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The Importance of Shot Placement and Bullet Performance

The importance of shot placement - Blog

“A Hunter’s Prayer: We pray our sight be straight and our aim be true. We pray for no pain to the game we pursue. We thank thee Lord for this land. We thank thee for the sights in our stands. We pray for safety one and all. We pray we may return next fall.” — S. Elliot

This prayer reminds me again why we as hunters spend so much time and money on two things; the pursuit of perfect shot placement and testing ammunition loads to achieve the best possible bullet performance. Chris and I do our own ammunition loading and testing. The reasoning behind this is finding the optimum loads for each specific calibre to ensure consistency when hunting.

We recently guided a client on his very first buffalo hunt. He did not have the luxury of bringing his own rifle, thus we gave him our trustworthy Winchester model 70 in .375 Holland & Holland to use for the hunt. After testing various bullets and loads, we settled on PEREGRINE™ BushMaster VRG-3 300g bullets, which gave excellent results under testing, running at an optimum velocity of 2500 ft/sec. As noted on the Peregrine website, the BushMaster us a softer, red copper bullet that utilizes a meplat nose exterior design, with a plunger filled expansion cavity. This unique flat surface is designed to deliver a massive kinetic energy dump upon impact. The bullet tip will continue to form into a neat mushroom during the first few inches of penetration after impact and will stabilize the bullet to stay on course, thereby rewarding the perfectly placed shot with reaching and passing through the vitals.

Prior to the hunt, Chris spent time with our client simulating various positions for proper shot placement. He then had our client take a couple of practise rounds on a target at 100m. His shooting was spot-on, and everyone was comfortable to get going. As it goes with a buffalo hunt, we spent hours walking, tracking spoor and fresh dung. Eventually we got onto a herd, where a suitable bull was spotted. Chris got our client onto the sticks. The buffalo was presenting a full-on frontal shot. Our client indicated that he was confident to take the shot, pulled the trigger and immediately reloaded on Chris’s command. The buffalo bucked at the shot, took off to the left and we followed, keeping an eye on the rest of the herd. Seconds passed and we already heard the tell-tale sign of the death bellow. We found the buffalo under a bush, not even 50 metres from where the shot was taken.

Upon skinning the buffalo, our skinner found that the shot went straight through the heart. He also recovered the bullet, which had mushroomed perfectly upon impact. The significant damage caused to the heart upon impact is what took him down immediately. It was the perfect combination of optimal shot placement and bullet performance, which resulted in success for the hunter and a quick death for the animal.