Author Topic: Too much reliance on rangefinders?  (Read 260 times)

Steelhead

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Too much reliance on rangefinders?
« on: March 31, 2020, 10:01:17 AM »
I'm always taken aback by some airgun shooters total reliance on rangefinders to know their yardages. I'm not criticizing anyone in particular, but I think that it highlights a part of shooter's skills that needs work. I've always thought that I was fairly good at judging distances, but having a backyard range with targets stands from 25 to 200 yards made me a LOT better. 

I find that I can judge distances very consistently within 5 to 7 yards out to 100 yards. After that my 'groups' start to open up a bit.

For the above mentioned issue I'm talking about dealing with sub 100 yard distances. I'm also not saying to NOT use a rangefinder, but don't be helpless without it. Especially when you're in hunting situations; often there is not time to range a target and a decision has to be made. Are you willing to let that target pass because you don't have the confidence to take it? You should if you're not confident, absolutely. But everyone IMO should be confident in ranging targets to within 10 yards when dealing with distances inside of 100. If you can't, you need to practice. If you don't have the space, go to a football field with some targets (buckets work well) to range. You can place them at known yardages and get a visual feel for what the objects look like at those distances. Practice in different environments and terrains, especially if you have a rangefinder to verify your guesses. You will become exponentially better knowing distances and this in turn will make a much MUCH better hunter and shooter.

So not only will you learn the in's and out's of your rf, but ironically you will be using it less and less. Also you will find that you are verifying what you already know, instead of relying on the device for your success.

I'm not a techie and sometimes I come at shooting solutions with an old fashioned approach. What is undeniable is that practice and repetition are unequalled when it comes to gauging success. IMO knowing ranges when shooting an airgun should be given much more credence than it currently does.


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Alan

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Re: Too much reliance on rangefinders?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 11:42:07 AM »
I can't say that I know the exact distance, or even think about it too much, when shooting under 100 yards. My .25 caliber Impact, is targeted at 72 yards, and the prime targets are pigeons and collared doves. This makes sense for several reasons, not the lest of which is my average shooting yardage to target. Where I use a rangefinder a lot, is on smaller pest birds, and at longer ranges past 100 yards. The only exception for me, is when using my 397 Benji. In this case, I WANT to know the exact range, as the trajectory is really "arced"!

Perhaps what I do measure most often is the wind speed. Although I have an anemometer, I typically use some sort of wind sock. Pink nylon marking ribbon seems to work best for me, and 4 foot pieces hung about the ranch, help a whole lot.

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Steelhead

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Re: Too much reliance on rangefinders?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2020, 12:02:18 PM »
Exactly. As much as you shoot you know your yardages and like me need to check on the longer ones. Trajectory is relative, like you pointed out. The 397 has a lot, the Texan is pretty flat (comparatively) from 75 to 125 yards. Each gun requires a different level of adjustment and also difficulty to shoot.

You make an excellent point about windage. I get used to my bullet shooter punching through the wind. A stiff crosswind may require a 4" adjustment at 200 yards. The pellet shooters bring the wind into play a whoooooole lot more! The little wind socks are a great idea.
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steveoh

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Re: Too much reliance on rangefinders?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2020, 09:14:49 AM »
I am guilty of relying on my rangefinder because I absolutely suck at judging distance.

I often put my rangefinder in my pocket when I go on walks. I’ll stop and pick a variety of distances and try to guess how far away a street sign or tree is. Then I check with the range finder. Sometimes I’m very close and other times I’m WAY Off.

I have a collection of Nikkor lenses for my old Nikon F2 35mm camera and using the distance scale on the focus knob I could guesstimate the distance. Those scales were pretty good. The scales on my all cheap scopes however are hit and miss.

I will continue to practice though and try not to rely only on the rangefinder. I suppose choosing the correct distance to sight in your scope is key to make trajectory work for you and common distances you shoot at. 
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Alan

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Re: Too much reliance on rangefinders?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2020, 12:42:24 PM »
Steve brings up a related issue about using a scope to find the target's range.

I have both SFP and a FFP scopes which use basically the same reticle. At the ends of each crosshair, is a rectangular-shaped box, with 1/4, 1/2 and 1 mil spacing. If you know the height of your game, you can use these to judge the distance. Well... Good idea in theory, but poor in practice.

And... More and more airgun scopes are becoming available with side focus wheels. These wheels are often marked in yardage, and most are fairly close. Until that is, you adjust the eyepiece focus, then all bets are off. To get the wheel to agree closely with my rangefinder readings, I rotated the scope-barrel-mounted pointer so the 100 yard mark lined up. But then the others were off even more! I've been thinking about attaching some stick-on labels, in an effort to recalibrate the marks.

I mentioned game above, and knowing the size of your game is an important attribute. In my case, the typical game are eurasian doves, pigeons, and squirrels. All have the same vertical kill zone of ≈2 inches. Jump through the mathematical hoops considering the kill zone, the BC, the velocity, and the pellet weight, you get an almost perfect 72 yard sight in range. The question remains, however, how many airgunners actually go through the exercise?
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nervoustrigger

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Re: Too much reliance on rangefinders?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2020, 12:50:30 PM »
When I’m in unfamiliar terrain, I like to start by estimating distances to various landmarks and then use the rangefinder to see how close I was.  That has helped me improve over time but I will always use a rangefinder in a hunting or pesting situation unless I am positive it is within the relatively forgiving portion of the trajectory (20-45 yards typically).  Even then, I sometimes do anyway.  Aiming for a nickel-sized KZ at 50+ yards calls for every reasonable measure to ensure accurate placement.
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Mrshosted

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Re: Too much reliance on rangefinders?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2020, 04:28:13 PM »
I prefer to use the range finder.  It's on thing to be judging distance on a pop can.  But when hunting I prefer the clean kill provided with knowing my ranges.
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