(By DD Venter)
As soon as a hunting rifle is purchased, it is nowadays usually fitted with a telescope.
Now this piece of technology often is a huge cause of headaches when attempts are made to zero or sight in the new telescope and rifle.
To give us a guideline I quoted the Sheriff Jim Wilson, a renowned authority on firearms, his advice will surely help.
Posted on 3 November 2012
“A couple of years ago, I joined a group of hunters just after they had arrived at their hunting camp. When I got there, they were all down at the range sighting in their rifles. They had just mounted scopes on these rifles and were trying to sight them in at 200 yards. Bullets were going everywhere, nobody knew exactly where, and everyone was getting worn out hiking those 200 yards to see if they were even on the paper. A lot of ammo was wasted that afternoon and, frankly, I’m not sure that they ever got some of those rifles zeroed. Their successful shots at game were few and far between.
It is a much easier task to sight in the average hunting rifle at 25 yards. It takes way less time, ammunition, and frustration. Simply sight the rifle to hit dead-on at 25 yards. Depending upon your calibre, bullet weight, and velocity, you will be 1-3 inches high at 100 yards and about back to zero at 200 yards.
For example, the 180 gr load in a .30-06 (@2700fps), zeroed at 25 yards, will be about 2 ¼ inches high at 100 and ¾ inches high at 200. At 300 yards it will only be @ 8 inches low. In other words, at all practical hunting ranges, the shooter can just hold dead on his target (the deer’s shoulder) and he will deliver a killing hit.
But, for goodness sakes, don’t just sight in at 25 yards and call it good. You’ve got to shoot the rifle at 100 yards, and farther, to make the minute adjustments for windage and elevation in your particular rifle with your particular load.
One can generally get sighted dead-on at 25 yards with 10 rounds, or less. Use the other 10 rounds in the box to check yourself out at 100 to 200 yards and you are good to go. Don’t be afraid to make minor adjustments that will allow you to meet your specific hunting needs, but make them judiciously. And you can be happy that you’ve got your hunting rifle ready for the season by only shooting a box, or less, of ammo. It’s simple, easy, and almost painless.”
Three things to always keep in mind when sighting in telescopes:
- Always use a good stable rest – this is not a practice session, but merely a session to achieve the correct shot placement in relation to your crosshair at any given distance.
- Remember at 25 yards you need 4 times more adjustment than at 100 yards to move your Point of Impact the same distance as at 100 yards, a 1 inch adjustment at 100 yards would be four clicks with a scope giving ¼ inch adjustments at 100 yards, at 25 yards it would be 4 x 4 clicks, thus 16 clicks, to correct the same one inch error at 25 yards.
- Remember when hunting, a change in humidity, altitude, temperatures and the rifle getting a bump would need the rifle to be re- zeroed at the hunting venue to ensure it did not go “sour” – this check also boosts the hunter’s confidence.
With scope adjustments take your time, think it trough and make each shot count to prevent burning away a bucket of ammo!