What went wrong? Opinions needed.

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Song Dogger, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Song Dogger

    Song Dogger Well-Known Member

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    I’m fairly new to long range shooting, learning most of what I know from internet research, including this forum. I’ll expose myself to criticism in his thread, rightfully so, but I’m good with that if it helps me learn.

    I have a Fierce Edge 300 Win Mag with a Swarovski Z5 3.5-18 x 44 shooting Berger 210 VLD target bullets sighted in with a 200 yard zero. I programmed my Leica Geovid HD-B rangefinding binocs using their ballistic calculator with inputs specific to this setup. Using the Geovid’s feedback in MOA clicks, which self-adjusts for environmental factors (temp, pressure/elev, angle), I then shot the gun at 50 yard intervals out to 700 yards. It had ½ MOA accuracy out to 400 yards. Beyond that, the bullet dropped more than expected. I then lowered muzzle velocity in the ballistic calculator until the drop charts matched what occurred in the field, to within 1” out to 600 yards – that’s all I needed since the scope’s elevation turret stops at 53 clicks. I then reprogrammed the Geovid.

    Last week, I ranged a bull elk at 413 yards with a headwind of 10 mph. Adjusting for a 4000’ elevation difference and environmental conditions, the Geovid correctly called for 5.1 MOA of elevation. The shot missed high, maybe a foot over the back. The bull moved to 450 yards, the Geovid called for 6.2 MOA, but I purposely kept it at 5.1 MOA. Still, the shot missed high – twice. Still at 450 yards, I dialed it down to 4.0 MOA, and the 4th shot hit a few inches below the back and spined him. I shot 4 more times to finish him off, each appearing to hit high as he expired on his own. Nice bull down, but I just sat there in disgust. I've had several kills already at the same distance with a factory gun using simple holdover values.

    8 shots, all high, each at a still, broadside, and very accommodating bull. I felt relaxed with steady crosshairs, verbally reminding myself to gently squeeze the trigger. I verified the 200 yard zero immediately before and after the kill - surprise, it’s not the gun.

    Here’s a breakdown of likely factors, and where I need the feedback:

    1 – I forgot to adjust parallax. The knob was set to 100 yards. After the sighs, cries, and rolling of eyes – could this cause shots to consistently hit 2 foot high at 400-450 yards?

    2 – I shot at the bull prone from a bipod. The gun was sighted in and practiced long range on a bench with a Lead Sled (I’ve since read “no-nos” about that). During pre-hunt practice, I did verify point-of-impact with a bi-pod, but only a few shots at 100 yards, and from the bench, not prone.

    3 – The bullets may have travelled through the tops of thin grass tufts about 30 yards from the muzzle. With the naked eye, it looked like the shots could clear it. But, through the scope, I occasionally noticed the scope slightly blurred at the bottom, likely from the grass bending and straightening in the head wind.

    Advice, opinions? Bring it.
     
  2. Canhunter35

    Canhunter35 Well-Known Member

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    Parallax is not the issue to that degree while it may have factored in.
    How high were you on your bipods, I’m guessing high to get above the grass.
    Did you have a rear bag?
    What I’m guessing most likely, is you got too high to get above the grass and weren’t stable enough at your shoulders and elbows and when you fired the gun recoiled back and the butt dropped down while the barrel jumped, sending each shot high.
    Aside from that, ditch the lead sled, practice shooting prone and develop the shooting fundamentals to use in the field.
    Also ignore the numbers on the parallax knob and adjust it to what your eye tells you.
    Hopefully that helps, but try setting a target at the same range, adjust your bipods to the same height, then see where your shots land. You could even run a 100 feet and flop down to shoot and see how the elevated heart rate affects you.
    Good luck and hopefully that helps
     
  3. big_matt_duq

    big_matt_duq Well-Known Member

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    I am by far not an expert so here is just my opinion. Sounds like what happens with my muzzleloader and 338 rum when I tried to shoot them free recoil. For them to not throw shots way high, I have to pull firm into my shoulder and grip the fore end of the rifle. I cannot just slap it on bags and not hold the fore end or bipod. To me lead sleds only have a use in working up loads or sighting in. I don't own one. I only care what my rifles do in my hands, off bipods, or a bag rest. All things I actually may shoot off in the field.
     
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  4. Bigeclipse

    Bigeclipse Well-Known Member

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    I'm am no long range expert BUT have done tons of reading on leadsleds. The verdict is, you MUST resight in after using a leadsled as likely POI will change. You should not use a leadsled for sighting in. most on here advocate not even using one while some will use them for developing reloads only, not for actual shooting practice. After they develop their reloads they then confirm sighting in and such off a regular rest or bipod.
     
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  5. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

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    All kinds of maybes here as others above have stated there are lots of potential mistakes. It could be your rifle is zeroed for 200 but the ballistic app is set on 100. Sounds like a wee bit more drop than what I’d expect. However that may not translate into several feet at that range...
    Also, any angles involved in the shot? Does your range finder compensate for it?
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  6. Hatrick

    Hatrick Well-Known Member

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    Song Dogger, After reprogramming for 4-600 yards did you recheck you 3-400 yard zeros? By lowering your mv you also changed your short game. Might have been better to play with the bc.
     
  7. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

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    Changing BC that close (400) shouldn’t mess it up hardly any, you chop it from .631 to .4 and it only makes a few inches difference.
     
  8. Buttermilk

    Buttermilk Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible you have the wrong zero plugged in for your ballistics solution? (100 v. 200)
     
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  9. imyourhuckleberry

    imyourhuckleberry Well-Known Member

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    Before I reply, I would like to ask how many clicks did you count to get to your 5.1 Moa and your click elevation adjustment is it 1/4 Moa at a 100 or 1/2? Also were you shooting up hill or down hill, shooting at either angle requires a distance adjustment according to the degree of angle you were shooting.
     
  10. 26Reload

    26Reload Well-Known Member

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    Several valid points to ponder....i would guess wrong numbers in there somewhere...
    But you will have many steak dinners and lots of time to figure it all out til next season......
     
  11. rfurman24

    rfurman24 Well-Known Member

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    There are literally thousands of reasons this could have happened and is the exact reason you should NEVER take long range shots at animals unless you have validated ALL of your equipment in as close to hunting conditions as you can get. That includes verifying drops given from your ballistic calculator/rangefinder setup on actual targets, shooting the way you intend to shoot in the field. In this case, as the case most times, shooting prone. It sounds like you had everything down up to the point of shooting prone. Hard to tell if that is the reason but it would be where I would start. Keep in mind I am not saying the drops are going to be that much different but shooting prone may take a bit of adjustment to be consistent. My first guess is you are dropping the butt on the shot.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
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  12. BULLBLASTER

    BULLBLASTER Well-Known Member

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    Different angles of the face and cheek weld going from bench shooting to prone can cause a major difference in impact also.
    There shouldn’t be anything in the dope to make you feet high at 450 yards unless something is way way off. Even missing the zero and entering as 100 is only changing you 1-1.5 moa.
     
  13. Song Dogger

    Song Dogger Well-Known Member

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    Great feedback. I'll address all points thus far below.

    On the bipod, the barrel was about 11 inches off the ground (the tufts of grass were short) with nothing supporting the butt. Pre-shot, I felt stable at the shoulders, and the crosshairs reflected that. Post-shot, I watched the bullets sail high through the scope, so it seems the butt couldn't have dropped too much. But, at the range, I do use downward pressure on the fore-end, which I didn't do on the bipod with this elk - we may be onto something there.

    The ballistic app and Geovid setting indeed matched the gun's zero at 200 yards, and the rangefinder indeed compensates for angle (which was nearly flat). In fact, plugging the environmental factors into several ballistics apps, the Geovid-recommended 5.1 MOA adjustment was dead on.

    No, I did not recheck the gun's shorter range points-of-impact after lowering muzzle velocity in the ballistic app. I didn't because the revised calculated drops were within 1" of my real-life field adjusted drops at all yardages out to 600 yards. In retrospect, I regret that, but I doubt this was a factor since the lowered muzzle velocity amounted to only 2" at 400 yards. FYI, I did try changing ballistic coefficient instead of velocity, but as Bravo 4 pointed out, it takes an unrealistically huge drop to make any significant difference.

    As for the scope's elevation turret, it has hash marks in 1/4 MOA increments, labeled every whole MOA. For the Geovid recommended 5.1 MOA, I dialed in 5.0 on the turret since that's closer than 5.25 at the next graduation.

    Good takeaways thus far: ditch the lead sled for sighting in, and definitely practice more from field positions (prone and under duress) to understand face and cheek weld angle differences. Oh - and adjust parallax.
     
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  14. rfurman24

    rfurman24 Well-Known Member

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    With nothing supporting the butt I will double down on that being the issue. Obviously we can't diagnose this from our chairs but that is the first place I would start. Think about your field of view. It does not take much movement to be off target by 3-4moa and still be able to spot your shot. You need a good solid rear rest.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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