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Scopes and ballistics

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  • Scopes and ballistics

    After a poor showing by my scope on this year's caribou hunt, I have decided to buy a new scope and probably a rifle to go with it.

    The scope I have decided to buy is a Shephard scope
    Check out the link to understand why I am asking these questions.

    What I am wondering is how to come up with the particular ballistic co-efficient that matches up to the scope I need to order.

    One thing I know is that I need to clock the speed of my bullet, coupled with the weight of the bullet (grains) and probably figure in the amount and type of powder being used....right?

    These scopes are specific to FPS and ballistic co-efficient, so knowing how to figure that out is important

    Also, though there are MANY posts on the types of guns people use/recommend, I plan on buying a rifle that is flat shooting and far reaching. I was looking at possibly getting a 325 WSM, but all the posts I have read are neither for or against this caliber. From what I have read, it is a flat shooter with excellent range. I also plan on reloading whatever type you guys talk me into

    Let me know what you experts think, as I truly feel there is enough experience here to help me out on this quest. Murphy et al...

  • #2
    BC and Velocity..


    ...are all that matter for the scope. Bullet weight or powder or anything else doesn't matter... except gravity, which hasn't changed lately. BC numbers should be available from bullet manufacturers. They are optimistic, however.

    As for the 325, there are flatter shooters, but a good caliber. If you don't plan to shoot beyond 300 yards, it really doesn't matter about caliber (assuming adequate for animal) at 300 yards the old 30-06 is fine. The Big 30's or 33'sare better at around 400-600 yds. Also the best BC's are not hunting bullets.

    I have a chronograph and we can get together and shoot a few after you get loaded on what ever you decide. Have you shot up those 500 loads yet?

    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


    • #3
      Shepherd Scopes

      I just got my Shepherd V1 this week. I've been looking at various manufacturers for several months. From what I can find, the Shepherds seem to be "the one". I was very impressed with the clarity and the speed of use. I don't think you'll be dissapointed.

      They have a basic chart for helping deceide which one to by:

      They also have alot of information on their website.
      We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
      Ronald Reagan


      • #4
        I had one of the first scopes that they made and had problems with it. It had 4 different reticles in the scope that you could change around for various rifles and that is what caused the problems. I had it rebuilt by the company and it failed again. This was about 20 years ago and I know they are much improved and have gone to a one reticle set up where you order the particular scope for your specific rifle set up. The range rings did work very well for the bullet drop. I wouldn't hesitate to try one of the new ones.


        • #5
          There are a wide variety of "solutions" to the concerns the Shepherd scope addresses.

          The Leupold Long Range scopes, especially the M3 series with one MOA per click adjustments and elevation turrets designed for certain cartridges and loads are one solution. Figure your distance, set your scope, allow for wind and fire.

          Mil-dot reticles are pretty useful as a range estimating tool and for hold-over and windage offsets. Gotta know the moa covered from center of each dot to the next.

          Several companies will install custom reticles, mainly for benchrest and varmint shooters. You can get almost any gridwork you desire, and/or have dots mounted at intervals you think will be most useful.

          Unless you are seriously shooting at 400 yds or more, you likely can do just fine by studying the flight characteristics of your bullet and sighting in for your zero where you get the least bullet drop at extreme range. IE if you're shooting a .338 with 250 grain spitzer at 2600 fps and notice in the ballistic table that sighted at 100 yds, the bullet drops 2 or more feet at 300 yards, you might sight in to be "on the money" at 250 yds so you have about 8" of drop at 300 yds. (hypothetical example)

          Might also be a good plan to get an old tire or tow, put some cardboard inside them with a target and set em out at 300 and 400 yds and see if you can keep your shots on the cardboard.

          A Mil-dot scope is one heckuva system for the guy who can shoot in the field and learns to use the range-finding capability. Pretty hard to lose that outer super-heavy reticle even in the darkest bush.

          Just my .02


          • #6
            call Dan Shephard at 402-779-2424 talk to him He is a heck of a nice guy and gives his gear a lifetime guarranty His website is I own binocs and the optics are as good as any. Do you have a scope that is one shot zero Shephards do. No Bull. Thats my experiance. Can you call leupold and talk to the owner I doubt it. Give him a call He will set you up with the right scope for the ballistic of your chosen round and caliber.
            Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
            - General George S. Patton


            • #7
              Practice, Practice, Practice

              I am not about to warn you against buying a Shepherd Scope. It's a fine product that performs as advertised. Everyone makes a lemon and all scopes give occasional problems, but by and large you should have a reliable scope with range finding and trajectory compensating capabilities. Personally, I find the reticle a bit cluttered for my taste, but they do perform admirably if you don't mind a view that is filled with circles, lines, etc.

              As for caliber and scope combo I would first want to know how far you would consider firing upon an unwounded game animal? Out to 350 yards I do not think the Shepherd scope offers much advantage over a normal duplex reticle. At greater distances there would be an improvement in first round hits due to bullet drop, but windage is still dependent upon the shooter reading the conditions and making the proper adjustment. Windage is the area that a mil-dot reticle proves its advantage in the field. A mil-dot takes more time to understand and become comfortable with than others, but for a variety of conditions it will prove the most accurate in making incremental adjustments in the field and once properly understood it is a very fast reticle to use.

              As for factory available rifles that will allow serious long range shooting it is a difficult call. You really need MOA accuracy if you are going to shoot to 400-600 yards and these guns do not grow on trees or come willy nilly off the assembly line. Practically everyone on this forum has MOA rifles in every description and caliber, but the truth is that a rifle that consistently places its shots inside a 3 inch circle at 300 yards all the time every time is a rarity. You will find a higher incidence of this if you build a rifle (tuned action, high quality barrel & properly bedded stock). It need not cost a fortune; you can figure about $1500 plus or minus for the work if you have an action to start the project. If I had to buy a factory rifle for extreme long range shooting for me it's a one horse race, a Mark V in whatever configuration I wanted so long as it has a 26 inch barrel and its in 300 Weatherby. They are well built and excellent performing rifles and have a reputation/guarantee for the kind of accuracy you are going to require for your long range shooting. The Mark V is a bit heavy, but this is no disadvantage for long range shooting. The 300 Weatherby still has more than adequate representation in 1000 yard BR and is hands down the best choice for a novice 1000 yard shooter. 30 caliber bullets are plentiful and the 200 grain hunting bullets have a sufficiently high b.c. while the Weatherby case will push them fast enough to be effective at long range.

              Whatever you select so far as cartridge, rifle and scope you must practice a lot. With quality components and a well built rifle you are going to be able to hit surprisingly well at 400-600 yards, but to up your percentage to 85-90% first round strikes in all conditions it is going to take a lot of practice and dedication on your part. Many years ago I worked at a gunshop and outfitted a lot of guys with long range equipment. They thought because they had spent a lot of money and bought very good equipment that they were ready to shoot big game at 500-1000 yards. I tried to explain to them it's just not that easy. Inevitably, some of the guys would come back at the end of every season and complain about their equipment and how it did not perform as it should. When asked how much prep time they invested just as inevitably, they were marksmen that did not need any practice. I am trying to tell you that a $1000 scope on top of a $2000 rifle with ammo that costs $4 a round is not going to kill animals at 600 yards if you do not do your part.
              Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.


              • #8
                Don't know what sort of scope failure you experienced, and you're probably not asking for an analysis of that. But my opinion is that your best investment for distance shooting is the best rangefinder you can afford. How individuals solve the windage/drop problem varies, but in the end always boils down to mastery of the hardware through a little science and a lot of practice.

                The best shooter I know has a drop table taped to the side of his stock. With good ranging info he's able to hold over with a plain old duplex reticle just fine out to 500 yds or so. If you have good shooting technique and a good rest on a good rifle, holdover is the easy part.

                Wind is the hard part. This fellow I'm talking about is just phenomenal at reading wind conditions. Practice and experience make him exceptional under field conditions.

                I have fooled around with the Varmint Reticle from leupold. It is something of an aid but you still have to work with it a lot to get good with it.

                Good luck in your search. I have heard good things about the Shepherd scope. But any good scope, mounted properly, will do the job if you do yours.


                • #9
                  I would say the 325 WSM would be a fine all around hunting choice. I just picked up a Browning X-Bolt in 325 WSM this morning after getting tired of waiting for a Marlin 1895 SBL to show up.


                  • #10

                    My question is... just how far do you want to shoot? If 500 yds or less, any good scope with a duplex type scope will do. if you have a really flat shooting rifle spitting out high BC bullets you can sight in at 300 yds, with 6" drop at 400 yds and about 18" at 500yds The 325 WSM doesn't quite fit that category. But you could sight that cartridge and a few others in that category to 250 yds with about 30- 36" of drop at 500 yds.

                    If you want to go beyond 500 yds, then you should get a mil rad type reticle and/or target turrets. there are a couple of outfits that make a laser etched custom turret for your rifle and load that all you have to do is dial in the yardage. They are quite accurate if you provide accurate ballistic info, which means you will have provide accurate velocities and BC, which means you will have to fire through a chrony at a few different ranges to measure your drops and verify BC. Bryan Litz is a ballistician for Berger bullets and has done a lot of testing on a lot of different bullets to determine their actuall BC vs the usually optimistic BC's advertised by the manufacturers.

                    Here is a ballistic calc that has incorporated Bryan's BC's in their program....


                    If you go to the "Libray" window at the top and click on the pull down menu you will see which bullets he has BC's for. If you can get an accurate MV, that program can give you some fairly accurate drop data out to 600 yds or so. Farther than that and you should really spend some time shooting and measuring drops.

                    The most crtical part of LR shooting is determining an accurate range to your target and for that you will nees a good Laser Rangefinder. At 500 yds, if you mis-judge your range by 25 yds, your POI will be off by 6" with a fairly flat shooting cartridge.

                    Here are a couple of outfits that do the custom turrets, They are sweet.



                    IMO, don't get a BDC reticle... get a duplex for medium ranges or get a custom turret for farther ranges.

                    If I was shooting bou at 500-800 yds, I would be shooting a 7mm WSM or 300 WSM. They will out do the 325 ballisitcally at those ranges. Farther than 800 yds, and I would be usung the 7mm RUM or 300 RUM.

                    Bushnell makes a good scope...


                    You can get it cheaper here...



                    "You will never know how much it cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it."
                    ~ John Quincy Adams


                    • #11
                      1. Laser range finder
                      2. Range card
                      3. leupold Mk 4 with 1/4 MOA turrets on the low end, Triji or NF on the medium end, Zeiss or S&B on the high end

                      The best website around about long range shooting can be found at

                      He makes great cans too


                      • #12
                        NF medium??? I dont think so... and I definitely put it ahead of a Zeiss. Zeiss is a great scope, but not in the NF league as a LR field scope. S&B's are said to have better glass, but as far as internal works and ruggedness goes they probably take a back seat to NF as well.

                        The high end scopes are overkill unless you're reaching out to near 1K or better. The Bushnell 4200 is a good scope and has received good reviews from the LR shooters for a medium quality scope and for the $$$. Leupolds are good too but I dont think much better than a 4200, especially for the $$$ The Sightron SIII's are also good but a little more spendy.

                        With a custom turret, a range/drop card is not necessary. It saves a lot of time in getting a shot off.

                        IMHO, this is the best website for LR shooting and hunting...


                        There are quite a few high end smiths, competitors, former snipers, and just general highly experienced and accomplished long range shooters in this forum. It would take weeks to sift through all the information available on this site.

                        "You will never know how much it cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it."
                        ~ John Quincy Adams


                        • #13
                          Zeiss is a great scope, but not in the NF league as a LR field scope.
                          having seen the Zeiss made in Germany (and Im not talking about the Conquest line which is equivalent to Leupold) and having shot both Zeiss and NF, it is clear that the Zeiss is superior.

                          We had a another Bushnell come in this week broken. That makes almost 12 this year. Sightron isnt much better. All were replaced with leups

                          With a custom turret, a range/drop card is not necessary.
                          And you are then limited to one bullet weight. I personally play with 108s, 123, 130s, 139s in one caliber and 155s, 168s, 175s and 185s in another.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wildalaska View Post
                            having seen the Zeiss made in Germany (and Im not talking about the Conquest line which is equivalent to Leupold)
                            Where are the conquest scopes made?
                            The Alaska Life

                            ~Spero Meliora~


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hunt_ak View Post
                              Where are the conquest scopes made?
                              Parts made in Germany, assembled in the US, but there are mechanical differences in the parts


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