If you are an expert in ballistics, shooting long range, bullet flight paths etc, this blog will not be for you. If you are like us and have hunted the thick stuff all of your career, this might be a bit helpful. It was a tough learning experience for us. Probably my whole life hunting I have been in the thick stuff/woods. We have some food plots but none more than an acre in size. Out of all of the deer I have harvested, I think the furthest shot I have ever taken was 75 yds. That was in a field in south Ga and I let that deer walk what seemed like a mile till it got close enough. Even today we hunt tight spots. Sawyer has made the longest shots on our property at 80 & 85 yards. The only place we have a 100+ shot is in the road and as you all know that never works out. Therefore, beginning each fall, we sight in/check our rifles at 50 yds. They are consistently on or only need slight adjustments as we try to take great care with them (Always case them when traveling). If you are experienced in bullet trajectory you may see where am going with this.
This season, Sawyer has been blessed with an opportunity to hunt on a very exceptional piece of property with a close friend of his. It has been well managed for years now and has excellent, Large fields/plots. On Friday afternoon, he was in a box stand when a doe trotted out into the field. He ranged her at 120 yards. Not far behind her a bruiser of a buck steps out. He was maybe 20 yards further. He got a good rest and squeezed only to see dirt kick up beyond the deer (over shot) and the deer stand there looking around.
Back up 3 weeks to opening day. Mamma said we needed some meat so Sawyer shot a doe at 80 yards. Perfect shot. Confidence is high. Following the miss Friday evening, it is now low. Wondering if he might have bumped his scope at some point, he used his mom's 308 Saturday morning. He had shotgun team shooting practice at 10:00am so he gets regulated to the stand closest to the gate. As luck would have it, he dropped a nice buck.That afternoon before heading back out, he & his friend shoot his rifle at 116 yards. It was roughly 10" high. Now I am thoroughly confused. He shoots a 7mm08 with a 140 gr bullet. When I got to work Monday, I spoke with our resident gun aficionado. He quickly told me that the gun/scope was fine, based on how I had it sighted in - at 50 yards. Which is ok for where we have been hunting for the past 30 years. But not where he was on Friday. In a nut shell, the line of site from your scope is flat. The trajectory of your bullet is an arc. It rises passing the scope line of site at a point, reaches a peak, then travels back down and crosses it again. See pic of 7mm08 chart. So basically, we had the gun sighted in where the bullet is rising. This has never been an issue as we don't shoot long distances. According to the chart, the bullet crosses around 30 yards and comes back around 230 yds. The deer was standing, you guessed it, at the peak. Approx. 130 – 140 yards. So naturally, dude shot over him. Now we know. Heck of a way to learn a lesson but that's how most are learned in the hunting world. What we will probably do now is re-sight his rifle in at 100 yds. This should put him about ¼" low at 50 and a little over an inch high at 150.
Hopefully this adventure and bit of info will help someone out. If you have your gun sighted in at 50-60 yds and have no intention of hunting a big field or powerline, you are fine. But if you plan to mix things up, it's probably best to re-think your sight in strategy.