Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How much is enough?

Dave Petzal is talking about ammo, and he recommends that three or four boxes of ammo is enough for the average hunter. He's right. Barring a competition, an average hunter is better off using 3/4ths of his ammo for hunting and 1/4 of it for the field. I once had a 7mm-08 that really liked a particular factory ammo. Liked it so much that I never bothered to reload for that caliber. I'd buy a box of ammo in the spring, use it to shoot the odd crow, practice some and have four or five rounds to hunt with. That was plenty. I never put that rifle on a bench. The closest it ever came to a formal shooting situation was resting on my hat on the hood of my pickup.

But, he also talks about accuracy and factory ammo.
First, don’t set your heart on minute-of-angle groups. You may get them, but you don’t need them. An inch and a half will do fine. I’d say if you don’t find something that will give you this kind of accuracy within three boxes, it’s time for a trip to the gunsmith to see if your rifle is ailing.
He's right again. We've gotten used to seeing rifles shoot into an inch at 100 yards. From the bench. Under controlled conditions. The simple fact of the matter is that the practical accuracy of a rifle/ammo combination can't be known until you get away from the bench and shoot it under field conditions. It takes practice to do that, more than some of us get.

It's springtime, guys. Take your rifles to the range once a month and shoot a half-dozen round from field conditions. Then, come the hunting season, it'll take a lot less time to tune up your shooting.

UPDATE** Misspelling corrected. Thanks, Junior.


Anonymous said...

I own firearms of sundry types, calibers and gages. I used to think a thousand rounds was a lot. Then I came to believe 5K was insufficient. Now I'm coming around to 10K as minimum stock, and sufficient components to reload those as I shoot 'em up. That's for each firearm, not in toto. I usually do not rely on factory ammo as supplies can and have been irregular at times, so I much prefer to handload and use cast bullets rather than jacketed for the same reason. Primers and powder are components I purchase as I find them, price (More or less) be damned. More than a few of my shooting buddies are pretty much doing the same thing. I've gone from using factory caps on my front stuffers to either home grown caps or converting to flint. With a little instruction and a lot of practice, I can now knap workable gunflints from selected river cobbles. I've made a goshawful huge pile of gravel and a nice buckskin bagful of gunflints in the past few years. It is not rocket science. I also have an uninterruptable supply of frighteningly sharp utility knives with blades from 1/2" to 3" long.

As long as I live we're still in the Stone Age.

When I was a sprog, my cousin Mel and I could hit rabbits three times in five to about thirty yards or so with a Biblical Sling. I've always had a thing for primitive weaponry. I tell folks that there's a world of difference between primitive and crude. Just ask any prairie chicken who's had his head knocked off clean from forty or fifty feet away by a ten year old Norwegian kid with a couple of whangs and an old boot tongue. Quiet as a prairie breeze. It took two prairie chickens for a really nice Sunday dinner with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and a crabapple pie sweetened with sorghum. We might not have been up to our belt loops in money, but we knew how to eat. I know of no better self esteem builder than having your dad give you a hug and a pat on the back for bringing home a mess of fish, or a couple-three cottontails, or a pair of prairie chickens or pheasants to have for supper.

Gerry N.

Rich Jordan said...

your suggestion misses out on one particular item for me, and I suspect for other folks too...

Shooting is fun! Shooting more is more fun!

I guess for those who are primarily hunters, and for whom shooting is a means to that end, such a limited quantity of ammo might be just fine. Not for me.

mostly cajun said...

Since I consider my firearms to be more than tools for recreation, I keep more ammo around. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

The up side to this is that ammo I bought and stockpiled ten years ago has basically doubled in price.

Apparently brass and lead mirror gold as an investment.