Maximum Point Blank Range

Sounds like a contradictory term, “Maximum” but “Point Blank”? The truth is that it is not contradictory at all, this term is widely used among long range hunters/shooters to describe an aiming system for big and small game. What does maximum point blank range mean? It means the maximum distance your particular rifle and cartridge/bullet combination can be used to effectively kill a particular animal using a central vital zone aiming point.

If I want to determine the maximum point blank range for a particular rifle and cartridge for whitetail deer I need know a few things. First I need to know that it takes approximately 1200 foot pounds of energy “minimum” to kill a deer. Secondly I need to know that an average Whitetail Deer vital zone (heart and lungs) is approximately 20 inches in size “top to bottom”. Third I need to know exactly what the trajectory and energy is for the load I am shooting and the group sizes (MOA) at all applicable ranges! 

For example my Benelli R-1 270WSM using my own hand loads develops 3260 fps at the muzzle with over 3200 ft lbs of energy. If I zero this rifle at 200 yards it will impact approximately 1.5 inches high at 100 yards and it shoots sub-MOA groups ( three shots inside a half inch circle ). At 300 yards the bullet is still traveling at 2600 fps and it delivers 2050 ft lbs of energy and only drops 5 inches from my point of aim (center of the vitals). At 350 yards my drop from center of the vitals reaches eight inches which is still in the vital zone of a whitetail deer, but an acceptable shot with almost 1900 ft lbs of energy and a group size of approximately two inches under perfect conditions. At 375 yards we reach 1700 ft lbs of energy (acceptable), a drop of nine inches, which would be acceptable but for the group size which now is approaching 4 inches! A shot at 375 yards could result in a miss or worse a wounded animal.

So with this rifle and load combination using a 200 yard zero the MAXIMUM POINT BLANK RANGE for Whitetail Deer using a CENTER OF THE VITAL ZONE AIMING POINT would be 350 yards! 

Hope this helps you with your long range or short range hunting… good luck! 

Big Red.

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