Estimating Distance


I don’t know how many times I overestimated the target distance, but probably most of the time. When I was walking outdoors, I would estimate the distance to the next tree, and pace it off.

My point is that I don’t do a very good job estimating distance, and conversely, the lead necessary to break the target. (I over lead crossers).

Also, what about pattern drop at 50+ yards? Should it be part of my mental calculation?



Dear BK,

Estimating distance? What I always do is to estimate the distance to some tree or bush that the target passes over or by. It’s not as hard to estimate distance to a stationary object on the ground. I think of everything in terms of a skeet field measurement house to house. That’s about 40 yards. If the shot is more than the width of a skeet field, then distance is a concern. If it’s a high bird, I estimate the distance to an object on the ground and then add a bit for the hypotenuse of the right angle triangle. A bird 40 yards away and 20 yards up requires that the shot go 45 yards. (A^2+B^2=C^2). I just add 10% of the distance to the ground measuring object. That’s close enough.

At 40 yards #7-1/2s started at 1200 fps drop just under 4″ according to Lyman’s. Around 8″ at 50. At 60 yards it’s just under 11″. I can’t hold that precisely on any bird, so I just ignore holdover at distance. I’d go loony trying to hold 5-1/2″ over a long crosser. Besides, my experience with long crossers is that I tend to ride them a bit and usually end up shooting over the top as the bird is fading.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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