Get your gunbox handy: Sight in your slug guns

I’m going to sound like a broken record – if you are old enough to remember vinyl-grooved music — but please go over your slug-guns and rifles before the gun-deer seasons open in the next few weeks. It could mean the difference between you getting your buck, or not.

On a recent day on the range, a fellow shooter wandered over to my station and asked if I had a screwdriver. Yep, I did; I never go to the range without a whole gunbox of tools, cleaning rods, spotting scope, whatever it take to troubleshoot a finicky firearm. But this shooter, a very friendly gent, had just expended about 25 rounds and could not get his rifle to zero – at just 25 yards. And he didn’t have a single tool in his pocket.

That was when he noticed that the scope was sliding back and forth inside the rings. They had not been properly cinched down, or even checked for tightness beforehand. We cinched down the loose ring-screws and the man proceeded to quickly and capably zero his rifle. (I recommend a drop of Loctite or a similar product, especially on heavy-recoiling slug-guns and highpower rifles, to make sure the screws will not shoot loose.) It was clear he knew how to shoot. He just forgot about that other important item –- preparation.

Another buddy, this one in our annual deer-hunting clan and eager to join Ohio’s now-legal rifle ranks, bought himself a dandy big-ring Marlin .45-70 levergun and a scope last spring. He finally got around to getting scope bases and rings in August. But as of this writing, the rig still is not put together and sighted in. Of course I will help him do so, soon. But why wait so long? What if the parts are wrong, don’t fit, and have to be exchanged?

In about 10 days, my club, Elmore Conservation Club, is holding its annual sight-in days. I am a rangemaster for the weekend. I enjoy helping out fellow shooters. But I wish they would learn to help themselves, too. I’ll have my gunbox handy.

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