As I read thru this thread, “too many variables” seems to be the popular phrase. I’m curious to know what everyone means by that. I would say one variable is human error or inability. The people that shoot once a year right before hunting season could be a variable because they’re not proficient with their weapon. But my guess is, it’s mainly wind and time of flight. I am aware of both. Do you think I only shoot at far distances when the conditions are perfect? It doesn’t matter if it is still out or blowing 15 mph, I am still out shooting and will compensate for whatever necessary because I have the data and equipment to do so. At long range, a hunter has a lot of time for proper preparation and time to find a solid rest. The hunter also has time to study the animal, hence the patience to take the shot at the right time.
You can get close to almost anything, but what about when you can't? It's not like long range rifles can only shoot long range. I still try to get in close for the shot, but reality is sometimes you can't. And, when I can't, I know I can still make the shot farther away. Trust me, confidence in yourself and your weapon is a great feeling. Years ago, I watched my brother pass up a 600 yard shot on a B&C bull elk. At that point in time, I wasn’t prepared for that range either. But, now I am; and I believe it’s going to give me a big advantage.
Long range obviously isn’t for everyone. We reload to squeeze every ounce of accuracy out of our rifles. We use high quality equipment from rangefinders, to wind meters, to levels, and drop charts for proper bullet placement, etc.
If you can’t shoot long range or have no interest in it, that’s fine. Just don’t stand in the way of those that can.