With hunting season almost here, it’s time to get an early start on sighting in our rifles.
Being on the range as many years as I have, let me give you a few tips that might save you time and money.
Start out with a clean barrel, clean it thoroughly with a good bore cleaner. Once the barrel is clean, run a dry patch through it to get the excess oil out.
When sighting in your rifle, always sight it in with the exact ammo you are planning to hunt with. That doesn’t just mean the same grain bullet, it means the (exact) same ammo that you are going to hunt with or your point of impact may be different.
Now, we’re ready to go to the range! For those of you that had their rifle sighted in during last season please don’t assume that all is well. A scope does have a tendency to change when stored away all summer so double check that rifle or you could be highly disappointed if you miss that buck of a lifetime.
A common occurrence is for the rings that secure the scope to the rifle to loosen up slightly because of temperature changes. This will show up by your bullets climbing up the target. Scope rings should be torqued to a specific inch poundage. So check with your dealer or gunsmith, but do not over tighten or you could damage your scope.
For anyone who is sighting in a new rifle or scope for the first time, here are some tips that might help you.
Always start at 25 yards. Get your windage dead center and for most high-powered hunting rifles set it about 3 inches low at 25 yards, which should put you somewhere between 8 to 10 inches high at 100 yards.
Once you’re able to see your bullet hole at 100 yards, stop and let your barrel cool down!
(Warm to the touch is ok.)
I often witness people trying to sight their rifle and shooting countless shots in a row and the barrel is so hot you can fry bacon on it! What you must understand, is if you sight in your rifle with a hot barrel, and later when you are sitting in your deer blind with a rifle that’s cold. The point of impact will be different!
Now that you’re on paper at 100 yards and your barrel is cooled down, fire two rounds to see if they are fairly close together. If they are this means you did not pull a shot. So now and only now, do you make the first adjustments. Most scopes have a ¼ inch per click adjustment at 100 yards, but some are 1/8 or ½ so look at the scope instructions or owners manual to be certain.
Now let’s say those two shots were roughly 2 inches high and 3 inches left of center. Then, with ¼ inch adjustments at 100 yards, you would move the elevation turret 8 clicks down and the windage turret 12 clicks right with the top of your index finger tap the top of each turret just in case something was a little sticky. With a cool barrel, fire two more rounds and repeat procedure as necessary.
I hope this saves you a lot of time, money and frustration.
Best of luck this season and God Bless.
Mike Scambray, NRA Instructor & GM Blackwood Gun Club, President of Outdoor Edge Ministries.