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Old March 11, 2015, 11:37 AM   #1
Theohazard
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1000-yard hunting with a .308

The other day a young man came in to my LGS looking for a long-range semi-auto .308 rifle. He seemed to know a decent amount about the subject, and the salesperson started going over various options with him. But then it came to light that his specific purpose for the rifle was to hunt elk at 1000 yards. He claimed he had lots of experience shooting at that distance and that he had already taken game cleanly at 800 yards with a .308.

Now, I have no experience hunting big game, and I'm only fairly knowledgeable when it comes to long-range shooting, but I have a pretty good understanding of what a .308 bullet is doing at 1000 yards, and it seems to me that a shot like that -- especially on an elk -- wouldn't be considered a humane hunting practice.

What does the greater hunting community think of this? Considering the bullet has barely more velocity and energy then a defensive pistol round at that distance (though with a bullet that penetrates better), is that an inhumane shot no matter where it's placed? Basically, I'm asking if that shot is always considered to be inhumane, or if it would be acceptable providing the shooter is sufficiently skilled.
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Old March 11, 2015, 11:50 AM   #2
DennisCA
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I'm no expert but based on this chart, I would NEVER recommend a 1,000-yard shot on ANY animal! The longest shot I've taken (and made) was a 350-yard on a whitetail buck in AZ, that I took years ago. Only because all the conditions were right (no wind, not rushed, ect)
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Old March 11, 2015, 12:22 PM   #3
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Horrible idea to hunt at that range.
And for "shooting" at 1000yds there are much better calibers.
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Old March 11, 2015, 12:29 PM   #4
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This 'young man' just pegged my BS meter.
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Old March 11, 2015, 12:45 PM   #5
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This 'young man' just pegged my BS meter.
I feel certain his eyes are brown
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Old March 11, 2015, 12:54 PM   #6
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He needs a hunting ethics lesson.
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Old March 11, 2015, 12:59 PM   #7
Marty8613
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Even if capable such as high end military training. The shot isn't ethical. 1000 yard shots should be left to war and exposition. That Elk isn't out to get you. Besides, why wouldn't you be able to get to a closer, more sure range?
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Old March 11, 2015, 01:27 PM   #8
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"...what a .308 bullet is doing at 1000 yards..." No bullet out of a .308 has sufficient energy left at 1,000 for hunting anything.
An 800 yard kill is a fluke. A Winchester 180 drops 58" out at 500. With 1023 ft/lbs. of energy.
Please reduce the size of your pictures. A 168 isn't a 1,000 yard bullet anyway.
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Old March 11, 2015, 01:56 PM   #9
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Your "shooter" is full of crap.
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Old March 11, 2015, 02:29 PM   #10
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I plugged a .308 into my ballistics app, and even with a match bullet (not for hunting) with a BC of 0.530, it still takes over 1.5 seconds to go to 1000 yards. In those 1.5 seconds, the elk (or any animal) could turn or move and your "lung shot" could end up being a leg shot. That would be horribly inhumane and give a bad name to respectful hunters. If he did made a shot at 800 yards, that is almost irresponsible, as it takes the bullet 1.1 seconds to get there. If he did make that shot, it was complete luck, and it was likely a tall tale.

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Old March 11, 2015, 05:01 PM   #11
tahunua001
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I'm not touching this with a 10 foot pole...
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...Ok you twisted my arm.

lets take the best hunting bullet with the best BC I know of, the swift Scirroco 180gr with a 520BC and the best load data that hodgdon lists in 308 with 2675FPS at the muzzle.

at 1000 yards you would still theoretically have 852FTLBs of energy, way beyond the avererage energy at the muzzle of most self defense handgun loads, so we can go ahead and debunk that right now. the bullet at 1000 yards is still theoretically traveling 1460FPS which is still within the minimum 1300 FPS that swift recommends for their Scirroco to open reliably. however at that speed, the expansion will still likely be minimal. common wisdom says that you need at least 1000 FTLBs of energy to make a clean kill on elk and I usually try to keep within that threshold with my elk loads, but I've also heard many instances of elk killed with a load generating well below that energy level. so on one hand a person is using a cartridge at well beyond most people's socially acceptable shooting distance, which will be seeing below socially acceptable energy levels and just barely attaining manufacturer's recommended minimum velocity just to expand (not to mention see optimal expansion velocity). on the other hand, I've been told that 6.5 Japanese from a carbine was way too light to kill a bear, yet I bagged one of the largest that the fish and game official collecting the molars had seen in years. I've also been told that 9mm is unethical to hunt deer with and I've brought home meat with minimal suffering of the animal in question. I've also been called a BS-er, liar, and unethical jerk because I hunt grouse with a 22LR, but I still do it and rather effectively I might add.

sure I'll get the fellow the benefit of the doubt. the area I normally hunt in adjacent to a fellows 1457 yard shooting range and the groups he gets on the targets could easily be within tolerable elk sized groups when reduced to reflect 1000 yard distance. sure that guy is not likely using a 308 but there are fellows out there that are that good of a shot. do I doubt a guy is going to do that well out of a semi auto carbine? heck no. do I think this guy is actually seeing 800 yard kill shots? more than likely no, he is overestimating distance or he's exaggerating a little. but if you ask me whether it's possible to kill an elk with a 308 at 1000 yards? yes I do believe it's possible and I'm sure somebody has done it at some point.
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Old March 11, 2015, 05:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Saltydog235 View Post
Your "shooter" is full of crap.
This
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Old March 11, 2015, 05:55 PM   #13
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My thoughts on the wisdom/ethics of extreme range big game hunting aside

If this young man is selecting a 1000 yd elk rifle for purchase,and his cartridge choice is 308,

I give him a yawn and an eye roll. I might say "Whatever"

I do not encourage him.I certainly do not steer him toward a better 1000 yd elk rifle.

If I owned a LGS(I do not) the question of gently educating him vs taking as much of his money as I could would require introspection.
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Old March 11, 2015, 06:57 PM   #14
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At a minimum, it must have a four-inch barrel, fire an expanding bullet of .24 caliber (6 mm) or larger and use a load that produces a minimum 550 ft. pounds of energy at 50 yards
This from the Colorado game and fish regs book.

I'm curious...why would 550 ft lbs of energy be acceptable from a handgun bullet and not from a rifle?

Maybe some of you experts claiming this guys story is bs could explain that?
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Old March 11, 2015, 07:17 PM   #15
Art Eatman
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Ruger480, a generality is that hunting with a handgun is mostly "up close and personal". Depending on the cartridge, most stories seem to talk about 50 to 100 yards as the maximum distance. Most; not all.

As far as a 1000-yard elk, note the amount of drop at 800 yards if you guesstimate 775. You're off by what, a foot? It's worse at 1,000. "Oh, I'll use my laser range-finder." Okay, but if there's an error of 1%?

I won't even talk about wind.
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Old March 11, 2015, 07:22 PM   #16
tahunua001
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actually you appear to be misenterpretting the colorado parks and wildlife regulations. here are the regs for rifles.
Quote:
Rifles using center fire cartridges of .24 caliber or larger, having expanding bullets of at least seventy (70) grains in weight, except for elk and moose where the minimum bullet weight is eighty five (85) grains, and with a rated impact energy one hundred (100) yards from the muzzle of at least one thousand (1000) foot pounds as determined by the manufacturer's rating
colorado likes to tell you exactly what gun you should use per game species and it is likely that they figure most people will use enough common sense that they aren't going to be hunting elk with handguns and therefore only specify specifically mountain lion exemptions to your posted rule.
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Old March 11, 2015, 07:34 PM   #17
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drug store cowboy

Sounds like this dude has read marine sniper about Carlos Hathcock one time too many
bb
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Old March 11, 2015, 07:42 PM   #18
Ruger480
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page 16 in the regs book states that a handgun can be used to hunt elk.

And I was referring to the enegry required to kill one. Apparently is 550ft lbs minimum. Something the 308 is capable of generating at 1000 yds.

As guesstimating distance and wind, well, people shoot 1,000+ yds all the time and hit what they're aiming at.

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Old March 11, 2015, 08:57 PM   #19
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Not a risk I would take, But, We shoot ground Hogs at 600 plus yards with a 223..
My point being- Hitting the kill zone at 1000 yards would be very doable. Now if the bullet has the kick to do it comes to play. The 308 is still deadly at 1000 yards, but a Elk is a big strong animal. Not worth the risk in my book. The one second flight time is not a issue as one would only take the shot on a still animal I would hope. In all my years Hunting Deer not once did I have to shoot a moving one. They come out in the open and the first thing they do is stand still and look around.
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Old March 11, 2015, 09:24 PM   #20
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Hitting an Elk with a .308 at 1k would not be a problem. The bullet having enough energy for a clean kill considering tha the bullet placement will be less than ideal will be the problem.
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Old March 11, 2015, 10:29 PM   #21
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Hitting an Elk with a .308 at 1k would not be a problem.
Really? Not a problem...you must be a very, very good marksman with a lot of long range shooting experience.

My problem with the 1,000 yard shot is based on shooting a .308 from a bench rest.

The problem is not bullet drop - you can easily correct for that. It's wind drift. The wind can change radically over the 1,000 yard distance. I measure the wind at the shooting position and take notes so I have a "dope book" for the range I shoot at.

The shooting problem is trying to figure out what the crosswinds are doing between you and the target. It's not the same over the entire distance. You have to very carefully study what's going on with the bushes and grasses at different distances.

When I get to the range, and it's breezy, I may spend 15-20 minutes looking at the wind patterns that day with binoculars and the rifle scope - and make notes on the conditions.

The 1,000 yard target I use is a steel plate 24-inches square. On a calm day, I can regularly hit the target. The last time I was at the range there was an average 9mph wind - and that's the problem - "average."

It was as low as 2mph and as high as 12mph - with variable directions (the range has a flag you can use for direction reference).

How do you factor all of that into a hunting location with unknown wind conditions over the distance you're shooting?

Unless you have had a lot of long range shooting training, or are an unnaturally talented shooter (I'm neither) - I wouldn't try a 1,000 yard shot on an elk.

But, I readily acknowledge my limitations...

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Old March 12, 2015, 01:43 AM   #22
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chatter

Chalk all that up to gun shop chatter. This long range hunting thing has run wild, what with all the "sniper" interest and long range hunt shows showing dudes pasting game way out there with the latest custom built belch fire magnum from Zap'em Industries.

I will likely never get the chance to hunt elk....but I have seen enough in the wild to know they are a grand and regal animal, and I read they can soak up a good .30 cal hit at reasonable range ( not bullet proof, but a big animal) and still cover more ground than one might want. What responsible hunter wants to gamble with lobbing slugs at one from 2/3rds a mile?

One more reason I could not work in a shop.

I hate to give this too much more time, "buckhorn" has summed many variables well. .... Lets not forget too that flight time at 1000 is notable, (I'm estimating 1.5 secs), with a live, animated target. The elk/target could dang well take a step before the bullet arrives.
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Old March 12, 2015, 01:51 AM   #23
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Thanks for all the responses. It seems that what I told him was correct; that's not considered a humane shot by the majority of the hunting community. That's what I was expecting when I started this thread, but I wanted to check with experienced hunters to be sure.
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Old March 12, 2015, 12:11 PM   #24
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As guesstimating distance and wind, well, people shoot 1,000+ yds all the time and hit what they're aiming at.
I feel certain they miss far more often than they hit when the target is no larger than the "kill zone" of an Elk, and they aren't shooting off a bench,

It's just too far to be shooting at living targets you intend to harvest
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Old March 12, 2015, 01:02 PM   #25
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here are five people who made clean kills on game ranging from 800 yds to 1300 yds. Just because you or I can't do it doesn't mean we should look down our nose at those who can.
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