Some basic "long" range hunting questions

Guy5858

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East coast hunter that is practicing to hopefully feel comfortable with 300-350 yard ethical shots on big game on a western hunt. I have some very basic questions for those that call that distance a "chip shot".

1. Am I correct to believe that there is a school of hunters that use a "holdover" method of knowing how high they need to hold on long range shots at certain distances vs those that adjust their scope every shot according to the distance?

2. If you are part of the "holdover" crowd any suggestions of how to hold the correct amount of inches high when in the field? Just practice? Wondering how accurately you can "hold 6 inches high" when looking at an animal in the scope.

3. Are there any charts out there that give you reasonably good info on drop if you input caliber and ammo? Or do you also need weather, windage etc to be able to use a pre-canned chart?

4. Any other suggestions on how to get good at this? Any good reading material online?
 

ElkFever2

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East coast hunter that is practicing to hopefully feel comfortable with 300-350 yard ethical shots on big game on a western hunt. I have some very basic questions for those that call that distance a "chip shot".
Then you'll have to be comfortable AND accurate at the range shooting 450 yards from a variety of positions. Are you sure you need to be able to take 350 yard shots?
1. Am I correct to believe that there is a school of hunters that use a "holdover" method of knowing how high they need to hold on long range shots at certain distances vs those that adjust their scope every shot according to the distance?
An old school
2. If you are part of the "holdover" crowd any suggestions of how to hold the correct amount of inches high when in the field? Just practice? Wondering how accurately you can "hold 6 inches high" when looking at an animal in the scope.
It's particular to your load and rifle. Once you have some data points from your field test you can plug in the numbers on an ballistics chart and it will tell you the drop at any desired yardage. Then confirm at various distances at the range.

https://www.hornady.com/team-hornady/ballistic-calculators/#!/

Keep in mind you can only hold over so much for scopes with smaller eye relief.

If your general accuracy (MOA) is not spot on, it's really going to affect holdover, so make sure you've got tight groups at 100 yards.

Hard to know what six inches is 300 yards away. Learn distances between spots on the animal as a guide, e.g. distance between topline and midpoint on bull elk torso is x inches when viewing broadside on level ground.

Make sure you are using a quality long distance rangefinder to compensate for angle shots too
3. Are there any charts out there that give you reasonably good info on drop if you input caliber and ammo? Or do you also need weather, windage etc to be able to use a pre-canned chart?
Shooting at 350 yards? No.
4. Any other suggestions on how to get good at this? Any good reading material online?
Hit the range. Make your .22 your best friend too
 

3855WIN

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300-350 with a flat shooting rifle isn’t hard to set up.
Site my 257 WBY 3” high at 100 and it’s 6” low at 400.
Most ammo manufacturers have Ballistic data available. Check it in the field to be sure it is correct.

What caliber and ammo is the OP shooting?
 

Wind Gypsy

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Mar 12, 2017
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See responses below in red.

East coast hunter that is practicing to hopefully feel comfortable with 300-350 yard ethical shots on big game on a western hunt. I have some very basic questions for those that call that distance a "chip shot".

1. Am I correct to believe that there is a school of hunters that use a "holdover" method of knowing how high they need to hold on long range shots at certain distances vs those that adjust their scope every shot according to the distance?
Yes.

2. If you are part of the "holdover" crowd any suggestions of how to hold the correct amount of inches high when in the field? Just practice? Wondering how accurately you can "hold 6 inches high" when looking at an animal in the scope.
Not that people don't sometimes take a wild ass guess and hold over a certain dimension, it's just not the best way to do it. "holdover" is typically done with a scope that has Milradian or MOA subtensions or holdover / bullet drop compensating marks on the reticle that the shooter associates with bullet drop at a certain range.

3. Are there any charts out there that give you reasonably good info on drop if you input caliber and ammo? Or do you also need weather, windage etc to be able to use a pre-canned chart?
at 300-350 yards, atmopherics wont come into play much unless the wind is howling. You can enter your ammo information in a ballistic calculator like http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmtraj-5.1.cgi and get a rough idea of what your drops should be. But you should verify personally at the range. Note that with many rifles, particularly light sporting rifles, you can see changes in point of impact based on your shooting position.

4. Any other suggestions on how to get good at this? Any good reading material online?
Practice shooting at and beyond your intended distances. Google things like "natural point of aim" "trigger control" "follow through" in relation to shooting disciplines. The biggest thing is getting the basics down on building a solid position and being able to break the trigger cleanly.
 

ElkFever2

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Also, if you have the means, create a 2-D game-shaped/sized target of the animal you will be hunting and practice shooting at it on the range. Example: make an antelope target and practice holdover at 300 yards, etc, and watch the vitals hits stack up. Builds confidence, then not so foreign when making transition from range to the hunt.
 

onpoint

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I comprehend the fact that hunters traveling somewhere else, for a set amount of time, and who are all jacked up about the hunt, etc. are under (self induced) pressure to succeed. And there is so much info, good and bad, out there about the rifle, the shot, the ballistics, the shooting skills. It's so easy to concentrate on the shot.....
If only there was more info and, frankly, more discussion out there and readily available about closing the distance.
Finding THE antelope buck (for example) 1000 yards out and figuring out the wind, the seemingly invisible prairie topography, the route through the prickly pear, and the painstaking getting in position for that 185 yd shot can be just as (or far more in my opinion) gratifying as the long range trigger pull.
And, I'd argue it actually takes more skill, brains, instinct, and the wonderful intangible of hunting - luck.
Try it - you might like it
Just something to consider in addition to mtmuley's no-brainer fact. Which is relevant whether you shoot 350 yds, or 125...............
 

RockinU

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I agree with both mtmuley and onpoint. Close the distance as best you can, and spend as much time behind your rifle as you can before you go. I will add that not only should you shoot as much as you can, but work hard to shoot correctly. Learn technique, and drill the hell out of it. Dry fire over and over, watch your reticle, make sure you're locked down, and not moving it...then do it again and again and again. I have a friend that videos himself both dry firing and shooting...it's a little extreme, but the guy can shoot.

Shooting is a highly perishable skill, and one that every responsible hunter should drill themselves on relentlessly. There are so many things that can keep you from punching your tag, don't let a failure to prepare yourself be one of them.
 

MTGomer

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Depending on the round you’re shooting, what your ‘hunt zero’ should be will vary. For a flat gun it can be 250. That allows you to not really need a holdover at 300 and a minimal one at 350.

I think you’ll find that these shots are not necessary often. I’ve killed two animals over 400.
405 and 425 to be exact.
All that practice for two shots in two decades.
It’s good to be prepared, but ‘long range’ (which these distances aren’t) are not the end all be all.
 
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BuzzH

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Some good comments already, but honestly if you practice at all, and zero at 250 yards...you wont have much trouble shooting out to 300-350 assuming your rifle shoots 1-1.5 inches at 100.

Before I started spinning turrets, I zeroed my rifles at 300 yards (since turrets I zero at 250), mindful that shooting from 100-250, I had to hold on the lower 1/3rd of the body or risk shooting over animals in that range.

I would also suggest you get a range finder.

As to the need to shoot out a ways, I don't think its a bad idea to be able to do it, the key is knowing when you should, and when you shouldn't. That only comes with a lot of range time and experience.

For me, it came down to the fact that I've applied for some tags for 20+ years, and I asked myself what I would do if on the last day of a hunt, I saw an animal that I wanted badly out there a ways. My answer was, I would use the method you mentioned, just hold over what I thought and give it a whirl. Then I got to researching and realized there is a better way to do things and that practice really makes a difference. I invested in the proper equipment and spent a lot of time at the range. I shoot at least once a week year round. From now until hunting season, probably shoot 2-3 times a week. Make your shooting fun, and quality over quantity is key. Lots of days I only shoot 6-8 shots from varying ranges between 250-650 yards primarily, but will stretch it to 1100+ for the fun of it.

I don't go out of my way to take a longer shot...but its nice to have the ability if the chips are down.

If in doubt, get closer...I'd rather blow a stalk, than blow the leg off an animal.
 
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Sweede82

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I may be speaking a bit out of turn here, but long range is a relative term.

A 100 yard shot after a dash to head something off or to place your self in position may take a steady rest, and may be difficult at that, things like life long anticipation, not being use to altitude, fumbling to remove gloves or treaking pole wrist straps can all make a big play.

A 350 yard shot on a foraging younger animal over a pack in prone position after a nap may seem easy.

Whether you are confident at a 1000 yards on paper or not means nothing when in the moment.

My wife can't group on paper at 100 yd to save her a$$, but tell her to shoot that rock at 300 and rock soup it is, she's also on her game when it comes to deer it's always 1 shot for her when it matters.

I would develop some sort of scale 1 to 10, or a percentage of conference and if if it's not there get closer to take the shot.

Mostly have fun and follow good Hunter ethics. The west is beautiful and will be worth the trip regardless of harvest status.
 

ZBB

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Pueblo, Co
East coast hunter that is practicing to hopefully feel comfortable with 300-350 yard ethical shots on big game on a western hunt. I have some very basic questions for those that call that distance a "chip shot".

1. Am I correct to believe that there is a school of hunters that use a "holdover" method of knowing how high they need to hold on long range shots at certain distances vs those that adjust their scope every shot according to the distance?

2. If you are part of the "holdover" crowd any suggestions of how to hold the correct amount of inches high when in the field? Just practice? Wondering how accurately you can "hold 6 inches high" when looking at an animal in the scope.

3. Are there any charts out there that give you reasonably good info on drop if you input caliber and ammo? Or do you also need weather, windage etc to be able to use a pre-canned chart?
4. Any other suggestions on how to get good at this? Any good reading material online?
1.I hold, but I have a reticle that has sub-tensions that I know how to use.

2.This is the reason for the sub-tensions, you don’t have to guess what six inches is, if your hold is 1.5 mils at 300m then you hold the 1.5 mils on the spot you want to hit.

3.The linked site for hornady should work, the info on the box should get you close, but it will take practice. Sniper data books have some charts for the wind, but they’re limited to specific calibers. The best thing to learn how to shoot in wind is to shoot when it’s windy

I agree with the above posts in that is funner to stalk the animals, but I do agree with buzzh, that sometimes it’s not practical and you need to make something happen. Dry fire....a lot, and in different positions, I think I’ve only shot one critter prone supported. If I didn’t have a mil reticle I would do a lot more research on the max point blank range method of zeroing. I don’t know much about now so I won’t give any advice on it. As others have suggested get a range finder. Also get good ammo, when I was in Afghanistan we didn’t have enough match grade ammo for the dudes with m14s so we de-linked some 7.62 we had, they didn’t group worth a shit. Then we ran match grade through them and we were getting .75-1.25 Moa groups out of them, not great but good enough for people that didn’t know much. Good luck,
Zach
Ps don’t forget to dry fire!
 
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Scott85

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My max range is 300 yards but would rather not take a shot over 100. 298 yards is roughly my maximum point blank range. Like others have said or have eluded to I want to get as close as I can and if that means a blown opportunity then so be it.
 

Frazier

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Spend as much time as you can at the range. You will be able to tell yourself what you are comfortable with eventually.

I remember back in high school 20 years ago I got a paper ballistics chart of the 270 load I was shooting for white tail. Found it at a sporting good store. I then practiced so I could determine where on a deer’s body I needed to hold for longer shots. Lots of trial and error.

Now I’m lazy and bought a CDS 😂
 

LCH

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I remember thinking, before I started travelling out west to hunt, that you'd better be ready to shoot 400+ yards. From all the stuff I read or heard, it was nearly impossible to get close to a pronghorn or an elk.

Now I've been fortunate to take several pronghorn, muleys, elk, and western whitetails, and furthest shot has been roughly 250 yards. Sure, there have been a few opportunities for longer shots, especially on the pronghorn and mule deer, but restricting myself to closer shots has never prevented me from notching a tag.

If you're only comfortable at 100, 200, etc., make sure your rifle is good at that range and go hunting, and resist the temptation to stretch shots beyond that range.
 

pointingdogsrule

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I don't long range shoot, however when I went p dog hunting I found the following app for shooting
"Strelok". Its really neat and easy to use. You can input your info including scope, caliber, wind and other stuff. Download the app to your phone. Good luck.
 
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