This is how you sight in your bolt action rifle and gear needed to do it.
Shooting season is here, whether practice or just fun, and hunting season is coming up, sooner than you think. It’s time to take advantage of this good weather and sharpen your skills. I’ve already given two clinics in April.
To start with, before sighting in your rifle, you will need the following gear. If your range doesn’t provide them you are going to need several large hand sand bags. We call them hand sandbags because they are only 10-12 inches long and 6 inches wide for bench shooting. Also a tripod and spotting scope is very helpful, ear protection and eye protection and a staple gun to put your target’s up. Don’t forget your targets, the best ones are 1 inch squares to match up your scope settings. Most scopes are ¼ inch clicks. I personally bring my shooting log, but it’s not necessary. Last but not least your rifle and most importantly the ammo you are going to hunt with. Though you may be shooting a .270, all bullets are different in weight and powder charges, with different muzzle velocities, which in turn affects your impact! I will go over how you address your weapon and how to properly grip it in a later tip.
First thing you do, and you can do it at home or in the back bed of your pickup truck, is Bore Sight your rifle. Set up your target several feet away, put your rifle on a bipod or sandbags, pull your bolt out, look through the breach chamber and through the barrel and find the center of your target, then match your scope to that by using the windage and elevation turrets. With that done, go to the 25 yard range and reset up your sitting and gun rest area, with the sandbags and spotting scope.
You are going to fire 3 rounds, loaded and fired one by one. Make sure your crosshairs are dead center target. Adjust where your hits are to the vertical line of the target, this process is just adjusting your windage, don’t worry about elevation. Once you are satisfied with being on vertical centerline, pick up and move to the 100 yard line, and reset up everything.
From the 100 yard line, do the same procedure as you did on the 25 yard line. Fire 3 rounds, loaded and fired one by one, take your time. Look down range and adjust your elevation to the center of the target. If you want your rifle sighted in for 200 yards or 300 yards, then you need to either know your ballistics in order to know where your round should be hitting on the 100 yard target, or repeat the procedure at the 200 and 300 yard line.
I sight in my weapon for 200 yards. If you know the ballistics, I just need to (in my case) adjust my crosshairs to 1.5 inches above the 100 yard line to be dead on at 200 yards, and 6.5 inches high to be on at 300 yards,18.8 inches high for 400 yards, and 38.2 inches at 500 yards. So you see the farther out the bigger the drop. I fix a cheat sheet on the bottom of my weapons showing this info, because at my age my memory isn’t sharp any more. It’s nice to have a quick reference.
You’re done for the day, and remember when you get to your hunting area, fire your weapon to make sure the scope didn’t get bumped in transport. I had a hunting buddy that lost a bull elk because he didn’t do this.
Good luck and have fun!
RB Bass Outdoor Angler and Hunter