What is the maximum hunting range? How do you find it? Does it even exist? Phill Price debates
One of the questions I’m most often asked is, ‘ How far will this gun kill?’ It might be some super-accurate, new PCP, or hugely powerful FAC model but my answer is always the same. ‘ How far away can you hit a 20mm disc?’ I don’t mind telling you that it isn’t the answer most people were hoping for; many think that a better rifle or more power will add a huge distance to their maximum hunting range, but I challenge that assumption every time.
Let’s consider rabbits. Their brains are about the size of a grape and only a direct hit into it from your pellet will kill the animal cleanly. A shot that goes low will damage the jaw, and a shot that goes forward will damage the nose or eyes, but neither will achieve a clean kill. Accuracy is everything in our sport and it’s a basic law of physics that the closer you are to your target, the more likely you are to place your shot precisely. More power is not the answer. A badly placed powerful shot will still fail to deliver a clean kill.
Assuming that you are holding your cross hair exactly in the right place as you gently release the trigger, your pellet still has to fly true and there are many things that can stop that happening. The first is, if you misjudge the range. If the rabbit is further than you thought, then your pellet will strike low. Secondly, the wind will try to deflect the pellet and this can send it left or right, and can even make it go low or high. The longer the pellet is in flight, the greater this effect will be. Judging the wind is a skill you can work on all your life and still have room for improvement, so shortening the range is a very good idea.
If you want to know your real maximum hunting range, then practise on paper targets until you can get every shot into a group you could cover with a 20p coin. When you can do that at 20 yards, work on 25, and so on, until you find the limit. Do this from real-world hunting positions, not from a seat and a bench. I warn you that you might well be disappointed at just how close you need to be to get every shot right, but it will make you a more ethical hunter by reducing the chance of wounding an animal, and that has to be a good thing.
“More power is not the answer. A badly placed powerful shot will still fail to deliver a clean kill”
Even a 5mph wind makes a big difference to accuracy as the range increases
Even very high power rifles like this Wolverive .303 are affected by the wind
Can you get all your shots under a 20p coin at 25 yards?