Having a bad day in hunting?

No Fear in Accuracy

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2001
I'm not sure if there is such a thing as "having a bad day in hunting"? Some of you have been practising shooting LR in most seasons. Some days you shot poorly, other days you shot extremely well. It could happen to anyone at the 1000 yards matches or any matches however it shouldn't happen to hunting because you need one or few shots to hit the game. You wouldn't want to wound the animal due to a poor shot or "having a bad day shot".
I presumed that it is easier to get more accurate in hunting than at the matches because you always have a spotter to tell you where the bullet hits. Then the second shot will be more accurate. At the matches, you have to shoot 10 shots (Heavy Rifles) in a limit of time. It may not give you more accurate because you may not have time to read the wind flags or your mental is too busy reloading and focus for the next shot. Is this correct? I don't have any experiences in 1000 yards competitions but I do have experiences in Air Pistol competitions. I'll let someone elaborate better than me.
If Darryl doesn't mind if I could use as his example that he shot 10 shots with his 6mm IMP. in 16.5lb Restricted Gun Class on May 5, 2001 at the Williamsport range. The group was 34.781" and the score was 67. I don't mean to embarrass you. I did shot poorly in Air Pistol once in a while even though I'm in the Master class, (the highest level).
Was he having a bad day? Did he concentrate well on that day? What would happen if he didn't do well in hunting even though he has many years of experiences in shooting?
How can we keep shooting pretty accurate in every time we go hunting? I wanna say "I'm having a good day in hunting". :p

300 Tomahawkallthewaaay

[ 03-24-2002: Message edited by: Me? 300 Tomahawk :p ]
I am the last person on this board that schould be answering this you say you did not want to embarrass him HMMMMM!!!!! then why bring it up in the time that i have had the honor to know him and ask Darryl quistions and his advise I have learned one thing about him and that is he has ethics that are hard to find now a days.

You can shoot papper all day long and it does not matter if you are close of right on it does not bleed or slip off in the brush it is a match nothing more nothing less when you hunt every shot counts I have had a lot of phone calls to him about different ideas and rules of the long rang shot I kill a lot of wolves and coyotes and one thing that i get from him is if there is no safe shot then he does not take IT!!!!!!!!! Does this sound like a sane IDEA!!!!!! HMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! My daughter like you has a very good standing in small bore and airrifle she was on the varisty team for three years where she shot well and won many cups and awards and now works with UAF rifle team just in case you have no clue they are the best collage team in the US.But she also hunts and passed up shots on game she did not feal was going to take the Moose or Griz in a clean kill yea just miss judge that griz and he will be there to put you in the ground and does she have her moose and bear yep a nice 50 plus moose and a 7 foot griz. Have a good day: Coyote slayer

I have not yet seen a question to all this expct that I now know you are world calss pellet gun champ of some standing
Let me explain and also to state that I am not embarressed in the least and hope your question is not ethics related.

A 34" group with a 6mm and 10 shots is certainly not a very good gruup, but I have seen bigger.

As stated in the past, an elk is a MUCH bigger target then a 36" group and also again, when an animal is hit at longrange, they just lay down even with a hit that is not in the kill zone.

With that being said, on that group, I actually blew a part of the land out of the barrel of the rifle. They tend not to shoot any longer when that happens. You should have seen how tight the first 8 shots of that group were.

Many groups are fired that the first 6,7,8, or 9 shots are nice and tight and the 10th will be a flyer. Most of the times it is case falure or when someone gets caught by a wind shift that the shooter didn't see. It is normally not 34" though.

This is why I looked other places and found the barrel problem. I was lucky to keep all ten on paper that day.
Things like scope failure, cases spliting, hang fires, ect are all part of 1000 yard match shooting. The rifles and componants all take a beating in the every other weekend matches and sooner of later something gives out. Sort of like the human body does.

It was a bad day at the range for the rifle and me, no doubt.

A new 30 Cal barrel was put on that rifle two weeks later.

Just an explanation as to your question since you stated you have not shot any 1000 yard compititions.

I think we could put any shooters worst and best groups on a post and discuss what happened to them but, this is a Longrange Hunting forum. Big groups in compitition happen to every shooter from time to time but, small ones do too.

Come to a match and try it sometime

Darryl Cassel

As an add on here---Thanks to the 34" group my average light gun 10 shot group last year was 13" and the score agg was 85.500.
The Heavy gun group agg was 11" with an 89.500 score agg. Not particularly great shooting but, the average of those matches and 10 shots EACH match, would have been well within a kill zone of an elk.

I was a Longrange hunter long BEFORE I shot 1000 yard compititions.
I shot My Ultra Longrange rifle (the 338/416 Rigby IMP) at Williamport "ONE TIME" and fired a 7"-- 10 shot group with it. I "ONLY" use that rifle for longrange hunting. It seems to shoot better now then it EVER did.

Just thought you shoud know.

[ 03-25-2002: Message edited by: Darryl Cassel ]
I'm glad you are not that embarrassed and my question is not ethics at all. I love LR. and will use Match Kings on 300 or 338 Tomahawk.
True, some shots are really tights then suddenly one or two shot are bad. I did the same thing with Air Pistol. I've been shooting many tens then suddenly a shot at 8th ring. It doesn't mean I did shoot poorly.

I'd like to try to attend the match someday. I want to build "confidence" that I could shoot well at LR. I know I can but need more practices and skills.
Thank you for your input. Have a

As an add on to your question here's an interesting way to look at this and how competition group apply to the field. Forgive me because I don't have the exact numbers right in front of me right now. I've got this written down at home somewhere. And the reason I did this little test was because of valid questions like you posted above or for "non-believers" that always say, "well look at the group size in competition, off the bench, with wind flags.... you can't kill a deer consistently with a XX.XXX" group" etc. etc. etc.

Last year at our national championships I took my 3 HG targets that were fired over 2 days. 1 on Sat and 2 on Sunday. They were (not positive) 9", 10" and the last was 16". Being that these were fired at Quantico with people in the pits plotting each shot for your record target I know the shot sequence the shot come through the target in. Now keep in mind during the record string you don't have spotter shots. You have to take whatever you learn during your 6 minutes sighter period and apply it blindly to what the mirage and wind is giving you during your 10 shot string.

What I did was go through and measure the distance between each sequential shots, and record it. Again the exact number for all 30 shots ( (3)10 shot strings) is written at home somewhere, but the largest distance between any 2 sequential shots was 7.??" I believe. This applies more to the hunting side of this in my opinion. And that 7" distance was in the 16" group. I lost one shot low for whatever reason. The average distance between sequential shots for the whole 30 shot string was in the 3-4" range I think.
Then when you consider during the sighter period when you can see you impacts and adjust to them it's not uncommon to shoot, adjust to the impact, and nail a 10 or an X ring on your next shot.

So when you take the hunting situation of using a spotter and backing it up with the killing shot after making adjustments, 10 shot group sizes don't really apply.
Kinda goes back to the 308 sniper rifle mentality as compared to a full blown benchrest rifle in competition with a 30 caliber magnum. The sniper needs 1 MOA for 1 shot and his job is done. BR guys need less then 1 MOA to even be competitive, let alone win, for 10 shots in a row. Which rifle is more "accurate"? (Shelp's)answer: Your comparing apples to oranges. So it's irrelevant. They both get their assigned mission done.

But I don't want to give the impression that matches are totally irrelevant either. You learn at lot more sitting at a bench in competition over time about rifles and reloading that you can then go back and apply it to your hunting rifles and you are that much better. There's no substitute for trigger time. Competitions keep me tuned-up throughout the summer until hunting season rolls around.

Darryl, so when are we going to start giving out awards for 8 and 9 shot groups? I have a few to submit for measuring!

Just my observations and opinions,

[ 03-25-2002: Message edited by: Steve Shelp ]
Hello Steve

Just had our 1st work weekend at Williamsport in preperation for the first match in May. Cold and windy as usual.
Got a lot done and still more to do next month.

You are soooooo correct in the 8 or 9 shot group awards. How many times in the last 15 years I wish we had those awards. I have a bunch of really great 9 shot targets as does Carol. You and I should compare them sometime. It makes me sick though to even look at them.

I have always said, the reason they built that Williamsport range UP on top of the mountain was so you could kick your *** all the way down trying to figure what you did wrong during the match.

Nine shots don't mean a thing though when you have to put 10 down there.

The only good thing about it is, you know, if you were out LR hunting, those first 8 or 9 shots would have been VERY dead deer of elk, "EVERY" shot.

Have a good one
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