Ethical discussion - What does 'accurate enough for hunting' really mean

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  • Ethical discussion - What does 'accurate enough for hunting' really mean

    Hola, El Cappitanos.

    I would like to see a place on the forum for discussion on the ethics of firearm ownership and use. I think having a dedicated area for the intelligent and thoughtful discussion of ethics will be good not only for the participants but also for newbies and also those "looking in" to see that the majority of firearms users are intelligent, thoughtful and sometimes insightful individuals.

    As an example:
    When i started researching firearms ownership due to a move to rural climes (where i would actually get regular use out of the significant out lay to set up), I often stumbled across the statement, "she's accurate enough for hunting", referring to a rifle that could land rounds anywhere with in a 2-4" diameter of the point of aim (as this is the size of the "kill zone). Elsewhere, I had read about target shooters placing shot after shot on top of the other.
    To me, this idea of "accurate enough for hunting" is rather the contrary of the ethics of the hunter, where by only the shot for an instant, humane kill should be taken and any shot where there is any doubt should be passed up.
    In the field, many factors play on the end result of any given shot: wind, angle of fire, distance, adrenaline, heart rate from tracking about, level of available light, time available for the shot etc, etc, (i could go on): given the increased chance of momentary error on any given hunt, i would have thought that "accurate enough for hunting" would be at least as accurate as your average target shooter.
    Which leads me to the question i've been wanting to pose the online shooting community for some time: What really is ethically accurate enough for hunting?

    Cheers,

    Gwion
    List to tick off:
    - TICK!!! NEW SCOPE: Sightron S-tac 2.5-17.5 X 56mm
    - TICK !!Left handed 223rem, Zastava M85
    - wildcat build in progress: 223McShort
    - TICK!!! Rebarrel Howa to 7mm-08
    - TICK!!! case trimmer/turner
    - Comp dies for 7mm-08
    - Case annealer
    - Custom dies for wild cat

  • #2
    For me its when you hit exactly what your aiming for. 95% of the time for me is brain shots. 5% is a heart/lung shot.

    One thing I think you missed in your post. Is people thinking too much about the shot then get the itch finger syndrome. That can throw a shot big time.

    Comment


    • Spurious
      Spurious commented
      Editing a comment
      That's why you use a projectile designed for hunting, that is, one that expands appropriately in the designated area of strike, thus killing the animal quickly.

    • Gwion
      Gwion commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by El-Skippo " post=8029
      One thing I think you missed in your post. Is people thinking too much about the shot then get the itch finger syndrome. That can throw a shot big time.
      Ah yes, I've noticed that myself when shooting on my home range. I usually have better results when i line up the target and squeeze off 5 shots with out thinking too much and just worry about being smooth and steady.

  • #3
    To me its being able to kill humanely with a high % success rate - ie accurate enough to perform head/heart/lung shots with good consistency but that also has a lot to do with the operator!
    Whacking Varmints is my passion!

    Comment


    • Gwion
      Gwion commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Varminator" post=8037
      To me its being able to kill humanely with a high % success rate - ie accurate enough to perform head/heart/lung shots with good consistency but that also has a lot to do with the operator!
      I agree it's largley up to the operator, but surely the gun must be up to the task!?!
      An operator can be very good and still have a chance of a slight screw up. Say, aiming at a roo's brain from 150-200m, aiming dead on, slight gust of wind as you squeeze, rifle throws a 2" flier on this round and ends up blowing an ugly hole through the animal's snout/jaw/neck muscle. It then bolts of, forcing you to take rapid follow ups with increased chance of error.
      Surely, a hunting rifle needs to be every bit as accurate as a target rifle???

  • #4
    I totally agree that hunting rifles should be as accurate as "target rifles" especially with the amount of anti hunting sentiment around. I also believe that correct calibre choice is very important, doesn't matter how good a shot you are if the calibre is too small the animal will suffer.

    Comment


    • #5
      There is a lot of focus on the "Rifle's Accuracy" and while that is important the real issue ( for me ) is the Shooter. The most accurate rifle in the world is useless unless the Shooter is competent at hitting the mark at that distance consistently..

      I remember reading an article once (written by Chuck Hawkes I think) in which he said the Shooter needs to know their limitations and capabilities. If you can't put 5 out of 5 shots into a 6" target at a given distance using your normal hunting "stance" WHY are you taking the shot.

      I always thought that was good advise. With practice I have managed to steadily increase the distance at which I have confidence in my ability to hit the target.

      If I can find the article I'll post it.

      CHeers TB.

      Comment


      • El-Skippo
        Skip commented
        Editing a comment
        Originally posted by Treebeard" post=8059
        There is a lot of focus on the "Rifle's Accuracy" and while that is important the real issue ( for me ) is the Shooter. The most accurate rifle in the world is useless unless the Shooter is competent at hitting the mark at that distance consistently..
        You took my next point i was going to make right outta my mouth, So a +1.

      • Gwion
        Gwion commented
        Editing a comment
        Originally posted by Treebeard" post=8059
        There is a lot of focus on the "Rifle's Accuracy" and while that is important the real issue ( for me ) is the Shooter. The most accurate rifle in the world is useless unless the Shooter is competent at hitting the mark at that distance consistently..

        I remember reading an article once (written by Chuck Hawkes I think) in which he said the Shooter needs to know their limitations and capabilities. If you can't put 5 out of 5 shots into a 6" target at a given distance using your normal hunting "stance" WHY are you taking the shot.

        I always thought that was good advise. With practice I have managed to steadily increase the distance at which I have confidence in my ability to hit the target.

        If I can find the article I'll post it.

        CHeers TB.
        Thanks TB,
        I think i saw that one too but it would be good to have it posted for others. I'll look later if you don't get to it first.

        Cheers.
        Now off to practice.

    • #6
      OK found the Chuck Hawkes article.

      http://www.chuckhawks.com/lightweight_rifles.htm

      TB

      Comment


      • #7
        When it comes to hunting accuracy you want all you can get. You need to do everything you can to get the rifle as stable as possible.

        Taking a shot offhand at game at or near to 100 metres is a very dodgy proposition. An extremely risky shot even on large game. I wouldn't even attempt it. Doesn't matter if it's a sub MOA rifle. If the scope reticle is wandering on and off the target the chance of missing or worst, just wounding the animal is very high. Don't take the shot.

        When game is sighted, particularly large game the heart starts to race, breathing speeds up in anticipation of taking the animal. Attempting an offhand shot at 100 metres when the body is reacting like this is foolish. Try running 200 metres then immediately fire a group offhand at 100 metres. I bet you'll be spraying bullets all over the place.

        Many people are over scoped...to much magnification. Sucked in by dreams of shooting like an SAS sniper. Consequently the reticle is bouncing all over the place. Wind the magnification down. Be realistic about your ability to shoot at various distances. For me I wouldn't attempt an offhand shot past about 80 metres. That's why I now find using a red dot scope ideal for such offhand shots.

        Avoid offhand shots like the plague. Get a rest, a log, tree, rock or use a bipod or shooting stick. Shoot sitting down or prone if you can.

        So many variables to consider when it comes to accurate ethical hunting. Use an appropriate caliber for the game targeted. Above all be realistic...if there is any doubt in your mind don't take the shot. Get in a better position and if that means stalking in closer with risk of the game getting on to you then so be it.

        Above all...be safe, identify the target and have fun. Even if you don't get anything it doesn't really matter. Think a bit and give the game the respect it deserves. If it's going to die make sure you do it right.
        I'm in love with Jennifer Hawkins and Alessandra Ambrosio

        Comment


        • Gwion
          Gwion commented
          Editing a comment
          Originally posted by Sambar Country" post=8239
          When it comes to hunting accuracy you want all you can get. You need to do everything you can to get the rifle as stable as possible.
          Thanks for that and the rest of your post, Sambar.

      • #8
        Meat animal= Head, upper spine.

        Trophy or on the fly= chest

        Running away shot= upper neck (depending on animal) or just one straight up the arse. That sits things down pretty quick.

        This topic sure has been to death. We should see if we can cut and paste from our last forum lol.

        To me "Dead is Dead" I aim for vitals or greatest mass when animals are on the run.

        Comment


        • #9
          I have used and still do use one of those 70 yo ex mil clunkers to head shoot a long legged long tail grass eating rat at 300m with aperture sights they are more then capable of ethical clean kills

          Originally posted by ex_reven" post=8686
          Accurate enough for hunting = pretty much any rifle that hasn't either had the rifling chewed out or left in the paddock to rust to death (but then again )

          Go to a military rifle shoot and look at the groups some guys are poking with 70+ year old rifles and iron sights out at 300m

          A bad workman always blames his tools.
          Sent via pony express and mail plane

          You know that moment when the steak is on the grill and your mouth waters in anticipation? Vegans feel the same after mowing the lawn.

          Comment


          • Hunter-338
            Hunter-338 commented
            Editing a comment
            Accurate Enough for Hunting= Consistency & Competency!

            Being able to consistently put down animals with a well placed shot!
            Being in the field, leaning off a tree, taking a 100m off hand shot, if you can't consistently shoot in these types of situations then the most accurate rifle in the world won't help!
            Being competent with your gear and limitations has more to do with it!

            As for hunting rifles being as accurate as BR rifles??

            Example-
            I have a 25/06, shot truck loads of goats with it and probably getting around to 4,000+ rounds through it now and the accuracy has opened up a bit!
            From inch groups to now probably around 2-2.5+ in at 100m.
            Is this rifle still accurate enough for hunting, of course, why not?
            I know the limitations of it, shot placement and to limit the range of my shots!
            I only use it for chest shots on goats and limit the range to 100 odd meters!
            Would I go for head shots or small game, no, because I know its limits!
            So refer to top of page!

        • #10
          I think as quick an end to life as possible is the only humane way. I'm not fond of chest shots most times, unless the head is just not going to happen. Far too may American hunters are more concerned with protecting a trophy head vs actually hunting and dispatching the animal.

          Comment


          • #11
            gwoin....one of your posts about a .17 shooter zeroing at 25metres and saying they had a flat shot out to 150 and you doubting that info shows to me that you have a long way to go in the area of understanding ballistics and flight path of a bullet....

            my .223 and .308 are zerod at 35 meters....for a given round....and I know where they impact at a given distance out to my "point blank range"

            for my .223 this means that anywhere between the muzzle and 200 meters I will either be and 30 mills low or 30 mills high...after that I employ hold over.

            what this also tells me is that at 300 meters I will be 300mm low if I don't adjust my point of aim to compensate.....

            Comment


            • fishphillott
              fishphillott commented
              Editing a comment
              My hunting 223 shoots 1/4 moa 1 shot groups all night long how much more accurate does it need to get next time I go out I will take a photo of a pile of roos targets to show you

            • Gwion
              Gwion commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by Taz" post=9770
              gwoin....one of your posts about a .17 shooter zeroing at 25metres and saying they had a flat shot out to 150 and you doubting that info shows to me that you have a long way to go in the area of understanding ballistics and flight path of a bullet....

              my .223 and .308 are zerod at 35 meters....for a given round....and I know where they impact at a given distance out to my "point blank range"

              for my .223 this means that anywhere between the muzzle and 200 meters I will either be and 30 mills low or 30 mills high...after that I employ hold over.

              what this also tells me is that at 300 meters I will be 300mm low if I don't adjust my point of aim to compensate.....
              Hey Taz. You're absolutely right. I do have a long way to go in understanding ballistics and i was recently reading about similar methods to the what you just mentioned. I then looked up a ballistic program that gives the trajectory of given loads and started trying to figure out at what ranges (near and far) to zero in order to give results as you describe.

              Although i was talking about my friend's "zero @ 25m", i guessthe "less than ethical"" aspect i was also referring to was his "sighting in" method. He seemed to be happy sighting in @ 25m and if he could land 3 or more shots in the one inch square we had drawn on the ply wood for a target he would have been happy to shoot it out to 150m. Personally, i would want at least 3 shots touching in the center 1/4 inch square to be taking shots out past 75m as 1/4inch @ 25m is still only 1MOA.

              By the way, this was before i had set up the home range and our "rest" was less than ideal, to say the least.

          • #12
            Ethical hunting is aiming for a clean kill, without undue suffereing.

            What this means, the rifle and ammo combination must be suitable to do the job, from a range, accuracy, and energy level, as well as appropriate projectile construction.

            Next is the shooter skills. Shots need to to be fired, that is within the firers known capability. This means, knowing what you can do in all positions, often, whilst struggling for breath, or being pushed around by adrenalin or wind.

            You will find your own parameters, of what you can do.

            You need to study the anatomy of your chosen game and understand the "killzones", and how they will be found from all directions, not just side on.

            If you can handle filing away all of the above and being able to retreive it on the day, then you will be as ethical as possible.

            Often it doesnt work to plan, but do you best to despatch wounded game quickly with minimal stress.

            Happy hunting!

            Oddball

            Comment


            • Gwion
              Gwion commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by Oddball" post=10118
              Ethical hunting is aiming for a clean kill, without undue suffereing.

              What this means, the rifle and ammo combination must be suitable to do the job, from a range, accuracy, and energy level, as well as appropriate projectile construction.

              Next is the shooter skills. Shots need to to be fired, that is within the firers known capability. This means, knowing what you can do in all positions, often, whilst struggling for breath, or being pushed around by adrenalin or wind.

              You will find your own parameters, of what you can do.

              You need to study the anatomy of your chosen game and understand the "killzones", and how they will be found from all directions, not just side on.

              If you can handle filing away all of the abovce and being able to retreive it on the day, then you will be as ethical as possible.

              Often it doesnt work to plan, but do you best to despatch wounded game quickly with minimal stress.

              Happy hunting!

              Oddball
              Agreed. Succinct and to the point. I like it.

          • #13
            So based on your standards where does the use of a .30-30 Lever action stand in on the practice of hunting application? Seeing as most .30-30's will at best shoot 2MOA.

            There is nothing wrong with wanting to be accurate, at the end of the day I think we are all out to achieve the perfect 'Bang Flop' in every projectile that comes out of our guns. The cold hard reality of the scenario is that this cannot be achieved with a success rate of 100% and nor should it be expected. I've shot Deer right through their heart with massive internal damage inflicted and still had to follow a blood trail some 100m+ to find the wounded animal. All hunters have the best intentions in their application to the sport when hunting. After all, what would be the point in tracking/hunting an animal for hours upon end only to shoot it's jaw or legs off? BUT, these things can happen. You try for perfection but, not every situation is perfect.

            Skip said it best earlier, you can line an animal up with a 1/2MOA rifle at 50-100m for a head shot and the animal might just flinch just at the wrong moment and guess what? Good bye jaw bone, snout or half the face. Of course this is not ideal but, to sit there claiming absolute perfection is just rubbish to me.

            This thread has some very valid points in among the dribble. I've seen tonnes of hunters do the talk about how great they are but, very few actually do the walk and impress. The best hunters on this forum will be the ones that apply and dedicate a large portion of their time to their craft, whether it be at a range, field or just holding their gun and stalking with an understanding for game movement.

            In summary, we all TRY to be ethical but, the guarantee of success can be tainted. I cannot stand BS high horse comments like I've read from you Gwion. It's just rubbish and I am deeply surprised no one else has said anything earlier. I couldn't give two hoots what someone has to say about ethics over a hunting forum, until you've hunted by my side I don't deem anyone to be ethical.

            Talk is cheap!

            Comment


            • Zero
              Zero commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by The Boar Man" post=10196

              In summary, we all TRY to be ethical but, the guarantee of success can be tainted. I cannot stand BS high horse comments like I've read from you Gwion. It's just rubbish and I am deeply surprised no one else has said anything earlier. I couldn't give two hoots what someone has to say about ethics over a hunting forum, until you've hunted by my side I don't deem anyone to be ethical.

              Talk is cheap!
              I agree with you mate. Ethical discussions are best left to academics and their moral high horses. I spent a number of years around such people, who are for all intents and purposes intelligent and switched on people but absolutely hopeless in analysing real world problems. Ethics in the real world are never as well constructed as textbook ethical problems. There are seldom cases where you will have to choose between killing 5 children or your best mate.

              Ethical discussions are all good and well, but when it comes to it, talk is cheap.

              Get out there and shoot mate, you'll develop your own sense of morality and ethical standards with time.

            • Guest's Avatar
              Guest commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by The Boar Man" post=10196
              So based on your standards where does the use of a .30-30 Lever action stand in on the practice of hunting application? Seeing as most .30-30's will at best shoot 2MOA.

              There is nothing wrong with wanting to be accurate, at the end of the day I think we are all out to achieve the perfect 'Bang Flop' in every projectile that comes out of our guns. The cold hard reality of the scenario is that this cannot be achieved with a success rate of 100% and nor should it be expected. I've shot Deer right through their heart with massive internal damage inflicted and still had to follow a blood trail some 100m+ to find the wounded animal. All hunters have the best intentions in their application to the sport when hunting. After all, what would be the point in tracking/hunting an animal for hours upon end only to shoot it's jaw or legs off? BUT, these things can happen. You try for perfection but, not every situation is perfect.

              Skip said it best earlier, you can line an animal up with a 1/2MOA rifle at 50-100m for a head shot and the animal might just flinch just at the wrong moment and guess what? Good bye jaw bone, snout or half the face. Of course this is not ideal but, to sit there claiming absolute perfection is just rubbish to me.

              This thread has some very valid points in among the dribble. I've seen tonnes of hunters do the talk about how great they are but, very few actually do the walk and impress. The best hunters on this forum will be the ones that apply and dedicate a large portion of their time to their craft, whether it be at a range, field or just holding their gun and stalking with an understanding for game movement.

              In summary, we all TRY to be ethical but, the guarantee of success can be tainted. I cannot stand BS high horse comments like I've read from you Gwion. It's just rubbish and I am deeply surprised no one else has said anything earlier. I couldn't give two hoots what someone has to say about ethics over a hunting forum, until you've hunted by my side I don't deem anyone to be ethical.

              Talk is cheap!
              Here is a man, I would hunt with.

              Thanks,

              Oddball

            • Gwion
              Gwion commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by The Boar Man" post=10196
              So based on your standards where does the use of a .30-30 Lever action stand in on the practice of hunting application? Seeing as most .30-30's will at best shoot 2MOA.
              This would be, as where others have stated, where circumstances dictate that that calibre can deliver a humane kill reliably and repeatably.

              There is nothing wrong with wanting to be accurate, at the end of the day I think we are all out to achieve the perfect 'Bang Flop' in every projectile that comes out of our guns. The cold hard reality of the scenario is that this cannot be achieved with a success rate of 100% and nor should it be expected.

              I agree entirely.

              All hunters have the best intentions in their application to the sport when hunting.

              I know this to be blatantly NOT the case. Most do, yes, but there ARE those that don't.

              Skip said it best earlier, you can line an animal up with a 1/2MOA rifle at 50-100m for a head shot and the animal might just flinch just at the wrong moment and guess what? Good bye jaw bone, snout or half the face. Of course this is not ideal but, to sit there claiming absolute perfection is just rubbish to me.

              I don't believe i have claimed, at any stage, perfection: quite the contrary in fact, i have admitted to being in experienced at hunting with a rifle; this does not make me in experienced in the ethical or humane treatment of animals. What i have done is attempted to communicate my views.

              This thread has some very valid points in among the dribble. I've seen tonnes of hunters do the talk about how great they are but, very few actually do the walk and impress. The best hunters on this forum will be the ones that apply and dedicate a large portion of their time to their craft, whether it be at a range, field or just holding their gun and stalking with an understanding for game movement.

              I agree, i agree, i agree. Except for the drivel bit; unless you are prepared to include your self in that statement.

              In summary, we all TRY to be ethical but, the guarantee of success can be tainted. I cannot stand BS high horse comments like I've read from you Gwion. It's just rubbish and I am deeply surprised no one else has said anything earlier. I couldn't give two hoots what someone has to say about ethics over a hunting forum, until you've hunted by my side I don't deem anyone to be ethical.

              Talk is cheap!

              Now, i take exception to this because i don't think i have been on any "high horse", i have merely attempted to stimulate discussion, state my view and ask for reasonable, inoffensive responses.Other than that, i agree with the other points you made in that last paragraph. I do, however, think that discussing the ethics of hunting is important and i think you do too, or you wouldn't have joined the discussion.
              Thanks

              Gwion

          • #14
            I used to shoot rabbits with my .30-06...some might say that isn't ethical because I blew the things to pieces and was using unnecessary force. But they didn't feel a thing. Didn't matter where you hit them...end result was the same. So "accurate enough" for that was just hit em anywhere.
            I'm in love with Jennifer Hawkins and Alessandra Ambrosio

            Comment


            • Gwion
              Gwion commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by Sambar Country" post=10209
              I used to shoot rabbits with my .30-06...some might say that isn't ethical because I blew the things to pieces and was using unnecessary force. But they didn't feel a thing. Didn't matter where you hit them...end result was the same. So "accurate enough" for that was just hit em anywhere.
              Sambar, i remember people doing this all the time when i was a teenager in NE Vic.

              My only problem with that is.... isn't it an expensive piece of rabbit mince???

          • #15
            Face a reality, a deer, goat, pig ......etc are really big targets, most are shot at under 100 yards, target shooting is far different when your aiming for a match stick head, you don't really need that level of fine accuracy to shoot a goat. A 4 inch group is accurate enough for the army (and they are shooting humans) at 100 yards, so don't get to head up when shooting field rifles.

            Comment

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