Confidence & Expectation(s)

Dave King

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2001
I was recently thinking (again?) about the controvesy of using match/non-premium/cheap/whatever bullets in place of the much touted "premium" bullets for hunting. It occured to me that the debate is probably nothing more that the shifting of equipments/training/whatever to allow a "hunter" to have a sufficient level of overall confidence to hunt in a peaceful and happy manner.

I personally NEED to have complete confidence in my rifle. I can't borrow a rifle and hunt, it's just not possible (physically it is by it's nerve wracking for me) if I'm expected to be "happy".

I feel that the bullets I use have limitations but these limitations are more than compensated for by the high degree of reliability (and confidence) I have in the rifle.

What do you all think? Is there something to this overall confidence factor theory or am I up a little too early in the morning?

If you think about it confidence has ALOT to do with it.. mostly because shooting is as much mental ability as it is physical.. your brain has to tell your body parts to do or not to do all the right things. To me that goes hand in hand with the confidence and ability of ALL the equipment/components you are using...

If your brain works like mine, ( yours is probobly faster and smarter ) if I have the slightest doubt it takes only miliseconds to snowball into unsuredness..and a miss.... !!!!
I would have to agree with Ian by just seeing the equipment you use, and the results they bring by the pic's you have posted. I can also tell by your writting Dave, that you care a lot about what you do. I think that if we feel strong emotions about the "tools" we use, that alone tells a story. I know that I will problaby never get to shoot with you, or some of the other gun guru's on this site, but the info we learn also contributes to that very same confidence that you talk of. Yes, I fully agree.
I believe that confidence is essential and it differentiates the one-box a year shooter from someone who is serious about hitting at any range with any firearm. Confidence is based on having good equipment but moreso on having shot enough that you know you can make the shot. Only way to do that is pulling the trigger and learning as you build up experience. I have found that my personal confident shooting distance has increased as I take this more serious, obtain better equipment and shoot as much as possible in a wide range of conditions. If a person shoots enough out to 700 yards to become proficient, gettting 6-10 inch groups in nearly any weather, shots at 500 become very doable.
When I got back into LR I had to buy into keeping data books and doing math, both of which provide a lot of confidence after a while. Bottom line is equipment, knowledge and confidence are the essentials for accurate shooting.
Dave, I have seen your gear, have shot with you and know how serious you take your shooting. I don't think that Matchkings or lead plugs would make any difference - you are going to hit where you intend.
Reminds me of a conversation I had with my foreman at work this week, he hunts a bunch too. It went something like this. What would you feel like if you get to Africa and your guns didn't make it, got lost or something? Would you cancel and regroup, barrow one or what? Would a trip of a lifetime (for me) be the same without using your own rifle? Chuck said "it's funny you mention that, a friend went to Mexico on a hunt and the same thing happened, he barrowed a gun, it had been broke at the wrist and taped and splinted together to hunt with." We both agreed, the trip would suck.

Dave if I barrowed your nicest rifle it still wouldn't be the same for me as I'd be starting from scratch to say the very least.
Well if Dave had it sighted in, scope and all, with charts at least I know I could take his word for the accuracy of the unit, charts etc. and have a good deal of confidence back, but how often is Dave or someone like him that's done the work there to rescue us? Ah, another reason to have multiple rifles.

Funny you mentioned " how often in someone like Dave there to rescue us" I know I am NOWHERE need the expertise oe expierience as Dave, Darryl or others on here but, as a professional guide I do carry my 308 with all the charts and stuff just in case my clients gun would fail, break, or whatever. Alot of family guys save for years to hunt Wyo and if at the last min. their gun decides to quit on em.. well at least they still have a chance....
You guys are making me feel more at home every day. Most of the people I know wouldn't hesitate to use someone else's rifle to hunt with. I can't stand the thought, and I've caught a lot of grief for refusing to use someone else's rifle to hunt with.

It caused a pretty good rift between my hunting partner and I a few months ago. He is working on his second coyote hunting video, and my 17 barrel gave up and wore out with two months of good hunting left. I refused to hunt with one of his rifles while he shot film, and he refused to shoot film of me shooting a coyote with my 7 MM RM. Neither of us us like the "Red Mist" type videos, so he found another partner and I started concentrating more on LR Coyotes.
I think you are right on Dave I was put in a strange place the second bou. season I was with my best friend and we were hunting wolves and Bou and my 224 Clark got burried under everything we came up on a bunch of bou and he had his rifle and just nailed one I was ranging his shot he handed me his 270 and told me where to hold and I just plain missed well I did this three times and I just finaly went back to the truck and got my rifle and one shot dead Bou I think i was just not used to his set up or scope placement eather way i will never do that again if that had been a wolf I would have never lived that down
have a great night: Coyote Slayer
Here is another thought. For sure, what you have practised with will be the most reassuring in the field. However, the key word for me here is PRACTISE. Most of us like to shoot ALOT and as a by product, we become familiar with our equipment and what they will do. What we also gain is the skill TO shoot.

I have had the opportunity to help many at the range during sight in season and during club fun shooting events. I have found that because I shoot so much, I can quickly adapt to anothers gun. I know the basics, I just need to adjust for a different stock, scope, load, whatever. Those that shoot lots all have this.

That may not be your first choice but if necessary and with a little warm up, you could adapt in the field because your mind and body are already hard wired to do the job right.

Tiger Woods will whomp my butt whether he is using his clubs, or the Kmart special. He has the skill and confidence to adapt and adapt quickly. Hell, he can probably beat me using a garden rake.

Don't loose or break your equipment during the hunt, but don't give up on a dream hunt just because your pet rifle is not there. Take a few shots with the borrowed rifle to get used to it and have at it. Your body will adjust if you let you mind do so.

Good luck...


PS we come up with new bullets to compensate for larger cases or poorer shooting. Either way, if the bullet goes into the boiler room, the critter is dead. First you got to get it into the boiler room...
Mr. Dave King,
The only experience I have with Match Kings other than paper punching and slapping steel, is a 212 yd. shot at a rather large coyote. Expansion was impressive! I used a 308 with 168 Sierra Match. There have been too many Long Range Hunters who have had excellent success on larger game using Match Loads, so, I for one would not hesitate. I would go heavy for caliber, and practice, practice, practice!

Keep in the bubble! Meathead
Okay, a little more on what I originally tried to convey. The replies to this point have been very good and informative/supportive.

Because of the rifles I use and the amount of data I have for these rifles and the quantity and quality of practice I have very high confidence in my ability to hit very near the desired Point Of Aim. We'll assign this a confidence factory of 95% as an example.

Because of the many discussions and my personal use of MatchKings and other "lesser quality" (read as NON-Premium) bullets I assume some limitation on the ability of these bullets as compared to actual (company statement) hunting bullets. We'll assign a confidence factor to the bullet of 35% (less than average (50%)).

Because of the many animals I've killed in hunts and mostly depredation I feel quite confident in my ability to understand and know in advance the reaction of a critter (known species) so I'll assign a confidence factor of 75% to this.

So just with these few items the arbitrary confidence factor system I've selected has allowed me a 205% confidence indicator. Very confortable for me.

Now, if I were to use another persons rifle for a hunt (except *WyoWhisper*'s) this rifle confidence factor would drop considerably perhaps to below 50% and now as a result of this I NEED to up the confidence factors in other areas to get back to a comfortable level. The most pressing problem is the low confidence factor I've assigned the MatchKing (for illustration purposes) so I'd immediately go for a bullet that'll allow me a little more leeway in case my bullet can't be placed with the usual surgical precision (Ya right!).

Anyway...... I believe this may be a contributor to the non-MatchKing frenzy. Perhaps others don't have the high confidence in the delivery system and animal behavior portions and compensate for this with the Premium Trophy Bonded, Partitioned, monolithic, solid, never stopping but proper expanding "magic" bullet(s), after all "A man has got to know his confidence level".

What ya think?
Interesting points you bring up but I don't think they are much different from the ongoing debate of "which is the best bullet".

Today, I can say that there are no "bad" bullets offered by any major manf. What does matter is it's application.

So called premium bullets are an evolution of muzzle vel. With the super magnums, impact vel at normal (under 300yd) hunting ranges are so high that bullets of conventional construction (jacket with lead core) can sometimes come apart without sufficient penetration. Bad news for you and the game.

Premium bullets are designed to give you conventional bullet performance at extreme impact vel. They are not designed to expand at low vel. which is what we have at long ranges. They are also rarely designed for 1/2MOA accuracy.

If you look at a ballistic program or even data from an ammo manf., you will quickly see that no matter what we shoot today, the vel. beyond 600yds is under 2700fps. Most of the time the vel is under 2400fps!!! At that impact vel. conventional bullets will expand and perform beautifully. They tend to be more accurate as well.

How fast is that bullet going when you go to 1000 or 1500yds? How big is the group size vs game kill zone? How much more do the premium bullets drift? Will they expand at all?

So for me, my confidence level has been greatly increased by using super accurate hunting or match bullets to increase my odds of success given a good hit. These bullets include Hornady SST and Amax, and the Nosler BT. Don't use any matchkings because of availability in my area. That will change with my RUM project next year.

Using Matchkings would actually increase the odds of success because of their high BC and accuracy potential (not to mention higher bullet weights). These would help hit the target (smaller group size and less wind drift) and the retained vel. would ensure better bullet expansion and higher energy.

At long range, everything that we can do to reduce our group size is paramount. Bullet construction becomes secondary because impact vel are so low. Try an expansion test with a varmint bullet at impact vel. under 2400fps. They will acutually expand like a conventional bullet and penetrate well. Shot through 1 ft of dry phone books with a Speer 70gr TNT from a 6BR (3200fps muzz. vel.) at 600yds.

The need to put the bullet in the boiler room is still critical. Amazing impact vel., or bullets that can go through engine blocks still don't matter if the bullet lands in the fringes. I doubt that any of us can own the firepower necessary to anchor a deer at 1000yd with a shot in the rear ham or hoof. In Canada, Artillery is heavily restricted. Heavy too.

Good luck...

I also believe that the whole Match King "controversy" ranks right up there with the ethics ********. Most of the individuals who are so adamant against bullet "X" do so based on one or two personal or rumoured instances. Kill as many critters as you do and then make a realistic assessment. Long ago I shot 62 deer one summer for a gov't study with a particular rifle, cartridge and bullet - that gives some real knowledge about what that combination will do. Unfortunately it is relatively hard to get that experience, although you are in a situation to pile up some good statistics.

I have probably seen as many deer killed as most guys and like Jerry, I have quit worrying about who made the bullet and what its construction might be. Deer simply do not require premium bullets, they die when any bullet goes through a vital body zone, destroying certain organs or systems. If someone's rifle shoots gold-plated, diamond tipped bullets very accuately - then use them but only if it give the confidence to make the lethal shot. Conversely the deer will be just as dead if someone shoots a piece of swaged lead through the same location.

I have seen bullets fail to perform as the manufacturer intended - usually on dead deer after extra shots did the job. A good example happened during a deer study many years ago. Hide and tissue blown away and virtually no penetration occured with a certain brand of 100 grain .243 bullets on six or eight consective deer. These were the only bullets available at the time and I had to kill a bunch of deer that trip.

Shortly after that incident the manufacturer just happened to announce, with great fanfare, that his entire line of bullets was being modified to ensure less fragmentation. I actually had a letter drafted to send to them telling about all the fragmentation I had just encountered but never sent it when I saw the announcement. They fixed the problem and I shoot a bunch of that brand of bullet still - just because of that one situation I sure as hell wouldn't black-ball that company.

Another bullet mistake that could be made is expecting a varminter like a 75 gr. .243 cal. hollowpoint to do the job of a hunting bullet. Again, fragmentation and wounding because of lack of penetration, but the bullet was never intended to penetrate. Have seen guys doing this, then blaming the bullet for the lost deer. It was there own stupidity that cost the critter.

As for confidence - we have to be reasonable. I could enjoy a hunt shooting your G-A Precision rifle as much as my own. For that matter I recently put aside the G-A and carried a Marlin 336 in .450 Magnum, still had a great day. Toys are great, but we have to shoot enough to develop and maintain skills in order to make clean kills. I believe that you could do quite well with about any of my rifles or any other regular's in this group. You pull the trigger enough that you are a much better than average shot (as are many guys reading this forum) and I know that you could adapt, it really isn't that hard to do.
Having been involved in the match king tread on accuratereloading. I belive most of the anti match king crowd have never shot a game animal with them. They read serria's adds and say you can't use them on game.
The other day some one was talking about 300 gr 375 killed to eland with it both died very fast bullet didn't exit. A lot of people stated that the bullet failed. Seems to me that it worked well.
One guide was recomending 375 and above for shooting black bears huh having shot a few bears they die just find with bullets from a 308 ect. Some people get way more carried away with power then good shooting or want it to make up for bad shooting. No matter want gun you use you can end up with a bad shot if things go wrong. Hitting a limb or something. Another guy was asking what bullets to use for deer out of his 308 target gun I told him to use his match bullets. Deer are not hard to kill as long as the shot is in the right place. Gut shoot them side to side they well run a long ways. Hit them in the lungs they go about 50 to 100 yards no matter what you shoot them with. i think a lot of people think game animals are bullet pruff. Hit them in a good spot and they die.
From what I have seen match kings to do game I will have no trouble useing them again.
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