_by David E. Petzal
One of the shows in this season’s Gun Nuts will be me shooting at 500 yards at the Scarborough Fish & Game Association range in Scarborough, Maine. The point I will be making is that, if you don’t practice shooting at ranges over 300 yards, don’t shoot at game beyond 300 yards. It’s not enough to buy the equipment and know the theory.

This was borne out a couple of weeks ago when I was shooting at Scarborough with Rocky Prout, who is head of the Rifle Committee, a Distinguished Rifleman, and a Highpower Competitor for 20-plus years. I was to shoot at 500 yards and we had a stiff incoming breeze on the order of 25 mph.

Conventional wisdom says that an incoming wind will lift your bullets on their way to the target, and I asked Rocky how much I should allow for it.

“Nothing,” he said. “At 500 yards this isn’t going to move a .30/06.”

And he was absolutely right. How did he know? From years and years of watching bullets go downrange in all kinds of conditions, from all sorts of rifles. It’s not what the book says, but it’s what experience says, and experience is what you must have. Three hundred yards seems to be the point of departure in rifle shooting. Up to there you can pretty well predict what’s going to happen. Beyond that mark, you have to go and find out for yourself.