close

Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

ATTENTION DEER HUNTERS: sight in your rifles! here's why

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by 3MartiniLunch, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. 3MartiniLunch

    3MartiniLunch Vegan Slayer

    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2001
    Location:
    Baltimore
    At the risk of a well-deserved flaming, I'm going to share what happened to me a couple weeks ago.

    I traveled to Virginia for the early muzzleloader season opener (a Monday), but arrived after dark Sunday night because I had to pull off and sleep (long drive). I had planned to sight in my muzzleloader after I arrived, but I didn't due to the late hour, figuring the scope was fine based on last season's performance and the fact it hadn't been noticeably knocked around. Never had a problem with my centerfire rifles in 16 years of hunting...have only had to make ajustments to elevation to change the "zero" range or adjust to different bullet weights, making me a little slack about doing a pre-season check every single year.

    Weather on Monday was pretty bad...rain and fog in the morning. A huge buck crept in on me at 8 AM, and I fired from ~60-70 yards as he was heading into the pines. He was barely moving and angled slightly away from broadside, with a tree covering the hind 1/3 of him. I may have pulled low left due to altering my grip on the gun to remove my fogged scope covers. I saw rotten bark fall from a leaning dead tree in the line of fire after the shot, but could not see the buck as he disappeared amid the pyrodex smoke. I made two nearly identical shots on two doe from the same location the last two years, and both were heart-lung hits resulting in short runs and gigantic blood trails.

    Due to the heavy rain, I reloaded an immediately walked over to where he was (didn't want the blood to wash away). Found some dark blood, and followed a scant blood trail for about 60 yards before losing it. I spent the rest of that day and most of the next looking for the downed deer, with no success. Slept Wed, and hunted unsuccessfully in the wind on Thursday.

    Passed up a small 6-point in rifle season this past Saturday, due to my lowered confidence (waited for a 'better' shot that never came).

    Upon a post-season trip to the range, I found my muzzleloader to be hitting approximately 6 inches left at 50 yards. That, combined with a downrange object (tree, not noticed due to the scope), an improper grip, and poor tracking conditions, cost me a lot of venison and some wasted vacation days, and might have cost a magnificant buck a slow lingering death. All of this could have been avoided with some range time and dry-fire practice, along with a little patience and maybe some squirrel hunting with a .22 (didn't do any this year). It turns out the buck would have came back into view 10 yards after my rushed shot, based on the direction of the trail he was on. On a brighter note, my friend's stepfather hunted that same stand on Saturday, and saw but didn't get a shot at a similarly sized buck. I can only hope it was mine, with only a superficial wound, but I know better than to believe it.

    The moral of the story:
    PRACTICE WITH YOUR ACTUAL DEER RIFLE, AND CONFIRM THE ZERO UPON ARRIVAL AT YOUR HUNTING LOCATION TO BE ASSURED THAT THE SCOPE WAS NOT JARRED IN TRANSIT.

    flame away; I won't be back here until Tuesday to answer though.
    I hope this saves someone (and some buck) from what I experienced.






    Please, heed this reminder to verify the zero on your deer hunting weapons before you head out this week.
     
  2. deputydawg558

    deputydawg558

    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Location:
    Texas
    Good advise, no flames are really needed IMHO. You are already kicking yourself over the shot.
     

  3. glockster96

    glockster96 Moderator Lifetime Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Location:
    Kansas
    It sounds like you learned a lesson and are passing it along. Thanks for the post.
     
  4. RJ Schuknecht

    RJ Schuknecht

    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2002
    Location:
    Saginaw and Houghton Lake, Michigan
    Maybe if you were a little more serious about your hunting.
     
  5. gigoondo man 10

    gigoondo man 10

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2000
    Location:
    simi valley, california, USA
    3ML, hopefully the dark blood you saw was in reality just some of the stuff you scared out of the buck when you shot the tree he was scratching his back on.....
    It just goes to prove that when a life could be on the line, you have to be sure.....
    Better luck next time.
    Jason
     
  6. 3MartiniLunch

    3MartiniLunch Vegan Slayer

    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2001
    Location:
    Baltimore

    Or maybe if Simmons was a little more serious about making durable optics. Then again, AS I STATED ABOVE, I should still have checked it. More serious? Are you serious? Don't 'serious' deer hunters ever err? I'd hunt every day of the season if not for such small encumbrances like a job, and the miles I have to drive from the city I'm required to live in in order to have a job. Do you have anything to add that isn't already contained in my original post?
    Again, as stated above, I've never in 16 years had to adjust the zero of the 20+ year old Lyman scope that resides atop my .270, and it's been knocked around far more than the Simmons has in its 2 years. That's why I (it turns out erronously) hunted without rechecking the zero, which was impossible at that point anyway without skipping the most productive hours of the only doe hunting day. Guess they don't make 'em like they used to.
     
  7. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

    Messages:
    3,707
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2001
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Simmons scopes & hunting... uncertainty is why I "sucked it up" some years back & put some money into my optics. Leupold is now the least expensive I'll go on hunting optics.

    It sucks to loose'em 3MartiniLunch...
     
  8. RJ Schuknecht

    RJ Schuknecht

    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2002
    Location:
    Saginaw and Houghton Lake, Michigan
    With optics, you get what you pay for.

    As far as serious, of the last 7 deer I shot, 6 of them went right to the ground. The one that didn`t went 31 feet.

    I agree with you that work gets in the way of hunting season. But it pays the bills.

    "At the risk of a well-deserved flaming"

    You said you deserved it. Didn`t mean to sound so harsh.
     
  9. younggun58

    younggun58 WTF

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2002
    Location:
    WV
    With optics, you get what you pay for.


    I would agree with that. My Leupold Vari-X III has been dropped over fences, bumped against trees, and slid around in the truck bed yet hits the same spot every time for the past four years.
     
  10. 3MartiniLunch

    3MartiniLunch Vegan Slayer

    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2001
    Location:
    Baltimore
    sorry for being so sensitive.

    You're right about the optics too...a Leopold is going on my next rifle for sure. I knew the particular Simmons ("8-point", straight 4X for those of you in the market for a paperweight) wasn't the best for optical quality, but it was billed as a very rugged scope, and had decent long eye relief...guess I know better now. At the time I was in grad school, and broke, so I guess I skimped on putting an expensive scope on a cheap muzzleloader. Funny thing is, the guy at the gun store didn't know that, and could've sold me on something better.

    If you don't mind me asking, how do you put down 6/7 deer on the spot? spine, head, or shoulder shots? magnum or fast fragile bullets?
    5 or my last 6 were chest hits, with either a .270 or a .50 cal muzzleloader (295 gr HP, 100 gr pyrodex). #6 you just heard about, but the 5, while one-shot kills and a real mess inside the chest cavity, all resulted in runs of 10 to 70 yards. none were direct hits to the shoulder on entry; a few hit the far-side shoulder on exit.
     
  11. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

    Messages:
    3,707
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2001
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    3MartiniLunch, I’m not RJ Schuknecht, but I can tell you that I’ve dropped deer in their tracks with my bow & I’ve also see them travel up to 200 yards with a good shot from a 12 gauge!

    There is no rule when it comes to this stuff, that’s for sure.

    I put 2 deer right down with the one shot this year from my 12 gauge. The 1st was a spine shot, but the 2nd deer was taken @ 100 yards, no shoulder, no spine, no heart, I put it right behind the shoulders mid cavity. I only hit lungs & ribs. This 200+ pound (“wet weight”) deer went directly down & was gone in seconds!

    The 2 bucks I took with my bow this year never went more the 30 yards.

    I guess you can say that I’ve seen 0 to 200 yards with both bow & gun with good shots. Bad shots are a whole other story though, as you can imagine…

    It all depends on the deer!
     
  12. RJ Schuknecht

    RJ Schuknecht

    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2002
    Location:
    Saginaw and Houghton Lake, Michigan
    3MartiniLunch, guess I should check here more often.

    I have a Remington 308 and shoot a 180grn STBT. I hunt in northern Michigan. I don`t think I have ever taken a shot over 50 yards because it is usually thick. Whenever possible I like to take a neck shot. The 180grn 308 has quite a bit of shock effect and a neck shot will kill because of the shock. If not close enough for a neck shot I will take a high shoulder-base of the neck. Shock has the same effect. Five of those deer were taken from tree stands. The last one I shot(second for this year) was facing me at no more than 20 yards. I was 30 feet above it in a tree stand. I shot her between the shoulder blades. The shot blew through the right side of the heart as it passed through the chest cavity. She never knew what hit her.

    I don`t take running shots. One of the deer I dropped I even had the rifle to my shoulder three times before I had the shot I wanted. I am very particular about the shots I take. That makes a big difference also. There are a lot of deer in the woods. I would rather let them pass than to take I shot I know won`t kill quick.
     
  13. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Messages:
    6,764
    Likes Received:
    335
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2001
    Location:
    USA
    You should have iron sights for back up in case the scope gets knocked out of alighnment.

    That said, its better to spend more on the scope than on the rifle itself.
     
  14. RJ Schuknecht

    RJ Schuknecht

    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2002
    Location:
    Saginaw and Houghton Lake, Michigan
    Good points Fox. I have raised scope mounts so I can use the iron sights if needed.