Summer Checklist: Accuracy is Everything

In all big game hunting, the person who can put their first shot on the money time after time is the one who’ll consistently fill his tags.

And so, the first question we have to answer is: What’s acceptable accuracy in a deer hunting cartridge?

If you’re a true “gun nut,” you’re not satisfied with anything that produces less than minute-of-angle accuracy (defined as three shots that strike the target within 1 inch or less of each other at 100 yards). When I started deer hunting back in the 1960s, that kind of accuracy was uncommon, due as much, if not more, to the state of available factory ammunition as rifle construction. Today that’s all changed, and finding a deer rifle/load combination that produces acceptable accuracy is commonplace.

Most gun writers, including me, at one time or another have said things such as, “The .308 Win. is an inherently accurate cartridge.” In truth, however, this is misleading, because it’s the rifle itself plus the care and precision that went into loading a given cartridge that have the biggest effects on accuracy. Here’s another little secret: The specifics of the cartridge design have little to do with real-world accuracy, thus there’s probably no such thing as an “inherently accurate” hunting cartridge design. Most any hunting cartridge can be very accurate in a good rifle with precisely loaded ammunition, while producing mediocre accuracy in another rifle with mediocre ammunition.

So then, what’s the most accurate cartridge you can choose for deer hunting? The answer is to buy the best rifle you can afford chambered for a round using bullet diameters between .243 and .300, top it with precision- made scope mounts and topnotch glass, then head to the range with as many different brands and bullet types of factory ammunition as you can afford and try to shoot them all. Some rifles are friendly, liking lots of different ammo, while others are quite picky, shooting one or two loads well and the rest poorly.


North American Hunter Top Stories

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\r\nAnd so, the first question we have to answer is:\r\nWhat’s acceptable accuracy in a deer\r\nhunting cartridge?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nIf you’re a true “gun nut,” you’re not\r\nsatisfied with anything that produces\r\nless than minute-of-angle accuracy (defined\r\nas three shots that strike the target\r\nwithin 1 inch or less of each other at\r\n100 yards). When I started deer hunting\r\nback in the 1960s, that kind of accuracy\r\nwas uncommon, due as much, if not\r\nmore, to the state of available factory\r\nammunition as rifle construction.\r\nToday that’s all changed,\r\nand finding a deer rifle/load\r\ncombination that produces\r\nacceptable accuracy is commonplace.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMost gun writers, including\r\nme, at one time or another\r\nhave said things such as, “The\r\n.308 Win. is an inherently accurate\r\ncartridge.” In truth,\r\nhowever, this is misleading,\r\nbecause it’s the rifle itself plus the care\r\nand precision that went into loading a\r\ngiven cartridge that have the biggest\r\neffects on accuracy. Here’s another little\r\nsecret: The specifics of the cartridge\r\ndesign have little to do with real-world\r\naccuracy, thus there’s probably no such\r\nthing as an “inherently accurate” hunting\r\ncartridge design. Most any hunting\r\ncartridge can be very accurate in a good\r\nrifle with precisely loaded ammunition,\r\nwhile producing mediocre accuracy in\r\nanother rifle with mediocre ammunition.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nSo then, what’s the most accurate\r\ncartridge you can choose for deer hunting? The answer is to buy the\r\nbest rifle you can afford chambered\r\nfor a round using bullet diameters between\r\n.243 and .300, top it with precision-\r\nmade scope mounts and topnotch\r\nglass, then head to the range\r\nwith as many different brands and bullet\r\ntypes of factory ammunition as you\r\ncan afford and try to shoot them all.\r\nSome rifles are friendly, liking lots of\r\ndifferent ammo, while others are quite\r\npicky, shooting one or two loads well\r\nand the rest poorly.\r\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Talk With Other Hunters Here

\r\n","mobileBody":"
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And so, the first question we have to answer is: What’s acceptable accuracy in a deer hunting cartridge?

If you’re a true “gun nut,” you’re not satisfied with anything that produces less than minute-of-angle accuracy (defined as three shots that strike the target within 1 inch or less of each other at 100 yards). When I started deer hunting back in the 1960s, that kind of accuracy was uncommon, due as much, if not more, to the state of available factory ammunition as rifle construction. Today that’s all changed, and finding a deer rifle/load\r\ncombination that produces acceptable accuracy is commonplace.

Most gun writers, including me, at one time or another have said things such as, “The .308 Win. is an inherently accurate cartridge.” In truth, however, this is misleading, because it’s the rifle itself plus the care and precision that went into loading a given cartridge that have the biggest effects on accuracy. Here’s another little secret: The specifics of the cartridge design have little to do with real-world accuracy, thus there’s probably no such thing as an “inherently accurate” hunting cartridge design. Most any hunting cartridge can be very accurate in a good rifle with precisely loaded ammunition, while producing mediocre accuracy in another rifle with mediocre ammunition.

So then, what’s the most accurate cartridge you can choose for deer hunting? The answer is to buy the best rifle you can afford chambered for a round using bullet diameters between .243 and .300, top it with precision- made scope mounts and topnotch glass, then head to the range with as many different brands and bullet types of factory ammunition as you can afford and try to shoot them all. Some rifles are friendly, liking lots of different ammo, while others are quite picky, shooting one or two loads well and the rest poorly.

Talk With Other Hunters Here

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