Mark Target 34!
Bill turns to Fred and says, “I didn’t hear anything.”
“Me neither, lets pull it,” replies Fred.
Bill and Fred dutifully perform a thorough search of the 1000-yard target, they find no bullet hole, place the scoring disc in the top center of the target and run it back in the air.
Several minutes pass.
Mark Target 34!
“This guy can’t get on paper,” says Fred.
Another search, no hole, the miss disc is displayed and up goes the target.
“Mark Target 34!” is repeated from five to 20 times.
Finally, Fred says, “I felt something. Pull the target.”
This hole is easy to find. The bullet has gone through sideways, leaving a bullet silhouette in the paper.
Target pullers from nearby come and remark, “Guy must be shooting a .308.”
Others reply, “Yeah, looks that way.”
If you haven’t pulled targets on a 1000-yard range you may ask, “How would someone know the cartwheeling bullets came from a .308?”
Well, for nearly the same reason that the .308 makes a piss-poor elk rifle—it’s running out of gas. Read your history of the development of the .308—it’s the economy model—essentially, you get more for less (yeah, I bought some of that crap.)
You won’t be shooting an elk at 1000-yards, but the empty tank of gas runs out faster when the bullet must perform on hide, hair, meat and bone than when it must punch a hole through parchment.
1000-yard line at Fort Lewis, Washington, 1996. Shooting a Model 70 in .22 BR Remington.
Target pullers use two methods of knowing when a bullet has passed through their target: vibration and sound. Many pullers put their hand on the target frame—below the berm—and feel vibrations of the bullet cutting paper. Others listen. Highpower bullets remain supersonic—unless they tumble—and a “CRACK” can be heard as it passes overhead. Many pullers use both methods.
If you pull targets, you won’t have to wait long before you experience Bill and Fred’s lack of “CRACK” and lack of vibration, but you won’t run into the problem if your shooter is shooting a 30-06. It just doesn’t happen.
Some who hear me say, “The .308 Winchester is a piss-poor elk rifle,” will roll their eyes and say I’m deluded. I can only speak from elk hunting experience, elk guiding experience, elk outfitting experience and highpower competition experience. In the spirit of a recent vice-presidential debate, “I knew a 30-06, and the .308 isn’t one.”
Finally, I’ve never heard anyone shooting a 30-06 on a 1000-yard line ask, “Is there some way I can load my cartridges to cartwheel like Billy Bob’s .308s do?”
Go for the gas. Shoot a full-power cartridge, 270, 280, 30-06 or bigger for full-power game.
Leave the economy model for the weak game.