The cusp of a new season is here and that can only mean one thing for eager hunters who pride themselves on their first big kill. Are you prepared for venturing into the wilderness and playing decoy to deer, moose, elk, and possible duck? No matter what type of animal you aim to shoot, it’s clear you have to be ready with your hunting rifle for all possible encounters.
The key is to bring your rifle into the range prior to taking it out into the field. If your gun has been sitting unused for too long, chances are it needs to be rescoped and adjusted to accommodate the various ranges of game you plan to hunt. Assuming your rifle will shoot exactly the same way from one season to the next sets you up for missing your target, therefore sighting in your rifle will ensure you are on point and ready to aim.
What Does Sighting In Your Hunting Rifle Mean?
In layman’s terms, a sight-in is a recalibration of the sights (ie. your target) with the ultimate goal that the bullet or shell is placed at a predictable position for solid impact within the sight picture. The main premise of the sighting in is to shift the line of your aim until it shifts the axis of symmetry for the bullet to settle at a designated point of reference. In so doing, when you fire off your rifle with reliable precision it will repeatedly hit at where it aims at the designated points of the identical distances you originally set.
The actual procedure of sighting in involves firing a group of shots from a cooled-off gun barrel, then figuring out the center of the geometric shot pattern. If you adjust the sights to move the point of your aim to that center within the group, you are to repeat the process continuously until subsequent groups are consistently centering on that point of your targeted aim.
The Reasons for Sighting In
As you prepare your hunting rifle for shooting targets out in the wild, know that firearms may be positioned differently from one shot to the next. Many rifles have sights to help you in positioning your rifle so the bullets or shells will land square on your target. However, precision plays a key role in the manufacturing of these firearms in today’s modern society, what with their extensive testing before distribution.
If you’re certain the sights are correctly positioned when you purchase your rifle, the probability of you having to go the extra mile to sight in will be limited. But, there are situations where the bullet placement may be different than what you expected and the numerous factors causing you concern can be traced to the following:
- A loosening or moving of sights from their original position since your last firing
- Optional telescopes may have replaced original alignment markers
- Your rifle may have been sighted in for a different target
- You may be using new ammunition than previously used in testing
- Involuntarily moving the rifle while pulling the trigger
- Holding your rifle in a way that allows unanticipated movement during the recoil process
- Vision impairments that produce an unexpected sight picture
Pay attention to the above before you plan and organize your trip to the great outdoors. You’ll definitely be thankful you were prepared with factors that may affect your 100% sighting in target.
5 Much-Needed Points to Consider
Remember that big-game animals don’t have a clue you’re arriving and about to disrupt their thriving livelihoods. Try not to assume your hunting rifle will be exactly as it was the previous season, and instead, listen up to these 5 tips that will ensure you have a successful hunt and your rifle is raring to go.
1. Get close in and pre-align your firearm’s barrel – This tip involves removing the bolt from your rifle, gazing down the bore, aligning the bull’s-eye to the center, and rotating the crosshair into the middle of the bull without moving the rifle.
2. Fine tuning – Your point of impact is everything. As your rifle is printing close groups in the bull’s center at a shorter distance, try moving back to longer distances and begin to shoot groups to achieve a finer tune. It may also be a good time to attempt various loads to obtain the most compressed groups possible. Think tactical and with accuracy during this process.
3. Keep shooting until you can’t shoot anymore – As common sense as this sounds, the more you shoot the more you get real life experience out in the field. Transfer what you’ve learned from the range and take your rifle on a serious hunt, experimenting with various ranges to make certain your firearm is properly sighted. You’ll need to compensate for weather changes, terrain changes, and how rapidly your prey might move. Intensive shooting may take time and energy, but without firing off several thousand rounds of ammunition at specific targets, how will you ever guarantee success with sighting in?
4. Reading your target – If only it was that easy to aim, shoot, and reach your target with perfect precision every single time. Reading your target includes knowing what chaos might ensue once you begin firing. Consider your ammunition and whether or not it’s causing your shots to be all over the place. Your scope could also be damaged as well. Also, check the screws on your rifle to make sure they’re tight. One misaim and the animal in your sight is freaking out and you’ve lost all means to having a successful hunt.
5. Stay confident – Your shooting ability lies directly in the confidence you have in sighting in your rifle prior to adventuring out into the woods. Big game has no idea what you’re feeling, therefore you must practice your shooting first at a range, identify any problems with your firing technique, know where your rifle will fire, and determine the farthest range at which you can hit your target. Each of these propel your towards hunting with confidence after sighting in.
Hunting is a skill not to be overlooked or dismissed from one season to the next. Your firearm is a weapon that determines how successful you’ll be as a quality hunter, therefore sighting in prior to adventuring out will guarantee your shots are aimed properly, your target is within reach, and you will drive home with food for your family. Above all, do your homework, practice at the range first, then get real life experience out in the wild time and time again.