With ammunition being in short supply at most stores, you want to sight in your rifle with the least amount of shots possible.
Over the years, I’ve tried adjusting rifle scopes with a trial and error method where I would shoot and then make “guesstimate” changes with the reticles and then shoot again. Sometimes it would take close to a box of shells before I felt I was on target.
It can be expensive, and the recoil can be hard on the shooter’s shoulder.
A few years ago, however, I discovered that you can actually sight in a brand-new scope with just two or three shots.
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Through the power of YouTube, you can learn how to do almost anything better than you originally thought. One of those things includes tips on shooting better. There are several videos out there that help hunters make sure their guns are ready for the first day of deer season.
Let me preface that the two-shot technique for sighting in a gun has four key components that are required if you want to save ammo.
First, you need to have a solid bench and vise to hold your gun in place.
Second, you, as the shooter, need to be calm and able to follow through on your shot. If you wiggle or flinch at the pull of your trigger, you will need to shoot more shells to accomplish a bullseye.
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Third, it really helps if you have a buddy along who can assist you.
Fourth, your target needs to be at a distance where you will be able to see your bullet holes through your scope. Usually 50 or 100 yards is fine for most rifle scopes that go up to 9 or 12 power.
How the process works is that you shoot one shot right at the bullseye. If your scope is hitting the mark, you’re golden and very fortunate.
If you see your bullet is off the mark, there’s an easy way to rein it in.
While having the gun still pointed on the bullseye on your vise or rest, ask your buddy to move the reticle adjustments while you watch through the scope. Again, the key is for the rifle to remain in a fixed position. Only the reticles of the scope move during this process.
Advise your buddy to turn the scope adjustments in the direction to the bullet hole. Keep in mind the arrow directions on the scope may be opposite of what you are telling your assistant to go. If so, just say “the other way.”
Once the scope is now pointed at the bullet hole, you are ready to fire a second shot. Realize the gun never moved — only the scope’s adjustments advanced to go to the point of the first bullet’s impact.
If everything was held steady and you have a good follow-through, your second bullet should be on target. I like to shoot at least a third shot to make sure the second shot wasn’t a fluke.
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I’ve attached a good video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation to the online version of this story that provides a quick two-minute overview of this process. There are several others on YouTube as well about this technique.
Hopefully this advice will save some of your highly valuable rifle shells for game instead of target adjustments this year.
Good luck — and here’s to hoping the rifle shell inventory gets back to normal sooner than later.
Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA Today Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for our weekly Outdoors Newsletter email on your website's homepage under your login name.
This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Sight-in your hunting rifle's scope with 2 shots for deer season