I have a bushmaster predator with a Harris bipod and a Nikon 4.5x14-40.
At 100 yards I can put 10 bullets almost all in the same hole about 1.5" above the bullseye. (I shoot at a paper plate with a set of cross hairs centered on the plate.) At 200 yards I can still hit the plate, but thats about it.The impacts are all over the place. I have noticed that I struggle more to keep my scope centered on the target when shooting at 200. The target is so small that I think maybe I tense up some, and maybe try too hard. Do you think I am trying to be too precise? Should I have a bigger bullseye to shoot at instead of 2 lines drawn by a sharpie? I missed a groundhog yesterday when my six year old daughter was with me and I couldnt think of any way I could blame her for it.
Please give me some of your shooting tips and techniques.
How big is the plate? You've doubled your distance so what your experiencing doesn't surprise me if you dont' have practice shooting at that range. You'll need to concentrate more on your correct point of aim, trigger control and your breathing.
Have you ever been taught to shoot rifles at distance?
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We need more info here.
How long is your barrel? Is it the 20" Variant? What is the twist rate? I believe it's a Wylde Chamber if I recall and it's 1:8 I think.
What ammo are you running?
200 yards is highly do able for most AR platforms, but then again, a lot goes into that equation.
Minute of Angle at 200 yards is commonly referred to as being a 2" group. There is no reason a good 20" barreled rifle can't group that size at that distance. Getting a lot smaller, like trying to shoot dimes at that distance, is going to stretching the limits of what a factory, untouched stick is going to be able to do.
You say you struggle to keep the target in the scope? Is it possible that your eyes are going a bit south on you? Or perhaps you are psyching yourself out because of the change in distance?
A 4.5 x 14 should be choice for shooting this distance. Do you find that you have crank it way up to 14 to get a good sight picture?
There are many variables to long distance shooting. It's truly the hardest thing I have ever done, trying to get a small, tight group at a long distance away.
Other weather conditions ( like rain or excessive sun )
Twist rate of the barrel vs. grain of the bullet you are shooting.
Is the scope mounted correctly?
There are so many possible things that could be a problem for you that it's difficult to say without seeing the rig and how you shoot it.
Do you have any other platforms that you shoot at 200 yards? How are those targets?
Has anyone else shot the weapon? What was their result like?
Have you tried a target at 150 yards? What was the result there?
Just too many possibilities to be able to diagnose over the Interwebz.
This may sound crazy, but try a piece of reflector tape for your bullseye. If the sun is right you will see it thru your scope. Breathing has a lot to do with hitting your target, and your trigger pull. Dill said it all. Up grade your scope. Good luck.
Don't go past 6X @ 200yds. Make sure you have a 90 deg aiming point on the plate, It ain't the rifle. Just keep working. Go over to Snipers Hide and search the Long Range shooting forum, you'll be amazed what you can learn about technique.
Thanks for the input.
The plate is probably 9", I am guessing.
I have had zero training at distance shots.
It is a 20' barrel and the twist is 1:9.
I am shooting pmc and centurion 55 gr. (not mixed).
My eyes are very good.
I have been shooting it with the scope set at 14. That just seemed right to me. But, I get your point about setting it lower. I will try the tape idea and will hit snipers hide that you reccommended.
I am a pretty decent shot with open sights, but this is the first scoped gun I have had except for a 22 I had as a kid.
If it rains over the weekend I will have time to play around with it some.
Since you say you have no history shooting at distance,and the ammo you are shooting isn't a high quality match grade ammo,just hitting the plate at 200yrds is a good start.
As J.D. said,there are too many variables that fall into play when you start shooting farther distances.
Develop a good shooting technique,breathing,trigger pull,and you will start shooting smaller groups.I like to get those round orange stickers from the local office supply,you can get them in all different sizes 1"-3".
Just put one in the center of the plate and you should be able to see it clearly at distance through your scope.