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TrackingPoint Field Test: Hunting With a Precision Guided Firearm

TrackingPoint Field Test: Hunting With a Precision Guided Firearm

Shooting Editor John B. Snow took the new TrackingPoint system hunting in Texas for nilgai. See how it works here.
trackingpoint_01

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from superdough wrote 1 year 2 days ago

very cool technology. All of these comments complaining about the 'lazy' hunter who doesn't want to put in the time to learn to shoot long range should evaluate the contents of their own gun safe. What do you see in there? If it's anything more than a stone tipped spear and a flint-lock, then maybe you should re-evaluate your own hypocrisy.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lonnie Williamson wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I have read numerous of the negative non accepting comments from the obviously, young, healthy sportsmen readers. I would like to remind them that the clock of Father Time is ticking and though they may not think so it will be rather quickly that they will be less than youthful, healthy energetic individuals. Being 60 and having had open heart surgery for a defective Mitral Valve. I know better. While I still walk and hunt and prefer my usual spot and stalk techniques. The medications I need to survive limit my ability to withstand extreme cold.
Additionally, arthritis from running for 22 years in the Marine Corps is catching up too. My 83 year old father, cannot walk due to having both his knee caps shot off in Korea, has a Class Q permit and is looking for a scope of this type to insure that he will continue to get to make ethical shots

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from auhunter wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Having a bad leg and back, I could see a use for this, even though it is bulky and probably heavy. The problem is now I have shot a monster Elk, TRUE World Record Class on the other side of a canyon, 400 plus yards away. In my condition, just how in hell do I get to him and get him out. I see a couple of days work there, at minimum. Sorry, I'd rather stalk him, get within a reasonable range in terrain more favorable to me. I'm old school, I'll stick by my range finding with 30x30 on my scope, with one shot one kill. If I can't get it done that way, he lives to be hunted another day. Might be OK for a sniper in a fixed position, not sure I would want to run around with it mounted on a 50 cal all day though. Would release the need for a spotter though.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from John B. Snow wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I'm not surprised in the least by the negative and skeptical responses to this. The truth is this system does behave remarkably different from other advanced technologies that have been introduced into our sport. Personally, I still like to be in full control of my shooting and, if I'm going to shoot at extended ranges, I want to know my rifle and ammo inside and out and make the adjustments on my own.
But then, this system isn't meant for that type of rifleman.
I see the benefit of TrackingPoint for three groups. The first group is, obviously, well-to-do hunters who don't want to put the time into honing their long-range skills who might be headed out on a high-dollar adventure where long shots are likely to be encountered. I don't condone this attitude--I think any hunter worth their salt should put in the time to learn how to shoot, but this is the world as it is, and not the world as I would like it.
Secondly, there are shooters with disabilities for whom this system can be a true blessing. Think of someone with Parkinson's or some other affliction where they have difficulty controlling spasms or tremors. This system allows them to hunt again.
Third, I can see this being used by certain guides and outfitters for novice hunters. The ability to double check which animal a person is going to shoot and where the shot will go can avoid a lot of mistakes and needless suffering from the game.
Here's the other thing about this technology--this is only the beginning. Whether we like it or not we're going to see more sophisticated electronics integrated into our gear. In the not too distant future we'll have rangefinders that can gauge the windspeed between the shooter and target. And, more and more, our smartphones, firearms and optics are all going to be speaking to each other in an integrated and seamless fashion with all kinds or real world data that affects our shooting.
Where the line is drawn between ethical and unethical hunting is always up for debate and while we can argue this in public, the ultimate answer always lies with the person behind the trigger in the field. It's just as easy to take an unethical shot with an iron-sighted muzzleloader as it is with the latest gizmo. But I'm glad we're having the debate.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

This was a good read and I appreciated the explanation of the system. It wouldn't be for me I'm afraid given that the shooter doesn't even actually pull the trigger for the shot. The price at this time is prohibitive but I'm sure as time passes it will go down. I would say it was probably just a matter of time until some techie figured this out. Today we have handheld laser rangefinders that factor in the inclination to the target it was just a metter of adding the ballistics to it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hzatiger wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Not cool. Good for the Armed Forces though. I think the point of hunting is putting in the work, taking the shot, and hopefully hitting the target if you did everything correctly right?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I'll stick with my iron sights & instinct, thank you very much.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

If this is where “Hunting” is going, stop the truck. I need to get out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

There are so many negatives about this for me that I don't know where to start.
For one, it strikes me that the biggest attraction of using a system like this is pure laziness - why work hard to get a close, ethical shot at your quarry when you can sit in the comfort of your "mobile assault vehicle", and let your computer-guided rifle shoot dinner for you? And technology like this could easily become a slippery slope - why stop with just a computer-guided scope, why not make an actual robotic rifle, so it can go out and "hunt" for you, although there's no guaranteeing it'll bring home what you wanted it to!
Then there's the legality of it, as far as I know, it would be illegal for big game just about everywhere.
And finally, there's the practical side, what if the batteries die? Does the scope have a "regular" function than it doesn't need batteries for? Because if it doesn't, it wouldn't be a very good choice for a back-country hunting trip! And it also looks very heavy and bulky, but I guess that won't matter if you're too lazy to hunt without a "mobile assault vehicle" anyway.
I'm sorry for the harsh words Mr. Snow, but I feel very strongly about it, and believe that this system DOES constitute an unfair advantage, and is unethical for ANY kind of hunting, even for varmints and exotics.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

The Good:
* What an incredible piece of technology! Advancements like this, whether directly useful or not, are a testament to a healthy shooting industry as well as American (and Texan) ingenuity.
* Many guides, PH's, and shooting instructors would love to have the real-time viewing of what the client sees at the time of the trigger pull, even without the computer selecting the shot timing.
* Thanks to the author for giving an honest, full account of his experience--complete with successes and errors.

The Bad:
* This system does not eliminate human error, as the author demonstrated, it just moves it from "trigger time" to "input time".
* There are serious ethical questions when a machine is picking the shot instead of a human. Start to imagine walking targets that are standing near each other, like plains game in a herd, and there are lots more occasions for "oops" than for success.

The Ugly
* The continued "gadgetification" of hunting (and even target shooting) appears to be eroding the skills of the every-man hunter and replacing them with the ability to swipe a credit card. Not good.
* That scope system is huge, heavy, and ungainly looking. Yuck.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sven_Katur wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

With the addition of a gun mount and a couple of smartphone apps you eventually will be able to monitor and record your level of enjoyment and hunting success from the comfort of your own home ...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from schmakenzie wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Is it harder to practice shooting? or is it harder to charge the i-pad & gun, remember to put in windage, update software, etc..?

The author still messed up with help.

The only legal wild animal to hunt in Illinois with the gun would be the coyote.

So the author had a guide to locate the wildlife and then a gun that made the shot for him. I would like to be the first to congratulate him on accomplishing.....hmmmm...nothing.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

No thanks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from Sven_Katur wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

With the addition of a gun mount and a couple of smartphone apps you eventually will be able to monitor and record your level of enjoyment and hunting success from the comfort of your own home ...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

The Good:
* What an incredible piece of technology! Advancements like this, whether directly useful or not, are a testament to a healthy shooting industry as well as American (and Texan) ingenuity.
* Many guides, PH's, and shooting instructors would love to have the real-time viewing of what the client sees at the time of the trigger pull, even without the computer selecting the shot timing.
* Thanks to the author for giving an honest, full account of his experience--complete with successes and errors.

The Bad:
* This system does not eliminate human error, as the author demonstrated, it just moves it from "trigger time" to "input time".
* There are serious ethical questions when a machine is picking the shot instead of a human. Start to imagine walking targets that are standing near each other, like plains game in a herd, and there are lots more occasions for "oops" than for success.

The Ugly
* The continued "gadgetification" of hunting (and even target shooting) appears to be eroding the skills of the every-man hunter and replacing them with the ability to swipe a credit card. Not good.
* That scope system is huge, heavy, and ungainly looking. Yuck.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from John B. Snow wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I'm not surprised in the least by the negative and skeptical responses to this. The truth is this system does behave remarkably different from other advanced technologies that have been introduced into our sport. Personally, I still like to be in full control of my shooting and, if I'm going to shoot at extended ranges, I want to know my rifle and ammo inside and out and make the adjustments on my own.
But then, this system isn't meant for that type of rifleman.
I see the benefit of TrackingPoint for three groups. The first group is, obviously, well-to-do hunters who don't want to put the time into honing their long-range skills who might be headed out on a high-dollar adventure where long shots are likely to be encountered. I don't condone this attitude--I think any hunter worth their salt should put in the time to learn how to shoot, but this is the world as it is, and not the world as I would like it.
Secondly, there are shooters with disabilities for whom this system can be a true blessing. Think of someone with Parkinson's or some other affliction where they have difficulty controlling spasms or tremors. This system allows them to hunt again.
Third, I can see this being used by certain guides and outfitters for novice hunters. The ability to double check which animal a person is going to shoot and where the shot will go can avoid a lot of mistakes and needless suffering from the game.
Here's the other thing about this technology--this is only the beginning. Whether we like it or not we're going to see more sophisticated electronics integrated into our gear. In the not too distant future we'll have rangefinders that can gauge the windspeed between the shooter and target. And, more and more, our smartphones, firearms and optics are all going to be speaking to each other in an integrated and seamless fashion with all kinds or real world data that affects our shooting.
Where the line is drawn between ethical and unethical hunting is always up for debate and while we can argue this in public, the ultimate answer always lies with the person behind the trigger in the field. It's just as easy to take an unethical shot with an iron-sighted muzzleloader as it is with the latest gizmo. But I'm glad we're having the debate.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I'll stick with my iron sights & instinct, thank you very much.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from hzatiger wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Not cool. Good for the Armed Forces though. I think the point of hunting is putting in the work, taking the shot, and hopefully hitting the target if you did everything correctly right?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

No thanks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

This was a good read and I appreciated the explanation of the system. It wouldn't be for me I'm afraid given that the shooter doesn't even actually pull the trigger for the shot. The price at this time is prohibitive but I'm sure as time passes it will go down. I would say it was probably just a matter of time until some techie figured this out. Today we have handheld laser rangefinders that factor in the inclination to the target it was just a metter of adding the ballistics to it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

There are so many negatives about this for me that I don't know where to start.
For one, it strikes me that the biggest attraction of using a system like this is pure laziness - why work hard to get a close, ethical shot at your quarry when you can sit in the comfort of your "mobile assault vehicle", and let your computer-guided rifle shoot dinner for you? And technology like this could easily become a slippery slope - why stop with just a computer-guided scope, why not make an actual robotic rifle, so it can go out and "hunt" for you, although there's no guaranteeing it'll bring home what you wanted it to!
Then there's the legality of it, as far as I know, it would be illegal for big game just about everywhere.
And finally, there's the practical side, what if the batteries die? Does the scope have a "regular" function than it doesn't need batteries for? Because if it doesn't, it wouldn't be a very good choice for a back-country hunting trip! And it also looks very heavy and bulky, but I guess that won't matter if you're too lazy to hunt without a "mobile assault vehicle" anyway.
I'm sorry for the harsh words Mr. Snow, but I feel very strongly about it, and believe that this system DOES constitute an unfair advantage, and is unethical for ANY kind of hunting, even for varmints and exotics.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

If this is where “Hunting” is going, stop the truck. I need to get out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lonnie Williamson wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I have read numerous of the negative non accepting comments from the obviously, young, healthy sportsmen readers. I would like to remind them that the clock of Father Time is ticking and though they may not think so it will be rather quickly that they will be less than youthful, healthy energetic individuals. Being 60 and having had open heart surgery for a defective Mitral Valve. I know better. While I still walk and hunt and prefer my usual spot and stalk techniques. The medications I need to survive limit my ability to withstand extreme cold.
Additionally, arthritis from running for 22 years in the Marine Corps is catching up too. My 83 year old father, cannot walk due to having both his knee caps shot off in Korea, has a Class Q permit and is looking for a scope of this type to insure that he will continue to get to make ethical shots

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from schmakenzie wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Is it harder to practice shooting? or is it harder to charge the i-pad & gun, remember to put in windage, update software, etc..?

The author still messed up with help.

The only legal wild animal to hunt in Illinois with the gun would be the coyote.

So the author had a guide to locate the wildlife and then a gun that made the shot for him. I would like to be the first to congratulate him on accomplishing.....hmmmm...nothing.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from auhunter wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Having a bad leg and back, I could see a use for this, even though it is bulky and probably heavy. The problem is now I have shot a monster Elk, TRUE World Record Class on the other side of a canyon, 400 plus yards away. In my condition, just how in hell do I get to him and get him out. I see a couple of days work there, at minimum. Sorry, I'd rather stalk him, get within a reasonable range in terrain more favorable to me. I'm old school, I'll stick by my range finding with 30x30 on my scope, with one shot one kill. If I can't get it done that way, he lives to be hunted another day. Might be OK for a sniper in a fixed position, not sure I would want to run around with it mounted on a 50 cal all day though. Would release the need for a spotter though.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from superdough wrote 1 year 2 days ago

very cool technology. All of these comments complaining about the 'lazy' hunter who doesn't want to put in the time to learn to shoot long range should evaluate the contents of their own gun safe. What do you see in there? If it's anything more than a stone tipped spear and a flint-lock, then maybe you should re-evaluate your own hypocrisy.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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