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Old July 10, 2017, 11:00 AM   #1
ligonierbill
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Shortening my range paradigm - how far do you shoot?

I'll qualify the question first: What is your 90th percentile range of shots on game? Not the longest.

My first elk fell at 400 yards. Not a lucky shot. Conditions were perfect, I did everything right, and I was shooting a 7 Mag. Big cow went down like she was pole axed. Other than that, I don't think I've taken a shot over 100 yards. This is hunting East and West for...well, pretty long.

Looking at big game calibers, I have always looked at their "book" values at 500. I figured that 400 yard shot was as long as I'd take, but...maybe that trophy will show across the canyon or at the far end of the bean field. Now, I'm thinking differently. Why?

Well, first I'm playing with short range weapons: bow, revolver, flintlock, and lately black powder cartridge firearms. I enjoy shooting them all, but I also got to thinking about my hunting skills. If I can get close enough for these, maybe I should rethink my modern rifles. What are your thoughts?

PS: This has nothing to do with "magnums". I like 'em. Been looking to find a .404 Jeffery, just cause.
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Old July 10, 2017, 11:41 AM   #2
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You and I are much alike. I am well trained and have a lot of experience shooting to 1000 yards. I have killed several game animals way out there in my 1/2 century of hunting too. But now I think I have come to my senses, and I never fire beyond about 550 yards at any game animal anymore. I didn't have a bad experience, but I figure it was only a matter of time if I kept it up. I still practice out to 800 yards, but I have a self imposed limit of 500 Meters (about 550 yards)

Last edited by Wyosmith; July 12, 2017 at 09:58 AM.
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Old July 10, 2017, 11:54 AM   #3
T. O'Heir
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All of it depends on where you are. Here in Ontario, you're unlikely to get any shot on a deer at more than 250ish and even that depends on where you are. If you're north of London(mile after mile after mile of corn and soy bean fields with a friggin' farm building of some kind less than 200 yards away in every direction. Lotta shotguns only areas.), you might get that 250ish shot, but you will not northeast of TO. Thick bush with a lot of 'up' terrain.
Your "short range" stuff is an entirely different type of hunt than an elk hunt. Bow shots are typically at less than 20 yards and usually from up a tree. Flinters give you the added excitement of a great, big, puff of smoke right before the shot. However, you don't stalk with "primitive weapons" or hand guns. You sit in a blind and wait for the beasties to come to you.
Anyway, 500 yards is way too far for most typical hunting cartridges. Most of 'em drop like bricks past 300 with a 200 yard zero. And most hunters cannot/do not practice shooting at those distances.
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Old July 10, 2017, 12:20 PM   #4
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I grew up and learned to hunt in central Florida. Thanks to the USAF, I've hunted Washington state, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, and Alabama.

I've hunted archery and modern gun seasons. Still need to get into muzzleloader.

I can count on 1 finger the number of shots I've taken over 200 yards. I can count on 1 finger the number of shots I've taken between 100-200 yards. I've lost count of the rest of the shots, but all were under 100 yards.

BUT..... I've also hunted woods, medium to small fields, swamps... I've not been blessed to hunt the open expanses like I've seen in Wyoming, or hunted ridge line to ridge line or in mountainous terrain. If I grew up in places like that, my average would undoubtedly be longer.
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Old July 10, 2017, 01:21 PM   #5
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100% Shotgun slug based deer hunting for me is about 75 yards.
Big paper target hunting starts at 600 and goes to 1000 yards.
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Old July 10, 2017, 01:55 PM   #6
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In the Deep South one has to be in a cut over hay field to get a shot much past about 60-70 yards. I've had a few shots at 100 and up but they were unusual and also in a huge field. I long ago decided I did not need a scoped rifle to hunt. I went to revolvers and still collected a deer at (field again) near 100 yards. For a long long time now I've hunted exclusively with muzzleloaders (flintlocks) and still got a couple of 100 yard shots on deer (yep, field). But then I've had shots as close as 7 feet. Up till the present the average range for the shots I get is under 50 yards...on average. Usually the deer isn't even visible until it gets within about 25 yards; perfect for a flintlock longrifle.
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Old July 10, 2017, 02:24 PM   #7
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Night hunting by myself doing spot and stalk of hogs and coyotes, I usually shoot 100-200 yards. Team hunting at night, 50-100 yards is more common. I shoot a lot more animals beyond 200 yards than I do inside of 50 yards.
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Old July 10, 2017, 06:27 PM   #8
Art Eatman
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The majority of my four-dozen or so kills on Bambi have been inside of 200 yards, mostly in the 75 to 125 distance. The closest was around 25 yards. One kill at 350, one at 450. I gotta brag about never any tracking. Bang/whop/plop.

Only lost two deer. One "damfino" and one that was purely my own goof.
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Old July 10, 2017, 07:10 PM   #9
Don Fischer
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There is only one reason to shoot at any animal at any range, you want to! Amazing that bow hunter's can get within 30 yds- of the animal they want to shoot but many rifle hunter find the need to shoot at an animal so far away it's in another zip code. Who really care's if the trophy of a lifetime is getting away? It wins and you loose, that easy! You lose you lose, tomorrow or even next year will get here just the same!
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Old July 10, 2017, 07:24 PM   #10
DPI7800
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So I do my preseason work up based off of what I feel is my longest possible shot opertunity.

So if I think my longest shot is going to be 400yds I practice up to 500yds. Each session will start with a cold shot from a field expedient position on a 10" plate if I can't guarantee a cold bore hit at the plus 100 expected distance I know I need more practice.

I make a consorted effort to shoot a minimum of 500 rounds during a preseason work up. So the time the hunt is upon me I know I can make a shot with 100% confidence.

Obviously I do some home work and let the terrain and the quarry dictate what my max will be.
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Old July 10, 2017, 07:49 PM   #11
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lomgshot

As I get older, my max range gets shorter.

Reflexes change ever so slightly as do the eyes.

I believe 300 yds was m y longest using a 30-06 in upstate New York.

Now a days, I use single shot Contender in 357 Maximum and restrict my max distance to 100 yds.
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Old July 10, 2017, 09:22 PM   #12
jmr40
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Longest shot at game was just inside 200 yards and I'm 3 for 3 with bang flops at that range. I've practiced enough out to 400 to feel very confident unless wind is extreme. In hard wind I'd cut that in half. I've shot at targets out to 600, but wouldn't take a shot that far at game. At least not yet. Most have been right at 50 yards and often closer.

Never failed to get an instant kill and no misses beyond 100. All the missed shots have been at less than 50 yards. Never lost one that I hit, but the one that was the hardest to find was shot at a range of about 10 yards. Big doe that ran about 20 yards, but in some really thick stuff. Took me about 30 minutes to find her.


It is all relative, a 50 yard shot is close range for a rifle, long range for a bow. Hunt with what you enjoy using.

How far one will take a shot is a personal decision. If someone has the skills, equipment, and has put in the practice time to feel confident in the shot I won't place limits on what I think is ethical. For me that limit is about 400 yards, but I have no doubts there are people who can do it much farther.
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Old July 11, 2017, 12:49 AM   #13
alex0535
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Inside 75 yards. Before I met the 17 hmr it would of been closer to 50, but I've killed enough squirrels in excess of that to bring up the average. All deer have been inside 50 yards, to as close as a few feet away from my stand.
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Old July 11, 2017, 06:59 AM   #14
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My Dad and I used to drive out to western South Dakota from Pennsylvania to hunt mule deer. The first few years, we hunted with our long range .308 rifles. But the shots were too easy and our hunts ended all too soon. So we decided to put the hunt back into our hunts and switched to 30-30 carbines. Our shots were limited to about 150 yards or less. There is nothing like stalking close to mule deer in rough country and we greatly enjoyed our selves. Not every stalk worked out as planned which added to our time afield. But we still filled our tags each year and drove home with much meat!

Jack
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Old July 11, 2017, 07:15 AM   #15
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I used to be a "long range shooter" and won quite a few bets shooting at a 6" square at 400 yards but age and it's demons have made real long range less sure. I'd like to stick with shots under 350 yards on game and 250 is even better.
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Old July 11, 2017, 01:02 PM   #16
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Around here those "I shot him at 600 yard" stories are generally dismissed as the land has been largely divided into 40 acre parcels (440 yards per side). The amount of area one could effectively hunt and need 600 yard shots is VERY limited. I am sure out west is a different story.

Personally the vast majority of my shots are at 30 yards and less. This year I am purposely setting up a deer stand that will allow shots out to 200 yards but those are not exactly likely based on placement
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Old July 11, 2017, 01:44 PM   #17
FrankenMauser
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"90th percentile" would probably be around 400-425 yards.

The norm is 75-200 yards, depending upon species.

I try to get close to anything I'm hunting. But if I have a "long" shot that I'm comfortable with, I'll take it.
And, at the same time, if I have a short-range shot that I'm uncomfortable with; I'm still not going to take it, just because it's short range.

Most of my latest purchases and custom projects have been based on 'big and slow' cartridges for shorter range work. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to be giving up on the .243, .270, '06, .35 Whelen, or .338 WM. Everything has its place.

On every shooting trip that provides an opportunity to do so, I try to shoot to at least 300 yards, often 450-500.
(No longer possible on the local range. Everything past 200 yards has been closed down, due to BLM trading the property behind the long range berms to the county, who subsequently sold it to a cattle farmer as soon as the range lease was up for renewal. ...They're trying to shut the range down, so the county can take possession and sell the land to a developer.)
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Old July 11, 2017, 03:36 PM   #18
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I can consistently hit a piece of note book paper at 400 yards off the hood of my truck with my jacket as a rest. Without a rest I'm not sure I could hit the truck.
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Old July 11, 2017, 06:50 PM   #19
ligonierbill
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Thanks guys. I guess this all started when I got a 9.3x62. Really like that round, and the Sauer 100 I'm shooting is very accurate, but no high BC bullets. It's a 250, maybe 300 yard rifle. Ah, choices (No, I cannot have them all.)

It sounds like things have changed in Idaho. In 8B land, we used to go out to a spot off 20 near 13-Mile Tunnel that was the unofficial shooting range. They probably closed that down, too.
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Old July 11, 2017, 07:32 PM   #20
Don Fischer
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Just wondering, has anyone ever heard one of these long range hunter's either wound or completely miss an animal at 400+ yds? I haven't!
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Old July 11, 2017, 08:29 PM   #21
Mobuck
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"Just wondering, has anyone ever heard one of these long range hunter's either wound or completely miss an animal at 400+ yds? I haven't!"
I freely admit to having crippled quite a few coyotes in that 400+ yard range. When hunting with hounds, a crippled coyote is a dead coyote and that was our goal. Deer? Not many that couldn't be followed up. Probably fewer than "Joe the plumber" who only shot his "turdy/turdy" when a deer was in sight(and knew zilch about zero and trajectory).
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Old July 11, 2017, 09:34 PM   #22
Lohman446
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In defense I assume those shooting 400 yards have open enough sight lines for follow up shots in many cases.
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Old July 11, 2017, 09:37 PM   #23
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Just wondering, has anyone ever heard one of these long range hunter's either wound or completely miss an animal at 400+ yds? I haven't!
Generally, no.
But I've admitted my mistakes in other discussions.

For example:
...Shot a doe antelope in the butt at about 425 yards, once. Bad, bad day.
The scope had failed (which made subsequent shots and putting her down a nightmare), but that doesn't make it any less my fault.
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Old July 12, 2017, 05:44 AM   #24
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Fischer View Post
Just wondering, has anyone ever heard one of these long range hunter's either wound or completely miss an animal at 400+ yds? I haven't!
Yes, but I've also heard of folks that did the same at 100 or less. Stuff happens, or folks get excited, push their legitimate parameters or like FrankenMauser have equipment failure. Altho it seems on hunting forums, most of the time with poor hits, the equipment gets the blame. I believe FrankenMauser tho. Many times it comes down to one's own assessment of their skill level and their ethics. One of the worst scenarios I've seen in the last few years is the increase in cross-bow usage. Folks get a new crossbow and shoot it enough to get the scope sighted in and then hit the woods. Myself personally have always tried to get as close as possible to my quarry, thus the use of archery equipment, revolvers or handgun caliber carbines for deer. Sure I have to watch some good bucks walk outta range that would have been dead with my old ought-six, but it's gotten to the point where my priorities are with the hunt, not the kill. To each their own, as long as they do it ethically and legally.
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Old July 12, 2017, 10:19 AM   #25
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I test a lot of ammo at 100 yds, when its not boiling hot lime it has been the last 3 weeks here.
My hunting spot consist of pasture and woodlands, and CRP fields with brushy fingers that roll up the landscape towards me with a nice 1/2 acre pond at my 12. The furthest shot could be up to 400 yds IF it wasnt CRP, most likely shots are 200 yds and less.
Some deer maybe running through my spot or even trotting, while a few just try to plain ole sneak through..
My longest kill from that spot was in November 2014 on a big 10 point at 225 yds with my 7mm rem mag, one 160 grn Accubond centerpunched his heart, he ran just out of sight over a knoll but not over 20 yds.
Sometimes I jump a deer and take an easy shot if backstop area is safe, at maybe 15 yds...
I like the .270 win, .243 win, 3006, 7 mm rem mag for this work.
And this year I will be using my newest build in 6.5 Creedmoor using 143 grn ELD-X bullets.
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