View Full Version : What scope? Head shots on deer?
I figured I could make two questions one thread. I'm planning on getting a .243 bolt rifle (Probobly Ruger or Savage) for hunting deer, hog and maybe turkey here in Florida. I've hunted deer but it seems pretty common for them to run after being hit in the vitals by calibers more powerfull than .243. So my question is: Why don't more hunters take head shots on deer? Is the difficulty, not wanting to ruin the rack, or not wanting to blow the animals face apart?
Now the second part. What power scope should I use for woods/small clearing deer, hog, and perhaps turkey hunting? (If I did hunt for turkeys with this rifle, they would be head shots) I would like a fixed power scope because I think they are more reliable, lighter, and just because I like to keep things simple. I think a 4X32 would be good for the woods, but a 6X40 would be better for those shots out to 150yds. And even with 6X I think the question of head shots on deer (As mentioned above) would be mighty tough without more magnification. I found a pair of scopes in Cabela's that are 4X44 and 6X44 for $159 and $179 respectively. They are called "Alaskan Guide". Are they any good?
What do you think?
for your first question. a lot of hunters aren't shooters. if you go to the range just before deer season you'll probably see at least a couple of guys who would be lucky to hit the ground. other guys, like you said, don't want to mess up the head because they plan to mount it. i don't care about trophies and usually take the head part of the hide anyway after is skin it. if you're hunting for meat and skin then a head shot is preferred. that's if you know you can hit it. i've used 12ga slugs for deer and usually shot for the head.
a 3-9x40 is a great hunting scope unless you know your shots are going to be shorter than 40 yards or longer than 300. it will give you more than enough versatility. i tend to keep my scope set on 3x until i have the need for more magnification. you don't want to have to move around to get your scope down to 3x with a deer standing right next to you. if they're far enough away to warrant more magnification they won't see the movement and if they're moving so fast you don't have time to adjust the scope, you probably would have missed anyway.
BTW if you're not shooting for trophy let the bucks pass. too many deer hunters just see antlers and the buck/doe ratios is getting out of whack. i've only taken one buck out of all the deer i've shot. they don't taste any better ;f
The head of a deer is most often a very unstable target. They twitch, move, look over their shoulder, raise or lower the head; you never know how long that head will remain immobile. And the area of the head that offers a lethal target is very small.
As to scopes for heavy cover, the low power variable is easily my first choice. I have a Browning BAR in .30-06 and wife's Mag-Na-Ported Remington 7400 in .270; each wearing a 1.5x5x40 variable. The scopes are always set on the lowest power - 1.5 - then cranked up temporarily only when needed/desired.
When set at the lowest power, you can easily shoot with both eyes open and can focus on objects that are very close. Should a deer or pig bust out of the undergrowth at 10 yards; you're ready! :)
As has been mentioned above most people don't spend enough time learning where their bullet goes at different distances. Practice so that you can hit a lemon (approx size of deer brain) & see how far you can go without missing. I agree with whats been said a low power variable can just about cover it all. I won't ever take a shot unless I an 100% I can make it. Most shoot for the heart-lung area in case they miss a little it is still fatal. Good hunting.:)
If you're worried about a lung shot deer running off, what do you think will happen when you miss your head shot by three inches and shoot off the lower jaw? A jaw shot deer will run off too but it won't pile up two seconds later like a lung shot deer. Why shoot for the brain when the heart/lung area is so much bigger and also gives a clean kill? On smallish deer a .243 to the shoulder should drop them too but the trade off is some meat loss. It still beats losing a wounded animal.
I don't hunt deer, but a young cousin of mine does and he dropped one of those "small" deer (275#) with his .243 with one shot. Guess he'll need to go to a cannon, when shooting medium-to-large deer.
Geez, I dont think that is what he meant about the 243.
As for head shots all the above reasons are why i dont take them, but most of all, I dont like their head being splattered accross the forest. I had an Uncle shoot a deers nose of, it made an aweful noise till it drowned on its own blood. I have alweays prefered the cushion that a chest shot provides. PLUS it gives you gamne tracking practice. I like the idea of loosing less meat by head shots, but you can always make sausage.
As for scopes, get the best you can afford. I have all variables, but rarely take mine off 3x. I would suggest what ever scope you buy you test it out in lowlight. If you have friends with scopes, look at them at dusk, if not ask the store clerk to walk you to the front and let you look around at dusk. If you explain why they usually let you. Leupold is hard to beat. My friend just tried out a new Fugi scope and said it was better than his Leupold. I am getting one to try and will let you know.
Anyways, shoot enough till you are proficent and you will take game BETTER>
"Aim at a deer, and you'll miss it. Aim at the deers chest and you'll hit the deer. Aim at his shoulder and you'll hit his chest. Aim at his heart and you'll hit his shoulder. Aim at a spot and you'll hit his heart." (unknown)
all good reasons above NOT to take headshots unless at pretty close range. less likely to wound if they're facing you, or facing away...that way a miss is a miss, not a blown-off lower jaw.
could get some ballistic tips and shoot for the neck.
If you use sub-sonic ammo, that head will move before the bullet gets there, especially on long shots. There heads don't seem to stay still very much anyway.
Please don't take head shots at deer. Aim for three inches behind the shoulder crease on a broadside or near broadside shot, and make sure the far side shoulder is not in the exit path, and you will lose only some meat around the ribs.
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