7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/20/2006
Posts: 35
vital shot areas on game

back here in pa the average kill area on a deer is about 8 inchs by 8 inchs.
what would be the kill area on elk and mule deer?also how accuate are the rifles that some of you are using?
just looking at some insight on these matters.
gary b.

Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1748
vital shot areas on game

Gary, I'd say on a elk, the heart and lungs area is approximately 14-16" and a mature muley 10". I usually sight my .300 Win. Mag. in 2" high at a 100 yards. At 200 yards it'll be right on and with a steady rest and no wind, I feel comfortable on killing my target out to 400 yards. When I'm shooting in my backyard, I like to practice running hard for a hundred yards and then shooting at my target. It really helps me to practice my breathing, holding my rifle steady and squeezing the trigger, so when I'm hunting for real, my shots count. I try all kinds of shooting positions, with shooting sticks and without.
Have fun,

Location: South-central Montana
Joined: 08/10/2006
Posts: 82
vital shot areas on game

Those sound right to me, and for the accuracy of the average rifle? Personally if I can't get a 1" group at 100 yards off the bench I get rid of the rifle. Most people consider 1 1/2" group at 100 yards as acceptable.

Good luck-


Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3206
vital shot areas on game

Accurate is a relative thing. Most of us demand more accuracy than we really need. I think we like to shoot to much and have to much time on our hands.

I think most people will tell you that if you can hit an 8" target at the range you typically shoot, your good to go. But 8" at 100yds means 24", roughly, at 300yds. The theory is to be able to hit that 8" as far away as you might shoot which means 8" at 100yds don't cut it. I find it strange that people that shoot say 4" at 100yds and hardly never shoot even that far are told they need to shoot better by people prepared to shoot at 500yds but seldom do.

Personally I think that a rifle is accurate enough if it can place all it's bullets in as small a group as you can shoot at the max point blank range of the cartridge/bullet your using using an 8" target. My own are set up on 6" for game and 5" for preditors. I also have little patience for a rifle that doesn't do 1" at 100yds. 1 1/2" is fine and could relate to 4 1/2" at 300yds, a distence we seldom need to shoot. Your well with the 8" target there. 1 1/2 minute of angle rifle is more than adaquate. If you have that and never get carried away with range and aim at center of the chest on any deer or elk you should score a killing shot.

Location: Wyoming
Joined: 08/04/2006
Posts: 38
vital shot areas on game

I don' t think it's quite proper to think of it in terms of how accurate a rifle is. Rather, how proficient is the marksman?

Lots of guys I know can cover groups with a dime at 100 yards, but miss every shot come opening day. Go figure, the deer/elk/antelope often don't wait for you to set up your bench, get out the bipod, spotting scope, ......

Sure, we want to make sure our rifle's zeroed, but after that, if you're practicing from the prone or from a bench, you're probably not "training the way you'll fight" (borrowing a saying from my employer).

If you can hit a dinner plate offhand at 100 yards, you're probably okay.

Location: williamstown vt
Joined: 08/30/2003
Posts: 293
vital shot areas on game

off hand at a 100yrds my 308 does fairly well, out of three, two will be cutting each other in half, and the third is only 1/8" away. BUT one thing my dad always told me was the rifle will only ba as accurate as the shooter. After trying differant brand name shells, that's as close as I can possibly get her to shoot without handloading. I'm happy just the way it is. Yes I realise it's not the question at hand but... I figure they say 8" @ 100yds. So I just have to have confidence within myself.

Alamosa's picture
Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
vital shot areas on game

One of the excellent articles available at this site mentions that a shoulder shot is a poor shot.

Most any rifle will shoot through the shoulder of a deer, but if you subtract off the shoulder from an elk you get a considerably smaller target. It might work out that you actually have a larger target with a deer.

I saw this firsthand this year when a guy in my group had a bullet deflected off a shoulderblade and traveled down the length of the elk's foreleg, exiting the hoof. Luckily it had deflected off the inside of the shoulderblade, but that elk was still very mobile until subsequent shots.

I find it ironic that every ad you see for a rifle scope will have the crosshairs squarely on the shoulder of a bull.

Joined: 01/05/2007
Posts: 169
vital shot areas on game

if you bench rest shoot it and take out the human factor and it doesn't hold a group then its junk

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