bad day at the range

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by matt85, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    i took my 375 H&H to my normal range to get ready for some bear hunting I plan to do next sunday. first I shot the rifle over the chronograph to check my velocity (2520 +/- 20 fps). next I set my rifle up on the lead sled and got it to shoot about 2 inches high at 100 yards with groups about one inch in diameter. then came time to practice a little off the tripod... I did AWFUL! I think my best group was 8 inches with 3 shots, I could not steady the rifle to save my life! I tried 3 different stances that were recommended on this forum and nothing helped me. with my scope set to 6x it just bobbed all over the target without me being able to control it at all.

    I don't think ive ever been more ashamed of my shooting then I was today. im currently rethinking my bear hunt. if I cant hit a 4" target consistently off sticks at 100 yards next Saturday then I will call the trip off. (im not going to wound an animal pointlessly)



    -matt
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2014
  2. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I don't want to sound like a jerk, but maybe a smaller caliber is in order. A bear can be easily be killed with a .270. I love my 375 H&H but I still prefer a 270, 3006, .308 or 7mm

    Shot placement is everything.
     
  3. K-man

    K-man AH Veteran

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    Last time my gun was off that much I had a loose / broken scope mount. Had me thinking I was a lousy shot. Might check that.
     
  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Is there a reason you think that your only shot will be off sticks and not in some other manner you're used to? I'd rely on whatever other way you've shot in the past and go hunting. Worry about the sticks later.
     
  5. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Good point there, wouldn't be the first time it happened to me either.
     
  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Is that the type of group you normally get with the lead sled?
    Is this the first time for this ammo?
    You know all the typical questions. Any other reasons?
     
  7. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Enthusiast

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    Guys he did say he was shooting 1" with the sled so everything must be tight? Of course never hurts to check anyway.

    Some days I cannot shoot well off sticks either and then my wife comes along and wants to shoot no other way... Maddening!

    Practice sitting and prone.... Tough to sit or lay in Africa as there are thorns and cactus almost everywhere... but bear hunting you should be able to find another way to steady yourself, rocks, tree, prone or sitting, even kneeling.

    How much caffeine did you have in you? I think that tends to be part of my problem. LOL
     
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  8. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    -first, caliber size has nothing to do with the group. my 375 H&H is currently the smallest rifle I own suitable for hunting. compared to the other guns ive been shooting lately a 375 H&H might as well be a 30-06. ive got nothing against small bore rifles, I just don't own any at the moment.

    -I also suspected my scope rings might be loose, but they were not. from the lead sled I was getting 1" groups pretty consistently. I simply couldn't steady the rifle, it was me not the equipment.

    -the ammo/load is one I developed a little while ago and has served me well (300gr Hornady BTSP over 75gr W760 with a Federal 215 primer). before you suggest I use a lighter bullet, I have tried without much success. the only lighter bullet load my rifle has liked was the 225gr Hornady spire point over 71gr of H4895 but the velocity is much too high for this bullet to hold together on game.

    as I said I don't really have an excuse, I just did terrible. hopefully I will do better when I go back Saturday!

    -matt
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    We all have shitty days at the range.
    No excuses, just wondering why.

    Were the sticks on soft ground or a hard surface?
     
  10. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    It takes focus and concentration. Most of it should be subconsious. It's better to learn with a smaller caliber.
     
  11. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    brickburn, I was using a Primos trigger stick (tripod) on concrete. the tripod does have trouble on concrete and will often fall over due to the feet being designed for dirt. Ive learned how to keep the tripod steady on concrete by holding it as still as possible at all times. sadly there is no place close where I can practice with the tripod on dirt.

    two years ago I used a monopod to shoot a deer with a Pennsylvania long rifle, I can try that again next weekend. but the monopod isn't the greatest for guns that aren't muzzle heavy (works great with muzzle loaders!).

    -matt
     
  12. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Might want to try using a piece of outdoor carpet/matting to help steady up the tripod. I found a few at the local hardware store that work perfect as a grass substitute on concrete. Fighting to keep you tripod from slipping out can't be helping your groups.


    For $10 it sure helps when using bipods/tripods, elbows etc.... on hard range shooting surfaces.

    John
     
  13. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    ill check it out, thanks!

    -matt
     
  14. CAustin

    CAustin AH Fanatic

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    Had some bad days like this myself. Go again! Practice off the sticks is essential
     
  15. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    matt,
    It could be the extra effort and concentration on steadying the sticks made it harder to focus on keeping the rifle steady?
    Or you were just a bit shakey, it happens from time to time.
    Don't stress too much or count out shooting from sticks, give it another go this weekend and see how things pan out.
    I had a set of sticks I made, they bounced terribly off concrete or rocks so I chucked them out, I wonder if yours are also bouncing a bit and contributing to being less accurate?
     
  16. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That sounds like you are expending muscle energy to stabilize the tool that is supposed to be stabilizing you.
    I certainly can't see you being relaxed during the shot.

    Without that soft ground anchoring and cushioning those sticks I'd bet they work like a spring exaggerating movements to.

    Hope the rug trick works. Sounds like a great idea.
     
  17. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    If you get the ones with the rubber backing and as shaggy top as possible I have found they work the best. You'll know the ones when you see them. As long as there is something for those stick feet to grab. Also if you get a mat that is long enough you can put one or both of your feet on it and it won't slip on the concrete either.

    I always keep three rolled up in the truck for the missus, daughter and myself. Also they work great in a pinch for keeping mud off the floors and dog hair off the seats.
     
  18. colorado

    colorado AH Veteran

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    My advice is go hunting! Practice at home, dry firing a lot. Get close, have fun. Don't worry about the range, we all have bad days. I shot my brown bear at 13 yards off hand. It's a lot more exciting that way!
     
  19. buckcurtin

    buckcurtin AH Senior Member

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    I shoot lousy off sticks at the range with all my rifles including my 375H&H and 404 Jeffrey. In the bush it is a totally different experience. Shoot much better probably because I am totally focused on the animal and never think about the recoil. Difference is night and day!
     
  20. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Never ever ever shoot 6 power off sticks - too much exaggerated movement. Switch to 3x and I'll bet you a bottle of Talisker 15 that you halve your groups.
     
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