View Full Version : What's the max range you'll shoot at game?
April 26, 2002, 11:25 AM
This is not to be meant as a brag colume I'm just curious what distance you guys feel comfortable under field conditions taking a shot?
I'll fess up right know. I think 300 yds to be on the outside but have taken successfull shots at further distances. I am not proud of that fact.
April 26, 2002, 12:11 PM
Where I live, 250-300 yards is about as far as you're going to reach out. Most shots on deer are under 150.
April 26, 2002, 12:20 PM
On our huntinggrounds here in west-coast sweden, we have alot of dense forrest and alot of terrain. Max distance I´ve shoot or even considered a shot is about 150m. Have my 30-06 sighted in at 150m and its dead on accurate from 5-150m. Suits me fine, no need to calculate distance or consider bullet-drop. =)
April 26, 2002, 12:40 PM
For me, there are two factors: First is my confidence level in the package of me and the rifle. Second is whether or not I'm really confident in knowing the range.
Out to 300 yards with my pet '06, there's not even a questioning of "He's mine."
And then there's dat ol' debbil, circumstance. I'd take a shot on the last day of the season that I might not try, early on. I killed a pretty good buck at some 350 yards or so, on a last-day, last run before going home...
I taught myself a real lesson about this range-thing, back maybe 30 years ago. I thought a nice buck was maybe 400 yards off. I had a very good rest. I whanged and banged and finally figured out he was out at maybe 550 yards. Dumb me. Well, stupidity loves company, and he finally walked maybe 100 yards toward me. Heckuva way to get a one-hit kill, if not a "one-shot" kill. :D
April 26, 2002, 01:29 PM
I agree with you. If I am with one of my pet rifles I'll take farther shots. I've got an old 375H&H that just can't miss. The other factor is a good range estimate. I become far more brash and debonaire if I know exactly what the range is IE a range finder. The reason most people miss is either under or over estimating range. If the wind is calm and I have a good rest I can call my shots fairly reliably past 450 yds. That does not mean that I'll shoot big game at those ranges.
I like most hunters have taken those last afternoon desperation shots at galactic ranges. It takes experience and disipline to not take those shots. especially when you know that you can probably connect. Probably isn't really good enough.
Whats the old saying "Good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement"
If you never try you'll never know;)
April 26, 2002, 05:21 PM
With my .270 or .300 Win Mag I've taken shots up to and including 475 yards. I don't take them often and the conditions have to be perfect - very little or no wind, good solid rest, and a motionless animal. Otherwise, 300 or 350 is it and in bad conditions, 250 yds would be max.
April 26, 2002, 08:01 PM
I limit myself to 250 yards, cause that's all I practice out to.
April 26, 2002, 08:45 PM
I practice out to 340 yards and rarely to 500 yards. I would have to say that it would depend on the game being hunted among many other variables, such as wind and visibility. There is no reason to be ashamed of taking long shots so long as it is a humane kill. I see people getting bashed all the time for taking what others consider to be a long shot. I would have to guess the folks doing the bashing are not capable of making shots that long and either don't think it is possibe, or they are simply jellous because they can't make long range shots.:rolleyes:
April 26, 2002, 09:32 PM
Under ideal conditions; range finder, rest, no wind, I would feel real comfortable at 300 yards. Further than that, I think I would try to get closer even if it meant spooking the animal. As was mentioned, the last day............. if the same ideal conditions existed, I would certainly try a 400 yards shot. I have a trajectory table out to 600 yards taped to my rifle stock. All this being said, I have taken whitetail deer, mule deer, and elk and have never taken a shot over maybe 125 yards, most inside of 50.
After putting in my tag applications the other day, I have started upon an aggressive familiarization program with my '06. I just started casting bullets and am going to shoot a ton of them. Closer to the season, I will start shooting full powered jacked bullets. My goal is to be better with my rifle than I have ever been in the past.
April 26, 2002, 11:02 PM
I would take shots out to 600yds with My Model 70 30/06.
April 27, 2002, 12:23 AM
caribou 400yards, sheep and goats, somewhere around 250yards. The rest around here around 100-150 yards.
Reasons are simple, for bou I use my 270 and I have shot this thing on the range at 500yards. Sheep and goats I use the same rifle but because of the terrain, if I cant get within 250yards, theres a good chance I cant retrieve the animal safely at 400. theres alot of cliffs and cravasses that you dont see, but it depends on the situation. Moose and bear I use open sights (45/70 and 458Lott) and thats what range I'm comfortable with. I prefer 100yards or under but will shoot to 150.
April 27, 2002, 09:58 AM
250 yds for big game. Coyotes and varmints---- no limit!
April 27, 2002, 12:20 PM
Here in Michigan the max. you could see a deer in the woods is 100yds. Only place there'd be a long shot would be on farmland but your restricted to handguns and shotguns there.
April 27, 2002, 12:43 PM
SodaPop, an '06 drops around seven feet at 600 yards. Do you use a rangefinder? I defy you to "good-eye" the difference between 500 and 600--and the difference in drop is three feet.
Even a 10 mph breeze causes a bit over two feet of deflection. Do you use an anemometer?
How do you assure yourself of a clean-kill hit?
April 27, 2002, 03:21 PM
I'm just curious have you ever shot anything at 600 yds? At 600 yds your getting into some real big time variables as far as wind air density range. Do you know that at 600 yds 20 dgrees temperature will affect the drop of your bullet by as much as a foot? As air becomes less dense with temperature a bullet will fly better at hot temperature and high high altitude.
I know some guys who can shoot consistenly at 500 + yards but believe me they have the equipment and skill to do it. I watched a friend of mine who shoots 1000 yd match miss a coyote at 580 yds lazed not one but 3 times.And this was with his 1000 yd set up .338 UM. This guy can stick a 3 shot group inside of 5" at a 1000 yds just about every time. But the difference is that we generally don't have the controlled enviroment in the hunting field that we have at the shooting range.
I will also state at this time that I'll shoot at varmints at any range and have killed several hogs and coyotes way the h*** out there. Next time your out in the field bring a range finder look at something you think is 600 yards out take a shot at it then after you miss the first shot range it you'll be suprised how far your estimate was off about 99% of the time. ;) Usually an animal won't stand there and let you take several ranging shots.
April 27, 2002, 05:23 PM
150 yards, cause that is the biggest clearing I hunt.
April 27, 2002, 06:27 PM
50-80 yrds in the dense VT. hardwoods is all your'e gonna be able to see .:mad:
April 27, 2002, 06:38 PM
i limit myshots on big game to 300 yards,although my longest shot to date has just been a hair over 220. most of my shots are inside of 150. now on coyotes & other assorted varmitlike critters 400-500-600 leter rip
April 27, 2002, 09:30 PM
QUOTE]I'm just curious have you ever shot anything at 600 yds? At 600 yds your getting into some real big time variables as far as wind air density range.[/QUOTE]
The answer is yes. The most recent thing I learned shooting is shooting between wind gusts. Ironically it was just this past week that I successfully grouped all my shots on Paper without any blow aways at 500yds. I shot 10 inch group at 500yds with a FAL. TFL Member "Dead" was with me last week.
Do you use a rangefinder?
No but I'm pretty good at judging out to 400yds with just My scope reticle.
The only thing I really hunt with an '06 here in PA is Black Bear. I've been set up in positions where I could have shot 600yds if I had too. The first year I went out for Black Bear My best friend was attacked walking out of his cabin. I would have taken a shot then and probable missed but I've gotten better since then.
I hope I don't sound like I'm bragging:(
April 27, 2002, 09:32 PM
the correct answer is: it depends!! Depends on terrain, cover, game, rifle you have with you, load,optics, time of day, etc, etc, etc.
The last 5 deer I have taken with one exception, were all killed at distances less than 50 yards. The rifle I used was selected for heavy cover, short range work. the exception was a shot at about 250 yards, using a different rifle, because in the area I was hunting, there was a 50/50 chance that the shot might have to be taken across a pasture, not in the heavy cover I usually prefer. Good planning, and knowledge of the area paid off.
I realize that hunting in Florida swamps and palmetto thickets is different than hunting in the Rockies. In mountain areas, or the wide open plains, I am sure I would use a different rifle than the .44 Mag Marlin 1894S, or the short barrel Mannlicher-Schoenauer in 8mm Mauser. I have never been one to take a shot at long range, if I could get closer. Stalking is, to me, half the fun and challange of the hunt.
April 27, 2002, 10:27 PM
my effective range is about 400 yds The last shots have been under 200 yds I shoot a 264wm with 125gr nosler partition
April 27, 2002, 10:44 PM
SodaPop, Just to clarify for me - you said you shoot 10 MOA at 500 yds with a FAL. That is roughly a 4 to 5 foot diameter circle at that distance. Are you comfortable taking a shot at game, not paper, with that accuracy criteria at an even greater distance? Or, was the 10 MOA a mis-statement and you meant something different?
April 27, 2002, 11:50 PM
I think your missing the point of accurate long range field shooting. Without precise measurment of range it is impossible to accuratley shot long range, period. The reason for this is that past 400 yds bullet drop increases drastically. the difference in drop between 550 yds and 600 yds is about 18" or roughly the chest width of a black bear. Guys who do shot accuratley at range all have one thig in common, a good range finder. then we must figure all of the other variables. I still don't think you got the piont about air density temprature hunidity ETC play a huge part in it. IE where your gun shots at 600 yds today may well be entirely different tommorrow. Once I get my elevation and windage at the range I can do way better than 10 moa at 500 yrads. But thatb is at the range under controlled conditions no stress and tons of time. Not the case out inthe field. Noit to mention that an 06 hardley carries the energy to be poppin bears with at 600 yds.
I'm not trashing you sodapop I'm just trying to get you to reconsider shooting a Game animal at that distance unless you've really got your stuff wired tight.
Lets put it this way, I know alot of really good hunters some of whom are military sniper qualified and some of whom have hunted all over the world for lots of stuff. I don't think any of them would admitt to taking a first shot at that range on a big game animal.
Finally when I asked you if you had ever shot anything at that range I was refering to animals not paper. I bust rocks at 800 to 1000 yards all the time it's just not the same thing.
April 27, 2002, 11:56 PM
I don't understand having to take a long shot for us Hoosiers in Indiana. I've never taken a shot on any game past 50yds, yet I've only hunted in SOuthern and central Indiana.
Lately the only hunting I've been doing is popping starlings and crows with my brother's pellet gun in my back yard. I'm dropping crows with that bugger at about 25yds.
In early may I'm going to Missouri to shoot some long distance 50BMG but I have never hunted at long range.
In northern Indiana where the land is flat, long range could be critical, but in Southern Indiana, it's all hills and trees.
I'd say that 200 yds is my realistic comfort area of shooting in my neck of the woods.
April 28, 2002, 12:39 AM
I've hunted the river bottom swamps of the Appalachicola River below Blountstown, Florida. Unless you're sitting in a stand at the edge of a clearing, a pistol or shotgun would all that's needed. Shots of 10 to maybe 35-ish yards would be the usual.
My home turf here in the desert, you just never know. Anywhere from under your feet to "Waayyyy out yonder!" It's commonly a case of shoot him running, or just plain forget it.
I'll say it again, there ain't no "always". It's all up to you, your confidence level, and how well you're married up to your pet bang-stick.
April 28, 2002, 01:34 AM
Did I stir up the hornets nest?:D
Mal I meant INCH not MOA :rolleyes: (And I'm claiming to shoot 600yds at a bear)
All I'll say is I'd take a shot with My '06 at a Bear out to 600yds. I wouldn't attempt to take a deer past 300yds.
The first time I went out for Bear, I was hunting across a reservoir
just outside of Kempton PA. I was up on the edge of a hill where I could see a good 600-800yds around. Many of the Locals said they have seen Bear in that vicinity so I hung out for a day.
With no range finding, or Mil dot scope, I'd absolutely attempt a hold over shot out to 400yds for Bear. Thats only about a 24in drop at that distance. Anything past that I'd need a lot of time.
I guess I'm talking about being comfortable making attempts at game and I'm off topic, but I think If I judged the windage correctly (and it wasn't blowing too hard) It's the max range I would shoot at game.
Should I start FOS poll now?
April 28, 2002, 08:42 AM
I use "depends" - not the adult underwear, however. ;)
Rifle, load, game, conditions (which includes me that particular day).
I've done a few 1-shot kills on deer ~350+ before w/an old .243 & p'dogs well past 400 w/a .22-250 - all off rock-solid, but field, rests. Would not have even attempted if less steady.
Using my stand-by short-bbl'd .308, these days, I'd stay within 300 - tad loss in velocity just doesn't give the flatter trajectory & past that, I'm guessing too much.
Doves? I want 'em within 40 or so, or forget it. ;)
April 28, 2002, 08:54 AM
Hokay; follow your reasoning, SodaPop.
I bought a Bushnell 800-yard laser rangefinder, just to help when I'm out in long-range country. Now I laugh at myself because I mostly won't carry it out in the field--I then feel that somehow I'm cheating Bambi. Dangfino. :)
But I'd have no qualms in using it for a coyote. Go figure.
April 30, 2002, 11:46 AM
I was elk hunting a couple years ago in Colorado. Another guy we met there was bow hunting, but he volunteered to take us to the spots he hunted when he was rifle hunting. We were sitting on the side of the mountain; you could see perhaps 50 miles. He pointed out a spot where he had shot at an elk a few years ago. My buddy pulled out his range finder and found it to be something like 1200 yards away. So much for field range estimation. The guy said, "No wonder I missed it".
Hunting a spot like that is frustrating because you see elk all day long that are far beyond rifle range. Then of course there is the question of how you could possibly get the elk out of there if you did connect.
April 30, 2002, 12:49 PM
350 and I am very uncomfortable with that distance but sometimes that is the only shot available and if the wind is calm and I have a rocksteady rest, I can make it strike in a broadside shot.:)
El Loco Lobo
May 3, 2002, 02:09 AM
For a simple question thats a realy loaded one.
The longest shot I have ever taken at a large game animal was last year's antelope 315 yards - prone, bipod, no wind and a rifle and handloads I'd been shooting all summer at various ranges. On the other hand I've passed up shots of less than 15 yards becuase I couldn't get my clean ONE SHOT KILL!(bout got ran over by that elk:eek: )
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
practice does not make perfect it makes it perminant:cool:
May 3, 2002, 09:28 AM
I only ever shot 1 deer over 100 yards away. I was 17 and used my fathers Springfield 1903. Took him at approx. 200 yards across a field.
The other 4 I have taken have all been under 100 yards. That's why I switched to a T/C Encore .44 Mag pistol.
My grandfather always told me, "You don't brag about how far you can shoot. You brag about how close you can get."
May 3, 2002, 05:11 PM
For deer elk, antelope etc.. about 400 yards, longer than that and I need a range finder (other than the crosshairs). My hardest shot was around 375 yards from a kneeling position in a gusting wind, if it had been a calm day... who knows? the longest shot I've MADE was around 400-425 (I sitting using a snipersling) but I didn't kill the animal clean. Within 300 yards, we are having dinner.
For Prarie Dogs.. there is no limit to what I'll try. However, realisticly, from a heavier weapon on a bench etc.. maybe 450.. there is a whole lot of stuff happening (wind temperature humidity etc) at long range to vary the point of impact. I can't do it consistantly at that kind of range, but its fun to try.
May 3, 2002, 09:53 PM
If you review all of these posts, I think it's fair to say that for what we think of as "game animals", the consensus is that it's a mix of circumstance, personal confidence, and a desire that there be a quick and clean kill.
Varmints being varmints, more risks on any given shot seem more reasonable.
May 4, 2002, 01:00 AM
I know one guy that actually took shots at deer 500-600yds. He fired about 3-5rds at two doe, threw out the course of the day. He found blood trails, but never recovered the game.:(
May 6, 2002, 08:30 PM
I try to limit my shots to 200 yds. or less. Chances of a "clean kill are deminished beyond that distance, IMHO. I have a respect for the game I hunt and try to hunt ethically.
I target practice at distances greater than that.
May 7, 2002, 12:37 PM
125 yards. I'm currently shooting Swedish Mauser with open sights. I practice at 100 yds. and really feel uncomfortable shooting much past 125 yds. The gun will do it but I have a hard time holding it steady enough currently to hit accurately at 150 yds. I'm having another 6.5x55 custom built and hope to be able to hit accurately out to 400 yards eventually, haven't any idea if I'd ever try a shot that long at game. Have also just bought a Bushnell range-finder to help in judging distances.
Longest shot I've ever made with 12 gage full choke 2 3/4" # 6 shot was 72 yards, knocked squirrel dead out of tree. Don't have that shotgun anymore thanks to a thief. Limit my shotgun shooting presently to the 60 yard range.
May 8, 2002, 05:11 PM
I live in central Wyoming, the land of wide open spaces. After more than 30 years of big game hunting and competition I have learned a few things. First, most folks can't estimate distance. Secondly, the effective range of most riflemen is a whole lot less than what they claim it to be. For those of you who admit that your effective range day in and day out under normal field conditions is 300 yards or less, a tip of the hat.
May 8, 2002, 06:37 PM
"...day in and day out..."? HA! Maybe 200 yards? said the small voice at the rear of the room.
A great percentage of my successful shots, I had the same feeling as when I'd first fire up an engine I'd rebuilt: Amazement that the danged thing worked! Dunno. It's always seemed like there are so many variables, there's no way at all to make good things happen on the very first effort.
But I'll take luck over skill, any day.
May 14, 2002, 11:11 PM
The longest shot I took at a whitetail was 217y with my old .30-06
droped him on the spot.
May 14, 2002, 11:26 PM
On most big game I won't really try anything past 350yds.
Here in Montana, those plains antelope sometimes don't cooperate. A few days into the season, a running 300 yd shot is sometimes all you get. I have taken a nice antelope at 563 yds, but the conditions were perfect and I was trying out my Remington 700 hvy bbl 308 with a mk4 mil-dot fixed 10 power scope. So I new the exact range and do alot of practice out to 800yds.
I think there are too many variables to list. Just be honest with your skill, weapon, and above all a clean kill.
May 18, 2002, 10:06 PM
Most people have absolutely no idea as to the range they are shooting at.
Most people do not know the ballistics of the cartridge they are shooting.
In Texas, almost all hunting is done from blinds and I start the hunt by laser rangefinding outstanding features all around me. I know exactly how much the bullet will drop at all reasonable distances and can quickly calculate the holdover.
Most shots occur between 200 and 300 yards and I will take a shot out to (about) 400 yards if I feel it is doable and that depends on a lot of things. I am proud to say that the first round always has done the job.
There may be marksmen out there capable of precision accuracy at extremely long range, and my hat is off to them, but most hunters overestimate distance and have a tendency to exaggerate their own prowess.
May 18, 2002, 11:52 PM
Most people have absolutely no idea as to the range they are shooting at.
That's why I cheat using 150gr bullets out of a 30/06. Pretty hard to miss with such a flat shooting bullet.
May 19, 2002, 09:44 AM
SodaPop, ain't "flat" a sort of relative term? :) After all, that bullet has right at two feet of drop at 400 yards and about four feet of drop at 500, if you're zeroed at 200...
I once thought a 550-yard deer was at 400. Luckily, he was not only patient, but very, very stoopid. After eight misses didn't particularly bother him, he turned and ambled a bit over 100 yards directly toward me and posed.
Holding the crosshairs just at the top of his horns, I gave him a serious heart attack. A nine-shot, one-hit kill.
That particular rodeo was a case where I could see no way to "get closer". He was across a valley, with generally sparse brush. And I ain't crawling through cactus! I might have been able to retreat from my sittin'-spot, circle around downwind, across the valley and up his side of the hill--About 20 to 30 minutes, probably...No tellin' where he would have been by then.
This was long before the days of laser range finders and all that. Maybeso 30 years back, mas o menos...
May 19, 2002, 03:34 PM
SodaPop, ain't "flat" a sort of relative term?
Well compared to his Uncle who is 50grs heavier, and a bit slower, the 150gr spud shoots flat.:p
May 19, 2002, 07:42 PM
Shooting ability--- an easy self test:
The road to improved shooting starts with and honest self-evaluation. Let's try a hypothetical situation. The circumstances are: You take your favorite hunting rifle from its case. This is the first time the rifle has been out of the case today --- it's in whatever condition it would normally be at the start of a day's hunting.
You have one cartridge. The target is a paper plate, 10 inches in diameter. There's not a benchrest or vehicle hood in sight over which to take a rest, and grass and brush preclude the prone position. Other than that, you can use any position you want; offhand, kneeling, sitting, using a sling of shooting sticks for support. You commence with rifle at "port arms," loaded with safety on.
The bet is this: If you miss the plate, you give me your rifle and scope. If you hit, I give you the cash equivalent. You have 10 seconds from the start signal to get in position and break the shot.
The question is: What is the maximum range at which you consider the bet a mortal lock; the maximum range at which you are totally confident of taking my money? Whatever that maximum range is, that's about the maximum range at which you should be shooting at an unwounded game animal from that position. I bet it's a lot less than 300 yards.
The ability to shoot tiny groups from a benchrest is certainly one test of shooting ability. But before you take to the field, you must make an honest assessment of your ability to hit a given target, on demand and under time and psychological pressure. It's the responsible thing to do.
This was an excerpt from an article in the "Rifleman"
May 19, 2002, 08:46 PM
With my iron sighted .30-'06 I'll take a shot to about 175 yards. Part of the reasoning being that outdoors I have *no clue* if mr bambi is 175 yards or 200. Is he 200 or 250? Beats me.
Sure, on the rifle range I can hit paper a whole lot better - but I realize I'm not that good a field shot and I'm not that good a rangefinder!!
May 19, 2002, 10:17 PM
10" offhand? What I said before. But on game, if it doesn't "feel right", I won't take the shot at all. Doesn't matter what the distance is, what's important is a clean kill. Everything else to me is just BSin' around about woulda, coulda, shoulda.
Those who have followed any of my few "advice"* posts know I've long been an advocate of getting away from a bench and practicing just a whole bunch from the offhand position. You get halfway good at the coordination-thing, offhand, and all the rest of it is a lot easier.
Sittiing and a hasty rest? Well, I made a one-shot DRT kill on a 350-yard buck. I've rarely been off more than two or three inches on rocks and such out to 400 and sometimes a bit more, shooting for fun. Doesn't really mean anything, though, since I've been doing it for a fair while.
* I rarely say, "You oughta..." or "My advice is..." Don't believe in it. I'm more prone to say, "I found that thus and such has worked." or some equivalent.
May 19, 2002, 10:46 PM
Woops! I wasn't responding to maze51's post, I was responding to the original - this assuming I have plenty of time to get prone or what have you.
To maze51's test - 10 seconds to get in any position and you HAVE to shoot? Let's call it 75 yards. 100 if I'm feeling cocky. I like my rifle :D
May 20, 2002, 01:15 AM
400 Yards with Heavy Boat tail Spitzers in 7MM and .300 Magnum in a Savage M - 10.
I CAN hit at 500 with those but I limit holdover to level with the spine.
I also use the Jack O' Conner 3 inches high at 100 yards method.
May 20, 2002, 06:12 PM
250 for dead-bang sure. If everything feels right, I'll go out a little beyond 300. Only times I've gone much beyond that, things got complicated . . . .
It all depends.:p
May 21, 2002, 07:46 AM
350 yards on unwounded game.:)
May 21, 2002, 07:41 PM
Good point I'll shoot at any distance on a wounded critter that's getting away.
May 23, 2002, 09:50 AM
That really depends on the game and conditions such as light, wind, is the game moving, and a stable rest. All my longer range shots came from my Remington 700 in 300 WM, 4.5x14 Leupold, shooting prone with a bipod. Distances were rangefinder confirmed.
My longest shot was 612 yards on a Wyoming antelope. I used
a 150 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip in a handload. I am the first to admit a lot of luck was with me on this one. I know I underestimated the range and had I not had such a flat shooter, I would have probably missed. I didn't laser it until after the shot. DUH!!!
Next was a Mulie in the NM Gila at 483yards across a canyon. Used a factory Winchester 180gr. Fail Safe here.
Then came a Missouri whitetail at 305 yards with a factory 178 gr Remington Extended Range. This one I shot after a 100 yard sprint to cut the deer off as it was crossing a field. I had to shoot sitting as the grass was too tall for the bipod.
Everything I have taken other than these have been 250 yards and in with the majority of them under 100 yards.
With my 300 WM or my Win M70 in 30.06, I am comfortable out to 300 yards for most conditions. Both guns are sighted to aim dead on out to that range. I practice at longer ranges and in field positions. But I don't usually try for the longer range shots. Too many variables come in to play.
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