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Old September 12, 2019, 08:26 PM   #1
denvernoob
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Big Game Prep

Long time hunter, but first time hunting big game. I got invited on an elk hunt and drew a cow tag. I'm pretty excited.

I'm wondering how the forum here prepares for a big game hunt, particularly in regards to shooting? I'm good with a rifle. I will be shooting a Winchester model 70 .308, with a Redfield 3-9x scope. I'm going to try some Nosler Accubond 165gr bullets and see how they shoot. I don't however shoot high powered rifles too often.

My thoughts are, get comfortable off a bench between 100-300 yds. As well as get out in the field and shoot at those distances with a range finder. Suggestions?

How many rounds are necessary to feel comfortable taking a shoot at those distances on game? I'm thinking a lot, but I also don't want to drop a ton of money shooting expensive bullets. Do you think that shooting a more economical round, say 7.62x51 ball ammo, would be a good training round? Or should I stick with the type I am actually going to hunt with? If it is best to stick with the round I am going to hunt with, do I need a $2/round Nosler or similar?

I appreciate any comments!
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Old September 12, 2019, 08:46 PM   #2
ligonierbill
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If you are already good with your rifle, practice with the ammo you will hunt with from several positions. Hunting involves a lot more than shooting.
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Old September 13, 2019, 12:39 AM   #3
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I think your cartridge/ammo selection is just fine. We set a young fellow (14) up with a .308 shootinh 165 gr ballistic tips.His first year he got a 1 shot clean kill at about 300 yds. The next year he got another 1 shot clean kill.

Here is the deal with the 165 gr ballistic tip.It opens up easily and I would not expect deep penetration at odd angles or through bone.

This kid waited for a good broadside shot behind the foreleg through the ribs.

I have not used my .257 on an elk,but given a good broadside rib shot,I'm confident the 115 gr Balistic Tip I use in my 257 would do just fine at the ranges you describe.

Yout Accubond has a little thicker jacket and a bonded core. I have not used one on elk.Many would say ts a better choice as it will offer more reliable penetration.

We're splitting hairs over shades of grey. What you have chosen is perhaps as good as it gets. Stick with it.

If you have chosen 300 yds as a (wise,responsible) limit, I suggest you decide how large your cow will be,brisket to whithers. Maybe 20 in? You might try to verify that.Lets use it for an example.


Pick a scope magnification you will use for range estimation.(Important: This whole rangefinding scheme will be WAY off if you plan on doing it at max magnification but you mess up and use a different magnification. This assumes a common hunting scope versus some first focal plane scope) Put a sight in target up at 100 yds. You might set another target laying on the bench for reference.Use the grid to determine what your duplex measures at 100 yds.

Now you have a useful range estimation tool that is good enough for 300 yds + You need more precision rangefinding at 500 yds,but this will do for 300.

Suppose your duplex is 10 inches.(just to make this easy) f a 20 in target fits a 10 inch reticle,the range is 200 yds. If the reticle looks like it fits half the 20 in target,the range is 100 yds. If its bottom duplex post to center crosshair,its 400 yds. If the elk brisket rests on the bottom post,covers the center crosshair ,and is about halfway to the upper post,its 300 yds. (It would look like the elk uses up 7 1/2 in of your 10 in duplex)Ask if you need more on that. A quick pretty good range estimation off your reticle beats fumbling with a laser. It IS less precise,but out to 300 yds your trajectory is reasonably flat and forgiving. You can live with SOME ranging error. Its more precise to see the elk,get your laser range finder out,range the elk,then pick up your rifle,find the elk....hmmm. What happened? All that time and motion was detected. Elk is leaving.

Its all one smooth motion with taking the shot.


Practice ammo? Hmm. Too bad you don't reload. Next year!. I think the precise feedback you get from using the same ammo is more valuable than the "sorta,kinda" feed back you get from milsurp. Quality over quantity.

Do set your sights with your hunting ammo.


Do shoot at a lasered 300 yds. Three shots may be enough,but you need to know with confidence just exactly how it shoots at 300.

Repeat at 200 yds.Thats 6 rounds.


Now get off the bench You decide how much ammo you can shoot,but see how you do on a paper plate prone,or sitting,resting on your pack,etc.At $2 a shot,3 shots will tell you what you need to know. Take notes so you don't waste this.


Lets assume you know how to shoot.What you need is verification and confidence,and knowing your limitations.


Run a ballistic software range table to 350 or 400 yds. This will let you know what to expect,then verify. Having the confidence to know where you will hit is what you need.

Others will argue,some say sight in dead zero at 100 yds and move your sigts in the field. They can do that,but for myself,and a lot of other folks,a sight in about 2 in high at 100 yds will put you pretty much on at 200 yds and maybe 8 in low at 300 yds. The ballistic software and your field verification will make that a good,easy tool to remember. You optimize it. Maybe 2 3/8 high at 100 puts you on at 250 yds and 7 in low at 300.


If you can range estimate to 300 and know those holds ,and have a basic idea of wind value at 10 mph...You can with one smooth action estimate range,adjust hold,squeeze off and drop her without ever taking your eye from the scope

You won't necessarily get that from 100 rounds of some other ammo.


Be aware if you do shoot some milsurp ammo,you first few rounds of hunting ammo may be fliers. Different powder fouling can do that

While you are on your ballistic software (Hornady site has one you can use free) get an idea what a 10 mph wind does at 100,200,300,and note it.

That's more shooting skill than maybe 80 % of the folks in the field with you.

Study some video's on field dressing. Example,generally there is a bladder in those guts.Maybe it has a cup or cup and a half of urine in it.A lot of guys can't even point it out.When they break it,they marinate the tenderloins and the inner body cavity with urine. I don't know about you,but ts not my favorite.

A little butcher twine or some nylon wire tie wraps or something similar will let you tie off the tubes and the bung.

I find a small pair of vise grips a great aid in skinning. My pinching muscles get tired. Have something to sharpen your knife. Cheesecloth game bags are a very good idea

Last edited by HiBC; September 13, 2019 at 01:21 AM.
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Old September 13, 2019, 12:47 PM   #4
T. O'Heir
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165's out of a .308 will kill any game in North America with no fuss. Anything from No$ler costs more though(starts at $41.99 per 20 in Cabela's. Remington Express brand runs $24.99 per 20. Look in Wal-Mart too.)
Since you're not reloading, you really need to try a box of as many brands as you can to find the ammo your rifle shoots best. The cost of it makes no difference.
You do not need one hole groups either. Consistency is far more important. Consistent 2 to 3 inches at 100 is good enough. Sight in 3 to 4 inches high at 100. That'll put you on target out to about 300.
Then practice, off hand(standing), with the ammo you intend using to hunt(Not 7.62NATO Ball. It's a 147 grain bullet and won't shoot the same as a 165.), on a 9" pie plate(the kill zone on most large game is about 9" in diameter right behind the front leg. You need to learn elk anatomy too. http://app.fw.ky.gov/Elk101/courses/.../chapter5.aspx), at 100 yards, until you can hit it every time. Then you're ready to hunt.
Even then, do not take any shot you're not comfortable taking. If you have any doubts, pass on the shot. Keep in mind that you cannot predict what the wind will be like.
And get some exercise. Elk hunting involves a great deal of 'up'. Walking is free and doesn't require special kit. Wear your hunting boots though.
"...ballistic software..." Is a wild guess.
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Old September 13, 2019, 05:23 PM   #5
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If you're buying factory loads I'd look at 165 gr Hornady SST's as a cheaper alternative to practice with. In fact they would probably be just fine to hunt with.

Another, even cheaper alternative is 165 gr Hornady Interbonds for both practice and hunting. These are some of the most accurate loads I've ever shot.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1016932975?pid=999680

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the choice you've made. The Ballistic Tip and Hornady SST bullets got a reputation for being too soft and over expanding years ago. Both Nosler and Hornady have addressed that problem and both are fine for elk size game unless you're buying 10-12 year old ammo. I'd use either bullet on elk.

But if you've got a self imposed limit of 300 yards the cheaper Hornady loads will be just fine. The more aerodynamic Ballistic Tips and SST bullets retain speed and energy better at long ranges as well as shooting a little flatter. But at 300 yards the difference is only about 1" less drop and about 100 ftlbs more energy. Extend that range to 400-500 yards and there is enough difference to matter.

Don't over complicate things. Elk have an 18" kill zone. Even the 165 gr Interbond bullet only drops about 14" at 300 yards. Zero at 100 yards. If the shot appears to be anything greater than 200 but less than 300 yards place the horizontal crosshairs on the top of the back and you'll hit lungs. Anyone who can hit game animals at 50 yards can do it at 300 with no special skills or gear. It is beyond 300 where better gear and more skill come into play.

The old method of zeroing 2-3" high at 100 yards isn't recommended by most shooters anymore. It just complicates the process. You now have to remember to hold low in certain situations, and hold high in others. And it only reduces the amount of hold over at longer ranges by a small amount. If you can account for 8" of drop,you can account for 14". Most who plan to shoot at ranges over 300 yards use scopes with dials or dots, and they are all calibrated for use with a 100 yard zero.

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Old September 13, 2019, 06:05 PM   #6
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I also use a 308 here in CO for elk & agree that you should only be using your chosen hunting rounds. I keep it simple, 4x non variable scope sited in 2.5” high at 100 yards-this has worked well for me out to ranges I feel comfortable taking shots. I have high rise scope mount so I can still use the iron sites for snap shots in timber or if I were to bust up my scope. Never needed more than a single shot. I would suggest setting your variable scope to a lower magnification setting, sight in, & don’t touch it. In my experience most of my kills have been less than 250 yards & I didn’t have more than a second or two to make the call to take the shot-no time for range finders or messing with variable scopes, just put the crosshairs on the boiler room, squeeze the trigger, & then the work begins
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Old September 13, 2019, 06:26 PM   #7
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Well,Denvernoob,now you have been sent in 3 different directions.

You get to decide what you want to do. I'm not going to turn this into a whizzing contest.

I'll suggest you just try the link below,plug in the data as well as you can and run a range table. Then play with changing the variables. See what you think.

You only have so much time,and so many range sessions between now and opening day.

What you can't afford is to be half done and unsure of your rifle.

The load you initially selected was a path you chose. I saw absolutely no reason to send you down a different road. The one you picked is excellent. What I shoot doesn't matter.

It costs time and money to buy and try other loads. You can do that,but I don't think you'll find better ammo than the 165 gr Accubond load. What do you gain buying different ammo to test and evaluate? How much time till opening day? How many range trips can you make? Will the ranges get crowded,busy in another month?

JMR's 100 yd sight in can work. It works for him. Use the software to study it. You choose.

I disagree that its more widely used. I think in the typical 30-06,308,270,etc cartridges more prefer to use some version of 2 inches high at 100,on at 200,then 8 in low at 300....or a tuned variation of that for your rifle/load.
I disagree that JMR's method is less complicated. If I decide a 4 inch mid range trajectory is acceptable,I do not have to compensate for the possibility of being 4 in high at 150 yds. The elk won't notice. If I'm dead on at 200,backstraps sizzling in garlic butter. So,if I stick with the 4 inches being OK,I'm probably OK to about 250 yds. Point and shoot,no hold off necessary. You don't get that with JMR's system. If the range is closer to 300,you hold 8 in high. You will be within 4 inches from 250 yds to something past 300,maybe 330 or 340. I'm not suggesting extending your limit,but if you make some ranging error,its not a big deal for a 10% error or so. At longer ranges,a 20 yd error in rangfinding is too much.


But if you learn to use your duplex.you can know A) Put it on and shoot B) Hold over 8 in,or C) Too far,get closer . That's pretty fast and simple

Pretty much,you first decide how much variation you can accept in point of impact versus point of aim. If you can accept 4 inches, OK.If I hit within 4 in of where I aim,dead critter. You decide. You can put that 4 inches above your line of sight. That's the point of "2 inches high at 100 yds." Doing that extends the range that you can just hold on and shoot.,or use a minimal amount of figuring and Kentucky windage.


I do strongly recommend ,since you chose 300 yds as a limit,which is a good choice,that you verify by shooting at 300 yds your results. That way you know. Its important to have confidence when you make the shot.

I am accustomed to sighting my 257 AI in at 300 yds. I put the target at 300 yds and the bullets are inside the orange diamond. I know that trajectory with my 6X scope and duplex to 435 yds. I'm not saying that is best for you. It won't be. But my sight in gets the most out of that 257 for me.


Here is a link. Explore.See what you learn. I bought Sierra;s ballistic software so long ago its still on an HP 386 computer with MS DOS and I loaded it from a floppy disc. I've spent a lot ofhours wth it and fired a lot of shots to verify.I also have a chrono and a Kestrel wind meter.


The rule of "garbage in,garbage out" applies. Ballistic software does not work for people with opinions who have not used it. It also does not work for incompetent people.

But if you spend some years using it and shooting to verify the results,tweaking slightly a necessary,taking notes,etc,its a very accurate and useful tool

https://www.hornady.com/team-hornady...alculators/#!/

Last edited by HiBC; September 13, 2019 at 06:45 PM.
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Old September 13, 2019, 10:52 PM   #8
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The fact that you're asking these questions means you're thinking, and that puts you ahead of the average Gomer. But...
Don't over-think it.

Just hit the basics and make sure you're covered:

Know the rifle.
Know the load.
Know how to judge (or range) distances.
Be prepared. (For altitude, terrain, weather, and packing that heavy carcass out.)


Me?
I shoot what I hunt with. But I also don't shoot much of it any more, because I've been using the same stuff for years, up to decades. I know it works, so all I need to do is re-verify my capabilities and make sure the rifle hasn't gone to crap.
...But I had to dump a bit of money into bullets (I reload) for the initial load work-ups, testing, and range verification. (Like building a 'dope card'.)
The initial investment paid off in the long run.

But if I couldn't have afforded to buy Nosler Partitions to 'practice' with in the beginning, I would have turned to factory ammo for practice AND the hunt. Ten years ago, it probably would have been Remington Core-Lokt ammo.
Today, it would be Hornady American Whitetail (and then on to other stuff, if that didn't work). The American Whitetail ammo is fantastic in every rifle I've seen it tested. It may not be the 'best' that each rifle has seen, but it's good enough that myself and the owners of other rifles I've tested or seen it tested in would have absolutely no qualms with picking some up in a pinch (or as standard/general use ammo for non-reloaders).
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Old September 15, 2019, 04:57 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the great responses guys! A lot of good info. I've read them a couple times now. One very valuable take away is that I need to reduce dependence on the range finder. Makes sense, and I will definenelty be practicing with using the duplex as a gauge.

HiBC hit it on the head ''What you need is verification and confidence, and knowing your limitations.''

Well I made it out yesterday with the 165gr accubonds, and had a rough go of it. I guess my statment of 'I'm good with a rifle' is subjective. My shooting experience is small game, birds, and the Army where minute of man at 300 yds is all that is practiced. Props to the guys shooting long range out there. This precision work at distance is tough!

Here are some pics of my day. I honestly think too much coffee played a role in my mediocrity, but there is a varied opinion on how accurate is good enough for an Elk. This being a baseline only, I humbly submit to the hive's opinions of my shooting.

I had a hard time grouping anything. Took 10 rounds to establish a zero, ~2" high at 100 yds, and I still didn't feel great with the zero. Nevertheless I moved to 200 yds and took 12 shots and then 8 shots at 300. While I did review a balistics chart, my scope has an "accu-range" reticle with a 200 yd zero there is hold-over marks at 300, 400, and 500. I at least feel pretty good that the 300 yd mark is close. I appreciate the lead on the Hornady American Whitetail. I am likely to switch to that round. It seems that the general consensus is to train with the ammo I intend to use, and at least from day 1 at the range, I think I am going to need quite a few range sessions to get that verification and confidence up.

I am also surprised with how many guys at the range had vises and other set-ups to assist their shooting. You can see I had a pretty rudimentary set-up but I was one of few. Do most hunters zero from a vise?





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Old September 15, 2019, 05:24 PM   #10
FrankenMauser
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Nice rifle.


Many hunters do use lead sleds or similar apparatus to zero their rifles.

But most successful hunters do their range work with little more than a bag as a rest ... or a rolled up jacket. (And shoot year-round, in some manner.)
Many rifles shoot differently when supported differently - be it in a lead sled, improvised field position, or free-recoiling from a front rest. So, it's best to test and practice with positions and support methods that mimic what will be found in the field.

For myself and one of my brothers, that means also practicing with a bipod (for some species). Some of my rifles don't like the bipod. Some don't care. Knowing which ones don't like the bipod heavily influences how they're used.
That same brother does a LOT of hunting with shooting sticks. So, he practices a LOT with the shooting sticks, too.
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Old September 15, 2019, 05:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Long time hunter, but first time hunting big game. I got invited on an elk hunt and drew a cow tag. I'm pretty excited.

I'm wondering how the forum here prepares for a big game hunt, particularly in regards to shooting? I'm good with a rifle. I will be shooting a Winchester model 70 .308, with a Redfield 3-9x scope. I'm going to try some Nosler Accubond 165gr bullets and see how they shoot. I don't however shoot high powered rifles too often.

My thoughts are, get comfortable off a bench * * *
Huh?

First of all, hunting isn't supposed to be 'comfortable' unless you're kicking back with a cold brewski watching someone else do it on YouTube. That's a popular sport now, courtesy of social media. It's called 'vicarious hunting.'

Second, congrats on the elk tag, but you won't be hunting 'off the bench.'

You'll be stalk-hunting presumably, and you'll be taking your shot(s) from a field position, possibly with the benefit of an improvised rest, like a tree limb or, if your guide has one to bring along, a commercial shooting stick (mono-, bi-, or tripod style, take your pick). But you won't be shooting at elk from a bench.

Once you've done a few zeroing shots, get away from the bench and practice shooting your rifle in prone, squatting, kneeling, sitting, and for sure, off-hand (standing).

The first four should be done slung-in, which is why a 'Hasty sling' makes for the perfect hunting sling. Quick to get in and out of.

Also practice 'snap-shooting' in off-hand from a 'low-ready' carry and not slung. You're going for a quick 'point and shoot.' Start with a round chambered and the safety on, the way you'll do it (or should) out in the bush on the hunt. (Keep your scope set on its lowest magnification power (3x)) ... Spot target, shoulder rifle, put cross-hairs on the vitals of yonder beasty, flick safety off, squeeze trigger.

By the way, if your guide is one of those overly controlling types who says, 'Don't chamber a round 'til I tell ya,' ... what he's really saying is he thinks you're an unsafe Moron who can't be trusted with a loaded rifle - in which case you need to find another elk guide.

Beyond the obvious insult to your gun-handling competence, he assumes you're paying him to hunt his way. You're not. You're paying him to hunt your way.

Good luck ...

Last edited by agtman; September 15, 2019 at 07:10 PM.
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Old September 15, 2019, 06:18 PM   #12
HiBC
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You don't need a vise. There is one case where they may be a good tool for sight in,but that has to do with firing a round then using the vise to hold the rifle while you make scope adjustments to bring the crosshair to the bullet hole.

You won't have a bench or a vise hunting. Agtman said some things that are true.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE: I just noticed the notes of 200 yds and 300 yds on your targets. You are doing better than I thought you were! My apologies. Those 200 yd and 300 yd targets will put the bullet in the boiler room,and,you know where you are hitting. Good job.

I'll still leave you the advice below. Call it a shovel full of dirt in your gold pan. Swirl it around and see if you find any gold.You did better than I thought you did.You may not deserve some of it. Still,the tips are valid marksmanship skills . Please forgive where I have "missed"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll take a guess at your group size problem. You are not accustomed to shooting a big game rifle. The classic way to illustrate the problem is have a buddy load your rifle,and without your knowledge set you up wth an empty chamber od a dummy round. When you drop the striker on a "no bang" round your flinch will be obvious and your eyes will be closed.

Those groups are not your rifle or your ammo.,or even your improvised front rest. You are shooting with your eyes closed,at the last fraction of a second.

That's not a good idea when you shot at your elk,either.

So,what to do? You "call the shot". We'll start on the bench with your rest.
Put a target laying flat on the bench beside you.

I want you to totally focus on your scope reticle as you squeeze the trigger. I want you to freez an image in you mind of exactly where on the target that reticle was when the rifle recoiled.

Then I want you to make a pencil mark on the bench target where the crosshairs were.

You can only do that if your eyes are open.

Now,for the rest of your life,including when you kill your elk,I want you to call every shot. Its part of fundamental marksmanship.

Its also not a problem with your manhood. We all naturally cringe for recoil and noise. So would a dog. Focus,concentration. You can overcome "Hearing footsteps" in the middle of your trigger squeeze.

"Calling the shot" is the tool. Good luck.


If you are not using ear protection,do.


Shooting on a bench is relatively brutal. Off the bench is more comfortable.

I'm not trying to be a jerk,just telling you what is most likely the problem.

Its never a bad idea to check scope mounting screws,guard screws,etc. They don't need to be four white knuckles tight. They need to be confirmed "Not Loose"


Then realize you don't need to find the "most accurate ammo" Its not the rifle,or the ammo. You are just human,and you need to improve your shooting. Call your shots!. See if that helps.


There are "subtle shades of grey" in bullet performance,but nearly all factory 165 gr hunting bullets will perform quite well on your elk. Don't worry about having a "boutique" bullet.


Pick a load,and stay with it. And stock up! Murphy's law says your load will be out of stock when you go in to pick up another box.


If you were shooting a 300 Ultra Mag,the extreme velocity requires the premium bullets.(Maybe)

The 308,at 2700 to 2800 fps, will work just fine with the cup and core bullets that have harvesyed elk for a long,long time. And,no disrespect to you,they will shoot accurately enough in your rifle.


One more tip,its better if you shoot 10 rounds without flinching than getting beaten down by 40 rounds. Make each shot perfect,and quit on a positive shot.

Last edited by HiBC; September 16, 2019 at 05:17 AM.
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Old September 15, 2019, 06:40 PM   #13
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I agree with the comments on using Hornady SST/Interbond. They are stupid accurate out of my rifles. A couple of boxes of Hornady and one Interbond will be cheap insurance. Practically speaking, the 165 SST will take care of any cow elk to 300 yards.
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Old September 15, 2019, 09:28 PM   #14
FrankenMauser
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HiBC makes a good point about improving marksmanship: Calling your shots is very important. Or, if you prefer to look at it a different way - knowing exactly where the crosshairs were at the time the rifle discharged.

Once I trained myself to 'call my shots', it paid back in many ways.
Two of the most important were:
1. Knowing when I'm screwing things up. If I see that the trigger is breaking / rifle is discharging with the crosshairs away from the point of aim, I'm probably not accomplishing what I intended to, and should probably stop wasting ammo. If I'm not doing my part, then the rifle can't do its part.

2. Knowing when it really is the rifle and/or ammo. If I can see a good sight picture and good sight alignment when the trigger breaks, then I'm doing what I need to. If that's the case, but impacts on the target don't match, then I know that I'm chasing a mechanical issue (not just an incompetent shooter -- it happens, we all have our days).

When you can eliminate yourself as a cause of unsatisfactory performance, you can save a lot of time and money that would otherwise be wasted by chasing ghosts.
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Old September 16, 2019, 03:56 AM   #15
HiBC
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Thanks for the affirmation,FrankenMauser.

I'll add a # 3.

The focus ,the concentration on the reticle on the target,so you can call the shot, gives your mind a job to do. It occupies you mind with something else besides "hearing footsteps" . Its a little bit like if you are a pass receiver in a football game. He is going to get hit as he catches the ball. He needs to watch the ball into his hands.

The Human does not really like muzzle blast and recoil. Its natural to anticipate it cringe a little. Its UN natural to ignore all that ,keep your eyes open,and release the shot without dropping your face,or ?

Its the focus on calling the shot that will replace your anticipation of the shot.

There is a "follow through" also.let the rifle return to natural point of aim,and acquire the sights.. You don't have to hold it long, maybe 1/2 second is enough. But you need to do it.

Natural point of aim...whatever your position is,you want it to "settle in" so your sights are on target. It may require body shifts to get there. You don't want to rely on muscles pushing the gun to the target.

The gun needs to be on the target. Then all you have to do is not move it off the target.


Maybe if you pour a bunch of rice in a sock and tie the top shut it will give you a little bag you can put under your buttstock and squeeze with your left hand . That might stabilize the rear end of your rifle.

If you will do as I have suggested,I have a high degree of confidence you will be able to get 2 in,+ or -,groups at 100 yds. Generally,a good bolt gun and good ammo will do that if you do your part.

Once you get that,check and correct your zero ,and your targets at 200 and 300 yds.

I'm not crazy about your targets. They are a vague point of aim. I suggest you get some of the orange diamonds on white paper with a grid.

The diamonds points give you a precise location for your crosshairs.

The center diamond is about 4 inches. If,at 100 yds,you aim at the center of the diamond,and your bullets cluster around the upper tip of the diamond,you will be very close to sighted in to hit dead on at 200 yds.Don't go too high,though. I would not go higher than the point of the diamond.

Then maybe say goodby to the bench. Shoot over your back pack laying on the ground. Shoot sitting . If you can flat foot a catcher's squat,shoot some that way. Hunting,I'm generally using concealment. Rock,tree,etc. You just adapt to what you have to steady. Never rest your barrel on anything. Always have something soft,even your hand,between the stock and anything you may use for support.
On youtube you can find old military marksmanship training films to remind you of what you already know. Like how to use a sling.

Figure out how far away you can hit a paper plate...not a huge one,but medium,near every time.

Some of this you do at the range,shooting,BUT...paying attention to rules of safety,you can DRY FIRE without spending any money. Don't get the SWAT team after you, but the excersize of acquiring your target,finding your support and steadiness in a field position,practicing your breathing and trigger squeeze,and calling the shot,does not require ammunition.

You can even use a tiny dot indoors. You can do 10 perfect ones in the morning,when you get home and before bed. Don't just go through the motions,make 10 perfect shots.


Stick up a little elk picture someplace. Shoot the elk a few times a day.


Everything you do to fire a dry fire shot is the same as shooting your elk.You might be breathing harder...but everything is the same. The only difference is,shooting at your elk there will be a round in the chamber. Don't forget to call your shot


And the day you shoot your elk is no different than a dry fire shot..


You will be able to see your reticle on the elk. You can see if its steady enough to place the shot with confidence,or not. From calling you shots and sighting in,you know the bullet will hit where the crosshais rest.


If you can keep the crosshairs on the heart/lung target area,you can be confident and squeeze off. If you can't,don't "poke and hope". Wounding an elk is not good for your soul.

Adjust you position and find a steadier hold,or sneaky pete closer. Actually,getting closer is the most quivery,alive,exciting part of a hunt.


And if you do not find the reticle steady enough to make the shot with confidence,you will never regret passing up the shot. We owe the critter a clean kill.


Dry fire! Once again,do it safe. Clear the gun and point in a safe direction

Last edited by HiBC; September 16, 2019 at 04:57 AM.
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Old September 16, 2019, 07:37 AM   #16
FITASC
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Will you be hunting in Colordao (as your screen name implies? Will you be hunting at high elevation? You need to get yourself used to that if you are. It would also help to shoot some practice at the elevation if possible.
You will also want to practice shooting uphill and downhill.
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Old September 16, 2019, 04:09 PM   #17
Dufus
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Just my thoughts. I wouldn't use an SST on anything living other than vermin.

They maybe be stupid accurate, but they are not a game bullet. Neither are the A-Max.

Accubonds are great bullets, in the same class as the Partition.

308 Win is a great caliber....do it some justice with a great bullet.

My BIL and Grandson both shoot 308s and have done really good with the Accubonds. Matter of fact, the BIL shot his biggest white tail last season using the Accubond.

As I said, these are my thoughts.
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Old September 16, 2019, 06:09 PM   #18
reynolds357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denvernoob View Post
Thanks for all the great responses guys! A lot of good info. I've read them a couple times now. One very valuable take away is that I need to reduce dependence on the range finder. Makes sense, and I will definenelty be practicing with using the duplex as a gauge.

HiBC hit it on the head ''What you need is verification and confidence, and knowing your limitations.''

Well I made it out yesterday with the 165gr accubonds, and had a rough go of it. I guess my statment of 'I'm good with a rifle' is subjective. My shooting experience is small game, birds, and the Army where minute of man at 300 yds is all that is practiced. Props to the guys shooting long range out there. This precision work at distance is tough!

Here are some pics of my day. I honestly think too much coffee played a role in my mediocrity, but there is a varied opinion on how accurate is good enough for an Elk. This being a baseline only, I humbly submit to the hive's opinions of my shooting.

I had a hard time grouping anything. Took 10 rounds to establish a zero, ~2" high at 100 yds, and I still didn't feel great with the zero. Nevertheless I moved to 200 yds and took 12 shots and then 8 shots at 300. While I did review a balistics chart, my scope has an "accu-range" reticle with a 200 yd zero there is hold-over marks at 300, 400, and 500. I at least feel pretty good that the 300 yd mark is close. I appreciate the lead on the Hornady American Whitetail. I am likely to switch to that round. It seems that the general consensus is to train with the ammo I intend to use, and at least from day 1 at the range, I think I am going to need quite a few range sessions to get that verification and confidence up.

I am also surprised with how many guys at the range had vises and other set-ups to assist their shooting. You can see I had a pretty rudimentary set-up but I was one of few. Do most hunters zero from a vise?





Recoil shy hunters who want to miss with regularity in the field zero with a vise or lead sled.
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Old September 16, 2019, 08:26 PM   #19
agtman
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Quote:
Recoil shy hunters who want to miss with regularity in the field zero with a vise or lead sled.
Man, ain't that the truth.

Let's review: you don't hunt elk off a bench, and you won't be hunting with your rifle encased in a vice or 'lead sled' while hiking a trail.

Practice shooting your rifle as you'll actually hunt - or give the tag to somebody else and just shoot 'paper elk' off a bench at the range, with your rifle comfortably seated in a lead sled and a box of donuts and hot thermos of coffee within easy reach ... Puhleeese.
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Old September 17, 2019, 09:31 PM   #20
doofus47
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Lots of great advice here. I usually use a 30-06 when chasing cow elk, but your 308 is plenty, with less punishment. Your 300 yard sight looks good. If you have a range finder it's a good tool to have if you have time to use it. This is especially true if the range finder has angle compensation technology b/c many shots are up/down hill and the sight distance (apparent distance) is not the same as the effective distance. I once totally scotched a shot at a mule deer buck b/c of the angle of the shot. Sight in 2" high at 100 and you'll be good to go to 250 yards.
Practice 2 shot groups off hand at 100 yards as well. To be honest, the best elk hunting advice i ever got was from my father in law "When you see them, you will have about 5 seconds to decide what to do." Not always true, but it's good to be able to react quickly.

Have a great time! Take extra socks and lip balm.
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Old September 18, 2019, 09:41 PM   #21
denvernoob
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"Lots of great advice here"; you got that right doofus47! Seriously thanks!

A little about the hunt... no guide, it is in southern Colorado at around 6k ft elevation. I am going with an Army buddies family who have hunted this land for many years. The hunt is an annual event that is a meat harvest as much as anything. We are hunting 4th rifle season, Nov 13-17th. I'm told this is the best season for this land becasue the heard is at lower elevations, but they are also shy and weary of hunters. Meaning that taking a shot at 300 yds is pretty much expected.

I'm basically going because my buddy vouched that "he can shoot". So yeah, I'm commited, and I do want to make a clean, humane kill.

Absolutley going to be making some changes this weekend at the range. Check it out:



When HiBC mentioned making a rear rest it really occured that my position needed greatly approved. I was in an akward seated prone type posiition trying to support the stock, and just a mess in general. So I bought this pretty simple bag setup. I couldn't believe how much better it felt than last weekend at the range.

Just practicing in this setup, I took in all the advice and called my shot, and followed through. It all feels a lot better! That reticle was frozen like a picture on the target after dry firing. Going to use better targets too.

I think it was also spot on about being recoil shy. Shooting high powered is a lot different. I even dismissed this advice almost out of tough guy reflex or something, but truth be told I believe my eyes were closed.

Anyway again, thanks for taking the time with the advice. I'll share some pics if I got something to show after the range this weekend.
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Old September 18, 2019, 11:44 PM   #22
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Good for you!!
I'm sure your targets are better. That's good for confidence. The better bench setup is good for knowing your equipment is calibrated and will do the job.Once that's done,you can move on.

Its no good being uncertain or second guessing what will happen when you launch the bullet.
A giant step #1 is you have accepted that you anticipate recoil.You can't cure a flinch till you own the flinch. The recoil,etc cover up a flinch.You can practice 1000 rounds,flinching each shot ,and never realize it.Your shooting won't improve. Its AFTER you accept that you are closing your eyes,you can cure it. You do that by focus on the sight picture and calling your shot. That must be a conscious part of every shot,dry fire or live fire,at least till you have your elk down. I want you to hear "Call your shot" as you have your crosshairs on your elk.

When you are on an elk,...if you have a stable enough position that your reticle stays steady on the kill zone target,and if you focus and call the shot,you know the bullet is going where the crosshairs were when you call the shot.

Follow through.

Now,as others have pointed out,you won't have the bench with you.

Everything about dry firing is the same as the actual shot on your elk.If you do a good "dry fire" shot on your elk,except you have a round in the chamber,you will fill your tag.


Don't get yourself arrested ,being called in as "Man with a rifle..." but maybe in your basement practice shooting dry fire from prone,sitting,standing,etc.


Also use the chair,the couch arm,your day pack,etc to find a steady position using what you have for support. Have some dot or elk pic for a target,and call your shot. Look for finding natural point of aim so your bones rather than muscles support the shot.Practice how your breating works with the shot. Practice adding pressure to the trigger as your oscillations are heading toward perfect. Call the shot.Follow through.

Like many other skills,its a conscious repetition of doing things right,in the most perfect form,that trains your mind and body to work together.


Even dry firing three shots,three times a day will help a lot. Just don't allow any sloppy or lazy practice. Dry firing where you never even blink will show you if the crosshairs stay on target after the shot.


That's enough for now
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Old September 19, 2019, 07:24 PM   #23
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You've been given a lot of good advice and I can think of only thing to add. When you get your sights on that elk, concentrate on that sight picture and squeeze that trigger. I guarantee you'll never notice the kick or report of that rifles. One other thing, once you've made that hit, keep shooting till she's down and out. A wound elk can go one hell of a long way and find the crappiest pace to hide.
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