This is the time of year when hunters should be taking the time to sight-in their deer hunting rifles. North Dakota's deer gun season opens Nov. 4.
Guns old and new should be fired a few times prior to the deer opener to make certain that they perform as expected. Sometimes it doesn't take much of a bump to move a scope off center. Sighting-in will provide some answers immediately if a gun isn't shooting as well as a shooter would like. Usually it takes only a few minor adjustments to get a rifle back on target.
On Wednesday Brian Jensen and Dennis Johnson, both Des Lacs, were sighting in their .270 caliber rifles at the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club outdoor range. Both men have been drawn for whitetail buck licenses northwest of Minot and want to make sure their rifles will be up to the task.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN - - Dennis Johnson fires a round through his deer hunting rifle at the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club outdoor range while Brian Jensen observes. The two men took advantage of nice weather this past Wednesday to sight in their rifles prior to the upcoming deer gun season. Both men are from Des Lacs.
"This rifle is a new one that I bought last year. I only shot it a couple of times but got a deer with it," Johnson said. "I've gotta get it sighted-in for this year."
Johnson discovered that his scope, also new a year ago, was not properly placed on his rifle. After making an adjustment he fired a couple of rounds down range at a target placed a little less than 100 yards distant. His shots were low, requiring an elevation adjustment to his scope to bring his crosshairs up to the desired level.
Fellow shooter Brian Jensen had a few other problems to solve. Jensen recently made the adjustment from shooting right-handed to shooting left-handed. He explained that a stroke prompted the switch.
"I'm seeing if my shoulder can handle it. I'm left-handed now. Just hope it can work," Jensen said.
Jensen's first two rounds into the target included a flyer high to the right. That meant a couple of follow-up shots were needed, resulting in a tight group about two inches high and only a little off center. The height was considered just right for the distance being shot. Jensen moved the left-right adjustment on his scope a few clicks and sent two rounds into the target precisely where he wanted them.
Other items to consider when sighting-in a rifle are the type of ammunition being used and the position of the shooter. Ideally, sighting-in should be done with the ammunition the hunter expects to use in the field. Preferred shooting distances and positions, such as kneeling, standing or with the aid of shooting sticks, should also be practiced prior to the hunting season. Success on the range leads to confidence in the field.