David: I'm really glad you took my rant well-- I note that my tact chip was not fully enabled...
In re: drop. I agree that carfull attention to terrain features, use of triangulation, shooting asmuths to distant points, and a very high end optical range finder help. It is true that a man who knows his trig and who has a good engineer's compass and a very high res contour map can plot the distance of yonder tree at 1100 yards to within a few yards. How many do, though? I mean, I paid attention in PreCalc when we went over that aspect of sins, cosins, etc, just so I could
do such things, and I'm afraid I'd have to crack my books for a week before I'd be bold enough to do it. (Art, are you out there?
I've always been interested in the subject of Long Range Hunting, but I just don't think that you should EVER take any benchrest rifle, even the .50 BMG, out in the field and expect better grouping than TWICE what you shoot at the range. If you can consistantly shoot 8 MOA at 1000 yard ranges (and are thereby World Class
), then you can expect roughly 16" spreads in the field at 1000 yards. That's incredibly accurate, for the field, but it's not good enough to hunt with. Try backing off to 600 or 700.
No one doubts that the .50 BMG has the power down range, it's just the question of consistency in placing it there humanely. Yes, there are a couple of guys that have recorded 4" groups with .50's at 1000 yards. But they don't do it consistantly, and they don't have to account for range estimation nor resighting. Remember that the finest scopes and adjustable mounts in the world don't ALWAYS give you exactly, precisely 1 mil per click or .1 MOA per click, and then return
to where they were before. The best get really, really close, at best. If you're click-click-clicking away on your adjustable mounts before you make that shot, the fact that you haven't actually taken a sight-in shot for the distance you're about to shoot is going to weigh in your mind. And it should.