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Ideal shot placement for deer

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Kachok, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    I currently have only one magnum, and it has been hunting with me exactly twice in two years and only when I hunt my friend's peanut field (1100yds end to end) in the woods I quit using magnums and mostly use my Sweed.
    I have always had a policy to use rapid expansion bullets (SGK, Ballistic Tips, SSTs...etc) shooting behind the shoulder and bone breakers (Accubonds, Partitions, Core-Lokts....etc) if I wanted to shoot through them. The softer bullets do alot of shock damage to the vitals if they don't have to go through alot of bone/muscle first, or that is the way I have always seen it. Correct me if I am wrong. My friend liver shot a deer this season with my 06 165gr SGKs, had he been using a hard controlled expansion bullet I would think that would be a long tracking job, but the shock damage/fragmentation from that Game King destroyed the lungs and the deer made it a whopping 20 yards.
     
  2. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    sleepyone, next time that scenario presents itself, make a kissing sound, when the deer looks up, shoot it right under the chin in the throat, bang-flop!
     
  3. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    I've always said, for the fastest kills, you need a bullet that expands FAST but will penetrate DEEP, hopefully giving an exit hole. That's what i've seem over and over work the best.

    I've shot moose, bears, caribou and many other animals through the lungs, they all died. The problem is, they don't die FAST ENOUGH for my likeing, so i started dropping them in their tracks.

    I've always used a high shoulder shots on big bears, but i've always used a heavy enough bullet for caliber, that I KNOW it will go on through to break all the bone, and i prefer NP's for that job.

    Back to deer... I find a shoulder shot anchors them, as does a frontal CENTER cest shot. I can post pict after pict of deer that ran with lung/heart shots, and also deer after deer that dropped in their tracks with shoulder and center chest shots. I've just seen both so many times, there's no doubt in my mind what each one does!

    I hold meat damage down by NOT using super fast bullets that loose their cores easily, and i don't need or use some ultra magnum, as they just aren't needed! I hold my shots at deer to 300 yards or less, and i like 200 even better. I won't shoot at long ranges, because i'm a "hunter", not a "sniper" and i like to hunt! I don't judge the quality of my hunt on wether i kill something or not...

    All of this is a long way of saying that i pretty much agree with your post as to what soft bullets do in deer. lol

    DM
     
  4. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Since most of you are in agreement I am beginning to really think that my success has been just dumb luck, what bullet would you use to minimize meat damage on shoulder shot? (Bonded?) Is the dead center of the shoulder the best aim point on a clean broadside shot or do you prefer the high shoulder? I don't need uber fast impact speeds, my 06 pet load is pushing just north of 2800fps with 165s, my favorite 308 is around 2750fps with 150s and my 140gr 6.5x55 is about 2740fps. I might skip the 7mm-08 for through the shoulder duity because the only load that shoots good in that rifle is a smoking fast 140 at over 2900fps!
     
  5. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Non tipped cup n core bullets should be nearly ideal for shoulder shots with the specifics you mentioned (aside from the 7-08)

    I reserve straight up heart lung shots for light n fast for Cal bullets and tipped cup n core bullets. And or high impact speeds

    Basically if I'm not 100% sure of the bullets ability to exit every time it goes through the ribs. As demonstrated by my 125g pro hunter 30-06 load (3100fps) wich may not be great for shoulder shots but will blow pieces out on a lung shot.

    Bullets at a velocity window that need that resistance to expand go through the shoulder




    posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complaints about
     
  6. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    The only SP cup and core I keep for all my rifles are Speer BTSP and Serria Game Kings both of which are thin jacketed on the rapid expansion side I think, I recently tried finding some tougher Speer Deep Curl bullets for .308 and .264 cal but everybody seems to be sold out including Midway. Might try good ol Core-lokts I have some hefty 180gr 30 cal (only ones for sale locally), that is a bit of an overkill IMHO but I won't have to worry about lack of penetration if the shoulder is hit :) Never worked up any 180gr loads for 06 or 308 anyone have any hints on where to start?
     
  7. interlock

    interlock Member

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    I have shot many, many deer. I assess each individual shot before making it. Sometimes neck, sometimes atlas joint sometimes chest.

    i tend to use 165s from the 30-06. I hunt a lot with my cousin who uses 150s from his 308. we both use soft points


    there are so many variables
     
  8. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    I don't think you will find any real concensus on this issue because each shot is different and each animal is different. I killed three bucks last year of similar size. Two were at perfect broadside. One was DRT and the other ran 150 yards or more down into a thick creek bottom. Both shots were close to identical double lung and standing deer. Was one maybe an inch higher or lower? I'm sure it was but I don't recall exactly. The thrird deer was the largest rack and gave me a quartering to shot at 50 yards. The shot went through his left shoulder and took out both lungs and a lot of his innards but did not exit. He never even flopped.
    I prefer a broadside shot and I actually aim a bit lower than the above diagram. If I pull a shot, target or animal, it will virtually always be high and right rather than low. Where I mostly hunt I really don't mind a small tracking job but I have the advantage of knowing my neighbors and knowing the land like the back of my hand. If a deer runs after being shot I can just about tell you where he will be within 50 yards or so and we can drive within 100 yards of any spot on my property.
    As far as damaging meat I really don't worry about it on a buck as I just want them on the ground. For meat hunting I will take the exact same shot, no meat damage at all, or a neck shot IF the deer is completely relaxed and within 50-75 yards. I have never really paid attention to whether a particular bullet/caliber damages more or less meat. I figure any of the hunting calibers I use will destroy a shoulder or ham and I am okay with that.
    Federal Premium 165s in the 30-06 are my main hunting round.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I usually aim where T.R. showed, except when I take the shoulder. Behind the ear I've usually reserved for deer that don't realize they're dead.
     
  10. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    As you know , deer don`t always cooperate in giving you the perfect angle for that perfect shot. First order of business, if the shots not there , don`t take it. There are times you even have to pass. A good hunter would anyway.
    Being able to take a good shot at any angel is paramount to a happy ending. Most use the gun range as their tunning up place. Straight ahead. No angels. While in the real world, some time you see a head/neck. Shoulder. what ever. Sometime just a plain brown area. You never know.
    Being able to hit your spot at any angle is when you can call yourself a hunter. All that being said, knowing a deers anatomy and the area presented will the perfect shot
    selection be available.
    Some guys just take a shot..........some know what their doing.
     
  11. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    Personally, i think 180's are too heavy of a bullet for deer out of a .308 or 30-06, they just don't give that fast expansion that i like. In those cartridges i like a tough 150 or 165's, and as i tend to work up one bullet/load for everything, i tend to use NP's.

    Then i can use that bullet/load on deer, caribou, blk. bear or even an elk... I don't have to learn were several different loads go, i learn that load, and use it for everything i hunt.

    DM
     
  12. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    OK I am going to give the (intentional) double shoulder shot another try. I got some hard non-fragmenting 150gr TTSX bullets since they have good expansion and terminal performance without a reputation for making jello as some rapid expansion lead bullets will do. I figure if I still have to feed the shoulders to yotes with that nothing will work and I will go back to my "lucky" shots.
    Before anyone chimes in and tells me that I don't NEED TSX penatration on deer trust me I already know. A $0.65 cent bullet is worth it if it saves most of the front shoulders IMHO. Know several people who have hunted with the all copper bullets and they all have said they don't feel it is a handicap in the killing department, and they all agree the meat damage is less.
    Yeah I am being a nit pick about a few pounds of meat, but I do hate to be wastful. Please pardon my rant.
     
  13. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    KACHOK if you're hunting wide open farmland as you allude to I personally wouldn't change what you're doing

    In such a location if a deer even went 300 yds it wouldn't be a big deal to locate and recover it assuming it can't get out of sight from your hide.




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  14. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    I am hunting a mix of farm fields and dense brush. I have a rifle for every occasion so only my 308 or 30-06 will be sighted in for the heavly constructed bone breakers. My 6.5x55, 7mm-08 and 270 WSM will remain loaded with SGK/SST/Ballistic tips for my "lucky" shots.
     
  15. wild willy

    wild willy Member

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    Most of the time I try to shoot them on the X in T.R. picture. But most deer shot there will run I,ve shot three there this year. All ran. 20 to 100 yards
     
  16. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    Long distance hunting shows have popularized the high shoulder shot. Problem is, if you shoot below the spine and above the heavy bones, the critter might go down, but it's back up and off to the races. I have seen it time and time again on pronghorn, deer, and elk. I no longer take that shot. Of course if you hit the large bones going in (and hopefully on the off side too), the animal drops in their tracks.

    As far as head and neck, we all know down they go if you hit the spot. Of course, the wounding/failure rate is high with head neck shots, resulting in blown off jaws, holes in the snout, etc. There is a reason the "traditional" kill zone is through the boiler room. I guess I am fortunate where I hunt. If an animal runs a few dozen yards before expiring, it's usually no big deal.

    If I absolutely have to anchor a animal on the spot I'll go for a central nervous system shot, but that situation hasn't been required for many years.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  17. tahoe2

    tahoe2 Member

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    full penetration in & out of the chest cavity from any angle should do it, my first Antelope I hit too far back (my opinion) 8 inches back of the shoulder through the liver. @ 170+ yards Buck fever and 20 mph winds were contributing factors, he took about 30 yards and 15 minutes to die, not happy about that. Would have preferred a bang! flop! But that's hunting.
     
  18. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Growin' up bowhuntin' with a recurve, I learned to aim behind the shoulders for a clear shot to the heart/lungs. Height on the body was determined by angle of the shot. Ground vs tree stand. Blood trailing was expected, and this led to a good blood trail and an good chance of an bleeding exit wound also. Growin' up gunhuntin' with a .32 Special and hunting pblic land with a high density of hunters, I learned to shoot high in the shoulders and break the deer down so it would not run. Running a 100 yards may mean a lost deer. A small amount of meat loss was irrelevant compared to losing the whole deer to another hunter. My 5th decade of hunting deer and my tools have changed, but not my choice of shot placement. Not to say I have hit every deer there.........
     
  19. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    I took a doe this week with a high shoulder shot using a 140 grain Partition that also fragmented into the spine from a modern 6.5x54 MS. The muzzle velocity on these was 2500 fps. Bang flop. I took that shot because I was about 100 yards away, could take my time and there was a fence to private property about 25 yards from the deer. I did not want it running anywhere.

    Had I been further away with more room for the deer to run I would have gone for the boiler room shot.

    I had also hand loaded these rounds and had just shot about 50 of them the week before at 100 yards so I knew exactly where the bullet would hit. I was able to sit and use shooting sticks and just wait and watch until I had a perfect broadside.

    It is true that every situation is a little different.
     
  20. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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    I always aim for the Heart/lungs with either a rifle or shotgun...that is just what I was taught, and what I usually read from professionals.

    The deer I shot last year, at 250 yards was a heart/lung shot. Both lungs were destroyed and the heart was clipped. He ran about 70 yards across a field before he dropped. I saw him the entire time, therefore had no tracking to do.
     
  21. primape

    primape Member

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    Most of the time just behind the shoulder like the diagram posted. In my 308 using 150g Nosler BT they mostly drop right there and never go more that 10/20 yds if they do run. In Florida it is so thick that alot of times you don't see anything but the head and neck, so that has to be the shot.

    This one was steady moving away at about 75 yds and about to go out of sight. All I saw was head and horns. The NBT did its job.

    And you northern and midwest boys, don't laugh too hard at the size of our puny deer here in west central Florida.
     

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  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Umm, so much for mounting that one. :D
     
  23. gspn

    gspn Member

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    Like others have said...soooo many variables. If it's broadside I use a double lung shot...but there are exceptions to this. For instance...if the deer is on the property line and I can score a solid neck shot then I'll use it since it will keep the deer from running over the line.

    If it's quartering toward, like last week, I'll shoot at the seam between the front of the shoulder and the chest...my .45-70 pushed all the way through that spot and out the far side, taking lungs along the way, and the deer dropped in it's tracks.

    I stalked a buck one time...I was directly behind him by about 55 yards. There was no way to get him to turn without blowing my cover...so I took a knee, used a sapling as a rest, and shot him directly in the back of the neck...and he dropped like a bag of hammers.

    If it's a longer shot I'll wait til they are broadside and take a double lung...I don't take neck shots on those longer shots.

    Sometimes I just don't have a shot...and they walk.

    I've found that 140 and 150 grain ballistic tips from my 7 mag explode inside of deer. Since I mainly take double lung shots I've found that this isn't really a downside...they absolutely turn the vitals to liquid. Those deer sometimes run...but they always drop fairly close. The downside to no pass-through is less blood trail. If I'm hunting next to thick cover it might affect my decisions.

    Lots of variables affect my decision...but I always take an ethical shot. One that I know I can make and that will kill quickly. I don't take shots I'm not comfortable with...I owe it to the animal to do it right.
     
  24. bad_aim_billy

    bad_aim_billy Member

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    I like the neck shot if possible.
     
  25. wild willy

    wild willy Member

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    Head and neck shots are like 800 yd shots very few people are good enough to do them.Head and neck shooters always say either you kill them or you miss.But I've seen too many deer with jaws blowed off or shot thru the windpipe to believe it.
     
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