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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post on here, and I had a curious question I haven’t been able to find the answer to. I realize this is probably the most pointless thing to be wondering but I can’t find the answer and it’s bugging me
Basically in a nutshell what I’m wanting to know is where exactly is distance measured from, or rather should it be? I’m planning to build a range out to 300 yards on my family’s land, both pistol and rifle.
This is something I’ve never really considered and my obvious thoughts are either where the bullet is seated in battery, from tip of the muzzle, or less likely from yourself. The last sends the least likely to me because you hold a handgun out from you.
I realize this a question that is going to greatly increase accuracy when using a range finder or anything like that, even the longest rifle doesn’t have but a little over 2’ to track down the barrel but it’s just a curiosity thing maybe someone knows.
Thanks in advance
 

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Wow! You are waaay overthinking this.
Measure from the target to the middle of your shooting bench should be adequate.
Just to throw a monkey wrench into the works, remember that whatever measuring device you use has tolerances. . . you might be off by a yard or even 2. What difference does that make? None at all.
 

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External ballistics begin when the butler exits the muzzle. That’s is the analytical answer. Jack has the practical answer. At the distances where one yard would have a significant impact on vertical dispersion, other factors like wind will determine the chances of hitting the target.
 

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If you are spending lots of time thinking about this issue, I am worried that when you get to those aspects of shooting where tiny differences of many kinds ( I'm thinking of things like Ballistic Coefficient, Cartridge over all length, velocity, seating depth, Bullet sectional density, etc.) actually can sometimes make a difference, you will drive yourself mad with indecision. Shooting is one of those activities where there are lots of "numbers" about which you can obsess, and lots of shooters obsess about many of them way more than they should. Measuring the distance to the target to the nearest inch is not worth the effort, as it will make no difference, and there is no way it can be done accurately with all the tolerances and variables involved.

Good shooters are often obsessive about various aspects of shooting, and some types of shooting make some small differences important enough to consider (think long range target shooting for example) but as you get more involved in shooting of all types, make sure you're fussing about aspects that may actually have consequences worth the effort. I think you'll find this forum has people that can answer very difficult questions that new and vastly experienced shooters may have, so welcome to a very informative forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok I was leaning towards when the bullet exits the barrel. Thanks for the answer there. I wasn’t stressing it, it was more of a curiosity thing and I couldn’t find it online. External ballistics are a much bigger concern but I can look those up. I live in Louisiana where one day is 95 degrees and the humidity is 85% then two weeks later the humidity is 50% and the temperature might be +/-10°. So a lot of change in the environment. I just inherited a Weatherby Mark V chambered in .300 Weatherby mag, right now I only have 10 reloaded rounds, my father gave me both and he does the reloading since each round averages about $4 here. I appreciate the answer, I wasn’t banging my head into the walk over it, I just was curious about it. I think I even posted it’s probably nothing to even be concerned at all about but I just wanted to know.

much appreciated.
 

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The range I worked at and still consider my "Home Range" measured from the front of the tables to the target line. No more than a couple of feet difference one way or another.

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If it were me and being anal, I would measure from the muzzle. That complicates things though when you have fixed tables. I have the capability of shooting to 168 yards on my place...but it is really not practical as to do that I have to shoot across the (along side) the footprint of the house itself. From the back of the house to my target area, I can shoot 114 yards. I can easily move up 14 yards from my back porch to shoot 100. None of those distances were calculated with a tape measure, but with Google Earth.

I have been nixed in shooting Centerfire here now anyway, so that point is moot. Here is my portable bench. It leaves a lot to be desired of, but I have shot some okay groups with my rimfire (22 LR, 17 HMR and 22 Mag).

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I just spent about 8 hours at the range today shooting 3 rifles @ 100 and one @ 300 yds. under super windy conditions. You will never get it perfect, so just go into it with that mindset.

I did pick up about 15 - 300 Weatherby once fired cases if you are interested. PM me if you are. I live on the Gulf Coast of Texas, so I fully understand weather changes.

Good luck and all the best.
 

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Front of the bench to the target frame is 'official', but BR matches usually are shot at 101 yards just to be sure.
 

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Wow! You are waaay overthinking this. Measure from the target to the middle of your shooting bench should be adequate. Just to throw a monkey wrench into the works, remember that whatever measuring device you use has tolerances. . . you might be off by a yard or even 2. What difference does that make? None at all.
Except for the "waaay overthinking" thing, I agree wholeheartedly with the above advice. The "off by a yard or even 2" is also very true, but I think it'd be a good thing to keep the difference between "marked" and "actual" distance under 1%. If you do any moderately complex statistical analysis (comparing one load's performance to another's) at different ranges, it makes life easier if the variation in ranges is in the "negligible" or "very low" end of the spectrum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Good info, I was curious how a range technically measures the distance. I probably would’ve had better search results from that. Just one of the things I had never really thought of, I knew it was something to not even worry with, bullet drop on a .223 is only 6 inches at 200 yards when sighted at 50 I believe. Biggest problem I’ll be facing where I shoot is the wind, but I’ve got a spot picked out near a tree line so hopefully that won’t be an issue, but shooting near the trees might make the deer move.
 

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, but shooting near the trees might make the deer move.
The club I belong to has had two locations over the years. At both, I've had multiple occurrences, where I (and others) have been shooting for some time, and while looking through the scope for the next shot, have had both deer and turkey walk right into my scope field of view and had to hold fire until they made their way off the range, so don't 'overthink' that aspect either.
 

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Shooting on the level is probably more important than a foot or two either way from the end of the muzzle, a couple of ranges around here have big differences in elevation at close targets due to elevated berms.
 

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Surveyors have tricks for that. Called 'math'. I cheat and use a laser finder and add a few yards for angles. ;)
I was 14 when I set up my first 100 yard range at my grandad's place. It was steep down hill to a creek bank. He was a surveyor and showed me how to set up the transit and take the shot on the stick and then, a page of gibberish later, he had the distance to a half inch as if it were level.
 

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I took a year of Surveying when I was a Civil Engineering student at UT Austin. I eventually switched to Chemistry and other applied Sciences after a couple of years.

Using a standard Transit or Theodolite, you can measure distances quite accurately to within 0.10 feet per 100. In my advanced Surveying course we also had access to a very modern (for 1978) EDM - Electronic Distance Measurer. That semester there was quite the uproar in the Department as one of the EDM's went missing out of the Survey equipment room. If I remember correctly, it was worth around $70,000 in those days dollars. They still run upwards of $25 K now depending on the number of bells and whistles you want.

My oldest Daughter got her Undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering and I was astounded in the advancements in Chemistry. Physics is still Physics (just shows that Newtons Laws are still Newtons Laws). :D
 
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