Shooting accuracy

Speedster

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I have been practicing my shooting in preparation for a hunt in SA next year. I wanted to practice so I bought a 30-06 and plan on taking it with me. I have shot over 150 rounds so far practicing. I don't reload and will be using factory loads so I understand I am losing some accuracy right from the start. I have been shooting off of sticks, keeping both eyes open, wrapping the sling around for extra stability, working on not flinching (I bought a Limb Saver pad and it made a HUGE difference in felt recoil), trigger finger placement, etc. I have improved but quite frankly I would be very uneasy about any shot over 150 yards. I have been reading lots of the hunting reports and it is not unusual in them to see guys taking 250-300 yard shots. I will be hunting in the Limpopo region the first 10 days of May so my guess is there will still be a decent amount of vegetation so it might not be that big of a deal. I have been using a deer sized target and can hit the lung, heart area consistently but am far from "driving tacks." As some background I live in Indiana where rifles for deer are not allowed so I have never practiced taking long range shots. I am going to talk to my PH and explain that I would like to spot and stalk to try and get as close as possible. I walk a lot on my job so I am in pretty good shape for my age. My question to all is what would you feel as a" comfortable" grouping at 100 yards? I feel pretty inadequate reading many of the reports and some of the shots that were taken. I definitely do not want to miss or worse wound and lose an animal so I will keep hitting the range. Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

tarbe

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Limpopo in May and as you said, shots should tend to be on the shorter side.

Many of the guys here who are shooting game at 250+ yards have been doing this for many years...so please, don't compare yourself to them if you are just getting into the rifle shooting game.

Keep practicing and you will see your groups shrink.

I would spend some time shooting off sand bags on the bench with different brands of factory ammo with premium bullets (Barnes X, Swift A-Frame or Nosler Partition to name 3 common brands) to see what ammo your rifle shoots the most accurately.

Once you are comfortable that you've found an ammo your rifle likes, resume your practice from field positions. You can even cheat and practice with cheaper ammo....but you should know how well your rifle shoots that ammo so you can gauge your own progress.

500 rounds of premium ammo will cost about the same as one blown Zebra trophy fee...so cheaping out on practicing could be false economy!

Good luck!


Tim
 

Shootist43

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The kill zone on a deer is about 8" in diameter. Similar to what you will find on similar sized animals in Africa. Being able to keep all of your shots in a 4" circle at 100 yds. should allow you to make clean kills out to 200 yards. You might be mildly surprised to find out that with a little practice you can keep your 100 yd. shots in a 2" group thereby extending your comfortable hunting distances.
 

tarbe

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Second most important thing after practice is training yourself to not let anyone pressure you into taking shots you are not comfortable with.

Hopefully with practice your comfort level will increase. Certainly, after you have an animal or two down in Africa you will feel relief!

But never forget the words of that great philosopher, (Dirty) Harry Callahan: "A man's gotta know his limitations".
 

BRICKBURN

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As Tarbe said, don’t compare shooting results from others.

You just got good advice on some preparation.

In the end, of you are not comfortable get closer. Don’t shoot unless you are comfortable. It’s your hunt.
Have fun
 

Adrian

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Don't get hung up on it and make yourself doubt your abilities or you will lose confidence.
As long as you can hit a clay pigeon sized target at 100m you will be fine.
Shooting is a lot about confidence so don't waste time or rounds trying something you are not having good results on.
Stick to what you are good at and keep it simple.
I had never taken a shot at more than 100m before I went to Africa.
On my first morning I had a shot at the Kudu in my profile photo.
It was approx 280m.
I knew I could hit the target at 100m so I held a little high and shot it.
My PH said to put another shot into it because it didn't go down straight away.
When we got up to it, both shots had landed within two inches of each other.
I also took a Hartebeest at more than 300m.
The more you think about it and the more you worry about it, the more you will miss.
Keep hitting the target at 100m, know your bullet drop at 200m and 300m and relax.
Enjoy it!
 

Divernhunter

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Just tell the PH you need to get close.
Just because others have taken long shots does not mean you need to. With my PH it has become a bit of a game to see just how long of a shot I can make the 2 times I was in Africa. But this was only after he saw just how well I shot at closer ranges. If I did not think I could make the shot I would tell him.
If you worry and lose confidence your shooting will not be so good. Relax and enjoy the shooting/hunt. I will predict that you will do fine. We all started somewhere and nobody was a crack shot to start with.
 

Spooksar

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My first African hunt was I the Limpopo in April 2012 I was lucky to see an animal at 75 yards, with the brush in full leaves mist shots where 35-50 yards.
 

Upton O. Good

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First, well done on preparing for your shooting, your efforts will pay off. Suggestion, get some Africa game photographic targets and start picturing the animals as your targets. It really makes a difference since I never did see any plains game with black bullseyes on their sides or chests. It’ll also make target shooting more fun and really increase your anticipation!

Also, my experience is most PH’s want hunters to hit animals square on their shoulders in order to break them down. I grew up shooting deer behind the shoulder and adjusting the sight picture was a challenge.

My last suggestion, it is vital that you drop your game on the spot, if the animal doesn’t drop DRT, keep putting bullets into it. My hesitation to do this cost me almost $1000 for a wildebeest I lost which I shot through the chest but ran off, me waiting for it to drop and not firing follow up shots. Practice follow up shots off the sticks at the range. . Don’t worry about ruining the meat, that isn’t your problem.

Aim small, hit small. Looking forward to your trip report.
 

Mekaniks

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Standard clay pigeons work well. Hang them on a target and if you break them consistently you are good to go.
 

CLICKBANGBANG

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Standard clay pigeons work well. Hang them on a target and if you break them consistently you are good to go.

I'd add to this thought. Go to a dollar store or Walmart and get some bright colored party paper plates. I like the bright pink. Also easy to find in the crosshairs, and much cheaper than premium shooting targets. Most small plates are 7-8 inches in diameter. If you hit it at all anywhere on the plate, that should be a one shot kill on most average sized game (when shot placed on the animal is correct). Put plates out and once you figure out your trajectory, I'm betting you're fine out to 300. You might be aiming at the top edge of the plate or over at further distance depending on your sight in distance. And just stay off the bench for your practice. Then study your shot placement charts.

Good luck on your hunt!
 

mikeinarkansas

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You didn’t mention your trigger but that can make a huge difference in shooting. A good trigger with a crisp 3 pound pull can sure improve your shooting. You’ve had lots of good advice here already. I shot a 180 grain Barnes ttsx in my 3006. Sight in 2 inches high and that’s dead on at 200. 8 inches low at 300. So out to 250 it makes for not much guesswork. Practice all you can and enjoy the hunt!
 

Eric Anderson

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I don’t know what rifle you are using, but practice with a cold bore. My best, and favorite rifle walks shots up until it gets hot then settles back in to a nice group. To combat this when practicing, I run a wet, then dry patch down the barrel after each shot at the range. That way the group stays where it is going to be for the first one or two shots.

Your rifle may vary, but most hunting rifles shoot differently cold than hot. So take your time practicing.

In all honesty, if you only have 150 rounds through any rifle, then your biggest gains in accuracy will be in improving yourself, not handloading. Handloading turns 1” groups into half inch groups. Improving yourself gets those 6” groups down into 1-2” groups.

You should be dry firing 10x for every live round, either get some snap caps, or be poor and just use save your spent shells and use those.

Fast is smooth, and smooth is fast. Practice going from a high alert position to pulling the trigger in under 2 seconds. That sounds impossibly fast, but with practice it isn’t. This is an excellent way to wear out some snap caps. Just practice bring the rifle to bear in one smooth motion. Wear your hunting shirt when doing this. Don’t worry about speed at first, just get the mechanics down pat.
You want to develope the muscle memory of bringing your rifle on target, while disengaging the safety with the correct eye relief ect in one smooth motion. Hang a dot on the wall and practice unti you can bring your rifles crosshairs on, or very close to that dot with your eyes closed.
Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you don’t get it wrong.

Like above posters have said, the brush might stil be thick that time of year, you are much more likely to get present a quick shot at close range than a shot you have 45 seconds to set up at long range.
 

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I too have been practicing for our up coming safari that said I am much more familiar with my rifle and have been shooting in hunting and from a bench for nearly30 years. Many years I will shoot 500+ rounds a year. Game shots from 50-300 are not uncommon for me, I shoot primarily prone if I can at longer distances off of sitting bipod shooting sticks if I can not get into a prone position and am very comfortable with both of these styles.

What I had not done was shot from the traditional three legged standing tripod shooting sticks which are so common in Africa. So what I have focused on this summer was shooting off of them. We set up an 8” gong and walked shooting from various ranges and elevations some up, some down, some on plane. All shots from 100-200 yds making sure I am confident and can make that shot every time. I did not worry about shooting groups from the sticks but shot more for “kill zone”

All that to say get in plenty of range time off of sticks. If I have to stretch a shot past 200 I will be looking for another shooting position.
 

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Not here on this forum perhaps, :whistle: but many stories about 250 yd shots off the sticks are, shall we say, "estimates." If you are comfortable to 150 meters, you will cleanly take whatever you are hunting. Your PH will want to get you as close as he can, and will appreciate you being willing to do the same.

Oh yes, and I only shoot factory loads these days and all my favorite scoped hunting rifles easily manage at least MOA with their favorite loads - most a half MOA.
 

bassasdaindia

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Limpopo is generally thicker and more dense vegetation, just practise as much as possible of the sticks and you will be 100%
 

IdaRam

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You are doing all the right things. Starting early, practicing, asking questions, acknowledging your personal limitations. We all have them and everyone’s are different. You are going to be just fine! Well done so far.
The advice already given is solid. If you are not comfortable and confident with the shot presented, don’t squeeze the trigger. As a client you have a few jobs :) First and foremost, safety! Next, putting the first bullet in the right spot. Part of your PH’s job is to assist you in getting within your self imposed limits of shooting distance. That is the fun part! I would much rather blow a few stalks and have the thrill of trying to get in close, than attempt a shot I know is too far for my abilities.
Go and have the time of your life. I believe you will do well (y) And also remember, errant shots do happen to the best of us. We cannot control every variable. But we must control the ones we can.
 

Von S.

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Speedster,

Many guys here who have collectively hit on all the high points.

I assume that have benchrested that firearm and have proven that your weapon is highly accurate. If so, don't shoot of the bench anymore as it is a waste of time and ammo.

When a fella is learning how to shoot my suggestion is that he starts in close and does not proceed further out until he has mastered close in first.

25 yards and 3 six inch paper plates at the height of the ground that your game's vitals are at. Keep your scope a lowest power incase you have to make a which close in shot, you have time to jack up the power if you see game far out.

OK, so at 25 yards take on shot at each paper plate. Take your time. When you get three hits off hand (no sticks) now speed it up. After 3 hits go to 50 yards and do the same thing.

Now at 75 and then at 100.

If at 100 yards you can quickly hit 3 six inch paper plates offhand with your weapon you Sir would be a force to be reckoned with you would be the deadliest creature in Africa.

By the way......the fella who said to shoot the animal more than once is absolutely right. Shovel the coal to it.Don't let it get back up if at all possible.

The best of luck.
 

Buckdog

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All of the advice given so far is very sound. I would add 2 important things 1. find a well season rifle shooter who you know can shoot very very well and have them help you and watch your technique, but be careful who you choose there is lots of talk but many cant shoot for shit!
2. It seems you really dont like recoil (limb saver on a 06) . so when you are not feeling comfortable quit shooting dont push your self only will develop a twitch you are on the right path keep practicing. And please check the indiana rule book rifles are legal on private property!
those of us that are confident at long shots have decades of trigger time and countless thousands of rds so dont worry you will get there
and tell your PH whatever your max range is he doesnt want you wounding critters either.
 

Hogpatrol

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Pretty much all points covered above. Only thing I would add is for cheap practice off of sticks, shoot a .22 rimfire.
 
 

 

 

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