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Thread: After learning something here.

  1. #1

    After learning something here.

    I would like to make it quite clear from the start that I am in no way having a go at anybody here. I am just trying to gain a little knowledge. The touchy subject that I wish to acquire knowledge on is Head shooting.

    I have never really worried about it much, I have only ever shot 2 deer in the head, both of these being the only shot available, and one was on a youngster that had just lost it's mother. Thinking back on these shots and the placement involved, all I can say is one was through the back of the head, and the other was through it's ear on the way in and left the other side just below its ear.

    The other day sanderj89 was describing his first outing with his new gun, and how pleased he was, he was getting 2 inch groups. I replied along the lines that 2 inches was good enough for hunting, and how nice it was to hear from someone who was happy with the groups even though they were not microscopic. buckup chimed in and agreed that under normal circumstances 2 inches was good enough but, under the circumstances he had been operating in, culling deer in a park which had to be head shot, 2 inches would not do. Well never having been in this situation, I could offer no opinion. Other than a light hearted one about pin headed deer

    I was thinking about this and then started to get scientific about it. I made a circle by touching the end of my thumb with the end of my index finger, which formed a 2 inch'ish circle. Now if this is considered not good enough for headshooting a deer, what is? You see if it was me and I knew that I could put it on target within a 2 inch circle, then I think that I would have no hesitation in pulling the trigger. Having said that, what do I know, I have never been in the position where I had to head shoot only.

    So, my question is what is the accepted accuracy considered to be essential for headshooting deer?


  2. #2
    Just to set the record straight, I don't shoot in a park.
    I don't take offence, it's a fair question. I base my feeling, and thats all it is on the following. The smallest deer shot in the U.K is i guess munty or CWD. Having prepped a few for mounting on boards, their brain cavity is probably, give or take, 2" in diameter. If at 100yds I can put all the holes in that circle, in theory all is well. This next bit is a general question, not aimed at any particular member.
    Getting three four or five to group in that circle is fine, but can you get ten or twenty or more? Now that is the reason I like to group inside 1", I can afford a small margin of error without wounding. The shot still has to be in good conditions etc, but thats for the individual stalker to decide. I have only had to head shoot since last August, and in fairness most of what I have shot were Fallow, with a considerably larger size head.
    As I added in a later post, I would prefer not to have to head shoot, but as it is The choice is head shoot or don't shoot here. I'm still a newby myself, so to have the confidence to put all my shots in a smaller than 2" group helps my nerves when taking these shots. Incidentaly the guy I was in Poland with liked to shoot paper at 600 and 1000m. His logic was a bit like mine. If he can shoot at these very long ranges, the close 300yd shots are easy.
    I wouldn't like to try to tell anyone head shooting is great, for me it's extra pressure I don't really want.
    Likewise I hope I didn't come over as saying a 2" group is not good enough, I just need more confidence in the shot than that.
    (I still don't like the way it sounds, but it's the best I can do, I'm an engineer, not a writer).
    At the end of the day if the man pulling the trigger is happy the shot is a killing shot, then so am I.
    Kind regards to all, and thanks for being so civil JAYB, it's good to have a discussion with a gent.

  3. #3
    I think the biggest decision is to know if one is able
    to take that head shot under the circumstances.
    To judge how stable your shooting position is, are you
    canting the rifle, are you rested enough and so on.
    I think the rifle must at least be able to shoot around
    one inch groups and be well zeroed. If you get a couple
    flyers for unknown reasons, forget it.
    I sometimes shoot an area with high grass and at times one
    would only see the head. I have taken head shots, furthest 273yds.
    But avoid it if possible. Things can go tits up very quickly.
    If I have a choice, then it won't be a head shot.

    One can practice this a bit by target shooting under different
    circumstances in the field. I'd every now and then practice the
    free-hand shot at 100yds, good fun too. Gave me the confidence to chest shoot a sika spike off the shoulder at good 100yds this year and that was
    after sprinting 100yds to cut his way off.


  4. #4
    Sorry about that buckup, I was convinced you were culling deer in a park someplace. I don't want anyone to think I am having a dig here, I am genuinely interested to find out from those who actually have to do it, what is the minimum accuracy for shooter and rifle. I should add here that I am talking about taking these deer under normal conditions, I am not too interested in stalking that requires, range finding, computer calculations, scope adjustments etc. Just the sort of accuracy that someone who has to shoot their deer in the head accept, because I don't know. buckup, who is in the position of having to do this, has explained that to him MOA is what is required at 100 yards, the same goes for ejg.

    Does this mean we have a sort of benchmark for those in this unfortunate position


  5. #5
    Hello JAYB.

    I suppose this subject will always bring comments from all sides.
    The problem with head shots is the very small room for error, especially if this shot is taken from the side, where the cheek bone could be hit and the deer run off into cover and die slowly.

    I wouldn`t condone anyone from doing it, as i have shot quite a few in the head, mainly roe, but a few reds too, although i have tried to take these shots at the back of the head rather than the side.

    Regarding the 2" grouping, your first shot should be got to within 1" in my mind, never mind being able to place 4 or 5 shots or even 20, with a head shot, if it connects properly, there won`t be any need for another.

    I could give you a few examples, but won`t bore you with the details.

    I think a lot of it comes down to
    1, How desparate are you to shoot the deer in the first place.
    2, How experienced you are at quick bullet placement
    3, How confident you are of your piece of kit.
    4, and time of year, long grass, ETC.

    I know from my experience doing it, that for me it was out of neccessity to get my deer as i wouldn`t get paid and can honestly say that i never misjudged one. This does not make me infalable of making a mistake eventually, but i think my experience in taking the shot at the right time helped.


  6. #6

  7. #7
    I suppose Grant, that in an idea world there would be no need to take either, but seasons and whether the landowner demands them to be neck or head shot will determine this, then you must decide wether you want to be a part of it.

    To me, if you can place a shot behind the ear on it`s neck, or rather the atlas joint, then you must be confident in your shooting abilities.

    I would like to add that you "MUST" have the conscience to be able to live it if a head shot goes badly wrong.


  8. #8
    One shouldn't forget that if a head or behind the ear shot is executed right it is possibly the quickest death and most humane.

    But the more one is enclined to go for the head the more likely it is
    that it'll go wrong at some stage. Maybe better to use it as a last resort.

    Chest or shoulder shots can also go wrong, I screwed up a shot last year
    with a sika hind slightly quartering towards me at 80yds. The 150gr Fusion
    bullet broke up on the shoulder, one half came out on the same side further back and the other came out opposite side. Made good 100 yds later, but it looked like a perfect gut shot until we skinned the animal and
    found the entrance. My mate had the same thing happen with a 120gr nos a few weeks back.


  9. #9
    You have really opened up a can of worms here.
    This subject will be debated till the end of time.
    There is an article on this very subject in this months SR

    I'm bracing myself for the most replies on any topic here since "shooting deer led down"

    Here we go

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member tartinjock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Nairn, Inverness-shire
    I think that if you are happy in your abilities then why not? I like to neck shoot if I can, I'm happy with that. I am sure that there are people who like me have missed even what at the time you see as an "Easy Shot", it happens to everyone, even going for a Heart/Lung shot. Unfortunatley, the nature of our Hobby/Job/Pastime whatever you want to call it, you/we I will miss or injure, regardless of the shot chosen. All we can do is learn by it and gain confidence in yourself and equipment when for whatever the reason fails....

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