Know Your Rifle and Scope!
We still have a few weeks of archery hunting, but we are looking towards rifle season as the elk rut begins to wind down. We have always preached about practicing with archery equipment and making sure you are conditioned to shooting your bow in any condition and situation. As rifle season looms over us, we feel that the same approach should be taken with your rifle.
There are still a number of things that go into shooting a rifle, that can go wrong if you are not familiar with your set up. Some of them may seem simple and unimportant while sitting at the bench, with the rifle in a shooting rest as you send rounds downrange. We've seen many simple things performed poorly, that were the difference between success or not. These are just simple tasks like working the action, safety on and off, rounds in the magazine, and scope adjustments. In the heat of the moment, these small things become important and crucial. If you're not practiced at working these things, they can become a real issue quickly.
Once you know your rifle and are very smooth at making the rifle work for you, it's time to sit down and do some shooting. Time behind the scope pays divedends when it comes time to make that important shot. It doesn't matter what scope and rifle combination you are shooting, the important thing is to shoot enough to know your impact points. When you do go out and shoot, make sure you are shooting at many different yardages. This is the best way to learn your rifle and ammunition, to learn real world impact points. If you have the ability to shoot at different angles, up or down, we highly recommend doing so. Impact points are always different at steeper angles.
If you are shooting a scope with a Bullet Drop Compensation reticle in it, then it is vitally important to check those drops for accuracy. Most of these scopes will allow you to print out a drop chart that shows you what yardage each mark in the scope should be, by inputting information into a computer program. Double checking these at the range is critical so you know they are correct. They may be off and you will need to make a few adjustments to the yardage on the drop chart. Once you have the chart dialed and hitting where you'd like it, don't change anything with your ammunition or rifle. Don't forget, different ammo will have different impacts.
Once you have your rifle dialed in and you have shot it many times, you will be more comfortable making that shot when it counts. Taking a shot at an animal should be second nature to you and there should be no questions going through your mind once you know the range and settle the crosshairs on the animal. Practicing with your rifle is just as important as practicing with a bow, it really will pay off in the heat of the moment.