Is Your Ammunition Right for Your Deer Hunting Gun?

By Marty Prokop

This newsletter is about a common deer hunting problem. It is one of the reasons so many good deer hunters end up without a deer.

The solution to no deer could be very simple, yet hardly anyone ever talks about. So I will.

Marty Prokop Talks Deer Hunting Solution

So few deer hunters know a simple ammunition correction could result in filling out more deer tags.

Here is a brief explanation of the deer hunting problem I saw with my buddy this past deer hunting season. It is the reason he missed deer. Then I will give you the deer hunting solution. I believe this will help you fill your deer tags every year from now on.

Marty Prokop Asks, “Has This Deer Hunting Mistake Happened to You?”

Before deer hunting season, you sight in your deer hunting rifle using “Brand Y” ammunition. You were getting 1-inch groups at 100 yards.

After a day at the range sighting in your deer hunting rifle, you have used all of your “Brand Y” ammo.

You head to the local shooting supply store. You see “Brand X” ammo on sale for $5 cheaper a box than “Brand Y” ammunition.

You buy two boxes of “Brand X” ammo for deer hunting season.

Deer hunting season opens. You head to the woods with your newly sighted in rifle and your “Brand X” ammo.

At legal shooting light you hear a twig snap off to your left. You look towards the sound and see a big buck coming out of the thicket at 100 yards.

You remember that you spent a whole day at the shooting range sighting in your deer hunting rifle for 100 yards.

You raise your deer hunting rifle thinking, “Oh, this should be an easy shot. I know I am hitting perfect at 100 yards.”

You ease the safety off your rifle, raise your gun and place the crosshairs of your scope on the deer’s shoulder.


Mr. Big looks your way and turns on a dime. He runs, waving his tail at you in the “Ha-Ha, you missed me” way deer like to do.

You reason with yourself, “There is no way I could have missed that deer. I know my rifle is right on. I am sure he’s hit. I’ll give him 30 minutes, and then I’ll start tracking.”

You climb down safely from your deer hunting tree stand and walk over to where the big buck was last standing. You search for signs of your bullet connecting. You find nothing.

You start walking in small circles, searching desperately for hair or blood. Then about five feet from where the big buck was standing, you see it.

No — not hair or blood — but a spot where the bullet struck the ground. A clean miss.

Still in doubt, you follow the tracks of the big buck. After an hour of looking, you finally admit you missed the deer.

Marty Prokop talks Deer Hunting Solution

What went wrong?

The answer could surprise you.

Your deer hunting rifle could be shooting various brands of ammo differently.

You could be right on target with “Brand Y” ammunition because you sighted in your deer hunting rifle with it. And you could be tremendously off target with “Brand X” ammo because you did not use it to sight in your deer hunting gun.

Here are free deer hunting tips to make sure you bag that big buck or doe for the freezer:

Marty Prokop Deer Hunting Ammunition Tip 1

Match the load of ammo you are shooting to the game you are after. For example, let’s say you are hunting whitetail deer in a brushy environment. Your ammo of choice might be 185 grain bullets.

Marty Prokop Deer Hunting Ammunition Tip 2

The best way to insure you are always on target is to take two to three brands of ammo with you when you sight in your deer hunting rifle.

Make sure the loads are identical. Say you are planning to use 185 grain bullets in the field for deer hunting. Make sure each brand of bullets you use at the range to sight in your deer hunting gun are the same grain or bullet weight you would use in the field for deer hunting. In this case, you would have two or three different ammunition brands, but they would all be 185 grain.

Marty Prokop Deer Hunting Ammunition Tip 3

Once at the range to sight in your deer hunting rifle, shoot a three shot group with each brand of ammo.

See which brand handles the best with your chosen firearm.

Marty Prokop Deer Hunting Ammunition Tip 4

Once you have determined which brand of ammo performs best in your deer hunting rifle, shoot another group of three.

If the grouping is to your liking, stick with that brand of ammo.

Marty Prokop Deer Hunting Ammunition Tip 5

Never change ammo brands or bullet weights during mid-season. If you do, make sure you head to a rifle range and shoot to see how that bullet performs in your deer hunting gun.

Deer Hunting Proof from Marty Prokop

Here is a story of a recent deer hunt I had with a friend that illustrates the importance of the right ammunition for your deer hunting gun.

My friend had sighted in his deer hunting rifle before deer hunting season opened. He was consistently shooting a 2-inch group at 100 yards with “Brand X” ammo.

I was at the range with my friend. He is a great, consistent shot. I was confident with his shooting abilities, his gun and the ammo he was using that he would fill his deer tag.

Then, without mentioning anything to anyone, part way through the deer hunting season, my friend found some “Brand Y” ammunition on sale and decided to try it.

What happened?

Well, the good new is that on his way to his tree stand, my friend jumped five deer. The deer ran out 100 yards and turned broadside to him.

At the range, my friend was deadly accurate at 100 yards. This was looking to be a great deer hunting season.

My friend raised his deer hunting rifle, took aim and BANG!

All five deer scrambled to the hills.

After inspecting the area where the deer were standing, my friend determined he had missed. This was extremely puzzling to him as he also had great confidence in his aim.

Marty Prokop Tells More

My friend proceeded to his deer hunting tree stand and continued to deer hunt.

An hour later, two more deer came into range. The deer were out about 120 yards — another easy shot.

My friend raised his deer hunting rifle and BANG!

What happened?

Another miss!

He told me about what happened. It didn’t sound right that he could have missed all those deer. I asked him if he had changed ammunition.

Marty Prokop Reveals Proof at the Range

The next day my friend and I went to the rifle range.

My friend brought both “Brand X” ammo and “Brand Y” ammunition with him.

We set up a target at 100 yards. He started by shooting “Brand Y” ammo.

What happened?

He missed the target!

Even though “Brand Y” ammunition was similar to “Brand X” ammo, the bullets were falling short of the target.

I suggested he put in the other “Brand X” ammo give those a shot.

The first shot using “Brand X” ammunition hit exactly where he was aiming. The following shots did the same.

Long story short, he switched back to “Brand X” ammunition because it increased his accuracy with is gun.

Marty Prokop Deer Hunting Ammunition Guidance

Remember, all rifles will shoot different brands of ammo differently.

If you sight in your deer hunting rifle with a certain brand of ammunition and experience good results, stick with that brand of ammo for deer hunting season.

It could mean the difference between staring at an empty pan and feasting on venison stew.

Good Luck and Great Hunting.

Marty Prokop

About Marty Prokop

Deer hunting expert Marty Prokop reveals closely guarded deer hunting secrets on how to get deer every time. Get his Free Deer Hunting Tips Newsletter, free deer videos and free online deer hunting game at Free Deer Hunting
Marty Prokop has 24-years experience deer hunting, processing deer for deer hunters and venison sausage making.

Marty Prokop teaches deer hunting, hunter safety, deer processing and deer sausage making classes. Marty Prokop has processed 7,805 deer, field dressed 422 deer and made over 991,990 pounds of sausage, smoked meats and jerky. Marty Prokop worked with Minnesota DNR programs. His deer hunting videos are used in statewide advanced hunter education classes. Marty Prokop is a successful speaker, outdoor writer and published author.

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