Don’t skip sighting in your rifle

My neighbors came over to my backyard range over the weekend to sight in their rifles, and I’m glad they came. It gave me an excuse to fine-tune my own rifles, and it turns out, one of my guns really needed it.

I don’t know what causes scopes to get out of alignment, but even the best ones do it. Whether it’s springs or something inside the scope that slowly lose their strength, or bumps and jostles that cause damage either once or over time, every scope needs to be checked before it’s taken out for the hunting season.

I’ve heard stories of people taking a shot at the buck deer or bull elk of a lifetime, only to realize after they make their first shot that their rifle is shooting four feet high and three feet to the left.

I don’t want to be telling that story. Ever. I sight in my rifles every year before I go hunting. Usually, they’re still on-target from being sighted in the previous year, but once in a while, they’re not. It’s that once-in-a-while thing that keeps me honest about sighting in.

And that happened this weekend. I have a .25-06 that was given to me by a friend who passed away several years ago. Bill loved that rifle, and he claimed he could knock a fly off an antelope’s back with it from 300 yards. When I got the rifle, I took it to the range and found that he might not have been exaggerating. That rifle is an absolute tack-driver.

But when my neighbors came over to sight in their hunting rifles on Sunday, I pulled that .25-06 out to take my turn. The first hole appeared in the target three inches high and two inches to the right. I shot again, thinking I had maybe flinched, but the second hole just elongated the first.

It took some adjusting and several more shots, but I got it back to shooting perfect bulls-eyes. It was a good reminder to pull the rifle out and send some lead downrange before the hunting season starts.