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troy_mclure
October 5, 2009, 12:03 PM
whats the smallest group size you consider good enough accuracy for hunting?

deer + sized animals?

varmints, coyote on down?

Brian Pfleuger
October 5, 2009, 12:21 PM
Lots of opinions:

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=300300

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=246988

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=185542

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=376680

koolminx
October 5, 2009, 12:39 PM
Why does this dang old question always pop up?

I hear it on the range when I used to go to Public and Member only ranges to shoot...

Not once in all my life had I ever seen an animal stand still while it was being shot at!

Shot placement after the first shot is Never important.

Because simply said, even if the animal only goes 10 feet and stands there staring at you, that is Fully and Technically a BRAND new Shot.

So in Reality you always and ONLY ever get one shot at an animal per each shot placement. When at the range you never move and consistently take the shot from the exact same position every time.

I could go on and on, but, like this question, it's tiresome and don't matter....

Your shooting pattern means nothing after your first shot if you believe as I do.

Each and every shot I shoot is done the exact same way as the last shot, for consistency sake, but I also consider each shot my first, because animals just won't stand for it... ;)

Sorry I feel so strongly about this and had to vent, but that's the reality of my little world and I felt like sharing...

Brian Pfleuger
October 5, 2009, 12:44 PM
Koolminx,


It's not exactly a question of the size of the group you're going to make on the animal. It's a question of how big of a circle where your bullet will land is good enough for hunting.

If you can shoot 4 inch groups at 100 but one shot might be 2 inches high and right while the next is 2 inches low and left, is that "good enough".

No, you're not shooting a group at the animal but you also don't know if THIS SHOT will be 2 inches high and right or low and left.

What is the acceptable margin? That is the question.

It's not in any way a ridiculous question.

(but it has been asked alot;))

koolminx
October 5, 2009, 02:32 PM
Ahhhhhhhhhhh Sooooooo!

I FINALLY get the question! :) Thank you Pizza! :D

Never thought of the Q like that.

kraigwy
October 5, 2009, 02:34 PM
I like my .277 in shot group from my 270 Win on elk, for deer .257 works.

Buzzcook
October 5, 2009, 04:19 PM
I like my .277 in shot group from my 270 Win on elk, for deer .257 works.

Show off.;)


I get ~moa groups from the bench, about 3" off hand.

The heart lung target on a deer is about 10". If your rifle will always put a bullet in that target at the distance you shoot deer at, I guess that's good enough.

But the vast majority of rifles are going to do much better than that. Even a beater Mosin or similar will get 4" groups at 100yds

wyobohunter
October 5, 2009, 04:43 PM
How accurate you and your rifle need to be is purely a function of how far you want to shoot and what you are shooting at. If you have a rifle that is minute of pie plate or ≈ 8 MOA with you shooting it in the offhand at 100 yds and you want to hunt whitetail deer. The rifle/shooter is accurate enough for deer a 100 yds. and not much more (if any) from the offhand. If you want to shoot the same Deer at 500 yds. you need to be able to shoot 1.6" at 100 yds consistently from field positions to put a bullet in an 8" vital area at 500 yds.

So, it really isn't a matter of accurate but how far for the accuracy I've got.

koolminx
October 5, 2009, 05:08 PM
I agree with you about not the overall accuracy at a given distance but the accuracy at ALL positions and distances.

First shot inside a 3 to 10" circle at ANY yardage, and, provided you don't screw up, you will get your meat 99% of the time.

I still stand by my first shot. The first shot is ALL you got on an animal, unless it's a decoy... Then you got Mr. Hidden Game warden to deal with and GOSH I Love those video's :D

Art Eatman
October 5, 2009, 05:10 PM
it's reasonably well established that the majority of all deer are killed within 200 yards, and from a lot of what I read or what I've seen, probably 80 to 120 yards is the most common. Somewhere around that, anyway.

So I'll go along with what I read in the American Rifleman maybe fifty or so years back: Two MOA is adequate.

MLeake
October 5, 2009, 05:11 PM
... PK explained this, but there are a couple of terms that I'd add to his explanation.

Accuracy: how close the center of the weapon/shooter combo's groups is to point of aim.

Precision: how close the overall spread of the group is to the center of the group.

If your scope/sights are zeroed perfectly, then at the zeroed range your accuracy should be excellent, centered as close to perfectly on the bull as you can get.

However, if your barrel and action are sloppy, or if your technique is poor, each bullet you fire may be at some distance from your aimpoint.

Zeroing in improves accuracy; practice after the zero builds your precision. The more precise you are, the closer any given shot you fire should be to your point of aim.

If you are really worried about first-shot accuracy, which should be the case for hunting as you've expressed, then when shooting groups, allow cooling time between each shot. That way you check your precision with a cool barrel, which is what you will have for an actual first shot.

Cheers,

M

sasquatch
October 5, 2009, 05:53 PM
The heart lung target on a deer is about 10". If your rifle will always put a bullet in that target at the distance you shoot deer at, I guess that's good enough.

But the vast majority of rifles are going to do much better than that. Even a beater Mosin or similar will get 4" groups at 100yds

The rifle may be capable, but in my experience, most hunters are not.

In 40+ years of zeroing-in rifles at both public and private ranges, I'd say about 20% of hunters I've seen are capable of shooting MOA groups. Many are lucky to shoot a pie-plate sized group @ 100 yards, and are ready to join Elmer Fudd out in the woods if they come close to that.

bswiv
October 5, 2009, 07:10 PM
What PETZAKILLA said..............and the the other sound advice added.

Dad always said to sight in whatever you were going to shoot and then learn to shoot it. Something he picked up in the army I think. And to him learning to "shoot it" meant in a lot of other positions than just perfectly situated on the bench.

smith357
October 5, 2009, 08:41 PM
I expect all my hunting rifles to be able to shoot 1 MOA cold barrel shots or better from the bench. Then I must be able to hold the rifle at no more than 3 MOA which gives me a total acceptable spread of 4 MOA which is my bare minimum at 100 yds. For longer shots I must have some sort of rest like a rock or log to steady my aim down to 2 or less MOA. With a rifle that has proved to shoot sub MOA, if there is a miss I know I can't blame the equipment, and it's my skills as a marksman that failed.

Swampghost
October 5, 2009, 09:12 PM
I like to be MOA off of the bench for distance rifles, 30-06, 30-40, .243, etc. and within 2 MOA for short range like the 1894, Mini .223/5.56, etc. Short range is 100 yds. +/-.

On the hunt you usually get less time to set up at short range and you can't expect what you get at the bench. At longer ranges you're less likely to get winded and generally have more time to settle in, these shots should be very close to bench excluding weather conditions.

Old Grump
October 5, 2009, 10:20 PM
hunting accuracy offhand is a fist sized group at 50 yards and with a support the same at 100 yards and from a rest the same at 200 yards. Don't need benchrest accuracy to down a deer but it gives you confidence if the gun can shoot better than you can hold.

sasquatch
October 5, 2009, 10:48 PM
hunting accuracy offhand is a fist sized group at 50 yards

If I couldn't shoot a better group than 5" at 50 yards (that's 10" at 100 yards and 20" at 200 yards), I'd sell all my rifles and take up quilting.

MLeake
October 5, 2009, 11:16 PM
... from what Old Grump is saying, by extension he'd shoot 2.5" or less at 100 yards from a bench or prone, not 10".

His fist sized group is either standing or kneeling, with no stick or tree limb, from what I read.

Just how tight a group do you shoot without any sort of support? At 50 yards? At 100?

sasquatch
October 5, 2009, 11:40 PM
He said:
hunting accuracy offhand is a fist sized group at 50 yards

That 5" fist-sized group at 50 yards becomes a 10" group at 100 yards, and 20" at 200.

Just how tight a group do you shoot without any sort of support? At 50 yards? At 100?

I don't shoot without some type of support. I carry shooting sticks, and have used them a number of times.

koolminx
October 6, 2009, 08:14 AM
This is a cool thread and a great conversation even though the topic sways gently from side to side...
Mleake, that was a nice set of sentences, and I can agree with them.

Still...

The only time I ever Bench shoot is when I'm sighting in a new rifle, or shooting my pop's varmint .223 which weighs about a gazillion lbs... I get two good shoulder shots standing, the rest are all over creation if I don't rest between...


Anyhow... I shoot for fun 100% of the time. If I go to the range it's to have fun. But, the best time is always the most accurate time as long as I got shootin friends or relatives. :)

Every piece I shoot I can hit the target in the bulls eye with the first shot. Even if I line up 8 rifles and shoot each after the other. This is always in the standing position or stand while leaning an arm a leg or back or hand against a pole or tree for stability as the possibility of doing this in the woods while hunting is nearly a given.
After that, I don't give much thought to it. But, after reading this thread, I have some things I can think about and try next time I go out.

It's not likely going to change my thoughts on game shooting, because the basics for me never change, you only ever get one shot at any animal from any position, unless that animal is 1,000 yards away or it is retarded.

I always hit my pie plate, I've never missed an animal after my first deer which I got but had buck fever on :), and I never will miss. It's simply inconceivable for me to take a shot where I could possibly miss as that is a waste of a good shooting opportunity... Yeah yeah, I KNOW that every shot is an opportunity to miss, but some shots are retarded and you get lucky, and some shots are a given and you miss... But i don't.... It's just the way I shoot.

If I could shoot a pistol accurate enough to hit a barn from 25 feet I'd be a happy man...


So I'm going to go with keeping a pie plate shot group at 200 yards is likely going to net the shooter a hit and kill on every shot! Now he just needs to learn to track... ;)

Art Eatman
October 6, 2009, 10:30 AM
sasquatch, go back and re-read Old Grump's post. You're not understanding what he said.

Offhand, if you can hit a fist-sized spot on a deer at 50 yards, it's a dead deer.

With a handy rest, if you can hit a fist-sized spot on a deer at 100 yards, it's a dead deer.

With a good rest, if you can hit a fist-sized spot on a deer at 200 yards, it's a dead deer.

Gotta be a really tiny deer for the heart/lungs to be smaller than a fist. :D

sasquatch
October 6, 2009, 10:36 AM
sasquatch, go back and re-read Old Grump's post. You're not understanding what he said.

Offhand, if you can hit a fist-sized spot on a deer at 50 yards, it's a dead deer.

And how about offhand @ 100 yards.......or 200 yards?

MLeake
October 6, 2009, 10:45 AM
... Old Grump said he shoots a fist size group at 200 yards, bench, as well as the same size group at 50 yards, offhand. (and the same size, with basic support, at 100 yards)

By inference, using your sticks, he'd shoot 4" or 5" at 100 yards, not 10".

MLeake
October 6, 2009, 10:47 AM
.... YOU said you always use sticks. So you still haven't answered how you shoot without the sticks at 100 yards, you've simply criticized Old Grump.

Your turn.

sasquatch
October 6, 2009, 11:36 AM
Sasquatch, again...
.... YOU said you always use sticks. So you still haven't answered how you shoot without the sticks at 100 yards, you've simply criticized Old Grump.

RIF....here is what I actually said:

I don't shoot without some type of support. I carry shooting sticks, and have used them a number of times.



That "some type of support" can be a log, my backpack on the ground, or a sitting or kneeling shot using the proper technique and a sling. I also said I have used the sticks "a number of times"..........not always.

MLeake
October 6, 2009, 11:50 AM
But you are still comparing supported to unsupported numbers, IE your supported performance against Old Grump's unsupported.

What kind of groups do you hold at 50 yards unsupported, and 100 yards using sticks, log, tree branch, etc? You still haven't answered that.

Old Grump
October 6, 2009, 12:16 PM
Question was asked about hunting accuracy and I answered based on 40 years of personal experience in the field.

Hunting not bench rest and not competition.

As a competitive high powered rifle shooter I averaged 182 out of 200 on a standard offhand 200 yard bulls eye target shooting offhand with a M1 Garand with iron sights. 10 ring is 4". That is with a Match weapon and slinged up.

In the woods I use a hasty sling and a hunting rifle and I am shooting in a hurry, I don't have a minute to line up my shots. I do walk with a walking stick, same stick since 1986. I practice taking hasty shots with that stick and I shoot 3 times as fast as I can get my sights or scope on target depending on the rifle or revolver in my hand.

I am a believer that you will react the way you train and I am not trying to shoot 1 hole groups. My fist and a deer heart are comparable in size and so far I only have one deer to my credit that wasn't heart shot. If I can't make that kind of shot I don't shoot. I don't mind passing up a deer.

Benchrest groups are obviously tighter but I have never shot a deer from my shooting bench.

koolminx
October 6, 2009, 12:20 PM
Well said Grumpy! I wish I could articulate as well with so few words!


I tried, but just couldn't shut up :)

Buzzcook
October 6, 2009, 12:26 PM
182 out of 200

I have to be kneeling, sitting, or prone to get that kind of average. Good shooting buddy.

Old Grump
October 6, 2009, 01:01 PM
Coach wouldn't let us practice rapid fire except just a day or two before a match. We shot offhand every day and since he was a Navy Lt. Commander and my division officer I had to pay attention to him. His philosophy was 50 yard slow fire with the 22 and 45 pistol and 200 yards off hand with rifle, if you can do that everything else falls into place. I'm not a natural shot but I put in the sweat equity. Having him for a coach and having to learn the hard way probably made me a better coach.