View Full Version : How accurate do we need to be?
05-17-2002, 08:23 AM
SDHunter made a great post down below in the discussion about measuring groups, where he questioned the trend toward super-accuracy and fancy guns and high performance ammo. ###How much value is there to this trend, and is it starting to work against us? ###
It's something that's been on my mind a lot too. ###Kinda came real clear this past weekend when my brother rolled in with his green box Remington ammo while I'm pulling out the fancy black and gold boxes. ###And at the end of the hunt, his hog was every bit as dead as mine, with bullets that cost half what mine did. ###
He sights in his rifle the same way I used to, propped against a tree out behind mom's barn. ###For a target he tosses out an old box, milk jug, or whatever happens to be handy. ###He practices with his .44 both quickdraw (he's getting into Cowboy Action) at 20 paces with a 55 gallon drum, and off hand with a milk jug out to 50 yards. ###
When we were kids, my friends and I used to go find a garbage dump in the woods and target shoot there. ###We'd challenge each other to do things like dot the "i" on a Pepsi can, or shoot down the neck of a bottle without breaking the sides. ###We were super-familiar with our guns, and later on, when game walked out... ###we generally dropped it clean.
Now I get out to the range once a month at best, fire off a couple hundred rounds through a couple of guns, and content myself with group sizes on a piece of paper. ###I use sandbags most of the time, and spend a large part of the range time tweaking my scope. ###I do try to touch off a few rounds from field positions, at least as best I can on the concrete under the benches, but that's not very realistic. ###
There's no doubt that confidence is a big part of the game, and if you can consistently pull off those sub-minute of angle groups and you believe the ammo you're shooting can disassemble a rhino at 75 paces.... well, that can't be bad. ###The problem is, if you can't shoot those tiny groups but expect them because some gun-writer said you could get them... well, what does that do to your confidence in the field? ###You doubt yourself and you doubt your gun... that can only end in tears. :cry-blue:
05-17-2002, 10:45 AM
Good points. ###I agree about the bullets thing. ###I shoot Corelocts in one rifle and Hornady Interloct in two rifles. ###Yes they are cheaper, they will all shoot the sought after 1" group and despite what all the new high-tech bullet manufacturers want you to think, they work damn well. ###I have a jar full of perfectly mushroomed slugs at home. ###All are Hornadys and Remingtons. ###I have experienced all aspects of bullet performance. ###I've had full and partial penetration, slug stopped under off-side hide, and I've had bullet fragmentation at short range. ###But guess what, all the animals died either in their tracks or after just a few steps. ###I had a Hornady fragment (what most people would call a bullet failure) on a elk at 25 yds, but that sucker dropped in his tracks with both shoulders broken. ###Also, since they are cheaper you can actually practice with the same ammo that you zero in with. ###To me this is important for building confidence for when the trophy is in your sights. ###My pig guide, Frank, uses Corelocts and so does my elk guide, Billy. ###He actually swears by them and thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread, even for ELK. ###Ask him and he'll tell you that regardless of the greater cost he'll take a Coreloct over a Partition any day. ###Personal preference yes but he has the experience to support his beliefs. Both these men have killed, or assisted in the hunting of, hundreds if not thousands of animals. ###They are simple men and successful hunters. ###You'll find a beat up rifle that rides on the floorboard of their truck, no Realtree camo but Wranglers and a flannel or wool shirt, and a handful of Remington Corelocts for their .270 or 30-06 in their pocket. ###No hot off the shelf whizbang gear and no double super - implode your eardrum - tear your shoulder off - miss your shot - but still think you're cool - ultra mag rifle. ###I'll take either of these guys over Gary Jordan or Jim Zumbo any day. ###I think we could learn a lot if we put away the gun mags and turned off the hunting shows and spent some serious time in the woods with guys like Billy and Frank. ###
(Edited by SDHNTR at 11:11 am on May 17, 2002)
05-17-2002, 11:35 AM
Speck, I agree with you 100% and don't think the plinking element of good riflemanship can be stressed enough. ###A walk around a dump or woods with a rifle does a world of good in training improvised rests, different shooting positions, target spotting, colour differentiation, quick rifle presentation and a bunch of other things I can't think of right now. ###How many times do you hear of professional hunters who 'have killed every animal in Canada with a 243' or 'provides a South American logging camp with all its meat with his trusty 222'. ###Invariably the good fellas don't shoot with mashemflat magnums because they can't shoot them in high volume. ###That's taking your accuarcy theory one step further. ###Do we really need all these big magnums? ###The real recoil punishers like dangerous game double rifles are shot at less than 100yds, sometimes less than 50yds, where practicing hardly matters - which is fine since most men can't shoot those things more than twice anyway. ###I like my little guns and have a great time shooting them at anything. ###My favourite is freshly ploughed fields on sugar estates with little white limestones as far as the eye can see. ###I pick one, estimate the range, hold over/under and squeeze. ###A white puff indicates a good hit! ###An afternoon well spent.
05-17-2002, 11:46 AM
i'm off to look at a used md 12 for $100 i'll post later but man you are 110% right.
BYE for now.
05-17-2002, 08:57 PM
Real world shooting with a hunting gun is not from a bench it is from every position you like to shoot from, I could never kneel or sit to shoot I have always been better off standing or flat even with a back pack.
I shoot at ballons and paper plates from 50 to 300 yards I have taken over 80 big game animals and another 30 or so feral animals and KNOCK ON WOOD I have only missed 1 deer and 1 lope and lost another wounded lope ( huge buck 90+) sure I have taken a few hail marry shots that I should not have (in my youth thinking if I can see it I can hit it) the longest I have fallowed a blood trail is 1/8mi with most 40-50yds and many drop and flop.
I have 3 safes full but over the years have taken 80% of my game with 4 rifles, shooting mainly Remington Core Lokts and the old Winchester Silver Tips some larger animals (moose) I shot with Nosler solid base and a few others Sierra Gamekings and they were seconds bought when Sierra was in SF Springs.
Many gun writters have made hunters feel if they are not paying top dollar for everything they will not be successful, several times I have been tempted to buy Barnes or some other premium bullet then I put my head back on and say what the hell are you thinking.
I have no probelem with anyone shooting off a bench, I enjoy more now then when I was younger and it is great to dial in and work up a load take the chrono out, and ###1" to 2" is great for me, but it's not real world hunting shooting.
I'm sure there are other that look at it from another point of view and that is fine with me:toast-yellow:
I also played the trash dump games, and many a collector bottle met it's death at my hands.
(Edited by huntducks at 9:07 pm on May 17, 2002)
05-19-2002, 12:51 PM
Hmmm. Good question.
I was getting a little irritated at a rifle that I could not get to group well. The problem I had was one out of three shot would be very erratic. Sometimes the first shot, sometimes the second Sometimes the third. Was it me? I didn't think so and still don't.
Bottom line is I bought a gun from maker that can flat out shoot. My groups are great and I am confident in my ability. Which goes back to what someone said about knowing your limitations. Maybe I was buying confidence. It worked for me.
This group is a very good one but I can get 1/2" groups on a regular basis and I am not at the range once a month either, more like once or twice per year.
I would do it over again, maybe sooner than I did it this time. I have friends that I see are going through the same frustrations I did.
So for me, not having the knowledge/time to learn how to make a gun more accurate I solved my problem the best way I saw fit.
(Edited by Arrowhead at 1:05 pm on May 19, 2002)
05-19-2002, 11:18 PM
There is always more than one way to solve a problem. ###Just think what you could do if you hand loaded and went to the range twice each month....
05-20-2002, 12:41 PM
Several books could be (and have been) written on this subject...
For me, I reload all my centerfire rounds so the cost of "premium" bullets is negligible. ###Buying Corelokt or Partition boils down to a very similar price. ###I shoot Partitions for big game simply because the design of the bullet is superior for deeper penetration than a non sectioned bullet. ###That doesn't mean that the other bullets are bad. ###Nor does it mean that they won't kill game cleanly. ###Simply, they are designed to overcome the weaknessed of a "standard" hunting bullet.
I use to rebuild VWs to make money for college back in my high school days. ###Like every good high school kid, we built some pretty hot engines occasionally. ###My buddy who was a big fan of a V8 kept telling me that my hot rod VWs simply couldn't hold up to what he could build in a V8. ###I argued the point and told him that the VW could do anything his V8 could do, blah, blah... ###Now that I'm older and wiser (and have nothing to prove), I can see the facts and concede that for power production, the water cooled V8 was simply a better design than my old tried and true air cooled flat four VW. ###Nothing wrong with the VW, it's the most popular engine ever produced... but that doesn't mean that there's not a better design.
As far as accuracy goes, I'll develop loads off of a bench. ###I can have one gun shoot load A into 2" while load B goes into .5". ###Both are perfectly capable of killing deer sized game at 100 yards with that accuracy. ###However, let's take that logic out to 350 yards for that once in a lifetime mule deer located across a canyon. ###That 2" group very quickly introduces more than enough variation to remove you as the shooter from the #1 factor in whether you'll hit the deer or not. ###Shoot the .5" round and it's still on your shoulders.
I think that there are relatively few modern production guns that can't shoot 1" @ 100 yards with a minimal amount of work either hand loading, shooting various types of factory ammo to find the best, some minor smithing work (bedding) or something along those lines. ###That's what I normally shoot for. ###Going from .5" to .4" doesn't do much for me... but I'm not a benchrest shooter.
Also remember what the gun is going to be used for. ###I have a Ruger #1 in .375 H&H that shoots just over 1" @ 100 yards. ###That's fine as I'm not going to be shooting anything over 200-250 yards max with the 2.5x scope on it and the fact that whatever I'm shooting at is likely to be plenty big. ###Take my Ruger #1V in .223 though. ###It's for squirrels and until it shoots .5" or under, I'm not going to be satisfied.
A good question might be what level of accuracy is acceptable for what kind/size of critter you're shooting?
06-17-2002, 03:52 PM
An accuracy standard I adopted when I spent a lot of time shooting at the public range at Spenceville was to place orange dome clay birds on the ground at 300 yards and try to hit them with a scoped rifle from a rest. ###If you could hit them when everything felt right I thought that was pretty good shooting. ###Also, since the range is right in the middle of a wind gap, you learned about the effects of wind.
I also had a swinging metal gong 16" plate that I suspended below a wooden frame. ###When you hit it at 300 yards it made a satisfying clang. ###I spent many a shooting session getting to where I could hit it off-hand with my Ruger77 in .257 Roberts.
06-18-2002, 12:12 AM
As we all know, that stuff is all mental. Most of us as kids didnt' give a damn about "geeking out" on gadgets and fractions of an inch when we carried our .22's... it was the fact that we went out and shot every day that mattered.
I'm always tempted to make up for the lack of practice through buying something fancier. A few months ago I put a scope on my .44 carbine; now I want to take it off. Not having a place nearby to freestand shoot soda cans and milk jugs out to 100 paces is cramping my style.
(Edited by shaginator at 12:14 am on June 18, 2002)
06-18-2002, 08:01 AM
How accurate? ###Hmmmm....well I guess it depends on the game. ###If it's deer...well the rifle needs to be minute o' deer, coyotes...minute o' coyote, ###squirrels...minute o' squirrel. ###Starting to get the picture? ###I guess we could argue how accurate things need to be 'till the sun goes down but...While we're busy arguing about it someone else is out putting meat in the freezer. ###Can you hit/kill what you aim at? ###Sounds accurate enough for me. ###My two centavos worth...
08-20-2002, 09:34 PM
I for one believe in quality equipment for hunting.
Every bolt gun I have can shoot sub moa after trying three or four loads. All my hunting rifles have sythathic stocks so moisture in the field does not change the POI. I glass bed two of my rifles at about $5 and half hour of my labor each. ###
With a little effort, I can have pride on my equipment and skill. The confidence pay off when I go hunting. I fired only five shots with my rifle during ten years of deer hunting in public land in CA and took five black-tails. All were shot under less then ideal conditions. Three were shot in the neck and one in the head all becasue the vitals were blocked by bush or tree. The last one, a vital(behind shoulder) shot was 80 yard running shot(the deer was running, not me). If I didn't have confidence in my equipment, I would had gone home empty handed.
So for me, hunting rifle and ammo combo has to be MOA or better. Sure anyone can hunt with a less accurate rifle. But why? If I want more challenge, I'd hunt with my bow during archery season and leave the rifle only hunters behind. ###
(Edited by storm at 9:47 pm on Aug. 20, 2002)
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