Couple years ago, Big 17 hand mare - grey - large cancerous tumor in udder - time to put her down. Wife is already upset about the whole matter, but we cannot feed animals that don't produce and we had promised the previous owner that the animal would die on our farm - no rides to any slaughterhouses for this animal!! Now, my favorite deadly weapon of choice for short range work is a .410 pistol. Very deadly at less than 10 yards! Now as stated previously this mare is 17+ hands and most of our animals are 13-15 hands. Well I lead the mare to a previously dug hole, put the gun to her head, pull the trigger, AND I MISSED HER BRAIN!!!!!!!!! Probably no more than 1/2 ", but HERE SHE COMES - I was almost trampled! Well she runs up the road to my dad's buisness - about 200yds, and a "concerned" "not minding her own buisness" woman steps out out of the shop to observe - mare sees her and turns around and heads back to the barn. In the interim, the country vet shows up on a completly different issue - just poor timming! The mare is bleeding like you cut both juglar viens out of her mouth and falls down at the front of the barn. My poor wife runs sobbing to the vet and asks him to give the mare some "juice". By this time, I am madder than a hornet that 1. The vet and I go way back, and he is laughing at me, 2. I am now having to pay the vet for the "juice" when I was trying to avoid that in the first place, 3. My wife is mad at me!, 4. One of my employees is not helping, he is leaned over the backhoe vomiting.
Later after I had calmed down, the vet says that he has messed up several as well and that the mare would have probably been dead in another 30 seconds - but, he needed the extra cash anyway!
So that is why I shoot them from about 20-50 yards! I work real hard on my aim as well!