We arrived on a Saturday morning at range opening time to avoid the rush. The range is super-busy during hunting season. My friend explained they try to avoid busy times when lots of loud shots are going off beside them. The three all shoot 300 Win Mags, about the loudest, with heavy recoil.
I learned they shoot 180grain premium hunting bullets in good rifles with good scopes. They were well equipped for moose. At a cease fire, we put up targets at 50yds and 100 yds, —their choice. Each of the three shooters put up two each. None of their first shots found their three 50yd papers. Again none on their second shots. They were blown away in disbelief.
These guys, experienced hunters all, are in their late 50s & 60‘s. They belong to a club that has no riffle range, hence the need to ask me about visiting my club’s range. There were two younger range officers on duty this day and fortunately both knew their stuff.
Although all three rifles had been used successfully previous seasons, their second shots plus a shot by me definitely proved their guns needed sighting-in. I had a few tools with me and so too did the officers and other shooters. (There are often members present whose main hobby is target shooting. They’re excellent shooters, know their stuff and most are helpful, just as these two range officers proved themselves helpful.)
We began from scratch, inspecting bores, stripping off the scopes, retightening the bases and rings, bore-sighting and firing first shots at 25yd targets. We gradually worked up to 100yds and the now happy hunters left with their groupings 2.5 inches high at 100yds, the average rifle hunters’ standard—-put the crosshairs on target out to 250yds (no hold over or under on the level) with commonly used calibers.
Prior to every hunting season I visit the MDRGC range to prove my ability to take game as humanely as possible. And I quite often go again for a few shots before hunts. Practice helps to make perfect.
My BCWF board colleague and his two friends had a successful hunt. New hunters should make many visits to the range. For economy, use .22 long rifle to practice & develop shooting skills. Do most of your .22 shooting at 50yds, but if the rifle has a scope, or quality iron sights and your eyes are good, then extend targets out to 100yds. Always try for tight groups of 5 shots or more. The tighter your groups, the higher the demonstrated skill. The .22 rimfire with long rifle bullets is a great tool for shooting skills development. Graduate to your hunting rifle after you’ve mastered the .22. Enjoy!