THE GREAT OUTDOORS — While hunters across Utah wait for the results of the 2017 big game permit draw, vacation days are being requested and plans are being made for scouting and hunting the big game needed to fill the freezer.
One aspect of hunting preparation that gets overlooked, though, is the importance of continually becoming a better marksman. Whether you hunt with a rifle or muzzleloader, being a crack shot with your firearm of choice is one of the most ethical things to do as a hunter.
With that in mind, let's look at a few tips to help you improve your rifle accuracy while you wait for the snow to melt and scouting to start.
Check your trigger
Expert gun owners are likely aware of this tip, but those new to the firearms world likely aren't. Rifles have a certain point where they "break," releasing the firing pin. The break point is measured in pounds and varies from rifle to rifle.
A lot of factory triggers are known for having inconsistent trigger pulls, breaking at different points from shot to shot. The remedy for this is installing a new trigger, or adjusting the factory one, to ensure an even trigger pull.
When sighting in your rifle for the hunt, knowing you can depend on the trigger breaking at the same point every time will give you great peace of mind when you have a trophy bull elk in your sights.
Run your ammo
The last thing you want to deal with on a hunt is faulty hunting ammo. Hand loads and store-bought cartridges can cause issues when they don't shoulder correctly.
To make sure you know your ammo is good to go, take the ammo you plan on using during the hunt and run it through your gun. Rack a round, then eject it, listening and watching through the whole process to make sure the rounds chamber and eject flawlessly.
Properly mounted scope
Every hunter knows their scope is crucial to one-shot kills — the ethical way to hunt — and nearly everyone uses a scope during the rifle and any-legal-weapon hunts. Although a few old-timers have been known to hunt elk with a 12-gauge shotgun and slugs, scopes are the go-to for the majority of hunters.
Sighting the scope in is easy, albeit time-consuming. However, once sighted in, the scope can be knocked out of focus if it's not secured to your rifle.
To maximize your scope's efficacy, use the following tips when mounting it to your gun:
- Mount the scope as low as possible on the barrel, but don't let the objective bell touch the barrel.
- Mount the scope on your rifle in a vise. This helps ensure that both the rifle and scope are straight when they're secured in place.
- Tighten the bolts on the mount and scope with a torque wrench to the manufacturer's specifications.
What are some things you do to improve the accuracy of your rifle? Let us know in the comments.