Maximum Practical Range
Maximum Practical Range

Maximum Practical Range

We here a lot of talk about maximum effective range but how effective are most shooters at the distant ranges where a rifle is capable of being effective? I’ve connected with very small targets at ranges beyond 1000 yards. I’ve also missed deer – given a shot I thought was easy – at about 100 yards. I’m sure many other hunters have done the same yet, we all pontificate on and prepare for shooting across canyons and bean fields.

Some even make a career out of long range hunting. To me, “long range hunting” is an oxymoron. If your goal is to demonstrate how well you can shoot, you do not need a live animal to complete that demonstration. If your goal to is prove how well you can hunt, you do not need a rifle. Hunting, as we do it today, should be a balance between finding the game and shooting it.

Somewhere there is a long range hunter who condemns those who hunt behind a fence and somewhere there is a hunter behind a fence who dose not know or care how far his bullet will drop at 500 yards. I’ve tried both and I know that hunting behind a fence, like is often done is South Africa, can be a difficult and enjoyable experience. I also know that assassinating an animal from almost a half mile away only proves one thing and it has very little to do with hunting.

So, I’m curious. Forget maximum effective range. What do you consider a maximum practical range if say for example you are hunting with a .30-06 topped off with a 3-9X riflescope?

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  1. Great post and points. Our practical/general rifle classes (at Gunsite) stress that one of our biggest responsibilities as hunters – and a goal of the class – is to determine our OWN capabilities. At what range are we sure that we can make that vital-zone hit, given our firearm, our ammo, our optics…and our own skills? (And yes, it is true that NO shot is a certainty – that’s why we also stress following through and being able to make as many shots as needed. We’re talking about the range at which the shooter is mentally confident of making that shot.)

  2. Jim Dodd

    Shooting on the range is different from shooting at live animals. Animals can easily move enough for a miss in the bullet’s time of flight, so you have to have an understanding of how long it takes the bullet to arrive and how much an animal can move in that time.

    good hunting…jim dodd

    ps Il Ling is my favorite instructor…

  3. Jack Redman

    For hunting, I don’t think anyone has any business shooting
    at beyond 300 yards. There is just to much that can go wrong as
    ranges get longer. And what distance you can hit a 6 inch circle
    only matters if it’s less than 300 yards. Then you should shorten
    you maximum range to match. Good hunting Jack