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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

I agree 100% with don's defintion of marginal vs acceptable vs unacceptable and was my train of thought when typing my answer to the original question.

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

Ahh... this is a very good thread. Thanks for posting that Don and Chester. It seems there are different definitions of marginal caliber, I had been assuming there was only one accepted definition. I should have known better. Well you know what they say about assumptions...

From my perspective, I would consider Don's marginal rating, not marginal but rather unacceptable. Not that your definition isn't a good one Don, just that there is more leeway than I can live with. I simply would not want to shoot at game with a caliber (at a reasonable distance) that even if the shot is perfect, unlucky rib placement could prevent a clean kill (even in 1 out 20 cases).

While I appreciate what your saying about ribs, I have simply never heard a hunter in the course of talking down a cartridge use evidence of failure to break/penetrate a rib as an indicator of the calibers "marginalness". Usually they give an experience where the cartridge "failed" even though the shot was not in the vital zone in the first place, but was in some other place and "didn't slow the game down". Some other place usually being the rump or shoulder. I find this to be too demanding of a definition of marginal (but it is what I was thinking of when I typing the starting post). Consider that this hunter is already having a hard time hitting the vital zone (thus all the rump/shoulder shots), but now they are going to escalate their caliber at the sacrifice of shooting ability, which they probably need more than a bigger caliber.

So when I was writing the original post this is what I was thinking. All assume you are within reasonable shot distance.

Unacceptable : In the vitals, assured a clean kill most all the time, but not all.

Marginal : In the vitals, assured a clean kill always, anywhere else other than a lucky neck shot and who knows. Definitely better be prepared to hoof it if your outside the kill zone and it bolts.

Acceptable : In the vitals, assured a clean kill always and in someplaces like shoulder/rump and it is going to hobble it considerably. Still, hoofing it is certainly possible if your outside the kill zone (the cursed gut shot).

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-12-01 23:31 ]

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

I have put on my fire suit cause I'll get some heat for this but....Marginal absolutely has to be equated with the distance/calibre equation and conditions of the shot.

I would be more than comfy shooting a whitetail with a .22 @ 20 yards with the reasonable assurance that a hit in the vitals or head will result in a kill. I have seen this done many times growing up and the deer would get into Ma's garden.

A 30.30 will almost certainly kill the same whitetail with a shot almost anywhere in the ribcage @ 75 yards and will retain the needed 1100 ft#s needed to kill out to 200 yards if...IF you can hit him.

Example; A .308 win would be acceptable by anyone when used in a stand where the longest shot could be no more than 100 yards. It would become marginal when you moved to a shooting platform over looking a clearing with expected shots out to 200 yards. Now climb into your shooting box over looking a soybean field and shooting distances out to 300 yards and you have an otherwise acceptable firearm become very marginal and with all but an experienced shooter, unacceptable.

Marginal would then have to be defined as the distance that a given calibre would generaly be expected to have a degree of difficulty ensuring a kill when shot boarderline into the vitals with some error in aim but would otherwise kill with an acccurate shot into the vitals.

Before berating me it should be noted that I never mentioned the .270, therefore points for good behavior should be forthcoming. Grin

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

A 308 could kill a deer at longer range than 100 yards. Generally speaking, there isn't much room for marginal in big game hunting, but I'd rather see someone shooting a lighter caliber gun like a 6mm, 25-06, 260 Remington, or similar gun than a big magnum that they shoot erratically and inconsistantly with. It's just my opinion that it is easier to develop good rifle marksmanship from the calibers I listed and similar ones than from the 300 magnums and things like them.

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

Yes Sir Captain, a .308 will kill at 100 yards. I have a measured 310 yard kill shot with a .308 out of a climbing stand using my knee as a rest. I hunted almost exclusively with one for 20 years and just recently bought a 30.06 when the timber company, whose land I hunt, started clear cutting.

My 310 yard shot was a mistake on my part. I thought he was around 200 yards but lucky for me he was at the bottom of a steep gully so my shot still blew his heart into unreconizable chunks. The Federal Premium 165 gr silver tip came out the otherside thru a hole about 3" in diameter. I think most hunters would be surprised at just how far 100 yards in the woods really is and how small a deer is at 200 yards. .

The question was what is marginal for a beggining shooter. The .308 was just a familar example of when marginal becomes marginal and also shows that a larger to medium calibre gun can make up for a poorly made shot, even when made by an experienced hunter.

The lite calibres you listed are excellent choices for the stated purpose of developing good marksmanship but I am still convienced that when its all on the line give me or my greener something that'll most likely certainly kill whatever is shot with it, with in reason of course. I certainly dont recommend using a .457Roberts or a .300WM for use by a greener.

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

I agree with what you're saying. I agree that on a $5000+ elk hunt, the stakes are pretty darn high, so one would certainly want to have enough gun. For smaller game, like whitetail deer, you have plenty of latitude and the light calibers I listed are ideal for such light, thin skinned, light-skeleton game. Obviously, a 7mm Magnum or 300 Magnum will work for deer hunting, generally speaking, their use should be restricted to situations where long range shooting is the rule rather than the exception. In spite of this, I carried a 7mm Remington Magnum during deer season, because in the areas I was hunting, long range shots were very likely. As a general rule, I feel that whitetails calibers are things like the 6mms, the 25-06s, the 260 Remington, 270 Winchester, 7mm-08 and 280 Remington, 308, 30-06, 30-30, mild recoiling stuff. These are also very suitable for mule deer, pronghorn, wild pigs, mountain goats, sheep, and black bears. For heavier game, I'd say the 270 is the minimum. Whether elk are the quarry, or moose, brown bears, caribou, I think its better and more ethical for the person to be shooting a gun that they are absolutely comfortable with over something they can't even print consistant, good groups with at the range. Its my experience that if a gun is difficult to shoot accurately at the range, it isn't going to do any better in the field. The best choice in general is a gun with a recoil energy of 20 ft-lbs or less, so this allows for powerful, hard hitting calibers like the 7mm Remington Magnum, 30-06, 270, and 280, along with the the other calibers I listed.

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

Before berating me it should be noted that I never mentioned the .270, therefore points for good behavior should be forthcoming.

Ha Ha! Two thumbs up!

Marginal absolutely has to be equated with the distance/calibre equation

I agree 100%.

and conditions of the shot.

Not sure where your going with that though.

I've heard folks say many times stuff like (and this isn't direct at you JTapia cause I'm not really sure what you mean) "I shoot this mega bullet in my mega gun because it goes through brush better". I always kind of scratch my head at that statement.

To me it seems that shooting a mega whatever for the sole reason that it goes through brush better is silly. Minor pertubations (i.e. brush) on light speedy objects (i.e. bullets) nearly always causes the speedy object to go screwy. Meaning if your shooting through an obstructed view with the idea that if the bullet hits a bit-o-brush and its going to go through straight as an arrow, you've got the wrong idea. When shooting through brush it is better just not to do it, mega-bullet or no mega-bullet.

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

Thanks for the thumbs Bitmasher.
I didn't want this thing to turn into another .270 fiasco.

I apologize for not making myself clear on shot conditions.
By shot condition I mean anything involved in the actual act of aiming and delivering an accurate shot. This includes, but not limited to, state of mind of shooter ie; excitement, surprise and nervousness. Shooting position ie; standing shooting freehand, shooting from a stand with or without a rest, shooting from a twisted position from a stand. I have had to make left handed shots before and its very hard to do.
Obstacles in the bullet path, yep some shooters will shoot thru brush and such.
Weather ie; rain, snow, bright sunlite. With my Redfield tracker scope a bright sun from directly behind me gives me a terrible glare in my scope lens making it difficult to see the crosshairs and dot.
Angle of the animal ie; quartering away, quartering toward, coming straight at you, straight away from you, and the hardest shot of all....standing still broadside.

I have heard and its been my experience that some of the smaller cartridges of larger calibres like the example .308, will pass thru light brush,such as tall grass and leaves, unscathed and still carry onto the aiming point. I certainly dont reccomend shooting thru thick brush but I have shot thru leaves and tall grass with no ill effects.
I do have a brush buster gun for the thick stuff....its called a 12 Ga with 00 buckshot !!

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

fellas im new to this sight and i dont want to sound like a know-it-all, but it seems to me that yall are way underestimating the effective range of your fire arms. i use my win'94 30-30 because it is "a good brush gun". granted i wont shoot through brush ie. briars in the creek bottom, any further than i can see clearly (approx. 75yds). im not saying that the bullet will stay perfectly inline with where your point of aim is, but the larger, slower bullet wont waver as much as the smaller faster one.

when i first was getting used to my winchester i had the rear sight adjusted to low for the 300+ yard shot i was attempting. my shots were landing 15 to 20 yards short. and sence we were putting out feed at the time my grandfather and tony(the ranchhand) both saw and were ribbing me about it.when i pointed out that i was using a 30-30 and it probably didnt have the range Papa said, "Hell, boy that 30-30 will kill a deer at half a mile." he was exagerating of course, but a couple years later i nailed a coyote and paced it off to 375 yards. Ive never hunted any thing so big as elk but ive seen a .270 drop whitetail at 450 and ive downed several 275+ shots on whitetail with my winchester... and my evil twin has baged a couple with a .22 at 50 yards.

i think in responce to the forum question IMO you should always use the gun that you use most accuratly while hunting.

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Marginal rifle versus marginal shooting skill

Most people probably do under-estimate the effective range of their firearms. The problem is that most also OVER-estimate the effective range of themselves!

Yes, most guns can consistently drop a bullet into the vitals of a deer or elk at ranges up to half a mile. The problem is that there are very few hunters who can hold steady enough to manage that, even from a shooting bench let alone under field conditions.

Besides, I would much rather see folks UNDER-estimating their effective ranges than OVER-estimating them. It is much more humane to hunt a little harder and get a little closer, so that you don't have to wonder whether or not you can make a killing shot from the distance you're at.

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