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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well guys if your planning to go to Africa and hunt wild game, and I'm not talking about the open spaces and the put and take safari's of the eastern cape, but the real hunting in the Northern Province, Zimbabwe, Zambia, And other fair chase wild game.

You need to get away from the bench and start shooting freehand or with an improvised rest. You also need to shoot quickly as that is all the time you will have in the bush.

I hear the same old song and dance about how bubba can shoot a 2" group at 400 yards from plenty of my hunters. Yet they cannot shoot a 2 foot group freehand at 75 yards. This is hunting not bench rest target shooting. I could not care less about your bench rest capabilities while we are hunting. The bench only proves the gun, scope, and load are good. It does nothing to prove you're a good shot. For that you need to hold the gun in your own two hands and shoot it.

Practice shooting at several distances free hand and see how humbling this is when you compare it to the bench. My most successful hunters practice this for a few months before they hunt with me. It shows from the very first animal they shoot!!
 

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JJ,
I guess every type of hunting and different areas have different norms for shooting, but what distance do you suggest becoming proficient offhand for say, Kudu, Gemsbok, Nyala, Impala, Waterbuck? Obviously, we all want to take at least some kind of rest if time and situations allow, but what distance do you as a PH expect proficiency off hand? 100 yards? 200 yards? more?

For the most part, after I get past load development and am comfortable with accuracy, trajectory and bullet weight of a given load, that's it from the bench for me. I normally only practice off hand "snap" shooting out about 50 yards with skeet as my target. I practice off hand to around 150 yards with paper plates. Longer distances I usually shoot from sitting, kneeling, resting on a limb or rock, or prone. As far as the amount of real world practice goes, I probably shoot 50 shots for everyone one shot I shoot from the bench.

90% of my hunting is done with single shot rifles, so that first shot has to be where I want it. Would you change any of the scenerios for practice, given the conditions in your original post?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Free hand shooting to 75-80 yards should be a reasonable expectation of the PH for big game. Paper plate size targets with shots into a 6-7" group are good. With a big game rifle.

Further shots of say 100-200 yards should be the same size group but maybe sitting with an improvised rest or standing with a tree limb or such. The real long shots like 250 plus should be done with a good rest and you will likely have more time to set it up when game is that far and unaware of you looking at them.

I would strongly suggest a hunting rifle never be sighted in more then 2.5-3" high at 100 yards. One should prepare for the majority of shots not the extreme. Far too many guys have held right on the animal at 150 yards and shot clean over their backs with an excessive 100 yard POI. If the POI is 3" high at 100 it will likely be even higher at 200 yards.


Shots in the bush will likley be in the 50-150 yard area. Further shots are possible but uncommon. Hunting in the eastern cape with the "farm hunting" programs where the game is stocked and the country is wide open will usually require longer shots. I don't care to even call that "Put and take" style a "Hunt". It's Texas style game farm hunting in South Africa. Not real hunting for indiginous wild game.
 
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