Do I need a kestrel for hunting long range?

willfrye027

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I am considering jumping into a kestrel with ballistic solver. I already have a Leica 2800.com that it could connect to. My goal is to extend my effective hunting range to 700 yards by next fall. I shoot fairly regularly out to this distance but it’s always the same location and not much variation in temp, wind, etc. I’m wondering if a kestrel would make a significant difference in my ability to make first round hits at distances of 600-800 yards as I begin to stretch out my capabilities. I believe in the end more trigger time will be the key… but I’m not afraid to buy the right tools for the job either. Would love to hear some thoughts on using a kestrel while hunting, more for the ballistic solver capabilities than the wind meter necessarily.

 

FURMAN

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I am considering jumping into a kestrel with ballistic solver. I already have a Leica 2800.com that it could connect to. My goal is to extend my effective hunting range to 700 yards by next fall. I shoot fairly regularly out to this distance but it’s always the same location and not much variation in temp, wind, etc. I’m wondering if a kestrel would make a significant difference in my ability to make first round hits at distances of 600-800 yards as I begin to stretch out my capabilities. I believe in the end more trigger time will be the key… but I’m not afraid to buy the right tools for the job either. Would love to hear some thoughts on using a kestrel while hunting, more for the ballistic solver capabilities than the wind meter necessarily.
Kestrels are a tool I think all long range shooters should have but not completely necessary. They can not tell you what the wind is doing at all locations between you and the target. Only practice can get you even close to reading wind at that level.
 

waveslayer

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Not necessary, but are great to have, especially once you start to shoot ELR you will want a Kestrel.
You can go big and get the Trijicon device that will read the wind out to 500 yards. But it's about $5K, super fun, played with one pre covid with Trijicon .
But Kestrels are good to have , I still use one even though my rangefinder has almost all the range data as a Kestrel now, soon they will be almost obsolete

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DerekS

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I've got one which was a recent purchase. I'm glad I got it. It is very nice to have environmental data at the actual point of shooting. I think this makes tuning ballistic solvers easier and more accurate. I wish I'd got one sooner, and I don't see myself ever getting rid of it. If nothing else it can be a back up piece to verify the next wiz bang thang against.
 

Tsgman

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I picked up a Kestrel a few months ago as well. I am glad I have it. I like that I do not need to turn on my phone to access my ballistic calculator, especially early am or pm when the light would be to bright. It is a better ballistic calculator than the one I had in my phone, up to one MOA difference at 1k depending on the environmental factors of the day. It has helped me to feel what 3-5-10 mph wind feels like, and looks like with the local terain (I needed/need a lot of help in this area). The ability to know environmental factors are taken into account pressure wise so I am as good as I can get.



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OSOK - Crash

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I picked up a Kestrel a few months ago as well. I am glad I have it. I like that I do not need to turn on my phone to access my ballistic calculator, especially early am or pm when the light would be to bright. It is a better ballistic calculator than the one I had in my phone, up to one MOA difference at 1k depending on the environmental factors of the day. It has helped me to feel what 3-5-10 mph wind feels like, and looks like with the local terain (I needed/need a lot of help in this area). The ability to know environmental factors are taken into account pressure wise so I am as good as I can get.



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Which one did you get?
 

parshal

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I use a Kestrel in competitions. For hunting I just use a pre-printed ballistics chart. The Kestrel only gives you a starting point for your first shot when it comes to wind holds. Often times it's way off from the real hold that you discover when you take your first shot.

In the NRL Hunter series, I've found the drop charts to be plenty accurate out to 1000 yards and beyond. Most every top shooter is using one.
 

OSU Fisher

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Not needed, handy sure…. I prefer my sig kilo 2400 abs - want the new 8k, not sure why…. I have 2 of the kilo’s and work great. Anyways, back to the kestrel, I have one. Never use it. I do carry a small wind meter in my bino pack but also rarely need it. Just work on reading wind. I shoot a lot which helps a ton but feel I’m a descent wind reader due to my old competitive golf career. When your trying to perfect your skills carry around the wind meter and test yourself all the time. The ballistics is the handy and helpful part and like I said I would look heavy at the new sig 8k instead. So easy and fast and only need one unit. Sell your Leica… and pick one up? Can be had for 1200 right now. $ well spent if you can swing it
 

willfrye027

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Not needed, handy sure…. I prefer my sig kilo 2400 abs - want the new 8k, not sure why…. I have 2 of the kilo’s and work great. Anyways, back to the kestrel, I have one. Never use it. I do carry a small wind meter in my bino pack but also rarely need it. Just work on reading wind. I shoot a lot which helps a ton but feel I’m a descent wind reader due to my old competitive golf career. When your trying to perfect your skills carry around the wind meter and test yourself all the time. The ballistics is the handy and helpful part and like I said I would look heavy at the new sig 8k instead. So easy and fast and only need one unit. Sell your Leica… and pick one up? Can be had for 1200 right now. $ well spent if you can swing it
Would be hard for me to sell the Leica…the beam divergence is so small and the reticle is precisely aligned. Have not experienced the same with sigs and had issues with it picking up the wrong object especially with archery. Maybe the 8k is different.


The main reason I was considering a kestrel would be to give a more precise elevation hold factoring in more advanced environmental input. Just not sure at what distance that becomes truly helpful or necessary. For instance I missed high on a 730 yard shot that what a surprise to me and figure there’s something going on environmentally that I did not account for (also a fairly steep elevation so maybe it was a TBR calculation issue)
 

parshal

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Perfect timing for this video explaining just what you're asking. It's discussing ES but he shows the difference in elevation hold for different velocity. I'd argue that environmentals won't change your elevation as much as velocity.
 

willfrye027

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Perfect timing for this video explaining just what you're asking. It's discussing ES but he shows the difference in elevation hold for different velocity. I'd argue that environmentals won't change your elevation as much as velocity.
That’s a great video. It’s almost a guarantee that my shooting technique is a major culprit. It was a fairly steep uphill angle which admitted I have not practiced much at distance.

Going along with the topic of that video; why did I miss….

730 yards uphill angle maybe 15 degrees.. ranged with my Leica using the on board calculator. Thus far it has been spot on adjusting for temp, elevation, etc and my load is proven.

I missed high by .3-.4 mils. If it had been .1 mil lower it would have spined the buck..missed about 3 inches over his back. I think part of it was a soft rear rest…but I have been wondering if getting the linear distance and calculating the TBR on a kestrel, having some more precise environmentals, etc would have helped. I also did not account for the thermal In the wind dope which may have been part of it.

Basically I am comfortable with the idea of doping the wind horizontally (obviously tons of room for improvement) but I am wondering what am I “missing” in making elevation adjustments??

In all likelihood I missed because of poor fundamentals and not accounting for the thermal…but I still wonder if my dope inputs were wrong.

Thanks for all the input, I am learning a ton from you all
 

NorCal_In_AZ

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Like other said, sure it can help but its not needed. I prefer not to use one while hunting anyways. If you have the time to use it ok, but if you don't now what? I love my Sig Kilo 1400. My range is also 700 yards, and thats as far as the calculator works on the 1400. I pair the range finder with my phone one time when I start my hunt. Then just let the range finder work off that data for the hunt. At 700 yards and in, it would take a huge swing in weather to throw you out of a kill zone.
 

Tsgman

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Which one did you get?
Sorry for the delay response. Some reason I don't always recieve notifications? I purchased the 5700 Ballistics, not the elite model. Figured I could update it if I ever wanted or felt the need to.

 
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