last year my goal was to work my way up to 800 yards w/ a degree of competency involved in the shooting, but, the weather and circumstances conspired against me. well, maybe not "conspired," but things just didn't work out.
two days ago my shooting mentor called and said, let's go shoot at 1,000 yards. you betcha, i said.
as the ground laid out, we didn't quite have the ground to shoot at 1,000 yards, but the topography gave us a very workable target distance of 935 yards, fixed by gps. (and, confirmed by the ballistic programs and the actual shooting.)
neither of us shot very well, lying in a mound of dirt with a bad slope, and the target was difficult. it was a matter of "aim close" in order to experience "missing close." but, we learned a lot.
one, we found out that relaxing just before the shot to get a good trigger pull resulted in the lay of the ground "rolling us out" of a good shooting posture, and making it almost impossible to hold the target. a lot of near misses.
two, that at shorter distance you can make some errors in fundamental technique and get away with it, but, that at 935 yards there is very little margin for error. you cannot mess up on your trigger pull, you cannot afford not to have good form and follow through on the trigger pull, and you cannot muscle the rifle into a proper shooting position.
in short, you have to follow the basics that you know, without fail. you don't do things right, you don't hit the target on purpose, or where you aim.
and, three, even if you struggle a little bit, it is all tremendous fun. we spent the whole day on private ground, without interference, out in the country rolling around in the "buffalo chips" and watching the weather roll in and roll out as we shot.l
i found out that there is nothing magical in the difference between shooting at 300 or 600 or 900 yards. you calculate the shooting solution for the range, you set up, and you try to aim true. it is just that it is exponentially harder to hit the target at 900 yards than at 600.
you must know the exact distance. you must know the exact velocity of the bullet, as near as possible. (yes, i know that the statement is not entirely logical, but, it is true, and an imperative. in short, that means you don't always hit the target. simple as that. and, if you have troubles, you don't hit it. period. as noted, you come close. but, a miss is a miss.) and, you must do things as correctly as possible, or substantial error is induced.
fun day. we'll do it again. we'll get better, and we'll communicate better and more clearly. long range shooting is team work.
john jay @ 02.25.2016
p.s. see below. apparently i have shot at 888 yards before. i'd forgotten all about it. read the post, see if my views have changed all that much.
(back from reading the "update" post linked below. i must say, the pictures in the post are the prettiest i've ever published. and, it shows what an absolutely gorgeous area i live in. hint: it is not flat. it is "tough ground," and very pretty. all year long.