Long-range hunting
Ron's .22/284 Imp in the field

Long-range hunting: an ethical question?

Some shooters consider long-range hunting to be unethical. I don’t know why. 

Certainly, to be successful at longer ranges you need to have top-class equipment, starting with an accurate rifle. 

I suppose the first question is, what is long range? Everyone has their own definition. For me, it’s anything over 300 metres or so.

I started on rabbits, initially with a .243 Winchester and 90gn Speer soft points. Once I extended the range closer to 300m I had more misses than hits. I had more hits when the .22/284 Imp arrived in the gun cupboard.

The rifle/cartridge combination has to be compatible with any long-range work. The rifle must be able to deliver the projectile with accuracy and the projectile must arrive at its destination able to expand and deliver the potential energy to ensure a clean kill. 

Meticulous attention to detail when handloading ensures consistency and, therefore, dependable accuracy at long range

Projectiles for long-range work usually have a high ballistic coefficient and must expand reliably. 

Projectile weight tends to be heavy for caliber, leaving the muzzle slower but retaining better velocity and energy down range. 

Ammunition must be benchrest grade, made to the highest standards with matched components. Attention to detail provides the best accuracy. 

Projectiles must be compatible with the rifling’s twist rate to ensure the best accuracy.

A suitable telescopic sight for long-range work must be mounted properly on the rifle. There are many types of reticles available. I’d recommend an uncluttered one. 

The original sight on the .22/284 has a plain mil-dot reticle. It works like a charm and has never let me down. Coupled with a ballistic chart and an electronic rangefinder, the combination is accurate. 

The only projectile I use is the 80gr JLK low-drag boat-tail.

Under normal conditions the rifle is shot with a front rest and a rear bag, a stable combination so necessary for long-range work. 

For heavier targets at long range, I have several rifles to choose from. 

Long range hunting
Tikka T3 coupled with a 6.5x55mmm cartridge is accurate and suitable for long-range use

A Tikka T3 in 6.5x55mm using 160gr custom protector point projectiles, with a BC of .509, at a modest velocity of about 2360fps is accurate out to at least 400 metres and it groups on average at .86 inches for three shots. With a 6-18×50 European sight it’s a good long-range combination.

Another option still under load development is a .257 Roberts Ackley Improved using a 115gr protector point projectile. Initial shots are showing good velocity and, more importantly, accuracy in the ½-inch range. 

This is a custom projectile but the range of projectiles available in .257 caliber is not huge. It’s always a balance between velocity and projectile weight with the ability to deliver enough energy down range to make a clean kill.

Many of the tools and techniques developed for or by long-range riflemen have proven to be of benefit to the rest of the shooting community. The attention to detail when preparing brass is a typical example.

Finally, whether or not any long-range shot should be attempted is up to the person pulling the trigger.




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Ron James