"The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt." Proverbs 12:27.
It is time to sight in the rifle and punch some holes in a target. I first called my friend Bruce. He is a big game hunter with lots of high powered rifle experience. This is how he told me to do it.
Cabelas has a rifle rest on sale for $69.88. It is a $119.99 item, and I went and bought one of these. It is much easier for me than getting a bunch of sand bags, a table, etc. and building a shooting platform that will be 100 % stationary. You want to shoot at 25 and 100 yards. It is a good idea to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Set up first at 25 yards. Use a medium size target. I like to use one that is about eigthteen inches in diameter. That is pretty close to the kill zone on a deer. I also dial in the highest power on the scope that will give me a clear image. If the image is not clear, dial it down until it is clear. Put the cross-hairs on the bulls-eye. Now you want to close your eyes for about ten seconds. Upon opening, the target and cross-hairs should remain stationary. If not, you are under some tension and shift around a bit until you feel relaxed. You should be able to put the cross-hairs on the bullseye, close your eyes, then re-open them again and not have the target drift. Your muscles in and around the eyes are then relaxed.
Fire one shot and then examine where the bullet hole is on the target. Refer to the dirctions that came with the scope. My scope calls for one click to = 1/4 inch at 100 yards. This is common, but may be different for your scope. On my scope, if the shot is 2 inches high at 100 yards, I would down turn 8 clicks, but at 25 yards, I would turn it times 4 times 8 to equal 32 clicks. The same applies to the windage adjustment.
Now fire another shot. Examine where the bullet penetrated the target. If it hits inside the number ten ring on a small bore rifle target be satisfied. That is close enough, unless you want to expend more ammunition to make it perfect. If it did not hit inside the number ten ring, make small additional adjustments until it does hit in that area.
Now move out to the hundred yard target. Use the same type of target, and wait until your rifle barrel has cooled. This time fire a patter of three shots. They should be within 3 inches of each other, and inside the # 10 ring on the target. If not, make the appropriate adjustments for elevation and windage.
There is extra homework to do. If you want to get really into this, study the "Expanded Rifle Trajectory Table." This will provide additional information on where to land long distance shots. My friend Bruce told me just do the above and forget the extra study unless I plan to shoot some long distances. Where I am going and based on the pictures, the elk are all being shot in the timber so I do not anticipate any long range shooting.
My next part of trip preparation is horse back riding. A questionaire and a list of necessary equipment we should carry came shortly after I made the reservation. All of the equipment I had, but there was one item on the questionaire that jumped out at me. "Do you have experience with horseback riding? If not, have you ever ridden a horse and your experience with it?" The truth is, I rode a horse on a merry-go-round when I was a small boy. It must have made an impression because I still remember it. Needless to say I answered the question with a NO.
More to follow next week on the preparation phase.
Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck Hank.
P.S. I am missing the fall fishing. If anyone has an interesting story, send it to me, and we will publish it.