Always remember when shooting a rifle at a range, you are dealing with 2 lines. One is the line of sight and the other is the line of the bullet’s trajectory. The line of sight always starts out above the line of the bore, unless you are shooting the rifle upside down.

Let’s say you have found a solid shooting support to shoot from. After making sure it is a safe place with an adequate back stop, you are ready to sight in. A good place to do the job, of course, is the local sportsmen’s club. If you are already a member of a club, check to see if they have a sight in day, I know Dormont Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club does.

Now you need something to place on a shooting bench and it should be firm but not hard. A piece of 4x4 wood topped with a sandbag or two or in an emergency a rolled-up towel. I really don’t care for sand in my bags because sand can seep out of the bags and sand mixed with moving rifle parts are not compatible. My bags are filled with rice and that works well. In an emergency, you won’t starve.

Now that it is time to shoot, a common mistake made by many persons is to start out at 100 yards. With the price of ammo and reloading components, you save a lot of money by starting at 50 yards. It is very difficult to sight the rifle when there are no bullet holes in the target. It is much easier to hit the target at the shorter distance and an error at 50 yards will be double at the 100-yard range.

Let’s say you fire one shot at a 50-yard target and find it is hitting 5 inches to the left. That is 10 inches at the 100-yard mark. That is enough to completely miss the paper. So, get it close before you move to the longer range.

Adjusting the scope sight is a no-brainer. Now that we are shooting at the 100-yard range, shoot 3 shots then measure how far the average of this group of shots is located from the aiming point. Let’s just say you are 6 inches too high. It is simple to make the needed adjustments. First remove the dust-cap from the vertical adjustment knob on the top of the scope. It is stated by the manufacturer that each click of the knob moves the point of impact ¼ minute of angle. One minute of angle is almost 1 inch or 4 clicks. So, to get the rifle 2 inches high at 100 yards the scope needs to be brought down 4 inches or minutes, 16 clicks.

Because many scopes have lag, I like to give the butt stock a good slap or hit. Lag in scope adjustment is far more common than the average shooter is aware of and can make sighting in difficult. One adjusts the scope only to find it is still hitting too high. The adjustments do not work until the rifle is fired. It is the jolt from the re-coil that moves the crosshairs. By hitting the rifle-butt, I am trying to do the jolt before firing a shot.

It is time to sight in, this weather won’t last forever.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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