Originally Posted by COBrad
"use as much gun as you can shoot accurately"
This is sound advice. I am not convinced going bigger necessarily means more room for error. With the selection of bullets we have available today, we can have deep penetration, explosive and devastating performance, or something between the extremes to tailor the performance of our load.
How much room for error do we really need anyway? A poor shot with any caliber is going to result in a lost elk. Perhaps something that isn't too punishing can be mastered to a level where one is more likely to make a better shot in the first place.
I would like to hear more talk in these forums about picking good shots than all we hear about planning for poor ones.
I am in full agreement.
In 30 years of guiding deer and antelope hunters (some with virtually no hunting experience at all); Generally speaking, the ones who gave me the least amount of grief were shooting guns that they can handle, and that they can shoot well. As a guide, it was up to me to get them into a steady position at a sure distance. Generally, that was under 300 yds and 200 preferably.
A leg or gut wound on a 70lb antelope with a 300 Ultra Mag is no more deadly than a leg or gut wounded animal shot with a 243.............Seen it, seen it many times. In my experience, most guys that need a guide and are shooting the big guns are more likely to miss or flub the shot than the guys shooting something reasonable and accurate. Statistically, IME; the folks that are using a moderate recoiling gun are placing their shots more accurately.
I remember a couple of antelope hunters from back nearly 20 yrs ago that had the best optics and most expensive rifles money could buy. They were shooting 300 Weatherbys in the most high dollar configuration that Weatherby made at the time. Swarovski Scopes and Binos. Doing everything I could to get them within 300 yds of SCI bucks on public land, getting them into prone positions and talking them through the shots..............you know, "breath relax, take your time.....he's not going anywhere......wait till he's broadside. Breath relax aim and squeeze..........take him when your ready". These guys were probably the worst rifle shots I'd ever guided. Took 2 full days with positions on at least 3 or 4 bucks per day for them to get their bucks down............and about 20 shots for each guy. Granted, this is an extreme example of a real situation, but generally it was the guys shooting 7mm magnums and bigger that missed the most. Rarely had an issue with the fellas using 30-06's, 308's, 243's, 270's or 25-06's.
I believe this stems from the flinch, IMO most of us humans flinch to one small degree or another with anything that causes discomfort to our shoulders or head, and usually it's not even a conscious decision.......it's totally instinctive and involuntary. Unsteady shooting positions and heavy triggers just amplify the errors caused by the flinch and big boomers just amplify the flinch reaction.