High Shoulder Shot vs Behind the Shoulder Boiler Room Shot

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by royinidaho, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    The high shoulder shot drops the animal quicker, from what I've see, but may require more precise bullet placement than the "just behind the shoulder" shot.

    I have always trended towards the heart shot and am wondering if I'm just stuck in my habits for if a change should be considered.

    Animals would be elk and deer not bear.

    Any thoughts?
  2. 41mag

    41mag Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    In my experiences in the field, I have always done my best to get, in my minds eye, the optimum shots on game. To me, whether it be deer, hogs, or whatever, I have found that if I could get a shot through, from one of three angles, the animals generaly hit the ground asap. I concentrate on the shot, similar to the way a boxer throws a punch, I strive to visualize the opposite side of my target. This is a crude diagram, but it shows what I am referring to,
    It doesn't have to be exactly as shown but in the genral areas, so to speak. This generally at least insures that vital life giving organs are disrupted, and the central nervous system receives a pretty good shock as well.

    I have however, seen my dad, put a 150gr Sierra through all three of these directions on the same deer, with no visual indications of a hit at all. The deer was only about 40 yds away and just kept his stride walking across the top of a small hill. After waiting a while, he decided to head to the house figureing his scope "HAD" to be off, he walked over the top of the hill and there laid the deer. Worst part was while dressing it out, he slipped and dang near cut a finger off, which left me to do the cleaning of his messed up deer. I told him that was a little extreme, just to get out of cleaning up a mess like that. Believe me it was a mess.:p

    I realize that other game might be tougher or more reselient to shock or trauma than others. Hogs are a great example. If you shoot a hog behind the shoulder, you just about miss all of the lungs and the heart by a decent margin, and generally get mostly paunch. Their heart and lungs are tucked up in the front part of their body and you just about have to aim for the front point of the shoulder to hit it. This is why they seem to be so tough to the shots taken on them. Check out the below link, it shows their internals up close and personal.
    Hunters Anatomy of a Hog

    Also if your interested in hunting hogs, that is a terrific site for info on various ways to attract and hunt them.

    Maybe sometime, someone out west might be able to put something like hat together showing the vitals on an elk, in relation to the exterior hide and such. I know it might help out a few hunters who have never been able to hunt them yet.

  3. remingtonman_25_06

    remingtonman_25_06 Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2003
    I have always tried to place my bullet in the shoulder. I saw a couple times how fast the animal dropped when shot in the shoulder, and to me, I love seeing that vs. the animal running off 30-75 yards from a behind the shoulder hit. I have killed probly 75% of my animals by hitting them in the shoulder, and they drop as if the earth has been removed from underneath them, or the hand of zeus came down and slapped there butt down. I just dont like tracking for one. The bullet still goes through the vitals with a shoulder shot as well. Some may say that you ruin some meat in the process, but I"ve got the answer for that. Some meat is better then no meat! Of course everyone says I got an answer for everything, damn kids anyways, haha.
  4. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2002
    I like a double lung shot, but if its shoot now or never and I'm certain I can thread the needle so to speak, and put the bullet where it needs to be, more often than not I'll try to break the offside shoulder.
    The DRT shot is exciting but for me it just makes a bigger mess to clean up at home, with a lung shot they bleed out better and I'd rather leave the blood where I field dress the animal.
    the shoulder shot is awesome if your bullet matches your game size but here try a shoulder shot with a well constructed bullet and unless you hit the spine, these lil 120 pound deer still run off, and you have ruined meat.
    Change that bullet type to a light for caliber high velocity round and hit the clavicle (shoulder blade) which is the point of most resistance on deer and average bear (150#) and its a different story. expansion starts immediately and is complete before the bullet gets through. it takes about 5-6" of penetration to get to the vitals on our deer so no exit wound doesn't mean the bullet failed.
    anyway, the deer absorbs every bit of energy, a massive shockwave runs up the deers centrl nervous system to the brain (I can't verify this but read on the net once that DRT deer tested showed the capilaries in the brain ruptured)while back at the POI the shock of the bullet hitting the bone with the most surface area is pushing the blood backwards through the major blood vessels ( Tell me that won't mess your day up) So the whole system shuts down immediately. This is my take on it, I'll track them 50 yds if needed, besides on a lung shot, they're blowing blood from the nose and mouth after just a few steps so tracking is not a problem.
  5. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    Agree with everything James said except I don't rely on shock. Little whitetail deer dont need their shoulders broke and if a person can't track a deer for a few yards they shouldn't be shooting out of the truck window anyway.

    The other point for me is just a matter of habit because so much of my hunting is with a bow I am automatically looking to miss the shoulder by the time gun season rolls around.
  6. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2002
    don't very often break the shoulder since most of my normal deer hunting is done with a 6mm or 25 wssm, but if you line your horizontal crosshair up with the offside leg on angleing shots it puts you in the "boiler room" so to speak
  7. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    [ QUOTE ]
    since most of my normal deer hunting is done with a 6mm or 25 wssm

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Same here.
  8. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    I like to put an accubond through the lungs, they might run a little but they don't go far. I also like to use 140gr or heavier bullets at 3000fps+ to get plenty of penetration if I have to take a shoulder or angled shot. I shoot big midwestern bucks and I've never had an accubond fail to exit, even at angles I may not have shot with a more fragile bullet.
  9. 300rum

    300rum Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Lungs, Just one fist behind the soulder.
    With 338 Edge, they died in 10-20yrds, and no meat loss.
    If I aimed little high behind the soulder I have 60-70% to drop her on the spot (Spine Shot)
    Another interesting shot is at the base of the neck and you have DIRT deer. - no mess.
    Depends by distance, terrain, and other factors.

    80-90% of my shots are behind the solder (lungs-heart shot.)
  10. cowboy

    cowboy Well-Known Member

    Jul 14, 2007
  11. sniper762mm

    sniper762mm Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    i learned by mistake. upon (missing) my aim behind the front shoulder, in the "boiler room", where i had always aimed, resulting in the deer sometimes running away, my shot struck high in the shoulder, dropping the deer instantly.

    a hit broadside high in the shoulder not only instantly imobilizes it by breaking both shoulders, but the shock on the central nervous system due to the bullet s triking iin such close proximity to the spine paralyses it.

    that became my point of aim from then on.
  12. The situation and my mood dictates where I hit game. Could be the shoulder, neck, head or wherever I feel good about shooting at the time. When I'm asked for suggestions by others I always tell them to break one or both shoulders and nothing goes anywhere. This goes double for moose hunts where an animal going 30 yards after he's hit can mean another 2 hours or more work for me.
  13. winmag

    winmag Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    I always put my cross hairs on a critter the exact same way one would aim a bow IF the opportunity presents itself. I have no problemb taking shots into the off shoulder either. I have attempted the high shoulder shot with 50/50 results due to bullet placement. I do not like this shot. Placed correctly it floored a deer. I thought, ''cool, Ill try this on more critters''. Placed slightly incorectly (my fault) and you follow sparce sign from a bull elk for 3 days before someone else finally kills it. Ive never felt lower in my life! Ill take the ''sure thing'' shot into the vitals with some room for error 99 times out of 100, if given the opportunity, and ONLY take the high shoulder shot if Im absolutely positive I cannot screw it up in anny way. Guess I havent developed a knack for it. Just my 2 cents, based on my personal experience. Just as risky and impressive as a head shot IMO, when it works its awesome, but if you botch it your sick to yourself. I floored a nice Muley buck once with my muzzleloader off hand in the head. But it was the only place I could see to shoot. Sometimes a higher risk shot pays off. I didnt eat my tag that year.
    Everybody has a knack for something. Some people can take neck shots regularly, and get drt kills. Some folks can take the high shoulder shot with the same results. I know when I personally shoot for the vitals, Ive never had to follow a critter very far, and some were drt kills, so thats my confidence shot that I look for. Im not the kind to pass up on a good kill shot, but if given the opportunity, Ill take the vitals as my first choice.
  14. wasgas

    wasgas Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2009
    I have shot elk in the head, the vitals, and also the shoulder not once has one expired instantly. The shoulder shots have a place and time if you have a need to drop something instantly but even then that is no gurantee and will drop and often needs follow up shots to the vitals before they will expire, shoulder shots are my least desireable.

    Each deer or elk I have shot in the vitals has only taken one shot and never gone more than a few yards and expired rather quickly.
    My son shot an elk in the leg and it dropped but I instantly used a followup shot to the head, that one still took some time to expire and the meat seemed extra gamey, we have taken two others from the same heard that tasted fine.

    The only intant kills I have had on deer were to the neck when quartering towards me and the bullet shattered the spine and also fragmented into the lungs. Neither deer had an exit wound. Last year my son shot his first deer with an identical shot, it was an instant kill and there was no exit wound.

    I prefer a bullet that expels it's energy into the target and has little if any pass thru. I truly believe this is the most ethical as the pass thrus I have had took the most time to die.

    PS my only significant meat loss has been on shoulder shots
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010