Good group for deer hunting?

MNBuck

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Jul 12, 2015
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So, I bought a savage 220 and put a vortex crossfire II 3-9x40 on it and tried a 3 shot group from a table and a shooting bag for the Forend. And yes I was taking hold of the forend as well with my hand. I shot hornady sst 2 3/4" and shot about a 8" group at 100 yards then I shot a group with the Remington accutip 2 3/4" and got 3 almost touching. Between each 3 shot group I cleaned the barrel with a bronze brush. Then after that I came to the conclusion the accutips were better. I proceeded to sight in at 100yards but could never get a satisfying group. Then I went and sighted in for 2" high at 50yds, ( already out about 25 rounds so about $75 on ammo) so I got it to there was one bucket just high of the target. After this I proceeded to climb up in my stand and set a target out at what is supposedly 118yds. ( this is where most of the deer come out) to my surprise, I shot 2 rounds and only one hit and it was at the very top of the target. The other one I have no clue where it hit. I went back to the house gave it a really good cleaning inside and out and came back the next day. It was about 74 and literally no wind. I shot a 5 shot group at the target for a sitting position. ( I was in one of those chairs you bring to your kids soccer game or what not). I was sitting down left leg accrossed my right with my elbow on my left thigh and forearm on the left arm rest. This was probably the closet I could get to be stabilized but no where need bench shooting. To my surprise I shot like crap. 5 shots 118 yards sitting position and allowed barrel cooling produced a lousy 9 in group at worst and 3.5 in group at best. Although I was trying to mimick really life shooting situation will this be enough? Also, for some weird reason I feel as though I am actually more steady when I'm shooting at a living animal. I don't know if it's the feeling of if I miss its gone, while with paper you just shoot again? But, any way is 9" group being the worst of the 5 and 3.5" being the best good enough for ethically killing deer at that distance? Thanks.
 

RockyMtnMT

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With your present conditions and such I say you are ok but at max range. I sounds like you may need to spend a little more trigger time. Use a .22 or similar and do more shooting to get yourself better. And not so expensive.

Steve
 

HARPERC

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I wouldn't be satisfied with what you described. More practice is always good, but at some point looking at the equipment is necessary.

Do you have access to a rifle known to be a good shooter, that would give you an idea what your skill level is, and in turn if your handicapping yourself with poor equipment.

I don't like a 2" high at 50 yard sight in, it likely explains your shooting high at 118 yards. It's tough for me to sort out what your groups are actually dong, as you change set ups, and we're going from 2.75" groups to 9" inch.

Factory ammo is always an expensive trial and error proposition. What caliber are you shooting.

I'd step back to the beginning, make certain screws are tight etc., set up a 100 yard target, and a solid rest system. Zero at 100 yards, and shoot multiple groups. if you can keep everything in 3", yes that will get you deer at 118 yards, but if you have unexpected hits opening to 9" groups...then you have an issue. Get a life size deer target to see what your groups look like on an animal.
 

MNBuck

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Jul 12, 2015
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I know I am a decent shot at rifle and. A great shot with shotgun. With my marlin model 80 with a scope I can shoot gophers head out to about 75 yards no joke! With my Remington 597 I can accomplish almost the same thing but the trigger is much stiffer so I leave it as irons and shoot black birds and gopher at 50yards and under. I seriously have no doubt that I am capable of shooting accurately, but, I feel as though it's more of a mind game about recoil right before you shoot. To the last poster ( sorry I didn't look at your poster name before I typed this) I am using a 20ga riffled barrel shotgun shooting factory sabot rounds. And as many of you know sabots are very picky and VERY EXPENSIVE! The accutips are $3 a round. So, I might have to try out some different loads such as the federal vital- shok and maybe some of winchesters offerings.... I am disappointed in my ability to not be consistent as I did my homework before purchasing this gun and many state it shoots 2" groups at 200yards. Obviously this is from a bench and most likely using a lead sled. So basically what it boils down too is how accurately do I need to be to shoot to ethically kill a deer at that distance? Also, I will be getting around to shooting some more to see if I was off that day or what but it had been so muggy here in Minnesota that it isn't fun going out and then coming back hoping your gun isn't orange when you pull it out of the case :D . Anyways any help is always appreciated! Thanks, MNBuck.
 

Greyfox

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I have the same gun and use the 2 3/4" Accutips. Mine holds about 6" at 200 yards from a hunting position which is OK for Whitetails. Its more accurate than that off the bench but the gun is very light and muzzle jump is herendous.
 

FEENIX

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So basically what it boils down too is how accurately do I need to be to shoot to ethically kill a deer at that distance?
Just an FYI (just in case you didn't know) ...

2) We do not discuss ethics. To do so will result in the post or posts being edited or deleted.
It's your own ethics and only you knows the answer. You have the final decision to make and must face the consequence(s) associated to that decision. Sorry, probably not the answer you're hoping for but that's just me. :cool:

Having said that, like others have noted, practice, practice, practice ... and make your first shot counts. :D

Good luck!
 

MNBuck

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Ok, I'm sorry I didn't realize we couldn't discuss this. Does it boil down to the word ethical, or does it boil down just to the subject of killing an animal correctly? Like could I have stated in my post " how tight of a group do I need to properly kill a deer?" Or would that still get me kicked off. Thanks! Also, the gun does give a ton of kick being that I got one of the new ones with a rock hard pad while the old ones had soft squishy pads. And the muzzle jump is horrendous as well. I wish I could get it down to at least 3" from the stand and I am going to try out federal trophy copper, Winchester dual bonds and partition golds. So far I have tried Remington accutips and hornady sst both in 2 3/4" and am going to try those three other offerings all in 2 3/4" loads because I really don't need any more muzzle jump from the 3" loads.
 

HARPERC

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Ok, I'm sorry I didn't realize we couldn't discuss this. Does it boil down to the word ethical, or does it boil down just to the subject of killing an animal correctly? Like could I have stated in my post " how tight of a group do I need to properly kill a deer?" Or would that still get me kicked off. Thanks!
I doubt you're any place close to getting kicked off. Mostly the rule keeps folks from trashing someone else, and it's a tough word sometimes to get around.

I think your 3" goal from your stand is a good one.

I know next to nothing about shotguns, and can't help you much. Just a thought but there are a couple of forums dedicated to shotguns, you might find some old threads there that could be of help.
 

engineer40

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You must have something loose on your shotgun or on your scope. I've had this happen to me twice over the years. It's very frustrating! Especially when you are spending the stupid prices people get for sabots. But to shoot a good group, then with the same ammo shoot a 9 inch group.... something is not staying tight. Unless you are really flinching that hard anticipating the recoil.

Everything with your scope and rings blue loctite'd?

I have a rifled barrel Rem 870 12 gauge I use now. But I've shot a lot of deer and paper with a smooth bore Rem 870 using the cheap Federal $4/box rifled slugs and could keep 2-3 inch groups at 75 yards no problem. And that's no scope, just the bead at the end of the barrel.

You are using a known accurate shotgun model, multiple kinds of good ammo, and a good scope... something is amiss.

Also keep in mind that you usually do shoot a bit high if shooting from an elevated tree stand.

I've never had to clean my shotgun that often to keep it shooting accurate whilst testing ammo's and sighting in.



Some things I've really found help with not flinching and helping with recoil for shooting slugs are:
I double up on Limbsaver recoil pads. First I put a Precision Fit on and it stays on all the time; AirTech Precision-fit Recoil Pad | LimbSaver
Then when I'm at the range shooting a lot I also put a Slip On pad in addition to the one that's always on; AirTech Slip-On Recoil Pad | LimbSaver

That's 2 inches of thick squishy Limbsaver wonderfulness. I don't use the Slip On when hunting as I don't care about recoil when I'm hunting and I have a thick coat on anyways.

I tried a 12 gauge shotgun muzzle brake. I'm a big fan of brakes on my rifles but they don't work at all on shotguns. Literally at all. I don't even know why they exist.

Does your Savage have the 2 part trigger like their rifles do? The part that moves inside of the other part? IMO, those are not good triggers to have on anything with a stout recoil. It's best to to "surprised" when the gun fires. So you can pull the trigger slow, steady, and stay on target without flinching. Those 2 part triggers make it impossible for me to be "surprised" when the guns fire and therefore, WAY harder to not flinch.

I got one of those mercury recoil tubes to install in the stock but I don't really feel like I need it anymore after doubling up on the Limbsavers. So I never installed it.

If you tighten everything up and are still getting the same results, hopefully you purchased the shotgun locally and can bring it back to the dealer and explain it to them. Or call Savage? You're doing more right than wrong; just need to figure out what's causing the variations in group sizes. Hope this helps.
 

B-P-UU

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When I had a 220, I had the best luck with Barnes slugs (2 3/4" non-tipped were sub MOA @ 100 but I think the tipped did pretty well too). Never could get the rem accu-tips to shoot. I know it's expensive but try 1 box of everything you can to find what's best. I know a few guys that had good luck with the Hornady SST's as well.
I also agree with the previous post regarding loose ring, base, or scope issue. I had a nikon Buckmaster on mine and the gun ruined it pretty fast. Moved to a cheap rim fire scope since season was starting and that didn't last long either. Nikon fixed the Buckmaster and worked ok after that.


I may have missed it, but what are you running for optics?
 

B-P-UU

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Also, I think you are cleaning way too often.. mine shot best fowled and I think that is typical of a sabot firearm.
 

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