Q: What is the proper way to sight in a rifle for 100, 200 and 300 yards? I've been hunting for only 4 years, and I'm confused about how to properly sight in my rifle.
-Vince Matthews/Alberta, Canada
A: Vince, I sight in a lot of rifles each year, and I have a procedure that gives me quick and accurate results. You should start out by making a 1-inch round aiming mark in the center of a piece of cardboard with a black felt pen and then staple the cardboard to a 25-yard target board.
Now, while resting the rifle front and back, fire one shot. After firing your shot, align the crosshairs back on the aiming dot and without moving the rifle, look through the scope and turn the turrets appropriately so the crosshairs move over the bullet hole. When the crosshairs have moved to the bullet hole you should have matched your point-of-aim and your point-of-impact.
Fire one more shot and you should now be very close to the aiming dot. Make appropriate corrections again if necessary and then move the cardboard to 100 yards and repeat the process. After zeroing at 25 yards, my bullets will usually hit within a few inches of my aiming mark at 100 yards. If the bullet hits some distance from the aiming mark, immobilize the rifle and move the crosshairs over to the bullet. If you're close, simply adjust your turrets to move the bullet impact to 2-3 inches high on the 100-yard target.
My rule of thumb is to sight 2 inches high at 100 yards with really flat-shooting cartridges and 3 inches high with cartridges like the .308 Win. and .30-06. Sighting your rifle in this manner will ensure hits into the vital area of big game animals out to approximately 300 yards.
SEEKING DEADLY DEER AND COYOTE COMBO
Q: I recently purchased a New England Firearms Huntsman combo chambered in .243 Win., and I plan to use it for the occasional predator hunt and possibly as a deer rifle. Can I use just one bullet/load in this gun for both hunting purposes? I was thinking about a 55- or 75-grain bullet. Are these bullet weights enough for deer?
-Al Schnaith/Albert Lea, MN
A: Al, I've shot the .243 Win. extensively for both coyotes and whitetails, and matched with the proper bullet I consider it to be a dandy caliber for both. But while the lighter bullets you mention are excellent varmint killers, in my opinion they fall short in the whitetail woods. There are two ways you can go here. If you're intent on using one bullet for both types of hunting, step up to one of the many fine 100-grain bullets on the market. While they might be a bit harsh for coyotes, if bullet placement is good, fur damage will be tolerable.
Your other option- the one I recommend- is to match the bullet specifically to the type of hunting you plan to do. Federal offers a couple of 100-grain bullets- Nosler Partition and Sierra GameKing- in its Vital·Shok line that are tailor-made for medium-sized big game such at whitetails. For coyotes, Winchester's 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip- which leaves the barrel at a blistering 4,060 fps- is the cat's meow. However, zeroed at 200 yards, the 100-grain bullets will drop 8 inches more than the 55-grain bullet at 400 yards, so you'll have to adjust your scope when switching between bullets. -Gordy Krahn
Q: I recently bought my girlfriend a Mossberg 20 gauge shotgun, but when we went out to shoot some targets with it she couldn't hit anything. She was either too high or too low. She says she sees two guns when she has both eyes open. She's right-handed but left-eye dominate, and she can't close her left eye by itself. Is there something she can use or something she can do so she can hit her target? Is this normal?
-Kenlee Merry/Forest City, IA
A: Kenlee, your girlfriend's problem is a very common one that's easily tamed. It's called cross-dominance, which simply means her dominant eye is out of position and thus is looking at the target from a different perspective than the barrel of the shotgun. Since she has difficulty keeping her dominant eye closed, I suggest she start wearing shooting glasses (a good idea for any shooter) with a piece of translucent tape in the center of the lens in front of her dominant eye. This effectively blocks that eye from seeing the sight picture, forcing the other eye to do the work. I know many competitive clays shooters who use this technique with great success. Good luck.
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