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Thread: Long range shooting

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    Default Long range shooting

    I would like to get some feedback from those who are perhaps proficient at long range shooting. For purposes of discussion we'll consider this to be anything over 50 yards. I read on this forum and in archery mags about those who are taking shots, and sometimes game, out to 80 yards and even beyound. For those of you who have a comfort zone of 50-80 yards what are you shooting (bows, arrows, sights etc) and how much time are you spending at the range to develop confidence at these distances. Thanks for any input.

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    Develop better stalking skills and close the gap to 40 or under. If you can close the gap to 60 you should be able to close the last 20. all my caribou and moose have been taken under 40, even north slope bou. dont get me wrong i have blown alot of stalks and missed some shots at further distances. Archery to me is getting close and building your hunting skills. Read terrain and be patient and youll get close. I have met guys shooting 80 yards and chasing caribou they shot in the ass. I have blown shots close too. The closer you are the higher the precentage. This is my 2 cents anyhow

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    I was really confused about 50 yards being long-range, and then I realized I had clicked my bookmark to the bowhunting forum instead of the main hunting forum.

    In my experiences with North Slope bou, those last 20 yards to close from 60 to 40 are as hard as the first 400. I've had two unsuccessful hunts that involved long stalks to pass on a shot at 60 with no chances at 40. I would love to have the time to practice and a bow that can shoot responsibly out to 60-80 yards, but I'm not there yet and I'm not going to push it.
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    I practice at 40, 50, 60 and 70 yards, but I don't shoot at anything past 50. The reason for the practice at these distances is it makes it easier for me at the lesser yardages. I don't think I would take these longer shots at an animal unless it was broadside, looking the other way, no wind, and I was starving in the woods. I don't think arrow weight, or broad head weight matters as I shoot heavier arrows with 125gr heads. Mechanical broad heads like the rage ones will stay true at longer ranges. The only thing that I did notice for shooting longer distances is the weight of the bow. I have an older Archery Research compound that is very heavy compared to the newer bows. While the weight sucks for stalking or carrying it longer distances, it makes longer shots easier than with the super light ones. (for me at least) I noticed with a friends brand new ultralight Martin bow it was harder to keep it steady for the longer shots. That's my 2 cents on it. The big thing to remember is the target is not going to move. There is no guarantee that the animal is not going to take a step when you release the arrow and now turn a kill shot into a gut shot.

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    This is something I know a lot about. I hit a dot the size of a penny at 104 yards (that got me into a shoot-off to win a brand new Chevy Silverado). I did not win it though. Like the others have said, there is a whole lot of difference between a target and a critter. I would never shoot at an animal that far.

    Long range shooting, for target shooters, requires different equipment. Heavy bows for starters. Your arrows will be very small diameter. This cuts down on wind drift. I'll give ya an example. I shot a national archery tournament in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. There was about a 15-20 mile cross wind. The "long dot" was at 98 yards. It was a 3/4inch dot placed on the side of a life sized moose target. Due to the wind I actually had to aim at one of the points on the horn to hit anywhere near the dot. Before I figured out where to aim I actually shot it in the ass. If you know the size of a moose, and I'm guessing you do, you can figure how much those arrows were drifting, and that was competition arrows! On our tournament bows our stabilizers are up to 36" long. Plus we add another stabilizer on the back of the bow for balance. Not a very good set-up for hunting.

    It's already been said but I'll say it again. Bow hunting is not about how long the shot is. Its about how close it is. As you evolve as a bow hunter your goals change. I used to want to want to kill every animal I saw. If I didn't kill it I was pissed. Now, it's more about the hunt, not the killing. If I need to fill the freezer l take a gun. Here in Arkansas bow season opens 1 1/2 months before gun season so there is meat in the freezer and I don't have to gun hunt.

    If you choose to take long shots you must set yourself rules and stick to them! The animal must be broadside. There must be no wind. You have to practice a lot! If you want to shoot animals at 70 yards you should practice at 90. Shoot an expandable head. Don't try to shoot small targets like deer. Moose are big animals. Caribou are mid sized. Don't try to shoot anything smaller. There is something else to think about too. As your arrow is flying it is slowing down. The farther it flys the slower it gets. If you have your sight pins set at every ten yards you will notice the farther pins are farther apart. As that arrow slows down it is loosing kinetic energy. you will need to consider that too.

    Ok, enough rattleing. I still suggest not taking long shots but if you do, good luck. Try to get closer.

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    Ok, I think every archer knows that stalkng to or otherwise getting a close range setup is the primary goal in bow hunting. But in real life you don't always get as close as you may like. It is then decision time and things like wind and target presentation play a critical role. Since I personally don't need the meat or trophy I pass on 50 yard plus shots, while I know many others take these--some with good results, some not. My question was for those who feel comfortable at these longer ranges and have had good, consistent success. So far this is the input on this thread: heavy bow, light-small diameter arrows, mechanical broadheads, and practice--especially at longer ranges. Anything else?

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    Yes and no. When I was talking about light arrows I was talking about target shooting at long ranges. For hunting purposes you should use a heavy arrow. You will need the weight for penetration. The Easton Full Metal Jacket would be a good place to start. Next thing to consider is your sights. If your serious about hunting at long ranges you are going to have to invest in a movable sight. There are a lot to choose from but one stands out to me. Look up Custom Bow Equipment. They have a sight called Teck-hunter. This sight has the best of both worlds. It has multiple pins and it moves. The pins can be set at 20, 30, 40, 50....., plus you will have a sight tape with yardages on the side of the sight. You will set it to your top pin. For instance , if you have an animal at 45 yards split your 40 and 50 and let it go. But if you have an animal at 86 yards the pin gap between 80 and 90 are way to far apart to just split the pins. Thats where the movable sight comes in. You simply dial the sight to 86 yards, put the top pin exactly where you want to hit and shoot. The beauty of a movable sight is you can put your pin right where you want it at long ranges. No pin gap guessing. That's one of the biggest things that will help at long ranges. Hope this helps.

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    Tic, Thanks for the advice on the full metal jacket arrows. I see that they are a composite of aluminum and carbon. How would you compare their performance in a hunting situation with a slightly lighter straight carbon or graphite arrow? I am wondering about the balance between weight, speed, flatness, carry, and penetration. Not looking for technical data, which I'm sure is out there, but just your take on all of this. Thanks.

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    You asked this question too...
    For those of you who have a comfort zone of 50-80 yards what are you shooting (bows, arrows, sights etc) and how much time are you spending at the range to develop confidence at these distances.
    For 5 years I took archery extremely seriously. I easily practiced over 300 days a year, shot over 35,000 shots during that time, and have 500 pages of log books to show for it. For me I never developed the skills to even consider a broadhead shot past 60 yards. Too much happens in distances beyond that. 5 years of solid practice didn't teach me how to make those shots, it taught me that wind, targets that can move (animals), and other issues make those long shots a low percentage choice and violated my ethics when it came to hunting.

    The other big skill you need to tackle with shots at anything over 40 yards is compensating for slope and hills. You MUST shoot with a level bubble to control left right issues on side slopes. You must be able to recognize slopes or use a slope correcting range finder. You must shoot at all distances using that same range finder and make sure it is accurate. You must practice on unsure footing and shoot from hunting positions.

    I agree with Tic that full metal jacket arrows are the arrow of choice for weight and small cross section for long distance shooting. They may slow your bow down a bit due to their weight, but the advantages outweigh this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lure View Post
    I would like to get some feedback from those who are perhaps proficient at long range shooting. For purposes of discussion we'll consider this to be anything over 50 yards. I read on this forum and in archery mags about those who are taking shots, and sometimes game, out to 80 yards and even beyound. For those of you who have a comfort zone of 50-80 yards what are you shooting (bows, arrows, sights etc) and how much time are you spending at the range to develop confidence at these distances. Thanks for any input.
    I shoot from 50-80 a lot -most of my practice sessions, 2x a week. Bowtech Admiral. 65#, 5 pin axcel (20,30,40,50,60), g5 peep. With 400 gr St Axis shafts, 100 gr montecs. No clue how fast it's shooting.
    I kill from 60 on down in the field. 60-80, I'm very comfortable at the range, but not ready to fling one at something living and breathing.

    edit: with the st axis shaft.. I really need to change my pin set up to 30,40,50,60,70. The pins are too close together for 20,30. It shoots very flat. Hope this helps.

  11. #11

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    You asked about a lighter straiter arrow, most arrow manufacturers make arrows in three different straitness levels. They are +\- .006, .003, .001. .003 straitness over the length of the arrow means that arrow, from end to end, before it's cut, will be "out" 3 thousandths of an inch. That's about the thickness of a sheet of paper. 99% of the bowhunters out there can not shoot good enough to notice the difference between +/-.003 and +/- .001 at 40 yards. The farther you shoot the more your form plays a role. As has been stated, the level on your sight helps a LOT! Here's the catch to that though. There ate TONS of sights out there that have levels on them, right. Most of them are NOT level. If you were to mount it to a "knee block", which is a machinist tool, then set that on a true level surface you'd see that most sights on the market are not level. There is a reason that most serious tournament shooters that can be leveled on all three axis's. Does it really matter? HELL yes it does. The farther you shoot, the more it matters!


    If your SERIOUS About shooting long distances for hunting I'll describe for you the set-up I would shoot. Start with the bow. I would find a bow that is a little heaver than most hunting bows. I'd also look for a longer axel to axel bow. A great example of a bow like this is the PSE Supra. That's what I shoot for tournaments. I actually have three of them! You can add extra weight in several places to increase the mass weight to help stabilize it in the wind. Most bow manufactureres make longer bows. Shoot a lot of them and get the one that feels the best for you. Shoot the most draw weight that you can comfortably and accurately shoot. Next is the sight. For long distances you need a sight that has the capability of being leveled on all three axis. It really matters a lot at long range. You'd be amazed how much difference is will make at 30 yards. Just think how much it matters at 80! There are several sight makers that make sights like this. Look up Custom Bow Equipment, Toxinics, and SureLoc for starters. I've shot all of them and I really recomend Custom Bow Equipment (CBE)!!! All these sights I've mentioned are movable sights like I talked about in my last post. You really should use a movable for long range. All these sights will accept a magnified lens too. For target shooting I recommend shooting a magnified lens. For hunting I'd stay away from them. If it rains the drops will get on the lens and it will make it very hard to shoot. I've never hunted in AK (yet) but I've heard it rains a few times during hunting season so stay away from the lens. Whatever movable sight you get you will still have to level it! There are several ways to do that. Go to www.lancasterarchery.com and search "sight levels". That will get ya on the right track there. Next, your rest. Stay away from any form of Hostage rest or Whisket Biscuit or Revolution! I would shoot a fall-away for this. I prefer Trophy Taker. Your stabilizer should be longer too. I would find one around the 12-18 inch range. It should be made of carbon and have adjustable weights on the front. You add or remove weights to balance the bow. As for arrows I would go with the Full Metal Jacket. I'd leave them 30-31 inches long. The longer they are the more forgiving it is. I would shoot a heavy tip. For hunting I would shoot at least 125grain expandable. Rage or SpitFires would be great. As for your release, find one you are really comfortable shooting. It should have an adjustable trigger and set it fairly light. You should get one with a buckle strap. Buckle it in the same hole every time. Believe it or not, that buckle will make you more accurate. The ones with Velcro are ok but you can strap them in differently and that can change your anchor point! With this set up you should have a machinical advantage. Make sure the bow is tuned up. Have it paper-tuned and make sure it's shooting bullet holes through paper.

    Want some more advice? Get a 3-d target of the animal your wanting to hunt. It will have different score rings on it. The ring that represents the lungs is called the 8-ring. The ring where the heart should be is the 10-ring. When your practicing start at 20 yards. When you can shoot 20 shots and never miss the 10-ring move back 10 more yards. When you can shoot 20 shots there move back another 10. Keep doing this. If you are at 60 yards and can not keep ALL 20 in the 10-ring, then 50 is your effective range. Don't try to shoot an animal farther than that. The reason for that is animals can move, wind can blow...... There are tons of things that can affect your accuracy. It's not worth a bad hit!

    Ok bro, now that I've laid our what I consider the perfect long range hunting set-up I want to point out something. You can have the best equipment on earth, you can practice harder than anybody in AK and still never develop the ability to accurately shoot out past 60. That's just the truth. Some guys are blessed with a lot of god-given ability. Some guys just don't have as much. I've never seen ya shoot so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I'll give ya some more advice too. When your shooting, try to shoot every shot with perfect form. Ever hear the saying "practice makes perfect"? I say BS! It should say "perfect practice makes perfect"! 10 shots with perfect form a day will do a lot more for you that 1000 shots a day with bad form! Think about that! Good luck bro!

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    Thanks Tic and others. You guys have all provided some pretty good advice on shooting at longer ranges. I was mostly just curious after reading in some of the archery mags about how some archers are taking game at some pretty ridiculous distances. Of course they don't write much about the game they miss or wound! Just success stories. My own comfort zone is 40 yards and it would sure be nice to extend that to 50, especially for caribou on the slope. That would be my goal for this coming year and I'll be using some of what I have learned here toward that end. Thanks, Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lure View Post
    Thanks Tic and others. You guys have all provided some pretty good advice on shooting at longer ranges. I was mostly just curious after reading in some of the archery mags about how some archers are taking game at some pretty ridiculous distances. Of course they don't write much about the game they miss or wound! Just success stories. My own comfort zone is 40 yards and it would sure be nice to extend that to 50, especially for caribou on the slope. That would be my goal for this coming year and I'll be using some of what I have learned here toward that end. Thanks, Joe
    I wanted to do the same extend it by 10 yards to 50-55 yards, and wouldnt you know it, last 2 shots where 31 and 17. I had some nice animals at 60 and just couldnt close the 20 yard gap and spooked them, I then relocated to a new area and observed where I spooked the caribou and if i had more patience bou walk right next to where i was set up.

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    hey guys. you don't want a lighter arrow to shoot long range if you want any sort of penetrations and i'd ditch the mechanical head idea as well. I shoot a 497grain arrow 281fps out of an 82lb hoyt carbon matrix. i shoot a lot of hogs at longer ranges 70 yards plus this usually happens when i stalk a group and make the first shot, it's open enough here that i can usually see some stop at 60-90yards. I'll take that shot. You need something that's gonna carry enough energy down range to get good penetration. i use a Easton FMJ 340 with a Slick Trick RazorTrik head. 7 pin Spot Hog Hoggit and a 8.5" Fuse Carbon Blade stabilizer.

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    higher foc will give you better long distance arrow flight in any weight arrow. Look back 60 or so years at the flight arrows of the time and you'll notice something vary similar amongst them. There's no reason you cannot do the same with a hunting weight arrow (two vary different things).

    The only thing I can add to this, is dont let the magazines, videos, and movies, or as I like to call it prostitution of hunting, ruin what it is. It's hunting! Bowhunting is a close range sport. We all have our MER's, and they are all a personal limitation. A lot for me depends on the animal (kill zone), and the situation. Caribou are fast walkers...most of the guys I hunt with shoot wheels and most of them at one point or another have shot too far back on an animal at a normal caribou walk. Start adding distance, wind, snow rain and whitesocks in every orface of your body exposed and that 50 yard chip shot, turns into a caribou swimming around a pond with a less than desireable hit....had a front row seat to that, and the guy wasnt very pleased when we offered to help, so we sat back and watched. Eventually the bull died, and someone went for a very very very cold swim.

    Just as a side note I am not trying to detour you from shooting farther. Just practicing those distances can really improve your performance at your normal ranges a hunting situation, especially when its in a less than perfect situation. I regularly practice to 50, but rarely will shoot past 25, and wont shoot past 30. I dont need to kill for any reason. So for me watching an animal walking away, though humbling is still rewarding. I'm living a dream I've had since childhood. The value I place on the animals I hunt is to great to risk a loss. I know it can happen..I know it does happen. I also know I have control over some of it...distance is one! Having three rams this fall all full curl or more at less than 15 yards....priceless. Not shooting the one standing at 40 yards for 45 minutes when I know I can make the shot but have a self imposed limit of 30 yards is a tough thing to do, doing the right thing when no one is watching is what makes you a bowhunter, not how many heads you have, or how many tags you punch....unfortunatly the mags, videos and many of the bowhunting industry and communities have lost site of that and placed the defination of success, as a kill.....dissappointing!

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    Just started another thread on the hunting side concerning ethical hunting distance. We all should strive to better our shooting and shooting distance. We just need to be careful not to push the difference between ability and ethical. I shot several times this year at the park in Anchorage. Each time there were shooters slinging arrows at 80 talking about being ready to take bou at 100. I was shooting neck and neck with them with my recurve, and will not shoot at anything alive past 30 with it. With my compound I believe my effective range to be 60, saying that my longest shot to date was 47 paces(43 yards). Everything was perfect and I never questioned myself at the shot.

    One other thing I have learned about people taking LONG shots is the amount of arrows they carry. Of the last group I shot with, all told me you have to have at least 2 dozen arrows when you go. Thats a lot of arrows to lose and come home with no meat. Saw one of the guys a few weeks ago and he was "lucky" got one and came home with 5 arrows.

    Yes learn to shoot at longer range, it will improve your over all abilities. At the same time stay within your effective range

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    I have been shooting distances for quite a few years now and am very comfortable out to 80yds. My practice sessions routinly contain shots at 100 yds .... Practice after a hard hike practice in the wind and practice in less than ideal positions. 80 is ok if everything is calm and relaxed, add wind or stress and then those distances close up a bit. More than a small amount of wind and shots move an awful lot even at shorter distances again practice !!,My archery set up allows a 420 grain slick trick tipped arrow to travel at 323 feet per second! pse x force ,8 pin copper john sight .bows set at 79lbs.

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    A little "off target" here but I'm reminded about what my high school track coach used to preach to the javelin throwers..."it's all about control and consistency....same thing everytime and the distance will come" or something like that. Coach made us throw at a hula hoop at about 30 yds and wouldn't let anyone throw beyond that distance until they could put it thru the hula hoop every time. We worked on form, stance, grip, release and follow-thru (sound familiar) until we could always hit the hula hoop then we could move back. I gave up on javelin early in my track and field career when a kid with 5' arms began throwing 20 yds farther than I could, but the lesson stuck.

    I really admire folks who can shoot long distances effectively (gun or bow) but I know I can't. My longest kill shot is 27 yds but I do practice to 40, sometimes 50 yds and can keep it inside the 9" paper plate but have never felt I could be totally confident of making the shot on a critter. It is amazing to me how much a 5 mph wind can move an arrow at 50 yds.

    Hats off to those who can really make those long shots every time, but for me and probably most of us...a man's gotta know his limitations!!
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    Cant agree with others enough, close is better, its more exciting and its what bowhunting is all about, If your shooting 70 yards, improve stalking skills.

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