New guns need to be sighted
By Ben Norman
I talked to Santa Claus on his way back to the North Pole and he told me he delivered a lot of scope-sighted rifles last Saturday night. If you are one of the lucky recipients of Santa's visit, you may have to sight in one of these new rifles. Even if you didn't receive one this Christmas, you may find the following helpful.
Sighting in a new rifle doesn't require a degree in physics, but knowing a shortcut will save time and ammo. Some sportsmen set up a target at 100 yards and start sighting in. Often the scope and bore are so much out of alignment the first shot doesn't even hit the target. Ask the firearm dealer to bore sight the scope before or after the purchase. This will usually at least get you on the target with the first shot.
Rather than starting out at 100 yards you may want to consider beginning your sighting in process at 25 yards. Place a target in front of an adequate backstop, and use a good rest. If sighting in a new rifle, be sure and clean the excess packing oil out of the bore with a clean patch then fire at least one shot into the backstop before firing the first sighting in round. This will remove what oil that remained in the bore after cleaning.
A gun vice or sand bags will enable one to hold the cross hairs on the bull's eye much easier. If you don't have either, take two one-gallon size zip lock bags and fill them with sand. Place the forearm on the front bag and place the stock on the other. The bags can be adjusted until the crosshair centers the bull's eye.
Fire the first round and observe where it hit. It will not usually hit the bull's eye on the first shot. Next, aim at the target again and, without moving the rifle, adjust the windage and elevation so that the cross hairs now are centered over the bullet hole rather than the bull's eye. Fire another round and check the results, you should be much closer to the bull's eye. Fire another few shots to fine-tune your sighting in. Most rifles that hit an inch low at 25 yards will hit approximately 2-3 inches high at 100 yards. This is a rough rule of thumb and your results may vary.
Next, shoot at a target from 100 yards. I like to fire three shot groups and then move my elevation or windage accordingly. If one plans to shoot at deer or other game over 100 yards, one should practice at the extended range to become familiar with their rifle's trajectory.
This is not the only method of sighting in, but it will work. This method will also cut down on the number of rounds required and the time spent at the range. Happy shooting.