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Old September 6, 2017, 01:13 PM   #1
SaxonPig
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No answer...

I see posts on gun forums asking what is the maximum range for this rifle...or this caliber...or this scope. I don't see how such questions can be answered. At my age with my bad eyes 100 yards is really pushing it for hitting a paper target at all let alone making a group. A younger man with more skill might take the same gun and shoot at 300 yards effectively.

Too many variables to answer that question. But I will say this...one time I was shooting out in the desert until the sun went down and the moon rose. My last shot that day was with a 375 H&H Mauser and I shot at the moon. Pretty sure I hit it...
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Old September 6, 2017, 03:49 PM   #2
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Most of those questions are "answerable".
Depending on applications, maximum effective range, energy, etc. can be calculated.
Whether or not the shooter has the skill and the hardware for it is a different matter.
Some may be a bit more nebulous than others, but the data is there...
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Old September 6, 2017, 03:59 PM   #3
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Depending on applications, maximum effective range, energy, etc. can be calculated.Whether or not the shooter has the skill and the hardware for it is a different matter.
Isn't the shooter's skill and his hardware part of that data?
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Old September 6, 2017, 04:16 PM   #4
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The shooter and his equipment are variables where assumptions are used.
Assuming you are using X mfg ammo, with X bullet, shot from X rifle, with X length barrel, giving X muzzle velocity, and the shooter is "capable", then the result is Y"

Some have a few of the data points, other data points have to be assumed with given data available or a swag...
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Old September 6, 2017, 05:14 PM   #5
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OK, so shooter X is a 7 out of 10 in skill level, using a Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 with 180 grain factory ammo and a 4x scope..what is his maximum range?
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Old September 6, 2017, 06:02 PM   #6
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...shooter X is a 7 out of 10 in skill level...
At 100 yards off the bench with sandbags, wearing light-weight summer clothing, heart rate of 70 beats/minute. So, what is his maximum range when in the mountains, in the cold, excited at seeing the biggest bull elk of his life, at 5300 ft. altitude, with a heart rate of 150 beats/minute, out of breath, in heavy clothing, in the standing position, with the scope bobbing up and down so fast that he cannot keep the elk in the scope, let alone the crosshairs on him? Or, is that too much data to plot?
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Old September 6, 2017, 06:03 PM   #7
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OK, so shooter X is a 7 out of 10 in skill level, using a Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 with 180 grain factory ammo and a 4x scope..what is his maximum range?
According to PVT. Daniel Jackson "up to and including a mile". Thats from "Saving Private Ryan". But you would never prove it by me.

I limit shots at deer sized game which is all I hunt anymore to 300 yards. And that would be the exception. I much prefer closer shots and will do all I can to arrange them.
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Old September 6, 2017, 09:37 PM   #8
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I see posts on gun forums asking what is the maximum range for this rifle...or this caliber...or this scope. I don't see how such questions can be answered.
There is an answer, and its pretty simple. When it comes to direct fire weapons, there are only two limits on the range. First, the distance the projectile will actually travel, and second, what the shooter can see.

Everything else is a matter of the shooter's skill.

Range can be measured these days, yay technology! In the old days, it was a matter of the shooter's skill in correctly estimating the range. Drop is a constant, and can be accurately calculated, given the range.

Wind drift, on the other hand is a guess. Not the amount of drift per mph, that's a calculation, but wind direction and speed between you and the target. When the target is distant, wind can be in multiple directions and speeds between you and it.

If you can estimate or calculate all that correctly, you will hit. No matter the range.
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Old September 6, 2017, 10:03 PM   #9
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Actually, it is still difficult to come out with any precise range figures. Things work out fine on paper, but few paper shooters actually fire their guns at long distances. Experiments on smooth beaches by Hatcher and others, and similar recent attempts at the same type of work indicate too many variables to provide real answers.* Note that maximum range can only be determined by where a spent bullet actually hits the ground. No matter that a series of shots may produce a tight group on target at a measured distance, the actual bullet strikes may be far apart at maximum range.

Jim

*Anyone looking for a deserted beach in Florida in 2017 might have a problem finding one, except maybe when Irma hits, and finding the bullet holes in a hurricane might be difficult. But computers and calculations don't give the "correct" answers.

JK
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Old September 7, 2017, 10:22 AM   #10
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From what I've read through my Internet years, this is the sort of question asked by those who are relatively new to shooting. A common problem is the overly-simple phrasing often used.

Similar to "What is the best...?"
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Old September 7, 2017, 11:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
OK, so shooter X is a 7 out of 10 in skill level, using a Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 with 180 grain factory ammo and a 4x scope..what is his maximum range?
Well is he shooting at ground squirrel of Mastodon's? Size of the target makes a big difference. Ya need an aiming point. 4X for myself would cit it very well if deer or larger is the target out to 250yds.
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Old September 7, 2017, 12:18 PM   #12
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"...That's from "Saving Private Ryan"..." Fiction doesn't count. You can't take a scope off and return it without losing zero either. Especially with an '03A4. Windage was adjusted with the wee screws on the base.
Scopes do not have any range. Max or otherwise. Neither do rifles. Cartridges do, but the rifle matters. Most hunting cartridges have an effective range of about 300 yards before the bullet drops excessively.
General Hatcher covers this in his Notebook. He used an empty Florida beach too, as I recall. Used MG's though. And nothing to do with actually hitting anything but the beach.
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Old September 7, 2017, 12:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
"...That's from "Saving Private Ryan"..." Fiction doesn't count.
It may not count but its still a fun answer.

Quote:
From what I've read through my Internet years, this is the sort of question asked by those who are relatively new to shooting.
Yep. How many new guys come here and want to know what rifle to by for 1000 yard shooting. And then you find out they have never owned a rifle or tried to shoot at more than a couple hundred yards or the only rifle they have ever fired was a .22lr.
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Old September 7, 2017, 08:34 PM   #14
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Precise answers aren't possible. But rough guidelines are.

With rifle calibers the best measure I've found is terminal velocity. With hunting bullets as long as the bullet has sufficient velocity at impact to give good expansion it will kill game. Assuming there is enough bullet mass to also get adequate penetration. Energy numbers are part of this, but I've found impact velocity more accurate.

As a target shooter as long as the bullet is supersonic accuracy is usually good enough if the shooter is good enough. There are lots of ways to calculate down range velocity with a fair degree of accuracy.

The effective range of scopes is more difficult. But for big game purposes 1X for each 100 yards is a pretty fair guideline. A decent rifleman should be able to make hits on big game out to 400 yards with a 4X scope. Of course not everyone has the same skills and smaller varmints need more magnification.

The effective range of the shooter is even harder. The maximum range a shooter can keep 10 shots out of 10 inside the vital zone of the game hunted is his maximum range. Not all game has the same size kill zone. Some animals may require a 9" target, others a 24" target. Some shooters can do that at 1000 yards, others only 50 yards.

Quote:
According to PVT. Daniel Jackson "up to and including a mile". Thats from "Saving Private Ryan". But you would never prove it by me.
It may have been a fictional movie, but a 1 mile shot was within the realm of possibility with WW-2 technology. There are documented shots by Soviet snipers during WW-2 of near a mile. There was a documented shot in 1864 during the Civil war of over 1300 yards and Billy Dixon made a shot of just a few yards shy of a mile in 1874 during the western Indian wars.
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Old September 7, 2017, 11:46 PM   #15
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A bullet doesn't have to expand to kill game. All it has to do is penetrate enough in the right place. It also doesn't have to be supersonic to be accurate.

Think .45-70...

and remember that over a century ago, people were shooting 1,000 yard matches with iron sights and .45-70 blackpowder cartridges...

Yes, flatter shooting rounds and sufficient velocity for expansion are more efficient, but that doesn't mean less efficient rounds won't work, it means the shooter has to work harder..
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Old September 9, 2017, 06:35 PM   #16
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Without arguing with Steven Spielburg,I believe the US Army designated "maximum effective range" of a 1903A4 at 600yds.
And for most of us,the idea of taking off the Weaver 330 and swapping in an 8x Lyman while retaining zero is ......well,we eyeroll and say "Hollywood!"
That does not mean a good shooter or a lucky shooter cannot make a shot at 1200 yds,or whatever.
Its more what a Commander can plan on when deploying the weapon.

Usually these questions lack "For what purpose?" information.
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Old September 12, 2017, 04:32 AM   #17
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Go back and read the first post again....OP answered "no answer", when in fact he provided an answer to his specific situation. Reading this thread and thinking of my own limitations, at age 65, I've done the same thing: lighter calibers & lighter rifles, scopes/sights that permit me to focus through sight range and still see the target. Oh, and going where I'm physically able.

Whee did age 65 come from? I still feel 21, but there are many more things aching and aching longer.
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:48 AM   #18
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Isn't the shooter's skill and his hardware part of that data?
No. The effective range of equipment is simple to determine. Can a rifle place rounds in 1-1.5 MOA at the maximum expected range that it will be used at, can it accurately place that shot at that distance in the effective zone, will the chosen cartridge be fully, completely capable of killing at that range, is the ballistic profile good enough to minimize cartridge drop ar win deflection, and can the scope be clearly seen for that distance within the legal limitations of the hunting regulations where it is being used?

There you have your answer. If you want to shoot mountain goat your rifle has needs, Carolina deer need entirely different rifles.

That is how you judge a rifle. No other points to make.

everything else is a question of skill. Without the necessary skill set, deciding what range your rifle is capable of working at is useless.
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Old September 13, 2017, 09:47 AM   #19
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Surprised this thread doesn't have tons of pictures of your beautiful rifles!
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:02 AM   #20
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Funny, my best rifle is just a 700 in .243 with nice wood.
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Old September 13, 2017, 02:43 PM   #21
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Model12Win wrote:
Surprised this thread doesn't have tons of pictures of your beautiful rifles!
I don't have any beautiful rifles.

If you've seen an AR, you know what mine look like. Seen an M-1 Carbine? Well, then you know what my 5.7mm Johnson carbine looks like, too. You get the idea. It's all utilitarian stuff that everyone has seen a million times before. Even the gun that fires a wildcat cartridge (the 5.7mm Johnson) is an example of banality.
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Old September 13, 2017, 03:44 PM   #22
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I was at the range last week and, after posting some 200 yard, 1" groups, using Bonded BT, 140 grain, moose handloads in my .270 Win, customized Rem 700 CDL stainless fluted, I stood up and hit the 12" 200 meter gong, 4 out of 5 times offhand, no sling.

It was quite pleasing, since I'm 73 years old and haven't shot offhand much this year.
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Old September 14, 2017, 02:21 PM   #23
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It is hard to say but there are some videos online of people shooting various calibers at very long distance and the rounds in question are shown easily going through a large plywood board. Does that mean they'd kill you or game? Well we do have minimum energy calculators for hunting that aren't new. And of course there are cases of stray rounds at outdoor ranges with no topside barriers having actually killed people at quite a long distance.

So maybe it is more apt to say that we know a given round *can* make a hit to at least a given range.
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Old September 14, 2017, 04:14 PM   #24
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Yes, flatter shooting rounds and sufficient velocity for expansion are more efficient, but that doesn't mean less efficient rounds won't work, it means the shooter has to work harder..
or they can work harder and get closer to the animal...

and why should we work harder and give the animals less margin?
especially when it comes to a kill? don't we have an obligation to give them a quick clean death?

anything could kill with perfect shotplacement

but it is much much better to have a expanding bullet when it is not perfect
especially if you only wound the game, more blood to track
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Old September 14, 2017, 08:18 PM   #25
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I see posts on gun forums asking what is the maximum range for this rifle...or this caliber...or this scope.
Rifles have no range, bullets have maximum ranges. Typically in multiples of miles or kilometers. But that's not what the person meant when they asked the question, I suppose.

Quote:
The effective range of equipment is simple to determine. Can a rifle place rounds in 1-1.5 MOA at the maximum expected range that it will be used at,
This is close to correct, only backwards. The maximum effective range is where the rifle/cartridge combination can consistently hit a specified-sized target, and does not include the shooter in any way (too many variables there). I remember the training film in boot camp, "the M-16A1 can consistently hit a man-sized target at 500 meters", which is about 4 MOA (22" shoulder tip to shoulder tip). If your specification is 1.5 MOA, there are a lot of rifles out there that have a maximum effective range of about 100 yds (in spite of the internet claims of sub-moa performance for individual rifles). Typically, a looser specification of 2-3 MOA will give you a good idea of a hunting rifle's maximum effective range. Funny how that number hasn't changed much in the past 50 years . . .but I digress. We used to laugh at the trite old " as far as you can hit a paper plate, then you're ready", but an 8" plate at 200 yds is about 4 MOA. But since most deer are shot at under 100 yds, it matters little.

If your rifle/ammunition combination can keep all your shots within say 2 MOA, you could hit a deer-sized target out to 500 yds (whether you are capable of shooting that well or not). But beyond 300 yds, trajectory starts to become an issue, and people miss even though the rifle put the bullet where it was aimed. The shooter can be trained, the rifle shoots how it shoots (which is typically better than many shooters). I have seen shooters with sub-MOA rifles flub 100 yds shots on standing animals, but that's not the rifle's fault.

Scopes do not alter the maximum effective range of the rifle, they are a device to aid the shooter. I shot thousands of rounds of ammo across-the-course with iron sights. Did fairly well, if I say so myself. Nowadays, my vision is nowhere near what it was 40 years ago, so I use a scope. The rifle doesn't need a scope, I need a scope.

So, a long-winded way to agree with SP, there is no answer to the question of "what's my rifle's/cartridge's/scope's maximum range?" If it is a modern cartridge with a fair quality barrel and a good scope on it, most shooters could expect to be able to hit a game animal sized target at 200 yds. Beyond that, it gets complicated.
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