Rifle practice

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Was wondering how often do you all go out and practcie with your rifles say shooting 15 + rounds at paper targets with varying ranges and shooting positions.

The other day i shot a stag at 395 yards in perfect conditions there was a group of them stood looking at me and the farmer in one of his crop fields there were very few options to get closer besides had full confidence in making a good shot.

The round hit nicely through both lungs and that was that .
Anyway the farmer was very pleased and as i went to deal with the stag one of his mates turned up also a deer stalker.
This bloke immediately attaked me saying what the hell was i doing shooting a deer that far and thats not deer stalking.

I explained that i wasnt trying to stalk it i was trying to kill it for crop protection.
I then explained that i practice everyweek with my rifle at targets out too 600 yards {i wouldnt shoot a deer that far] and i had full confidence and if required could give him a demonstration.This he delcined.

I know countless stalkers who go out buy a box of 100 g normas zero at 100 yards with a sporter rifle an little 6x power scope.These guys never ever go and actually practice with there rifles .
They then critisise me for taking long shots my argument to them is who is more ethicle the guy whot practices all the time at varying distances or the bloke who zeroes at 1oo yards never practices with his rifle but then takes all manner of shots off sticks but to him thats all ok because its under 70 yards.


Well-Known Member
Hi Ven2

A stag is a big target compared to a roe buck. I think a lot of people get on there high horses about ethics with an oversimplified argument about distance only.
A new member in his enthusiasm as a novice shot a roe at 160yds in the lower jaw and luckily killed the deer. the risk factor for wounding outweighed the chance of a clean kill, the kill zone being highly mobile and @2" square. The broadside of a red stag has a kill zone of 12" square and less mobile is a less risky shot IMHO even @ 350+ yds.
It all comes down to experience, practice and judgement.
The more you practice and learn form the not so good shots the better you become. Its the ones that constantly repeat the same mistakes that we have to watch out for.



i DONT TAKE SHOTS OUT BY SAY ABOUT 200 ,that for me is what it is about the stalk .Now i take it from your post your are a target shooter and will i hope realise that we are dealing with and animal that can run at 40 miles per hour also has a zero to 10 yards in less than 0.5 of a second. So shooting at the distances you shoot has its risks so while you play about with your range finders and practice a lot i would also suggest you leave the chaps alone that concentrate on the field craft required to get close to there target. Who really enjoy the stalking the at one with nature for me its called the buzz.


I couldnt agree more with you it is indeed all about the stalk i would far rather stalk a deer too 100 yards but as i said i was out to kill these deer not for a sporting thrill.
Im not critising anyone it was more the other way round each to his own it was just that this particular bloke had a go at me for doing what i can easily do.
Any target shooter wil know that hitting a quietly feeding stag in the chest at 395 yards in a 1 mph wind is hardly a difficult shot.
The only way i could have got near them was to crawl through a 400 yard long field of corn .This would have never worked because they would have seen the tops of the corn moving it would also have required a free hand shot
which i am not very confident with far rather it be a further shot off the bipod.

And no i wont be trying to shoot a deer further than that this was an exception but all my target work made it easy.

MY qeastion was also how often do you if ever go and have a practice with your rifle.


I don't practice very often and only shoot about 150 rounds in a full year .
I don't have a bi pod or a moderator nor do i have any gadgets I prefare to travel light and try the getting close and personal ;)


Well-Known Member
I think most stalkers shoot very little ammo in a year when out actually hunting, so that really is irrelevant, if you don't practice regularly then you are as guilty of bad practice as those you criticise.
I could hit a target at 1000 yards with the right scope for the job and get good results, at 400 - 500 yards also but the thought of taking a large live target at 200-300 yards is not something to be done lightly unless it is something you have extensive experience of.


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I used to shoot a lot of bullets for practice in the past but is not like training for a marathon. You dont need to constantly put the miles in to get decent results so you dont need 100's of bullets shot down a 100m range to get good results hunting.
80%+ of shoot skill is mental preparation and relaxation. The reason many people shoot so often is to fill range time and for the fun of it. I dont see a lot of quality time being put in. For example a novice can get a good sub MOA group after a days couching you come back 5 years later and the group size has remained the same.
Most mistakes made with shot placement are due to a lack of concentration and clear thinking about breath control,range, windage, shot angle and follow through, not calibre of make of rifle. A lot of hunters blame their deficiencies on the quality of their ammunition/rifle, very rarely will you see a runner blame his shoes.
PS I have shot a fair few deer at +200m.



Active Member
Ok, head above the parapet time for me!!.
I guess that you'll be able to figure out, fairly quickly, that I don't post very often, but, not a day goes by when I don't check the site. I just choose to stay in the background.
Firstly, I was one of the quickest to criticise Basil. Mate, I haven't changed my views but with hindsight, I should not have allowed my emotions to take over and should have been helpful, not overly critical. Sorry.
Now for the practice thing. I have put about 2000 rounds through my rifle in the last four years. (Well, one of my rifles) About 95% of these shots have been at deer targets ranging from 100yds to 600 yards. I can happily alter the elevation on my scope and would expect to hit my target 99% of the time.What generally causes a problem is swirling wind somewhere out between my muzzle and aim point. But not really a major concern when punching paper.
The other 5% of my shots are at deer, Muntjac, Roe and mostly Fallow. I don't trophy shoot, only cull. I do head shoot, but only up to about 70 yds and only when I have a stable shooting position. I have shot Fallow at 280yds or so but only from a very stable shooting position.
I have been fortunate not to loose anything but I have shot a beast in the spine and I certainly didn't aim there! So I'm far from perfect.
But what I do have, and consider very very important is a respect for my quarry. This respect will not allow me to cull at ridiculous distances because although I know that I can (on paper at least) emotions, adrenalin and all sorts of wierd things come into play when looking at a live animal.
So, head shots, sometimes. Fair distances, sometimes. Thought for my quarry, always.
This is what works for me. I don't expect everyone to share my values but they keep my conscience clear.
Fire away!!


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Just got back from the range an hour ago. Fired a few shots of the bench to dirty the barrel and then had a couple of series at the running moose.
Most of our deer / moose are shot driven
All shooting practice is good but the bench should only be used for sighting in. Practicing shooting offhand/with a stick, sitting and knealing are more important to my thinking.

Bought 500 fmj for practice and there won't be many left by the time the moose hunting starts in October.

The thing with practice is it should give you confidence in your rifle and your shooting ability.

I've shot fallow at 250 yrds but i don't make a habit of it :)


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target shooting

i shoot quite a lot of practise rounds each year. this means that my confidence is pretty high. I have shot a fallow doe at 220yards off sticks. this is with my remmy model 7 7mm08. but i also don't make a habit of reaching out so far.

I have had a bit of a think about whether i would shoot a red stag at 395 yards. i think i would be a bit reluctant with the remmy but with my parkerhale .30-06 and a rangefinder and a ballistics card or a well memorised ballistics card i would take the shot.



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"This bloke immediately attaked me saying what the hell was i doing shooting a deer that far and thats not deer stalking. "

what the bloke really meant was :

"I can't do it at that range and you've made me feel inadequate because you can. I've such an inflated sense of self-importance and what I just saw you do has wounded my already low self-esteem so I'm going to try and say you've done something wrong because I can't bear the fact you've exposed my own shortcomings. "

You see this all the time in life - fishing, shooting, driving, down the pub, who's got the best kids etc, etc,

All he's got is a hammer and so everything looks like a nail. Hope you had a good laugh at him.

You've got to love people who tell other people how to live their lives :)


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"I explained that i wasnt trying to stalk it i was trying to kill it for crop protection. "

Must question your motives here what good did shooting one stag from a group do with regard to crop protection ?

The rest of the stags will be back the following night are you going to return each evening and shoot another one ?

It would be far better for the farmer to drive them off with dogs and erect a deer fence which would solve his problem regarding crop protection .

The broad assumptions made here are just that assumptions was the stalker concerned incapable of making such a shot or do just assume he was not


Well-Known Member
I dont practice that often, but if I make up a bullet with a new head I will zero at 100, and practice out to 250. I find out its drop etc, then am happy. I also carry out regular shooting tests with 2 calibres (twice a year) just to keep on top.

driving off deer with dogs doesn't really work. The deer will come back. They have recognised a food source and will return. The only way to protect is to shoot day after day until they stop coming. The field could be over 3km in perimeter which cannot be expected to be deer fenced. That would be a vast expense.



Well-Known Member
I have no idea what red deer do or don't eat but I am surprised to hear that they are eating a presumably nearly ripe cereal crop when there must be much more succulent food available.

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
ven2 said:
MY qeastion was also how often do you if ever go and have a practice with your rifle.

My answer is - not as often as I would like. When I do I don't waste my time or ammunition at targets much above 150 yards. Why? Because where I stalk the skyline is rarely further away than that. In the trees you frequently can't see 39 yards, let alone 395. So no point really and my "sporter rifle an little 6x power scope" are more than up to the task at those ranges.

Of course, we all know it isn't how big it is, it is what you can do with it that matters! :)


Thanks for all the replys .No the stags havent been back if for the last two days think it ****ed them off enough.

Mullbiker Yes it would be better for the farmer to erect a deer fence but that would cost him alot of money and something had to be done quickly but you are right to solve the long term problem a fence will most definately be required and the chaps going to later in the year.

Bandit country im sure at 30 yards your 6 is more than enough but a 39 yard shot is very rare where i am no open woodland just open flat country.

I ask about practice because often i hear loads of talk about the best calibre scope rifles bullets ect and yes it makes good converstaion but they all seem to send a bullet in a fairly straight line at 100 yards .Yet the biggest factor the man who pulls the trigger is rarely discussed like the fundemntals of marksmanship breathing trigger control shooting position ect .

I have taken quite alot of paying geusts out stalking and usualy from the continent but some brits as well and i try and get them as close as possible say 60 yards and still they wound or miss they have perfectley good gear there just not proficient with it.

I dont think are sport needs anymore red tape but it always amazes me that in this day and age with animal welfare being held in such high regard that anyone can aply for an FAC get a centrefire and go out and shoot at deer without anyone asking can you actually use that shiny new rifle.


Well-Known Member
Ven2 you are quite right about the shooting ability of many stalkers.
They buy the latest rifle and scope and think that makes them a marksman without any practise. I have often been shocked when down the range at the "stalkers" who spend there shooting time chasing groups round the target,fiddling with there scope, screws on the rifle etc. They then leave the range as clueless about what there rifle will do than when they arrive.

When i did DSC1 there were 3 of us that passed the shooting test first time. There were people who had not got a clue if there rifle was sighted in or not. people shooting the test with non deer legal calibres. so they shot and shot untill all had passed. Reading a tread a while ago on this site about someone taking there DSC1 and the level of shooting skill it seems things have not changed much over the years.

I spend a fair bit of time down the range. I think its a big part of the training for hunting. I know what my rifle will do and i have total confidence in my weapons. Plus it good fun.

If you can't hit a deer with a 6 power scope out to any range you feel confident with a bigger magnification won't make make it easier.


Well-Known Member
I spend a lot of time at the club with the 22LR and 357 magnum marlin at 20 metres to work on breathing, stance, trigger technique etc - it's also a great place to pick up tips from the target boys (some of the pistol chaps are more accurate shots than the rifle chaps! and are experts on breathing, stance etc).

I also practice on my land with the 22LR in realistic shooting situations - again working on technique up to 70 yards. I use subs and a mod so it's no disturbance to anyone.

I have just started with the 243 and and getting to know it, but the things I learned with the 22LR are transferring across well. Up to 100 yards at the minute, once I'm geting all my rounds in the kill zone I'll move it out a bit.

I can shoot a lot with the 22/357, but with the Ruger 243 its not as simple because :

noisy (no mod)
more costly
forend pressure/barrel heating up

So even though I have the time and location I can't get as many rounds down the 243 as I'd like. I'm still nailing down an accurate homeload for the 243 as well.

22LR - 100-200 rounds a week - club/land.
357 Magnum lever action - 100-200 rounds a month - club.
243 - look like 50-100 rounds a month if I can manage it.


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my furthest deer was a fallow att 129 m , dad shot a fallow at 244yards (apperntly) with micheal dikenson both were with .243 with 100grn, with the right kit,, and the right person anything is possible, a american freind shot a white tail at 600 yards with a 6mm ppc and it droped like aa stone, but he shoots hogs at a thousand yards so yeah he is abit good


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ven2 said:
I dont think are sport needs anymore red tape but it always amazes me that in this day and age with animal welfare being held in such high regard that anyone can aply for an FAC get a centrefire and go out and shoot at deer without anyone asking can you actually use that shiny new rifle.

Although, when they came to see me for my FAC they seemed impressed I'd joined a club first and served a probationary 6 months before I applied for my FAC. I think had I not been able to show i'd gone through the clubs compulsory handling and safety course I would have had a supervisor/mentor clause on my ticket.

Of course, the club training was nothing to do with stalking, but because I'd chosen to do it that way and deliberately deny myself the chance of an FAC for 6 months so I could learn how to handle a rfile properly, they trusted me when I said I planned to go out with more experienced stalkers before trying it alone.

They took me at my word, and I have been true to it.
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