Realistic shooting distances

antler_master

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Nov 16, 2022
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Rochester, Indiana
I’ve never met Buzz, but that’s about the most sound advice you'll get. This year I shot an elk right at 350, no wind, lying prone over my pack. I’ve also passed on much, much closer shots because I couldn’t get a steady rest. Keep practicing under those field conditions and it’ll improve your abilities and your confidence. Maybe take up predator hunting in the off season to add some of that realism to it.
love it!
 

ElDudarino

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Oct 30, 2022
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Reality is that there are too many variables to have a set distance limit. There are 800yd shots I would take and 50yd shots I wouldn’t. It comes down to having the experience to know which one that particular shot is.
 

270.Rose

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Dec 12, 2020
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I'm not an experienced enough shooter to hunt over 300 yards. However I don't believe that others should be restricted to my level if they are much better shots, more familiar with the exact details of how their rifle performs, and more experienced at reading conditions.
It's my opinion that more effort going into teaching situational ethics and encouraging individuals to learn as much as possible about the specs of their equipment would benefit everyone.
 

rjthehunter

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Minnesota
Send it. mtmuley
So anyways, I took your advice, but now I'm trying to figure out where this elk was standing when I shot it from 1200 yards away... Lol, that'd be the hardest part!

If it ends with a RUM, send it up their bum!
 

Farmerj

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Dec 12, 2021
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835
I practice to the limit of the caliber I’m shooting. About 550 yards with the .280 Remington…

There’s been a lot of time and money spent teaching me to shoot to 1000 meters.

I hunt to less than a third of that. 200-225 yards.

Because it’s the responsible thing the do.
 

elkantlers

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UT
As I get older, I find myself wanting to put "the hunt" back into the hunt. This year I killed a Desert sheep at 130yds with my muzzleloader (could have used a rifle as it was an any weapon hunt), a deer at 75yds with an open sights Winchester Model 94 30-30 and a bull elk at 150yds with my muzzleloader.

I've shot big game out to 500 yards (my furthest), and it isn't near as exciting as getting up close.

The more I hear these stories of people shooting 800, 900 or even a 1000+ Yards at big game, the more I hate it.
 

old270hunter

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Jun 4, 2022
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Bat Sh!+ Crazy, California
Nowadays, there is about zero excuse to not have a range finder. Most have angle compensators too. Having a range finder in the field coupled with practice at the range should be able to tell you what your max range is. It’s going to be different for everyone depending on cartridge, skill, weather.
 

Wind Gypsy

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I love to geek out on precision rifle stuff. For a while around 2015-2018 I used to spend most saturdays and sundays ringing steel at various distances in the desert. At my normal haunts I got pretty confident that a deer vitals sized target was as good as dead inside 800 yards. Then I shot at a mule deer at over 700 yards once, misread things badly, and completely whiffed. I was able to read the conditions just fine in couple spots I frequented but hadn’t shot in enough different situations/locations to be truly competent. That’s with thousands of good impacts on the range beyond 600 yards over the prior few years. I was a perfect example of someone that would have told the fudds “I know my equipment and what my rifle does at distance” even though I didn’t well enough. I bet the vast majority of people who claim they know still don’t know what they don’t know.

I don’t shoot as much as I used to, these days a good limit is probably around 550 yards in the right conditions, maybe less.

After I whiffed on that buck at 775 yards I was able to sneak to 350 and hit him where I intended to. Shoulda done that initially.

Edit to add: Buzz made a good post early in this thread about how much wind blows a bullet around. Lots of people say stuff like "inside 500 yards BC doesn't matter" in bullet discussions. BS. Wind makes people miss inside 300 yards, i'll take all the BC i can get in a pill that has acceptable terminal performance.
 
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Shangobango

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Aug 5, 2019
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Louisiana
In perfect conditions with a dead rest on a deer, 400 yards absolute max for me. Won’t even consider shooting farther on an animal. Even under perfect conditions I have passed on a lot of shots in the 300 to 400 yard range because I just wasn’t feeling it. Add in any adverse conditions such as wind, or an animal that is moving around too much, not a great rest, etc., that max distance drops to 200 real quick.

With any type of bow, 40 yards max in the woods and about 50 in the open on an animal IF the stars line up perfectly.

One of the worst feelings I ever personally experience is a wounded animal without a retrieval. I get physically ill for days. I do everything I can to keep that nonsense from happening.
 

David58

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Oct 13, 2020
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460
Location
Northern NM
I read about long shots, and marvel. And shake my head, too, thinking about the number of animals not recovered. I am a decent shot, but won't push it past 270-300, and that would be a push. But I have shot deer at 50 yards in the snow and danged near couldn't find it, and shot an elk at 400 or so and spent half a day finding it. I know that early on in my deer hunting, I lost a deer simply because I poorly marked where it was when I shot. So my limit is based both on how well I shoot and how well I can find what I am looking for, so in general about 200 yards.

David
NM
 

Red-Team 98

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Dec 18, 2022
Messages
73
For a 308 Win
For hunting game
Your bullet performance range
Should be around 375 yards
Unless I am shooting a magnum that is a good ethical long shot at game with 308 win or 30-06
 

Addicting

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Jan 19, 2017
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SW Michigan
For a 308 Win
For hunting game
Your bullet performance range
Should be around 375 yards
Unless I am shooting a magnum that is a good ethical long shot at game with 308 win or 30-06
This makes no sense. Different bullets require different impact velocity. Different rifles shoot different velocity. Different manufacturers load did weight bullets at different velocity. All of that out of your specific rifle help you make the decision on what your range is after practicing.
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
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Here's where I can get negative again. I have read about a lot of long range hunting (hunting ?). What I don't recall ever reading is a missed shot or a wounded animal regardless the range. Seem's if we'd all learn to shoot ground squirrels at 1500 yds there would be far less wounded animals dying somewhere and becoming a meal for coyote's and far less ammo needed because we would never miss!

Actually I do like to plink at long range but seldom know what the range is, seem's I normally forget my range finder, they last longer that way! Anyway two reason's I do it. #1 it makes me a better shot at around 250yds and #2 soothes my ego! Filling my tag is or was never as important to me as filling the freezer!
 

MNElkNut

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Jan 27, 2012
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Location
Minnesota
Most of the responses have been about OUR performance as shooters and whether we can ethically put that bullet in the kill zone. However, there is much more to that equation. Where is that kill zone when the bullet arrives? It may, or may not, be in the place it was when our brain gave that trigger that last little bit. As someone posted above, the animal takes a step and we have a gut shot. Even on close animals, how many times are there animals just leaving the field of view and a shot is hurried because if the shot isn't taken at that very second, the animal will be gone.

Buzz did a good job explaining how it is better to not "send it" than to wound the animal. How do we "practice" when it is okay to take a shot? Of course experience is the best teacher, but even watching hunting shows and deciding if the person shooting took a good shot or not helps us become better in evaluation these decisions.
 

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