Realistic hunting challenge

Hugger-4641

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West TN
This applies in hunting, rifle, long range,, and maybe some other forums so I'm posting here:

I've been following BackFire's milk jug challenge and Eric Cortina's blackjack challenge with interest and enjoyment. But in my book, this guy is doing a more meaningful challenge for hunters. I don't think I'd ever try an 800yd shot at any animal just because of terminal performance, but I can see me doing 600yds under the right conditions. If you can do this challenge with 100% success out to 600yds + then I wouldn't criticize you for doing it.🙂

 
If I can hit a 10" paper plate with the 1st shot and consistently afterward, I feel good about shooting at that range. The range at the club where I shoot only goes to 300 yards and I feel pretty good at that range if I can get a steady rest. I'm pretty consistent sitting and using shooting sticks.

I've never shot past 600 yards and have only done it 3 different times. Not all of my shots would have been in the 10" paper plate which is about right for deer. But to date every shot I've fired from 600 would have been within about 15" which is about right for an elk's kill zone. Remember, this is from sitting using shooting sticks. Not from a bench or even prone. There is too much vegetation anywhere I hunt to realistically shoot prone.

But I've not had enough trigger time at ranges beyond 300 to feel comfortable shooting at game. I do think that with more experience I'd feel OK out to 600. But I'm not there yet.
 
If I can hit a 10" paper plate with the 1st shot and consistently afterward, I feel good about shooting at that range. The range at the club where I shoot only goes to 300 yards and I feel pretty good at that range if I can get a steady rest. I'm pretty consistent sitting and using shooting sticks.

I've never shot past 600 yards and have only done it 3 different times. Not all of my shots would have been in the 10" paper plate which is about right for deer. But to date every shot I've fired from 600 would have been within about 15" which is about right for an elk's kill zone. Remember, this is from sitting using shooting sticks. Not from a bench or even prone. There is too much vegetation anywhere I hunt to realistically shoot prone.

But I've not had enough trigger time at ranges beyond 300 to feel comfortable shooting at game. I do think that with more experience I'd feel OK out to 600. But I'm not there yet.
I'm kinda similar. I'm 100% confident shooting a Whitetail out to 400 or so with a few of my rifles, maybe 75% confident at 500 with my X-bolt 300wm.
I just haven't pulled the trigger enough at 600 or more yet. My club's range maxes out about 640yds at the pavilion, you can shoot 720 if you get on the berm behind and off to side of the pavilion. I can hit at 720 on the steel silhouette we have out there, but I'm not 100% on first shot at 720 or even 600 on a milk jug sized target yet with any of my rifles. So I won't be shooting deer at 500 or more until I know I can nail the first shot. Once I get on target, I can get sub 1-1/2moa groups at 600 with a couple of my rifles and consistently get sub moa with my X-Bolt. But getting that first shot on bullseye every time on any given day is what really matters in hunting and I'm not there yet at 600yds.
 
500 is about the max I'd shoot any animal, you may have a good rifle you can put in the vitals every time but you can't control the animals movement.
That's why I put the caveat "under the right conditions" for me to try it at 600. I've studied deer enough to get a pretty good feel for predicting movement. Head down feeding, broadside, with good environment and good knowledge of the target area, yeah maybe I'll try it one day. Any other circumstance I'm probably not taking the shot.
 
Honestly for me it "depends", because there's a lot that goes into it.

My backyard range has steel out to 760 yds. I have 400 and 547yds off my back deck. I get to practice at those distances a lot. I've competed out to 1500yds with a precision rig, but that's not really your average field position. The rifles that I use for the longer distances are set up for it and are sub MOA, all have MVs at multiple temps.

In addition to my static steel targets, every year I set up my own version of a hunters challenge to practice. I shoot/practice from multiple field positions at steel at varying distances. When the wind is weird I'll step out back and send a few, just to see the effect.

Prone backpack:

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Tall Bipod sitting;

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Tripod sitting:

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Over a barrel:

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What distance shot I'll take on game depends on (no order):

weather/conditions
Time: Have I lased, is my data current. I have dope charts on my rifles, but for the longer stretches I'd like current data for that days weather & elevation.
My position/rest; closer I am to the ground the steadier I am, sitting with tripod and backpack in my lap is almost as good as prone. The less steady, the more my effective range decreases.
Animal's posture
Given time to compute, prone, rear support, steady wind 10MPH or under and I can normally make 1st round hits out to 760yds. Change any of that, and my effective range decreases, sometimes dramatically.
 
I've only got 200yds here at my house and public 300yd range is 10min away. So I get lots of practice out to 300. My club is about 45min away so I don't get out there as often. That's what it really comes down to is practice, but shooting a target from a bench now and then is not gonna be enough. This guy makes it look easy to those who don't know any better. You don't get to see the hrs he put in developing his load, getting his dope, etc.
 
I've only got 200yds here at my house and public 300yd range is 10min away. So I get lots of practice out to 300. My club is about 45min away so I don't get out there as often. That's what it really comes down to is practice, but shooting a target from a bench now and then is not gonna be enough. This guy makes it look easy to those who don't know any better. You don't get to see the hrs he put in developing his load, getting his dope, etc.

It's called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

With limited range available a .22LR and .223 are your friend..

Especially when practicing from the various positions. I can (and do) get an entire afternoon of practice in with a .22LR or .223, low cost, no issues with recoil. The same cannot be said about my 300WM.

Just shrink your target sizes down, a 1.5- 2 MOA tgt should work pretty well, that would be a 12" kill zone at 600.

Both calibers are more wind sensitive than my big game cartridges, so they're pretty good at forcing me to watch the wind. Although I carry a Kestrel with me in my bino pouch, I also practice with this:


Also do dry fire "rehearsals" to practice the positions prior to going live. It will save you range time and ammo cost. When I started playing with a precision tripod, it was a definite learning curve. So I set up a dry fire range set up in my basement with a picture of a mule deer for a TGT. A folding chair, buckets etc. simulate tree branches, rocks, etc.

There are some very good videos of how to use a tripod etc., but you've got to find out what works for you.
 
I liked the video. Guy spends too much time trying to explain everything he is doing, but at least he explains the basics of it quickly. The long and short of long range shots while hunting is to be able to read range and wind. Rangefinders have helped immensely on the former, but wind is still a mental excercise. The guy is talking about mph and inches though and I really don’t like numbers in that math problem. You see wind affecting stuff, feel wind affecting you, and it varies the whole way from you to the target. Best a person can ever do is to just feel out what’s going on and adjust point of aim. You only get that ability from experience, and experience with the right equipment is important. There’s really no reason to put numbers onto this, just see how it feels and let your experience tell you what to do. He kinda does that in the video after going through the whole 7mph and gusty blah blah blah and eventually settles on just aiming where he thinks the back of the lungs would be. Perfect!!! Feels like it’s gonna drift a bit, I’ll adjust a bit. Too little, too much, just right… whatever. Your not shooting Xs on paper for money, and your quarry doesn’t shoot back. It’s like shotgunning for dove on a windy day, you just have to feel it and shoot for the conditions you feel at that very moment.
 
Regardless of distance a realistic hunting challenge is you can you shoot free hand and hit your target without any mechanical support?
I don't agree. My offhand limit on a whitetail is about 200yds. Yeah on good days I could do better but not consistently. Around here at least, at 300yds or more there's really no reason to shoot unsupported. You should be able to shoot prone, sitting, or find some kind of rest to shoot from at that distance.
 
Regardless of distance a realistic hunting challenge is you can you shoot free hand and hit your target without any mechanical support?
I'll pass on a shot if I don't feel solid enough to make a good shot now. A man's got to know his limitations.

And after shooting that fat doe this past season my "realistic" challenge will now be how hard will it be for me to drag it out...?
Thankfully, the wife was home to give me a hand this time but it was still a heavy deer.
 
He's got 5 or 6 of these videos out now and his son is in #3 or4. The only thing I don't agree with is how he shoots prone in every video so far. We don't always have that option so I'd like to see him shoot from a tree stand or using a stump or fence post for a rest. Those are real life shots I've had to make frequently at 300 to 400yds.
 
I have enough property that I can walk and leave brown cardboard discs in a variety of places. The discs are cut using the bottom of a 5 gallon pail as a template. I leave them brown because ohio white tails are not blaze orange, pink, black or any other of a variety of colors. Two days after I drop them in place, I start still hunting. I walk and search. If I see something, I take whatever position I can and use whatever brace I can. If I drop to a sitting position and can not see the disc, I stalk closer or to a better location. Rain, sun, wind and snow can really play with the discs. Better is when I can get my brother or an acquaintance to drop the discs! Then, it is really a challenge. I have “hunted“ the discs with my 50-70, my 405 WCF, and my revolvers. Each requires different hold overs and different stalks. I always try to remember what Pop taught me, stalk as close as you can. And then closer!

This practice pays in the field.

Kevin
 
Wish I could get the animals around here to come out on to hard paved ground with no weeds, grass or briars on a nice sunny dry day about noon and in front of my shooting sticks, mats, spotting scopes and with an awesome back stop just in case of a pass through.
 
I'll pass on a shot if I don't feel solid enough to make a good shot now. A man's got to know his limitations.

For me it depends on what I am trying to kill. For whatever reason, I have more respect for game animals than I do others.

I'd take 1000+ yard shots with my beltfed 308 all day on pigs but then again, I would also poison them if it didn't harm other animals.

I suppose this ~88 yard would have been one of my more challenging shots on them. A sounder at full run through the woods and all I can do is watch the opening created by an atv trail and hit what puts it's foot in the opening before it disappears back into the thicket 12 feet across the road.

Might as well practice shooting footballs people throw at that point.

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I simply don't take shots like that on animals that don't tear up our hay meadows. Chance of leaving a wounded animal behind is too great.
 
For me it depends on what I am trying to kill. For whatever reason, I have more respect for game animals than I do others
Same here. I'll take any iffy shot I can get on a Coyote or Armadillo.
I don't WANT any animal to suffer, but a wounded Coyote is still not gonna be eating my cats or chickens anymore, so "quel che sara sara" if that happens.
 
He's got 5 or 6 of these videos out now and his son is in #3 or4. The only thing I don't agree with is how he shoots prone in every video so far. We don't always have that option so I'd like to see him shoot from a tree stand or using a stump or fence post for a rest. Those are real life shots I've had to make frequently at 300 to 400yds.


I agree, but with a caveat.

It might just be that the ability to go prone, with a rear support, is his "requirement" for "X" distance. IMHO it's one of the things "learned" from practice; what support/level of stability, combined with the conditions is required to make a shot at "X" distance.

For instance, in my case:

Off hand.. 100 as long as it's not gale force winds blowing me around, not much time needed
Sitting unsupported: out to 200, same wind as above, not much time needed
Prone unsupported: 250, not much time needed
Prone supported backpack: 300-350, BDC reticle, hold on hair, Leupold Duplex crosshair junction
Sitting supported, tripod on a bag, variable winds, more time needed, use dope card or BDC reticle <15MPH: 400
Sitting, tripod, rifle clamped in, rear support (really a backpack in my lap) light variable winds <10MPH, more time needed, dope card : 550

I'm pretty good prone supported out to 600+ with stable winds, but I need time to get in position, a wind reading, maybe even a glance at Strelok with current weather entered.

The problem is, the vast majority of hunters aren't going to "get there" due to range limitations, practice time or desire. Equipment is the easy part, and not really that expensive, but learning you're capabilities takes practice. Go to your average public range and just watch guys shoot.. it's rare to see anybody not shooting from a bench.

Honestly, spend enough time shooting past 500yds and 300 and under becomes a given with your average bottle neck cartridge deer rifle. The conditions have limited effect and you're working with a 3MOA kill zone on a deer. It takes about a 16-17MPH 9 O'clock wind to push a 2800FPS bullet out of a kill zone at 300. The key in IMHO is to adopt the "train as you fight" mantra and make your practice more challenging than your average shots on game.

Off-hand is a great skill, but the vast majority of shots on game I've taken I've been supported by "something". Usually, the further an animal is away, the more time you have, and I've not had much of an issue dropping into a sitting/kneeling position, leaning on a tree etc. I've adopted using back-packs with frames because they make excellent rests for hasty sitting positions. About the only time I know I'm going to shoot off-hand is while still hunting and drives in wooded terrain. For both the ranges are limited.
 
I’ve been watching all those challenge videos too and I think I’m going to run both of those challenges next week if the weather cooperates. I’m low on milk jugs, but I’ll figure out something similar and make it work.
Thats another thing, my weather in hunting season around here in Nov, Dec, Jan looks nothing like those videos and nothing that flys walks or runs in Indiana has a heart the size of a gallon milk jug, let alone one that just sits there waiting for the 3rd or 10th shot.
 
Thats another thing, my weather in hunting season around here in Nov, Dec, Jan looks nothing like those videos and nothing that flys walks or runs in Indiana has a heart the size of a gallon milk jug, let alone one that just sits there waiting for the 3rd or 10th shot.
The milk jug is meant to be a rough representation of the vitals including lungs, not just the heart. This is probably fairly close for a deer or antelope, probably a little more room for error on Elk or Moose.🙂
 
Thats another thing, my weather in hunting season around here in Nov, Dec, Jan looks nothing like those videos and nothing that flys walks or runs in Indiana has a heart the size of a gallon milk jug, let alone one that just sits there waiting for the 3rd or 10th shot.

So, what's your practice regime for where and how you hunt?
 
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