10 Rifle Shooting Myths Exposed

It is believed by many shooters that blunt-nosed bullets are the better choice when hunting in dense brush, but the author found no substantial difference between the performance of those bullets and pointed styles, the latter of which typically possess considerably higher ballistic coefficient values.

It is believed by many shooters that blunt-nosed bullets are the better choice when hunting in dense brush, but the author found no substantial difference between the performance of those bullets and pointed styles, the latter of which typically possess considerably higher ballistic coefficient values.

Rifle Shooting Myth 3: Round-Nose Bullets Penetrate Deeper and are Better in Brush

My previously mentioned bullet deflection tests included both pointed and blunt-nosed bullets. After seeing no noticeable difference in the amount of deflection between the two, I decided to take the tests one step further and see if blunt-nosed projectiles had either or both a tendency to penetrate deeper or retain a higher level of retained weight when shot into a bank of old magazines.

You have to be a bit careful, when drawing a conclusion like this, because both these traits are closely related to the quality and construction of the bullets.

Nevertheless, as long as the bullets were of the same high-quality construction, I saw nothing in these tests to indicate that a round- or flat-nosed bullet would perform any better. Pointed bullets routinely carry a higher ballistic coefficient and, for that reason, will buck the wind better and shoot flatter at long range.

That makes it an easy choice in my own mind, regarding which bullet style to shoot. As long as you aren’t shooting a rifle with a tubular magazine that requires the use of blunt-nosed bullets for safety reasons, my choice will always be pointed projectiles.

Some shooters mistakenly believe that the firearms marketed as stainless are impervious to rusting. This assumption is wrong. What the factories call stainless is not true stainless steel, and, like a blued firearm, they will rust if not properly cared for.

Some shooters mistakenly believe that the firearms marketed as stainless are impervious to rusting. This assumption is wrong. What the factories call stainless is not true stainless steel, and, like a blued firearm, they will rust if not properly cared for.

Rifle Shooting Myth 4: Stainless Guns Require Less Maintenance

The trend in firearms clearly seems to be away from the classic blued ones and in favor of those being marketed as stainless. But, a big misconception comes into play, when a person thinks these stainless in appearance firearms are impervious to rust.

In reality, they are every bit as susceptible to rusting as a blued gun—it may take a little longer for the rust to take hold, but rust they will, if proper precautions aren’t taken. The reason this happens is based on the fact that, while the gun metal may look like stainless steel, it really isn’t stainless at all.

Because of this, it is advisable to take the same precautions to prevent rust on both blue and these so-called “stainless” guns. The best protection comes from thorough cleanings and frequently wiping down the metal surfaces with an oil-soaked rag.

Rifle Shooting Myth 5: Bore-Sighting is a Good Way to Get Your Rifle Zeroed

Bore-sighting a firearm should never be considered an alternative to actual live-fire zeroing on the range.

Just because the center axis of the barrel may be perfectly aligned to the crosshairs of your scope does not necessarily mean that your bullet will follow that same line of flight. In fact, it rarely does. Bore-sighting should be used only as an intermediary step, after which actual live-fire shooting should follow to fine-tune the adjustments.

But the usefulness of a boresight is not limited to only getting your initial shots on paper. Once you have completed the sighting-in process, you should take another reading, followed by recording that relationship on paper. That way, if your gun gets bumped hard or dropped, you have an easy way to confirm that no ill effects have occurred.

13 thoughts on “10 Rifle Shooting Myths Exposed

  1. roysha

    I have rifles that don’t require a fouling shot and some that do, especially when shooting cast bullets.

    In regard to the yawing never stablizing, I disagree. In 1968 my best friend built a 25-284. He was shooting the 117-120 grain bullets and typically getting 3″ +/- groups at 100 yards with indications of the bullet tipping as it went through the target. The lighter bullets would barely hit the target. We tried all the little tricks we knew but to no avail.

    Bill Prator was one of our gunsmith instructors at Trinidad so we went to him for advice. He suggested that we try shooting at 200 or 300 yards then get back to him.

    Long story short, the groups at 300 yards were nearly identical in size to the groups at 100 yards. Prator’s explanation was that it was similar to a toy top when first spun, will wobble around then settle into smooth steady spin. He said that bullets react similarly since that is the purpose of rifling, to impose stability to the projectile, and if the projectile is pushed too hard for the existing situation the yaw can become quite extreme.

    I have since then encountered this situation only once more with a 240 Weatherby and it was not quite as extreme but definitely the same situation. In this case we just down loaded a bit and ended up with a very high dollar 6mm REM.

  2. bhp0

    I must disagree with you about the need to always foul the bore so the other shots will land in the same group. Over the last 60 years I have often oiled my bore after rigorous cleaning and then stored the gun muzzle down allowing the excess oil to run off. In most of my guns the first shot landed dead center in all the rest of the following shots.

  3. Spacegunner

    I completely agree with Mr. Tabor’s assessments on all but the “Twig” myth. Especially Myths 6 & 7.

    Good to see that someone actually tested and/or analyzed these myths, and presented them in easily understood explanations.

  4. Spacegunner

    This statement, “Of course, as the size of the object struck increases or the distance between the obstruction and the target is increased, you should expect a greater degree of deviation. The important thing here is that shooting through grasses and fairly light vegetation should not be problematic for a hunter, as long as the game is a reasonable distance behind the interfering obstacle.”, contradicts itself: “… or the distance between the obstruction and the target is increased, you should expect greater degree of deviation.” versus “shooting through grasses and fairly light vegetation should not be problematic …, as long as the game is a reasonable distance behind the interfering obstacle.” Which is it, and what is Mr. Tabor’s definition of “reasonable distance”?

  5. Spacegunner

    I disagree about the effect on the trajectory of a bullet after it hits an object based on my experience.

    My most recent “flyer” was caused by the bullet hitting a stout blade of grass inches from the muzzle of my Match Rifle, and “throwing” my shot into the 7-ring (as much as 10-15 inches, or 3-5 MoA) on an NRA SR3 target at 300 yards. The other 19 shots were well within the 10- & 9-rings.

    I was shooting a 68-grain BTHP Match bullet with MV of 3,100 fps.

    This article could encourage hunters/shooters to disregard obstacles, and possibly wound an animal with a deflected bullet.

  6. davey ditzer

    Regarding factory ammo vs. handloaded ammo accuracy; I found that generally, the runout of bullets in factory ammo is much larger than careful handloaders will accept and this can affect accuracy, especially beyond 100 yards. Careful handloaders strive for RO of less than .005″ with benchresters routinely getting .001″. The factory ammo I have measured ofter exceeds 010″ and this will show up on the target from a good rifle.

    Dave

  7. G Man Gunsmith

    The article is a collection of unscientific, vague, general conclusions that in the end mean absolutely nothing. There are plenty of articles written by ballisticians that either scientifically confirm or refute these findings. As far as the military still believing the “myths” regarding the .45 ACP; as a combat veteran with over 22 years of service, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that this is NOT a belief held by “the US military”.

  8. ltcjwb

    No, the .45 ACP will not knock a man down or spin him around like a top. When fired at close range, however, it will break bone and do serious damage to internal tissue. Been there, done that. And noone who knows what he is doing will use it at long range. It was designed for one purpose, and when used for that purpose, is an excellent cartridge.

  9. bhp0

    I will have to disagree with you on the statement that a gun will always impact differently if the bore is clean rather than fouled. Sixty some years of shooting has taught me that this is not always true as I have some varmint rifles in .220 Swift and 22-250 that impact exactly the same, regards as to whether the bore is clean or fouled

  10. bhp0

    In the early 1900′s came the greatest woman hunter that perhaps ever lived, Agnes Herbert, who wrote three fascinating books about her 3 continent safaris. She stated that the gun writers of the time did not know what they were talking about (sound familiar?). She was one of the first people who taught people to shoot with both eyes open to the howls of protest from the then current gun writers.

    She emphatically stated that large diameter elephant guns (which she used) killed no better than her small 6.5 mm Mannlicher rifle. And with legions of dangerous animals dispatched she certainly had enough experienced to know what she was talking about.

  11. CarvinX

    I prefer Leather. One of the least expensive leather IWB holsters I have for my concealed carry is very accessible and comfortable. Accessibility in my requirements for a cc holster is very high. Some of the more exotic style synthetics are great, especially for concealment but I have yet to find one that allows comfort and accessibility that my most inexpensive leather IWB holster provides.

  12. Blacklion66

    I hope no one paid the author for these so called myths? Several of which I’ve never heard of in the sixty five years I’ve been sending 22cal thru 90mm rounds down range.

    If the author was to take twenty rounds of 223 tracer and on a wet day fire them through the brush he would see just how full of holes his dowel theroy is. brush and twigs have a bad habit of growing at all angles :-)

  13. bhp0

    Quite a few years ago one gun writer finally got around to setting up a real life brush test along with a wooden dowel test. What he found out was the exact opposite of the previous long running myth that slow moving large caliber bullets got through brush better than high velocity small diameter bullets.

    Of course lets not forget the greatest gun writer myth of all time and that was that the .45acp knocks a man down or spins him around like a top or makes him disappear in a red puff of mist. It is still believed by the U.S. military.

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