Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 8, 2013

Bob Gwizdz: Check your rifle before Nov. 15

Checked the calendar lately? Firearms deer season — probably the single biggest day in Michigan outdoors — is bearing down on us like a runaway train. And while it may be a little late in the game to start making all new plans for the Nov. 15 opener, there’s still plenty of time to do the one thing that will most guarantee your success: Shoot your firearm.

Face it; you’re only going to get so many chances to shoot a deer. Do you want to miss when you do?

I didn’t think so.

Generally speaking, you can send one round down range and tell whether your gun is shooting where you aim. And, fact is, unless your scope is way out of whack, one bullet is really all you need to make sure you are on target.

Virtually all public shooting ranges will be open daylight to dark this week for hunters who have neglected to get the job done. And most private shooting clubs have sighting-in days when the public is invited to use the range for a modest fee.

Over the years, I’ve been to a number of shooting facilities and talked with plenty of veteran shooters, many of whom have their own theories and how to best sight in a firearm. Personally, I’ve gone to the two-man, one-shot method. (And you can do this by yourself if you have a gun vise, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume you don’t.)

Using sand bags to secure your firearm, aim at the target and squeeze the trigger. Now, aim at the same place, but have your buddy walk the crosshairs of your scope to where the bullet hit. Voila. You are now sighted in.

This is not easily done at 100 yards with a rifle — unless your eye sight is much better than mine -- but fairly easily accomplished at 50 yards. Generally speaking, if you are dead on at 50 yards with a high-velocity rifle you’re going to be about three inches high at 100 yards — which is where I personally like to sight my rifle. That puts me pretty much on at around 250 and makes it possible for me to shoot with confidence at 300 yards. And at 50 yards, too.

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