After learning something here.

JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
#1
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. :eek: :eek:

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 :lol:

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?

John
 

buckup

Well-Known Member
#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.
Mark
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
#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.

edi
 

JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
#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

John
 

wadashot

Account Suspended
#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.

wadashot
 

wadashot

Account Suspended
#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.

wadashot
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
#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.

edi
 

poddle

Well-Known Member
#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
:rolleyes:
 

tartinjock

Distinguished Member
#10
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....
 

MarkH

Well-Known Member
#11
I dont want to saw sawdust over head and neck shooting. With regards to shooting a 2" group at 100m off the bench/bipod is OK and will fell everything with a well placed shot.
However working of an improvised field rest at a approximated distance that group will most likely expand to 4" SO BEWARE.
Practice offhand shooting at 50m and see what group you produce and let that be a better guide as to what is achievable in the field.

Mark
 

ezzy6.5

Well-Known Member
#12
head shots

Hi all,
Iv'e just been reading the debate in Sporting rifle about this, I Have only ever shot one Deer in the head but I have head shot hundreds of rabbits and more than a few foxes. I wonder why this debate is often raised regarding deer, when was the last time you were told it was wrong to head shoot rabbits.
Funnily enough i changed Ammo for my HMR to 20gn cci's and last night i was having to shoot quite a lot of second shots even though i was hiting them in the head the bullets were passing straight through.

Ezzy.
 

stone

Well-Known Member
#13
not sure what i can add to this debate but as most of my stalking is walk and stalk on arable ground i meet deer in all sorts of different situations like roe in corn with just their heads showing or fallow walking up a hedgerow just sticks his head out to get a better look , as in past threads i hav said i am quite capable of taking a 100yard head shot and but usualy limit it to about 50 yards instead, no reason just my chioce, if you can hit a 1"bull at 100yards then a head shot is within your shooting capability
but the questions are: what is your capability and how do you feel about taking the shot?
practice does build confidence and no one should be made to feel any worse for not taking a head shot as they should not be condoned for taking one
ejg has stated a 273 yard head shot that is some going my furthest deer i hav shot is only 350+ and that was a follow up chest shot, most deer i shoot are between 60-120 yards but and about 50% are head or neck my choice
poddle and ezzy hav said about the debate in sporting rifle as i hav not read the actual article i can not comment but as i know the stalker involved he told me about the hate mail and threats that he has been sent and i hav no reason not to believe him
 

Andy L

Well-Known Member
#14
Interesting subject and one which I now feel I can contribute to. Some of you will have read my post about my experience with the cull in a Deer park.
I feel that too much attention is taken up by groupings. As Wadashot stated, it is your first shot that is important and this has to be taken at different distances, angles and off different rests from different positions.
I have found that I feel more confident with a head on shot or one from directly behind. The reason for this is that the only time I have cocked a shot up was because the Deer bolted as I pulled the trigger and dropped its head a bit. If I had been head on or behind, I would have missed it cleanly and would not have had to clean up my mess. Also a shot from the front or behind that goes low will take the neck out.
The other thing to bear in mind is the load that you use. I honestly feel that some of the vermin loads may be more effective for head shots than heavier deer rounds. I took a fallow pricket through the back of the head and the bullet exited the eye socket.Yet, the pricket, although it dropped like a stone, it lifted its head up again. If this had been a fragmenting round would this have happened?
Cheers
Andy
 
G

Grantoliver

Guest
#15
I am delighted that you have mentioned the bullet andy because it seems to me that this arguement is often approached from an entirely ethical one without taking into account calibre or bullet. I tend to use light weight high velocity rounds and so far(and I do accept that things may change) I have not seen a neck wound by these rounds which did not do massive damage to the spinal column. I believe that a slower heavier round may have penetrated too well and gone straight through. :???: What do we think.

Grant
 

Andy L

Well-Known Member
#16
Exactly my thinking, Grant. I was amazed that the pricket could lift its head when the central computer should have been destroyed! As we are looking for a damaging round rather than a round that does the least carcass damage, some of the varmint rounds must be more suitable for head and neck shots.
 

stone

Well-Known Member
#17
Andy L said:
Exactly my thinking, Grant. I was amazed that the pricket could lift its head when the central computer should have been destroyed! As we are looking for a damaging round rather than a round that does the least carcass damage, some of the varmint rounds must be more suitable for head and neck shots.
i use hornaday 100 grain spbt in the .243 does everthing i want it to do and 180 sp nosler solid base in the .308cal (30-06)no problems at all in that department just be carefull as some of these explosive rounds don't hav enogh penetration to reach the central nervous system and jaw shots are as they say jaw shots , not enough shock element to knock the animal of its feet as so to say
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
#18
Might need to explain why one would attempt a 273 yd
headshot. Well it was my furthest deer up to now. I shoot vermin at longer ranges but don't need to prove anything on deer.
In that case I had downed the hind with a heart shot at 250yds which I had ranged. Never saw that she had a calf along in the high grass. The hind still managed the 20 odd yards and went down with the calf standing
close. I was prone with an unusally good position even the but was on a steady rock, 16 mag scope with varmint reticule and I knew which dot to use. I've always got more confidence in the second shot because one
is sure any whatever so tiny dirt or moisture is out of the barrel.

Might never come across such a situation again.
edi
 

buckup

Well-Known Member
#19
wadashot said:
Hello JAYB.


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.
Hi Wadashot,
sorry I perhaps didn't put myself across clearly. My point was not that a second or third shot might be required. What I meant was, being able to shoot to this level three or four times consecutivly is not for me enough. I need to know that I can do it almost endlessly. A back up shot is not required if every first shot is on the money, but every first shot be it number one or number thirty one must all be good, or you will end up in a mess.
Might I add, I am mightily relieved to find on this site, the opinions being aired are being done in such a constructive way. I have seen this debate go rapidly out of control elsewhere. Thank you all, we can all learn from this thread.
Mark
 
G

Grantoliver

Guest
#20
Hi edi. On the basis you needed to take the shot, it sounds a great one. You must have been mightily relieved and rather chuffed to see it drop. What did you use.


Grant
 

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