Whitetail Deer Hunting Gain a better understanding of the World's most popular big game animal and the techniques that will help you become a better deer hunter.

worst shot I've ever taken.

Old 05-13-2013, 07:47 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 17
Default worst shot I've ever taken.

So here's my 2012 story:
There I was, sitting in my stand, enjoying the weather, and a Nice doe came walking up the path (with a group of a few other less-desirable-for-harvesting deer). I had a perfect broadside shot down a shooting lane, put the crosshairs behind the R should, fired, and the deer dropped in it's tracks. So I Waited a little, and went to gut it and was thinking about fresh fried tenderloins…
To my shock and horror, I'd discovered I'd hit the deer under the ear…
A little more info: I was aiming with a scoped .270 (that I've shot for years, never having anything resembling accuracy problems…) and this deer was at most ~40 yds from me, slight uphill, shooting through very light brush (the shot was on a cut shooting lane and generally speaking, this I'd call an unobstructed shot). The rife when shot was suppoted on the stable wall of my deer stand.
Let me repeat--I aimed for the heart (with a shot a child could make) and hit the head.

Now, I admit I'm not the world's finest marksman, but I try to make up for it by being very selective with my shots… (been hunting since I was 13 and only one time have I failed to find a deer I shot…) I pride myself on taking one shot for one kill (and it's why I often hunt with a muzzleloader…)

(Background: I like shooting my muzzleloader and do a lot of plinking with it just for fun, but the .270 I've been so confident in, I rarely do any target shooting with it--last time I'd fired it was 1 time ~1 year previously when I'd harvested my 2011 deer and prior to that 1 time ~1 year before that, harvesting my 2010 deer… I haven't done any target shooting with this rifle in ~5 years, but really, didn't see a need to--it hadn't required a second shot since ~2008 when a buck I'd shot and was downed required a final killing shot…)
The only solace I have from this is that I again maintained my "one shot, one kill" belief, and the deer was harvested humanely, but, it certainly wasn't how I intended it…

Anyways, After this (and somewhat horrified by this) I took the gun out for some practice shots, figuring the scope must be off… I was hoping it'd be a foot or so high/right and I could blame it being bumped or what not… Unforunately, It wasn't far off--While I tweaked it a little--only to account for ~1 inch of accuracy issues, it was nothing to explain missing my intended target by, what, nearly >1 foot!

So, I'm puzzled. I'm trying to figure if I can realistically "blame" this on anything other than an unexplainable operator error… ("buck-fever" seems ridiculous--it was a "eatin'" doe nothing I haven't seen/shot many times before…) I realistically can't blame hitting a branch because I don't believe any twig can alter the accuracy of a .270 rifle at 40 yds by that dramatic an amount…

However, I'm wondering
1.) I've been shooting from a box of cartridges that are ~15-20 (possibly more) years old. Do older cartridges go bad or can accuracy be dramatically altered by time? (visibly, the cartridges look fine…)
(in retrospect, I've had 2 deer shot in the past 5 years that had entry wounds where I expected but somewhat odd exit wounds--not where I'd expect if a straight path was taken through the deer)
2.) Is there a such thing as a single defective cartridge I can blame this on?
3.) Anything else you all can think of that could account for this???
DonkeyHodey is offline  
Old 05-13-2013, 10:05 AM
Nontypical Buck
Psylocide's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 1,035

1. I shoot a lot of surplus 7.62 x 54r out of my Mosin M44... I don't notice too much of a difference between those and the 7.62 x 54r shells that I buy brand new (other than being a lot dirtier). Those surplus rounds are at least 30 years old, and very probably older than that.

2. Whenever there is a machine or human process of mass production, there absolutely is the chance for defectives. Not sure if this is the case (and you'll probably never know), but it is a possibility.

3. If anything, from reading your post, perhaps it struck a twig or other object that caused it to deviate slightly. That 'very light brush' you mentioned could have easily put the bullet off course by a foot or more if your bullet struck it... no matter how minute it seems when attempting to shoot through it.
Psylocide is offline  
Old 05-14-2013, 04:39 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 188

1) No
2) Yes you can have a single defective cartridge but... if there was a short powder charge the bullet would have struck low not higher as in your case.
3) IMHO the bullet deflected up from hitting brush, have seen it myself.
Major Woods is offline  
Old 05-14-2013, 04:46 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,445

The unseen twig strikes again. Happens all the time and nothing to be horrified over.
UncleNorby is offline  
Old 05-14-2013, 12:46 PM
Super Moderator
Bocajnala's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Trumbull County, Ohio
Posts: 9,530

you hit some brush, thankfully the deer was killed quickly.
Bocajnala is offline  
Old 05-14-2013, 02:43 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 17

So I'm hearing lots of blaming twigs... I can live with that. Thanks for the comments.

"Watch your top-knot..."
DonkeyHodey is offline  
Old 05-14-2013, 07:38 PM
Boone & Crockett
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ponce de Leon Florida USA
Posts: 10,079

It doesn't take much to deflect a rifle bullet, but at 40 yards I'm surprised it was that much. I use a .270 and a few years ago I started using neck/head shots mainly. Out of the last 18 deer I shot I have had two shoulder shots (distance), two head shots and 14 neck shots. No meat loss and no tracking.
timbercruiser is offline  
Old 05-15-2013, 05:14 AM
Nontypical Buck
FlDeerman's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DeFuniak Spr.Florida
Posts: 4,329

40 yards would be my max range.I shoot 3in.00.
FlDeerman is offline  
Old 05-22-2013, 08:49 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Promise land ,KY
Posts: 189

I shoot a 270 as well and I have had one time when the cone of a bullet was deformed. It was either from me dropping the box or it came out of the mag wrong one time and deformed on the feed ramp. Either way I noticed it as I put it in my gun and being in a hurry ejected the round and stuck it right back in the box, dumb move I know. I shot at a doe later that season at 60 yards and missed about 3ft low. As I was walking back to my truck I remembered that round and checked the box of ammo and low and behold it was gone.
AquamanPSD is offline  
Old 05-22-2013, 10:08 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: PA
Posts: 1,778

Originally Posted by timbercruiser
Out of the last 18 deer I shot I have had two shoulder shots (distance), two head shots and 14 neck shots. No meat loss and no tracking.
No meat loss on the shoulder or neck shots?

Tundra10 is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.