil-ranging with zeroing our rifles and a new complication, reading the wind. As distances started to get longer the wind became a significant factor and Bobby and Steve coached the shooters who were having difficulties.

    George Gardner and Marty Bordson from Kansas City were shooting an assortment of long range rifles that ranged from an accurized semi-automatic AR-10 in .260 Remington to three different custom rifles chambered for the mighty .338 Lapua. Randy and Jessica were shooting a pair of Savage Tacticals in .308 Winchester and Richard and I had an assortment of .308's and .300 Winchester magnums. In total the six participants had no less than nineteen long range rifles plus my little out of the box Sako 75 in .300 Winchester magnum. Although most of the rifles had been rebuilt, actions included Winchester M-70, Remington M-700 and 40X, CZ-550 Rigby, CZ-700 M1, Savage 110, H-S Precision, Dakota Arms, Accuracy International and the Sako 75.

    Optics ranged from Unertle, U.S. Optics, Nightforce, Schmidt and Bender, Swarovski, Kahles, Leupold, Redfield, Bushnell all the way to a sharp little 3x-9x Cabela's scope that was equipped with a rangefinder reticle. Virtually all of the scopes were mounted in Marty Bordson's Badger Ordnance rings and bases. Badger Ordnance mounts are setting the standard for precision and ruggedness and they have become a favourite with the tactical crowd.

    During the ensuring shooting we practised Mil-ranging decoys, shooting from a ladder-stand and shooting from the big tower. We used a variety of positions although most serious shooting was done from a low prone with the rifle supported by a Harris bipod. We used small sandbags or "sandsocks" under the toe of the butt for elevation changes. All shooting was carried out in pairs, one person on the gun and the other spotting. Naturally we took turns as spotter and shooter and the days passed too quickly.

    What is the value of such a course? Jessica Treu hit it on the head when she told me, "The best thing that I got out of the course was confidence. They taught me to hit targets that I would not have believed possible. When five hundred yards starts to become - easy, you have learned a lot about long range shooting!" Anyone who is serious about long range shooting and hunting should make an effort to attend a shooting class. Going back to school to learn to shoot long is well worth the effort. When the shot of a lifetime comes you might have to tell yourself to "Send it!", but you will be confident that the bullet will go exactly where you aimed.

    The MILDOT MASTER is available direct from Bruce Robinson by contacting him at MILDOT ENTERPRISES, P.O. Box 1535, Los Lunas, New Mexico, 87031. His phone number is (505) 565-0760, web site is www.mildot.com.

    The Badlands Tactical Training Center in Grandfield, Oklahoma offers courses on long range shooting for hunters, target shooters and law-enforcement personnel. Badlands training covers basic marksmanship skills and keys on fundamentals such as accurately correcting for wind, reading and understanding mirage, light changes, shooting at angles, firearms maintenance, and the use of the Mil-dot reticle system for range estimation. The objective of the training is to extend each student's confidence zone to the maximum potential of his equipment. The four-day course is very reasonably priced and guaranteed to improve your shooting skills. Check out www.snipernet.net, or call Bobby Whittington at (580-479-5559). Bobby can also be contacted by mail at:
    Bobby Whittington
    Badlands Tactical Training
    Rt. 1 Box 530
    Grandfield, OK
  7. Charles A

    Charles A Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2001
    You guys are the best. I think everybody here would really enjoy to have a section for LR articles.Its just impossable to find a magezine that consistantly has LR reading. [​IMG]
  8. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

    May 2, 2001
    Some days on this site I just feel like a little kid in a candy store---and I own the candy store so no one can make me go home.

    Thanks, Ian and Jim!
  9. Nicholas

    Nicholas Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2001
    I agree, that is a great idea, reading long-range shooting stories is my favorite passtime.
  10. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Len, here is one more piece of "candy":
    Ian McMurchy

    The topic of shooting at game animals at long range is controversial. There are two extremes: "no way, under any circumstance", and "why not kill at the longest distance that your rifle, ammo and personal skill can handle". If you are adamantly in the first group, you might as well skip to the next article because I am about to cover this topic in detail, discussing the realities of long range shooting as they are today.

    I have been researching this subject for two years, talking to hundreds of hunters throughout the U.S. and Canada. My discussions have been in hunting camps, at rifle ranges, in gun-shops, on aircraft, and about anywhere that I can generate some opinions. I have also contacted some special individuals whose wisdom I respect, who have unique perspectives on hunting and shooting. As my information base has increased I have noted a change in my own attitude toward this topic.

    Truth is, I am somewhat pessimistic about the average hunter's ability and interest in shooting at long range. The bottom line is that most hunters do not have enough interest to obtain the skills, knowledge and equipment to take long shots on big game animals. That's right, most hunters could be shooting accurately at longer range than they currently are.

    Before I lose another batch of readers, understand that I am not demeaning, ridiculing or trying to tell anyone what they should do. I have simply learned that most hunters are not using the potential of their equipment. Perhaps this article will change that for some individuals.

    What is long range? In other words what is a long shot? What is "long" to some shooters might be "duck-soup" to other guys, so just where does "long" start? Is a 100-yard shot through heavy cover at the exposed white patch on the throat of a buck a long shot? Is a sixty-yard running shot in a black swamp a long shot? Is a 320 yard shot at a huge whitetail standing broadside out in a clover field a long shot?

    I believe that we should only call shots "long" by the actual distance involved, not by the difficulty imposed by a particular situation. In other words, the first two examples above are shooting challenges that require excellent marksmanship, not long-range skills. I have personally made such shots, and felt that they were "long", indeed they might have been 'long for a neck-shot' or 'long for a running shot in cover', but they are not true long range shots for the purpose of this article.

    Some folk might turn down a 320 yard standing shot at a big buck, indeed most individuals that I talked to indicated this was too far for their liking. As a target the vital area of a big buck is not a difficult challenge at that distance, but there are many other factors which might make it a "long" shot for some shooters. These factors are both atmospheric, physical and mental and we will consider them later.

    I believe that "long" starts at 250 yards for most hunters. 200 to 250 yards is also a common description of "long". I learned this by asking the following simple question. "How far are you comfortable shooting to? What hunting distance is long for you, anything farther than…?" The firearm in question was always a centerfire rifle, obviously handguns, shotguns and muzzleloaders have totally different parameters. Again, for this article we will stick with rifle accuracy. Rifles are by far the most common deer-hunting tool and I have the most data on rifle shooters.

    Two hundred and fifty yards can take on many perspectives in the hunting field, particularly when a trophy buck is involved. Many hunters are handicapping themselves by accepting that 250 yards is a long shot and that any shot longer is probably beyond their capability. Unfortunately, the truth is that any shot beyond two-fifty IS BEYOND THEIR CAPABILITY, but this does not have to be so.

    What elements are involved in examining shooting long? First, I believe close is best. The closer the shooter is to a target the better the accuracy should be. In other words a fifty-yard shot can be placed with more exact precision than a five-hundred yard shot. Note I said EXACT PRECISION. Next, I believe that hunters should only shoot when they are virtually assured that their bullet will strike a vital zone of their target. Let's say a 90 percent confidence level - you should be ninety percent sure that the bullet will be delivered properly. I am not going to argue 90 or 95 percent, most hunters feel that 90 percent is a reasonable goal. Last, we should all agree that wounding is unacceptable. As hunters we owe it to our sport, our quarry and ourselves to do everything in our power to prevent wounding from happening. We should make every effort to eliminate any variables that we have power over, such as poor equipment, lack of skill and bad judgment.

    We also must be realistic and accept that wounding can happen, that sometimes bullets are deflected, animals move unexpectedly, or elbows slip at the crucial moment. Wounding an animal is a personal loss, a wound that we as hunters should feel in our soul. When it happens we instinctively prefer to rationalize the situation, "hit a twig", or "just a flesh wound". Sometimes we might tend to rationalize our own stupidity, "Guess he was going too fast.", or "I thought I could hit him".

    Believe me, wounding is gut-wrenching time. I know what it is like. Your head is spinning with thoughts. The sight picture, the sound of the bullet impact, the reaction to the bullet, your last sighting of the critter, the blood on the leaves - and then the hollow feeling that you just blew it. Your guts feel sick. You wish that you could call back the bullet, rewind the clock. That you had not fired that damn bullet. You know that somewhere a critter is bleeding and in pain because... You hate to say it, because of me. This is the side of hunting that we sometimes have to get through and that we must learn from. And prevent from happening again.

    You will notice that I have not mentioned anything about ethics. The more I learn about this subject, the more convinced I am that ethics is NOT a factor. What? It "is" or "is not" ethical to shoot long shots at big game? Everyone has heard an "expert" preach that long shots are unethical. I do not believe that any person has a right to impose his or her ethics on anyone else, period. As sportsmen we are governed first by the laws, regulations and acts set down by our game agencies. After that we should conduct ourselves according to the basic rules of good sportsmanship - I am not going to get into that here. From these rules and from the influence of our parents, elders and peers, hopefully we develop a code of conduct that shows respect and enables us to enjoy hunting and the outdoors. I am not aware of any ethics that dictate what distance deer should be shot at.

    Let's get back to long shooting. I propose that long shooting has a place in hunting, that we as hunters should learn the skills so that we can use them if necessary. I do not agree that anyone should shoot at targets that bleed. A big game animal is far more than a "target". I do not believe that a "hunter" should deliberately back off to make the shot longer, or set up at ridiculous distances just to see if he can make a shot. If killing an animal merely gets down to ensuring that you have cranked on the correct minutes of angle, you are no longer a hunter, you are a killer. Might as well shoot at Shetland ponies or Holsteins in the back forty.

    Just were does long rang shooting fit in? Ask any western mule deer hunter, or prairie whitetail seeker. How about the beanfield shooters in South Carolina, Sendero hunters in Texas or someone sitting on a hydro cut-line in Michigan? Deer do not always appear where we hoped. Sometimes when they show up they are much further away than we planned.

    I have hunched near a heavily used trail expecting a buck to walk right up to me and been confounded when he showed up two fields over. The reality of some hunting habitat is that game is usually aware of the hunter and likely to move out before he gets as close as he would like. Hunting big coulees in the west, or river-breaks is a good example of this. Some habitats do not enable getting as close as the hunter would prefer, either he makes a longer shot or does not ever get an opportunity for a kill. Another major reason for long shooting is to put a wounded animal down, before it might get into heavy cover, or the blood trail is lost.

    My discussions and interviews indicate that there are three types of long range hunters. The first is the "Hail Mary Shooter", individuals who are basically unprepared and simply hold over and let fly. Let's face it, this is how the majority of long shots are taken. Distances range from 250 yards and extend out to five hundred or as far as seven and eight hundred yards (or until the buck is out of sight). I will not comment on the sportsmanship of this type of shooting. Obviously the 90% confidence requirement is not a consideration as it really should be.

    The second category could be called the "Serious Long Range Shooter". These hunters have gained an appreciation for what their rifles can do at longer range and they have made an effort to get their shooting skills up to the ability of their rifle. They have purchased equipment that enhances long range shooting capability. These hunters may have bought Beanfield Rifles such as Winchester Laredo's, Remington Sendero's or Weatherby Accumarks or even had rifles custom built. Their rifles and equipment will be tuned to ensure maximum performance. Long range starts at 400 and extends to 600 or 700 yards. Their confidence is very high as they have shot extensively out to these distances, have knowledge about compensating for the effects of wind and other variables and they are usually above-average marksmen.

    The third type of long range shooter is the "Extreme Range Hunter". These fellows are not common in the sport of hunting. They have variously been described as the elite practitioners of the long-range aspect of the sport, and as "wanna-be snipers" who should not be allowed to try shots at the ranges that they consider sporting. These hunters utilize equipment and techniques that very few average hunters even know exists. Battleship rangefinders, Russian rangefinders good for several miles, portable shooting-benches, pre-ranged hunting locations, and firearms that are essentially heavy caliber benchrest rifles. The fact is that these specialists do kill deer at unbelievable distances and they do so with confidence and regularity. They tend to only shoot under absolutely optimum conditions so variables of bullet flight are minimized. They take long range shooting to a level that NASCAR has taken the family sedan to. Long range for these hunters starts at seven to eight hundred yards and extends out to the best part of one mile. Controversial and in a tiny majority, these fellows consider that their hunting activity is a challenge that they wish to pursue. Not everyone agrees with their activities and some states are considering legislation restricting the maximum weight of hunting rifles.

    A long range shooting acquaintance of mine, Dave King from Damascus, Maryland suggested that I categorize hunters by their equipment (and hopefully skills). His first category probably describes most of the initial category just described as these hunters shoot out of the box Remington M-700's, Winchester M-70's or Ruger 77's in popular calibers, with 3x - 9x scopes. Dave's next group owns rifles with heavier barrels, factory or custom beanfield rifles with higher power optics and possibly higher performance calibers. He did not include the extreme range shooters as they are such a tiny percentage of hunters. Dave feels that hunters who make the effort to obtain better long range equipment tend to use it more so as to get their skills as close as possible to the potential of their equipment.

    I am not going to go into ballistic data discussing downrange muzzle velocity and energy capabilities of caliber "X" versus caliber "Y". I prefer to assume that readers have the common sense not to attempt to use unsuitable calibers and bullets for any hunting activity. Various experts tout formulas that "determine" energy after the bullet leaves the muzzle. These numbers are only numbers (some formulas indicate that the .220 Swift has more muzzle energy than my good old .45-70 - which is a better moose caliber?). I believe that we as hunters should select calibers and bullets that have proven long range capabilities.

    When a properly constructed bullet passes through or destroys vital organs the animal will die. Chub Eastman at Nosler warns about a common mistake made by hunters who wish to shoot at longer range. Chub has seen far too many individuals switch from standard calibers that they shoot accurately up to big magnum calibers. The reality is that 90% of casual shooters cannot shoot magnums as well as standard calibers because of the increased recoil and muzzle-blast, so the benefits are never realized.

    In a nutshell, category one hunters will not take downrange velocity and terminal performance into consideration. Category two hunters will ensure that they are using optimum calibers and bullets for the ranges that they intend to cover. Since we must consider real-world situations, with a few exceptions I believe that the smaller legal calibers in the .24 to .26 range can fail to deliver suitable long-range performance. I am talking .243 Winchester up to the .260 Remington and am fully aware of the performance of long range whizzes such as the .257 Weatherby, .25-06 and 6.5-284. We are talking clean kills on deer at long range, past 300 yards. Some small caliber bullets tend to fragment or lack penetration to break bones and make decent entrance and exit wounds. Dan Lilja, one of the most talented barrel makers and long range hunters in the U.S. considers the .257 and .270 Weatherby magnums and the .264 Winchester magnum to be minimum calibers for his long range shooting.

    I have read that the human skeleton and body mass is not unlike the whitetail deer, so calibers that the military has found optimum for long range use should be good deer hunting loads. This includes the .308 Winchester with 165/168 grain bullets up to and including the .300 Winchester Magnum. Do not miss-understand that statement, the .223 military cartridge is not suitable for the long range hunting we are discussing, nor is it used by military snipers. Suffice to say that most hunting bullets can be expected to perform as reliably at long range as they do at extremely close range. I suggest that hunters use common sense and select fairly heavy bullets in their favorite caliber. Think about retaining energy rather than blazing muzzle velocities.

    Here we go, let's look at the real key to long range shooting. I consider hunting accuracy as the ability to deliver a round of ammunition to an intended target at ranges desired or required. How many deer are killed from 100-yard benchrests? Hunting accuracy is not about minutes of angle. Chub Eastman at Nosler once told me, "Hunting accuracy is minute of whitetail!". Chub wants the most accurate rifle and load that he could handle in the field, but he is exactly correct - killing the animal with a properly placed bullet is what this is all about.

    I mentioned my pessimism about the shooting ability of the majority of hunters. Why is this so? No doubt our lives have changed and we just don't have as much time to go to the range, plink at tin cans or shoot as much as we would like. There are too many hunters who don't have the time, interest or dedication to obtain and maintain good shooting skills. Fortunately deer are fairly big targets so hunter success is quite high, despite the inept shooting of "one box a year" type guys.

    How good should your shooting be? Determine how far you can consistently hit a ten-inch paper plate, or better yet bust ten-inch party balloons. Practice will increase the distance more than switching rifles and loads. Shoot from hunting positions and utilize field hunting rests such as Underwood or Stoney Point shooting sticks, Harris or Rugged Gear bipods or the nifty little Snipepod.

    Enough about lack of shooting ability, let's look at what skills, knowledge and equipment will optimize long range shooting. First we must recognize that KNOWLEDGE, SKILL and EQUIPMENT are the essentials. We have to have them all and use them together.

    Knowledge includes understanding how and when to shoot, skill includes the physical act of placing shots accurately at required ranges and both of these create a demand for equipment capable of delivering the shot.

    I do not have room to go in-depth into these three key areas. Let's discuss them enough to create an understanding of what is involved. Knowledge is probably the largest requirement as we are talking about having a sound understanding of hunting, marksmanship and external and terminal ballistics. Skills required include marksmanship under a wide range of conditions and there is only way to obtain the necessary proficiency. That is pulling the trigger. Equipment requirements can be met quite easily if one has lots of money, or acquired over time through a trial and error basis. Equipment obviously includes a flat-shooting rifle, quality optics and the best ammo available. It also includes things like laser rangefinders, field shooting rests, cheat-sheets and other specialized long shooting assets.

    I recently experienced the ideal way to learn long range shooting. I attended a long range shooting course put on by Bobby Whittington at Badlands Tactical Training in Grandfield, Oklahoma (580-479-5559). The course is intended to provide long range shooting skills for tactical and target shooters. I was extremely impressed with the knowledge and skill enhancement that was taught. Bobby and long range rifle instructor Steve Suttles ran me through their basic course with the intention of using my knowledge and background to help design a brand new hunter's course. Available in early 2001, the HUNTER'S LONG RANGE SHOOTING COURSE combines proven military based marksmanship training with practical hunting skills.

    Accurately placing your first shot at hunting distances is the bottom line. Hunters can learn to do this consistently by employing knowledge and skills that the military has perfected. Badlands training covers basic marksmanship skills and keys on the fundamentals such as accurately correcting for wind, reading and understanding mirage, light changes, shooting at angles and other topics. I learned to utilize the mildot ranging system, and to employ it on full-body big game targets. The objective of the training is not to make everyone a sniper, it is to extend each individual's confidence zone for accurate shooting to the maximum. This might be four-hundred yards for some shooters and seven-hundred yards for others. The new course will provide shooting instruction and ample practice at long range, on moving targets, and even opportunities to shoot from treestands and shooting towers. The four-day course is very reasonably priced and guaranteed to improve your shooting skills. Check out Bobby's web site at www.snipernet.net.

    When I attended the Badlands course I was drilled on the intricacies of the mildot system and I am determined to improve and maintain my ability to use this system. Not everyone has a mildot reticle in their scope, and Bobby teaches how to calibrate and use ordinary duplex hunting reticles to range using the mildot system. I must admit that I have become virtually dependant on laser rangefinders in recent years. I believe that rangefinder reticles are a great asset for long range hunters, one that is not battery dependant or effected by bright sunlight as are lasers.

    Several companies offer rangefinder reticles and they are definitely worth considering. I rely on the TDS system as offered by Swarovski and Kahles, (see Sidebar) for much of my hunting - for shots out to 500 or 600 yards. I also have become confident enough with mil-dot to use them in the field. No doubt other reticles work well, I suggest that you consider mildots or a rangefinder reticle with your next scope purchase, or contact Premiere Reticles - (540) 722-3522 - for installation of a custom reticle.

    I mentioned that I have been working on this topic for a couple of years. Some of the most interesting data gathering was actual shooting assessments of hunters as they prepared for upcoming hunting seasons. Here are some of my results.

    I placed twelve-inch circular targets (Shoot-n-See) made by Birchwood Casey at 100, 200 and 300 yards. I asked dozens of shooters to take three shots at each range, from any field position except prone (prone was allowed at 300 yards). No bench shooting. Then we repeated the shooting with the use of field shooting rests. I offered the use of Underwood and Stoney Point shooting sticks, Harris and Rugged Gear bipods and Snipepods. Shooting was done with my Winchester M-70 rifle in .308 Winchester, with a great Burris 3x - 9x scope in Burris mounts. I then allowed them to shoot the test with their own rifles if they so wished, and every shooter did so.

    Results are quit interesting, but also somewhat disappointing. Here are summaries of the shooting tests.

    Shooting Style
    M-70 - no rests
    100 yds - 6.5"
    200 yds - 66% hit
    300 yds - 100 % declined

    M-70 - field rests
    100 yds - 6.0"
    200 yds - 66% hit
    300 yds - 10 % hits

    Personal rifle - no rests
    100 yds - 7.0"
    200 yds - 66% hit
    300 yds - 75% declined or no hits

    Personal rifle - field rests
    100 yds - 5.25"
    200 yds - 66% hit
    300 yds - 5% hits

    An interesting fact came to light - the shooters did not do significantly better with the field rests when they first used them. If the shooter tried three or four 3-shot strings his accuracy increased noticeably. No doubt this was do to familiarization with the rest as they require practice and getting used-to.

    Making long range shots at big game animals is not a simple task. We have discussed the essentials and now I would like to complicate things by suggesting more factors that should be considered. When a shot is made the exact location that the animal went down or was last seen must be marked. In addition the position of the shooter should also be marked with a broken branch or even an inflated balloon or some flagging tape. The time of day is important for a couple of reasons. Light has significant influence on the accuracy of out distance estimates and it also effects how we place our sights. LIGHT'S UP SIGHTS UP - LIGHT'S DOWN SIGHTS DOWN is a military rule of thumb. Time of day also determines how much light is left for tracking or finding the critter. Hunters must also consider impending weather, the type of habitat and proximity to heavy cover, the presence of snow for tracking, the availability of a back-up shooter (just in case) and even the presence of other hunters who might beat you to the kill.

    Hunting is becoming more expensive, and trophy animals are definitely in great demand. When the trophy of a lifetime steps out, in a limited-draw area that you have applied to hunt in for several years, you have a lot of time, money, effort and satisfaction riding on the bullet. Even if the buck steps out in the back-forty the hunter should be able to place his shot accurately - or he should not shoot at all. Long range shooting is not magic and it is not fluke. Long range shooters do their homework, they work very hard at ensuring that the bullet travels true. Long range shooting involves mathematics, attention to detail and practice. A LOT OF PRACTICE in varying situations. That's what it is all about.

    Last year I began hunting with the relatively new TDS Tri-factor reticle system, available in selected Swarovski and Kahles riflescopes. The TDS reticle features four heavy posts from which medium-thickness crosshairs extend to intersect in the middle of the field of view. The end of each post is calculated to be the perfect lead position for running shots on big game. Below the intersection of the crosshairs are four ranging-bars or small etched lines that appear to make a Christmas tree design. These lines provide a straight line aiming reference point to the target at distances beyond one hundred yards.. The first bar is quite short, the second about double in length, the third longer again and the fourth bar is the longest of the set. The length of each bar conforms to the correct hold-off for a 10 MPH wind at the appropriate shooting distance. The spacing between bars enables precise elevation hold-offs for virtually any hunting load and can be used for accurate range estimation. The system is self-limiting to either five or six hundred yards maximum, depending on the flatness of the caliber being used. The inventor T.D. Smith imposed this limitation to ensure that the hunter will not shoot beyond the highest success distances for applicable calibers. T.D.'s system is the fastest, most accurate hunting system available.

    .308 Winchester HS Precision Pro-2000 rifle
    Swarovski 3x - 12x TDS scope
    Five shot groups at 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 with Winchester Supreme 168 Ballistic Sivertips ammo and the Swarovski 3x - 12x TDS using the crosshair at 100 and the distance bars at each appropriate range. Shot on 12X. Wind calm. Clear skies. 29 degrees C.

    Distance (yds.) Group Size Group Location
    100-crosshair 0.72" Zero Distance
    200-bar #1 1.45" 0
    300-bar #2 3.00" 0
    400-bar #3 4.80" 0
    500-bar #4 5.95" 2.1" low

    PAT DURKIN - Editor, Deer and Deer Hunting Magazine
    Rifle: Weatherby .300 Weatherby mag or Remington 700 in .300 Remington Ultra Mag.
    Ammo: Factory ammo - 180 Grain
    Scope: Zeiss 3x - 9x, or B&L 4200 scope
    Additional Optics: 7x or 8x binos and a Bushnell 800 Laser
    Amount of Practice: 200 - 300 rounds plus shoot in back yard with a high-end air-rifle for trigger control practice
    Longest Shot: 250-300 yards estimated

    CHUBB EASTMAN - Nosler Bullets
    Rifle: Custom Winchester M-70 in 280 Ackley or a Wildcat called the 6.5 T. H. & E "Blowhole Express"
    Ammo: .280/140 Nosler Ballistic Tips, 6.5/120 Nosler Ballistic Tips
    Scope: 2.5x - 8x Leupold
    Additional Optics: Leupold or Swarovski
    Amount of Practice: Shoots Continuously
    Longest Shot: 400 yards on a Montana buck

    DAN LILJA - Owner, Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels
    Rifle: Custom built .270 Weatherby Magnum, 30" barrel
    Ammo: Handloaded 130 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips
    Scope: Leupold 6.5x - 20x
    Additional Optics: 10x50 Aus Jena Binocs, Kowa spotting scope, laser rangefinder
    Amount of Practice: Shoots continuously
    Longest Shot: 1000 yards on a whitetail

    BLAINE PAINTER - USAF Pilot Yokota AB, Japan (now Texas! - also known as AFP)
    Rifle: Remington M-700 in .300 Winchester magnum
    Ammo: Handloaded 180 grain Sierra Game Kings
    Scope: 4x - 14x Leupold
    Additional Optics: Nikon 8x42 binocs, will be getting a laser
    Amount of Practice: 300 rounds minimum from various field positions.
    Longest Shot: 318 yards, head on shot

    Mike Miller - Police Officer, SWAT sniper, California, manufacturer of Quick Cuff Sling system
    Rifle:Remington M-700 in .308 Winchester, custom built
    Ammo: 165 grain Speer Handload
    Scope: U.S. Optics 1.8 - 10 SN3
    Additional Optics: Nikon 800 Laser, Leupold 25x spotting scope, 10x40 binocs
    Amount of Practice: Shoots at least once per week, all year
    Longest Shot: 442 yards on a California buck.

    MILO HANSON - Holder of the B&C World Record Whitetail
    Rifle:Winchester M-70 detachable mag. .30-06
    Ammo: 165 grain Winchester Supreme
    Scope: Redfield 3x - 9x sighted in 2" high at 100 yards
    Additional Optics: 7x50 Binocs
    Amount of Practice: Shoots with family and friends before the hunting season
    Longest Shot:est. 400 yards on a Saskatchewan buck.

    SIDEBAR #3
    I have begun using some accessories that are specifically intended to help make those long shots that we have been discussing. First, I highly recommend the BALLISTICARD SYSTEMS from Schwiebert Precision (800) 378-2174 or www.ballisticards.com . Lou Schwiebert makes laminated ballistic range cards for virtually every caliber and load known to man, even odd-ball handloads. The cards have
    essential info such as Trajectory, Scope clicks ('Come-Ups') for sight adjustments, Wind Deflection, modified trajectories for Up/Down Angles and even suggested Leads for various big game animals. Many shooters are finding that adjusting their scopes for long shots is far more accurate than guessing hold-over. These cards facilitate quick, accurate adjustments. The Ballisticards come in sets of three, green for the listed velocity, red for hot weather were the velocity can increase 100 fps and blue for cold weather were velocity is likely to have dropped 100 fps. Ballisticards are very well made and will stand up to hard field use.

    Also check out the long range shooting aides from T.R.G.T.-L.L.P., web site www.trgt.com. Although the Sniper Data Book might sound a little on the military side, it contains excellent marksmanship information and charts, as well as data pages for listing rifle and shooting data. I am particularly impressed with the idea of mapping shooting "fields of fire", as might be of value for beanfield shooters and Sendero-type long range hunting. Drawing a simple map with lasered distances make great sense and will definitely help make long shots if they are offered.

    Mildot reticles are not exclusively the domain of the military and law-enforcement agencies, as they are appearing in many hunting scopes. Without going into the math, mildots require the use of numbers and formulas, and the quickest way to arrive at mildot distances is the Mildot Master. This handy plastic slide-rule is easy to work with and very accurate. Available from TRGT an direct from the manufacturer, address in previous article.

    Another great shooting aid is the Tactical Intervention Quick Cuff sling. The Quick Cuff sling functions as a handy carrying sling and a superb shooting sling. I recently watched Steve Suttles shoot five shots into four inches - from the SITTING position with the use of the Quick Cuff from a distance of 400 yards. The sling is also available from TRGT or direct from the manufacturer. Check out www.tacticalintervention.com .

    Another essential in my long-range kit is the Kestral 2000 wind meter, a pocket sized wind-meter that gives accurate readings and is easy to use.

    The above toys might sound like sniper gear, but they are all useful hunting tools and should be considered by any serious long range shooter.
  11. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2001
    Wow, Ian. That was beautiful! I wonder what effect that would have if you posted it in the Matchking thread at Accuratereloading? It just might open some eyes...not everybody there is as bullheaded as Bill T! [​IMG]

    I especially liked your description of the three "types." There are many type 3's here...unfortunately they aren't numerous enough that you run into them very often unless it's a place like this.

    Unfortunately, most of the people you run into at the local bar that brag about long shots are the type 1's. That's unethical (IMHO of course) and because it's so common they seem to give anybody that takes a long shot a bad name.

    I consider myself a type 2. Before, a very "limited" type 2. My immediate goal is nothing more than to become a better type 2. I believe better equipment and practice using it will not only extend my useful range but will help me make better (and more ethical) decisions. Something as simple as a laser range finder--I'll know if it's out of range or not...from practice I'll know my limits. And knowing the exact range will extend those limits....

    When I studied everything I could find about ballistics as a teenager (I bought my first computer ballistics program about 15 years ago) such things didn't exist. There was a time that scopes didn't exist either. The technology is here, why not use it?
  12. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Thank you for the kind words. I also consider myself a "type 2", and my personal goal is to extend and maintain that ability. I have the greatest respect for the type 3 guys and am in awe of their equipment, dedication and skills.
  13. Skinny Shooter

    Skinny Shooter Well-Known Member

    Jul 25, 2002
    BTT [​IMG]
  14. ELZWizz68

    ELZWizz68 Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2005
    BTT - Excellent thread.