Preferred Shot Placement

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Preferred Shot Placement

We all have different style and preferences when it comes to shot placements. The choice of a certain shot placement may be based on whether trophy hunting, hunting for meat or culling but also animal hunted, positioning of animal, caliber or ammunition used, scope mounted or not, distances, clearance and various other factors...

I know hunters who prefer to shoot on the shoulder in order to break bones, some to aim more for the vitals just behind the shoulder and some who like the neck to drop the animal in their track... All these shot placements get the job done. What is your particular style or preferences when shooting an animal broadside?

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pinotguy

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For most Plains Game, I am definitely a fan of Position #1 on your photos and diagrams. The exceptions would be the smaller antelope - Dik-Dik, Steenbuck, Duiker, etc. To me, this is the safest place for a shot on an animal that offers that sort of presentation. Of course, not every shot opportunity presents itself on an animal in the broadside position. The Oryx I took last year was quartering away at a slight angle. My shot probably ended up hitting him in Position #2 according to your photos. The spinal shots are very dramatic and you get an almost instantaneous result, but I prefer a shot to the vitals. My greatest fear while hunting in Africa is wounding and losing an animal and the spinal/brain shots, while highly effective, offer a lot less margin for error.

(My opinion would definitely change in regards to Dangerous Game.)
 

monish

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Thanks Jerome, very informative, you may use the best of calibers but you need to know your shot placement ideally to bring down a trophy with a kill shot, but with a charging lion or a buff the scenario is different , then its mere shooting to KILL.

Thanks

Monish
 

BangFlop

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I will most often aim half way between spot #1 and #3 on your picture when an animal is broadside - that way I have the greatest margin of error. For critters in the thick stuff that I don't want to track, I try and get as close as I can and then go for spot #3 to break them down so they don't travel as far. ;)
 

NUys

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I will most often aim half way between spot #1 and #3 on your picture when an animal is broadside - that way I have the greatest margin of error. For critters in the thick stuff that I don't want to track, I try and get as close as I can and then go for spot #3 to break them down so they don't travel as far. ;)

Hi Bang Flop.

I tend to agree with you. I will just go a bit lower on African game. I tell my clients to shoot between 1 and 2 on a broadside shot like this.

My feeling is, shoot to kill the animal as quick as possable and not to save meat or taking risks going for the brain or spine.
 

BryceM

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I don't have any experience in Africa yet, but my views about shot placement for North American game have changed over the past year or two, mostly a result of changing bullets.

This is all based on a very limitted series, but I've always favored position number 1, behind the shoulder, for a broadside shot. The Nosler Partitions and Accubonds that I used for many years typcially made about a grapefruit-sized exit hole on medium-sized game. Any hit in the back, shoulder, or hindquarters would destroy a tremendous quantity of meat. Animals died pretty quick, but the butchering job was always a little messy.

I switched to a more solid bullet (Barnes TSX) and the difference is dramatic. I now prefer a through-shoulder shot (position number 2). Meat destruction is actually pretty limitted, even with a direct hit on bone. The explosive hamburger effect isn't there anymore, the critters don't go more than a few steps, and you don't have 200 or 400 yards of tracking ahead of you with a single or double lung shot.

Maybe I'll be singing a different tune after my Namibia hunt this fall. We'll see........
 

mikeh416Rigby

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I imagine a volley ball between centered between the shoulders, then make my hold to hit the center of the ball. With a good, premium bullet just aim for the center of the ball from any angle.
 

petrusg

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Slightly above 1 - double lung, guaranteed shot and trophy preservation for a shoulder mount.
 

Bruce Fletcher

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Like many have said, I have no African experience but for deer and Elk both the #1 area is what I prefer. For Bear it depends on the angle of the animal but I like to try and hit the boiler room and break one or both shoulders for a first shot. All of my hunting has been with a 30-06. 150 grain on deer and 180 grain on Elk and Black Bear. I have some new loads for 180 grain Nosler partitions that will hit 2800 fps that work really well on bigger animals.
 

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Slightly above 1 - double lung, guaranteed shot and trophy preservation for a shoulder mount.

Im with you , adriaan......
Less meat damage ,too
 

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Hello one and all,

For those rare occasions that an animal is thoughtful enough to stand broadside for me, the general area of placements #1 and 2 has always worked fast and sure for me.

However, it is an important factor in the equation that I never shoot large animals with a small caliber.

To rip-off Robert Ruark .. "I always use enough gun."

In furtherance of that notion, my idea of a minimum caliber for eland would be a .33 bore / 250 gr bullet (.318 Westley Richards or .338-06).

I prefer heavy for caliber round nose or flat nose bullets at moderate velocity for most Africa hunting conditions that I have experienced.

However for wide open country, my idea of one of several decent minimum calibers would be the .300 H&H / 180 gr premium bullet (unless eland were about .. then back to the .33 caliber or more).

This is not the Gospel for all the world but, it is my personal guideline to never having lost an animal in 4 safaris to Africa and only a couple animals requiring a 2nd shot (wildebeest and buffalo both were probably near death from the first shot but not sure so, I shot them each a 2nd time.)

Perhaps there has been another African animal that did not quit from the first shot but I cannot think of same at this moment.

A largish/heavy/blunt bullet, through the millworks seems to be my big medicine plus, it is very easy on small critters meat and skins.

Now I must stop typing and go take some Geratol (Gin works better though).

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 

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Jerome, with a bow,how much room for error do you have on the #1 shot ?( not hitting the leg bone. )can you shoot a gemsbok right in the crease of the shoulder broadside with a bow ? Thanks Forrest
 

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Hello one and all,

For those rare occasions that an animal is thoughtful enough to stand broadside for me, the general area of placements #1 and 2 has always worked fast and sure for me.

However, it is an important factor in the equation that I never shoot large animals with a small caliber.

To rip-off Robert Ruark .. "I always use enough gun."

In furtherance of that notion, my idea of a minimum caliber for eland would be a .33 bore / 250 gr bullet (.318 Westley Richards or .338-06).

I prefer heavy for caliber round nose or flat nose bullets at moderate velocity for most Africa hunting conditions that I have experienced.

However for wide open country, my idea of one of several decent minimum calibers would be the .300 H&H / 180 gr premium bullet (unless eland were about .. then back to the .33 caliber or more).

This is not the Gospel for all the world but, it is my personal guideline to never having lost an animal in 4 safaris to Africa and only a couple animals requiring a 2nd shot (wildebeest and buffalo both were probably near death from the first shot but not sure so, I shot them each a 2nd time.)

Perhaps there has been another African animal that did not quit from the first shot but I cannot think of same at this moment.

A largish/heavy/blunt bullet, through the millworks seems to be my big medicine plus, it is very easy on small critters meat and skins.

Now I must stop typing and go take some Geratol (Gin works better though).

Cheers,
Velo Dog.

Soul-Searching nearly complete ... I did have to also shoot a gemsbok again after a long follow up, during my very first Safari, as well as the first zebra I ever shot, due to poor bullet placement on my first shot for each (the good old .300 H&H / 180 gr Nosler Partition otherwise did it's bit well, but I botched my part on those two animals specifically).
Had I put the first shot for each into placement #1 /#2, both animals would have been in the salt right away.
But my statement remains that my formula (over 100 years now it's been the standard for African Safari rifles, until all these hyper-velocity calibers of late suddenly hit the "advertising prime time")
 

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To quote my PH, Eric Daniel, front third lower third ... I would chose 1 on this broadside presentation.
 

Paolo Mauritania

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Jerome, with a bow,how much room for error do you have on the #1 shot ?( not hitting the leg bone. )can you shoot a gemsbok right in the crease of the shoulder broadside with a bow ? Thanks Forrest
Kathy, on Oryx my personal shot strategy with the LB is based on the following considerations: here in Mauritania there is no much thicket to approach them undetected, they are however not that spooky as predators are far and between (hunters included), but I don't know in reserves and if you move slowly and pause frequently you can manage to get withing the 20 meters range (they do a move around a lot when they get a bit inquisitive) , it takes long time and is better here to roam around the few water holes or where a bit of vegetation is preferably early in the morning, they like dewy grass. When they fly is it more like a horse gallop than a deer or gazelle jump, so they don't lower much. Most of the shots will not be straight broadside but quartering away if you hunt in limited cover. Early morning (when I'm well rested) I aim just above 1, if I get a bit tired I tend to flinch it slightly to the right, I'll move slightly to the left at the same elevation. I always go for a double lung shot. I would say that in between 15 and 20 meters you might have about 7-8" to play with which is manageable with a LB and even more with a compound (although I'm no expert in compound). The difference is with the LB I can shoot from kneeling and with the bow well canted which reduces my visual print, I also use an old British desert camo shirt that makes me slightly less detectable if I move very slow. The groups here are small, and they get more wary when they have calves around, but again if you know how to stoke (sometimes I crawl on my knees, but that's just me) it is going to be a very rewarding experience.
PS: they are tough skinned you need a good penetration, I wouldn't more than 2 blades and at least a 65-70# bow, if you want to recover it within a reasonable time and intact.
 
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Bert the Turtle

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If you drew a line between 1 and 3 then drew a line from 2 to such that it intersected the first line at a perpendicular, I would aim where the lines intersect.

I like to give myself the biggest margin of error. Point of aim would take the major vessels off the heart, high gets lungs, high left gets shoulder/spine, high right is lungs, low gets heart, and low forward gets heart and/or lungs, as does low rearward.
 

postoak

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Its seems "low shoulder" is recommended more in Africa whereas behind the shoulder is the American recommendation -- either 1/2 way up or 1/3 way up. I do think hitting low shoulder is a risky shot; you can miss the animal completely if you send the bullet low, and if you are really off forward you can just hit the brisket. If you aim middle of the shoulder, there is no bone there to break and I've been told by people with a great deal of experience that an animal will not drop as quickly with a shot through the shoulder, with no bone broken, as it will with a behind the shoulder double-lung shot.
 

James Cook

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#1 position or "in the crease" was recommended by our PH and very effective on our hunts - animals fell were from where shot to 100 yards max.
 

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