Long Range Shooting

Modern day options, less is more

By: Keye Kinnamon

Gone are the days of .270 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield as the preferred hunting calibers. High ballistic coefficient (BC) projectiles, along with modern bullet construction have opened the door to lower recoiling, harder-hitting calibers at extended ranges. 

Take for example the vulnerable 6.5 PRC or 28 Nosler. Both cartridges offer fantastic ballistics while cutting a fair amount of recoil. New case designs with shorter burn columns offer more efficient performance provided by the various gun powders offered these days. 

A hunter’s ability to put rounds on the target depends solely on understanding their ballistics, environmentals and sound shooting fundamentals. There’s an abundance of ballistics programs out on the market that will provide a firing solution once good data has been inputted. I highly recommend programs such as Applied Ballistics, Hornady 4dof, and GeoBallistics. If you’re serious about making an ethical harvest, ensure you’ve selected a caliber that meets or exceeds your state’s threshold for energy on target. 

Don’t assume the velocity on the side of the box is accurate, instead purchase a chronograph (Magnetospeed is my favorite option) and capture accurate data. Along with speed comes a projectiles BC. This information can be obtained under the manufacture’s website, possibly on the box of ammo or in a ballistic app/software program. The higher the number (example G7 .275), the better the bullet slips through the air, and therefore retains more energy and cuts the wind more effectively. A simple demonstration of this would be to put your hand out the car window while driving 65 mph. A lower b.c projectile is going to fight the environmentals (palm vertical into the wind) as opposed to a higher b.c projectile (palm down, fingertips forward) which slips through the air. 

When selecting a projectile or a box of loaded ammo, do not focus solely on what offer has the highest BC. These super high BC options may be extremely finicky and poor results are likely going to be the outcome with factory rifles due to the long free bore and less than ideal barrel specifications. Instead, research barrel twist ratios and what is recommended to stabilize your selected ammo. Typically, a faster twist will stabilize a heavier projectile in its class (example, 6mm/.243 with a 1:7.7 twist will stabilize a 105 Berger hybrid perfectly).

At the end of the day, preparation is vital. Shooting in of itself is a perishable skillset. Become knowledgeable about the components you run. Nothing is more irresponsible than taking an ill-advised shot on the game at distances you are not accustomed to. Know your kit and capabilities prepare for a rewarding hunting season.