How to guage approximate distance

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Rocky Road Lerp, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. Rocky Road Lerp

    Rocky Road Lerp Monkey++

    This might come in handy to some. If you have other ways without tools please share.

    How to Estimate Distances
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  2. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

  3. Rocky Road Lerp

    Rocky Road Lerp Monkey++

    I just clicked on it and it brought it right up.
  4. Rocky Road Lerp

    Rocky Road Lerp Monkey++

    Or not. Let me see what I can do....
  5. Rocky Road Lerp

    Rocky Road Lerp Monkey++

  6. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    The Old Farmer's Almanac I think this link will work better than the one in post #1

    There are quite a few different methods of judging distances without using laser range finders or surveying equipment. Most of these method have been developed by the military and others in the field.

    Several, are outlined in a Marine Corps field training lesson plan on range estimation, and it can be found as a Word .doc at:

    other methods such as using flash-bang (or crack-thump of small arms), and using telescopic and binocular graticules (using the subtention rule...i.e. 1mil =-1metre at 1,000 metres) are explained at:

    Estimate Range (

    Estimating Range With A Mil-Dot Reticle | The Shooter's Log

    angular distances using "hand angles"

    Angular mil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaHow to Easily Estimate Distances |
    Angular mil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If some of the distance and angle values are known, then pythagoras' theorem can be used to calculate the unknown values
    Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life® - How the Distance of
    Mickey's Longest Home Run Was Calculated

    Effective Distance and Connectivity
    using ratios of known measurements to calculate unknown distances using pythagoras theorem.

    or use angle cards....
    Angle Cards - A "business card" for measuring angle and distance from arm's length

    Dunerunner, Brokor, Motomom34 and 5 others like this.
  7. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I found that it was a good practice to own a good archery range finder and use it often .
    and continually test one's self in their guestimation of distances .
    My son and I challenged one another while hiking or working by looking at a 2x4 and guessing it's length , the size of a bolt, the height of a building or a tree we challenged one another to have an accurate estimation of it's size, then check it . An archery range finder is a handy tool to learn with, and in time one learns to gage distance with out the tool IF THEY WORK AT IT .
    Having some one to compete with helps ,but one can learn volumes testing them self .
    Both of us carry measuring tapes and use of micrometers, knowing by a glance and feel about how thick something is shortens the time taken to do a job .

    Knowing about how tall a person is ,one can at a distance make an estimation something relative to their height . If a girl 5' tall is next to a building and she is about as tall as my thumb nail held at arms length, and my thumb nail is 5 times measured against, the building it is twenty five feet tall .
    Meat likes this.
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    When applied to ballistics, it's a little different, but there are some easy ways to do it.

    Estimation is always going to be less precise than mechanical ranging.

    One example using mils: known target size (say a soldier's waist line to shoulders= 20 inches), then multiply by 25.4 and divide by mils from your reticle to get range in meters. So, target is out there and measures 1.5 mils from waist to shoulders. Using the formula, it's 20 x 25.4 / 1.5 = 338 meters, round to a nice 340 meters. Done. You could use any "known" measurement, such as crotch to top of head = 40 inches, or the distance from one side of a truck to another, across front or front to rear, all memorized, pre-learned and applied in the field.
    Yard Dart and Meat like this.
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yes, that works for estimating height (not distance as the thread indicates) BUT you must be far enough away from the subject to keep the angle up below some (arbitrarily) set limit, otherwise your estimate will be WAY off. (I typically use 30 degrees as my max angle. That still introduces an error consistent with the sine of the angle, but ordinarily close enough as an estimate.)
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
    arleigh and Meat like this.
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    When I am shooting the Custom AR10 I own, The Optics give me the range, out to 1200 Yds.... then I have to do the rest in my Head... @998 Yds, I am about 45% within 24" and 80% within 36" Now, but it took a long time to get the loading, correct for each Projectile used... and only on a Calm Day....
    Meat likes this.
  11. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

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