I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it just came up again today.  It seems like any time there’s a discussion about a particular caliber, bullet-type, weapon, etc. this mantra comes to the fore.  Someone will always say, “placement is everything.”

Except it’s not. 

Maybe, in a perfect world shot placement would be the end-all-be-all that makes up for sub-standard muzzle energy, or bullets that fragment on contact with airborne dust motes.  “Just put the pill where it belongs, every time, and you have nothing to worry about.”

Problem is, most hunters have a lot of trouble getting anything close to perfect placement on every shot at game.  Under field conditions, most hunters can’t even get perfect placement on paper targets.  Heck, I’ve watched at the range, from the benches, as guys send rounds all over the 10″ circle and beyond.   How does that translate to game?

This comes back to my own mantra (which I will preach and re-preach so bear with me, please), borrowed from Robert Ruark who claimed it from professional hunters in Africa, “Use enough gun.”

You don’t need a howitzer, but this isn’t sport fishing with ultra-light tackle either.  Use something that will give you the best odds of a clean kill on your chosen game under less than perfect conditions.  A caliber/bullet combination that can smash bone and drive through body mass is going to give you a lot more margin for error than something that will stop dead against the rib cage or bury into the paunch without passing through. 

Then, when your placement isn’t what you’d hoped for, you stand a much better chance of collecting your quarry instead of leaving it to bleed and probably die in the bush.

Don’t count on the perfect shot placement.  Strive for it, but be prepared when it doesn’t happen.  As they teach in motorcycle training courses, “Dress for the fall, not for the ride.”