As more of us long-range shooters try our hands at long-range hunting, we quickly discover that the two pursuits have some very different requirements. For example, while pulling a shot on steel at 800 yards may be a small blow to our egos, doing the same thing when the target is a game animal can result in every ethical hunter’s worst-case: a wounded animal.
To minimize the chances of wounding, the long-range hunter–especially the first-timer–needs to consider several factors before they line up the crosshairs on their intended animal.
And so–and in no particular order–the Top Five Factors we at Ballistic hope you’ll consider as you take your longer-range shooting afield in search of that trophy…
Good Glass “You can’t hit what you can’t see,” is an old saying among shooters, and it’s nowhere truer than in long-range hunting. In short, your investment in high-quality optics is crucial. Riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, and rangefinders: the higher the quality the better your chances of coming home with your trophy. Some shooters, unfortunately, think a first-rate rifle scope is enough glass for longer range hunting, to do double or triple duty as a spotting scope and/or monocular as needed. Well, it can be used as such. But it’s certainly not optimum. Binoculars are far superior to sweeping larger areas than a scope, thanks to the two-lens set up, and a fine spotting scope will pick out details at distances a rifle scope simply can’t accomplish.
Windy Conditions Wind is the #1 Enemy of all long-range shooters and a huge concern for a long-range hunter. Shooting at the range is not the same as taking a shot afield at an animal, but the range is a great place to learn what your rifle and ammunition can and can’t do when the wind has kicked in hard. Head to the range on those windy days that keep most shooters home to discover just how much the wind pushes your bullet at various distances and with the wind blowing in different directions.Once you have a good sense of these wind factors, make notes for future use in the field. And consider setting a limit for yourself. If the wind, for example, is over 20 miles per hour, and you think it might be swirling at different points along the way? Maybe you simply pass on the shot. Or, you try to get much closer to limit the wind’s impact on your bullet’s path.
Pick the Right Bullet If it is going to take game cleanly and ethically, a hunting bullet needs to expand. That expansion delivers more energy into the animal, creating extensive tissue damage and greater blood loss than non-expanding projectiles.Do the research and find out which bullets can and will expand reliably as the distances grow and the bullet velocity slows. Fortunately, many ammunition manufacturers have designed bullets for reloaders and cartridges to do exactly this at longer distances. Options include Hornady with their ELD-X bullets and cartridges and Federal Premium’s new EDGE TLR rounds.
Practice the Positions Good luck finding a shooting table when you’re hunting. So, you need to practice firing from various positions at varying distances. That means taking shots from shooting sticks, bi- and tri-pods braced up against tree trucks and next to large rocks, and of course prone. Find out what positions are comfortable for you as a shooter pre-hunt and keep an eye out for likely set ups when you are afield.
Use Ballistic! Make all this practice and prep work for you–use Ballistic to your advantage at the range and especially in the field!
Ballistic will figure your hold-over points and wind drifts will account for winds coming in at multiple directions and can calculate your bullet’s path for various weather conditions.
Ballistic also provides advanced features like a Mil-Dot and MOA rangefinder with heads-up display capabilities, GPS and atmosphere awareness, full-sized shooting charts, and a reloading companion.
Increase your odds as a long-range hunter with good glass, lots of practice, and a big dose of Ballistic!
Ballistic is the definitive ballistics trajectory calculator, intended for long-range and precision shooters who want a serious–and a seriously accurate–application.
Ballistic will calculate your bullet’s trajectory, windage, velocity, energy, lead, and flight time for any valid range. The app can also compensate for atmospheric conditions such astemperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and altitude–it can even accept density of air or density altitude inputs! The world-renowned JBM Ballistics engine powers all Ballistic computations.
Ballistic is used by competition shooters, long-range hunters, and the military to deliver the most precise calculations possible.
With Ballistic, you’ll be able to make the most accurate calculations for every shot, everywhere, even in areas with no cellular coverage. For more information, please visit