What Is Your Personal Limit?

Bonk

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The threads about the 6.5CM got me thinking. A lot of us seemed to be of the opinion that shooting at live game at extreme distances poses some ethical questions. Ok, fine but where do we individually draw the line? How far is too far?There are a lot of variables. Skill, caliber, equipment, environment, species, etc.

Try and limit your responses to your own general guidelines. There are exceptions to every rule.

I’ll start. In general I prefer to keep my shots inside 250 yards. I will sneak beyond that but only with a rifle I’m supremely confident with and only if the circumstances (wind, light, shooting position, etc) are all favorable. Frankly, I’m an excellent shot but I’m not comfortable taking shots at a live animal if there’s any doubt about making a one shot humane kill. Good enough isn’t good enough for me. I’d rather let the game go than hope for the best.

Stuff happens. I shot a doe once at about 65 yards. It was an easy shot but something went wrong. I don’t know if I hit a branch or just blew the shot but when I decided to pull the trigger I had no doubts. I never found her and I still hate it. However, I don’t regret taking the shot. It was a responsible choice to shoot even though I wounded her. I’d take the same shot again without hesitation.

None of us can control outcomes 100% of the time. Like I said above, stuff happens but by self imposing personal limits we can greatly minimize stuff happening.

So, what are your own general limits? There are no right or wrong answers even though there will probably be responses some of us think are unreasonable. I’m genuinely interested in where the line is for each of us.
 

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For me it is only what I practice. I practice at 400 yds and closer . It really is practicing that counts. I have occasionally shoot at longer distances but at Targets not Animals, and not enough to be consistant. I can confidently hit at 400 yds and closer . I took Elk on Wyoming at 325 yds. Yes. I spend allot on Ammo/reloading.
 

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As you note it depends on the rifle, caliber, game animal, and location. For mountain game with the appropriate caliber I am very comfortable to 350. The farthest I have ever shot an animal was a Spanish Ibex at a bit over 300 last April. A closer approach was not an option, and I was using a superbly scoped R8 in .270WSM with a quality 130gr bullet. The rifles that I use for Africa tend to have shorter PB range, and the farthest I have taken a game animal there was right at 250 - and about as far as I care to shoot off the sticks. For buffalo, I want to be inside 100, preferably inside 70.
 

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I routinely shoot targets at out to 750 yards with several rifles and I enjoy shooting farther—at targets.
I would shoot at an animal out to 700 but beyond that, bullets simply don’t expend the energy required for a quick kill and I despise shooting the shoulder for a spine shot.
I would mention I also love to bowhunt where getting close is the game and I love it as well.

We practice off sticks and my teenage daughter can blow up gallon milk jugs refilled with water at 400 yards with her 7mm-08 and a good leupold scope all day-custom turret.
 
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375Fox

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I’d really prefer to be inside 300 yards. I will take a shot to 400 if no other option is available, but I’m not comfortable beyond that. Inside 300 I feel I can reload and confidently hit again, beyond that is uncertain. My two longest shots have been an eland at 346 yards and a roe buck at 330m/360 yards. Both long shots were the same scenario, we were on one side of valley and they were on other. There was no opportunity to get closer. The roe buck I actually hit low and shot again on the run. I’m not a fan of the custom dial scopes, but I can see the value in this situation. My 4 stable sticks have also increased my confidence shooting off sticks. It’s difficult to miss left or right only up or down so it is nearly always an ethical shot, either a good hit on the shoulder or a miss.
 
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grand veneur

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For me the limit for shooting is the distance of about 500 yards, and I consider this only as an emergency solution if there is really no other way.

Is taken into account for the kind of game, the appropriate cartridge and bullet, and their maximum point-blank range. You still need enough velocity and therefore killing power at the impact, which becomes very unsafe at very long distance.

In my opinion, there are no reasons to shoot game at very long range, unless you want it, what I find shameful for animal welfare reasons , or you cannot get closer to the game because you don't have the physical condition to do that, but then you should also consider whether to continue hunting.
 

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I generally try to get with in 200 yards of an animal that I want to shoot. I’ve killed 2 animals at over 400 yards and elk and a pronghorn antelope. Both times I had very solid tests, the animals were calm and stationary so I felt good about the shots. Both animals went right down upon impact. Both were shot with a 300 win mag and 180 nosler partions.

I think the furthest I’ve shot anything off of sticks in Africa was about 225-230 yards. It was an oryx I shot a couple of months ago. Same deal, calm and relaxed animal that wasn’t moving. He dropped to the shot as well with a 300 win mag. I agree with a previous poster, if I am hunting buff or other dangerous game, I want to be a close as safety allows. I don’t think I would take a shot on dangerous game further than 100 yards and preferably within 50 yards. I tell folks that my rifle, scope and ammo are capable of far more than I am as the operator. I’ve shot targets out to 500 yards pretty reliably but wouldn’t dare shoot an animal that far. If I can’t get closer than that the animal wins.
 

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I'd say it really depends by the size of the game animal and the conditions. As for a general upper limit, could be 300mt/330 yds, since I practice all year long at that distance with my hunting rifles - all of them wood & blued, skinny barreled, max 10x optics.
Anyway, as Clint says "a man's got to know his limitations", and I guess the actual fever for Long Range Hunting is not for everyone, despite the super accurate stuff we have today - as the rifle still doesn't make the hunter.
 

grand veneur

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I have shot a few Ibex and Elk mostly in Central Asia at distances in excess of 400 yards. To claim that it always ran without problems would be a lie. I had to track an wounded Elk, that I had shot at 420 yards with a rifle caliber 300 RUM and a 180gr Scirocco bullet from Swift, for a few hours in the high Altai mountains. Luckily I found it and was able to made the final shot.

Usually I shot game at longer range with bigger cartridges und heavier bullets like the 340 WBY-Magnum, 338 Lapua Magnum or 9,3x64 Brenneke. Use enough gun is not just for hunting DG.
 

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For me it is very dependent on game and conditions. The following are gross generalizations:

Buffalo 100
PG in bushveld 200
PG in open plains 350
Grizzly/brown bear 200
Elk/whitetail 350

My longest kill was 425 on a pronghorn. I am prepared to go to 550 on coues deer with very specialized equipment.
 

Areaonereal

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With an exceptionally solid rest I am comfortable and confident to 500 yds…280 or 30 06. Using Leupold cds max to 14x….have pushed this range in Africa on cull hunt to 480 yds with success, but not often if given a choice.
 

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I practice on a 8” round steel plate at 300 yards and would feel comfortable shooting an animal to that distance. I have just never shot anything that far away. I think my cow moose in Quebec at 90 yards is the longest shot I’ve had to make. I consider myself very lucky as most of the game I have had the opportunity to shoot is inside 50 yards and bears inside 20yards.
 

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The threads about the 6.5CM got me thinking. A lot of us seemed to be of the opinion that shooting at live game at extreme distances poses some ethical questions. Ok, fine but where do we individually draw the line? How far is too far?There are a lot of variables. Skill, caliber, equipment, environment, species, etc.

Try and limit your responses to your own general guidelines. There are exceptions to every rule.

I’ll start. In general I prefer to keep my shots inside 250 yards. I will sneak beyond that but only with a rifle I’m supremely confident with and only if the circumstances (wind, light, shooting position, etc) are all favorable. Frankly, I’m an excellent shot but I’m not comfortable taking shots at a live animal if there’s any doubt about making a one shot humane kill. Good enough isn’t good enough for me. I’d rather let the game go than hope for the best.

Stuff happens. I shot a doe once at about 65 yards. It was an easy shot but something went wrong. I don’t know if I hit a branch or just blew the shot but when I decided to pull the trigger I had no doubts. I never found her and I still hate it. However, I don’t regret taking the shot. It was a responsible choice to shoot even though I wounded her. I’d take the same shot again without hesitation.

None of us can control outcomes 100% of the time. Like I said above, stuff happens but by self imposing personal limits we can greatly minimize stuff happening.

So, what are your own general limits? There are no right or wrong answers even though there will probably be responses some of us think are unreasonable. I’m genuinely interested in where the line is for each of us.
Fair question. My limit is 350 yards obviously for PG only and only with my rifle of choice at that distance. Having said that my first kudu was at 378 yards…great animal and I felt comfortable slightly exceeding my distance. What saves me is my personal gun range on my farm that lets me practice practice…did I say practice some more!!!
 

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I am pretty much inline with this, but I would add a few yards for sheep & goats in the mountains.

Pat

Agreed. The equipment I have pulled together for Coues deer would be very appropriate for this application.
 

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Fair question. My limit is 350 yards obviously for PG only and only with my rifle of choice at that distance. Having said that my first kudu was at 378 yards…great animal and I felt comfortable slightly exceeding my distance. What saves me is my personal gun range on my farm that lets me practice practice…did I say practice some more!!!

We are both blessed with our own range. Practice from field positions is critical. I am able to practice to 600 without leaving home.
 

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Maximum point blank range and taking into consideration the game I'm hunting. Of course a 270 Winchester at 325 yards is IMHO deficient for larger North American ungulates but a 338 Win Mag is not. It's a matter of knowing your ballistics and down range energy. African DG, any DG, the closer the better. After all, it's hunting, not shooting. And I don't use a range finder.
 

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I live in OH, so a long shot here might be ~100 yds. I’ve done a lot of handgun hunting and some bow hunting so those are primarily short range propositions.
However, I’ve done a fair amount of hunting out west, mostly before there were laser rangefinders. I try to limit my shots to under 300yd. I took an antelope at a paced 400 yds. A mule deer at ~350 and a few others at ~300 yds. In Africa, a gemsbok close to 300 and a couple other animals at around 250 yds.
As far as a max range, depending on conditions, game, round and bullet: 500 would be the limit. I would like to take a a long range shooting class to make any potential 500 yd shots less risky.
 

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I've whacked plenty of stuff at or around +/- 300 many years ago. Nowadays, there is no "must take the shot" for me. I prefer open sights and shots less than a 100 yards at big animals, preferably 50, and I'll work really hard to make that happen through physical ability and conditioning. Off sticks in Africa with the right rifle/optic combo at something like kudu, eland, impala, I'd probably take a 200 yard poke simply because they can't get on my plate fast enough, but I wouldn't go there with the intention of doing so.
 

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