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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many long range shooters or bench rest shooters do we have on TA? How many long range varmint hunters or big game hunters? I ask because I see all kinds of advice on what powder and what bullets are the most accurate but I don't see how they arrived at that conclusion. Developing an accurate load takes dedication and a lot of testing the different variables. Example: Rifle-Rem Varmint Special in 22-250, Cases-Remington, Primer-CCI LR Match, Powder-IMR 4064 and bullet Hornady 52gn BTHP match. This is one of my most accurate loads in this rifle but in my buddys Savage 110 heavy barrel it only gives mediocre groups. Now we changed the primer to a Win LR match and used the Hornady 53gn flat base hp and his rifle shoots cloverleafs at 100 yds. While developing the load for my rifle I loaded 5 rounds of each using 5 different primers in the aforementioned load. Everything was the same except the primers. Testing these loads really opened my eyes to how much variation there is in just the primer. I admit there was not a lot of difference at 100 yds but when we stretched the range to 300 yds the difference was very notable. What I am saying is if you want to find the most accurate loads for a particular firearm then be prepared to shoot and test a lot. Every change in the combination of components of a cartridge affects consistency/accuracy even how deep & straight the bullet is seated, the crimp, and how the case is size affect accuracy. Patience is a virtue when loading for accuracy and if you really want a challenge then try loading your own cast bullets.
 

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There are probably more long range shooters in hunting, varmint, bean field etc than bench rest or some of the other long range competition. Several of us years ago were about as anal as one can be about such. Way too much time and money was spent chasing the illusive/elusive (both are correct) one hole group. Guns are like women and no two are alike. Even identical twins have different likes. Just in the reloading end of it. Cases were sorted by volume/weigh, neck concentric, inside ream or outside turned. Even primer weight and diameter check for uniform size etc. Bullets checked and sorted. Powder charges each measured. Groups often fired using same case reloaded for each shot. Neck sized just enough to hold bullet. Bullet loaded and round check to insure bullet seated square and to perfect length. Wait the for wind and conditions to be as perfect as possible. Insanity at its finest. In this state of great wisdom I once bought a custom barrel blank. Ends turned on center. Cut rifled, hand lapped, gauged to be as perfect as possible. Dropped $400 on just the blank, then it still had to be turned and fitted. Chambered, head spaced and crowned. Yes it was amazingly accurate, but the end resulting group is still no better than person shooting. Guy bought a Savage 243 bolt gun with scope and factory ammo for his kid. Had less than $400 in package. Brought it to the house to zero for deer and coyotes. First 3 shots were under 1/2" outside to outside. My gun would out shoot it, but he had a fun gun for him and his kid. I had an on going exercise in futility fed by an anal insanity looking for a Perfection that did not exist. After much thought reality brought me back around to just doing the things that were fun. Now I buy barrel blanks for under $100 each, few for 1/2 that. Reamers are seldom custom grind. Groups that are minute of whatever critters gun is for are acceptable. Long range can be fun. Hitting something at 1000 yards or more consistently will make your hat get tight and put a grin on your face. Don't start there, work towards there, when it becomes an obsession back off. That is when the fun leaves. As a side note, much of the anal insanity of match/long range shooting is not really necessary. Really good guns are not always the most expensive. Careful but not anal reloading for a gun when load it likes is found works great. It is load the gun likes that counts.
 

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I'll be playing around with 500yds come spring time :) but all the effort, not to mention $$$ that gets put into teensy tinsy groups at ridiculous distances is just beyond me. As you said, every rifle is different. I'll be happy if I can even hit a steel plate with any consistency at 500 yds, to be perfectly honest. That's probably going to be my summer goal - 500yd plate with .223, .308, and 7.62x39. I may even try 303 BRIT, 300 BLK and 7.62x54R just to be silly.
 

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Long range I suppose is relative to what firearm you are shooting and at what range. I shoot in a pistol league where we shoot the NRA coarse outdoors in the summer where the targets are at 25 and 50 yards and indoors in the winter where the targets are at 50 feet with a 1911 in .45 acp with open sights. The hand loads for indoor shooting are not the same as the longer range outdoor shooting and although I do use the same pistols the point of aim must be adjusted winter to summer. If I was a rich man I would own several 1911's just for bullseye and have them all zeroed for the range they would be used for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've Shot a little long range steel but not in any formal competition. My search for accurate rifles and handloads stems from varmint hunting and minute of groundhog at 500 plus yds. I spent many hours sitting on the long low ground field along the Dan River shooting Pasture Poodles and other varmints. I never got into Bench Rest but still spent small fortune on match grade dies and other reloading paraphernalia to get the most out of my rifles. I've built a few custom rifles but not to the point of bankrupting myself. I quickly learned that they are not the best option for field use so then I started buying used varmint rifles and rebarreling, floating the barrels, bedding the actions and doing a trigger job or replacing the trigger. This has worked for me and I can still enjoy myself.
 

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I used to shoot IHMSA handgun metal silhouette shooting with a pistol. The degree of difference with many long range long barrel pistols and revolvers is slight. In that sport, accuracy and knockdown is everything. This becomes a case of picking the best caliber for you and fine tuning the load. I went from 30-30 in various barrels with a Thompson Contender to .357 Maximum for Production Shooting. I moved from a .35 Remington barrel to 7mm International (7mm necked down from 30-30) in Unlimited class. Ruger Blackhawks and Dan Wessons were common with revolvers.

Knocking down a ram at 200 yards takes a good round and a solid hit.

I used my rifle shooting to develop solid pistol loads. The difference is that there is less room for error with a long range pistol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A local club and range used to hold tournaments and also held open shoots to promote the sport. I shot with a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a 10 inch barrel and did fairly well in my class. Your right, it takes a good hit and a lot of lead going fast to knock that Ram down. Lot of fun but as always the whiners showed up and created a stink about shooting steel and wanted to change all the rules so the club just decided to dissolve.
 

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I'll be playing around with 500yds come spring time :) but all the effort, not to mention $$$ that gets put into teensy tinsy groups at ridiculous distances is just beyond me. As you said, every rifle is different. I'll be happy if I can even hit a steel plate with any consistency at 500 yds, to be perfectly honest. That's probably going to be my summer goal - 500yd plate with .223, .308, and 7.62x39. I may even try 303 BRIT, 300 BLK and 7.62x54R just to be silly.
Two of those three ain't silly at all. The 303 and the 7.62x54 date back from an era when 300 was just on the longish side of what was expected to be normal engagement ranges. WWI era rifle battle sights were routinely set for a 200 yard zero. Now, the volley sights could get stupid with the ranges, but 300 isn't a stretch for any of the guns of that era. That 500 plate isn't out of the question either. I'd dare say it would come down more to the sights and the shooter than the gun or the ammo if the barrel ain't shot out.
 

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Two of those three ain't silly at all. The 303 and the 7.62x54 date back from an era when 300 was just on the longish side of what was expected to be normal engagement ranges. WWI era rifle battle sights were routinely set for a 200 yard zero. Now, the volley sights could get stupid with the ranges, but 300 isn't a stretch for any of the guns of that era. That 500 plate isn't out of the question either. I'd dare say it would come down more to the sights and the shooter than the gun or the ammo if the barrel ain't shot out.
The Enfield shoots well out to 100 yds (that's the farthest I've had the opportunity to shoot it as, so far) and the iron sights do come set at 200. I put a fairly cheap scope on it because my eyes don't do 100 yds very well anymore, so it should be good to go with some decent reloads - but I'm not terribly confident in the Greek surplus I scored a few years ago - it was doing nearly hours of angle as opposed to minutes at 100 yds and some cheap 124gr powder coated bullets that I was loading up with Red Dot were much more accurate. BUT, the real reason I bought the surplus was that it's brass and boxer primed, so still ,kind of a win/win.

The Mosin that I'll probably be trying out isn't shot out either, but a mad-sized silhouette at 500 yds (18"x30") will still be something of a lucky shot most likely. Plus, I've never fired at 500 yds and the last time I even did 300 was more than two decades ago (holy crap, nearly 3 decades now!) in the Army. It'll still be fun though :)
 

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Iv'e been hunting groundhogs for as long as I can remember used to be with 22, 22mag, 22/250 and .243 win did my own reloads but didn't spend a whole lot of time with it, also every year when we went to Wyoming deer and antelope hunting, would get our big game early and shoot prairie dogs the rest of the week. Now that I am retired (7 years) I am spending a lot more time working up loads and trying to shoot farther. Have also started hunting fox and coyote in the winter. I am amazed how often when there is snow on the ground you can spot fox and coyote in corn stubble, if you see a spot that isn't white in the row out there 250 or 300 yrds put the glasses on it and it will be a fox or coyote bedded down right out in the open, and sometime with a little luck they don't get up and run away after you shoot. Now I am using a .17 hmr or .204 Ruger most of the time. I use the .17 up to 100 yrds most of the time and the .204 on out farther. I like the light little grenades they shoot and I don't get ricochets, they just explode on impact
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Iv'e been hunting groundhogs for as long as I can remember used to be with 22, 22mag, 22/250 and .243 win did my own reloads but didn't spend a whole lot of time with it, also every year when we went to Wyoming deer and antelope hunting, would get our big game early and shoot prairie dogs the rest of the week. Now that I am retired (7 years) I am spending a lot more time working up loads and trying to shoot farther. Have also started hunting fox and coyote in the winter. I am amazed how often when there is snow on the ground you can spot fox and coyote in corn stubble, if you see a spot that isn't white in the row out there 250 or 300 yrds put the glasses on it and it will be a fox or coyote bedded down right out in the open, and sometime with a little luck they don't get up and run away after you shoot. Now I am using a .17 hmr or .204 Ruger most of the time. I use the .17 up to 100 yrds most of the time and the .204 on out farther. I like the light little grenades they shoot and I don't get ricochets, they just explode on impact
I used to load the Hornady SX bullets for 223. and reduced 22-250 loads for that reason but the 220 Swift was just too fast and bullet would disappear in puff of grey smoke about 50 yds down range.
 
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