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alright guys I need your help! hunting problems( rifle Ruger American)

smokinq13

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So right now is the last week of Pa rifle season for deer, I just came out of the mountain extremely frustrated! I shot at a deer not once but twice and still missed. week ago happened to me again, came down out of the mountain and shot my rifle in again and it was shooting on target at 65 yards( that's the longer distance i can get out of my yard). what do you think it could be? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pro shooter but easily out to 100 yards I can put it in a 12 in target( 100 yards is about the farthest I can shoot where I'm hunt, too thick, and reason I say 12 in is that's the idea kill zone for a adult size deer), so to be missing at 65yards not once or twice but three different times on two different occasions, I'm finding it hard to believe!

background:
rifle is a Ruger American, .308 cal,
scope is a Nikon 2.5X10-50MM BDC
ammo: federal 150 grain

I also bow hunt and can put arrows on target at 45yards, so 65 yards should be a breeze for a rifle. Scope is torqued down to specs, with Loctite on threads so they don't come loose.
any suggestions or experiences like this would be great to here! I'll also post on here some pictures of the couple last cooks I have done just didn't post them
 

TuckersBarbeque

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Really hard to diagnose over the internet, but when you came down off the mountain and recentered, was much adjustment needed? If so, was it in both X and Y or just one of them?
I usually attribute stuff like this to a loose adjustment screw and some jostling to throw it out of whack.
 

flatbroke

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Did you bump the scope after it was sighted in.
 

JJS

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A few things I would check,

1) is the stock torqued to factory specs?
2) when you were shooting were you putting pressure on the front of the stock? Could be contacting the barrel causing the stated issue
 

smokerjim

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Could be multiple things but I would say if your gun is sighted in and you hit no problem in the yard it's something your doing, do you use a tree or something to steady your shot or are you shooting free hand at a hundred yards you dont have to move the gun much to miss. Not trying to be a wise guy but just trying to rule shooter error out
 

creek bottom

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Were they clean, open shots or was there trees or brush around? Hitting a twig will throw a bullet off. They usually won't show in the scope either.
 

unclebubbas bbq

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Were you shooting off hand or rested? If you were rested did you rest it on the stock or the barrel, it makes a huge difference. I understand the frustration I went through the same thing just a few years ago and I have been hunting deer for 45 years. It's easy to flinch, real easy. Sometimes I lift my head up while pulling the trigger. Get back on the bench and take some shots. When you have ruled out it's not the gun or scope then you know it's your fault. Practice, practice, practice!!! Good Luck!
 

SecondHandSmoker

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What is the difference in elevation from where you sight in your scope and where you hunt in the mountains?
Less dense air (lower barometric pressures) at higher altitudes will create less drag and cause less drop on a projectile.

You could aslo have some copper fouling in the barrel affecting accuracy.
 

hoity toit

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So right now is the last week of Pa rifle season for deer, I just came out of the mountain extremely frustrated! I shot at a deer not once but twice and still missed. week ago happened to me again, came down out of the mountain and shot my rifle in again and it was shooting on target at 65 yards( that's the longer distance i can get out of my yard). what do you think it could be? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pro shooter but easily out to 100 yards I can put it in a 12 in target( 100 yards is about the farthest I can shoot where I'm hunt, too thick, and reason I say 12 in is that's the idea kill zone for a adult size deer), so to be missing at 65yards not once or twice but three different times on two different occasions, I'm finding it hard to believe!

background:
rifle is a Ruger American, .308 cal,
scope is a Nikon 2.5X10-50MM BDC
ammo: federal 150 grain

I also bow hunt and can put arrows on target at 45yards, so 65 yards should be a breeze for a rifle. Scope is torqued down to specs, with Loctite on threads so they don't come loose.
any suggestions or experiences like this would be great to here! I'll also post on here some pictures of the couple last cooks I have done just didn't post them
Buck fever perhaps.
 

BigW.

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Buck Fever? More detail as far as shooting position. Were you winded from walking? Shooting at extreme angle. Deer stopped or running? I assume you looked all around for a blood trail? Sometimes those are hard to find. Is this the usual set up you have been using for years? Good luck this week.
 

poacherjoe

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Chit happens !! I shoot a lot and I remember laying prone and taking a shot at a buck 100 yards away and watching him fall flat. I walked up to him and he was shot right between the eyes and one eye had popped out of the socket !! Funny thing was that I was aiming for his front shoulder.
 

chilerelleno

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A few of my questions will be reiterations of good questions already posed by others here.

Are you taking any of these shots at extreme angles, that is to say, uphill or downhill?

Are you sure you're not canting the rifle?

Have you checked the mating of the action and stock, properly secured and torqued?

Are you slinging up when shooting? A tight hasty sling can put tension on the front of the stock/barrel.

Is the gun stock wood or polymer, if wood, could weather be affecting it?

Shooting position(s), where, when and how were these shots fired?

Go over "The Six Steps to Firing a Shot."
Have you unknowingly acquired a bad shooting habit or flinch?

Is the scope mounted on the rifle with proper eye relief to allow you to comfortably take shots?

When you mounted the scope did you make double sure that the reticle is not canted?

Are you zeroing the rifle with the same ammo that you're hunting with?

When rezeroing your optic what correction (s) were required?

What altitudes are you hunting at versus the altitude that you zeroed at?

You say you're zeroed at 65 yd and making 100 yd shots, are you compensating the shots for the difference, and if so, how?
Not that it's really much of an issue with the yardage difference, you should still be well within a 12" point blank zero.
 
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chilerelleno

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I can say this about the Ruger American after hunting with it in two different calibers and barrel lengths
Standard 7mm-08
Compact .243win
Each one has been an absolute tack driver.
 
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Fueling Around

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Hold up your trigger finger and smack it with other hand.
My guess is simple jerking the trigger. Been there, done that.
 

TuckersBarbeque

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I can say this about the Ruger American after hunting with it in two different calibers and barrel lengths
Standard 7mm-08
Compact .243win
Each one has been an absolute tack driver.
I'm a big fan as well. I got a Ruger American 270... love it.
 

Murray

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Faulty scope? Try adjusting your scope, say 10 clicks then while looking thru the scope give it a few taps and see if the crosshairs move while tapping. Reason for 5 clicks is you can return it to where it was. Rare with Nikon but it does happen.
 

pineywoods

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Are your mounts good and tight I've seen a good many of them loosen over time.
 

tallbm

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So right now is the last week of Pa rifle season for deer, I just came out of the mountain extremely frustrated! I shot at a deer not once but twice and still missed. week ago happened to me again, came down out of the mountain and shot my rifle in again and it was shooting on target at 65 yards( that's the longer distance i can get out of my yard). what do you think it could be? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pro shooter but easily out to 100 yards I can put it in a 12 in target( 100 yards is about the farthest I can shoot where I'm hunt, too thick, and reason I say 12 in is that's the idea kill zone for a adult size deer), so to be missing at 65yards not once or twice but three different times on two different occasions, I'm finding it hard to believe!

background:
rifle is a Ruger American, .308 cal,
scope is a Nikon 2.5X10-50MM BDC
ammo: federal 150 grain

I also bow hunt and can put arrows on target at 45yards, so 65 yards should be a breeze for a rifle. Scope is torqued down to specs, with Loctite on threads so they don't come loose.
any suggestions or experiences like this would be great to here! I'll also post on here some pictures of the couple last cooks I have done just didn't post them
Man lots of good info here. I really like Chilli's list.

1.) When shooting NEVER rest your barrel on a support. Only rest the stock. I see guys at the range wonder what in the world is going wrong and see them unknowingly shoot some rounds with forend of the stock on the rest and then some with the barrel on the rest. One guy didn't seem to understand or take it to heart and his shots kept spreading big time as he was doing that.

2) Also simply hitting a 12 inch target at 100yds with a 308 sounds to me like a major red flag. That rifle, caliber, and scope combo should have no problem hitting within 1inch at 100yds with at least one of the off the shelf options of ammo out there. Simply getting on paper with a 12 inch target at 100yds with your setup leaves 12 inches of give in any direction which could be why you had some missing issues.

3) Nothing is going to replace trigger time. Yep it can be expensive but as you know missing deer after all the time and effort is just as expensive or more, and way more disappointing.

4) Pick a scope magnification power and sight in with that power and intend to make a shot on an animal with that power. Many people don't understand that your zero at one magnification does not guarantee the same zero at another magnification. Not unless you are shooing a Front Focal Plane scope which your scope is not. Again more trigger time helps you understand where your rifle will hit. Shoot some groups at 2.5, 5, and 10x power and see how your point of impact moves, or if it moves. Also return to shooting again at 2.5, 5, 10x and see if your scope is getting off when changing magnification... weirder things have happened.

Conclusion: Get about 75 rounds or more of the ammo you HUNT WITH and a pack of like 12 big targets that have 4-5 shooting diamonds on it, and plan to have about 3 shooting sessions.
Start on a 25yrd range and make sure stuff is patterning well don't worry about where it hits, only that it groups together. Then repeat at 50yard range.
If no problems then time to move on up. If issues skip to my list of "ifs" below.

Get on 100yd range and shoot 5 rounds at 10x magnification and if you pattern well let the barrel cool down and shoot another 5 rounds (take a 2nd gun to shoot with while waiting).

IFs
-If you pattern well all around then that's a sign that something wrong is happening in the field repeat.

-If you don't pattern well at all and there is no rhyme or reason to your groups then check that your action is fastened tightly to your stock and not loose with any of the screws. If you find loose screws tighten them and continue with the same approach.

-If the stock is secure then the next area is scope and mounts fastened to the action, if they are loose tighten them down and try again.

-If action + stock + scope mounts to action are good then you go home and try another set of reputable (not cheapo) scope rings. Also NEVER use scope ring inserts, ALWAYS use rings that match up with your scope. If your rings are straight metal with no type of soft material or anything inside where they touch the scope then cut a piece of electrical type and put it inside on the top and bottom of the scope rings and fasten back down. This will act as a bedding to fill any gaps that may exist preventing a good mating of rings to scope. Go shoot again.

-If things are still bad then stop and get new reputable scope rings and try again

-If things are still bad swap your scope with one you may have or you might need to borrow or buy a new reputable scope and try

-If still bad then try like 4 different hunting ammos. You only sight in with the ammo you plan to hunt with.

-If none of that works then you take it to someone who can trouble shoot it for you with a variety of mounts, rings, and scopes.
It seems that 95%+ of the gunshops/gunsmith's in my extended area are more concerned with peddling conspiracy theories and fear mongering to sell you more crap that "you need" rather than actually being knowledgeable and doing their job well. It's sad.
Because of this I have had to really research and learn, do all my own non-lathe related gunsmithing, load workup/reloading, and general firearms services to have the job done properly and get the outcome or results Im looking for and in many cases needing :)
 

pineywoods

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If like around here good luck finding ammo for pretty much anything. New guns are scarce as well but a couple weeks ago I saw a rifle I was interested in but of course they had no ammo for it and I've checked the stores and gun shops I've been in since then and still haven't seen any ammo for it.
 

daveomak

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Do you use the same ammo when sighting in and hunting...
Sight in with the rifle held free hand and hunt the same....

Do not grab the forearm of the stock.... Rest it in the palm of your hand... sighting in and hunting...
 

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