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Thread: How much accuracy is needed....Sub-MOA or 4" Pattern

  1. #1

    Default How much accuracy is needed....Sub-MOA or 4" Pattern

    Sure 3/4" groups off the bench are nice, but just how much accuracy is really needed for Alaska BIG Game hunting....? Most game has 15" plus of lungs., Moose might have 30" lungs.
    Should you trade in a firearm that only shoots 2 3/4" at 100 Yards? Would you go afield with firearm that shoots no tighter than 3 1/2" at 100 Yards? Maybe 4 3/4" pattern at 100 Yards.

  2. #2

    Default How much is enough?

    Certainly sub MOA isn't needed for a big game rifle. However MOA is nice cause it builds your trust in the rifle and load. One less thing to worry about. If the groups were 2 3/4 to 4 inches, I would look at what might be wrong with the rifle. While big game has a big lung area, they deserve a good shot for a humane result.
    Shooting real field positions with your pack and "sticks" give you a realistic view on how well you and your rifle perform.

  3. #3
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Depends

    on whether you are shooting moose at 50 yards or caribou at 300 yards.

    I'm generally ashamed when I go to a range where "paper" shooters are plugging one hole with 10 shots but when I shoot at an animal - it usually dies. I guess accuracy is something that just "depends".

    Having said that, I will shoot different ammo until I find a quality bullet that groups well (and I mean not bigger than 1 inch at 100 yards off the bench). If I can't find that, the rifle is sold.

  4. #4
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    Default Bullet performance

    I used to opt for the bullet that printed best on paper but soon realized my on game performance wasn't great. I know shoot bullets that give me a mix of good accuracy but are ideal for the game I am chasing. This shortened my blood trails by 90%.

  5. #5

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    We got'eer done 40 or 50 years ago. Yes, the ammo was poopie, and we often used military Full Metal Jacket ammo. We were happy to own one rifle. If not just borrow one from someone, and offer him a quarter of meat. If a rifle shot 5" we figured that was good enough. If you borrowed a rifle the owner might say, "She shoots a little high, and about a foot to the left, don't you change it.

    It would be blued, or have some bluing left. And a walnut stock that swelled when wet, and moved hard left or hard right, hard up or down. But the cartridge did not knock you silly, so you could see you hit 3' left & 5' high. You did some of that adjustment stuff, the next shot you held 3' right & 5' low.

    Now days they want the rifle perfect, so a miss means the hunter is off. Back then we wanted the hunter to be perfect, and you adjusted the sight placement, as you just knew after 6 weeks solid sport hunting on the upper Ambler River the rifle would be off. Do people even do 6 week unguided sheep hunts anymore.......?

  6. #6
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    I never saw a bench rest while hunting. The rifle is usually not the limiting factor for me. I like nice tight groups, but don't believe I can do that well under hunting conditions (huffing and puffing, sweat running in my eyes, sun in my scope, too dark to see the cross hairs, shaking from the cold, unknown distance, wind speed, direction, etc, etc.) that it would make any real difference to me if it was a 1/4 or 2 inch group.

  7. #7
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    MOA accuracy is nice but not really required. A consistent performing rifle is more important than a tackdriving one in my opinion. In days gone by a genuine 2 MOA rifle was a real treasure and a 4MOA rifle was closer to the norm with factory ammo. They worked just fine and still would. Not many guys can shoot 4MOA under field conditions anyway...

    That said- with modern rifles and ammo a sub MOA rifle is really not that much of a trick anymore and I think we owe our game every effort we can for a clean quick kill.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopeak View Post
    Sure 3/4" groups off the bench are nice, but just how much accuracy is really needed for Alaska BIG Game hunting....? Most game has 15" plus of lungs., Moose might have 30" lungs.
    Should you trade in a firearm that only shoots 2 3/4" at 100 Yards? Would you go afield with firearm that shoots no tighter than 3 1/2" at 100 Yards? Maybe 4 3/4" pattern at 100 Yards.
    My "most accurate" field rifle seldom breaks 2" at 100 yards from a bench. But it shoots so well offhand that it's way more accurate than anything that beats it from a bench. It goes hunting while the others wait at home for the next benchrest session.

    And heck, if my traditional muzzleloaders break 6" offhand at 100, I'm delighted.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I pratice shooting clay targets from 10 tp 50 yards. I stand from 10 to 25 yards and knell or sit out to the 50 mark most of the time and expect to hit every time. I figure this lets me know that if I could see a 100 yards I could make a clean kill. About 75 yards is the longest so far and was no problem.

  10. #10
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    Default Accuracy

    When work up a load for our hinting rifle, I want 1" or less at 100 yds. The way I look at it is that if the rifle can do that, then as long as I do my part I can hit what I shoot at. It also depends on what rifle I am working on. I require more from my 338 WM then my 45-70. This has caused some 'interesting' discussions in the household but.... My wife feels that a 'minute of moose' will be just fine. She shoots five round a year, three to ensure that her 338 still shoots where she wants, one round for her moose and one round for her caribou.
    Short story, pratice a lot in different shooting positions after you know that you rifle will do its part.
    The fun part is just getting to shoot.
    Good luck.

  11. #11
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    Default Don't forget...

    That a 1/4" movement at 100 yards will move your shot off 1"...a 3" flinch will shooting a 4" group at 100 yard shot will move your shot off a long ways...if your aiming just behind the shoulder, & you flinch to the right, while shooting, & only have 4" groups at 100, guess what? You either wounded your animal in the front chest or missed him completely...

    I remember my first moose hunting season in Bethel, I saw a moose with a hole in his nose, and antlers...the guy told me that his son hit him in the nose while aiming at his head, his dad had to put him down with a quick shot to the neck..., accuracy is EVERYTHING, you owe it to your quarry to put it down quickly & humanely...
    Last edited by gogoalie; 06-12-2009 at 22:12. Reason: add

  12. #12
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    Default I want the best ...

    I've been on a 15 year search for "THE" load with Nosler Partitions in both of my rifles. I have several in each that are sub moa or less out to 300 yards... still searching for the holy grail ....

    right now I'm sitting on a 225 grain 338 WM load that is pretty darn close. Have to work it out past 100 yards to see if it holds up. Right now I'm at an average 3/4" group (67 round average) @ 2998 fps +/- 5fps with Nosler Partitions. Going to run this load out to 600 yards and see how things go. I know the rifle is capable of .45 MOA out to 600 and it's only a sporter weight . Sadly my Featherweight is only 3 shot 1.4 MOA capable to that far.... but I'm working on that too.

    Don't expect that while hunting, but it sure is nice to know what it's capable of........

    Besides, it's just plain fun.

  13. #13
    Member akshrop's Avatar
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    I am happy with a center palm size group at 100m, I have small hands. I donít really practice enough, I am sure. I will shot up a couple of boxes at the start of hunting season on what ever rifle(s) I will be using. I use the same ammo year after year. Other than that I only shoot 3 rounds to confirm my zero. I only use the bench if my zero is off; otherwise I shot standing, unsupported. As long as I can group standing, I am happy. I have never shot at an animal over 200m, so I donít really worry about all the mathematics (hence center palm measure) that go into long range shooting. I guess if I even go after sheep or prairie dogs, I will need to bring the calculator out to the range. I also grew up content with having a rifle that I knew shot high and left (or whatever). Kentucky windage was always acceptable practice. I am comfortable with it and that takes a lot of the nerves out of the equation, which leads to better shooting in my book. If I question my ability to hit, I simple do not shoot.

  14. #14

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    Shooting from a bench to test a load is great and I think the correct thing to do, it removes all other variables and you can see just how good a given load for a certain rifle is. Once you find it though...

    You should sight in your rifle using hunting positions. The point of impact will differ slightly from sandbags to kneeling to standing. If anyone has ever kept a thorough data book shooting the Marine Corps KD course you know what I mean. I tend to impact a little high at the 200 yard standing, but my 200 yard rapid is right on. At the 500, I use a slightly different sight hold depending on where the sun is in relation to the target.

    Fortunately, hitting a moose at 1-200 yards with a scoped rifle is quite a bit easier than hitting a 24" circle at 500, however you should still practice from different positions and note the difference in point of impact. If I forget to hold a little lower on a 100 yard shot from the standing, and I maybe flinch a little, well now I just hit the hump in the moose's back.

    I wish I felt the same level of confidence with my Model 70 in my hands that I do with my M4, but because 375 H&H ammo costs quite a bit more than 5.56mm (it's free where I work) that is difficult. Just a little practice from the different positions will do wonders in how you feel about your rifle and it's capabilities.

  15. #15
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Ditto

    Good preseason discussion right here! Now is the time to work out all your quirks with you weapon of choice.

    I learned how to really use a rifle sling this year by putting my arm though it all the way to my bicep and utilizing a push pull supporting technique. Now were talking the old style leather sling here. Its done wonders for my shooting. I can see it really being helpful for steep country where I have to lean over a cliff or shoot sitting through some brush.

    I've been practicing with an old Browning BAR with open sights......definatly not a sub MOA rifle. Outside of 200 yrds and I need to get closer. Not a problem and part of the fun.

    With my scoped rifles I suscribe to the above comments. I check my load seasonally with a bench style shoot then practice various field type posistions from there.

    Now I just need to get my butt downstairs and spend a good 8hrs loading for all this planned practice.

  16. #16

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    Slings are a great tool for improving accuracy. You just have to remember to always use them, and always use them the same way, same place on the bicep, same taughtness, same forehand placement.

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    MOA or bust...grin

  18. #18

    Smile just enough...

    The little mini poll I have taken on this forum for the last 2 years shows the average first shot taken at Alaska's big game critters was well under 200 yards. It was a small pool with about 80 forum members responding, it is interesting information. I want my scoped bolt action rifles to be capable of printing a 5 shot group under 2" at 100 yards. That is way more accuracy then is needed at the distances I shoot stuff. The animals I hunt deserve a quick death if I am going to kill them. So I want to get close and have a suitable rest for the distance I am shooting and I have to know where the bullet is going. If we keep our shots under 300 yards any rifle that will shoot under a 3" group at 100 yards should go into the heart/lung area of most big animals. If I had one of those rifles that consistently shot a 5 shot 1/2 group at a 100 yards I would still be pushing my abilities if I started blasting away at an unwounded animal much past 300 yards. Rifles and loads that print small groups from the bench are great confidence builders. But, I believe the time spent off the bench shooting from field positions is equally important, especially if you get consistent hits in under 5 seconds. Still, I have admiration for those riflemen that are capable of taking a precision rifle and consistently making long shots. I shoot out to 500 yards from the bench every year. I ain't half bad at 400 yards, from the bench. But, I still have not figured out how to get that bench in my back pack!

  19. #19
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    My rifles all group about 1.5-2 with me behind them. Most are capable of better and if I spent more time and money behind them then I am sure I could get some tight groups. They are all less than one minute of moose at 300 yards though. I sight in 2.5" high and generally just take a couple long shots after practicing at 100. Every year I hit a 9" pie plate out to 300 consistantly which is good enough to make any big game dead that I would draw a bead on in AK. I am not a competitive shooter so that is good enough. I will say that to date I have never experienced "buck fever". I get excited after the shot but up to that point it is business, just like shooting paper or pop cans. Funny how some sub moa shooters turns into a shotgunner when you add a pulse to the target!

  20. #20
    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Funny how some sub moa shooters turns into a shotgunner when you add a pulse to the target!
    This is so true! Except it's not all that funny when you're the guy trying to get them an animal. LOL

    My take on accuracy is that it is essential. If a long shot presents itself I want a rifle that will consistently hit what I am aiming at. Anything that consistently shoots less than 1 MOA in the hands of a good shooter should be capable enough out to 600-700 yards depending on the conditions.

    With all the guns available that will shoot less than 1 MOA right out of the box I don't know why you would settle for sub par accuracy.

    Seriously, guys in the past spent loads of money for custom guns to get the kind of accuracy we now see with factory rifles. There is absolutely no reason to settle for poor accuracy. Find what your gun likes and run it.

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