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Thread: How to be a good shot

  1. #21
    Member vagrant's Avatar
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    Like most have said before, even a perfect shot might not kill an animal instantly, so I won't comment on that. My advice is for the range. Think of how you are going to be hunting and that is the way you want to practice at the range. I see folks at the range every day using bench rests and can hit a dime at a hundred yards. But that is the only way they practice. I always ask them if they have a bench rest when they go hunting
    Practice with the bench rest or other aids til you become proficient with the weapon. Then practice the way you are going to shoot in the field, i.e. sitting, standing ,prone. Aslo read up on the animal you wish to hunt and find the vital shots. They don't differ much from each other except in the angling shots.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagrant View Post
    Like most have said before, even a perfect shot might not kill an animal instantly, so I won't comment on that. My advice is for the range. Think of how you are going to be hunting and that is the way you want to practice at the range. I see folks at the range every day using bench rests and can hit a dime at a hundred yards. But that is the only way they practice. I always ask them if they have a bench rest when they go hunting
    Practice with the bench rest or other aids til you become proficient with the weapon. Then practice the way you are going to shoot in the field, i.e. sitting, standing ,prone. Aslo read up on the animal you wish to hunt and find the vital shots. They don't differ much from each other except in the angling shots.
    Man I used to enrage target "HUNTERS". As you say they would be shooting sub-MOA and, there was me at the next station doing jumping jacks and running hard in place to get winded and heart rate up, then I would grab my firearm, and off-hand fire fairly quickly, and reload and more jumping jacks, and shoot.

    They would be mad and start raving at me, and go to the Rangemaster to complain. He knew what I was up to.........

  3. #23
    Cold Heartless Breed tsitenha's Avatar
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    Something else to keep in mind, is bullet backdrop. Bullets often go right through an animal's vitals; make sure of what is on the other side, ridge silhouetted (animals on the crest of a hillside) allows too much possibility of the bullet traveling where you can not see its final trajectory and backdrop.
    Good hunting

  4. #24
    missing in action trax's Avatar
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    There's been a lot of good advice here Wildwoman. I'd recommend a couple of things to the novice hunter that have only been touched on here. Practice after you've worked out a bit, so you're winded and a little shaky. Practice from different firing positions (kneeling, prone, standing)and different distances. I knew a guy that could hit sub MOA at 100 and 150 yards and freaked when a moose was only 40 feet away.

    The police, and I believe military, teach their people to shoot for center mass for good reason, more vital targets in a bigger area. The best shot I know of, if you can get the shot, is just behind the foreleg, like immediately behind it, shooting slightly forward. Your bullet will pass through a lung and hit the heart. With moose and caribou, head shots are incredibly difficult. I posted on this in a completely different context last year, but a moose's rack can deflect a high powered bullet. If you have the shot, and you're a good enough shot, the best head shot is through the ear. I know an old lady who dropped a bull moose with a .22 with that shot. I wouldn't have tried it with a .22, but I did drop one with that shot, I was just lucky enough to have a high powered rifle (good old SMLE) I've also let probably a couple of tons of meat walk away in my lifetime because I didn't have a shot I was sure of. Oh yes, it's frustrating.

    Other than that, you can never get too much practice. I've hunted my entire life and I still spend a couple of weeks going out to a target range every day before my hunting seasons open. And was it Coot or Hopeak that said, once you've got the kill is when the work begins? Whichever one it was, absolutely right.

    If you're moose hunting, the most important thing you can learn, right up front is patience. They're not terribly smart critters, but they're very cautious. I know guys that have stopped at a spot where they saw a moose at some time or other in the off season, call a few times and give up and leave. Some other guy comes a long and there's a moose standing there saying "who called me?" and hunter number two gets lucky. Call, wait 15-20 minutes before you call again, then ...usually, wait. If you're a smoker, that's one scent I can almost guarantee animals will shy away from, I'm a smoker and sometimes that's a long time to go without a cigarette, lol. Anyway, hope some of this helps. 30-06 is an excellent choice for moose or caribou.
    some fella confronted me the other day and asked "What's your problem?" So I told him, "I don't have a problem I am a problem"

  5. #25
    walk lightly on the earth wildWoman's Avatar
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    Thanks you guys, that's all really awesome advice! Really makes sense too what Hopeak and Trax said about doing some hopping around before target shooting. Well, lots of time to practice until fall...let you know if I'll manage to shoot some critter or "just" be assisting my boyfriend again.

  6. #26
    Neo-Numptie DOGMAN's Avatar
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    Well, I read some good stuff here. But, I think I can add some to it. First, get a .22 and practice, practice, then practice some more. .22's are cheap to shoot and learn with. Then after you become a good shot, then practice with your hunting rifle. It'll save you lots of cash.

    I believe your hunting in the Yukon bush, your hunting big game, and your wanting to feed yourself with it- right? So, think beyond controlled shooting environments- practice shooting standing up, practice moving quickly and silently for 100 yards then pulling off a shot while breathing hard. practice shooting off your knee, practice shooting off a tree branch while leaning against the tree. Practice laying down shooting off a log, practice shooting uphill, shooting downhill. Practice walking around, then shouldering your gun and getting off a good shot- quickly.

    While going to sleep at night, think about every possible scenario you may encounter game in. Think about how you can turn every wildlife encounter into a shot opportunity and harvest. As a long time hunting guide, I can tell you there is nothing more frustrating than encountering your quarry and not having a hunter be able to turn that opportunity into a harvest. Game animals present themselves way more frequently than they are killed because ill prepared hunters are looking around for a rest instead of getting off a shot.

    Shot opportunites may only last for a split second. If your looking to feed yourself with your kills- you gotta be prepared to turn that opportunity into dinner! Be comfortable with your gun and every situation you might get into with it. Don't think of it as an object- think of it as an extension of yourself.

    Research your gun and the ballistics of various loads for it. memorize that info so you really can make snap mental judgements on different yardage shots- instantly.

    And, if you really are worried about dropping big animals- get a .375 H&H. I think it is the premier caliber for Alaskan-Yukon big game. And it makes clean kills. Do a little research on it- it is a great tool.

    Lastly, if you want to really be a good hunter have great optics. Give me a crappy gun and good optics and we'll eat much better than if I have a great gun and inferior optics. Get some good bino's and a good scope. Good is a relative term too- If you can pronounce the brand- it ain't good.

    Good Luck
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    Neo-Numptie DOGMAN's Avatar
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    Funny, I only read the first page of responses...I see I am just repeating some of what Trax and Hopak said. Great posts guys- sorry to paraprase your work.
    The way of the canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten- Sigurd Olson

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  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Montana_Musher View Post
    Good is a relative term too- If you can pronounce the brand- it ain't good.

    Good Luck
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  9. #29
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    two words machine guns

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    Senior Member sh4d0wm4573ri7's Avatar
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    perfect practice makes perfect there is no other remedy

  11. #31
    Colorado Springs, CO wildography's Avatar
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    "How to be a good shot"

    1 - get a pellet rifle (more accurate than BBs, IMHO) and a few hundred pellets; PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE... much cheaper than even using a .22 AND you can even shoot in the house or garage (just use a good backstop - don't try and re-use the pellets unless you have a soft backstop... even then, they tend to get "warped");

    2 - understand the "mechanics" and the "fundamentals" of accurate shooting... lots of info on-line and in the library... main thing is... you must have a straight-line "sight picture" from your eye through the rear sight, past the front sight, to the target's "impact point of the projectile" - where on the target you want the bullet to hit.

    3 - start at short ranges (with a pellet rifle, no further than 30 feet; with a .22, no further than 30 yards - cut all distances in half for a handgun) taking your time in shooting; as you get more accurate, speed up your shooting time at the same range... then... move twice the distance back... and repeat the process... slow at first, then faster... then, double the distance, etc...

    4 - go shooting with a more experienced - and a "good" - shooter;

    5 - don't learn bad habits; they stay with you;

    6- make it fun: with a pellet rifle... have a buddy roll a plastic frisbee across the ground... again... using the same principle... slow to shoot, then faster; then, move back...; use cans to shoot at: makes a satisfying "clang!"; shoot at balloons; fill a balloon half full of water - toss it into the air; tie a target (like a square piece of wood) to a string and hang it from a branch, when you hit it... the target swings... hit it while its moving... again... using the same principle... shoot slow, then faster... then move back; ... there are all sorts of games you can "play" to become a better shot...

    - at the "peak" of my shooting ability, while in the Air Force, I'd often practice what I called "eye" shots at 40 yards with a .38, a .357, or a .22 revolver (pick an "eye", then aim for the inside corner of the eye). The point wasn't really to always hit the eye... just to get within an inch of the inside corner - that's a killing shot every time unless a miracle happens.

    7 - practice "visualization"... when I was shooting a lot... I'd see a dog or a horse or cow or whatever... and in my "mind's eye" I would picture where the bullet would have to hit, and what path the bullet would have to follow in order to achieve a killing shot... remember bullets like to follow a "straight line"... even if the bullet is "arcing" because of distance;

    8 - always be aware of where your bullet may "end up"... just because you hit what you're aiming at doesn't mean the bullet will stop there...

    hope that helps!
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  12. #32
    WSF's official Mora hater NCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sh4d0wm4573ri7 View Post
    perfect practice makes perfect there is no other remedy
    Agreed!

    Also joining the army helps a bit... You will have no choice but to learn how to shoot properly.
    Survival is not about surviving AGAINST the nature. It's about surviving WITH the nature.

    You can't go in to nature, nature is not a place or an object. Nature just is. You are living it.

  13. #33
    Senior Member RBB's Avatar
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    Very interesting reading.
    Raised By Bears
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  14. #34
    Senior Member Pict's Avatar
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    The best preparation you can get is simply practice with your weapon. Get yourself a decent BB gun or air rifle and shoot alot until you are able to hit what you aim at. Head shots drop small game very quickly. Mac
    The Colhane Channel TV for guys like me.

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    This thread is both shocking and disturbing......I have long been of the understanding that "ALL" Men could shoot 1/4" groups at 100 YARDS, this being needed for driving tacks.




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    Quote Originally Posted by hopeak View Post
    This thread is both shocking and disturbing......I have long been of the understanding that "ALL" Men could shoot 1/4" groups at 100 YARDS, this being needed for driving tacks.



    Best I could do at 600 yards. Sorry, Hopeak.
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  17. #37
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    I would have to say practice with what you're going to hunt with. Small caliber rounds are great to hone your skills with. But, I've seen people flinch when hunting big game. Folks that I know have shot for years. I asked them what happened and the usual response is "I'm not used to it yet" or "I knew it was gonna kick hard". Some shooters seam to have a fear of recoil. Some flinch at the bang. Even when someone else is firing. All that goes away with practice.
    Well why not?

  18. #38

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    And some just freeze when the see that rack in their sites/scope. Nothing more frustrating than watching a novice hunter not squeeze the trigger on a perfect shot because "I was scared. I've never killed anything before." I mean, christ, it's an animal your going to EAT, not a homicide. I think I could have understood it if it was a female, but this was someone who should not have had any qualms about dropping a buck.I had to resist the urge to slug him.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
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  19. #39
    Senior Member Ole WV Coot's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=hopeak;111054]This thread is both shocking and disturbing......I have long been of the understanding that "ALL" Men could shoot 1/4" groups at 100 YARDS, this being needed for driving tacks.


    Would you believe my dear uncle Sam that is had BB guns without sights and could teach you to hit another BB in the air with one??? Point shooting training.
    Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old
    to fight... he'll just kill you.

  20. #40

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    I do not recommend head/neck shots on big game, except for those who are highly experienced as well as supremely familiar and well-practiced with their rifle. Even then, taking such a shot is risky and requires that the shooter: know the exact trajectory of their bullet, know the exact range at which they are shooting, and have no external environmental factors (wind, rain, etc.) that will unduly affect trajectory, limit their shots to "gimme" distances.

    If you miss a head/neck shot it MIGHT be a clean miss. However, you might just do something like blow off the animal's bottom jaw; in which case they will suffer long and painfully before dying from starvation.

    90+% of hunters and especially ALL novices should shoot for the vitals, right behind the front leg and about 1/3 of the way up the body.

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