Previous Post
Next Post

When I went on my hunting for noobs expedition at Rancho de los Kees last November, my biggest concern – after first finding a deer and getting off a clean shot – was making sure that I hit what I was aiming at. Having never before killed anything bigger than a wasp, the last thing I wanted was to wound the animal and have to chase it down to put it out of its misery. Fortunately, all went well. Tyler’s Ruger M77 was all sighted in, I aimed where he told me to and hit where I aimed. The deer dropped like a rock and was dead before we got to him. So the thought of getting ready to take a second shot never really entered my mind, though it probably should have. Just in case. NRA contributor and Gunsite rangemaster Il Ling New advises keeping the rifle shouldered while you rack it for a follow-up shot. She even claims that it makes your first shot better, I assume because you’re not so quick to drop the rifle to see what you hit. Make sense?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Good advice. My first hunt, in Montana, I was using a borrowed Winchester lever gun. Six-point buck jumped up not 30 yards away and right in front of my sights. As I squeezed the trigger he ran behind a tree and I killed that tree big time, he kept going and I squeezed the trigger two more times before realizing that I hadn’t “racked the action”. He got away clean, I didn’t. Took a terrible beating from my hunting partners.

  2. My first big game kill with a rifle was a cow moose at 20 yards. Not wanting to tear her to pieces with a .300 Win, I opted for a head shot and she dropped where she stood once I pulled the trigger. Though I knew she was dead before I walked up to her, I’ve known of several people who’ve only dazed their target, only to have it jump up and run off once they’ve got the camera out to snap a few pictures with their trophy. The same thing goes with a bow. Don’t even start tracking your animal unless you’re ready to shoot again.

  3. Makes sense. I use a Mosin with iron sights, and have to move some to “rack” it, but I do try to be ready again quickly in case Bambi starts thrashing. Hasn’t happened thus far.

    And congrats on never having hit a critter with your auto.

    • I was thinking of using my mosin for deer. Is yours stock? Do you recommend any work to be done first?

      • A mosin was designed to kill a man size target in stock form, most game animals that require a rifle are man sized or a bit larger.

        • True but in hunting an animal such as deer, you try to hit the heart, which is decidedly smaller than a man sized target

        • Guilty, perhaps, of quibbling, I would point out that the caliber and power used needs to match not the size of the heart, but the flesh, sinew, and bone that must be penetrated to reach the heart. Or brain. So a .275 Rigby with a solid bullet might break through an elephant skull, but prove less effective breaking through an elephant’s shoulder to its heart or lungs. Or a moose’s. No doubt there is some bullet and shot location combination that would make a Mosin fine for moose. A 6.5 mm Swede suffices if the shot is just right. A 9.3mm x 62 might provide much more assurance. With either, a quick on-the-shoulder working of the action is appropriate after the initial shot. If you’re hunting with an AKx, of course, you just keep pulling the trigger, as any poacher knows.

        • Old mtn tale: when asked if a .50 cal black powder rifle was capable of killing a black bear, Old man Todd says, “If you shoot’em where they live, they don’t live for long, no matter what you shoot’em with.”

      • Eric L, back in the day we had what was known as “Minute of Paper Plate”. At 100 yards, shooting from the standing position, if your deer rifle and you could deliver a full mag on a standard paper plate you were good to go for deer hunting.

        Get some soft point loads and try that with your mosin. There are a ton of videos on you tube to accurize your mosin at very littl cost.

        • Thanks, JWM, I’ll have to look for those vids. My grouping at 100 yards isn’t where I’d like it even off of a rest.

        • EricL, start with corking your barrel and action. It’s easy, follow the directions. Paint your front sight post a bright color and use a file to open your rear sight notch up a little. Do the rear sight at the range and go easy with it. Good luck.

          remember, also, it’s normal for your mosin to shoot high at 100 yards. Their battle sight zero, the lowest setting, is 300 yards.

        • Thanks for that JWM. I’m looking to take my Mosin into the deer woods this fall as well, and while I’d like to use the iron sights I’ve also started exploring some scope-mounting options. I’m interested in one of the scout mounts that Nutnfancy used in one of his videos, goes for about $80. If anybody has any experience with mounting optics on a Mosin along with any do’s and don’t’s I’d appreciate the input!

  4. this is excellent advice. I’ve seen deer walk away from shots taken from under 15 yards. You could hit the collar, or spine the deer, and better be ready for a second shot. If you are shooting does, for meat or population management, there will be a few more right behind the first. Kill more deer. Feed the hungry. This goes for bowhunting as well.

    Hunting starts in 4 weeks for maryland archery. Ive never hit my bag limit. maybe i will this year.

    • It goes something like this: “holy sh!! cmon. cmon. Yes! [fist pump] wow! crap. No. wtf? I got it dead on ! God da:; it come back.”

  5. There is also a very unmistakable sound of a bullet impacting an animal. Whether its .22s on birds, a 5.56 on coyote or a .308 on deer. If you don’t hear that meat slap, you may have missed.
    One of the reasons I’m going to get a double rifle. Quick follow up shot with no gun manipulation.

  6. More important: After you’ve taken your shot and loaded the next round, if you find that your prey is down for the count, USE THE SAFETY. It’s easy to forget with the adrenaline that comes after a successful shot. There are all sorts of ways to have an ND while packing out your animal.

    Better yet, just unload.

  7. Hate to tie the two together but back in my day I taught infantry & MPs the same thing in training ESPECIALLY MOUT… muzzle & eyes look the same place until you’re certain sure… then react. Served me well deer hunting for just this point…and back when they shot back since those may have friends.

  8. That’s how the Marines taught my godfather, and that’s how he taught me. Can’t quite get my wife to do it, though.

Comments are closed.