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Old October 2, 2012, 09:36 PM   #26
Deja vu
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My choice is a 45/70 Govt. Once you learn the trajectory the round is a very good big game getter!
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Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 23 of my guns are 45/70 govt 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple
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Old October 2, 2012, 09:57 PM   #27
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I use a .300 Win Mag for elk. I'm old and small, but I really like my .300 Win Mag with Nosler 180 gr Protected Point Partition bullets (handloads sighted 2.5-2.75" high at 100 yards.) Generally I'd recommend a .30-06 for most hunters, or a 7mm Rem Mag. A .270, .280, or .308 will certainly kill any elk but I prefer a flatter shooting long range cartridge when I face the expense of an outfitted elk hunt.
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Old October 2, 2012, 10:08 PM   #28
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I completely disagree. 400 yards is MUCH harder than "2x 200 yards".

I can make shots all day every day on woodchucks at 200 yards. Easy. I'm angry if I miss at that distance. I can almost shoot them in the eye at 200. At 400 yards I'm lucky to hit the whole animal, never have actually.

Under "ideal", unchanging conditions, bipod, sandbag, no stress, no rush, my groups double in MOA between 200 and 400.

Going from "I can shoot 2" at 200 yards at the range, with sandbag and a shooting table under cover, with no pressure and no rush." to shooting at an animal at 400 yards that might leave at any second, using a tree branch for a rest, judging wind across a valley, with my heart pounding...

No, I consider that poor judgement, at best.
Well, if you throw enough stuff in there that I didn't say I'm sure you will be correct.

I assume he is bright enough to know that the conditions he is shooting in will need to be the same for different ranges to make a comparison.

If he can't shoot but a 10 inch group at 200 yards I bet he can figure the rest of it out.

I can shoot a better group proportionately at 400 yards than I can at 200 most of the time depending on the wind.
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Old October 2, 2012, 10:17 PM   #29
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What you said isn't really relevant. The OP said "I've never shot anything beyond 200 yards." and "expect 250-500 yards."

Never.

Shot anything.

Beyond 200 yards.

It is unethical to shoot animals at distances you've never shot. Never shot anything. Not, "not this gun", not, "not this caliber", not "woodchucks but not elk"...

Anything.

400 yards is not easy. The first bullet someone fires at that distance should NOT be at a live target.

400 is much harder than 200 and 500 is much harder than 400. Taking those shots without practice would be unethical.
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Old October 2, 2012, 10:26 PM   #30
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400 yards is not easy. The first bullet someone fires at that distance should NOT be at a live target.
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There is no doubt that would be the best. He may have nowhere to practice at 400 yards. But, the laws of physics are not going to change and if he is an excellent marksman at 200 yards he is an excellent marksman at 400 yards. Bullets don't just decide to take a detour.
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Old October 2, 2012, 10:49 PM   #31
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So, you have a 308. It is a fine 300 yd Elk gun. You need to know how you shoot prone, over your backpack, etc to know how far you can shoot.

Any guide worth his pay can get you within 250 yards of a trophy bull. More likely 100. They are not magical people, they just chase the same Elk everyday across the same piece of land. A good guide should know where the elk are going before they do.

I hope this guide is not seriously expecting clients to shoot 500 yd elk. That is what commoners like I get because they have been chased all day on private land before the show themselves 600 yards from me! Guides get paid to guide, not point out unshootable elk!

Back to real elk rifles. There are 2 kinds....
Point and shoot....these are guns you sight in at 250 - 300 yds and just aim center of vitals to 400 and top of elk at 500 with practice. They are 300 win mag, 270 WSM, 7mm STW, 300 weatherby, etc. they all are big recoil hard to shoot guns and i find when i put a paper plate at 400 yards, their owners miss it!

Next, are the big enough to kill, small enough to shoot...these are 308, 30'06, 7mm Rem Mag, 338 Federal, 270 Win, 280 Rem, etc. these too with the right bullets kill Elk out to 500 yards, If you can tape a range card on your arm, learn to range(or laser range elk) and learn tricks about scope adjustment or hold over. You need to practice a bit more, read the wind a little better and quit trying to wing(as in wing and a prayer) shooting elk at 500 yards.

Just to set the record straight, I shoot a Savage 12BVSS in 300 WSM at all big game. It has a Burris XTR 3-12 with Mildots and tactical turrets. It weighs 14.5 lbs and shoots fine off my backpack. Prone 300 yd hunting groups are a breeze. It is amazing what a couple of pounds does to reduce recoil and solidify your rest. It was designed as a 600 yd elk gun. All I need now is 600 yds to practice at!
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Old October 2, 2012, 11:02 PM   #32
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I use a 300 weatherby mag only out of availability not out of necessity. I would prefer a 7mm rem mag which has similar ballistics just with lighter bullets and has much less felt recoil.


Quote:
It is unethical to shoot animals at distances you've never shot. Never shot anything. Not, "not this gun", not, "not this caliber", not "woodchucks but not elk"...
with all due respect Brian,
my first kill was a small whitetail doe at 300 yards. that is well beyond my usual comfort zone and up to that point I did all my shooting at 100 yards. albeit I was desperate as it was getting dark on the last day of hunting season but when I lined her up in my cross hairs I didn't have the slightest doubt in the shot, I just held a little high and nailed her right through the heart.

it is unethical to take a shot that you are not certain you can make, not to take a shot that you haven't tried to take. if you know your bullet drop, wind drift, and FTLBs, have a good idea of the range and can make a good determination of where that bullet needs to go then it is not unethical to move from a 200 yard max to a 500 yard max. it is when you see that giant bull that you aren't sure if you can take down and take the shot anyway that it becomes unethical. mindset is crucial, hunting is not an exact science and HUNTING ETHICS ARE NEVER BLACK AND WHITE.
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Old October 2, 2012, 11:17 PM   #33
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Quote:
Back to real elk rifles. There are 2 kinds....
Point and shoot....these are guns you sight in at 250 - 300 yds and just aim center of vitals to 400 and top of elk at 500 with practice. They are 300 win mag, 270 WSM, 7mm STW, 300 weatherby, etc. they all are big recoil hard to shoot guns and i find when i put a paper plate at 400 yards, their owners miss it!
With all due respect, my experience has been quite different. I'm 5'5", 155 lbs. I intended to buy a 7mm Rem. Mag. Browning A-Bolt SS LH, but the dealer had only a .300 Win. Mag. The first 30 shots from a bench with factory ammo were terrible: 1 3/16" to 4 1/8". First handloads: 3/8" to 7/8". The rifle consistently shoots MOA 3 shot groups with my best handloads (IMR 4831 and Nosler 180 gr. Partition Protected Point). I've taken elk with it (all one shot kills) and one small black bear in the Bob Marshall Wilderness (about 120 lbs.) at over 400 yards. Nevertheless, I honestly believe a .30-06 is the best cartridge for a hunter with limited mountain hunting experience (and I prefer a guide who discourages shots that are too long or too likely to be blown off by the wind.)
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Old October 3, 2012, 01:10 AM   #34
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TheDutchman19, Since your friend gave you yardage and what caliber he's shooting didn't you talk to him about what you should use and yardage your comfortable at?

I hunt some fairly open country here (C0) for elk and I'm sure not taking someone where I hunt unless their willing take those shots and can hit something at that yardage.
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Old October 3, 2012, 03:46 AM   #35
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7MM Remington Magnum.

But since you already have a .308 the Caliber maters less than the shooter.

If you can hit a pie plate at 400 yards 80% of the time use your .308 with 180 Grain Bullets.

If not practice more with your .308. Even a .375 H&H Magnum doesn't kill an elk much quicker than a good hit from a .30-30 Winchester closer than 100 Yards.
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:14 AM   #36
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Theres a lady probably in her late 60s that runs a restaurant in kaycee wy she takes an elk home every year with a .243 that .308 will be fine.lol
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:37 AM   #37
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There is no doubt that would be the best. He may have nowhere to practice at 400 yards. But, the laws of physics are not going to change and if he is an excellent marksman at 200 yards he is an excellent marksman at 400 yards. Bullets don't just decide to take a detour.
The bullets WILL be affected by wind and gravity. A 180gr bullet out of a .308 moreso than many, due to lower initial velocity (more time to be affected).

If you have never shot at paper at ranges expected in the hunt, with the bullet and gun you'll be using, under field conditions, then you have no business shooting at a live animal with that rig at that range.
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:54 AM   #38
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If a man can shoot a 2 inch group at 200 yards he doesn't have to practice at 400 yards to make that shot. There are plenty of programs that will tell you where you will be at longer ranges accurately enough for elk size game.
You betcha:

There is a lot of BC programs that will tell you "shoulda, coulda, woulda" but that's on paper.

The BC programs wont make you hold your rifle steady, they wont compensate for being winded after climbing a hill at 8000 ft.

The "if you can shoot a 2 inch group you don't have to practice at 400" is back-wards".

You practice a lot at 400 you'll be good to go at 200.

I do a lot of long range shooting, past 1000 yards. Been doing it for about 35+ years in competition.

So I figure I'm good to 300 yards.

Too many things to go wrong at extended ranges, mis calculating wind, switching down range, not taking angles into account, temps etc etc, and that isn't taking account of shooter error when pulling the trigger.

We can all sand bag a rifle to a bench and shoot little bitty groups. But at altitude, after climbing a hill, from leaning against a tree, or kneeling etc etc we'd be lucky to hold 5 MOA.

The vital area of the average elk is about 15 inches. If you're holding 5 MOA, you "should" (and that's a big SHOULD) be good to 300 yards.

Sight your rifle in. Run around a bit, then plop down to a kneeling position, leaning against a tree or something and shoot a 5 shot group at 100 yards and see the size.

If you can constantly do that and hold under 5 MOA, you're a better man then me.

You read all the time about the super long range shots on game. Funny you never hear about the muffed shots, wounded game running off to die a painful death.

Think back, how many "misses" do you read about on the Internet? Who post about gut shooting and loosing a nice elks?
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:59 AM   #39
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I took a quick look at a ballistics table for a 180 gr bullet (a Sierra GameKing- not a particularly tough "controlled expansion" bullet, mind you, just what I have handy).... even with a BC above .500, which many of the controlled expansion bullets won't have, you are looking at more than 2 feet of drop @ 400 (more than 4 feet @ 500!) with a 200 yard zero ... and more than a foot of wind drift with a 90 degree 10 mph wind..... I'm thinking maybe a 180 gr bullet to 4-500 would be beyond the .308 WIN, particularly for someone who has never shot that distance.

It is not as simple as settling the crosshairs and squeezing the trigger at that range. You have to know your trajectory and the exact range, and be able to read the wind.... with a faster (and/or more efficient) bullet these variables are lessened, but they are still there.
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Old October 3, 2012, 09:30 AM   #40
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Quote:
You betcha:

There is a lot of BC programs that will tell you "shoulda, coulda, woulda" but that's on paper.

The BC programs wont make you hold your rifle steady, they wont compensate for being winded after climbing a hill at 8000 ft.

The "if you can shoot a 2 inch group you don't have to practice at 400" is back-wards".

You practice a lot at 400 you'll be good to go at 200.

I do a lot of long range shooting, past 1000 yards. Been doing it for about 35+ years in competition.

So I figure I'm good to 300 yards.

Too many things to go wrong at extended ranges, mis calculating wind, switching down range, not taking angles into account, temps etc etc, and that isn't taking account of shooter error when pulling the trigger.

We can all sand bag a rifle to a bench and shoot little bitty groups. But at altitude, after climbing a hill, from leaning against a tree, or kneeling etc etc we'd be lucky to hold 5 MOA.

The vital area of the average elk is about 15 inches. If you're holding 5 MOA, you "should" (and that's a big SHOULD) be good to 300 yards.

Sight your rifle in. Run around a bit, then plop down to a kneeling position, leaning against a tree or something and shoot a 5 shot group at 100 yards and see the size.

If you can constantly do that and hold under 5 MOA, you're a better man then me.

You read all the time about the super long range shots on game. Funny you never hear about the muffed shots, wounded game running off to die a painful death.

Think back, how many "misses" do you read about on the Internet? Who post about gut shooting and loosing a nice elks?
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You like Peetza are thowing in stuff that I didn't say. I suspect I have been shooting longer than you have although not as much I'm sure, but at least once a week at different ranges back in the early seventies. More when the mood hits me now. And guess what, the bullets went right where the data said they would go.

I never said that you could compare shooting your gun in a vice to shooting hanging upside down by a tree limb in a hurricane which is sort of the strawman ya'll are throwing in there.

There is no reason why a man should get a substantially different MOA at 400 than he does at 200 unless the wind is squirrely, which is what I said to start with. And, the bullet drop is going to be plenty close to what the data says for elk size game.

And, I can't imagine anybody taking a 400 yard shot on anything without a good rest of some sort. My back pack and hunting coat work just fine.

If the man can't hit a paint can at 200 yards he has no business taking a 400 yard shot. But, I bet he knows that.
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Old October 3, 2012, 09:54 AM   #41
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I never said that you could compare shooting your gun in a vice to shooting hanging upside down by a tree limb in a hurricane which is sort of the strawman ya'll are throwing in there.
Nobody said you did. What you did say was:

Quote:
If a man can shoot a 2 inch group at 200 yards he doesn't have to practice at 400 yards to make that shot.
Which is Horse Hockey.

If you want to make that shot in field conditions, you need to practice that shot under field conditions: "Train Like You'll Fight" comes to mind.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:29 AM   #42
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroJunk
You like Peetza are thowing in stuff that I didn't say. I suspect I have been shooting longer than you have although not as much I'm sure, but at least once a week at different ranges back in the early seventies. More when the mood hits me now. And guess what, the bullets went right where the data said they would go.

I never said that you could compare shooting your gun in a vice to shooting hanging upside down by a tree limb in a hurricane which is sort of the strawman ya'll are throwing in there.

There is no reason why a man should get a substantially different MOA at 400 than he does at 200 unless the wind is squirrely, which is what I said to start with. And, the bullet drop is going to be plenty close to what the data says for elk size game.

And, I can't imagine anybody taking a 400 yard shot on anything without a good rest of some sort. My back pack and hunting coat work just fine.

If the man can't hit a paint can at 200 yards he has no business taking a 400 yard shot. But, I bet he knows that.
Well, I have no doubt that I have the least experience of anyone in this conversation but my experience tells me the opposite of yours, and my experience tells me the same as KraigWy's

I have NEVER seen a bullet that flies like a ballistics calculator says it will. Generally, from what I've seen, they both drop and drift LESS than expected, at least at relatively close range out to 300-350, which is the limit of my experience. Yet, at the same time, my experience also tells me that making those shots at 300, 400, 500 yards is MUCH harder than the calculators might indicate and much harder than "2x half the distance".

However, I also believe that YOU are the ones putting words in OUR mouths and then claiming that we put those words in yours.

You mentioned shooting for groups at 200 yards. I don't know too many people (and certainly the OP never mentioned it) who shoot for groups under hunting conditions. Certainly, some people do, but they're not shooting 2" groups at 200 yards under typical hunting conditions. Since YOU mentioned 2" groups at 200 yards, the implication, I think clearly, is shooting for groups under nearly ideal conditions, since very few could shoot such groups under less than ideal conditions.

Since the OP will be hunting, his shots will be under hunting conditions, shooting 2" groups at 200 yards doesn't not extrapolate to shooting an elk at 400 (or the OPs 500) yards.

Add to that the fact that 2" at 200 does not simply become 4" at 400, for many reasons, not the least of which is that wind drift is not linear, and you have the making of disaster and disappointment when the first shot at 4 or 500 yards is at a live animal.

Shooting 225, 250, 275 when you've never shot over 200 is one thing. Shooting 4 or 500 is quite another.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:41 AM   #43
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if you know your bullet drop, wind drift, and FTLBs, have a good idea of the range and can make a good determination of where that bullet needs to go then it is not unethical to move from a 200 yard max to a 500 yard max.
The biggest problem with that statement is this:

Quote:
have a good idea of the range
Let's take the OP's .308 WIN and the 180gr bullet several people have suggested, and we'll even assume it has a pretty good BC- we'll say .500:

The shooter sees his elk way out there in a flat (not even any vertical angle to figure, how convenient) and the wind is calm (so simple, right?) The shooter guesses 450 yards when the range is actually 480.... cause anybody could make a 30 yard estimation error at 1/4 mile away..... Our Hero lines up the perfect broadside shot, adds his ups and settles his crosshairs on the animal's heart, steadies his breathing, ..... squeezes the trigger on his 1.0 MOA rig which is resting on his rock solid backpack ....BOOM! ....... (.66 seconds elapses, in which by some miracle, the animal remained perfectly still)... the bullet will pass 11 inches below ( 30 yard range estimation error) POA, in a 5 inch-ish circle ( 1 MOA @ roughly 500)..... if the shooter is very lucky the bullet might hit in the very top of that 5" and he might still get his elk ..... it'd be twice as likely to hit in the half of that circle forward most on the animal ...... and hit it in the foreleg.....lost animal.

Oh, you hold to the shoulder? A 30 yard range estimation error the other way can result in a miss or a hit above the spine...... do you see the point?

And all this assumes that the shooter makes no error in position/hold, breathing, wind, up/dawn angle, knows his trajecory better than a ballistics program, etc. .... just a 30 yard oops on his "good idea of the range"...... and having never fired beyond 200 yards, 30 yards would be a very good guess.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:57 AM   #44
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Well, I should have never used two inches because that is what made you jump to conclusions.

To the OP. Here is the way I look at it. You know what you are capable of with your rifle at 200 yards and I will assume with what you can expect to find for a rest in hunting conditions. All things being equal you should be able to do about twice that at 400 yards. If your data is correct the charts are going to be very close to what is going to happen. That is why they made them. If at all possible shoot some at 400 yards somewhere so that you will be comfortable that is the case.

Like I said in my first post, the wind is what will get you. Keep an idea of what the wind is doing before you even see an elk and understand what it does to a bullet. Keep in mind that if you are shooting from timber across a gorge or something it may be doing something different out there. If you can't figure it out don't shoot. Hopefully it will be calm.

Once you get settled in to the best rest you can get see what your cross hairs are doing. Shouldn't take but a second. If they are wandering off all over the place don't shoot. If you can keep your cross hairs well within the size of the vital area of an elk your rifle will do it's part if you have figured the trajectory and wind correctly.

I'm sure they will pick this apart as well, but I have just never found killing elk with a good scoped rifle all that hard to do.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:06 AM   #45
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Jimbob, I can't imagine anybody shooting at those ranges in an area he is not totally familiar with without a good rangefinder.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:08 AM   #46
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I appreciate all of the input. First off I have no intention to just plug a random hole in an animal. I want to take an elk that is within my abilities. I am also not going tomorrow. I am doing the research so that I can be better prepared. I live in Southern California and the farthest distance I can practice at today is 250 yards. Before the hunt I will go somewhere I can practice at longer distances as well as try several different loads. Thanks again for the input.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:16 AM   #47
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A lot of it depends on how much weight you want to carry. I go elk hunting with a Tikka T3 in 308, with Barnes Vortex 168 gr TTSX bullets. With as light a rifle as the Tikka, that's my limit on recoil vs dragging that thing through the mountains all day. My last trip had a 10,000 ft mountain as a "that's where they bed down during the day" midday excursion in it.
If you're very stout recoil wise or don't mind dragging a 10 lbs rifle, a 300 WM or 7 RM probably gives you a bit more comfort zone on long shots due to the flatter curve, but that doesn't help you if you have a decent wind (and you get a lot of that out west) blowing your bullet all over the place.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:23 AM   #48
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Quote:
Jimbob, I can't imagine anybody shooting at those ranges in an area he is not totally familiar with without a good rangefinder.
I was responding to tahunua's assertion:

Quote:
if you know your bullet drop, wind drift, and FTLBs, have a good idea of the range and can make a good determination of where that bullet needs to go then it is not unethical to move from a 200 yard max to a 500 yard max.
The example also illustrates many of the other variables invloved, as well.

Wind and time of flight are big ones.

Wind can only be read with practice.

The biggest factor is the shooter being able to shoot in the conditions presented.

Were it me, I'd want a flatter shooting cartridge than the .308 WIN if I were going to try to shoot that far.
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Old October 3, 2012, 12:36 PM   #49
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I think the Dutchman just wants a new rifle. Whatever you get, good shooting, and good hunting
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Old October 3, 2012, 12:41 PM   #50
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Back on topic. I am trying a 458 Socom this year. I'm very excited!
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