By Chuck Nottingham
Successful hunters on Sunday, antelope season's opening day, were most likely on the range this week practicing and checking zero.
Many unsuccessful hunts will be due to unfortunate hunters hitting the fields with rifles merely "bore sighted" at the store where they purchased their telescopes.
"Bore sighting" with muzzle-stud devices even with new laser-beam bore-sighters is merely the first step to get shooters "on paper" at a hundred yards so they can seriously zero at that range and beyond. Each rifle needs the next step of zeroing at distances "where the deer and the antelope play."
Handy as modern bore-sighters are, old-fashioned methods are every bit as effective:
Cradle your bolt-action rifle into a solid rest the Hamblock Adjustable Rest is perfect. Simply remove the bolt, look through the bore from the breech, and adjust the rest so the bull's eye of a target at 25, 50, or 100 yards is dead-center in the bore.
Without moving the rifle, correct windage and elevation knobs of the scope with a screw-driver or coin until the cross-hairs transfix the bull's eye. That gets guns close enough on target to shoot a group for zero. Then it just remains to adjust the scope to where groups are in the X-ring at whatever distance you want.
The method works for falling- and rolling-block rifles, too any gun you can look through the bore.
Auto-loaders, Lever-actions, and Pumps
This old-timer's trick is a no-cost treat. Again, a solid rest is an absolute must. Crank up a variable scope to its maximum magnification. Shoot your best single shot just one carefully aiming at the exact center of a target at 25 or 50 yards. If the bullet hits anywhere on the paper, you're in business.
After recoil, readjust the rest so the cross-hairs are at exact center-bull again. Now, without moving the rifle, gingerly turn windage and elevation knobs with a screw-driver or coin until the cross-hairs are on the single bullet hole. You're bore sighted!
The one-shot trick works every time on any gun. In fact, if your scope's power is high enough to see the bullet hole at 100 yards, the trick puts you on-target at that range, too.
Now you're ready to shoot a group for confirmation of your zero at any range.
Good luck Sunday.