Get the Straight Dope for Long-Range Rifle Shots

The longest rifle shot I ever took and made on a deer was several hundred yards, which sounds impressive until you get the whole story and then it really isn’t.

While hunting in West Virginia years ago, the afternoon hunt was in great autumn conditions. Gorgeous, clear skies on beautiful reclaimed coal mining property. We’d eaten lunch in an old barn that had hay bales stacked on two sides, and I remarked that the barn was a great hunting spot. My hosts agreed, so I tucked in for the afternoon.

Fast forward to a couple of deer that stepped out a few hours later. Long way away, to me, but hey, I had the rests of hay bales for my rifle and no worries about them seeing me move around. I found a great spot, perfect rest, eyeballed them for what I thought was enough time with my binoculars and scope, and then fired.

I hit the deer I was aiming at but broke the front shoulder. Didn’t kill it. Had to shoot again. My hosts were congratulatory but I was seething inside. I mean, really doggone ticked off at myself. For whatever reason — miscalculation, hubris, overconfidence, pride of “Yep, about to make this long shot!” or all of that — I didn’t make a one-shot kill that I strive to do. That deer was a lesson that I’ll never forget. It still makes me mad thinking about it.

If you’re into ballistics and wanting to shoot more accurately, range time is important. But today’s technology is helpful thanks to all the ammo information available. One of the smartphone apps you can get is from Ballistic. Check out their press release below about this nifty library you can have anywhere.

Taking a truly long shot requires more than just steady aim. Regardless of skill level, long-distance shooting requires understanding of ballistics, wind, bullet drop, velocity and more.

Today’s military snipers are experts at determining these factors, as shown by the recent 2.2-mile shot made by a Canadian in Iraq. However, did you know that even the world’s best snipers use computer technology to help them calculate shots.

Ballistic calculates the many factors of shooting, such as wind, atmospheric conditions, ballistic coefficient, drift and drop. In fact, Ballistic has a load library containing information on more than 5,300 projectiles, factory loads, military loads and performance data from manufacturers, military testing and performance analysis.

Users can choose their load from this library or even input data from handloads to determine hold on targets. It can also be used to calculate atmospheric conditions, such as barometric pressure, elevation, temperature and more, either by inputting known data or by having Ballistic pull the information from the nearest weather station for both the conditions for when the gun was sighted, as well as conditions for the current location using GPS. Ballistic even has a feature for determining the wind for formulating bullet drift, as well as target movement.

Ballistic graphically displays energy, velocity and drop for current projectiles and even allows comparison for up to eight other projectiles on the same screen.

Ballistic uses the JBM Ballistics Engine, which is one of the most accurate ballistic calculators in existence, and provides that information in a user-friendly format for shooters of all skill levels. Ballistic provides everything needed for shooters to get serious about their shots. 

For more information, visit