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Thread: 500 Yrds?

  1. #26

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    It really comes down to what you are comfortable with and the only way to know what you are comfortable with is to practice. I'm fortunate enough to be able to shoot over 1000yds right from my front lawn and try and practice in different conditions at least a couple times each week, year around. Some sessions might only be 3-5 rounds before supper is ready. others, I'll spend the entire morning or afternoon out shooting.

  2. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by huntin24/7 View Post
    As someone that has limited myself to around 400 yard shots for a long time, I intend to improve my range to 500 for elk for when I draw my limited tags in other states. I don't think it hurts to have that capability should the need arise for a tag that doesn't come along too often.
    There it is....

  3. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by huntin24/7 View Post
    As someone that has limited myself to around 400 yard shots for a long time, I intend to improve my range to 500 for elk for when I draw my limited tags in other states. I don't think it hurts to have that capability should the need arise for a tag that doesn't come along too often.
    Also nice to have the ability if you happen to say clip a twig on a 300 yard shot that you didnít see and wound an animal and things get western real quick and your next opportunity is at 500+ to know you can make that shot

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by brockel View Post
    Also nice to have the ability if you happen to say clip a twig on a 300 yard shot that you didn’t see and wound an animal and things get western real quick and your next opportunity is at 500+ to know you can make that shot
    Good point!

  5. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by huntin24/7 View Post
    I don't think it hurts to have that capability should the need arise for a tag that doesn't come along too often.
    And I like a rifle with some horsepower in case the scenario isn't perfect. mtmuley

  6. Default

    Spend the summer shooting at least 1,000 rounds at various ranges. Find out how far away you can consistently hit a 10" target, then take half that and set it as your maximum, all conditions perfect elk shot. There are a lot of idiots (I refuse to call them hunters) that regularly shoot at 800, 900 or more. They "miss" a lot. You can find some of their "misses" lying back in the timber. The wolves and grizzlies find a lot more.

    To put it into a realistic, no excuses context, enter an F Class rifle match. The 10 ring is 10" at 1,000 yards; all you need to do is put 60 shots into that circle from a prone position. You have a bit over one minute per shot. The target won't move; there is no brush in the way; there will be wind flags all over the range. There are 108 shooters in the country that can do that 98% of the time, with wind flags and unlimited sighters. Their rifles are limited to 22 pounds. Of course, as a hunter, you would need to carry your hunting rifle and a full pack to the firing line, and no sighters allowed. An elk won't give you a sighting shot. If you can't hit that 10" circle AT LEAST 98% of the time, first shot, it is irresponsible to take the shot at game. If you can't get closer to an elk than half a mile, maybe it's time to take up fishing or golf instead.

    I have fired thousands of rounds in competitions and in practice, at ranges from 50 feet to 1,000 yards. I can hit that 10" ring at 1,000 yards a bit over 60% of the time with open sights. With a good rest, no wind, and a relaxed animal, I am comfortable shooting out to a bit over 300 yards with the right rifle and scope, though I'd still get closer if I possibly could. On the range, I'd expect to be well within two inches at that distance, but in the field there are so many more variables that can't always be predicted. Sure, I could hit reliably at a longer range; but I would much prefer to go my entire life and never kill an elk than to wound and lose one.

    Sometimes you kill an animal right next to a really distinctive landmark and you can walk right up to it. More often, it's standing in one of thousands of identical spots in thousands of acres of identical brush, trees, or grass and you have to cross fences, gullies, or creeks to get to it. Even if it drops right in its tracks, it can be tough to find it, and it gets a lot tougher when it is further away. If you are hunting with other people, you can leave someone at the shot location, providing you are certain he knows exactly where the animal was standing, to guide you in. If for some reason you can't find your dead elk from most of a mile away, you must have missed. Yeah, that's it. Go shoot another.

    Part of the contract we have with the animals we hunt is that we, the hunters, are engaging them on their own ground. We are matching our skills and our senses against theirs. They have far superior senses, and they are intimately familiar with their territory. To compensate for that, we have technology. We need a limit, though, on the amount of technology we employ, because the animals can't upgrade their senses. There needs to be a point where we say, "No, this is not fair chase." For myself, shooting an animal at 1,000 yards is way past that line. Some folks like to brag about how far away they shot their last deer. The first thing that always occurs to me is, "Wow, you must really suck as a hunter if you couldn't get any closer than that." I won't hunt with those people. Maybe it's just me being unreasonable (it's been known to happen). Maybe that's why I don't have hunting buddies.

  7. #32
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    I think I pretty much agree with scubohuntr that we are becoming victims of technology and the point that animals cannot upgrade their senses. The animals are what they are and they simply cant adapt to our technology.

    That said, there are lots of other things that create that unfair playing field, if you will, other than a guy that's good with a rifle out to 5-6 hundred yards.

    What about the huge technology shift in backpacks, tents, stoves, clothing, gps, in-reach, sat phones, cell phones, google-earth, boots, trekking poles, optics, light-weight everything. People are putting themselves at a huge advantage there, just simply by being many times more comfortable in adverse conditions. Being more comfortable with hunting more remote, and doing it easier because they can pack a tent, stove, and sleeping bag that weighs less than just a 1960 era sleeping bag! Who orienteers with a compass and map these days?

    I get it, the final act of killing an animal at 500 yards isn't near as intimate as shooting one at 25 yards...but if we're going to have a fair and honest talk about fair chase, then I don't think many people are going to find themselves comfortable in that discussion. Not just about the actual shooting part either. Focusing on long range shooting and railing on about "fair chase" is really picking on the lowest of low hanging fruit in the discussion...I've plucked it myself.

    One person can say you suck as a hunter because you shot an animal at 500 yards...I can say you suck as hunter if you have to use a GPS to find your way around the woods.

    I don't know what the answer is, but IMO, there just aren't many places anymore that animals are safe from modern technology...and the reasons why don't simply come down to how far the animal is when the hunt comes to its conclusion. A lot of other things are questionable from a true fair chase scenario long before you get to that point. Things that give the hunter a huge advantage, whether the shot is 10 yards, or 1000 yards.

    I just find it harder all the time to claim that animals really do have anything close to a fair chance, long range rifles/shooting only being one small part of that.
    Last edited by BuzzH; 04-17-2018 at 11:55 AM.
    "...the world outside, which my brother and I soon discovered, was full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the farther one gets from Missoula, Montana." -Norman Maclean

    "They were still so young they hadn't learned to count the odds and to sense they might owe the universe a tragedy"
    -Norman Maclean

  8. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtmuley View Post
    And I like a rifle with some horsepower in case the scenario isn't perfect. mtmuley
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    mtmuley going hunting

  9. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuzzH View Post
    I think I pretty much agree with scubohuntr that we are becoming victims of technology and the point that animals cannot upgrade their senses. The animals are what they are and they simply cant adapt to our technology.

    That said, there are lots of other things that create that unfair playing field, if you will, other than a guy that's good with a rifle out to 5-6 hundred yards.

    What about the huge technology shift in backpacks, tents, stoves, clothing, gps, in-reach, sat phones, cell phones, google-earth, boots, trekking poles, optics, light-weight everything. People are putting themselves at a huge advantage there, just simply by being many times more comfortable in adverse conditions. Being more comfortable with hunting more remote, and doing it easier because they can pack a tent, stove, and sleeping bag that weighs less than just a 1960 era sleeping bag! Who orienteers with a compass and map these days?

    I just find it harder all the time to claim that animals really do have anything close to a fair chance, long range rifles/shooting only being one small part of that.
    These are great points Buzz. Something each of us need to think about before buying the latest and greatest piece of technology. It all comes down to what kind of experience we are after. There is something to be said for the traditional archer who shoots his bull elk at ten yards while kneeling in the middle of a herd of elk.

  10. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by scubohuntr View Post
    Spend the summer shooting at least 1,000 rounds at various ranges. Find out how far away you can consistently hit a 10" target, then take half that and set it as your maximum, all conditions perfect elk shot. There are a lot of idiots (I refuse to call them hunters) that regularly shoot at 800, 900 or more. They "miss" a lot. You can find some of their "misses" lying back in the timber. The wolves and grizzlies find a lot more.

    To put it into a realistic, no excuses context, enter an F Class rifle match. The 10 ring is 10" at 1,000 yards; all you need to do is put 60 shots into that circle from a prone position. You have a bit over one minute per shot. The target won't move; there is no brush in the way; there will be wind flags all over the range. There are 108 shooters in the country that can do that 98% of the time, with wind flags and unlimited sighters. Their rifles are limited to 22 pounds. Of course, as a hunter, you would need to carry your hunting rifle and a full pack to the firing line, and no sighters allowed. An elk won't give you a sighting shot. If you can't hit that 10" circle AT LEAST 98% of the time, first shot, it is irresponsible to take the shot at game. If you can't get closer to an elk than half a mile, maybe it's time to take up fishing or golf instead.

    I have fired thousands of rounds in competitions and in practice, at ranges from 50 feet to 1,000 yards. I can hit that 10" ring at 1,000 yards a bit over 60% of the time with open sights. With a good rest, no wind, and a relaxed animal, I am comfortable shooting out to a bit over 300 yards with the right rifle and scope, though I'd still get closer if I possibly could. On the range, I'd expect to be well within two inches at that distance, but in the field there are so many more variables that can't always be predicted. Sure, I could hit reliably at a longer range; but I would much prefer to go my entire life and never kill an elk than to wound and lose one.

    Sometimes you kill an animal right next to a really distinctive landmark and you can walk right up to it. More often, it's standing in one of thousands of identical spots in thousands of acres of identical brush, trees, or grass and you have to cross fences, gullies, or creeks to get to it. Even if it drops right in its tracks, it can be tough to find it, and it gets a lot tougher when it is further away. If you are hunting with other people, you can leave someone at the shot location, providing you are certain he knows exactly where the animal was standing, to guide you in. If for some reason you can't find your dead elk from most of a mile away, you must have missed. Yeah, that's it. Go shoot another.

    Part of the contract we have with the animals we hunt is that we, the hunters, are engaging them on their own ground. We are matching our skills and our senses against theirs. They have far superior senses, and they are intimately familiar with their territory. To compensate for that, we have technology. We need a limit, though, on the amount of technology we employ, because the animals can't upgrade their senses. There needs to be a point where we say, "No, this is not fair chase." For myself, shooting an animal at 1,000 yards is way past that line. Some folks like to brag about how far away they shot their last deer. The first thing that always occurs to me is, "Wow, you must really suck as a hunter if you couldn't get any closer than that." I won't hunt with those people. Maybe it's just me being unreasonable (it's been known to happen). Maybe that's why I don't have hunting buddies.
    I showed up at F class with a hunting rifle. The folks running the competition were not amused. But they let me participate. Ended up being a mute point. I would end up shooting abt 14 out of the 20 rounds required. The barrel just
    got too hot and I did not want to put any more heat into it. After abt 8 - 10 shots the moa opened up to abt a minute from abt 1/2 to 2/3.
    After a few weeks of it they were ok with it. I was not a threat to winning anything and they were mostly worried abt me hitting the target. Everyone else had precision built heavy barrel, 22 lb Frankenstein looking things. Kinda like what MtMuley takes hunting, But they shot unbelievably well.
    You will probably learn as much asking questions to the regulars as you will shooting.

  11. #36

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    Im confident out past 500 due to practice, but out of a couple doz elk maybe 3 were shot past 400....and I hunt open country

  12. #37
    Join Date
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    I think after 500 yards you have a better chance of stalking closer than you do of all things lining up perfectly and making a clean shot. Too many uncontrollable variables at long distances. Ask yourself this. Would I rather take the risk Im seen or winded by trying to get closer, or take the risk that the Bull takes a step as I pull the trigger and I gut shoot him or worse? My 2 cents. Good luck on your hunt!
    When I die, spread me over the Mission mountains so I can watch the Sunset over Flathead for eternity!

  13. Default

    Thank you all for your comments. I guess we will have to see how good my approach skills are on a late season bull. My wife and I regularly shoot out to 500yrds, and we play at further. I guess my concern is not being able to make the shot, but whether we have enough energy for a quick clean kill.
    We will brush up our shooting skills, and work on our stalking. And scouting. If the only shot we get is with the camera, the hunt will still be worth it. I don't want to take a risky shot and potentially wound an animal, as that will make this, my wife's first big game hunt, her last.
    Thank you all again.

  14. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BuzzH View Post
    I think I pretty much agree with scubohuntr that we are becoming victims of technology and the point that animals cannot upgrade their senses. The animals are what they are and they simply cant adapt to our technology.

    That said, there are lots of other things that create that unfair playing field, if you will, other than a guy that's good with a rifle out to 5-6 hundred yards.

    What about the huge technology shift in backpacks, tents, stoves, clothing, gps, in-reach, sat phones, cell phones, google-earth, boots, trekking poles, optics, light-weight everything. People are putting themselves at a huge advantage there, just simply by being many times more comfortable in adverse conditions. Being more comfortable with hunting more remote, and doing it easier because they can pack a tent, stove, and sleeping bag that weighs less than just a 1960 era sleeping bag! Who orienteers with a compass and map these days?

    I get it, the final act of killing an animal at 500 yards isn't near as intimate as shooting one at 25 yards...but if we're going to have a fair and honest talk about fair chase, then I don't think many people are going to find themselves comfortable in that discussion. Not just about the actual shooting part either. Focusing on long range shooting and railing on about "fair chase" is really picking on the lowest of low hanging fruit in the discussion...I've plucked it myself.

    One person can say you suck as a hunter because you shot an animal at 500 yards...I can say you suck as hunter if you have to use a GPS to find your way around the woods.

    I don't know what the answer is, but IMO, there just aren't many places anymore that animals are safe from modern technology...and the reasons why don't simply come down to how far the animal is when the hunt comes to its conclusion. A lot of other things are questionable from a true fair chase scenario long before you get to that point. Things that give the hunter a huge advantage, whether the shot is 10 yards, or 1000 yards.

    I just find it harder all the time to claim that animals really do have anything close to a fair chance, long range rifles/shooting only being one small part of that.
    The reason I went with 1,000 yards in my examples is so nobody feels I'm picking on them, and because I truly don't think a shot that long is ever a good idea. Shooting game at 400 or 500 yards, even though I am perfectly comfortable with those distances at the range, is beyond my comfort zone. If I can't sneak up closer than that, I'll take my tag home. For someone else, maybe the distances are different. I know for sure that I will never be able to afford the $2,500 Nightforce scope and the $4,000 Swarovski spotting scope, the $2,500 rifle and all the rest to make those super long shots a viable proposition. Even if I had the money, I'm not a sniper or a sniper wannabe. I'm a hunter. It means something to me to have taken an animal within the limits I have set for myself. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting to be a sniper, it's just not how I choose to hunt. I'd still take the high dollar equipment if I had the chance, but it wouldn't change the way I hunt.

    I do, in fact, navigate with a map and compass. I carry a GPS, and know how to use it, but I'm a map junkie. Of course, anything beyond a pointed stick is potentially too much technology. I'm not saying where the line is, just that there must be one. Everyone's line will be different, and I certainly can't tell anyone else where their particular line will end up. All I'm suggesting is for people to take some time and seriously think about it, just for themselves. For me, crossbows in archery-only seasons, inline muzzleloaders with scopes in primitive weapons seasons, and ultra-long-range shots on game in any season are on the wrong side of the line. For someone else they may not be. Find your own line and stick to it.

  15. #40

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    I have a friend who always hunts with a partner. When they set up a stalk, one stays put and helps guide the "stalker". They use those 2-way radios with an earbud so the "conversation" is quiet. This way you don't have to keep trying to sneak a peak to confirm the animal is still where you think it is.

  16. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by KandM View Post
    Thank you all for your comments. I guess we will have to see how good my approach skills are on a late season bull. My wife and I regularly shoot out to 500yrds, and we play at further. I guess my concern is not being able to make the shot, but whether we have enough energy for a quick clean kill.
    We will brush up our shooting skills, and work on our stalking. And scouting. If the only shot we get is with the camera, the hunt will still be worth it. I don't want to take a risky shot and potentially wound an animal, as that will make this, my wife's first big game hunt, her last.
    Thank you all again.
    Creedmore is fine at 500 yards if you can shot.

    https://youtu.be/IOo6gprtKeA

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by haiku_rodney View Post
    I have a friend who always hunts with a partner. When they set up a stalk, one stays put and helps guide the "stalker". They use those 2-way radios with an earbud so the "conversation" is quiet. This way you don't have to keep trying to sneak a peak to confirm the animal is still where you think it is.
    Make sure to read the local regs, as this is illegal in some states.
    "Freedom is NOT Free"

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by KandM View Post
    Sorry, we are hunting 5a.
    It's pretty unlikely you'll need to take a 500 yard shot in 5A, the only exception I can think of being if there's a ton of heavy snowfall (odds are pretty low, I'd say) and they move north into the low country. I guess it's possible to shoot some in Leonard Canyon at that range, but I wouldn't envy your pack out if you do. Here's what I would recommend - start looking at maps and go to the unit and do some reconnaissance (it's gorgeous up there right now, minus the heavy wind days) and look at the terrain. Bring a range finder so you can check yardage on distances you can see. The unit has a lot of steep vertical areas on the south end (where the elk will likely stay until pushed out by pressure and/or weather) but there's not much opportunity for serious long range shooting. It's a little flatter as you move north but trees and rolling hills will usually cut you out of 300+ opportunities.

    Finally, as you and the wife are practicing shooting during the year, figure out what your consistent (key word) effective range(s) are and format your hunt accordingly. If you're not good past 300, make sure you're in terrain that doesn't require longer shots and don't shoot past your limit. Some people are great at long shots, most are not (and some of those people even realize their own limitations). Have a great hunt and dress warm. My buddy and I got snowed out of his late bull hunt in 5A in 2016 and we called it after pulling about 6-7 other trucks out of danger.
    My name is DDD... and I'm an Elkoholic.

  19. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by scubohuntr View Post
    ...I know for sure that I will never be able to afford the $2,500 Nightforce scope and the $4,000 Swarovski spotting scope, the $2,500 rifle and all the rest to make those super long shots a viable proposition. ..
    $600 Tikka and a $600 Vortex scope will do the trick just fine! After that, you're just spending money to show your buddies how "nice" of gear you can afford.

    In all seriousness, practice further than you plan on shooting in the field. It really highlights the small mistakes we all are prone to making, and lets you tighten in your shots so that shot that is in your comfort zone feels like 1000% instead of 100%

    Good luck on your hunt! Not being from AZ, I Would love to see photos of the terrain so I can try to understand why someone would say you've got to shoot so damn far!

  20. #45

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    $600 Tikka and a $250 SWFA 10x out to plenty far. Not much to go wrong.

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