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Equipment and Skills for Long Range Hunting

I am James Nelson, a survivalist, outdoor and hunting enthusiast. I have dedicated my time to gather and sieve through information about hunting. You can check out huntingresearch.org to learn more about me and my goals.

Equipment

You definitely need good skills for hunting and not anyone can just hop on to the field and successfully harvest game. However, getting the right equipment is equally as important. Long range hunting requires specialized equipment.

Rifles

It is important to consider all the elements of a firearm when you choose your long range rifle. Average, mass produced sports rifles are not up to the task of long range hunting. They are too light to maintain a steady aim when there are strong winds and their barrels flex too much.

When you look for a good long range rifle, you are looking for a heavy and stiff barrel. The barrel should be of high quality and typically heavier than most factory barrels. It should also be made of stainless steel.  

A good rifle also needs a good trigger. The trigger needs to be smooth and reliable. A good pull weight for a hunting rifle is 3 pounds but 2 pounds could be suitable for long range hunting. This enables precise shooting while maintaining a good feel of the trigger so that you are sure you have control of the rifle. Any lighter than 2 pounds can make the trigger difficult to control when you have cold fingers.   

The stock is also an important element of the rifle. Stock design can either make or break a long range hunting rifle. A good stock can enhance shooting accuracy through stability and recoil taming qualities. A long range stock will generally be bulkier and heavier than lightweight hunting options. This is so that a solid platform for shooting is provided.

The Remington 700 Sendero SFII is great for setting up on big game at long ranges. It is available in 5 different calibers and comes with a 26 inch, heavy-contour and fluted stainless barrel. If you are on a budget, however, and looking for a rifle that can serve in many situations, including long range hunting, the Winchester XPR Hunting Rifle is a good choice to look into.

Ammunition

Caliber selection is critical for hunting at long ranges. A long range hunter will need a cartridge that provides sufficient energy and speed to travel at a long distance. When selecting a good calibre, it is important to look out for minimal recoil, aerodynamics, maximum accuracy and perfect striking energy.

Low recoil is usually less than 8 foot pounds, medium recoil is from 9 to 12.5 foot pounds and heavy recoil is over 12.5 foot pounds. 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges are typically low-recoil, high-ballistic efficiency cartridges while 7mm offerings start to bring in more recoil.  

The shape of the bullet is also important because certain bullet shapes perform better at a long range with a more aerodynamic shape. BC that stands for Ballistic Coefficient is all about the shape of the bullet. Each bullet has a BC number and you can find this on your box of ammo. Use the BC number to calculate the trajectory of your shots. The best long range loads use heavier bullets with higher BC.  

The 308 Winchester is nice and powerful, allowing you to easily shoot a target over a thousand yards. The 300 Winchester Magnum, on the other hand, is more effective at 500 yards and a little beyond. It provides a great compromise between power, recoil management and range without really damaging game. It is a great starting point for long range hunting as it is affordable and has plenty of high quality rifles chambered in it.

Range Finders

A rangefinder is a device that sends out a laser beam to bounce off your target back to you when you press the button. It will then read the measurement internally and provide you accurate distance between you and your target.

Obtaining a quality rangefinder is an integral part of a successful long range hunt and an absolute must. This is because knowing the exact distance to your target is a necessity for long range hunting. Without this data, shooting at long range accurately is basically impossible.

Getting a good rangefinder gives you the confidence to make an accurate shot even at a great distance. You can identify exactly how far away your target is, allowing you to take a sure shot. This increases your chances of hunting down your target because the battle of the mind has already been won.

The ProWild 2 hunting rangefinder is a recommendable rangefinder for long range hunting. It is the newest innovation of famous brand TecTecTec in the marketplace and it does not disappoint! It comes with everything you need, featuring a shock-resistant case, complimentary CR2 battery, a wrist strap and microfiber cleaning cloth. It has a +/- 0.3 yard measurement capability and accurate readings up to a 540-yard range. It is also reasonably priced.

Optics

There are dozens of scopes out there dedicated to long range shooting. However, long range shooting and long range hunting are different. Long range shooting can range out to thousand yards while long range hunting is below that range. This is good news because you do not need to spend thousands of dollars for a good scope.

A good optic is necessary to provides images with the clarity you need to make a good gauge of the target and its specific details. This allows you to locate your target from far distances where you may not with your naked eye. You simply need to adjust your line of sight to have a clear shot at the target. You can also use this as a tool to identify the species and size of game.

In looking for a good optic, you will want to get a high quality one. This is so that the images produced are clear, allowing great detail to be observed. This means that it should be cable of absorbing sufficient light, so that the images produced are bright even in low light.

You should also ensure your scope has the ability to retain the adjustment after a shooting session, the ability to “maintain zero”. If we lose the zero, we lose the ability to correctly set the adjustment of the scope. This is important in long range hunting because you do not have sighting shots like in standard long range matches. High-end scopes are usually capable of maintaining zero but lower priced ones may face uncertainty.  

An example of a good hunting scope is the Leupold Mark AR Model. It has a variety of magnifications with 6 to 8 power that is completely sufficient for long range hunting. This optic is high in quality and produces crystal clear images.  

Shooting Aid

For taking a long range shot, you will need to rest your rifle on top of something. Hence, hunters invest in a shooting rest. This will help to stabilize your gun and avoid shaking hands, thus improving accuracy when firing. It can also reduce the amount of recoil when you pull the trigger.  

Many hunters choose to use a fold up bipod as compared to a monopod or tripod. This is because it is easier to set up than a tripod while more stable than a monopod. Alternatively, sandbag rests can be used. However, it must be firm and solid.

Skills

Skill really matters when it comes to long range hunting. A long range hunter is said to require the skill and training similar to that of military snipers. This is because a simple mistake can cause you major problems. A flinch can move a bullet as much as ten inches or result in a wounded animal instead of a dead one. A trigger pull at a slightly off angle can turn what would be a lethal shot at 300 yards into an all-day tracking job at 600 yards.  

The Process

Long range shooting is like juggling because you have many things going on at once and you have to balance them all. During the process, it is important to get into a comfortable position and relax. You do not want to let panic cause you to leave out anything. Make sure your rifle is pointing naturally towards the target and that crosshairs are in the right position. If you need to realign the rifle, move your whole body starting with the legs rather than twisting your torso.

You need to be in line with the scope and rifle as well. Make sure that the retile inside the scope is perfectly horizontal. When looking through the scope, do not take the shot unless your view is completely clear. Any shadow or tunnel effect can cause parallax error and through your shot off.

When you squeeze the trigger, you should use the centre of the pad of your index finger. Your fingernail should be parallel to the trigger guard. Make sure you do not blink or flinch when you squeeze the trigger because it can have a huge impact on hitting the target. In order to minimize the effect of recoil, you should place your cheek firmly engaging the stock with your head placed upright when you look through the sight.

Don’t Blame Your Equipment

Many people have spent thousands on new gears and rifles when the problem was in fact their fundamentals. If you find yourself in a situation with a 1 MOA rifle set up with good quality optics and ammunition yet have issues getting 1 MOA out of it, the problem is likely not your equipment.

Try starting at ranges of about 100 yards and learning to be consistent where the wind will have little effect. Once you have mastered it, go to 200 and keep upping the distance. The ability to shoot consistently at a short range will be the first step to getting long range success. If you still cannot quite get the adequate accuracy, seek help from an experienced long range shooter to help you set up your rifle.

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