Maximum Effective Range, by Jared Bloomgren

robby denning

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Rokslide staff member, Jared Bloomgren, writes some very helpful archery articles. "Long-Range" anything is always a hot topic. Jared takes on the subject in his well-thought out article, Maximum Effective Range:

Maximum Effective Range
 
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LostArra

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very good article

the bedded wyoming mule deer story brings to mind a good lesson: "you will never regret a shot you don't​ take"
 

theleo91386

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The article makes a lot of good points and is well written my only issue is when the author says you can lump rifles in with the concept. While I agree with rifle hunters having a MER I think it should always be pointed out that with a rifle game animals will never hear the shot before the bullet strikes the animal. With my bow the animal will always hear the shot and a little noise as the arrow travels through the air before it reaches them. Whether they react to the sound or react fast enough depends on the situation and animal, but they will always hear something before the arrow strikes them. Coming from a rifle hunting background I always have to keep that in the back of my head because I always see the comparison of MOA and MOA (minute of angle and minute of arrow). The comparison works for group size but not so much in regards to hunting and the ability to take animals at given ranges because of the simple fact that an animal will never hear the shot of a rifle at 600 yards before it's hit but they will ALWAYS hear the sound of the bow being shot at 60 yards before the arrow gets there. That stimulus makes a huge difference.
 

Jared Bloomgren

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theleo91386,

A bullet is faster than the speed of sound and an arrow is not. That is obvious.

But, the same type of thinking goes into shooting a rifle as it does a bow. At extended ranges you still need to take into account the environmental conditions. Although a bullet will be affected on a minimal scale compared to the arrow there are still factors that need to be considered. Like an arrow, a bullet too has limitations in various conditions. That is a factor that will never be taken out of the equation. Heck for long range rifle shooting you can start adding even more effects like Coriolis Effect.

At the end of the day, no matter what weapon you use, there is still a M.E.R. for every shooter regardless of how fast the projectile flies. But each calls for thinking that needs to be made before any trigger or release is pulled. For each of these we should know these limitations.
 
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theleo91386

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I agree that every one needs to know their MER for themselves with any given weapon. I just think it should always be pointed out for guys making the switch from rifles to archery gear, that an animal will always know an arrow is coming and that is as big of a part of the situation as wind, angle, position and range. Lots of things can be calculated for in a long range rifle shot but theirs never a need to worry about how the animal will react to the sound of the shot.

Case in point, that buck you passed on because he was aware you were there. With a rifle at 700 yards and an alerted animal (granted 700 yards is stretching the concept here) that buck would have likely stood there long enough for the bullet to hit him, but you knew with your bow at 70 yards with the additional input of the noise from you shooting your bow and that he would likely bolted before the arrow would have ever reached him.

An animals reaction to the sound of the shot is just nothing rifle hunters ever think about but it plays a huge role in the MER of an archery hunter and the situations they find themselves in.
 

Jared Bloomgren

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theleo91386,

I do understand what you are saying.

To those of you wishing to switch from a firearm to a bow and arrow....WARNING: Your arrow will not reach 1125.33 feet per second to defy the law of sound travel!

Sure hope they know that going into it!
 

realunlucky

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I enjoyed your article Jared. MER changes with every situation very well said

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

theleo91386

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Jared, what pieces of equipment have you've found help increase your MER? Faster bow, heavier arrows, different shafts or fletchings, things to make the awkward positions a little less awkward...?
 

5MilesBack

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An animals reaction to the sound of the shot is just nothing rifle hunters ever think about but it plays a huge role in the MER of an archery hunter and the situations they find themselves in.
That's why an archery hunter should do everything they can to quiet their bow. And I have never had an animal react to my arrow coming to them. As for a reaction.......if anything, the further away they are....the less they react to the sound of the shot. Every animal I've shot at 50+ yards never reacted at all until the arrow had hit them. Jared's example of the deer to me was more important from the motion aspect of the shot than the sound. If you have an animal locked onto you (deer or elk) they are probably going to respond at the shot from the motion.......not the sound. Unless you have a really loud bow.

But speaking of loud.......in 2014 I had a big 340+ class bull broadside at 47 yards. There was a large downed tree between me and the bull and all I saw was a wide open shot to his vitals. I drew back, settled the pin, and released. The bull was staring right at me when I shot. My arrow hit a branch that was curled back right over the area I was shooting through. The arrow broke that dead branch with a sound that sounded like a rifle shot in the dense forest. That bull didn't even flinch. I nocked another arrow and was ready to draw when another bull bugled and this bull stepped behind some trees and I never got another chance at him. But he didn't flinch at all from that loud CRACK, and it was probably only 25 yards from him. Every animal and situation is different.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a minimum effective range........sort of. The worst shot I've ever taken at an animal was from 17 yards. It was darkening, it was raining, and at 17 yards I couldn't see enough of the bull to see exactly where I was aiming when I released. All I could think of was "don't gut shoot him in this rain".......so I aimed further forward than I should have and stuck him right in the shoulder. If he would have been at 40 yards or even further, I would have been much more comfortable with that shot being able to see more detail as to where I was aiming.
 
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Jared Bloomgren

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Jared, what pieces of equipment have you've found help increase your MER? Faster bow, heavier arrows, different shafts or fletchings, things to make the awkward positions a little less awkward...?
What has increased my M.E.R. more than anything hands down is practice and knowing the equipment that I use.

There are trade offs between lighter vs. heavier arrows that could be a whole other article that may be worth tackling soon!

With this topic you get into a lot of controversy. Which speed of bow? What weight of arrow? What style of broadhead? What fletching? etc...

Huge topic for sure with tons of controversy! Nearly every person will give you a different answer on what they think makes them better in the field. Or what set-up they feel is best. I say use whatever you think works for you and that you are consistent with. With any set-up, know it inside and out. That will also help increase your M.E.R.

Speed doesn't kill but accuracy does. If you have the accuracy and enough power with whichever set-up you choose you are going to be just fine in the end!

Myself, I shoot a high performance bow with faster speeds but still spit a heavy arrow out above 300 fps and have had very good results! On the contrary I also have a slower shooting bow and with this set-up my M.E.R. doesn't change much at all! But environmental conditions and vegetation (trees) do have different effects on each setup.
 

theleo91386

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Yeah, I understand that it's a huge subject and it's mostly personal preference. I'm just curious on your thoughts on why you shoot the setup you do and things that you take in your pack that pertain to increasing your MER.
 

Jared Bloomgren

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Yeah, I understand that it's a huge subject and it's mostly personal preference. I'm just curious on your thoughts on why you shoot the setup you do and things that you take in your pack that pertain to increasing your MER.
I shoot a PSE Full Throttle for the sheer performance and force it produces, and the bow has made me a better archer.
I shoot Easton Carbon Injexions with a total arrow weight of 438 gr to deliver more than enough momentum downrange at 315 fps.
It is a good shooting combination that I enjoy shooting.

My Scott Archery Silverhorn has a light and smooth as butta' trigger allowing me the smooth clean release that I need.

My CBE Tek-Hybrid Pro has all the axis adjustments that I need to ensure accuracy.

My PSE Phantom drop away rest is reliable, simple design and fast to gets out of the way.

My Flex Fletch FFP-360's steer my arrow true and are quiet.

My Wac'em three blade 125 gr broadheads are accurate, sharp, and penetrate well.

My America's Best Bowstrings never creep, twist, and stretch keeping my kit tight and on point.

My Kryptek highlander camo and clothing keep me comfortable and concealed to allow me to get as close as possible.

My Nikon optics help my M.E.R. too in order for me to get accurate and effective ranges as well as seeing what is out in front of me.

And very importantly my confidence in my equipment, gear and myself to get the job done when needed.

Always adhering to and not outdoing my own limitations with each condition upon the shot.
 

theleo91386

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Jared,
Are you using your stabilizer to slow down your pin float, reduce vibration, or mainly balance out the weight of your quiver?

5MilesBack,
Good examples. I'm relatively new to archery, only been at it for about 6 years, but I get what you're saying about them not reacting when farther out. I only use the flight of the arrow as an example because I know I can hear it, it's not much but I do hear it. If they don't react to the sound of the shot they're not likely to react to the sound of the arrow in flight. I just enjoy talking about scenarios and hearing other peoples experiences. The discussion of making the bow quiet as possible is an interesting one. To make mine as quiet as possible I'd likely use arrows as heavy as I could make them and put as many string leaches on my string as possible. As is my string is naked of anything (yes my bow does have a string stop though) and my arrows are going be between 440 to 450 grains once I decide on my fletchings. I had it in my head that I thought it was a little noisy until I took my old bow out and shot it. My old Katera XL did just fine for me on a couple of bulls and I've never had an animal jump the string with it but it's definitely louder than my Perfexion. I guess what I'm getting at is where do you see the point of diminishing returns on silencing your bow? Won't at some point the arrow start to have the trajectory of a rainbow and make the screw ups on yardage just that much more severe when you can't use a range finder before the shot?
 

Jared Bloomgren

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Jared,
Are you using your stabilizer to slow down your pin float, reduce vibration, or mainly balance out the weight of your quiver?

Oops you caught me! Forgot about my stabilizer! Ha!

I use the Stokerized Offset SST as I like how it balances my bow. Most bows now-a-days don't even need a stabilizer to shoot well!
 
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robby denning

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Jared, the article was a great reminder to me on the importance of practicing in adverse weather. I'm way too guilty of waiting around for a windless day to shoot. Makes for nice groups but that's about it. thanks for the reminder!
 

5MilesBack

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I guess what I'm getting at is where do you see the point of diminishing returns on silencing your bow? Won't at some point the arrow start to have the trajectory of a rainbow and make the screw ups on yardage just that much more severe when you can't use a range finder before the shot?
My arrows are 532gr going 289fps. My bow (PSE Freak SP) is very quiet. I used to get comments about how quiet my Old Glory was during 3D shoots, and the Freak is quite a bit quieter. I think most of the newer bows are pretty darn quiet anyway. I was shooting some 380gr arrows the other day and really didn't notice much of a difference.

Trajectory is something everyone has to choose for themselves. Yes, last year I really could have used a much better trajectory. Hit a branch I didn't see on one bull, shot over another, and under a really big bodied bull the last day of the season. Or I could just make a point of ranging on every shot I take, or don't take it. I don't know.....there's tradeoffs with everything we choose. But the last three bulls I shot, I never had time to range and was within a yard of my guesstimate (ranging afterwards), and those were longer shots.

But I also like the gaps between my pins. I don't like all my pins all bunched up together, and that's what I'd get if I shot lighter arrows.

Jared, thanks for taking the time to write this article up. It's always fun shooting long range even if we never use it during hunting situations. Lord knows I've passed up quite a few 80 yard shots that just didn't feel right for whatever reason. But I was just shooting 100+ at the range on Saturday and had a blast. I was the only one there at the time, and kind of awkward when someone drives up and I'm standing in the middle of the parking lot to shoot further than the range goes, and it goes to 100.
 
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Jared Bloomgren

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5milesback,

I know the feeling! They get there and wonder, "What the heck is that idiot doing way out there?!" So fun to shoot long range! It really shapes up your form too!!
 

MattB

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The thing I like best about the article is the author recognizes the implications animal demeanor has on the shoot/no shoot decision. All too often these sorts of articles are written by guys who don't differentiate between a 3-D target and a live animal. The difference is live animals can get out of the way of the arrow, and even if you execute the perfect shot the animal can move and it can result in a miss or worse yet an unrecoverable cripple. I've made the mistake of shooting at alert animals a few times, and have learned that even 20 yards can be too far.

One thing I will add that many folks need to take into account is, in the heat of the moment, most guys will not make as accurate a shot on game as they will on a target at the range. I generally limit my effective range to that at which you can shoot a group 2/3 the size of your quarry's kill zone to account for the sub-optimal inaccuracy caused by nerves and field conditions. Experience has taught me that I simply do not shoot game as consistently as targets. Some guys are nails regardless of the target and I have known a couple of guys who are pretty good on targets and literally wound more than they kill once the distance gets past 20 yards. The point here is hunters need to be honest with themselves about this and adjust their M.E.R. accordingly.
 
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