Distance shooting is not only a question about hunting principles,it is a question about personal skills and equipment. I mostly sight my hunting rifles at 100 m because there are fewer ranges of longer distances. Typically hunters check their rifles at 100 m at the place of hunting.
The Eastern Cape farm below was one of few I’ve hunted at with longer ranges but still we tested our rifles at 100 m and were on our way. In Europe such long range facilities are a rarity. Unless rifles are shot at longer distances we cannot draw conclusions about their long range accuracy.
Long range sport shooting is very different to long range hunting. Typically long range sport shooting is focused around competitions meaning shooters give great attention to practice and gear.
In order to compete long range sport shooters need to understand the ballistics impacts of external factors such as terrain, temperature, humidity, wind etc.
Shooters reload in order to reduce costs, improve accuracy and have better performing projectiles based on the application. Long range sport shooters focus on stuff like low velocity dispersion and accuracy nodes of their particular guns; more than the average hunter typically would.
I am a hunter that mostly would not shoot at an animal beyond 300 m because I do not practice enough and my reloading routine does not include measures critical for accuracy over 400 meters. I am talking about processes such as neck turning for uniform neck tension etc.
A primary reason that long range sport shooting should not be compared with long range hunting is that in hunting you only get 1 shot for a clean kill. In disciplines like PRS, shooters get 3 shots per gong (2 to count) and use missed shots to correct their follow up shots.
At The Powder Keg we stand for ethical and responsible hunting. No hunter likes to wound an animal, although such outcome is always a possibility in hunting, but as responsible hunters we should not be taking shots beyond which we do not have a good level of practice and skill of consistently clean kills.
Long range sport shooting is trending to lighter recoiling calibres with bullets of highest BC. Lighter recoiling is more comfortable given the number of shots being fired and gets shooters back on target quicker. Hunters need to be acutely aware of their downrange bullet energy; for long range hunting larger calibres deliver more energy.
Bullet construction matters. The flat nose bullet below is not appropriate for long range hunting.
Gear is becoming more sophisticated enticing shooters into long range hunting. The DS scope from Swarovski is a good example, but in my opinion its features are geared to long range hunting because on a walk and stalk type hunt only the animal will benefit from fidgeting with all its settings.
Before taking that long range shot on an animal put the animal before your ego. Ego is like dust in the eyes that creates fog in decision making. We all like to brag about how far the shot was or how big the fish was, and that exaggeration is fine because it is mostly just that … exaggeration.
Good optics only is not sufficient for long range shooting; the gun, ammunition, mounts and scope must work as a unit.
My perspective of long range hunting is influenced by my personal beliefs of hunting; the purpose of this blog is not to impose my views on others but to express my reasoning.
For example, I cannot see the point of shooting a Buffalo beyond 40 meters. Those who have tracked a Buffalo for days and shot at 100 m will not agree because there are different experiences which create unforgettable moments. What never changes is putting a clean kill above all else.