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New to Hunting Sight-in


Bob Anderson

So you have purchased your rifle and had your scope bore sighted in at the dealers. You are ready to hunt, right? No, you are not. Please follow the directions below.

Many shooting clubs have sight in days for both new and experienced hunters that are open to the public for a limited number of days before the season starts. For nominal fee, the club will provide targets, a bench rest, and volunteer spotters that will help you sight your firearm in. In my opinion if you have this option available, it is 100 yard rangethe best. There are all so public ranges these are open to the public but you will need to supply your own targets, bench rest, sand bags, and a spotting scope or a pair of binoculars. This is hard way to go if you are new to hunting unless you have an experienced buddy along that can spot and advise you.

Every rifle hunter knows sighting in or verifying your rifle’s zero is a necessity and should be done before each hunting trip. Your rifle could have been bumped in some way that has caused the scope to be off or you have purchased a new rifle.

 The best place to perform this task is from a solid bench rest. That will allow you to determine the exact capabilities of your rifle. Shooting from the hood of your truck or resting on a stump is not stable enough to truly obtain an accurate zero.

The first steps in getting your rifle ready for the range; ensuring that it is empty and then thoroughly clean it. Even a new rifle’s barrel should be cleaned.

The next step is to make certain that all stock and scope screws are tight. You can shoot all day and never zero a rifle with a loose scope. (I would recommend if the screws are loose taking the gun to gunsmith or where you purchased the scope. Why? It is easy to over tighten these screws and strip them out).

Next position your rifle on the shooting bench using sandbags to support the front stock and a “rabbit ear” rear sandbag.

Assuming that this is initial zeroing for your new rifle, place a target at 25 yards and prepare to bore site your rifle ( if your gun is already bore sighted then skip the information on bore sighting but still start out at the 25 yard target). If it is a bolt gun, you can remove the bolt and then look down the barrel. Position the gun so that the target is centered in the barrel. With the rifle held in place by sandbags, look through the scope and see how the cross hairs line up with the target. You will have to move the crosshairs so that they are centered on the bullseye. To do this, move the turrets in the opposite direction that you need to go. Crank the turret down to raise the crosshair and crank it right to move the crosshair left. When it is centered, return the bolt to the rifle. If you have a different type of rifle, a gunsmith will need to use collimator to bore site. These have a small scope with different sized pins to insert in your barrel.

When you are satisfied that your rifle is bore sighted, load and fire three shots at the target. Measure from the center of the group and move your crosshairs in the appropriate direction and fire three more. You should be close enough to now move your target to 100 yards and fire three more shots.

At 100 yards, each minute of angle is 1 inch. So, if your scope adjustments are ½ minute clicks, each click moves the crosshair ½ inch.

Repeat the three shot process until you have centered the group on the target. Some of you may want point of aim to be 100 yards on 200  yard rangecenter and others may choose to sight their guns in 1, 2, or even 3 inches high of center at a hundred so that they can more rapidly be on target. This all depends on the caliber you are shooting, the game you are after and your skill as a rifleman.

Safety tip: Always be sure of your target and before you fire be absolutely sure that no one is down range.

In the next issue of Deep Countree in the New Hunting section we will talk about cleaning your game.