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Old January 1, 2014, 09:08 PM   #26
Mobuck
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Expect "group size" to double or triple when actually aiming at an animal(especially the first time). You'd better start them off shooting a few rabbits this winter and squirrels next summer to get them over the "first kill" syndrome.
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Old January 2, 2014, 12:56 PM   #27
Brian Pfleuger
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I agree that groups will be considerably larger when shooting real animals but I disagree that shooting at "irrelevant" animals will help with deer hunting. I killed countless thousands of woodchucks and pigeons before I ever killed a deer. It didn't do a thing for the stress/nervous reaction the first time a deer showed up. Pounding heart, shaking hands, etc. Never had it with small animals, never stopped having it with deer.
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Old January 2, 2014, 01:00 PM   #28
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i go for 1" or less at 50 yds, not alot of 100 yd shots where i hunt, but 2 to 3" at 100 is good for me, im anal though, i wanna know that my gun can hit a nail head at 50 to 80 yds. Hit the lungs and your good though!
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Old January 2, 2014, 02:00 PM   #29
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Quote:
I agree that groups will be considerably larger when shooting real animals but I disagree that shooting at "irrelevant" animals will help with deer hunting. I killed countless thousands of woodchucks and pigeons before I ever killed a deer. It didn't do a thing for the stress/nervous reaction the first time a deer showed up. Pounding heart, shaking hands, etc. Never had it with small animals, never stopped having it with deer.
I agree shooting small animals doesn't help with heart rate, but I do think it helps with target acquisition which is extremely important for a new hunter. If bringing a rifle up, acquiring the target and making a good shot are second nature when your heart rate is down, then heart rate and excitement is all you need to worry about when a buck walks by.

Calling coyotes I feel is excellent practice. It's about as exciting so the heart rate gets up, and their behavior is more similar to big game i.e they are looking for danger and you have to shoot them in a timely manner or they are gone etc.
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Old January 2, 2014, 02:49 PM   #30
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6 inches is all the necessary accuracy you need for whitetail. as long as they can pull that off every time they'll be golden. of course telling them they can always be better is not a bad idea, keep them working to better themselves even if they are already accurate enough.
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Old January 2, 2014, 08:22 PM   #31
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of course telling them they can always be better is not a bad idea, keep them working to better themselves even if they are already accurate enough.
Very good point tahunua001.

Don't think I ever heard as a child from dad that my shooting was good enough. Same with any instructor as I was older. Always heard "that's decent" or "good" or "needs improvement" or "I know you can shoot better then that"...but hearing "that's good enough" never has happened.

Seems there was always improvement needed if not only on what the target said but with stance/form, grip, breathing, follow-thru etc,etc,etc.

Saying all that, I was praised for my improvements , taught with a positive approach and always had fun. Something I was always thankful for. But always knew that in the shooting game, there is always room for improvement.

Last edited by shortwave; January 2, 2014 at 08:39 PM.
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Old January 2, 2014, 11:57 PM   #32
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Pie plate at the max distance you'd shoot. If you can't hit the plate 5 out of 5, walk it in until you can.

Some people say 3 or 4 out of 5 but if you can't hit it every time calm at the bench you probably won't hit it with your heart pounding watching your cross hairs bounce around on a heavy 8 pt.
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Old January 3, 2014, 07:15 AM   #33
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The paper plate thing has been overly generous all along. Over the years, I've found 8-10 deer that someone else hit toward the ass-end of that magic paper plate. I hit one like that myself a few years ago (44 Mag/300XTP/1350) and bought myself a 300 yard tracking job. Not cool.

If you want a cheap picnic target that relates more closely to meaningful kill shots, use paper bowls that measure around 7" max, edge to edge. Count only those shots that cut the bottom of it. If you can do that from field positions, 90% of the time, with a high-powered rifle or heavy hunting revolver- you've found your effective range.

Shooting for meat is a different matter. A deer is a much less visible target than the picnic bowl. Poor light, grass and brush make the shot even harder. I think there is no substitute for shooting at animals--especially for handgun hunters--and I encourage you shoot junk critters before you contemplate deer hunting with one. You've got to learn to shoot for a specific spot on an animal and the variables are many. There is simply no substitute for actually doing this.

The mechanical accuracy of the firearm is a lot simpler matter. 2 MOA for rifles and 4 MOA for conventional hunting handguns is all you need.
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Last edited by Sarge; January 3, 2014 at 09:31 AM.
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Old January 3, 2014, 08:21 AM   #34
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I think the paper plate standard is just fine. I think more study needs to be done on where to place that magical paper plate on the deer. This is something you can't learn at the range. Every I have trained new hunters, I used a few dozen magazine photos of deer in varied positions, and always quized them for the aiming point in each photo, or whether to pass or wait for a better shot. That "shoot behind the shoulder" advice only works if the deer is in a certain position that they don't always pose in for you.

Not being able to hold eyeball shots at long distances should not keep a kid out of the woods. If his lethal distance is 35 yards, then its 35 yards. Eastern whitetails are not typically shot at western antelope distances.
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Old January 3, 2014, 12:04 PM   #35
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I am probably influenced by years of handgun hunting, but I think bowhunters may have a better handle on this than anybody. Any shot I have landed in or on this circle has resulted in a deer on the ground at or near impact, regardless of what I was using. I do tend to shoot for the front side of it.



Credit: http://www.advice4hunters.com/bowhun...echniques.html

I also think the circle represents about the minimum accuracy I would accept, for whatever gun, load and ramge I expected to shoot.
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Old January 3, 2014, 12:21 PM   #36
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When I was doing outfitting and guiding I had a policy that I found to be very useful
I would always buy those 5 inch party plates. The thick paper plates you see at birthday parties. They were handy around camp, and to wash dishes you throw them in the fire pit.

My hunters were asked to put 5 shots into one of them. Didn’t matter what they were hunting with. Long bow. Compound bow. Handgun. Muzzleloader. High powered rifle.

5 shots, no misses

At the range my hunter could do it was that hunters effective range.

I guided a sheep hunter in Nevada who did it for me at 500 yards with a 270.
I also remember one hand gunner that could not do it past 17 yards.
Both got their game.


As a guide, I modified the hunting style to accommodate the skill of the shooter. Poor shots need to be very close, so them I set up as ambush hunters.

Others do well with slow movements and going to ground at every stop. Some are skilled enough to spot and stalk.

As a guide it was my job to get my hunters within THEIR range. Not just to show them animals on the other side of a valley or canyon.

Last edited by Wyosmith; January 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM.
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Old January 3, 2014, 12:25 PM   #37
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a half in off the bench! That still does not make a hunter till he can shoot 2 in free hand. The there is buck fever also!
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Old January 4, 2014, 02:15 PM   #38
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I never shoot big game "off hand." If I can't get set for a good steady shot off sticks or a bipod or a fence post or a rock or whatever, the heck with it. Off Hand shooting is so susceptible to flinch, trigger jerk, whatever, that it just isn't useful to me any more. IMO it's best if a person can focus the sights on the kill zone of a game animal for a few seconds to get set and squeeze the shot off in a controlled deliberate manner.

Shooting at a deer target, and dry firing at a deer target is really good, as it teaches how to focus and aim at the kill zone. When confronted with game, the first instinct is to aim where you have been practicing. Putting bullet holes into a deer target in the kill zone will create almost instinctive focus on that area when hunting.

To the OP: Your kids are really fortunate to have a Dad that is invested in teaching good skills. Good on ya!
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Old January 4, 2014, 02:28 PM   #39
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When I taught my kids to shoot the rule was a pop can. I think a paper plate may be a little big. Also kids like shooting pop cans! Especially when they are still full of cheep soda.
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Old January 6, 2014, 01:36 AM   #40
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For me, it's hitting a six inch target at the max range he would be shooting. To me, that's 150 yards here. If he can hit that target consistently from 150, then the kid is good to go.
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Old January 8, 2014, 07:37 PM   #41
sixteenacrewood
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All great advise here!
After teaching the basics and a lot of fun shooting from the bench, you may want to try something a bit different.

My dad had quit hunting by the time I was wanting to get into it, I was a late one, last of the bunch. He was a WWII vet.

After I had the basics of shooting down, he had me do a few drills at the range and in the woods behind our house over a summer.

One was to get me to go out back where we shot and I only got one bullet, one shot at the target, standing, no rest, 30-30, 4x scope at 50 yards. Then it was over for the afternoon.
We did this several times a week, sometimes only once a week and often without warning. He would say "get your gun, lets take a shot."
After a few weeks the target was moved further out, eventualy to 100 yards, soetimes I didn't know the exact range.

When we went to the range, he got me to do jumping jacks until my heart rate was up, pick up my rifle, load one bullet, chamber the round, and take a shot at the 100 yd target, standing with no rest. He got me to move slow but steady, but to fire the second I had aquiered the target. Once the rifle was shoulderd he wanted me to fire within 2 seconds. Sometimes he had me load and fire up to 5 rounds at a time. He said we were after "minute of deer" accuracy. It was a Marlin 336, 30-30.

This was great fun and a great time together. After the "drills" at the range we settled in to shooting off the bench, but never with a sand bag rest.

This taught me to shoot while excited and out of breath and the "one shot drill" taught me to shoot "cold" after hours in the stand.

Shooting standing, without a rest taught me to let the sights decend on the target as I exhaled, and gently control my trigger pull.

More important, it was just good firearm training and a Great time together
He always kept it fun, no pressure or critisizm, we laughed a lot.
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Old January 8, 2014, 09:42 PM   #42
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Depends on where and how you hunt. I learned to hunt deer in WV. Back when I started we hunted from the ground for the most part. Shots were well within 100 yds(100 yds would be a long shot in the hard woods). On the ground the action is fast and there is no rest as in a some tree stands or other shooting boxes. To me a 100 yd shot with a rest shooting a deer in a wide open field is easier than some 50 yard shots through the hardwoods while stalking(yes, we did that and still do).

When I was learning they tested you by putting a pie plate size target out about 50 yards or so(usually a paper plate with a hand drawn bulls eye). Hit that in the center or right around and it was called good. But, our shots were not real long for the most part.

Hunting in open fields you are going to get longer shots.
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Old January 9, 2014, 05:06 PM   #43
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I have never taken a shot at a deer without some type of rest. My hand on a tree with the rifle resting on my thumb or just taking a knee. I wont take the shot if I'm not sure of a quick, clean kill. I've let more of them walk than most folks would, but that's just me.
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Old January 9, 2014, 07:39 PM   #44
JASmith
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Sarge,

Many thanks for posting that picture.

I was about to post a bit of a lecture about where to aim, but your picture was far better than my several dozen words could have been!

Another way of putting it: Putting the bullet within 3 inches of the center of the deer virtually guarantees that the deer will escape to die a lingering death.

Putting the bullet within 5 inches of the center of the circle Sarge presented virtually guarantees the deer won't go far from where it was standing when hit.
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Old January 9, 2014, 09:16 PM   #45
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Keep in mind that shooting charcoal and plates at the range isn't the same as a boy shooting at a live deer. His heart rate will be up and he will be shaking. Make sure he is dead on at the range, because his aim on a live animal may be different.
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Old January 10, 2014, 09:40 PM   #46
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I'm with Ruger480. Whatever range they can hold 6", offhand, 5 shots.
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Old January 10, 2014, 10:07 PM   #47
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MOA

We weren't allowed to hunt until we could get three shots in an inch at the expected range we expected to hunt at with the gun. For rabbits 1" at about 25 yards, deer 1" at 100 yards. That takes a lot of practice and you get comfortable with the guns. When you get to the field you are not worried about the mechanics of shooting. That helps, but time in the field is very important too. That is something I want to get a lot more of this year with my son. You don't need the expensive rifle and scope to get that kind of accuracy either. I have had the same 30 year old hand-me down 30-06 and still expect the 1" groups every time. I don't know if some people think I am exaggerating, but I am sure there are lots more out there more than capable of that. My son can get the 1" at 25 yards with the 22, so we are good for rabbits. Not there yet with the .308.
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Old January 11, 2014, 07:15 AM   #48
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I've taught several people how to shoot handguns and rifles, for both range and hunting situations. Every person has their own learning curve and maturation regarding both shooting and killing game.

Asking an inexperienced shooter to kill a deer or other animal with open sights often leads to failures. Under pressure, they tend to not be able to align both front and rear sights and the kill zone.

Teaching basic shooting mechanics is easier with scoped repeating rifles, off sandbag front rests, but it doesn't fully prepare a person to hold a rifle and shoot offhand at a deer. Shooting .22s that are light and short can be excellent offhand practice, as is pellet or BB shooting.

When shooting at targets or game, the easiest sights for a kid to use are red-dot sights. Eye relief and head position is not critical and there is only one point to align with the target/game kill zone.

The most important thing for them to concentrate on is looking at where they want to hit instead of looking at the dot or crosshair. Then, to smoothly press the trigger as the reticle crosses the center of the target, whether a bullseye, paper plate, or animal kill zone.

Next important thing to teach is the kill zones for various game animals/shooting angles.
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Old January 11, 2014, 08:34 PM   #49
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Againstthewind said --My son can get the 1" at 25 yards with the 22, so we are good for rabbits. Not there yet with the .308
One could argue that the .308 has a bit more oomph than a beginning shooter should have to accept.

That all changes when you use "reduced recoil" factory ammunition or roll your own. One can make a very pleasant deer load by running a 110 - 130 grain bullet fast enough that it is still going at least 2000 ft/sec at what seems to be the 200 yard upper limit you expect your son to shoot to in his first season or two.

For example, one can reasonably load the Speer 110 gr Hot-Cor down to about 2700 ft/sec and get better than 2,000 ft/sec at 200 yards. A 100 yard zero will have the bullet dropping a tad more than 2 inches at 200 yards. Best yet, the under 10 ft-lb recoil energy is about half of the energy one sees with 165 grain factory loads. Further, it is less than one sees with most deer loads for the .243 Winchester.

It should also be a good rabbit harvester, so he can get plenty of practice!
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Old January 11, 2014, 09:45 PM   #50
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I agree that groups will be considerably larger when shooting real animals but I disagree that shooting at "irrelevant" animals will help with deer hunting. I killed countless thousands of woodchucks and pigeons before I ever killed a deer. It didn't do a thing for the stress/nervous reaction the first time a deer showed up. Pounding heart, shaking hands, etc. Never had it with small animals, never stopped having it with deer.
Right, and so for a lot of folks, that 9" paper plate accuracy becomes placemat accuracy when they get nervous, or larger.

Like with anything else, if you are shooting from a resting position to test accuracy for hunting and expect to perform like that, then you need to be hunting from a rested position as an inexperienced hunter. If you aren't going to be hunting from a rest, then don't test your accuracy from a rest. If you are hunting offhand, test accuracy offhand. If planning on sitting under a tree and waiting for deer to come by, then test accuracy from a seated position on the ground.
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