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grayfox Offline OP
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So, everyone's opinion, what would you accept as acceptable 3 shot group size at 100 yards. For hunting out to 400 yards, for big game. I shoot a 308, 150 Barnes ttsx 46 of varget, and get 1.1 to 1.2. Average. JB especially want your opinion

Last edited by grayfox; 12/09/22.
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Originally Posted by grayfox
So, everyone's opinion, what would you accept as acceptable 3 shot group size at 100 yards. For hunting out to 400 yards, for big game. I shoot a 308, 150 Barnes ttsx 46 of varget, and get 1.1 to 1.2. Average.


This is something to consider! What a gun shoots on one day cannot be used as group size. To get a realistic and accurate representation of how well a rifle shoots it must be shot at the same target over a period of time! Generally speaking a 1" group at 400 yards may open up to 3"

With that said it sounds like you have your rifle dialed in!

In a hunting rifle I prefer to keep groups 3" or under at 500 yards over a period of time. My long range specific build has done 10 shot 2 1/2" groups at 500 with 6 out of those 10 being inside an inch

Trystan


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The question really is "can you, from a solid position such as you'd use in the field, shoot groups small enough at 400 yards to keep them all in the vitals". The rifle's capability is only part of this, especially as measured in groups shot from a bench at 100 yards. Your ability to shoot, to judge distance and wind (and adjust for them), to adopt a good solid position, to control your breathing, all come into play.

Having said that, if the rifle can't shoot somewhere close to 1 moa from a bench, consistently (not just 3 rounds that one time) you are making it hard for yourself to reach out to 400 under hunting conditions.

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A rifle that's truly reliable for shooting 1 MOA groups would hit within 2 inches of your point of aim at 400 yards provided the rifle is sighted in correctly and your aim is true. Is that really essential for big game hunting?


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These are made for different sized game animals.

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Originally Posted by dan_oz
The question really is "can you, from a solid position such as you'd use in the field, shoot groups small enough at 400 yards to keep them all in the vitals". The rifle's capability is only part of this, especially as measured in groups shot from a bench at 100 yards. Your ability to shoot, to judge distance and wind (and adjust for them), to adopt a good solid position, to control your breathing, all come into play.

Having said that, if the rifle can't shoot somewhere close to 1 moa from a bench, consistently (not just 3 rounds that one time) you are making it hard for yourself to reach out to 400 under hunting conditions.
I think this addresses the crux of the problem, namely, how well you can shoot in the field under real hunting conditions. Having a rifle that can shoot small groups from the bench is nice, but a rifle that shoots 1.5 MOA should work fine out to 400 yards if you have the shooting skills to use it well.

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Field positions are the deciding factor. If I had a 2 MOA gun/load and no good rest, I'd not be shooting 400 yards. From a good field rest, such as over a backpack where the whole gun is supported, I'd have no problem taking such a shot. 2 MOA would probably be my cut-off as far as confidence in taking such a shot.

I've taken lots of shots 400+ yards at deer and elk with shooting sticks, but my ability to do that seems to be waning, according to last summer's varmint hunting, where I couldn't seem to get comfortable or steady, regardless of the time I took. Many of those were taken with an honest 1.5 MOA gun/load, but POI was rarely more than 3" from POA, with a couple glaring exceptions.


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Originally Posted by bowmanh
Originally Posted by dan_oz
The question really is "can you, from a solid position such as you'd use in the field, shoot groups small enough at 400 yards to keep them all in the vitals". The rifle's capability is only part of this, especially as measured in groups shot from a bench at 100 yards. Your ability to shoot, to judge distance and wind (and adjust for them), to adopt a good solid position, to control your breathing, all come into play.

Having said that, if the rifle can't shoot somewhere close to 1 moa from a bench, consistently (not just 3 rounds that one time) you are making it hard for yourself to reach out to 400 under hunting conditions.
I think this addresses the crux of the problem, namely, how well you can shoot in the field under real hunting conditions. Having a rifle that can shoot small groups from the bench is nice, but a rifle that shoots 1.5 MOA should work fine out to 400 yards if you have the shooting skills to use it well.

It's always been said that a 1.5 moa rifle is capable of shots out to 400 yards on a big game animal. Whether the shooter can maintain the 1.5 moa is another question all together. I'll shoot most of my rifles off of a pack or bi-pod in the prone to test precision and skill at 400 yards, quite often. However, none of my rifles shoot 1.5 moa. They will turn in sub moa results at 400 yards, in a stable position like in prone with a bi-pod. Even with no support under the rear of the rifle. I tend to practice that way, since that is what my long range varmint silhouette shoots require.. The wind is what is going to throw off those groups and make them larger than 1.5 moa at distance, as well as shooter error.. Minimize shooter error and learn to judge the wind and you can make some damn long shots on big game animals. 400 isn't that far and TOF isn't much, but stretch it past 600 and then you have to be more leery about movement of the animal from the time you pull the trigger until the bullet reaches it.


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IMHO using paper plate sized targets or water filled 1 gal milk jugs at various distances from FIELD positions with lots of practice will let you know your limits. YMMV This technique sure humbled me when I first tried it. It did however become very rewarding and got me off the bench and into much more realistic shooting scenarios.

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This whole thread should be mandatory reading in hunter ed classes.


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My rule of thumb is whatever group size you can consistently get in practice (and NOT from on a bench) plan on doubling that group size in the field to account for various field conditions, i.e. lousy field position, too damn cold, out of breath, adrenaline dump, etc.

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I realize everything you find gentlemen are telling me about shooting in the field how well I can do etc. etc. I'm looking at this from a reloading position. What sort of accuracy should I strive for to be able to shoot out 400 yards. At what point do I stop trying different powders, changing bullets, changing distance from the lands etc. how good is good enough

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1" @ 100 yards IMO


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Originally Posted by grayfox
I realize everything you find gentlemen are telling me about shooting in the field how well I can do etc. etc. I'm looking at this from a reloading position. What sort of accuracy should I strive for to be able to shoot out 400 yards. At what point do I stop trying different powders, changing bullets, changing distance from the lands etc. how good is good enough
It's about confidence. I suggest you actually shoot at 400 yds from a few positions. Figure out for yourself what your limits are.

I was all gung ho to get into the LR game for some years, making several good shots on animals out to just shy of 600 yards. Then I started shooting at 600 and beyond in varying conditions, from sticks, pack, off an ATV, off a bench, and saw some crazy things. As a result, I have little confidence in my ability to hit past 600yds if there is more than a breeze from field positions. I practice more on smaller targets at shorter ranges, in ridiculous winds, now.


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Originally Posted by grayfox
I realize everything you find gentlemen are telling me about shooting in the field how well I can do etc. etc. I'm looking at this from a reloading position. What sort of accuracy should I strive for to be able to shoot out 400 yards. At what point do I stop trying different powders, changing bullets, changing distance from the lands etc. how good is good enough
I'd say that if you're averaging groups of 1.1-1.2 inches at a hundred yards, your rifle is accurate enough to shoot to 400 yards on big game. But you also have to have confidence in your rifle and your shooting to take 400 yard shots, and that's a personal decision.

I take few shots at game over about 300 yards, although occasionally I shoot further. I killed a nice mule deer buck at around 400 yards this year, but that is the exception for me and I prefer to get closer. In this case I didn't see a way to get closer so I took the shot.

I should mention that I've shot out to 600 yards in matches without a problem, but for me, shooting at animals in the field is different, and I'm much less willing to risk a bad shot in that situation.

Last edited by bowmanh; 12/09/22.
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Originally Posted by grayfox
So, everyone's opinion, what would you accept as acceptable 3 shot group size at 100 yards. For hunting out to 400 yards, for big game. I shoot a 308, 150 Barnes ttsx 46 of varget, and get 1.1 to 1.2. Average. JB especially want your opinion

How about you actually shoot targets at 400yds long before you worry about shooting game at 400yds.

That's the way it is supposed to work.

Groups don't matter, hits on vital zones do matter.

Never ever shoot game further than your prior practice on targets proves you can do the deed.


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no one shoots better at 400 yards than they do at 100 yards. wind, shakes, timing, fuzzy eyes, parallax, intervening air movement, ability even focus attention on the heartbeat and breathing... all easier off bench.

I had the same question: can I load better than I can shoot? the answer for me was yes!! borrow a perfectly balanced 6PPC rifle, and compare actual 400 yard targets with your expectations.

NO ONE SHOOTS 400 hunting yards better, or as well, as they do shoot 100 yards at the range.

my longest shots were unavoidable open spaces without cover to allow closer shots.


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I thought the topic was the adequacy of the rifle and ammo's accuracy potential, not the shooter's abilities. Guess I should go back and read the OP.


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I’d be striving for 0.5-1 MOA.

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Originally Posted by JohnBurns
Originally Posted by grayfox
So, everyone's opinion, what would you accept as acceptable 3 shot group size at 100 yards. For hunting out to 400 yards, for big game. I shoot a 308, 150 Barnes ttsx 46 of varget, and get 1.1 to 1.2. Average. JB especially want your opinion

How about you actually shoot targets at 400yds long before you worry about shooting game at 400yds.

That's the way it is supposed to work.

Groups don't matter, hits on vital zones do matter.

Never ever shoot game further than your prior practice on targets proves you can do the deed.
This!

Shoot your groups on paper and see what has promise or the one that has your bullet of choice. It's really true what Burnzy said that "groups don't matter, hit on vital zones do matter".

After my 100yd shots to get on paper I would put some clays out at 200, 300,400, and 500yds. If you can hit those that is sufficient and they're reactive and fun and cheap. Ideally this should be done in the field off a pack or other method you'd use. Then shoot the broken pieces. When you can break these repeatedly then your probably good to go.

Personally I practice this but on the steel animals
I practice sitting and offhand up to 400yd on small elk silhouettes. You can get extremely good and shockingly you can hit kill zone offhand with an good degree of consistency. But this is in an static situation. Still it makes easy to put shots 100,200,300 without running around looking for a space to go prone or find a rest. Its made me fast and freaking far more effective.

I agree the groups don't really matter. The ability to place is of far more relevance.

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