Sight-in for Maximum Distance With Minimum Holdover

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Others have offered up a sighting of roughly 2 inches high at 100 yards as a good sighting scheme. In my own experience I have come to favor a sighting of 3.5 inches high at 100 yards. This allows for the individual to hold dead-on (directly in the middle of the top and bottom) the animal out to roughly 350 yards.

Magnum calibers such as the 7mm Remington and 300 Winchester will extend this slightly. At 400 yards I hold directly on the backbone of the animal. The drop at this range allows the bullet to strike within the thoracic cavity. At 500 yards (my personal cutoff under no wind conditions) I take the height of the animal's brisket and stack that on top of the backbone and use this spot as my hold. Lucky for me, the duplex post in my scope corresponds with this hold if I have the magnification set to 9X.

Use this sighting method to eliminate confusing holdover.


hunter25's picture

This is exactley how I have

This is exactley how I have my everyday hunting rifle set up but I still tape a holdover chart to the side of the stock for precise longer range shots. This procedure has been serving me well for nearly twenty years with my 7mm Remington magnum and my sons .270 Winchester.

I do have one rifle set up now with a bdc reticle so that one is zeroed at 200 yards to use the rest of the lines correctly. But this gun will always be used for longer range hunting with time to range the animal and think a little longer about what I'm doing.

groovy mike's picture

no hold over is perfect



I agree on your advice for a sighting in technique without a need to worry about hold over, but I take a different approach on this.  I’ve been known to think a little differently from most folks and this issue is no exception!  I think that like so much else, the proper sight in depends on where you are hunting. 


Most of my shots are well within a couple of hundred yards, so I don’t sight in high at all.  I sight my scopes and loads to dead on at one hundred yards.  If I hold dead on target any bullet drop over longer distances are marginal.  I don’t shoot past three hundred yards and generally not over two hundred.  So if my bullet drops and inch or two below my point of aim it is not a big deal.  I generally try to center my shot through the top of the heart.  If I hit the heart all the better.  If my bullet passes just a little too high it will go through and perforate the aorta and big veins on top of the heart.  If it is a little higher or two far back I double lung the animal.  If my shot is a little low I have three or four inches in the depth of the heart of a white tail deer to allow for drop and still connect through the upper or lower ventricles.  If my shot happens to be so far forward that I miss the heart entirely, I should still hit lungs and just might break a shoulder or two.  So as long as my bullet gets anywhere near where I intend to aim, it will all work out to my satisfaction with a dead deer close to the point of impact.  That’s why I sight in for dead on and unless the animal is a great distance away I don’t need to remember to worry about or adjust for hold over. I just aim for the spot that I want to hit and then try to remember to gently, very gently squeeze the trigger.





ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks, very good tip.

Thanks, very good tip.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

I too shoot my gun 2.5 to 3"

I too shoot my gun 2.5 to 3" high for the same reason...good tip!

Gonzok34's picture

100yd Zero, Comeups to 700yds

I sight all my rifles at 100yds, than develop comeups out to a maximum above 1000 ft lbs of energy for the caliber. 

Example 1: 300WinMag. 180gr Interbond, 2900fps @ muzzle.

100yd  Zero  2757fps/3038ft lbs. energy

***300yds  -10"/+3.1MOA  2485fps/2468ft lbs  ***

 500yds -43"/+8.1MOA, 2230fps/1987ft lbs. 

700yds  -104"/+14.1MOA, 1991fps/1585ft lbs.

I don't make sight adjustments inside of 350yds.  Beyond this distance I adjust for the actual range indicated by my rangefinder-Leica binoculars.  I've taken elk/deer/coyotes out to 800yds in situations where hunting pressure forced game into high ridges and deep canyons.  I always prefer shots inside 100yds.  Big game don't always cooperate.

I learned long range shooting in the Marine Corps (Disabled Vietnam Veteran, 3 Combat Tours) Infantry/Reconnisance.  I also complete in long range shooting competion on a routine basis. This said, it's important to practice within the capabilities of the rifleman. I have extensive training and combat experience which helped me to develop those skills and apply them to hunting varmints, and big game.  Wind, angles and environmental weather conditions add factors that require firsthand knowledge and experience.  I'm not recommending taking long shots if you can stalk in closer.  The 300WinMag, 338RUM, 338Lapua, etc., can and do extend the range. There is more recoil, muzzle blast and energy to contend with. 

All long range shooting is demanding, any errors at close range are BIG ERRORs at long range.

Good Luck Hunting,