Author Topic: Long range airgun hunting pointers, especially aim points  (Read 164 times)

Steelhead

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Long range airgun hunting pointers, especially aim points
« on: November 30, 2019, 06:08:24 PM »
I've learned a ton about ballistics, holdover/under, and being a fairly good judge of distance when in the field. Here are some things that I've noticed and picked up which can make or break a day pursuing game.

1) Range finders can be inaccurate. I have a Leupold, Steveoh has an RF (not sure of the brand), and we get different readings. Sometimes the readings are obviously way off. Not sure why, but a rangefinder is not the Bible for verifying distance, at least for me. Practice with judging and verifying distances through different measuring methods builds confidence and the RF comes out less and less.

2) Sidewheel adjusting scopes have their disadvantages. My Hawke sidewinder is amazing for clarity and accuracy, but it's weakness is excposed when trying to focus the parallax in the field. There are not enough hands. Trying to hold a Texan offhand with a suppressor hanging off the end (better do some more reps in the gym to hold steady) makes it impossible to turn the wheel. If you're set at 50 yards and a target emerges at 125 it's totally blurred. This is no big deal on the bench, but it's real pain afield.

3) Where to aim on an animal. I'll use a turkey for example. My windage variation is usually nothing with the .308 Texan. The elevation however is another story due to ballistics. I have learned to aim for the 'engine room' similar to a deer. Head shots are great for small bore (.25 and under) at sub-50 yard distances. When shooting over decoys and calling you can make some finite shot placements. But from 50 yards out to 200 yards it get's more complicated. Judging a target at 140 yards and it's actually 165 yards means a fairly significant elevation adjustment. It can mean a kill or a miss, or even worse a wounded quarry that escapes. I've learned to try to wait for the shot that gives me the most elevation flexibility. For example, the best shot for me is a turkey standing still and looking straight at me. It provides the biggest area for shot placement and I aim for the upper chest. If I'm a little low I get a lower body hit and the bird is recoverable. If I'm high I get the neck area or even the head. This has worked well. The least advantageous is a bird walking sideways with it's head down. My lethal hit area is greatly reduced, and the further out it is the worse it gets of course.

My preferred hunting method for turkeys is spot & stalk. No calls (usually), no decoys to pack, and I keep moving. It's fun, low maintenance, and applies really well to the rolling oak in my area. This method necessitates taking long shots so I've got to be on my game when it comes to ranging and making good on my chances. Just some thoughts and musings learned through successes and failures.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 06:12:18 PM by Steelhead »


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Alan

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Re: Long range airgun hunting pointers, especially aim points
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2019, 05:38:52 AM »
I agree, but with a caveat.

One of the issues with using a laser rangefinder, is its capability with respect to the maximum distance it can measure. Part of that specific issue is the beam width. Longer distances require a narrower beam. An allied issue is the minimum distance it can measure. Typically, the father it can measure (accurately), the longer the minimum measurable distance. For some units, that's 25 yards, and some as much as 50 yards. This narrower beam width requires more precise holding, and a bit more precision in manufacturing as well. It all boils down to this... Do you really know where the beam is pointing?

You can use a digital camera (cellphone mounted?) to see the laser spot, even at extended distances. Sometimes, due to manufacturing tolerances, or rough handling, the laser gets out of collimation. This causes the beam to measure something other than what you think it is! And let's not forget, that the measuring accuracy is based on the internal clock's frequency stability. Some units are notoriously poor in this respect, even expensive ones! If one believes Consumer Reports, the break-even price point is about $325. More than this, and you're paying for a name so to speak. Less than this, and it is almost a guessing game—close but no cigar!
 
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steveoh

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Re: Long range airgun hunting pointers, especially aim points
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2019, 09:12:42 AM »
After shooting at Kevin’s backyard range with steel targets at 25 and 50 yard increments out to 200 yards you’d think I would be a better judge of estimating distances. Hahaha, I suck at it.

Sometimes on my morning walks I carry one of the two range finders I own with me so I can practice range estimating. I still suck.

Then I find that either range finder chokes at further distances.

Sigh. It’s so important to understand the distances you are shooting at with an airgun with their rainbow trajectories. 

Sometimes I think an old school optical split image range finder might be more reliable.
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Re: Long range airgun hunting pointers, especially aim points
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2019, 07:28:31 PM »
I have been looking for a RF that can do 100y and less with in 1y accuracy now this really messes up my list knowing there is beam width involved.

Alan

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Re: Long range airgun hunting pointers, especially aim points
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 05:16:12 AM »
Here is a decent article on laser rangefinders: https://precisionrifleblog.com/2013/10/29/how-do-rangefinders-work/

This is as good as any writeup I've seen on laser rangefinders. Make note about the "beam divergence" apply described.

The one thing they don't talk about to any extent is the optics. The pictorial shows one where the viewer and laser use the same outgoing optical path. Not all do. Some have three paths (viewer, laser, and receiver), and which one they use has almost nothing to do with quality of the measurement.

By the way, you can buy a LRF in the $1,500 range, that will "see" a prairie dog at 1,000 yards! Problem is, the minimum distance to target is about 100 yards, and you have to use a tripod to hold it steady enough.
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