This is a discussion on Over-scoped? within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the Hunting Forums - Hunting in Africa category; I have been taught that if you cannot be sure of a shot, you must rather not shoot at all. ...
11-26-2009, 01:52 AM #1
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I have been taught that if you cannot be sure of a shot, you must rather not shoot at all. I believe that high magnification scopes delude infrequent hunters into taking risky shots they should not take.
In the hunting field an x12, or x24 or even a scope that magnify by x30 can create an unrealistic confidence about one’s own shooting ability. Why hunt game on 400 or even 600 meters; and I not even talking about the ‘machos’ that only take head shots at a certain impractical distance.
Silhouette shooters and snipers might and probably can reach those distances and even can go beyond, but I am a hunter and I still cannot see what the skill in that is…
I believe that a hunter must have skills such as the ability to approach game silently and close enough to shoot from a reasonable distance.Bushwack Safaris - South Africa
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11-26-2009, 03:46 AM #2
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Good post. I still shoot 95% of all my game with open sights thanks to the fact my eyes are still good. I use a 7mm remm mag open sight.
Now and then mostly at night i use scopes. I prefer open because i beleive the game should have a fair chance too.
I dont care who and for what reasons use scopes but sometimes it gets crazy when they use these massive scopes that look like telescopes for the stars hahaha
I like this post.To be honest,i hate scopes!I still use open sights despite the fact that i wear glasses.
I think scopes make the hunter a bit too lazy to close up with the quarry.But they have their positives and that is they double the hunter's chances of making a telling shot,but that doesn't make me like them in any way!
I think the hunt needs to be fair and the quarry needs to be given a chance to live another day.
11-26-2009, 05:36 AM #4
I tend to agree with you guys - although I have one rifle specifically scoped for really long range shooting.
Most of my rifles are scoped, except for a DG in .458 Lott. Still debating that because I have worn glasses my whole life and even at 39, my eyesight is not great.
But, I have not scoped the .458 because its for Elephant and I am still not convinced that even at 1 power I could see enough of the animal through the scope to make the precise top of the heart/lungs shot I need (no machisom for me - head shots are for the TV shows and those with the money to afford an elephant walking around with a bullet in its mellon).
That said, I have one rifle scoped for long range - 500/600 meters - or out to 800 if I really had too.
The "sport" in doding that is the skill it takes to be able to shoot that far. Shooting is an essential part of our sport and I think its the part that way to many hunters ignore. Ask any outfitter in the US and most African PH's what the main reason for lack of a harvest is and they are likely to tell you its poor shooting.
I hunt archery - so I can and very often do get inside the 20 - 30 "zone." But eben then, I have a Hoyt Alfa Max sighted and regularly shot out to 75 meters and this year I did take a dear at 45 meters through the woods - because I enjoyed the "skill" it takes to make that shot.
My long range gun is for the wide open western US where I could take an Elk or Mule Deer at 500 + meters. The really big difference is, I practice at that range to do it. It is very helpful. I can hold a 4 -5" group at 500 yards with a prone backpack rest.
The advantage is that it males the 200 - 300 meter shots, which you sometime just cannot avoid, much easier. I am not saying this to brag - just demonstrate my point.
Last night I was out hunting whitetails. I donate all of the meat to needy families in our community. One family in particular really need some meat and the husband lost his job so just ground meat and an occassiona; steak dinner means the world to them. I went to a big farm where I know the owner and he has nuisance deer tags. I asked him if I could take a deer. The season has been open for about a week and the deer are heavily hunted already - and really spooked. So I set up across a hedge row on a hill overlooking his cut corn fields. The deer came out with about 5 minutes of light at 400 yards. Because of practice, I was able to make the high heart/lung shot that dropped the deer in its tracks.
Is it typical whitetail hunting - no. Are there A LOT of guys who would want to take that deer - ABSOLUTELY. The difference is, I can because of PRACTICE - and too many hunters would just sling bullets across an open field in a very dangerous manner.
So back to the beginning - I do think it is the scope the creates the problem. It is just part of the hunters "tools." I think the problem lies with hunters who do not do their part by making sure that they can handle their guns (whether its shooting a gun too big, too far, etc.) and its all comes down to that same concept - PRACTICE. The best hunters are the ones that PRACTICE. From there - how you chose to take your game in a sporting manner becomes a personal decision. I rather enjoyed taking that deer at 400+ meters with a 1 shot immediate kill. I felt "rewarded" for the practice I do.
Just my thoughts.
11-26-2009, 08:36 AM #5
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11-27-2009, 07:32 AM #6
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...I agree with Cleathorn you have to do a lot of practicing to even consider making shots over 300 yds. I myself have shot rifle Silhouette to 600 yds & even shot a little high power out to 1000yds. You have to know a lot about the ballistics, bullet drop, & minutes of angle. The high power game wasn't my cup of tea as it was all open sight & that was to far away for my poor eyesight. But rifle silhouette I can & have shot quite well open or scoped sights.
.... I really get a kick out of these self proclaimed Davy crocketts who claim to kill deer at 600 yds. You ask them how they held on the animal & they all claim right on the shoulder - which any one with any knowledge of ballistics knows is total B.S.
... Yes I myself have taken game out to 500 yds, but I certainly don't tell everyone about it nor do I condone it. I do believe you have to make the most reasonable effort to get close and make a quick & humane kill. I really like to get to with in 200 yds for a slam dunk instead of trying to guess the wind etc.
... Another thing a lot of people don't know is - is that with all these high magnification scopes it really shows you how steady you really are. maybe off the bench you are ok but try holding them off hand and she how much you wobble!!
.....There are a couple of shows I have watched that really promote this long range shooting of animals - which I think is totally wrong. they take some Green horns & teach them for a couple days & here they are shooting Elk at 600 - 1000 yds. All we are doing is promoting lazy hunters & wounding game.
11-27-2009, 07:57 AM #7
We now live in a 'scope' culture. You would be amazed at how many hunters have never actually shot centerfire rifles with iron sights. The first rifle they get has a scope on it and it is thus for ever more.
The higher powered scopes can be used by an experienced riflemen who is familiar with scopes and has learned to use one properly. Unfortunately most guys do not fall into that category and most do not have any business shooting beyond 200 yards because, although their rifle is up to the task, they are not.
Far too many just shoot off the bench and do not practice from practical field shooting positions and using improvised rests. They are also prone to having their scopes routinely set a too high a power. I cannot count the number of nice trophies that have gotten away because the shooter could not find the animal in their scope or if they did all they saw was a brown blur and had no idea what part of the animal they were actually looking at.........and all of that despite my standard warning of keep the power ring down low and do not turn it up unless needed.
You can only hold someones hand so much of the time.
The current disturbing trend is ultra flat shooting rifles and cartridges, with scopes on them that would have been considered benchrest scopes in days gone by................and with inexperienced shooters and hunters behind the trigger. I hope this trend goes away soon, but I doubt it.Skyline Adventures
11-27-2009, 11:02 AM #8
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The trend of using high-power, benchrest-type scopes will never go away. Too many people think that they have to have the biggest, fastest, newest, most powerful rifle-scope combination that they can buy. Many of these same people don't bother to practice. Mostly because they think they can purchase the ability to make the long shots. Anyone who has shot a lot knows that this is not the case.
Another down side of having too-high magnification on a scope: The field of vision is so narrow, you can easily shoot the wrong animal! This happened to my wife on our May hunt. The scope was dialed up to 10x when it should have been on 5x. She made a nice heart shot, but it was the springbok NEXT TO the one she should have shot. (It was my fault. I had left the scope turned up after checking sight in.)
I have my own rifle and hand loads "tuned in" to shoot excellent groups and my confidence in the hardware is very high. It took me many tries and lots of time at the bench to produce this level of consistency. I practice under field conditions frequently, yet I still limit my shots to 325 years under ideal conditions and 250 yards under less-than-ideal conditions. This is because I've shot enough to prove (to myself) what I can and cannot do consistently. As often as possible, I shoot the .22 with open sights to stay in practice just in case a scope gets damaged one day and has to be removed. At least I could finish a hunt with open sights with some confidence in my accuracy.
I try to convince less-experienced shooters to work within the limits of their abilities and those of their firearms, but some people still think you can "buy" in-field accuracy. My favorites are the ones that show up on the range a week before deer season opens with one box of ammo to sight in. Without fail, they fire ten shots, get one hole in the bullseye and call it "good enough". Too bad that only 4 of the other 9 shots are on the paper.
The amusing element of all of this: The same guys that claim to have made 5-600 yard heart shots on whitetail deer cannot produce a group under 2 inches off a bench rest with their ultra-mags and $1200 scopes. It kinda makes you say "yeah, right..."
11-27-2009, 11:47 AM #9
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Well said Skyline, I've got to agree all the way.
With few exceptions I feel most big game hunting situations simply don't require more than 4 or 6 power. Therefore, a 2-8 or a 3-9 power would be more than adequate. Furthermore, a good quality scope such as Zeiss, Swarovski, Schmidt & Bender and a top of the line Leupold in that magnification range doesn’t need more than a 36mm to 40mm objective lens to still offer a good low light view beyond legal shooting light. The other good thing about a scope with a smaller objective lens is that it will fit much lower to the barrel.
I agree with you that we seem to now be living in a 'scope' culture where many folks have come to believe super high magnification and huge objective lenses are necessary to successfully pursue big game. I simply don’t find that to be true. Just my view.There is only one degree of dead . . . there are many degrees of wounded
11-28-2009, 07:30 AM #10
The ONLY problem with this discussion is that it seems to be among expierienced hunters, sportsmen and shooters - the neophytes that think they can buy accuracy are not in on the discussion. I HATE that TV show that promotes long range (600-1000 yard) shooting. It is just to sell guns, bullets ans scopes that 95% (pure guess) of the hunters could not do anything with.
I for one was taught to shoot with open sights and was not allowed to have a scope until I was a proficient shot. That was measured on the range and in the field. My dad required each of his 4 sons (and 1 daughter) to take their first deer (we live in New York State so whitetails are almost everyone's first big game animal) with open sights. Only then could you move to a scoped gun and then it was a smooth bore shotgun which does not shoot slugs accuratly beyond 100 yards - some might debate that but that was as best I could ever do.
I have 5 kids and each of them will go through the same training and requirements.
I still enjoy shooting and at long ranges on enough occasions to be comfortable and confident that I can do it proficiently and effectivly with the right rest. Usually when I go out with that long range gun its intentional and I do not take the closer shots. But its PRACTICE that makes it possible.
I could not agree more with the "I made a heart shot at 500 yards and dropped it dead - held right on" nonsense. Eventhe flat shooting guns drops between 28" and 45" at 500 yards - data taken from Remington bullistics charts of 7MM.
Before we vilify them to much, also remeber that most of the inexperienced guys who make those claims do not have enough experience at judging distance either. As we all know, in the woods, everything is closer than you think and in the open, its usually farther. I woud put a $20 on the fact that every claim of a deer shot beyond 300 yards was shot at distances of at least 1/3 and probably more like 1/2 the claimed distance. I would lose sometimes but in the long term I would make a lot of money on that bet.
FYI - The deer I mentioned, in my earlier post on this topic, well, she was standing broadside facing left. Slight to no wind but the domiant wind direction in the area is from the west, and would push the bullet from her nose back. I was shooting a 270 Winchester short mag. (really flat shooter) and held for the tip of her ears. I put the bullet into the top of the scapula with a Nosler Accubond - which blew the shoulder bone into the spine and she dropped dead. The bullet impacted at least 12" back and 6" below the point aim. Right where I wanted it - but not where I had to aim to get it there.
I shot a moose 2 years ago at 505 yards - no other shot or stalk was possible. To make the shot I had to hold mid-level of its antlers at its mid-body to hit the shoulder. Shot it with a .300 Win Mag and 200 gr NP. I could register the hit but the animal did not go down. Three more shots all of which were in the vitals. THe moose finally fall dead with 15 yards of where it was first shot.
Recovered each bullet -perfect performance. My conclusion is that even with a .300 Win Mag. using hand loads and premium bullets, there was not enough terminal energy to have the proper effect on animals of that size. Would never do that again - not on something that big anyway.
I wounder how many elk have been wounded by those ultra long range shots? THose shots never make it on to TV - thank goodness for that anyway.
Sorry for the long post but I think is a really important topic for hunters of all ages and skills. You really need to know what you are doding at every step to be a good hunter. Shooting is an important and far to overlooked part of our sport. 1 bullseye out of 10 shots and 4 missing the paper would warrant a trip to the gunsmith - not into the field to hunt something. Those fellows have a better chance of hitting me than I deer and I do not like that concept at all!
11-28-2009, 07:59 AM #11
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12-02-2009, 01:48 PM #12
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I've seen too many Elk, Mule Deer and Pronghorn Antelope that were wounded and lost by other hunters. Twice I filled my deer and antelope tags with these wounded animals rather than leaving them to suffer.
I have big game hunted in several western states, Canada, Alaska, and Africa for over 40 years and have killed somewhere between 150 to 200 big game animals. The longest shot that I can remember taking at any big game animal was 348 yds on a Gemsbok that we had sneaked and crawled for over an hour and couldn't get any closer. My closest shots were 30 feet on a bull Elk and 30 yds on my Cape Eland, and these shots were not from a blind or tree stand. While hunting Pronghorn Antelope and Bighorn Sheep, I have been close enough to hear those animals chewing.
I have scopes on all of my big game rifles which include a 4x on a .270, a couple of 3-9x, a 6x on my .257 AI that I shot most of my deer, pronghorns and all of my sheep with, a 2-7x on the .375 RUM that I built for my Cape Buffalo hunt (and used on that Gemsbok at 348 yds), and a 4-12x on my .300Wby. I strive for accuracy of bullet placement and have worked up 1 MOA loads for all of these rifles. Often you have to thread a bullet through the trees or limbs.
This past year I bought another Winchester 94 in .30-30 because I thought it would be fun to shoot and the price was right. I can easily hit a golf ball at 100 yds with any of my scoped rifles, but my 63 yr old eyes have trouble hitting a 12" steel gong at 100 yds with that iron sighted .30-30.
12-03-2009, 10:36 AM #13
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I love this thread! And have a lot of opinions on it. Dick Metcalf-Famous for all his optic articles and books say a hunter for the most part never needs more than 6X. And he said it for years. A few years ago someone asked what he had on his gun and he said 6-18X scope or 6-24x scope. The next question is why he had all that power when he only needed a 6x. His response was...I only need 6x, but I can see my target better with 12X,18x etc. and therefore I can get a clear and big picture to make a more accurate shot.
Most of my guns only have 10x as the highest magnification. That is all I have needed for the most part. I hate the hunting show "Best of West", shooting at sheep, deer and antelope at 900 yds. I love reading Wayne van Zwoll. His favorite saying after someone braggs about a long shot, is to pat the person on the back and say "Don't worry next time you'll get him closer".
I don't have a problem with long shooting, it's just that you are cheating yourself out of the fun of getting in close and shooting once for a ethical quick put down. I hate see animals suffer...it really sickens me. I think a lot of game is lost because of unethical long shooting and I aim in the future not to be part of it. I really like bowhunting and muzzleloader hunting...nice and close!
By shooting at long range you cheat yourself out of that up close and personal hunt.
12-05-2009, 01:31 PM #14
Based on years of observing hunters in the camps that I book for..I am convienced that big scopes have been the cause of more failures than any other hiccup...
It was so obvious that I conducted some tests..I took the big varibles, a 4x12, 3x9, 2x7, and a 16X fixed, and carefully sighted them in, then wacked them with varying force on the objective lens as one might accidently do in one way or another while hunting. Then shot a group and in each case the bigger the scope the more the POI moved and in most cases it move as much as 6 inches to a foot with very little force in the hit..
With the 20 mm objective, I used the Leupold 3X, 1x4 and 1.5x5 and a 2.5 Weaver, and little or no change occurred until I litterally knocked the living crap out it so hard it hurt the palm of my hand, then I got from 1 to 1.5 inches of movement. I also had good luck with the fixed 4X's.
Another thing I did was haul one around in the trunk of a car and the big scopes moved much more than the smaller scope..The Saddle scabbard was the biggest killer of scope in all my testing over the years, that constant bouncing really takes it's toll on your POI..I settled on the 3X leupold for a saddle gun and a receiver sight was the best option for not changing anything.
After all my testing, it changed my approach to some things that have worked well for me but perhaps not for everyone...I have my guns actions surface ground and hand fitted Talley bases. this helps exact return to zero, then I have the tracker in African pack a scope for me and I do almost all my hunting with iron sights for any of the Dangerous game as you seldom shoot them at long range, and I grew up shooting irons anyway so I am confident with them...If a long shot presents itself such as a target of opertunity on a Kudu then I can stick the scope on an take a carefully rested shot if need be.
Anyway thats my take on the question and it works for me...RAY ATKINSON