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just how accurate does your deer rifle need to be?

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just how accurate does your deer rifle need to be?

Old 10-02-2018, 09:55 AM
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Default just how accurate does your deer rifle need to be?

I stopped at my local gun-shop today to pick up some moly lube spray, and while I was waiting on the cash register guy to show up,
I hear the guy behind me having a rather loud discussion, concerning his desire to buy brand xyz ammo,
because its noticeably more accurate, than what ever the clerk had handed him, in his marlin 35 remington lever action.
now a 35 rem is a decent deer rifle but its certainly not a 500 yard deer rifle, so I asked him how much more accurate was the ammo he wanted and how had he sighted in his rifle?
he stated, he had, several years back, purchased that rifle, from a buddy, along with a partial box of ammo,
and had gone out and placed a coke can on a berm (raised dirt bank in the glades) and backed off maybe 70-80 yards,
as that was the furthest he had ever needed to shoot, and he had drilled the can, on the first shot, he was thrilled!
and he was not about to swap ammo,
brands as he had seen it written many times that different brands of ammo , tended to require re-sighting in the rifle!
yeah! most of us are more knowledgeable and have more skills but I'm constantly amazed at guys who worry if the groups they shoot are not 1" or smaller, who get all that frustrated , if an occasional bullet opens the group an extra 1/2"
I asked him what bullet weight he had been using?
he said he was not all that sure but it came in a yellow/green box and said remington plainly on the end
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/29...oint-box-of-20

it was definitely not this BLUE box the clerk had suggested he use.

at that point I just wished him best of luck, and as the cash register clerk had showed up .....I paid and left......
honestly I don,t think this guy had a clue.....but hes most likely not the only one who figures that his rifles correctly sighted in, if he can hit a soda can at 60-70 yards on the first shot.
and anyone who thinks his rifles perfectly sighted in if he can hit a coke can at 70 yards, with the one test shot, and has not bought a box of ammo in several years might want to check his rifles zero again.
https://www.sportsmansguide.com/prod...unds?a=1586756

now this got me thinking, Ive hand-loaded hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo for myself and several other guys over the last 50 plus years, and most of those guys have gone to the range and sighted in their rifles to print groups either at 100 yards or at maybe 3" high at 100 yards, most rifles are easily able to keep a 2" or tighter group, which basically suggests that a decent shot can expect the bullet impact to be with-in about 1" of the aim point if they have a good rest.
now that may not sound all that impressive but if the rifle can consistently place its shots with-in 1" of the aim point at 100 yards it should rather easily hit within the vital area of a deer or elk well past 300 yards, and damn few guys I've hunted with can accurately judge ranges or hit squat past 300 yards. so any real concern with their rifles ACCURACY , is not all that valid, it should not keep anyone up at night.


if your average guy sights in your average , deer rifle like a 243, 25/06, 308 win, 270 win, 30/06 or 7mm mag to hit 3" high at 100 yards, and then sees a deer or elk and just places the scope cross hairs on the dark red star, (basically center chest) that bullet is going to hit close enough to the vitals out past 300 yards to be lethal.

Last edited by hardcastonly; 10-03-2018 at 03:47 PM. Reason: left out info
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Old 10-02-2018, 10:50 AM
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Ranges up here are filled with if i can put 3 out of 5 in a pie plate at 50 yards you are golden... Kinda scary
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:29 AM
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reminds me of this conversation I had with a clerk.

pretty sure he had a napolean complex..., telling me how the 12ga slug is bigger faster stronger etc..., lol.

basically I was saying the 20ga is faster/flatter, less kick, more accurate and plenty powerful at 200yds.

he of course preferred having "more power" and shooting further.

anyone shooting 200-300yds with a slug gun...is very questionable IMO.

and I've always found 12ga slugs to be less accurate than 20ga, but hey more power to you if you can accurately place a 12ga slug at 300yds.

IMO a 100-200yd slug gun shot is very far.


as to your topic, I'm a 1 gun, 1 bullet/load kind of guy, I don't want to be re-sighting my gun for every hunt, elk vs deer, vs antelope etc...
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:24 PM
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Not saying the guy knew what he was talking about. But if I amvsighted in with one brand, it is what I am going to use. I got 2 rifles, one can shoot hornady the other nosler. Same load, twists, lengths and butter types. They shoot awful the other brand 1moa with one of them.

if you are using a scope you should get it better 2" from rest. Imo 2" is ok, but add your error to it.

we all know lots of people who do the pie plate and kill deer. Around here you are only shooting 30 yards. I just don't want to be that guy.

if the guy liked the corlocts, fine. Stupid if didn't know grain, let a lone point. Though I can see getting whatever corlocts they had and seeing how they shot. I understand the idea that if you had good luck why change it. Obviously lots of other good brands
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Old 10-02-2018, 02:33 PM
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I think accuracy is over used in many ways, but there is never a reason to NOT want the most accurate load your rifle can shoot, how much effort you want to go thru to get there, is a personal thing

but one thing I have always noticed is, everyone shoots there rifles off rests and then goes and hunts and shoots off hand?
SO in a small way, the MORE accurate the riffle/load is, MAYBE there is a better chance of hitting what one is shooting at off hand, as well, we all know NO one shoots as small a group free hand as they do off a rest

so, say your rifle shoots a 1 inch group off sand bags and you shoot same load off hand at about 3 inch group
and now you take a gun load your rifle shoot a 3 inch group off sand bags and NOW shoot THAT one free hand?? there MIGHT be a larger difference?? Food for thought!
I personally prefer rifles and ammo that shoots me sub 1 MOA and if I cannot get that with "X" rifle, I tend to get rid of them (unless buying for other reasons)
but this is MY personal way of owning rifles
can the accuracy be over kill and not needed, SURE, but why own something that is only SO SO< if you have the means to own better ?? many hunters only get 1 chance a yr to punch a tag, all the odds you can put in one's favor, seem logical to me to do, as in the wilds, there are far too many things we have NO control over
if your current rifle /bullet combo gets you consistently in a kill zone, that that is all maybe YOU need, but again, its YOUR call
after selling guns for a LONG time and seeing and talking to folks, and hearing SO many that just buy ANY ammo and many that never even shoot it to see where it goes or if anything moved from yr to yr or years.
I think it all comes down to the shooter and what they want and willing to accept!
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Old 10-02-2018, 03:27 PM
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Pie plate accuracy at the farthest range you anticipate shooting at from the positions you will be shooting from.
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Old 10-02-2018, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by elkman30 View Post
Pie plate accuracy at the farthest range you anticipate shooting at from the positions you will be shooting from.
Yep. Accuracy is way over emphasized by many people. At eleven I taught myself to bow hunt. I had no archery hunters in the family to take me, but a great uncle told me to "practice until you can hit a paper plate every time, then go sit in the woods by a deer trail. And that's how I took my first few archery deer. These days I don't aim at the same spot on the target cause I can't afford to stack arrows up. It's better to be more accurate for sure.... But I could still hunt effectively when paper plate sized groups were my goal as a young kid with no clue what he was doing. Many people spend allot of time and money trying to squeak out accuracy they don't really need.

Ex, I've watched people spend hundreds (and it would be easy for this number to be "thousands" ) of dollars to take a rifle from an 1 1/4" to under an inch at 100 yards.

That extra 1/4" will never matter for the hunting they do. Most of my rifles shoot an inch or under. If they don't I get rid of them. But I have a few that I've kept that don't shoot any good . And I've taken deer with them.

Know your limitations, practice at the ranges and positions you intend to shoot from, then go shoot deer. Fussing over an extra quarter inch won't help most of us much.

All that being said... If you enjoy trying to get the tightest grouping you can, then go enjoy yourself .But it's not really required for probably 95% of hunting situations.

Lots of deer get killed every year by the pumpkin shooting after Thanksgiving dinner crowd.

-Jake
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bocajnala View Post
Yep. Accuracy is way over emphasized by many people. At eleven I taught myself to bow hunt. I had no archery hunters in the family to take me, but a great uncle told me to "practice until you can hit a paper plate every time, then go sit in the woods by a deer trail. And that's how I took my first few archery deer. These days I don't aim at the same spot on the target cause I can't afford to stack arrows up. It's better to be more accurate for sure.... But I could still hunt effectively when paper plate sized groups were my goal as a young kid with no clue what he was doing. Many people spend allot of time and money trying to squeak out accuracy they don't really need.

Ex, I've watched people spend hundreds (and it would be easy for this number to be "thousands" ) of dollars to take a rifle from an 1 1/4" to under an inch at 100 yards.

That extra 1/4" will never matter for the hunting they do. Most of my rifles shoot an inch or under. If they don't I get rid of them. But I have a few that I've kept that don't shoot any good . And I've taken deer with them.

Know your limitations, practice at the ranges and positions you intend to shoot from, then go shoot deer. Fussing over an extra quarter inch won't help most of us much.

All that being said... If you enjoy trying to get the tightest grouping you can, then go enjoy yourself .But it's not really required for probably 95% of hunting situations.

Lots of deer get killed every year by the pumpkin shooting after Thanksgiving dinner crowd.

-Jake
I agree with much of what you said, but good shooting is controlling the variables. Consistency makes for a good shooter. The road to be a good shooter is to minimize the variables or at least being aware of the variables so you can compensate.

Having good tools, rifle and ammo, helps. Breathing control, trigger control (not flinching) is often way more important. Knowing how your bullet is likely to act differently at radically different temperatures can also be important. Shooting uphill or downhill. Shooting straight or over your left or right shoulder. Even learning to control your excitement level, when your hart is pumping hard your rifle barrel is likely bouncing.

IMO the only way you are likely to know the differences is practice and the only way you are going to get relevant answers is a control group. And the control group needs to be as accurate as possible.

All the variables can affect accuracy and if they don't cancel each other out, the results can be a miss or worse yet a wound.

Something about a wounded animal having a slow death upsets me. Bad stuff can happen no matter how competent you are, it is your responsibility to stack the odds in favor of a quick kill.

I've been out tramping around in the mud, carrying a few extra pounds of mud on my boots, for so many hours I was ready to drop, looking for a wounded game animal. IMO it is part of a hunters responsibility not to let an animal die a slow death. The easy solution is to be a competent shooter and knowing your tools.
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:38 PM
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Just about every package bolt action rifle on the market now will hold sub 2" groups. All of mine are sub 1". A couple are real tack drivers. But none of them will shoot better then the booger hook pulling the trigger. I've seen many guys hit wally world up the day before season for a "new" hunting rifle. They shoot a can off a post at 50 yards and call it good. Do they kill stuff? Yep but more times then not it's a less then desirable hit and a long track job. Personally I owe it to the game I am pursuing to know my effective range and that changes due to weapon I'm using, weather conditions, and games level of awareness. I've killed some stuff at some long distances and passed at much shorter distances. Every trigger pull is an assessment of a different set of circumstances.
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Old 10-03-2018, 03:01 PM
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I like my rifles to be two inches high and dead center at 100 yards so that makes up for my shooting skills .We own the game we hunt that much .JMO
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