Finding the correct hunting load for your firearm is an important key in improving your quest to tag a whitetail deer. Balancing accuracy with the appropriate knockdown power you need for a whitetail will give you a perfect hunting load. Listed below are some tips on achieving an accurate hunting load using factory loads.

Grain Selection
When choosing the amount of grains you will be using, make sure it is adequate enough to properly handle the animal you are hunting in a humane way. After determining the correct grain weight you need, do not alter from it during the sighting in process. For safety reasons never exceed the factory recommended grain weight limit in your firearms.

Bullet Selection
Choose a bullet that will expand quickly upon impact. You want the bullet to dump most of its energy into the animal. You do not want a bullet that completely flies to pieces upon impact, but one that releases enough energy or mushrooms efficiently to get the job done. You need to shoot several different brands of bullets through your rifle to determine the one that is the most accurate with your gun. For example a Winchester bullet may shoot different than a Remington or Federal bullet.

Clean. Clean. Clean.
Barrel fouling also causes accuracy variations. More so in muzzleloaders than rifles. Cleaning is probably the most important step in trying to create an accurate hunting load for a muzzleloader. You need to swab the barrel after every shot. Once with a slightly wet patch followed by a dry patch. This will take a little more time, but will give you a more accurate shot pattern to adjust too. Even though rifles need less cleaning than muzzleloaders, they also need to be paid attention to during the sighting in process. Clean your rifles after every 15 to 20 rounds you fire.

How accurate is accurate enough?
At 100 yards you need to have a shot group in the range of ¾ inch to a 1½. To measure your shot group, shoot 3 rounds into a target from 100 yards. Use a bench rest or sandbags to insure you get a steady shot. Measure the distance between your shots to determine how tight your group is. When you are able shoot a group as tight I recommended you will be able to shoot a whitetails vitals with ease. The average whitetail vital area is 9 inches. Having an accurate gun that shoots tight groups will also give you the ability to make the tougher shots. In a perfect world deer would always approach your stand with a broadside stance. In the real world we hunt in we know this is not always the case. There are times when your hunt calls for you to make a quartering away or quartering towards shot. It is in times like these that having an extremely accurate hunting load pays off. Good luck and good shooting.

Related Links
- Discuss your favorite recipes using deer meat in our deer meat recipes forum.
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- Learn scent elimination tips when on the hunt.