When have you ever been let down by the performance of your rifle on game?

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by Technologist, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. adgunner

    adgunner AH Fanatic

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    There have been a few over the years. A memorable one was while hunting Whitetails in Cold Lake, Alberta in 1995. I was on snowshoes and it was about -20 c when I spotted a nice whitetail buck and swung the Remington 7600 in .270 up and put it to my shoulder only to discover that the crosshairs in the Bushnell scope had let go and I now was the proud owner of a monocular scope! Bushnell however replaced my scope with a new one after a short letter was written describing the incident.
     

  2. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have a BAR in 338 WM that was my Dad's elk rifle. I usually would bring it along on my elk or bear hunts as a back up rifle to my 338 bolt action Ruger. One day I took it to the range and it was shooting something like a 5 inch group, just spraying lead all over the place. I went through all the normal checks, scope seemed secure, barrel looked relatively clean, etc. Tried different ammo, had a friend shoot it, all to no avail. Started researching on the internet and saw a video from Larry Porterfield at Midway, USA, on the importance of the barrel crown to accuracy. I took a look at the end of the barrel of this beautiful safari grade Browning and it looked pretty nicked up. I bought an 11 degree crowning tool (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/68...30-caliber-and-up-4-pilot-set-300-312-330-366 ) and re-crowned the barrel. Easy job, took all of 5 minutes. I never would have thought something that seemed so insignificant would make such a big difference. The gun returned to shooting around 1 inch groups.
     
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  3. thriller

    thriller AH Fanatic

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    The performance issues on game that I have had have been centered on the use of a 223 on hogs. This gun is a little light for the job but by no means too small if the proper bullet is used. I should not the average hog on our place is 100-150lbs mature with many smaller ones around.
    A couple of years ago I ran into a sounder in the upper pasture at my camp and proceeded to shoot the largest sow. First shot I saw dust fly off her shoulder, but she ran. so I continued to shoot until she left the field. I followed her up, and founds her 100 yards into a pine plantation. She was hit 5 times mostly a little back, but the first shot was on the shoulder, through the lungs and she made it about 300 yards before expiring. Non of the bullets had expanded.
    This combined with other incidents has lead me to stop using the 223 and go back to my 308 for all hog related issues.
     

  4. thriller

    thriller AH Fanatic

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    One other incident I had was with "the one shot wonder" This rifle was a beautiful little youth model 7mm-08. (Possibly built on a Monday morning) I can remember if Remington or Winchester made it at this point as I got rid of the damn thing 10 years ago.

    Issues

    1. If screw in front of trigger guard was tightened beyond fingers tight the trigger would not work.
    2. box in the magazine was wedged in where it could not be removed
    3. excess epoxy was in the channel where barrel is in the stock was bubbled up.- the barrel was still free floating though
    4. This is the one I could never fix. Shot one was a dead ringer at 100 yds, it went wherever I was aiming. After shot 1 all subsequent shots until the rifle was allowed to cool for about an hour were not even on the paper.

    I owned this rifle for a few years and killed both deer and hogs with it, but it better only take you one shot, because the lord only knew where the second one was going. This is the only rifle that has truly let me down while hunting.
     

  5. The Bongo

    The Bongo AH Member

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    Very interesting to read. Thanks to all who contributed to a very informative thread.

    FWIW I have had a CZ wear out it's extractors, and a Tikka fail to load as I did not seat the mag correctly. I have had a Browning X-Bolt fail to fire after short cocking the action. I have had failures experimenting with the next 'big thing' in bullets. I have had cheap scopes fail too.

    Sierra Gamekings fired through a familiar actioned gun with a simple and reliable scope have not failed me so far. I should learn to use enough (well maintained) gun and keep it simple...
     

  6. thriller

    thriller AH Fanatic

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    I found another fact out when I was 15. That is never use racks for a rifle on a 4 wheeler. I broke 3 scopes 1 Leopoldo, 1 Burris posilock, and a microdot scope. All three had broken tube springs and are now on different rifles. I attribute this to the vibrations of the machine.

    I end up shooting around 50-60 hogs a year trying to control their numbers and I have seen pretty much every weapon and load used on them I can imagine to kill them. But the failures I see are mostly from father speed bullets under 30 cal size and under 150 grains. I think the hole is just not large enough from these rounds to effectively put down a pig that is 150 lbs or larger. Especially the boars.

    My father shot one with me with a 6mm that I subsequently killed with a 308 while we believe the 6 mm was a squib the bullet failed to penetrate the grissle sheild while the 308 broke his neck.

    These animals always amaze me at how tough they really are, but those are a few of the equipment failures I have had.
     

  7. Rule 303

    Rule 303 AH Fanatic

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    I have had 130grain .270 Core locks fail to open on two occasions. One was on a pig and the other on a Tahr. Pig dropped but need a finisher, Tahr ran about 40mts before dropping. Both animals were heart shot but the projectile just penciled through.
    Not my rifles but several mates. 2 M98's and 2 Ruger 77 double feed or and fail to fully extract. This in my younger days and you could not get me to use the fable claw extractor equipped rifles for over 20 years because of these failures. Not the case now.
     

  8. fsrmg1

    fsrmg1 AH Veteran

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    The most common equipment failures either I've experienced or have witnessed is:
    -Scope mounts not being loctited on and the screws backing off; loose or even lost scope
    -Sling giving way and gun hitting the ground, sliding down the mountain, or taking the deep 6
    -Magazine falling out or floor plate opening and dumping the load of ammo
    -Choke tubers or muzzle breaks working loose and going down range
    -Revolver cylinder pins working out with loss of pin and cylinder
    -Right gun, wrong magazine and/or ammo
    -Trigger set too light and gun goes off prematurely; very dangerous
    -Not familiar with safety or using it incorrectly

    All these things have really tough me a lot about setting up a hunting/defence gun. Every gun I own is stripped, cleaned and loctited. I use and install only the best accessories and mounts. I try and have everything tried and tested before going into the field.

    Practice, practice, practice is the best way to become familiar and work all the bugs out.
     

  9. yidava25

    yidava25 AH Member

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    My father had a Mossberg 12G fail to feed and eject on him big time during a goose hunt.

    As for myself, I've had more than my share of problems while killing animals and I can't think of a single one that I can blame on the gun, the load or the optic.
    It's always been the nut behind the bolt.
     
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  10. ack

    ack AH Enthusiast

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    I had the same problem with core locks..Will not use for deer..They did work great on moose and grizzly in 30/06 but not for lighter skinned...
     

  11. spoonieduck

    spoonieduck AH Veteran

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    Interestingly, I've seen two scope failures. Both were Leupold scopes on 375 H and H rifles. The first failure followed a success. My friend decapitated a guinea fowl with the rifle. The next shot was the next morning, when he was fortunate enough to get a broadside shot at a lion at 75 yards. He shot in front of him 3 feet. Follow-up shots were all over the place but didn't touch the lion. You could hear the broken glass from the lenses clattering around if you shook the rifle. The glass in the scope broke on the guinea fowl shot.

    The next one happened to me, personally. I fired at a bear 150 yds up a hill. The bear rolled down a hill to land close to me. When I picked up my rifle again, the scope glass was shattered.
     

  12. Milan

    Milan AH Enthusiast

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    What scopes exactly were those that failed?
     

  13. Milan

    Milan AH Enthusiast

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    I had front scope base come loose on my target Rem 700 - screws obviously not tightened enough, no lock-tite either. - My fault.

    ZKK 600 firing pin had its tip not completely rounded off, leaving extra metal from machining on it, puncturing the primer. - I did not notice when checking the firearm before use. - My fault.

    I had Vortex Diamondback (?) 4-12 break its cross-hair on a .375 H&H. - Cheap scope on too powerful a rifle. My fault.

    I had Trijicon 1-4 slip in Warne 1st gen rings on a .458 Lott with every shot. - Rings with only 1 top screw for too heavy a scope on too powerful a rifle - My fault.

    I had the rear of those same rings come apart on a 9.3x62 finally finding the bottom screws were too short and stripped in the threads (probably started by the .458). - Should have noticed the screws being too short when mounting. - My fault.

    I had 9.3x62 285gr Norma Oryx bullet completely pass through whitetail (seemed like a lung shot at 220m), hit the ground and log behind the deer. The deer was tracked for 4 hrs and roughly 3 miles in the bush eventually never recovered. Had I waited longer before looking for him (he was laying down after the shot only 5-6 m from where he was shot) maybe he would have never gotten up. But I think he just had small hole through lungs and it plugged itself up. - Wrong bullet/placement/game combination + rushed recovery. - My fault.

    Had 9.3x62 285gr Remington SP punch through a heart (170m) on a whitetail doe, letting her run away 70-100 m into the bush. Luckily found that one but it still managed to jump and wanted to run away. I broke its pelvis, anchoring it and then had to put another shot in her to finish her off. The bullet came apart (only found the jacket) on the pelvis shot (5 m) but did it's job, flipping the deer ass-over-head and leaving it on the ground. - Wrong bullet/placement/game combination. - My fault.

    After these 2 cases I started using softer bullets on whitetails and aiming for some bone and they now seem to die on the spot. PRVI opening on the shoulder at 75m. Bullet exited on the ribs opposite (quartering-to shot) but deer had lungs completely shredded. No meat damage believe it or not.

    I also had .300WM 150gr Hornady GMX hit a hip bone (anchoring shot after initial lung shot but animal still travelling and not being 100% sure of how good the first hit was), close the tip, bend and keep traveling toward spine on a huge Elk cow. Lost quite a bit of meat due to that. - Not sure who to blame, but I did not need to shoot, so - My fault. However, wonder if round-nose bullet or Nosler Partition would not have deflected as much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  14. spoonieduck

    spoonieduck AH Veteran

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    It's been years but both were Leupold scopes. I can't remember precisely which Leupold scopes or whether or not both .375 rifles were mounted with precisely the same Leupold scopes. These rifles belonged to two different individuals one of which was me and the other, my friend so the scopes could have been two different models.

    My friend's scope failure led to another kind of failure. My friend may have been using factory ammunition but I had loaded my own cartridges. Although I don't remember the details, I loaded my .375 for a safe but high velocity. The bullet, I don't want to use the manufacturers name but has 'Grand' somewhere in its title was in the 285 grain range.

    Before the scope incident, I had shot several animals with the…ah…'Grand'. It shot right through a leopard producing a sudden kill. It also dropped a large bushbuck in his tracks--I can't remember if it exited. I killed a zebra but it took a couple of shots and the bullets didn't exit. No major surprise. But I shot a quartered on impala and the bullet exited his rump as small fragments. I shot a 50 lb baboon, killing him instantly, but the heavy bullet didn't exit.

    Now my load was OK because, using the same formula, I loaded some with Hornady solids. I killed a bull elephant with a single side head shot. The bullet struck the middle of the brain and almost exited the skull. I shot two Cape Buffalo bulls. One collapsed instantly with a neck shot. The other required two chest shots but didn't get 80 yards.

    OK, so the Hornady solids performed as advertised but the 'Grands' …… Anyway, my friend's scope was wrecked so I invited him to use my rifle and my reloads [I still hadn't put two and two together]. He got a 100 yd shot at a large male lion. He fired at the point of his shoulder but the lion walked off dragging a foreleg. My friend reckoned he'd made a bad shot and hit him in the foot, so he and the guide both started shooting and bagged the lion after a lot of shots.

    The first 'Grand' hit the cat perfectly but shattered on the shoulder. It shattered into hundreds of pieces but not one fragment entered his chest cavity. Another 'Grand' hit the lion immediately above the eye. This bullet didn't shatter but was distorted after passing through about an inch of frontal bone and was embedded in muscle. It didn't stop the lion.

    My possible explanations: Although there was no evidence of my reloads being over-pressure, the bullet was very fast and the recoil was heavy. 1. the 'Grand' in .375 H and H [this is 35 years ago] may have been designed for lower velocities. 2. the heavy recoil dislocated the scope glass [which doesn't explain my friend's scope failure because he was using factory loads].

    As I think about it, and as I wrote previously, my own Leupold scope shattered when I shot [Nosler Partition] at a bear uphill from me, with a cliff some distance below him. I was on a frozen beach at the foot of the same cliff. The bear rolled down and fell off the cliff. It almost hit me. I can remember it looking bigger and bigger as it fell towards me. Did I tuck and roll to avoid it--an action that could have damaged the scope? I can't remember. I do remember moving fast so that the falling bear didn't hit me. I fired from a big pile of frozen snow, prone, but I can't remember any violent movement on my part [like rolling on my rifle and scope]. But, then again, I was acting automatically which doesn't allow much room for recent or distant memory. I do remember that the bear was wrecked by the fall with large gashes in his hide.

    By the way, in reply to some of the posters who never seem to miss and never wound and lose an animal. I've done a whole lot of hunting. I won't even attempt to enumerate the beasts I've shot and 1. I do miss sometimes and 2. I've even had a few wounded animals escape. Heck, I've even had some wounded prairie dogs 'escape' but not because of rifle, bullet or scope failure.
     
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  15. Milan

    Milan AH Enthusiast

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    @spoonieduck ...Thanks! Very interesting. Especially the shattered glass and the maybe erratic performance of that mysterious "Grand" bullet.
     

  16. BWH

    BWH AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Man.... this is hard! I’ve dropped deer in their tracks with 22-250 & had to chase some with 270. Stuff happens. Good rifle, proper ammo & confident shooter is A #1..... everything else is just chance. Do your work, most of the time everything falls into place.
     
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  17. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    I find that I have failed my rifle/scope/bullet far more often than it has ever failed me.
     
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  18. Rule 303

    Rule 303 AH Fanatic

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    I too fall into this category.
     
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  19. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Had a Minox ZV3 3-9 x 40 scope fail on a 308.
    First I noticed the retaining o-ring on the objective lens coming out, I tried to push it back in but it would not stay put and eventually fell out. Next the retaining screw on the variable control fell out so it was stuck on 9 power. Finally the reticle let go. This was all on the same trip as I only had one scope. When I got back home I contacted the Australian Minox rep and he said that there was No warranty as I was not the original purchaser.
    I will never buy a Minox again ( New or second hand)
     

  20. DG870

    DG870 AH Member

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    Me Too.
     

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