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CLOSE RANGE: How to mess up a SURE shot the STUPID way

Started by JungleShooter, June 22, 2022, 01:47:17 PM

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How to mess up a SURE shot the STUPID way 🤦🏻

In the past, there were times when
▪ I missed because the quarry moved the moment I pulled the trigger.

▪ There were times I missed because the wind decided to swirl into a different direction just as my pellet was making its way to the quarry.

▪ And times when I missed because my Chinese valve, regulator, or other part did what Chinese gun parts often do.

Well, this is not one of those times.

🔹 I had a pigeon land really close to my well-conceiled position.
50 yards range would have been fine. 12 yards would have been fine.
But it was only 4 yards.... 😱

I raised my head slowly over my cover, left eye scanning for the quarry, right eye aiming through 3x magnification.
What a rush! (and rushed I was, as these pigeons don't stick around once they see a human this close).

THERE IT IS!! —— Crosshairs on it!! —— Squeeze the trigger, follow through!!

• • • • • • •

A loud sharp slap.
Not the expected deep thudd....
Fluttering of a scared pest bird. Fluttering away — not fluttering on the ground in a final death dance.... 🤷🏻

STUPID!! 😡  (me, that is).
Missed a 4 (four) yard shot!

At such close range the trajectory of my JSB dome was over an inch lower than the crosshairs.
And on its way it hit an obstacle that — — in the scope view — didn't seem to be in the way of the trajectory. But that's what I hit.

And the pest bird lives to poop another day. 🤦🏻

• • • • • • •

There is plenty to learn for me...

I welcome 50 yard shots. 5 yard shots scare me. I have missed those shots — so — many — times. 🤦🏻
And one reason is that hunting fever is real. It's a sickness that shuts my brain off.
So, unless my brain is trained through many practices where it will perform on auto-pilot, I will continue to miss those extreme close range shots. 

For my fever the doctor might prescribe the following treatment:
Maybe I need a shooting range at the bottom of a ravine, or some other location where I have backstops all around me.
I'll place numbered targets all around me at varying ranges, some far, but many at extreme close ranges.
And then, I need to shoot them in order, under time pressure.
Until my brain learns to perform on auto-pilot.
➔ Death to all pigeons, both NEAR and far! 💀

❓ What are your experiences with extreme close range shots on quarry?

Have a great day! (meaning, go kill something).



I miss close shots (inside of ten yards) more often than I like to admit. I had an oopsie recently where I failed to see the steel handle of a tool sticking out below my scope line but about two inches from the muzzle. The sound of the NSA slug impacting the handle (and spraying into the side of the barn) when I'm looking at a dove through the scope scared me to death.

I have a hard time with the in-your-face shots; they occur so rarely. All I can do is laugh and remember to bring a rock to throw at a bird when it lands that close. The odds are better of a kill, lol.
Airforce Texan .308
FX Impact MKII .25
Benjamin Discovery .22
Benjamin Prowler .177
Texan .50
Sam Yang 909s Light Hunter
Born Wild Shooting Chair
Air Venturi compressor


I've been shooting grey squirrels around the yard and in our butternut tree for 8 years now. 287 to date, plus 175 rats with various sorts of cobbled-together night vision. And the hardest shots are the closest, which is to say, more than half my shots, which are inside 10 yards. Many are as close as 2 or 3 yards from the kitchen window or porch. Not so much for my first couple of years though, as I tended to be too excited and scare them a little way off before getting a chance for a shot. I'm stealthier these days.

It was during my second year in the squirrel battle that I first completely missed one from up close, about 3.5 yards. He was sitting on a branch of the nut tree, side to me, presenting a perfect target. I did exactly as you describe, excitedly placing the crosshairs on his noggin, exactly halfway between ear hole and eye. Squeezed the trigger... and he flinched, then turned to stare straight at me for a few seconds before running off. I was rather upset, thought at first he must have been pellet proof. Then it hit me - at that close a range, with my scope height over bore, the pellet would have been slightly over an inch low. And sure enough that's about right to just ruffle the fur of his lower jaw. I got him later that day, but the sting of that dumb miss bothered me for a long time.

My solution was to start printing out range cards, showing both a graph and a numeric list of all distances from muzzle to maximum practical range. I've kept cards like this with each of my airguns ever since. Any tuning I do, trying a new pellet, anything which brings about changes in trajectory, I'll make a new card and keep that with the airgun. Same for my 9mm carbine, 10/22, a few other .22lr rifles, and when I find the opportunity to take it out and get it zeroed I'll do the same with my Sig Cross in 6.5CM. In the garden it's easy enough to estimate the difference between 5 and 10 yards. In the field I use a rangefinder. Same rules apply, though of course for greater than back yard distances I don't worry so much about scope over bore height making a fool of me. Chairgun and Strelok are both a great help in this regard, providing different sorts of visualizing tools to make it easy.

Oh, forgot a rather relevant bit of information. That miss under the squirrel was one of the earliest taken on live quarry with a scope. Up to that time I'd been using open sights. Much easier for close range with just a half inch or a bit more above the bore using irons. I'd shot a lot as a kid with iron sights, came to scopes with advancing years, finding them unusable by age 54. At 60 it's all glass, no going back.


Precisely why I want a range that covers everything from 5 yards to 200 yards. Then practice until I don't miss.
Quackenbush .58 Outlaw
Shooting Chairs
Vallejo Ferry Schedule
DAQ .458 LA Outlaw Rifle
DAQ .58 LA Outlaw Rifle
FX Streamline .25
FX M3 Impact 700mm Sniper .25
Benjamin Bulldog .357
QB-79 .177
Crosman 1322
Crosman 1377 - HoRodded 10 FPE
Diana Model 27 (childhood airgun)
Tolman Skiff
Airgun Calculator



You'd still have to remember that at close range you go to the see through scope rings. It's more about paying the right kind of attention when the target comes in really close, and not getting so excited that you forget holdover.


All of this can be easily solved by using a range card, calculated using your favorite ballistics program.

The first range card below shows two zero closing points. Where these are located, depends on several factors. These are, sight in range, PBR (point blank range-depending on the game you're shooting at), velocity, BC of the projectile, and the height of the scope above the bore centerline.

The second range card is for my .25 caliber FX Impact, shooting 28.6 Gr. NSA slugs (0.088 BC), 977 FPS (≈55 FPE), 2 inch PBR, and 3 inch scope height. It doesn't appear evident, but mental interpolating the range (say 112 yards), will still place the projectile within the 2 inch PBR.


I have a Hill EC-3000 compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your tank as a courtesy (4,250 PSI limit).