Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shooting

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Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shooting

Post by JeeperCreeper » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:51 pm

Yeah this has probably been covered but more threads ain't bad.

I have a new Winchester XPR in .30-06. I want a good value scope for it. I also want to get good at taking long shots to eventually hunt out west (if I move there). Anyone have experience long range hunting? How do you do it (how do you range and dope your shots)?

I'm thinking about a BDC reticle from either Nikon or Vortex with their corresponding apps. Guys on long range forums say to go MilDot or MOA system (but they care more about 1000 yard target shooting and less about backpack hunting... and are way beyond my skillset). I typically can only shoot to 200 yards now where holdovers and windage really don't matter. Have limited/moderate experience shooting past 400 yards... so I will be doing a lot of learning and relearning. I also don't see myself hunting past 500 yards on big game if I get decent because of ethics.

I can get a Nikon Buckmasters or a Vortex Copperhead both with a BDC 4-12x for $120. That's what I'm thinking. Talk me out of it...
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by Stercutus » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:04 pm

I have a new Winchester XPR in .30-06. I want a good value scope for it.
Both the ones you named are good choices. I'd pick the Nikon over the Vortex. The Nikon is a very good entry level scope. for medium range hunting (200-500 yards)
I also want to get good at taking long shots to eventually hunt out west (if I move there). Anyone have experience long range hunting?
I've done it a couple of times in Colorado so no. No real experience.
How do you do it (how do you range and dope your shots)?
This is probably better for a separate thread. Once you get your scope, bipod and rifle set up you need to find a range long enough to shoot. .30-06 will easily reach a 1000 yards with some useful energy on it. Do you hand load? This is also important.
I'm thinking about a BDC reticle from either Nikon or Vortex with their corresponding apps. Guys on long range forums say to go MilDot or MOA system (but they care more about 1000 yard target shooting and less about backpack hunting... and are way beyond my skillset). I typically can only shoot to 200 yards now where holdovers and windage really don't matter. Have limited/moderate experience shooting past 400 yards... so I will be doing a lot of learning and relearning. I also don't see myself hunting past 500 yards on big game if I get decent because of ethics.

This guy has done a series of videos on gear, techniques and what all on back pack hunting. They are pretty good.

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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by raptor » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:49 pm

I have done some hunting in WY. My friends all use 7mm rem mag or 300 mag. I used my .30-06.

I am not the best marksman. My rifle is more accurate than I am. Still I was able to humanely kill elk at about 300 ish yards with it. I used Hornady superperformance 165 grain rounds.

I rezeroed the rifle before the hunt at 300 yards. I also shot two boxes of ammo at 400 yard targets the day before to get used to the altitude and cold weather. Long range shooting requires a lot more practice than the typical ranges I hunt in the south which is about 100 yards +/- maximum. Most of the targets in WY were under 425 yards and many were sub ~300 yards.

IMO practice is the secret.


I also have a Nikon scope 3x9 50mm I prefer the larger 50 mm lens which gathers more light. Compare the 40mm to the 50mm and see for yourself the difference.

My friends were able to reach out farther but they were also local. I am not used to those distances and instead deferred to them if I was not comfortable with the shot. I am not going to shoot anything unless I am certain of a humane kill.

What do you plan to hunt?
Last edited by raptor on Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:44 am

I don't call it that. I just hunt. I prefer a bow with bigger targets but this assumes a much shorter range and thus terrain is important. (I also fish a lot and sometimes when friends go they'll say, "Oh, you're a fly fisherman." I never called it that. I just fish.)

Having a wee bit of experience with optics and being raised on the mildot principles I have bias and I'd say you would be happy with either that you mentioned and at that price. I have shot with both and I liked them. Comparing the two of those you might pay attention to the exit pupil best suited for your needs. If you want to learn specifics and plenty of them I would recommend the forum at Sniper's Hide. You can also sign up and subscribe to classes specific to your needs. Frank is a good man.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:49 am

Stercutus:

No, I don't handload as of now. I see myself getting into it in the next 5-10 years. Luckily there are plenty of premium loads in the meantime to play with and see what works... I hope.

Raptor:

When you were hunting, did you just use a regular reticle and kentucky windage that 400 yard shot from the 300 yard zero?
I plan on hunting moose, bear, caribou, elk, mule deer... all of the above. I might move to Alaska or to the regular West in the next year. Might. I have family out there that hunt and I've been picking their brains about it. I would have gone with a 300 win, but I already have so much .30-06 ammo and realistically, if I take a shitty shot, the difference between an -06 and a 300 won't make a difference on anything other than brown bear.

Asymetrczna:

I see what you're saying, I wouldn't say "hey I'm going long range hunting this weekend". I just wanted to clarify that I have plenty of gear for 300 yards and less right now. But actually, I see your point. I know too many people that say "I'm an organic farmer" instead of just farmer. Or "I'm a craft beer enthusiast" instead of beer drinker. Or "I'm a vegan crossfitter" instead of weirdo (I tease).

Anyways, I've checked out those forums, and posted on another forum. I think I need to hold off on the crazy technical stuff until I can take a class and have access to a consistent range that allows me to shoot far. Right now it wouldn't be worth it cuz I can't practice past 400 yards, normally 200 yards.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by raptor » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:12 am

JeeperCreeper wrote: Raptor:

When you were hunting, did you just use a regular reticle and kentucky windage that 400 yard shot from the 300 yard zero?
I plan on hunting moose, bear, caribou, elk, mule deer... all of the above. I might move to Alaska or to the regular West in the next year. Might. I have family out there that hunt and I've been picking their brains about it. I would have gone with a 300 win, but I already have so much .30-06 ammo and realistically, if I take a shitty shot, the difference between an -06 and a 300 won't make a difference on anything other than brown bear.
My Nikon scope is older and does not have BDC. Only a fine cross hair. By sighting in at 300 yards with that round any shots between 325 yards and 400 had a drop of between ~ 2 inch and 12 inches. So the hold over was not complicated so long as I stayed within the 300 - 400 yard range. It will also shoot about 5 inches high at 200 yards. That is the other thing 200 to 300 yard shots are not uncommon. The windage actually was bit more complicated because it is almost always windy there. By windy I mean 15 to 20 knots of wind. We tried to stay downwind and shoot into the wind. That is easier said than done.

The wind is IMO why the magnums are more popular. Not just because of the the "flatter" shooting round but the faster velocity which reduces flight time and thus the windage needed is reduced.

BTW I recently found this site which Winchester publishes a great visual data on their ammunition interms of both windage and drop.
http://ballisticscalculator.winchester.com/

I have never hunted moose or bears but I honestly would fell more comfortable with a larger & heavier caliber if hunting brown bears and or grizzlies. Still if you do your job and shoot only when you are comfortably sure of a lethal hit, the .30-06 should work. I really would not like to go look for a wounded bear.

Most of my hunting today is feral hog control at 100 yards or less. IMO A .30-06 is a decent round for hunting, but a hunter really needs to step up their game and practice with their hunting ammo a lot to use it as a 500 yard rifle.

One final note when hunting out west. Every where is up hill... even down hill can seem like you are walking up hill...at 5,000 to 9,000 ft of altitude. You also have some long walks to get to the hunting areas. So with the thin air, walking uphill that 10-20 lbs of rifle, ammo and related gear quickly seems to gain weight. :D
Last edited by raptor on Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:21 am

I don't really foresee doing any big bear hunting anytime soon. If I do get a tag one day, I'll get a new rifle (probably 35 whelen or 338win). Tags and such are already so expensive and rare that it wont matter.

Regardless, my aunt just took a big moose with a .30-06 last year, and my uncle uses a .30-06 every year for moose. He's in the same boat as me, knows the 300win is the best round for the "do-all" in AK, but already has so much invested in 30-06. When you punch the numbers and get really good loads, the .30-06 is close enough in most ranges.

I've been reading and a good duplex reticle may be the ticket. Knowing the distance of the fat and skinny part of the reticle can be a pretty good holdover/doping mechanism at a given magnification.

I dunno, my brain is spinning from options.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:27 pm

I dunno, my brain is spinning from options.
I thoroughly enjoyed your response. It's true. It happens. It helped to overpower my dismay at your use of the word "best" in a previous post. People's concern over their purchases are often weighed upon too heavily but what I deem as "other people's concern for their purchase." This, as a driver, can lead to indecisiveness and inactivity. Here is my advice: Buy one YOU like and make it work. Get really good at 100 yds and estimating range. If you use it a lot you will upgrade with each inefficiency you find until you find YOUR best. At the distances you mention any .30 cal shoots flat enough for your needs; the magnums will better weather the wind, often reach a bit further and offer better terminal ballistics.

(BTW. For fun, I went to Bing and searched for "Zero your precision rifle." 49 million+ results.)

I have never hunted bear but I have been watchful for them when I have hunted. I don't know what I would need to shoot one for other than self-preservation but I am not knocking it. The online data shows that 2428 Black Bear were legally tagged in VA last year so there are plenty of people that do hunt them, and they are plentiful. I have shot some pigs that appeared to be small bears when I first spotted them. Raptor brings up some good points about shot placement and angle-shooting and wind -all of which are further complicated when increasing range. After hearing some old boys talking about "shooting at sounds" one day last year while I was buying coffee at a country store, I try to be very mindful of who else is hunting anywhere near where I hunt. A person should have a real good knowledge of the surface danger zone (SDZ) for his/her weapon where he or she is hunting/shooting.

I normally avoid this topic because I have friends that don't speak to each other because of who picked/uses this or that product and I grew very tired of the debate. From fixed or detachable rings to the tactile-ness and audible-ness of elevation knob clicks I determined that it is an unending debate. Be prepared by learning, training and using what is most practical for Your needs. Everything else is marketing and thus designed for the sellers and shoppers in the sport.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by brothaman » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:33 pm

TL/DR,.. just cuz optics stuff can get complicated,.. So regarding the original post.

I have a few scopes appropriate to your situation. I have a nikons, and a vortex viper, and also a few burris bdc scopes and Trijicon mildot, too. Also have an old Redfield Accurange. I've had really good success with the Burris BDC. I messed around shooting 30-30 out to 350 yards. I did well after some practice and note taking. I also did OK with the burris BDC on a 308 rifle. I just didn't dig deep like I did with the 30-30. I have the most confidence with vortex. Is a 2.5-10-44 with a standard plex reticle. But, it has Target-ish turrets that are reset-able (most nikons have this too). I have stretched it to 600 yards down a long stretch of power line.. I zeroed to 2 inches high at 100 and I adjust turrets for anything past 300. Honestly, I've never had the chance to take an animal past 275 with that rifle., But I was killin' old 5 gallon buckets just by twisting the knobs this way and that. I figured the buckets were close to a man's torso from waist to shoulder or a deer from shoulder to brisket. So, what I do is this. Set up preferred hunting zero. That's +2"@100 for me. Referring to deer, that let's me shoot center mass Point of Aim 200 yards and back (mostly lung and heart shots, but always in the shoulder to brisket zone). 200 out to 300 yards, I raise up to the upper shoulder. This is good for deer sized targets and larger. Past 300, I peek at the index card notes and crank the elevation the prescribed amount. I like the clear view of the plex reticle in this situation. It let's me just put the cross hairs on the target and just shoot. If your animal is hanging past 300, I'm guessing that you have time and the you won't spook it futzing around with the turrets. So,.. that to make you ready for snap shots to reasonable long shots.

Things to note. You need a laser range finder. Don't do any preemptive accurizing shit to your rifle until you've been to the range a few times. My 308 has a plastic stock and isn't free floated. It actually had bumps in the stock designed to touch the barrel. You don't need to reload. Or expensive ammo. My 308 shoots Rem Corelokts like match ammo. It even shoots them a little slow (like 150s @ 2700 fps). I shot a ton of ammo to find this out. My 270 won't shoot anything that cost less the $30 a box. Just shoot what ever shelf ammo you gun will shoot the best and just pay the price. Make the investment and take the time. You will need to chrony. Don't chrony until after you find the ammo your rifle likes. Don't even want to know velocity before you find your ammo. After you get to the chrony, you'll need to use some apps to get your ballistics notes started. I use Strelok and JBM. Use both apps and compare the data between the two. Print many charts so you can take note directly on the charts for convenience . Then you need practice and see what your rifle actually does compared to your fresh notes. Adjust notes as you figure out what your rifle does. I worked my out in about 6 half day sessions, but I wasn't in a hurry either.

Good luck and stay up, player.

(you'll just need to read through the typos. I kinda went stream of consciousness on this one.)
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:47 pm

Asymetryczna wrote: I thoroughly enjoyed your response. It's true. It happens. It helped to overpower my dismay at your use of the word "best" in a previous post. People's concern over their purchases are often weighed upon too heavily but what I deem as "other people's concern for their purchase." This, as a driver, can lead to indecisiveness and inactivity. Here is my advice: Buy one YOU like and make it work....[snip]....
I'm not worried about how other people judge my purchases, I just want perspective and advice from those with more experience. I have a pretty good idea of what I want based on my skills, I just wanted to leave a more "open-ended" forum post to allow people to learn me something I don't know. I really like the Nikon scopes. I like the idea of the BDC but don't have much experience hunting with one. I wanted to know what others to do before I drop hard earned money in case I'm thinking the wrong way. I like to research before I spend my money.

I should also note that I am an decent shot and plan on practicing a lot as well as knowing my limitations in a hunting situation. So that area shouldn't be an issue.

Brothaman,

I was thinking that route as well and skipping the BDC. I'm half decent at Kentucky windage and I think that adding a BDC may make me overthink things and complicate the reticle. I've been told that through a scope, it's easy to estimate up to 12 inches. Anything past that is a guess. So as long as my drop is under 12 inches, I can hold up.

As far as bear hunting, I'm mixed on it. I've hunted black bear with no results, but I also have grown sick of seeing people shoot small bears to say they got one. If I pull the trigger, it's gotta be an old boar. And for brown bear in Alaska, I probably won't hunt them. I like the idea of eating what I hunt and bear would be too much of a "trophy hunt". So I doubt I ever will go, but I never say never...
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by brothaman » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:58 am

Just to clarify,.. when I say practice, I really mean "get familiar". Most of us on this board shoot better than most because we actually shoot. Getting familiar at longer distances is all you need. With good notes it won't take you long to make a dope chart. As far as "eye ballin' " elevation,.. The average deer is 18"-20" from shoulder to brisket. Everything else is bigger. 300 yard shots will be easy with a 2"+@100 zero. Also, as a disclaimer, I'm not an expert. So definitely don't think that I'm trying to sell you on the best method. This is just what has worked for me.

My personal big problem with long range shooting is not sticking to one gun. I buy and sell too much. I really should stick with a rifle.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:14 am

brothaman wrote:Just to clarify,.. when I say practice, I really mean "get familiar". Most of us on this board shoot better than most because we actually shoot. Getting familiar at longer distances is all you need. With good notes it won't take you long to make a dope chart. As far as "eye ballin' " elevation,.. The average deer is 18"-20" from shoulder to brisket. Everything else is bigger. 300 yard shots will be easy with a 2"+@100 zero. Also, as a disclaimer, I'm not an expert. So definitely don't think that I'm trying to sell you on the best method. This is just what has worked for me.

My personal big problem with long range shooting is not sticking to one gun. I buy and sell too much. I really should stick with a rifle.
I just spoke with some family who literally just got back from bagging a moose. His advice was very similar/nearly identical to yours, brothaman

He sets a 200 yard zero. He knows that at 300 yards its a 9 inch drop and at 400 yards, it's a 25 inch drop, roughly. He doesn't worry about windage because it won't matter with a heavy bullet under 300 yards (an ethical, high wind distance) which was evidenced by a recent caribou hunt. He just uses a range finder, compensates with his aim and the angle of his shot. He doesn't dial anything because conditions are never right to play with the scope.

My uncle uses a basic 3-9 Nikon, other people use Vortex and Redfield and a couple Burris. No complaints across the board. He likes the idea of the BDC for reference if I can get good with them.

Needless to say, I ordered a Nikon last night because I liked the glass more than any of the others. It hurt because I passed up a good deal on a Vortex but their glass just wasn't good with my eyes.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by brothaman » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:39 pm

Regarding BDC, I think you really have to learn your BDC for the load your shooting. I think it takes more shooting to learn it than learning your dial in. Also, your BDC will never be crosshair dead on. It's always + or - some inches at a particular drop and no matter what the BDC charts says it should be, the chart will be wrong by some margin. But, once you shoot it and see what it does, then you've got it. On the Nikon,.. I've Never seen a new make Nikon that I wouldn't use. Good choice. You should have BDC and re-settable turrets. How you adjust is up to you. Regarding the Vortex,.. there's a definite quality split in the models. I'm not saying the crossfires and the diamondbacks are crap, but they are much more of a gamble. The vipers are good to go. I've never even seen a strike eagle or that copperhead you mentioned. But, the DBs and crossfire didn't impress me.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:08 pm

I think the copperhead is being discontinued. With a veteran discount and the "closeout" discount from Joe Bob Outfitter's, I wanna say I could get one for $120. It sucks passing up a good scope with a crazy good warranty for that price. I think the crossfire is taking over its place.

But, my eyes like the Nikons so much more. Luckily, the way my eyes work, I can ignore the round BDC circles. The hashmark linear reticles make fast aiming difficult for my eyes. I have another cheap scope with hash marks and it can be distracting. For some reason, I think since they are different shapes, my eyes don't focus on circles like they do lines.

So worse comes to worst, if the BDC sucks, it still has the resettable turrets and I will dial it in and ignore the circles.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by minengr » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:58 pm

There are several different ways to get where you want to go and endless more opinions on which is correct. I'll offer mine and take it for the $.02 it's worth. Personally I wouldn't mess with a BDC. I'd go with a Super Sniper MQ or find a nice used Leupold send it back to the factory and have a target elevation knob installed for $100 (I've done both FWIW). Pick up a good range finder. Personally I got a used Lecia 1200 a few years ago which was before the Sig Kilo was around. That's probably what I'd buy today.

What ever ammo you choose needs to be shot over a chronograph. Take that info and plug it into one of the many free online ballistics programs. I use JBM. Print out a chart and tape it to you rifle stock. Range target, check chart, adjust elevation, and pull the trigger.

Personally, I'd rather spin a turret than count hash marks or dots (although they work well also).

If you're serious about long range, I highly recommend reloading. I feel it is one of the biggest potential gains in accuracy. While there is a lot of good factory ammo out there it is still mass produced.

Good luck
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by raptor » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:36 am

That is good advice.
minengr wrote: If you're serious about long range, I highly recommend reloading. I feel it is one of the biggest potential gains in accuracy. While there is a lot of good factory ammo out there it is still mass produced.
Clearly these are words of wisdom. The consistency in velocity and performance of a quality hand load is one key reason for hand loading.

I have question for the folks who do reload and chronogragh their ammo. How much of an improvement in consistency do you see with your hand loads versus premium high quality production ammo?

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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by SRO1911 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:50 pm

@Raptor - there is no comparison. Best description is one size fits all flip-flops vs custom made boots. You can walk in either, but thats about where the similarity ends.

I shoot a bit more than most, and prefer to do it a bit further out. Good glass makes all the difference - and it does come down to budget. At the tight end of the spectrum either Athlon or SWFA with either a mil-dot or MOA reticle. Leupold and top line burris take the middle income bracket and NF and S&B cover the top.

Regardless of the glass, you need to learn what your rifle does with the ammo you are using, and although ballistic calculators are great - they can not replace experience. BDC is a cute gimmick, but it is NOT a standard - so it is a single application system. With either MOA or mils, the skills you develop will work with any similar scope. moa = moa = moa weather its a 10 dolla centerpoint on an airsoft or a 5k S&B.

A laser rangefinder is handy, but when you have a good idea of the size of your target - if you are using mils/moa - you will find yourself using it less and less as you make the range call in the scope. For the distances mentioned, you will be able to hold elevation quite easily if the shot doesnt give you a chance to dial.

If you have specific questions or scenarios, I am happy to offer input -

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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by minengr » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:04 pm

raptor wrote:I have question for the folks who do reload and chronogragh their ammo. How much of an improvement in consistency do you see with your hand loads versus premium high quality production ammo?
I may be worth mentioning, there are other hidden gains to reloading your own ammo. Besides the consistent loads one can tailor the OAL to what your rifle likes best. Most of mine like kissing the lands, a couple like a bit of a jump, some are limited by mag length and forced to jump. I rarely shoot factory ammo, I'm unsure if I've ever chronoed it. If I don't already have them my first purchase after the firearm is a set of dies.

While it may be going a bit overboard, I have one custom 223 that is stupid accurate when shooting reloads where I have weight sorted the bullets, brass, and powder to the .1 of a grain. I must mention the only brass I found that consistent is Lapua.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JF89 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:51 pm

How about the Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Mil-dot scope? It's about $200
http://www.primaryarms.com/primary-arms ... pa4-14xffp

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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by Stercutus » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:23 pm

JF89 wrote:How about the Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Mil-dot scope? It's about $200
http://www.primaryarms.com/primary-arms ... pa4-14xffp
Out of stock for one.

The scopes are mid-lower Chinese made so it is kind of hit or miss finding a good one. If it is broke they will take it back and send you another but you may as well get one on Sportsman Guide or Amazon and save a few bucks.
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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JF89 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:19 pm

Stercutus wrote:
JF89 wrote:How about the Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Mil-dot scope? It's about $200
http://www.primaryarms.com/primary-arms ... pa4-14xffp
Out of stock for one.

The scopes are mid-lower Chinese made so it is kind of hit or miss finding a good one. If it is broke they will take it back and send you another but you may as well get one on Sportsman Guide or Amazon and save a few bucks.
Thier stuff is ok, just look at the torture test videos of thier RDS. I dont shoot long range very much, I think the longest shot i've taken while hunting was about A 100 yards.

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Re: Need a scope and advice for long range hunting and shoot

Post by JeeperCreeper » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:46 am

That primary arms scope will be the one I get when I get the chance to do some benchrest long range shooting.

I did some 400+ yard shooting a couple weekends ago with some BDC scopes to great results so for hunting, I'm sticking with quick system as opposed to dialing mils.
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