HOW FAR CAN YOU SHOOT? by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: October 27, 2023

Rifles and shotguns can travel very long ranges. Handguns and pistols also have enough energy to travel over a mile if aimed at the right trajectory. The only problem is that they will not be accurate after a certain distance.

 What goes up also goes must come down. Gravity will contain any shot that you make, and the projectile will fall back to Earth. Knowing this is important so you can make sure that your shot will fall into a safe place. Recklessly shooting into the air may seem like fun, but the bullets could return to harm property or people. 

When learning to shoot accurately over long distances, practice is required. Accuracy is critical if you plan to hit something. Gravity will press the projectile down, wind will move it right, left, up, or down, friction in the air will slow the round, and at some point, the projectile will run out of zip. Super long-range weapons are even affected by the spin of the Earth!

Every weapon has its best and most accurate range. Different calibers have different bullet weights and powder charges. Each weapon has its own recipe for success. Lighter loads travel less and beefier loads further. Read the ammo box for suggested limitations and potential. 

Ammunition is only as good as the shooter. Marksmanship is a learned skill that is also perishable. A 22 caliber is great at 100 yards but not at 500 yards. Become a student of the shooting sport to master it. Hunters that shoot just a few times a year will never be great shots.

The best shots know their limitations. Making a longer shot needs to take more time. Once the target is spotted, they need to calculate the distance. Next, they must observe weather and wind conditions. Are you shooting uphill or downhill? 

My friend Mike encouraged me to take a shot at a nice buck antelope that ranged in at 550 yards. He was broadside and separated from several does. My shot was straight into the wind and from a good rest. We calculated the bullet drop of my 30-06 and he suggested that I aim 6 inches over the bucks back. I squeezed off a shot and watched a puff of dirt just below the buck’s right front hoof. I missed it!

That was the longest shot that I had ever taken with my Ruger #1 single shot 30-06. I had tagged a bull elk at 450 yards and felt like that was a long shot. Apparently shooting into a pretty strong wind pushed my bullet down more than I anticipated. We followed up on the shot to make sure that I truly missed but the dust impact didn’t lie. 450 yards is my confidence range for this rifle. 

The only way to know the rifles potential is with ample trigger time. The more you shoot, the better you will become. Keep track of your ammo, and range time. Try out different powders/charges and keep records. 

Every weapon has a range that is best. Every weapon digests ammo differently. Learn these limitations and know your limits. Handguns may be best at less than 20 yards. Special rifles may be accurate out to a mile or further, under the right conditions. One best accurate shot is better than dozens of random wasted shots. 

I still feel that the best hunters never need to take a longer, less accurate e shot. Real hunters get close and make a shot within their limits.

Practice and learn what your weapons are capable of. Once you know your comfortable ranges, stay within your limits!

Aim Small Miss Small!

Montana Grant

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