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 Long Range Hunting & Shooting

Why a high shoulder shot?

#22
03-09-2008, 08:45 AM
 Silver Member Join Date: Jan 2008 Location: Missouri Posts: 175
Quote:
 about 372 inches of drop at a 1000 yards with a 200 yard zero. Its velocity at that range is about 1150 fps. If you do the math you will find that there is only about .124 inches of fall per foot of lateral movement in 3000 feet
At the risk of splitting hairs, your math presumes a linear relationship between bullet drop and distance. Bullets don't drop in a straight line with a constant slope. If I recall my physics homework in trajectory correctly:confused:, they follow a parabola. The amount of drop between 800 and 900 hards will be more than the amount of drop between 200 and 300 yards.
#23
03-09-2008, 08:57 AM
 Silver Member Join Date: Feb 2008 Location: South Dakota Posts: 128
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Natty Bumpo At the risk of splitting hairs, your math presumes a linear relationship between bullet drop and distance. Bullets don't drop in a straight line with a constant slope. If I recall my physics homework in trajectory correctly:confused:, they follow a parabola. The amount of drop between 800 and 900 hards will be more than the amount of drop between 200 and 300 yards.

That's what I thought. I was thinking that a high shoulder shot would take advantage of this because the bullet would enter the animal high on the shoulder and then, continuing on the same path, push diagonally down through the heart and lungs of the animal.

Guess I'll just have to work towards getting set up to find out for myself.
#24
03-09-2008, 10:50 AM
 Platinum Member Join Date: Jan 2008 Location: West Central Idaho Posts: 1,218
Natty Bumpo-ebd10

You are absolutely right. As the bullet slows down the fall increases per foot of travel. Buffalobobs explanation is more accurate than mine as it takes into account the bullet slowing down. I was just trying to show that any given bullet that still had enough energy to take an animal (deer elk) had very little difference between the entrance and the exit. Sorry if I confused anyone.
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#25
03-09-2008, 01:40 PM
Last season I was involved in a management cull where a large number of does had to be killed to meet some Quality Deer Management goals. All the meat went to charity, there was a great bunch of volunteers handling the skinning and meat prep. I shot from pop-up ground blinds, ranges from 60 yards out to 3-400 yards. Some shots were longer. I waited for the animal to assume the same position for each shot, full broadside. Cartridge was .308 Win with 150 AMAX bullets. Every deer died identically. At the shot and as I came out of recoil I saw a flash of white belly hair in the scope picture. Every deer went down in its tracks, all lying on the side the bullet exited. There was no kicking or nervous reactions, the deer simply went down on their side and that was it. Another guy was doing the same shot, he had identical results. The guides on the property were very impressed because they did not have to track one of our critters. I shot close to twenty deer, my friend well over double that all with the same result. This is not practical in a hunting scenario but it was interesting that the animals died so uniformly. I also shot a few with a .260 Rem LR rifle with 142 Matchkings and had identical results out at 3-400 yards. My friend made kills out to 725 or so with the same results with that .260, it was a killing machine. I am adding this to the topic because we had extremely good results with the high shoulder shot location. Obviously we were taking out the nervous system with uniformity. I cannot discuss meat loss because I did not spend time at the meat handling facility, we were there to run up the kill numbers. Our group did over one hundred deer in fairly short time and the high shoulder shot guys made the guide's recovery job much easier.
#26
03-09-2008, 01:42 PM
 Platinum Member Join Date: Jun 2001 Location: Potomac River Posts: 5,070
Quote:
 That's what I thought. I was thinking that a high shoulder shot would take advantage of this because the bullet would enter the animal high on the shoulder and then, continuing on the same path, push diagonally down through the heart and lungs of the animal.
The next time you kill an animal you might want to look and see if the heart is one tenth of an inch below the spine. To accomplish what you are talking about the bullet would be dropping nearly 12 inches in twelve inches of travel. That would be 3600 inches per hundred yards. Long range hunting is about a lot of math and a lot of field verification. There are numerous free ballistics programs that you can use to check your opinions.

Quote:
 At the risk of splitting hairs, your math presumes a linear relationship between bullet drop and distance. Bullets don't drop in a straight line with a constant slope. If I recall my physics homework in trajectory correctly, they follow a parabola. The amount of drop between 800 and 900 hards will be more than the amount of drop between 200 and 300 yards.
The approximation I posted demonstrated that the average rate of drop between 1000 yards and 1100 yards for the cartridge I shoot and which I have personally field verified to be correct is close to one tenth of an inch per foot. I have also used it to make a high shoulder shot at about that distance and it didn't go through the heart. It is impossible to go high shoulder and hit the heart with out a deflection occurring or shooting down from a cliff or up a cliff.

The biology of a deer or elk is fairly well known and the heart is not up into the top of the chest cavity. Here are a series of pictures of deer and elk biology

And for the people who wish to see the central nervous system of a quadruped here is one.

And as far as where to aim, I pretty much agree with phorwath, on the difficult shots you need to use all the margin of error available to you.
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#27
03-09-2008, 02:24 PM
 Silver Member Join Date: Jul 2007 Location: Maryland Posts: 479
The high shoulder is a quick kill it shocks the system and results in DRT. I dont know if I buy into the whole "kill zone" or "dead zone" for the arc of the bullet path. I've looked at many cull dear / crop damage shot at 5-700 yards and there isn't any real sign of tthe exit hole being lower. This theory may come into play at distances alot further than I am comfortable on game.
Bottom line for me is high shoulder at long range is a safer shot. Shot goes high dead deer hit in the spine, shot goes even higher clean miss no wounded animal. Shot goes low = lungs even lower shot = low lung and heart.

Aiming for traditional behind shoulder shot goes high you're OK shot goes low it could be a 3 leg deer or guts hanging out NOT FOR ME

I guess I'm not a traditional hunter and neither is LRH so I stick with the high shoulder at long range unless bow hunting
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#28
03-09-2008, 03:28 PM
 Platinum Member Join Date: Apr 2005 Location: Alaska Posts: 4,618
Bubbalobob;
Glad you set the record straight that the shoulder shot offers no advantage based on the logic that with a high shoulder shot the bullet will still drop down into the heart and take it out too. The heart is located at the very front bottom of the brisket - at least I've never located one in any other location on the game I've gutted. Except one mid-sized black bear. His heart was missing, but that heart shot was taken from about 70 yds with a good stable rest and I could afford to target the heart. 338 WinM.

Ian M;
I don't feel like there are hard fast rules that absolutely predict an animal's immediate response to the hit because there are so many different caliber, bullet speed, bullet construction, bullet performance, and animal size combinations to work with that it would be difficult to predict with certainty an animal's immediate response to the hit. When I read your post and you described the closer ranges the deer were being killed at, my initial response was that the bullets you were using typically expand dramatically and quickly and on a deer-sized animal; the results are often immediate lights out - sometimes even with a non-CNS lung shot. I've seen deer-sized game drop like lightning when shot through the lungs with high speed frangible type bullets, and have read that a .220 Swift will commonly produce such results when hit through the ribs. Even with my 1000 plus pound brown bear, a simple lung shot was instant lights out. Enough velocity combined with sufficient bullet penetration and expansion can evidently overwhelm the CNS on even a 1000 +lb bear with a simple broadside lung shot. That's something I didn't expect, but observed with my own two eyes.

But then you described some longer 700 yard shots with the same instant kill results on these deer. If your shoulder shots were also spine shots then you pulled off some admirable shooting at those longer ranges, and those kind of results on deer-sized animals with those shot placements are very plausible.

As to meat damage, the higher the velocity of the bullet the greater the difference in the increased meat loss between a shoulder shot animal and a double-lunged animal shot through the ribs. To the point that if you center the shoulders on a deer-sized animal on a broadside shot with a 300 Win Mag caliber-type round anywhere inside 300 yds, 1/2 and even more of both shoulders will be inedible due to bloodshot bullet damage. The monolithic copper bullets are a little better at reducing meat damage on the closer shots than are the lead jacketed expanding bullets. First they don't expand as violently and second they don't send lead and jacket shards out into the meat surrounding the wound channel. I suspect you've shot and cleaned enough game to accept this as a 95% plus fact. Even if you've always targeted the shoulders, you've probably struck a few animals through the lungs aft of the shoulders.
With hyper velocity, even a through-the-ribs lung shot can create an impressive amount of bloodshot meat on the entry side of the ribs. When I'm taking closer range shots on large game with high retained bullet velocity, I very deliberately avoid the front shoulders. I just don't see the sense in wasting the front shoulder and backstrap meat when the lung shot will kill the animal just as surely and do so with relatively minimal meat loss on the ribs. But it is true that the through-the-rib double-lunged shot animals are more likely to travel 50 yds before expiring, and if 50-100 yards means the animal might jump off a cliff before expiring, then that's a rare case where I would either delay the shot until the animal relocated, or else aim for the high-shoulder spine shot. Did that once on a mountain goat from short range. That billy expired lights out just like your deer did, except he was already bedded. Simply rolled over downslope a couple rolls. I also shot another mountain goat about 100 yards from a deep, steep cliff from which the animal could not have been recovered without technical rock climbing equipment. I was shooting a 338-378 Weatherby and lung shot the animal broadside through the ribs. Now goats have a reputation for being suicidal. Distance was about 220 yards and to reach the cliff the goat would have to travel directly towards me, presenting a head on followup shot. The bullet was moving at sufficient speed that I could see the fur blow outwards from the impact to the side of the chest. The animal almost lost his feet at the shot but, wouldn't you know it, started hobbling toward the cliff. I got ready for a frontal charge-style followup shot but the billy only peg-legged it for about 8 yds before piling up.

Interesting thread. Perhaps some more ultra-experienced forum members will sound in.

Last edited by phorwath; 03-10-2008 at 01:20 PM.

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