Variables of Long-Range Hunting 

by Knut-Eric Rognes from Norway

When I started my career as a hunter 20 years ago, I bought a Tikka M595 and a small Shirestone scope, 3-9x40 and 100 rounds of ammo, and shot three red deer in a season. Nothing fancy about it, maximum 100 m, and a shot in the middle of the shoulder. This is how it is done nowadays as well, as hunting has had a slow development (apart from better optics, that is).

The hunter has not changed, and the average shot distance is still less than 100 m. Ethics and tradition also play a big part in this. Long-range hunting is growing more popular every year. However, some hunters dislike this form of hunting, as many variables come into play, many of which you never have to think about under normal hunting distances. Some hunters like myself have developed an interest in both long-range shooting and hunting, simply because the hunting has changed.

Dense norwegian brush Norway is quickly becoming overgrown by brush. Ten years ago I could spot and stalk animals in the forest and mountains, whereas now the vegetation is so dense and high I can no longer see the deer. Thus I needed to adapt, and take shots from fixed locations at animals in clearings and openings. The reason for the dense brush is that there are no sheep or goats to eat the vegetation. Many years ago there were a lot of small farmers who let the sheep and goats feed out in the open, which prevented the vegetation from growing high. Now those farmers have abandoned farming and got regular jobs.They can no longer make a living from farming, as prices and taxes do not go hand in hand.

If you want to survive as a farmer in Norway, you need to expand, and be big. The area where I hunt used to have several farmers making a living from the land. Now there is only one left. And even if there are a lot of deer here, they rather feed on the farmers’ fi elds than eat brush and leaves from small trees in the woods.

Like walking on potato crisps

Hunting in dense brush is not easy here in the western parts of Norway. In autumn, the leaves fall to the ground and dry up, and it is like walking on potato crisps. Conditions are better if the wind is strong and it has been raining for some time, but often the vegetation is so high that you simply cannot see the animals blending in with it. I practice year-round, and also shoot in competitions. My steel targets are located in my hunting area. The trails where the deer walk have steel targets hanging nearby to simulate hunting situations all-year around.

My targets are from 800 m to 1 360 m. Anything closer than 800 m is considered an ‘easy’ shot. I have not Variables of long-range hunting By Knut-Eric Rognes, Norway 68 GUN AFRICA December 2016 missed a cold bore shot this season up to 800m. I practice in the same conditions as I would hunt in, which is more or less perfect conditions, with almost no wind. A wind speed of 0-3 m/sec is acceptable, but anything stronger, and I will not take the shot.

 

When shooting long range, you want to use the best bullet for this purpose

When shooting long range, you want to use the best bullet for this purpose. You want high BC (ballistic coefficient) and high MV (muzzle velocity) The heavier the bullet, the better the BC. I have found that the 338 Lapua Mag offers great power with heavy bullets, and still gives you great MV. I use a 267 gr Rangemaster Hollowpoint bullet from Peregrine Bullets, which has a very BC and MV. I get 910 m/sec from my 32" barrel, which imparts the same energy to the bullet at 1 000 m as a 308 does at 250 m. The high BC makes it less sensitive to wind deflection. This is a good thing, since the wind is one factor you cannot control. High BC also helps the bullet retain good velocity at longer range.

Impact velocity

Impact velocity is critical to ensure good expansion when hunting long range. A long bullet will most likely tumble if it does not open on impact, which will result in considerable tissue damage, and the death of the animal. A solid expansion is always desirable. When putting together a rifle for long-range hunting or shooting, you should first decide on which bullet you want to shoot, and at what range you will be shooting most. I want to hunt up to 1 000 m, necessitating a large-calibre rifle that is comfortable to shoot a lot with. Therefore it had to be custom-made, with a long, thick barrel for maximum weight, with a fast twist to stabilise the longest and heaviest bullets I could find; a large muzzle brake to damp the recoil; and an adjustable rifle stock to allow me to relax when I shoot.

Hunting stocks

Regular hunting stocks are not made for prone shooting, and you will never be comfortable shooting with any old hunting stock. You need a stock with a more vertical grip and adjustable cheek-piece, and also an adjustable length of pull. There are several good stocks on the market.

Is it still hunting?

So what happened to the hunting aspect, you may ask? Well, for me it is still hunting. Although I am further away, I still have to find the right animal, and I still need to sneak around to get into position, as there might be deer closer to me that I cannot see.

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 10:03
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