Maximum Range

Dear Technoid,

At what point does shot begin to drop significantly enough to include this in the calculations(guesstimations) of lead on a distant target, 45yds, 50yds, 60? I’ve encountered some pretty lengthy shots (over 40 yds) and was wondering if I needed to account for shot drop.

My thoughts are that if I start thinking about shot-drop, its too damn far to shoot at in the first place. I’ve encountered long shots in clay shooting that I would never attempt while hunting.

Second question. Realistically, what is the farthest clay target practical to shoot at with a shotgun, and be able to hit semi-consistently?

Just wondering,

Dear Russell,

As far as game shooting goes, I think that you are dead on right when you say that if you have to think about shot drop, the bird is too far away. I have had some luck on dove in excess of 50 yards, but that was after potting at fleets of them for a few days and getting pretty well adjusted. Upland birds and waterfowl are, for me, safe beyond 40 yards. I am sure that some people can consistently take game beyond that distance, but I can’t so I don’t try. I count wounded birds in my limit, so I want to make sure when I pull the trigger.

That said, since you are sitting at the feet of the Technoid, you obviously expect something more concrete than my usual puff of smoke. Here are some numbers to get you going: #7-1/2s from a 1200 fps target load will drop .7″ at 20 yards, 3.7″ at 40 and 10.8″ at 60. A field load of #4s started at 1220 fps will drop .6″, 3.1″ and 8.6″ respectively. #5s drop a few tenths of an inch more.

It isn’t all as simple as it seems. One aspect of shot drop that you have to consider is the angle. A shot taken directly overhead doesn’t “drop” at all in the sense that we are using the word. A 90 degree shot would drop the maximum amount, but a 45 degree shot would be in between. So, not only do you have to allow for shot drop, but also for the angle. To me, that is just plain too complicated for my on board computer. I have enough trouble dealing with leads.

How far away can someone semi-reliably hit a clay target? Dunno. I’m pretty good out to 20 yards. Actually, at some of the shoots they have a measured 100 yard crosser used as a pool shoot. Once guys get dialed in, the better ones can break the bird over 1/4 of the time. It is amazing to see, but they do it. Mathematically, you probably have to center the bird perfectly every time to come up with 1/4 hits. Even at that they are lucky and I don’t pretend to understand it. And no, I don’t know if they are using special shells or not.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.

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1 Response to Maximum Range

  1. Steve Handerer says:

    George Digweed is pretty good at long range shooting. Take a look at his utube video ‘world record longest shot’. He mentions using 5 shot and dropping the shot in from above. Well you would do at 130 yards!


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