Danger Close

Don’t Worry About Long-Range Rifle Skills Until You Are Master Of The First 300 Yards Before You

Worldwide but especially in America, the current rage is long-range rifle shooting. There are of course people who have been shooting rifles at long range for some time, but some of the newer people are going bonkers trying to address what rifle, caliber, ammo and scope to choose. Some of these folks armed with theoretical information not limited to or about spin-drifted-Coriolis-affected-cosine-angled shooting are creating a magnitude of silliness never before seen by the likes of the shooting community—ever.

With no disrespect intended or implied, I can tell you personally one aspect of this entire current rifle and long-range shooting gig is that some of these new shooters are creating the largest list of excuses ever composed since the inception of firearms prefaced by, “I didn’t hit the target because….”

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3 thoughts on “Danger Close

  1. Michael Sheehan

    Mr. Clint Smith,

    Re: ‘Danger Close’/Ranging Shots/Guns Magazine May 2011

    I generally find your articles well-written and quite informative. But I’m curious about the rationale used in the referenced magazine article.

    Specifically, from the 3rd paragraph:

    “… fired a nominal 300-yards away, the projectile doesn’t fall off more than about 14” off the line of sight … By simply moving back to 400 yards, the projectile’s trajectory then falls a nominal 30” or more. …”

    This was then followed by a discussion of the assumptions made; i.e., a baseline .308, zeroed at 100 yards.

    I have no argument with the numbers/calculations.

    My basic question is: Why would one even zero a rifle at 100 yards?

    Why not zero the rifle for ‘Maximum Point Blank Range’?

    Using a baseline .308, and with a ‘Vital Zone’ the size of a 9-inch pie plate, the ballistic calculators show that the Maximum Point Blank Range would be 328 yards (with the zero set at 278 yards).

    The trajectory would then be:

    100 yards: 4 inches high

    150 yards: 4.5 inches high

    200 yards: 4 inches high

    250 yards: 2 inches high

    300 yards: 2 inches low

    350 yards: 7 inches low

    400 yards: 15 inches low

    I am of the opinion that basing the rifle’s zero on the Maximum Point Blank Range would result in a higher probability of bringing the bad guy down, while reducing the amount of fiddling (mechanical as well as mental) that would need to be done by the shooter.


    Michael Sheehan
    Navarre, FL


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