Shot placement and reducing damage to the meat

Discussion in 'Shot Placement' started by Sean Reynolds, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. Sean Reynolds

    Sean Reynolds New Member

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    I have a question and I am sure there will be a million opinions for the answer, however it has been on my mind and would appreciate the feedback.
    Having recently shot some Black Wildebeest for a client, I was told the shoulder shots I took damaged quite a bit of the meat.
    Any suggestions on how to reduce the damage to the meat? I use 30.06 180 gr PMP rounds. I was thinking head shots but I believe that ensuring the animal is killed quickly and cleanly is more important than saving meat.......that being said I am sure head shots are not an impossibility?
    Not trying this yet ......will 150 gr bullets make a huge difference.......
    I know head shots are glamorous but I would prefer to leave that to experts.......
  2. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I think the best shot to save meat and ensure a quick kill is a double lung shot. You will only ruin very little meat if you center it in the rib area.
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I have liked the PMP rounds I have used in RSA. Only in .243 though.
    They were quite soft and I imagine they would cause some meat damage.
    As E said though, any shot into the meat you have damage.

    If I were solely meat hunting:
    In the ribs or the neck close to the skull. (crappy meat there anyway).
  4. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    the PMP rounds are pretty soft as Brickburn mentioned, i like them though, never had anything bad happen with them.
    the head shot is the best shot to take if you are shooting for meat. depending on range and ability. you can make a horrible mess if you don't hit them properly though!
    the double lung shot is reliable and gives a whole bunch more room to work with.
    i don't think changing to 150gr ammo will make any difference compared to the 180gr if you hit the shoulder.
  5. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    hi sean welcome to AH, and for meat hunting head or neck as pete and wayne have said.
  6. Ruan Bouwer

    Ruan Bouwer New Member

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    I shot a Zebra a few days ago, a nice heart shot through the chest, it lost almost no meat, though they only make salami's.
  7. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hello Sean Reynolds,

    I did some culling of PG for a safari company in South Africa, using their .30-06 and 220 grain Hornady RNSP.
    All my initial shots were head shots to save meat and skin.
    But, more than once I had to sort out wounded ones that one of the other shooters failed to brain well with his .222 Sako.
    Most of what he shot died instantly but now and then one would run off with a not so fatal head wound from the 50 grain bullet.
    When the wounded animal was located and if I was the shooter who got a clear shot first, I would sometimes choose to hit the shoulder or brisket, instead of waiting for it to stop moving it's head.
    The 220 gr round nose soft, leaving the muzzle at 2400 fps was very easy on the eating meat and when it exited (sometimes it did not) it would only leave a small hole, presumably because it had shed most of its velocity in the target.
    That same caliber and bullet has been very popular here in Alaska as well and partly because many of us are meat hunters, not wanting to destroy any more of it than necessary.

    On another note, personally I think a scoped 6.5x55 with 160 grain bullet would be a great culling rifle.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
  8. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I don't know why more cullers and meat hunters in Africa don't shoot base of the neck. If you know the anatomy and can visualize target, the point where the neck vertebra join the shoulder is a pretty big target - certainly bigger than the brain. Animals so hit drop to the shot with minimal meat damage.
  9. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hi Red Leg,

    When I was invited to go culling, I was told that I must shoot for the brain, (unless a wounded animal appears about to run off).
    They said it was to save all the meat possible (the implication of "all the meat possible" was neck included no doubt).
    I was also briefed prior to the shooting that; the skins are worth less money with bullet holes in them, (likewise, I presume they meant; including the skin on the neck).

    In my limited experiences, some large African herbivores have difficult to locate neck bones, (except right where they join the base of the skull), especially black wildebeest and somewhat also blue wildebeest (not that black wildebeest need culling very often compared to more prolific PG species, including their blue cousins).
    This is especially tedious when the animals are partially obscured by brush but, sometimes you can get a fairly clear view of their head.

    Kind Regards,
    Velo Dog.
  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    You're probably right Velo. That said, every PG animal that I have deliberately shot in the base of the neck was dead in his tracks. I suppose there were a few ounces of wasted meat, but also a heck of lot less drama than a jaw shot animal from a missed brain shot. That said, host's rules always apply and you are right, that often the head is the only target.
  11. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Red Leg,

    I know you are correct on the effectiveness of that low neck shot.

    Not sure I agree with "a few ounces" of wasted meat but nonetheless, I totally agree with you on the instant effectiveness of severing the neck bone, be it at the base of it or otherwise.

    Not even Godzilla could stay on his feet with his neck vertebrae severed, low, high or in the middle.

    Regarding a jaw-shot animal, I am grateful that I have not had to see that.

    Regards,
    Velo Dog.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  12. Primo661

    Primo661 AH Member

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    The same can be said of every animal I have deliberately shot in the brain. All dead before the bullet exited the skull. The point with any shot is that you must aim at the right place and hit it. A head shot is no good because the head is a big place and most places you could hit wont be an outright kill. You must make the distinction between a brain shot and a head shot in an even bigger way than we distinguish between a body shot and a heart shot or a lung shot or a double lung. Aim small, miss small. You hit any vital point and that animal will die.

    You need to ask yourself if it is within your capability. As the saying goes 'Most people practice until they can get it right, professionals practice until they don't get it wrong.' If you want to take brain shots, you need to make sure you are in the second group. You need to be the type of person who can do it every time and do it right. One mistake can mean an animal that takes a week or more to die. You don't want to be that guy. I have seen it, and the memory of Joe Soap who botched the shot is not soon forgotten.

    To answer the original poster, figure out what you are capable of as a hunter. Merely shooting the groups you need on the range is not enough though. If you can do a spine shot or brain shot, go for it. If you can't a very good second place is front on into the center of the chest or side on double lung through the ribs. Just remember, some meat damage is better than losing an entire animal if it is wounded!
  13. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Primo661,

    Velocity and power are usually fine but accuracy is usually final.

    Regards,
    Velo Dog.
  14. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Brain and high neck shots are the shots that results in minimum meat damage, but they are small targets and attempts on the brain can quickly result in very bad wounds with lots of suffering to the animal.
    You need to be a very good and experienced shot to attempt these kinds of shots in my opinion.

    The best shot for most to save meat, is just behind the shoulder with a double lung hit.
    To get less meat damage, you better use a heavier and slower bullet than your 180 grains instead of using a lighter one.
    A 220 grain soft point for your 30-06 is a good choice.
  15. Mack

    Mack AH Member

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    I hit a black wildebeest in the lungs and had to chase thru bush for 2 hours to reach him, - then lung tissue would cover the blood trail and we have to make circles to find little drops of blood, when he would jump thru holes then wound would gush up again - forget lung shots huh, unless you wanna chase em ! heat shots 1/3 of the body up the front leg rear area is best

    BUt i like that comment of the neck base were it meets the body that pretty large bone area to fro paralysis drop shot !

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