A Long Shot

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Gloucester, May 2, 2009.

  1. Gloucester

    Gloucester AH Member

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    I don't consider myself a particularly good shot, I believe I am "adequate for purpose" when it comes to African hunting, by which I mean I can usually hit what I am aiming at and I stand my ground if things go wrong and the situation get hairy.

    However, if you hunt long enough, everyone pulls off an extraordinary shot where the memory stays with them. Mine came hunting Red Hartebeest in the Kalahari in Namibia a couple of years ago.

    Now, I don't know how many people reading this have hunted Red Hartebeest but I found these animals very difficult to get close to. No sooner would I start to approach a reasonable shooting range when off they would go, over the next sand dune - I swear I could hear them laughing as they disappeared.

    Kevin Robertson writes in 'The Perfect Shot' that "...it is usually not difficult to get within 200 paces or so of Red Hartebeest." I am jealous of his experience because I couldn't get within 500 paces.

    One day, as we stood in the hot, hot, hot sun, swearing because the small herd had just romped away again, we saw them stop along a ridge and stand in line astern, with their heads swivelled sideways to watch us, laughing no doubt. I had range-finding binoculars (useful in the Kalahari where a lot of the shooting is quite far) and I clocked the distance at 550 yards.

    We talked for a bit and compared opinions and calculations. My hunting partner was an ex-Marine sniper and he had an instinctive feel for windage and drop. We picked out a target and the consensus was that if I shot 4 feet above the point of the left horn, the bullet should drop and drift into a kill.

    I lay down and made a steady rest with my backpack, sighted in carefully and... bang. The Hartebeest dropped like a stone. We all whooped and cheered: I am sure they could hear us in Windhoek!

    It's not the best shot ever achieved, I've heard of a lot better - but it's the best of mine, and it'll do.

    I was shooting a Steyr Mannlicher 8 x 68 (S), using 196 grain bullets. My scope was a 6x42 IOR.
     

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  2. Karamojo Bill

    Karamojo Bill AH Senior Member

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    Long shot

    Gloucester, that's a cool story...better that you have witnesses;).

    Here's mine, I was hunting Roosevelt elk in the Oregon coast range with my step-father who had a disabled hunter status. We came upon a herd on a knoll about 350 yds away where the powerlines went through the dense Oregon forest. He shot at a cow, (allowed on his disabled tag). I should say here that his shooting was a bit disabled too;). He winged it and I saw it stagger through my scope. I put a second one off-hand in the boiler room. As I worked the action, the last of the herd was dropping over the backside of the knoll & I spotted a spike. All I had was an off-hand shoot at the "Texas heart shot". I held the .338 WM a bit above the middle of the antlers and touched off a round.

    When we got there...it took him a long time to climb with his COPD....We found his cow laying where I finished it for him. (THIS IS ALLOWABLE under OREGON STATE LAW). I walked over the knoll and found my spike dead from a shot to the back of the head. The antlers were not very tall but I must say the width was impressive though a bit floppy:rolleyes: all done at 350 yds offhand.
     
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I will say this, I don't practice shooting near enough. But the red hartebeest doesn't like to be shot at close range in Namibia. They are very hard to hunt in the open terrain. I shot my big one at 350 yard...give or take. And was very excited to get him. I will treasure that animal the rest of my life.

    My hat off to you Gloucestor, that was a heck of a shot!!!!
     
  4. hound_hunter

    hound_hunter AH Member

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    I'm no good at telling stories, so no special shots from me. But i love hearing all of yours; I just wanted to say post some pics! I love seeing pictures. Lets see these Oregon elk, and enysse, I would love to see the big heartabeest you were talking about! Gloucester, great heartabeest, great story, and a great shot. Good job man!

    (Being a Marine, I know all credit is due to your hunting partner on this one. But I'll congratulate you none the less ;)
     
  5. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    I have 2 great shots... first was my 2nd impala on my 1st safari we were stalking into a huge heard of impala when the ph tapped me & pointed to one we had not seen. He had no shooting sticks - 160 yds front on neck & head shot.. well I took the neck & dropped him in his tracks but as I figured the cape was ruined..nice Impala 24 1/2" horns!!

    Second one was my Black Wildebeest on my 2nd safari we chased & chased these things for miles & never could close the distance to within 500-600 yds! My ph knows my shooting skills & asked if I could make the shot! When I asked how far it was he said he guessed over 600 yds as his range finder only went to 500. So I jumped up on the truck leaned over the cab & shot .. I could see the bullet went just over his back , the Wildebeest squatted & looked over his shoulder - by the time my PH told me I was high I had the 2nd bullet on the way & down he went!!

    He asked how I aimed - I said I used Kentucky windage on the 1st shot of about 3 feet above him. My gun was sighted for 350 yds dead on as I was hunting the spring bucks. The 2nd shot I just aimed a little lower.. I really shouldn't have or recommend taking a shot that long - but being at the end of the safari I did..

    It was the best shot I ever made on an animal.. Having shot 600 yard rifle matches,many times I felt comfortable, but again I don't recommend it or tell many people that story.. I don't want to promote that stuff as you always hear enough tall tales about those kind of shots & you know they have no idea about the ballistics of the bullets they shoot!! shooting targets you get a point for a hit in real life animals it's about a killing ethical shot!!
    My Pictures are in the gallery , The wife isn't here & she posted them for me!!!
     
  6. Karamojo Bill

    Karamojo Bill AH Senior Member

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    Ya know HH, I never took pictures that day...My Step-father had COPD and I had a lot of work to do getting two elk cleaned, quartered & packed to the road. Then a 100 mile drive to my butcher's cooler. I wish I would have now because he's gone:(. He was a terrible shot but a great fisherman AND friend.

    Semper Fi
     
  7. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    I have made some hellashously long shots, and I figure I am about as good a shot as anyone I know, but my dad always had a way of bringing me down to reality..If I made one of those real long or lucky shots he always said, "Son, that one zigged when he shoulda zagged and damned if he didn't run into your miss! " Guess he was right 90% of the time.
     
  8. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    Am not required to take many long shots, but the one occasion that comes to mind, I had to take two buffalo for the government to feed a celebration at the district headquarters and they were needed NOW! We only had about four hours of daylight left...

    Failing to find a herd, we stumbled on two dugga boys making their way from their daytime hide-out through a big opening towards the village farms. With only half an hour of light left, we had few options but to rush to the stream under cover of the reeds and then cross and try get them... They had moved further than expected and there was no cover after the stream to shield us on an approach. We decided to just walk towards them and try a shot if they spotted us - it only took 20 meters for them to spot us. I had my trusty .416 Remington with safari grade factory loads. I figured it was a 200 meter shot and aimed a foot above the target. The shot put the buffalo down in its tracks. The second bull ran about 50 meters and stopped broadside - I gave him a shot aiming 15" over the target and he bucked and ran in a cloud of dust.

    As we moved closer, the first bull started kicking and got up - he got one into the chest and that was the end of that. About 300 meters ahead, the second bull was dead with a shot through the heart (not intended). The first one was shot through both lungs but a little on the low side. The distance on the first shot was measured at 220 meters and the second shot was at 260 meters. Nothing extreme, but the furthest shot I have had to make so far with big game. Have shot a hartebeest at 300 meters with a .30-06 but that is pretty common practice with most hunters. I do not advise anyone to attempt such long shots on dangerous game - I was lucky and had a big open space to work with.

    My other memorable shot was when i first used my custom built .470 NE to guide with... a wounded lion was getting away and heading for the long grass. I took the shot at 150 meters and bowled him over completely. Even though i had practiced with the gun many times, that was the shot that gave me the confidence to permanently adopt the gun as my guiding partner.

    The best incident i have had though has nothing to do with distance - in fact the shot was fired at one meter. A client had missed a hippo, and the bull plunged into a nearby pool. The pool had high banks all around except for one spot where game goes to drink. This is where we went to investigate. As we stood at the opening by the waters edge, suddenly my tracker tells me 'he is coming' while pointing to a slight lift in the water... instantly, the lift in the water turned into a wave with a hippo in it. I only had time to raise my double and shoot him full on. He dropped, but budged at the waters edge almost at my feet and he got the second barrel too. Only then did i realize that nobody was behind me anymore except for my tracker and he too was on the bank above me :) One of the closest calls I have had with hippo... too many more for this space.
     
  9. Safari Chick

    Safari Chick AH Veteran

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    Gloucester, great story and thread! Really excellent tales being told here:clapping:I want to hear more of them
     
  10. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    I suppose the longest shot I ever made was on a Black Wildebeest with PH Phillip Price, Swarkei Safaris and my dear wife got the whole thing on film...800 yards moving pretty fast and Phillip says if you can get some hair or some blood my boy can find him! Phillip has a lot of faith in my shooting ability.

    I rested my .338, 210 Noslers at 3005 FPS over Phillip prone body and hit the Wildebeest 3 out of 5 shots before he went out of sight, he spun like a top on every hit...Phillip said come with me and we jumped in the truck and drove about 20 minutes and parked, and Phillip said he will show up soon unless he is dead and if so then the boys have his blood trail and will find him for sure..Sure enough as we sat waiting, Phillip, who was glassing said there he is and he is and he's all but dead under that bush 200 yards up the hill. I put a bullet in his neck and the hunt was over....Two of my shots were in the body, one a gut shot, the other was in the lung and one in the foot.

    That was some years ago, today I wouldn't even consider such a shot..IMO A good shot will score a hit at long range almost every time, but where is the catch!! By the same token, a poor shot will just miss, so the better shot you are, the more reason NOT to risk these kinds of shots..
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  11. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    My longest shot was long ago now almost half my lieftime LOL. 15 years ago I was hunting warthog on peanut fields on my friends farm there was only piles of decaying foilage left on the field and the warthogs use to dig and sniff out the odd nut out of it.

    Normally the pigs would be easy to hunt but the weather was bad and cloudy. We would usually bag 2-4 pigs in a afternoon on school holidays for pocket money but this afternoon was slow and by 5pm the only pig was an old sow way in the middle of the fields about 500-600 meters away. About half past five the pig moved closer to what we considered a maybe shooting distance and so I tried. I took carefull aim and aimed about 18" above the pig with the x4 maginifcation on my 303 enfield. Lying prone and the rifle over my jacket I felt comfortable, at the shot the pig dropped out of sight and while I pushed myself up I heard the thud of the hit !!!!

    My friend couldnt believe it and we paced the shot at over 400 strides the pig was hit in the middle of her body trough the spine and was almost done when we reached her.

    Since then I have taken a long shot on a young kudu bull which I missed but connected with the second at over 300 meters and broke his back. So I dont have a lot of long range experience but I will never forget that shot on the pig with my old 303 Enfield and there isnt a lot of people who believe me.
     
  12. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    My new longest shot is 410 yards by accident! We where hunting in the East Cape and we where glassing for Kudu, Nyala, and Bushbuck. We were in general hunting a green, cloud covered mountain at the base. All of a sudden we see a nyala bull mixing with 3 kudu cows at 350 yards. My guide says shoot!!! All I can see is the head and part of the shoulder. I told him there is no way I'm shooting. He's getting mad. We wait and I want to move closer. All of a sudden the bull appears in the open! Shoot! Shoot! What are you waiting for yells my guide??? What is the distance! 350 yards, he's broadside, you better hit him. I hold high on the shoulder...pull the trigger. He jumps...I'm like great shot...Why is he running so fast. Give me the rangefinder! I hold it to 410 yards. That is a huge difference in my 190 gr. 300 Win Mag gun. I calculate the bullet will drop anohter 8 inches. We climb up the mountain and find very little blood. Ph says dogs will find him. They find nothing! We look for 2 hours and give up...$2400 down the drain. Lesson learned...don't shoot unless you know the distance. In my case I wouldn't have shot...way to far! Don't get pressured by your guide to shoot unless he is going to pony up the trophy fee for the wounded animal. Yes, I'm sad and upset about the whole issue. After the safari was over, they called and said they found the animal dead...shot low. Big suprise! Where are my photo's of me and the animal? The outfitter is going to find a cape...but that doesn't fix this hunting trip memory up at all.
     
  13. Macs B

    Macs B AH Veteran

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    Long for this Country!

    This shot happened three nights ago, 6 JUN 09. I believe it is the longest shot I have ever taken on game. The target was a Roe deer, distance was 472 paces over open ground, a lasered range back to the high seat of 459 meters. Target was a Roe Buck, a nice old sixer that weighed 34 kilos.

    I watched this particular buck for approximately an hour and a half. He was obviously injured or wounded. Dragging his left hind leg limp. Normally I’d never shoot a shot like that on the revere, but his being injured changed the rules a bit. After a little head scratching about how to get to him I called in my buddy. We debated the best shot and decided that he was in a location that was nearly un-shootable from any other direction than where I sat. To approach through the agriculture fields would undoubtedly spook him off the revere. After a little discussion I decided to take him from the solid rest of the high seat. I couldn’t get a laser range on him, due to the high grass he was in, so I did the “football field” guess-timate and figured him at 475 meters. I switched to my Browning A bolt in 7mm REM MAG shooting 150 gr power points. With it’s variable 4-16 x 56 mm Accupoint I had a great sight picture. I estimated the hold over using a nearby scrub that was approximately waist high judging from the height of the hay in the field. I had a good gusty crosswind so I held into the wind almost 1/3 of his body length or about 15 inches. Luckily he was standing with back to the wind so I still had a good vertical reference on the body. The shot dropped in just as I had hoped, a little higher than planned but in the lungs and heart plumbing. It was a little further back than anticipated, I never could estimate wind accurately.

    Roe deer aren’t known for their tough hides. He fell dead from the shot four steps from the point of impact. Once we dressed him out it was easy to tell he had been hit by something, most likely a car. His back end was beat up badly and his hips and pelvis were pretty badly damaged. For a guy that always prides himself on getting in tight for a close shot I was pretty happy. A injured animal got put out of his misery and I got a “long shot” story for the forum.
     

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  14. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    Very well done on a very long shot I would never have pulled it off myself.
     
  15. Macs B

    Macs B AH Veteran

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    Frederik,
    I will never do it again, at least not in front of witnesses! But damn talk about bragging rights for the next few weeks. How's that saying go "I'd rather be lucky than good".
     
  16. oscar1975

    oscar1975 AH Veteran

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    Excellent story of an excellent shoot, with an excellent caliber, but I must do the job is the Hunter and you did. You do not remove merits, and my sincere congratulations.

    A greeting

    Oscar.
     
  17. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    My best advise is do your hunting before your shot and you won't have to take those low percentage shots.! :) :)
     
  18. Macs B

    Macs B AH Veteran

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    It's all about the windage

    Here is one for the record books! Another fine Roe taken out by an amazing shot!

    This one was peeking into the fields at a couple of farmers, unsure if she should venture out. The hunter, yours truly, watched and watched trying to decide the best angle on this wily little gal. There was no amount of enticement that would bring this little girl into the clear, and at this range she was a low percentage shot. I decided to take the shot that I had regardless of the range. A perfectly placed round right between her eyes!
    No need for a finishing shot, or any shot for that matter. All that was required to give this little girl a healthy respect for humans was a single pine cone dropped precisely, from 3 feet away! That should teach her not to stand beneath my high seat! If she ever shows her nose through that ladder again, I’ll make sure she gets shot in the face with a camera and takes another pine cone in the vitals. These little Roe may be small but they're feisty.

    Unfortunatley I missed with the camera at 40 yards, I think she flipped me off.
     
  19. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    Nothing I've hunted in Africa required long shots. My longest and shortest shots were at springboks. One ram was standing at perhaps 200 yards out; the other ran past me at maybe 20 feet and I swung my rifle past it like a shotgun, yanked the trigger, and got lucky. It piled up in a cloud of dust less than 30 yards away. The best part of that shot was that my host and one of his farm workers were with me.

    That evening at a gathering of a group of Kimberley-area farmers, my host told everyone who would listen how great a shot this American outdoor writer had pulled off in collecting the meat we were eating. I tried to act as if hitting running springboks at point-blank range was something I could do any day of their choosing.

    All of the 35-40 other African antelopes I've taken were 40 to 150 yards away. (Both my red hartebeest and Lichtenstein hartebeest, for example, were moving out about 75 yards off.)

    My longest shot anywhere was on a bull elk in Mongolia. It was across a wide clearing and I had no way of knowing how far it was, but it was standing broadside at the edge of the forest w-a-y out there. It was the last morning of my hunt and we were scheduled to drive back to Ulan Bator that afternoon. I held at the top of its antlers with my 7mm Rem Mag and held the vertical crosshair on its foreleg from a steady rest.

    When I shot, the elk whirled and ran out of sight into the trees. The Mongolian interpreter with me said I'd missed. I had just said "I don't think ..." when the "splat" sound of the bullet striking the animal reached us.

    We found the animal down, but trying to get up, about 300 yards into the trees when we followed the blood trail in the snow. A second shot at 20 yards killed it. My bullet had broken the bull's left shoulder, passed through both lungs, and wound up between the ribs and hide on the opposite side of the elk.

    My rifle was sighted to strike dead on at 320 yards with 175-grain Nosler Partition handloads, which means: 1.) With considerable skill, I correctly judged the distance and the necessary holdover and sent my bullet smack dab into the middle of the shoulder precisely where I intended it to go, or 2.) through pure blind luck and no fault of my own, I inadvertently wiggled the rifle the proper amount and the trigger broke exactly when needed to hit that bull.

    I would like to think it was option No. 1 that brought me that elk, but I've missed too many Hail Mary shots over the past six decades of hunting to say it was so.

    Bill Quimby
     
  20. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Congrats to those who can shoot out at those distances. I prefer to see how close i can get, not how far away. Not being negative, long range shooting is just not my thing.
     

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