With the upcoming big game hunting seasons just around the corner, it’s essential to ensure that your hunting rifle is in top condition for the field. Here are five fundamental yet crucial tips to help you get your rifle ready for the hunting season:
1. Set the Sights
Regardless of how perfectly your rifle was zeroed in during your last outing, it’s essential to recheck and adjust your sights before heading out for this season. Storage and transportation can cause even minor disruptions to your rifle’s accuracy. Whether you’re using a rifle scope or iron sights, take your rifle to the range and zero it in at a distance between 1.5 to 3 inches at 100 yards. This precise adjustment will increase your chances of making a successful shot when it counts. Depending on your game and environment, you might prefer a 100-yard or a 200-yard zero.
2. Clean and Foul the Barrel
Proper rifle maintenance directly impacts accuracy and reliability. Residue left from previous shoots can attract dirt and grime, affecting your rifle’s performance. Thoroughly clean the barrel and all moving parts, and apply a protective gun oil. Additionally, it’s beneficial to fire the rifle a few times before your hunting expedition. Firing the rifle helps smooth out imperfections in the barrel, improving its overall accuracy.
3. Choose the Right Ammunition
Invest in premium ammunition – this is not the area to cut costs. Premium bullets offer the necessary knockdown power and accuracy required for optimal rifle performance. Match your ammunition to the specific game you’re hunting. For thin-skinned animals like deer and antelope, choose bullets that expand quickly upon impact. For larger game like elk or moose, opt for bullets with a thicker jacket and a bonded core to ensure deep penetration and a humane kill.
4. Weather-Proof Your Rifle
Rust is a rifle’s worst enemy, especially in wet or humid conditions. Take steps to protect your rifle’s action from the elements. Cover the barrel’s end with electrical tape to prevent water infiltration and safeguard it from wear and tear during hunting. Avoid using duct tape, as its adhesive can attract dirt and potentially affect your bullet’s trajectory.
5. Inspect Extras: Slings and Stocks
Conduct a thorough visual inspection of your entire rifle, including the stock and sling mountings. Even minor cracks in the stock can indicate more significant issues. Ensuring that your rifle is in pristine condition is crucial for accurate shooting and safety. Additionally, verify that your rifle case is in good condition, as it plays a vital role in safeguarding your firearm during transportation.
As you gear up for the hunting season, following these five tips will help ensure that your hunting rifle performs optimally when the moment of truth arrives. A well-prepared rifle increases your chances of a successful and ethical hunting experience.