View Full Version : 500 yd shots more common these days

December 27, 2005, 12:20 PM
Have any of you realized how common reports of 500+ yds shots are these days? I wonder if it is the technology (mag calibers, high end optics, laser range finders, butter bullet design...) or old fasioned BS. I find it to be a true challange shooting at these distances and for me, 3 1/2" and 4 1/2" groups are excelent from a non BR rifle. But I have been reading of alot of people shooting "sub 1 inchers" at these ranges...any comment?

December 27, 2005, 01:06 PM
It took me 38 years to make a voluntary shot at over 500 yds at a big game animal - all that time to get my skill level up to snuff and find the right conditions which could not be improved upon by a good stalk. Made it cleanly, but I also know the difficulty of such through all the work to get there. I've missed 'em at that range too - having taken "desperation finishing" shots at wounded game, but will not shoot willingly at such ranges if I can help it... One time in a lifetime of hunting and shooting on the open praries. (Now varmits are another class altogether and I can site several extremely long range hits, but oh the misses that go unremembered or reported!)

So whenever I hear of such a story given with a feeling of routine, my BS detecter starts squealing and if the guy notes several such "Clean" stories it shifts gears into wail. Hear it a lot lately.

December 27, 2005, 02:12 PM
yah 500 yards is a long ways. I thought about making a shot on a doe at 297 yards but didn't. Last year I made a shot just under 400 yards and missed a doe. I was mad at myself for even trying. I pretty much keep my shots at 200 yards and less. Now if I played more at the 300 and 400 yard range I might try to make a shot like that.

Just for the heck of it I shot my 45-70 at the 600 yard range with open sights. I never did hit the target:) . My Marlin with a med hand load had about 25 feet of drop:) . I was able to shoot the and real quick look in the spotting scope and see the bullet hit the berm:)

December 27, 2005, 04:34 PM
Where I hunt, you can barely see 100yds, let alone 500.


December 27, 2005, 04:47 PM
Only 500 yards? Those kinds of shots became boring for me years ago. I don't even need a scope for that kind of a simple shot. These days, I shoot deer in other Counties. I keep getting better and better! I figure that in a couple of years, I'll be hunting interstate: I plan on shooting from the top of a water tower in Nebraska, and killing deer located in Iowa, Kansas, S. Dakota, or Colorado. Well, I usually hunt in Eastern Nebraska, so the Colorado deer might take a little bit more practice.....


But seriously, for those of you who can competently kill deer 500 yards away (without breaking a shoulder), I say: bravo! Wish I had your talent.

December 27, 2005, 05:01 PM
My guess is that a lot of the so called 500 yard shots were probably a lot less. 500 yards just sounds better.

December 27, 2005, 07:19 PM
or brag about all the different types of hunting I have done..BUT 500 yards for me is way out of the question. I have stalked lots of game to get closer and happiness is at least thinking when you squeeeeeez the trigger it is already over....sometimes it hasnt been. :o I am sure there are lots of guys who can pull off that shot......but I want to watch with my range finder.;) Besides....wounding an animal and not getting it is in my opinion the worst feeling in the world and makes me want to :barf:

December 27, 2005, 07:40 PM
For me, woods ranges is typically 30 - 50 yards. 100 yards is considered a long shot where I hunt. If you're telling stories of 300 yard shots in these woods it means one thing--you're lying! :)
However I've heard of 300+ yard shots on prairies and farms. I've got a lot of respect for the guys who can consistently do it.
But 500 yards (over 1/4 mile?) is a lot less of a hunt/stalk and more of a shot, right?...Well that brings to mind a question: at what point do you go from having a hunting buddy or guide to having a 'spotter?'

December 27, 2005, 08:05 PM
chemist308 down south there are what we call "Senderos". It's a long path cut through the heavy brush. A 500 yard shot is not uncommon. Hence the Remington Sendero. But still I'm not going to make that kind of a shot without time at the range.

December 27, 2005, 09:33 PM
If you are zeroed for say 400 and know how much drop you have at 500 then its not to hard, on a calm day. The 1000 yard boys would just love to practice on a deer at 500,but could kill one at 1000. I know of a guy that shoots Egrets on catfish ponds at 800+ yards,and deer on out to 1000. He has been doing it for 40 years or so and has a computer program on a lap top to put the conditions in and get the trajectory out. Has a Swarovski $2500 range finder. Shoots a 300 win mag or 30x378 and a Sheppard scope. It's just everyday to him but,awesome to me. Some folks can do it on a regular basis.;) ;) :D

December 27, 2005, 11:41 PM
But 500 yards (over 1/4 mile?) is a lot less of a hunt/stalk and more of a shot, right?...
You have a point, but it's not always true. Out here, you might (every once in a while) have to stalk to get to the 500 yrd shot, depending on where you are.

December 27, 2005, 11:51 PM
Hey Chemist, where are you at in the poconos? Anywhere near Tannersville? I know that there are long fields on top of Mount Camelback that are probably about 300-400 yards. Of course, their not natural fields, but they're still there.

Art Eatman
December 28, 2005, 01:00 AM
I have a 500-yard range here at my house. A shooting table, and three hanging steel plates of 22" diameter. With the nekkid eyebone, they're on the tiny side. With 10X magnification, they're doable.

The thing is, you either do the Kentucky windage thing if you're sighted in at 200 or so, or you have troubles inside of 450 yards if you sight in for Way Out There. Or you better have a scope with superb adjustments and a chart for distance/clicks and for wind.

And there is always the wind, laser or no. Charts and hints/tips help, but they're not Gospel.

Anytime somebody unknown to me starts talking about anything over around 300 yards, I may stay quiet as to opinion, but my salt shaker is real handy.

:), Art

Harley Quinn
December 28, 2005, 02:12 AM
Thats funny.:rolleyes:
But then I have done it on targets, clean.


Wild Bill Bucks
December 28, 2005, 01:01 PM
A 270 with a 150 grain bullet @500 yds looks something like this:

100 = ZERO
200 = -3.81
300 = -14.13
400 = -32.06
500 = -60.01
Total drop from muzzle to impact =77.83"

In a hunting situation it would be hard for me to believe I could'nt GIVE
a $100.00 a shot for a hit, and GET $100.00 for a miss, and come out with more money in my pocket than I started with.
I'm sure somewhere there are guys who can do it, but here in Oklahoma
this would be one of those stories that starts out " YOU AIN'T GONNA BELIEVE THIS S**T"

Chris Phelps
December 28, 2005, 01:12 PM
I've heard stories around here about people hunting with a Barret M81A1A, but thats just it... they are only stories. I would absolutly love it if one of the guys that could drop a deer at 500 yards would video tape it, though. I think my personal record for a distance shot was a squirrel at 100 yards.

roy reali
December 28, 2005, 02:14 PM
Was your hundred yards shot with an air powered or standard firearm. I find those hundred yard shots a bit tricky with my Red Ryder.:D

Chris Phelps
December 28, 2005, 02:16 PM
haha it was with a .22... and it took about 3 shots to make it. I suck with rifles.

Gary Conner
December 28, 2005, 03:09 PM
Judging an animal at 500 yards itself (unless it is an elephant or killer whale) is a pretty difficult task. Here is what my feelings on it are. I shoot from an elevated stand, that I build a bench/ledge all the way around, in order to allow me to put pea gravel filled sandbags, to give me a good rest. The longest shot I have ever pulled off and hit where I was aiming, with a .243, was on a javalina at 225 yards.

Mind you, I had a totally solid rest, with my gun sandbagged at the trigger guard. (Probably a better rest than most S.W.A.T. guys use) I made a clean head shot with a 3X9 Leupold set on 9X, right behind the head of this hog.

I can't truly believe anyone, beside maybe someone like Carlos Hathcock, could pull off a 500 yard shot on a deer. (Down here in Texas brush, just finding him if you did hit him, at 500 yards, is an absolute miracle I think.

But that is just my thoughts on it.

December 28, 2005, 04:43 PM
not saying he could make the shot on a deer, but a buddy of mine just went through parris island and put 8 of 10 in the black (human sized target) at 500 yards open sights. He's got the accuracy medal to prove it and was top marine of his training class. I've seen this kid make some damn fine shots on deer with a 7mm, and with a good scope I would think he could make the shot. then again there are a million other factors to take into consideration.

December 28, 2005, 05:54 PM
while I dont think its always the best choice to take a shot at this distance I also dont think its as hard as some of you are making it out to be. I have taken deer out to and past 500yrds. I took an elk last month at just over 400yrds.
IMO its all about how much shooting time you have in and how confident you are with the given condisions of the shot. if the wind is blowing strong I wouldnt try it but if it was calm and it was a nice sized animal I just might. it is a long way but still very much possible to make a clean shot.

Art Eatman
December 28, 2005, 06:35 PM
I'll repeat the story of my nine-shot, one-shot kill on a Way Over Yonder buck. I guesstimated 400 yards or a bit more. I sight in my '06 to zero at 200 yards, which means two feet of drop at 400 and four feet at 500. 150-grain Sierra SPBT, per their book.

Hokay. So there's Bambi. I'm all snuggly-comfy in some boulders, with a good rest. I hold about roughly two feet above his mid-chest, and out by his nose for wind. Bang. Nothing. Repeat. Same result. Somewhere around the fifth shot he picked up his left hind foot and sniffed. That told me I was way off on both wind and distance. A deer-length of wind drift, and some five + feet of drop.

Being young, stupid and ambitious, I kept on keeping on, finally hollering calfrope at the eighth miss.

Deer ain't the brightest critters. He turned and came down the hill toward me. After maybe 150 yards or so, he stopped. Faced me. Posed with his head up. Beautiful photo opportunity. I held just above the tips of his horns, praised the Lord that the breeze had momentarily stopped, and pulled trigger.

Centered his brisket. DRT. Roughly 2.5 to 3 feet of drop. A tad over 400.

The foot-sniff? The bullet had dropped down between the toes, barely grazing the inner toe and not breaking the skin.

So: Lessons were indeed learned. Nowadays I've more experience in gauging the wind. I'm smart enough to not go to whanging and banging unless I'm pretty sure of the distance. I'm a bit better at ranging, also. And today's world has laser range-finders. :)

You'll never learn that stuff at a 100-yard benchrest.


December 28, 2005, 07:12 PM
if your buddy is shooting egrets you might not want to advertise it for him.:eek: He might send you out to hold a coke can on your head or something!!!;)

Harley Quinn
December 28, 2005, 07:26 PM
Is big fine, and maybe some jail time. Why would you want to shoot an Egret anyway. They are like beautiful and protected.


roy reali
December 28, 2005, 08:21 PM
Egrets are illegal to shoot here too.

I think they are federally protected.

December 28, 2005, 11:16 PM
I have a friend in Montana who according to him shoots 500 to 1000+ yards at deer. This is with a wildcat rifle of which there is only 2 in existance, (something like a 300 H&H Mag necked down to a .22 bullet) off a benchrest table mounted on a mountain and using a spotter with very expensive glass. Says he can get a hit in 3 shots.
I didn't make it up, I just repeated what I was told.

roy reali
December 28, 2005, 11:31 PM
I am looking forward to hearing about the ducking rifle.

I mean a rifle that shoots so far that it actually orbits the Earth. Thus as it comes around, the shooter needs to duck to avoid being hit by the bullet in back of the head. This of course, assume that the bullets isn't stopped by an obstacle like Mount Everest, an icebrug, or countless obstacles that the projectile may encounter on its path.

December 29, 2005, 12:05 AM
I am looking forward to hearing about the ducking rifle.

I mean a rifle that shoots so far that it actually orbits the Earth. Thus as it comes around, the shooter needs to duck to avoid being hit by the bullet in back of the head. This of course, assume that the bullets isn't stopped by an obstacle like Mount Everest, an icebrug, or countless obstacles that the projectile may encounter on its path.

:) :) :) :)

December 29, 2005, 01:07 AM
I'm in agreement with several of the other posters. Where I hunt it's next to impossible to see a deer over about 200 yards. I don't think that I would even try shooting at that range due to the brush. In the last 3 years I've taken 4 deer with the distances (in yards) being 120, 75, 25, 25 and my father has taken 2 both under 30 yards. One he had to shoot at twice (he thinks the first shot was deflected by brush). As long as I'm hunting in the same area I just can't see myself taking a shot at something over 150 yards.


December 29, 2005, 12:50 PM
Egrets are protected most places, but...it sounds like they may be a "nuisance" to the catfish pond. I have a friend with a fishery, and he has a "permit" to shoot these birds while they are "actively engaged in the activity of depredating ‘crops’ (ie fish stock)” So if that is the case, no problem, other wise…Shhhhhhh.

As far as 500+yds goes, I practice at this range alot, A LOT. I have taken one animal, (varmints excluded) a feral hog, at a range in excess of 500yds. However, I had plenty of time, a good rest, laser range finder, a calm day, and a lot of practice at this distance. I felt confident I could place my bullet where I wanted it to go, and it did (+/- 2 inches). But this takes A LOT of practice

December 29, 2005, 01:11 PM
500 yard shot = common = i don't think so.

While hunting any game, ethics to the game pursuited - with a clean kill are paramount. At 500 yards - maybe 1 in 1000 hunters could make a shot like that with any confidence - whatsoever.

I have a friend in Montana that shoots AT deer at 500 to 1000 yards Correct - wonder what his % of clean kills are? But he has a magical rifle [of which only two exist] and this makes it ok. I wonder if the other owner of this particular rifle has more sense then this slob hunter.

Weather conditions? How many days have you been rifle shooting and had perfect conditions? where i live that may be around 5 at most.

As far as shooting an egret - why? - malicious, stuiped + illegal. Nuff said.


December 29, 2005, 02:51 PM
12-34hom, I agree with the distance part of your post, but must disagree with the last part.

As far as shooting an egret - why? - malicious, stuiped + illegal. Nuff said.

It is not illeagle if you are doing it legally. Just the same as shooting shooting a varmit that has become a nuisance. Sorry, I just disagree.

roy reali
December 29, 2005, 03:37 PM
So you can see an egret at over 800 yards away taking fish out of a pond?

Now tell me that the gender of the fish can also be noted from that distance.

Art Eatman
December 29, 2005, 03:43 PM
Odds are, shooting at an egret is likely to be illegal, anywhere. Even cattle egrets are protected in Texas.

You ain't really shootin' at long range until ya gotta put salt on the bullet so the meat won't spoil before you get to the critter. :D


Wild Bill Bucks
December 29, 2005, 04:06 PM
Can't see taking a shot you have to have a telescope to see, and UPS to deliver the bullet.
Be easier just to eat something a little closer.

December 30, 2005, 04:43 PM
12-34hom: "While hunting any game, ethics to the game pursuited - with a clean kill are paramount. At 500 yards - maybe 1 in 1000 hunters could make a shot like that with any confidence - whatsoever"


Few exceptions withstanding, attempting a 500-1000y. shot is something to be ashamed of rather than something to brag about. It's because of folks like that so many animals end up wounded rather then being treated to humane death. Your friend himself admits that his ratio of success is 1 out of 3... sheesh :(

December 30, 2005, 07:14 PM
I wonder if it is the technology (mag calibers, high end optics, laser range finders, butter bullet design...) or old fasioned BS.

I would bet my last dime it's 10% the former, 90% the latter. The technology makes a higher portion of people on the receiving end of their stories believe them, which emboldens them to tell more and better stories, and so on. This guy on my hunting lease likes to brag that he doesn't like to shoot at a deer with his 'seven mag' unless they're 600 yards or farther - not enough of a challenge for him, it would seem. This from the same guy who tells me that "dem turkeys can smell ya."

Art Eatman
December 30, 2005, 09:31 PM
Some of it is people who just flat out don't know how to estimate distances out in the boonies.

Years ago, my uncle mounted a scope on a rifle for a guy, and sighted it in for him. The guy takes off deer hunting. He comes back to my uncle, griping. The gripe was that the gun wasn't sighted in right. He'd missed a deer at 300 yards, even though he held a bit high.

So, off to the benchrest to check it out. They get to the bencrest, and the guy looks at the target: "Yeah, that's 300 yards! That's how far away that deer was!"

"It's 100 yards," says my uncle. A bit of argument.

My uncle shoots; 2" high, just like it oughta be.

The problem is worse in the west, with the wide-open country that a lot of folks aren't used to. And, to be truthful, a lot of them underestimate the distances, as well...


January 1, 2006, 06:02 PM
My friend kills them for the catfish farmers who have permits to do so and here they are everywhere by the hundreds(they eat the small fish). He was an army exhibition shooter and later shot competition on the Army Rifle Team. I've seen him kill Hawks in the old days before they were protected out to 500 yards off the hood of a 1962 Scout 4wd.with a pre 64 Winchester in 264 win mag. I can tell you he has a panel truck with a bench, wind velocity meters, thermometers, range finders and computers and printers as well as digital cameras. Reloads in the truck also. He's very well equipped. I will zero my 7-STW for 400 yards and all I have to do is hold the lower 1/3 of the deers chest cavity from 0-400 yards. At 500 I would hold over about 12 inches. Like some have said your mid range is critical so I concentrate on the low hold. My range at the camp is 400 max but out of the towers its up to 600. I passed up a nice Buck 2 days ago at 400 with my 6.5x55 Bruno Custom because the wind was blowing hard and I don't chance wounding game. On a still, cold morning my 25-06,6.5-06 7-stw or the 6.5x55 will handle a 500 yard shot. Those shots are 1 percent of our shots and most are300 yards or less since our towers are about 300 yards apart. Personally at 60 years old I don't think half the hunters realize their rifles capability. My dad said many years ago that if ya don't shoot at long range you will never know what you can hit. We used to shoot a steel deer at a friends range at 500 yards and once you saw the dust kick up and adjusted a little it was not so difficult as one might think. The flat Delta here allows one to test his rifle easily. Handloads and determination with practice will make you a shooter.:)

January 1, 2006, 06:21 PM
I have a friend in Montana who according to him shoots 500 to 1000+ yards at deer. This is with a wildcat rifle of which there is only 2 in existance, (something like a 300 H&H Mag necked down to a .22 bullet) off a benchrest table mounted on a mountain and using a spotter with very expensive glass. Says he can get a hit in 3 shots.
I didn't make it up, I just repeated what I was told.

Sorry, that doesn't sound incredibly impressive to me... LOL But I don't hunt.

How do these snipers do it? They regularly make over 600 yard hits. Isn't that generally like the range you're supposed to start employing snipers for?

Maybe its because they measure the wind, calculate in humidity and temperature and air pressure and adjust for range instead of holding over and using Kentucky windage.

Then again the closest I've gotten to being a sniper is ringing the 400 yard gong with my old Mauser a few times.

January 1, 2006, 06:57 PM
A close shooting buddy that collects Military rifles shot a Canadian Ross at the Leland, Ms range at 600 yards with peep sights and got a 12" group, that stuff is just awesome. I can't see the open sights that well.He shoots the old Enfields the same way. It ain't bragging if ya can do it and he proved it to me. These doubting Thomas's need to see some of the delta boys shoot,cause after the crop is in thats what they do. Money for equipment is no object so they try it all.:) :)

January 2, 2006, 12:46 AM
I have a 500-yard range here at my house. A shooting table, and three hanging steel plates of 22" diameter.
Not to hijack but Art, I can't believe no-one said anything about this. Dude you got a cool house!
As for the 500 yard shot, do-able yes. What's the point blank zero range on a 300 mag at a deer sized vital area anyway? Even if I was that good, I wouldn't want to shoot past that because then you're getting into the field of sniping and worrying about things like drop. Also shooting from more than a quarter mile, I'd be afraid of finding just a gut bag where I dropped the deer by the time I got there :)

January 2, 2006, 07:06 AM
"I can tell you he has a panel truck with a bench, wind velocity meters, thermometers, range finders and computers and printers as well as digital cameras. Reloads in the truck also. He's very well equipped."
I kinda thought the idea was going hunting not taking the NASA jet propulsion lab with you :D
I like practising at long range with different calibers and bullets and some quite amazing shots are doable, I dont often take anything over 300yds on animals though, but I can practise out to 500yds on paper ok. The fun is in getting a decent group at these distances which means it isnt just a fluke.

roy reali
January 2, 2006, 12:53 PM
GPS pinpoint hunting is next. You won't even have to leave your truck. A GPS will aim a roof mounted firearm to the coordinates of a deer in the vicinity. A button in cab has to be pushed to actually fire the rifle. This will give the guy a sense that he is actually hunting. After the deer is down, a deer cleaning robot will be deployed. All the hunter has to do then is go gather the wrapped deer meat and throw in his truck.

I know a couple of guys that do 90 percent of their bird hunting with 28's. They are great wing shots. They do limit their range to the efectiveness of their shotguns, but they hardly miss. I am more impressed with these guys then anyone dropping long range game with some sort of super magnum something or another.

Art Eatman
January 2, 2006, 06:17 PM
chemist, I call my house a hunt camp with wall-to-wall carpet and A/C. 100-yard benchrest on the front porch, pistol range in a natural bowl behind the house, and I clamp my clay-bird thrower to the back-porch deck. :)

The whole deal with this long range stuff is knowing the distance pretty close, and as I said, being able to dope the wind. If you know your rifle and the bullet's trajectory for a given sight-in, it can all work out quite nicely. I've mostly used one rifle for some 35 years, and I've been messing around with the '06 since I was a kid. Heck, I'm supposed to know this stuff. :)

At a known distance on a firing range, wind is the only real variable. That's a lot different from out-there hunting...

:), Art

roy reali
January 2, 2006, 07:55 PM
I suppose some of you think that long range shooting is no problem. Some of you consider that hunting.

I suppose that means you give the muzzleloader hunters that uses in-line weapons a big thumbs up.. They can hit game a bit farther then the traditional blackpowder shooters. But if you think long range rifle shooting is good, then in-line shooters should not get any grief from you.

January 2, 2006, 09:30 PM
Year before last ,I contacted Cecil Epps at PRBULLET.com in Canada and bought some of his world champion DEAD CENTER bullets for my OMEGA in line. He recommended using Triple 7, fffg powder around 100 grs and a mildot scope. The 45 cal Omega shoots super with his bullets. We set the cross hair to shoot 3" high at 100 yds, this gives the first dot below the cross hair a 200yd zero,2nd dot a 250 yd zero, and the 3rd dot a 300 yard zero. His 195gr bullet is 357 diameter in a 45 cal sabot. It has a ballistic coefficient of 370 ,I believe. it will tell you on the PRBULLET.com site. It leaves the barrel at 2000 fps or so. We are getting MOA at all the distances. That means the energy is there to kill Whitetails and Caribou at 300 yards. Read his testimonials and see his targets on the web site. He is a super guy and has done it all with a muzzeloader, call him on his 800 number and tell him the boys down in Vicksburg, Ms have been bragging on his Products. He fixed several of us up with scopes ,bullets and special breech plugs as well as load data. Our state just said ok to using 38-55 and 45-70 break down rifles with scopes during the primative weapon season.They shoot a long way also.:)

Art Eatman
January 2, 2006, 10:15 PM
roy, hunting is a skill. Shooting is a skill.

I've sneaked up on deer close enough to toss a rock and hit 'em in the butt. Most of my kills have been in the 50-yard to 150-yard range and mostly neck shots. I've killed running bucks to maybeso 175 yards.

Overall, what difference does any of this imake if you can make a clean kill? All I care about is DRT. I'm happy for anybody to work with traditional muzzle loader, in-line, iron sights, whatever. Not my business, not my problem. All that counts is a clean, ethical kill.

Where I hunt, the deer are sparse. You can easily go for several seasons without seeing a shootable buck. If the only buck I've seen in several years is "way out there", it behooves me to be able to hit him clean. One thing I guarantee you: You're not gonna do much stalking in this wide-open country. You absolutely cannot be silent enough that a mule deer won't hear you in the rocks and dead crackly, noisy stuff. Other country, yeah. Here, no.

:), Art

Long Path
January 3, 2006, 11:56 AM
The problem is worse in the west, with the wide-open country that a lot of folks aren't used to. And, to be truthful, a lot of them underestimate the distances, as well... Yes, we do. :D I seem to recall a javelina out there that I thought was a bit closer than the 50 yards at which I dropped hammer on my .45... :o (Ah, well, he made decent tamales, eventually.)

January 5, 2006, 03:09 PM
For those of you who honestly can make an ethical cold barel shot at these distances, how often do you practice? What kind of records do you keep? Software? I feel comfortable behind a rifle at long ranges but rarely take a shot on game past 400yds unless I have practiced the shot under similar conditions ei wind, altitude, angle...Just curious to know how yall are doin it.

Art Eatman
January 5, 2006, 05:26 PM
zeisloft, for me it's one of those "been doin' it a long time" things. I learned the trajectory of my pet load way, way back. That's why I tell the story on myself of my nine-shot, one-hit kill. I goofed on the distance.

So, I dunno. I've just never had any problem hitting whatever's out there, as long as I knew how far, and figured the wind okay. On a really windy day and any distance beyond some 200 yards or so, and I'll pass the shot. If it's pretty much an unknown way-over-yonder distance, I'll pass the shot.

I'm fortunate to live where I can go out in the back-country anytime and shoot at most anything. I'm talking canyon country where there's nobody around for miles and miles. I've stopped occasionally and used up a box or two of ammo on rocks at various distances, just to see what I could do. So far, so good. :)


January 5, 2006, 05:50 PM
Art, I'm doing the same stuff some 500odd miles north of you on Palo Duro Canyon. It sure is tuff to get cold bore hits on rocks at 1500yds-1 mi. But it sure is fun when everything works. Wind swirls and thermal rised on a midday canyon wall are the best humbler I have found.

January 5, 2006, 05:52 PM
+1 on that Art Eatman
I,m lucky too, I have places where I can put targets out as far as I want. Ive made a portable bench and just set them out one after the other, like 100, 200,300, etc and see wher it goes for any zero setting, check how many clicks for the increase I want ( means you have to do a real job on getting scope/reticle horizontal with the action though). I was always taught by my big brother and uncle " hold on Hair not Fresh Air"! and it works for me. Ive said on another thread though that creepin in close is the real rush in hunting, just not always possible. Red deer in the Scottish Highlands are in open hill country no trees or bushes, 2,3,400 yds is often the only shot your ever going to get. As Art says familiarity with your rifle and loads and practice.

January 14, 2006, 04:43 PM
No 500yd shots for me. I took a moose with a 30-06 at 350yds. That is the longest I will ever shoot! Moose are very big targets though... I can't even imagine shooting a deer at 300yds! Aweful small target to put a bullet in...if you can see it that is...

May 11, 2006, 12:16 PM
As a competition shooter most of the stories you hear about 500yd shots are total BS..........most people have no clue how far 500yds really is. I'll give you a great example, setup a 10footx10foot target out at 500yds and see if you even hit the target, you'd be surprised. So many factors come into play at that range most shooters are just average just cant make it work. Yeah if you got a big jacked up scope you gotta better chance, but with factors such as wind, ballistic coefficients, bullet drop,etc, you have to really do your homework to make a shot like that, A) hit your target B) make the kill, not just injure the animal and C) do it consistantly........so if you can spot lets say an elk at 500yds, take the shot and make the kill, then I'm impressed......most wont even hit the animal!!!

May 11, 2006, 01:31 PM
I'll agree up to a point. The magnum effect and BDC scopes make people think they can do it simply because the BDC on their $700 scope says they can. Rifles are a lot better than they were 20 years ago, scopes are a lot better than 20 years ago, marketing makes people think magnum cartridges shoot as flat as a laser, and so people think they can do it. But the weak link in the chain is still the shooter.

That said, I have seen some bona fide 500 yard shots. I wouldn't have taken the shot, but the other guys did.

If you put up a standard 5' x 5' target on a 500 meter range, people look at it and think it is a lot further than it is. Most people have no idea how big a deer really is (I had a guy ask me one time if there were any deer bigger than the 300 pounder I had hanging. I told him if there were, he should go find them and shoot them). Wind can have a huge effect. Mirage. Dust. Not knowing the trajectory of your particular cartridge. Uphill. Downhill. You name it, range estimation in the field is difficult if you have not done a bunch of it.

I have seen people shoot right over the backs of game because they thought the animal was "way over there", so they gave it a few inches of elevation. More like a few feet! I had a guy once point to a phone pole about a mile away and tell me he had shot an antelope about that far away with his 30-40 Krag. Although I am usually tolerant of the 500 yard claims, I had to call BS on that one and tell him why. He argued with me until I pointed out that phone poles are usually about 100 yards apart, and there were 18 poles between us and the pole he pointed out. So much for range estimation.

Zak Smith
May 11, 2006, 03:25 PM
Let me approach this from a different angle.

As a preface, here is my hunting experience--

I grew up hunting deer in Wisconsin. The longest shot I know of occuring on our land there was about 150 yards. The last two deer I took were at 7 and 30 yards.

Now, I live out in the West where we shoot to 1000 yards at least a couple times per month, and as far as 1500 regularly, in both recreational and "match" conditions.

For anyone who practices and competes shooting at 6-12" steel plates from 200 - 1000 yards, shooting a 10" square at 500 yards is pretty much a "gimme" target, even in nominal wind conditions, as long as he's in a stable shooting position.

To make hits on small/practical targets at long distance, there are a number of things that have to come together, but it is not impossible as some would have us believe. I have taken new shooters who have never shot a bolt gun before, and have them making hits on MOA targets at 1000 yards in under a half an hour. Of course, I have done all the "homework" in this case... which is really the crux of the matter.

Now with regard to hunting, let's look at how most people set up their hunting rigs: sporter rifle in 308 up to some big mega-magnum, simple duplex reticle scope, and a zero to give them some reasonable point-blank range.

This is pretty much totally opposed to how people who make first-round hits at UKD targets to 1000 yards do it. They use instruments and skill to range targets, they have carefully computed drop and wind tables, they know how their loads behave in different atmospheric conditions, and they can precisely adjust the elevation and windage applied to their sighting system.

I don't think anyone in this thread has the data to support if it's more common or not than it used to be.

Certainly today there is more information and technology available to the average rifle shooter that can enable him to make regular hits at 500 yards, than there was 25 years ago.


Art Eatman
May 11, 2006, 08:49 PM
In the not-quite seven years I've been at TFL and at THR, I gay-rawn-dang-tee you that the majority of all posts where distances to deer or elk were concerned, the vast majority of all shots was inside 200 yards.

That's not to say more folks don't try 500 yards, nowadays, but IMO they're still a distinct minority.



May 13, 2006, 08:22 AM
I say the number of long range shots these days is due as much to the lack of woods skill as to the new technology. Most hunters these days just do not spend enough time in the woods to know hone their stalking and tracking skills. I have never had to shoot anything past 250 yards, and I only do that when stand hunting across a peanut hay field.

Art Eatman
May 13, 2006, 12:55 PM
True, Mannlicher, but I'd bet a lot of "500-yard" shots are a lot like Scorch's telephone pole example.

A guy brings a deer in: "He was 500 yards off!"

"Oh, where'd you hold, on him?"

"Aw, right on his back."

(Bullet hole just below the spine.)

"Hey, that's a flat-shooting rifle you have there!" :D


Harley Quinn
May 13, 2006, 02:01 PM
Or luck and BS. I would rather have to run three miles in the hot sun with my gun at port arms, then kill an elk at that distance and haul it back.

Maybe all they are after is the antlers? Or be like the indians, cut it up and dry it in place, an have plenty of jerky.:D

A nice cape would weigh a lot.;)


May 20, 2006, 09:30 AM
I've been hunting old strip mines in PA for 25 years and long shots are pretty common. Since I hunt the same long fields and hillsides year after year, I have the yardages memorized (I laser everything and sometimes post markers on places I'm unfamiliar with). With better optics and target knobs you just dial it up and hold dead on. I've been shooting my 7STW since '88 so those clicks of adjustment are also memorized. At 3400fps the arc isn't hard to adjust for and I use a lot of magnification (40x). Since the advent of the point restrictions in PA, a lot of scope is mandatory in field work.

My limit is about 600 normally and windy conditions will bring that in to 300 in a hurry, but precision shots aren't that hard if you have a consistent load/rifle and you can range.....which, in turn, takes a lot of practice.

Generally though, in calm conditions with that rifle anything inside 400 is a freebie.

Art Eatman
May 20, 2006, 01:09 PM
"Proper Planning and Practice Produces Prime Performance."

:), Art

May 20, 2006, 09:07 PM
It seems to me that there is a great deal of difference in the shooting of a target at 500 yds with a modern magnum or a 300 yards with a ML and the shooting of a game animal at that range. I am fully aware that all hunters capable of a 500 yarder have ice water for blood and will not have any extra adrenaline messing with pulse or breathing rate. But you need to tell me who holds the deer so it will not take a step in the half second or more that it takes for the bullet to get there. I am sure that you know one step will mean the difference between a heart/lung and a stomach/intestine hit. I hear alot about the successful kills, buy no one own claims a wounded and lost animal. In my not so humble opinion you should do better than this.

May 20, 2006, 11:11 PM
Long rane shooting isn't unethical. It just takes some planning and restraint.

.5 seconds........

When I hunt with a muzzleloader and a deer is facing me how long is the difference from the flash in the pan to the bullet strike at 100 yards? About that much, I'd wager. No one questions the ethics of that.......

What about the deer I see flinch at the sound of a bow string? Not much difference IMHO.

If you are going to define "better than that" then please quantify what is an ethical shot and under what conditions.

May 21, 2006, 08:11 AM
Ah yes, ethics. The philisophy of ethics generally prove there are no firm answers, just hard questions.

By the nature of primitive hunting systems, bows and flintlocks, increase the level of difficulty involved in making a humane kill. Long range gunning accomplishes the same thing. It would logically follow that would also increase the occurance of less than lethally hit animals escaping.

I cannot dictate ethics to you or anyone else. Let me leave you with a few questions. How long do you search for a wounded animal? Does wounding an animal haunt you? If you were hunting in South Africa and that animal had a 2000 dollar price on it would you shoot at 500 yards, knowing a lost animal would cost you two grand? If you were hunting in Southern Michigan and only allowed one shot on this farm, would you take that 250 yard shot with your 12 gage slug gun?

May 21, 2006, 11:05 AM
I'm sorry but taking a 500 yrd shot under absolutely, positively the PERFECT conditions is asking, at best for a wounded animal. I suspect 98% of the people that claim to make 400-500 yrd. shots are exagerating or misjudging the distance, by a WIDE margin.

With an accurate gun I can shoot 6-8" groups at 500 yards..But that's from a bench rest, with no wind, and no time limit. But, I know that in the field, even with a decent rest, and hopefully no wind, those groups are gonna open signifcantly. I can't imagine trying a shot over 250-300 yrds. under most field conditions, and usually less than that.

May 21, 2006, 12:59 PM
I think there are a lot of shooters that exagerrate, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily a hard shot to make. In calm conditions, it's just physics.

Have a gun that shoots .5 moa and know your ranges and ballistics. Most importantly, you need to "hunt" for the right conditions and setup. My gun has a Jewell trigger that breaks at 1lb and magnification that allows me to see the animal easily. It's designed for that shot.

I have an adjustable bipod and sometimes I use a full sized bean bag on uneven terrain (like loose slag piles).

There are several over 500 yard kills on video here. Shooting hillside to hillside was a valid way of hunting when I was growing up in PA.