The sighting system you use is as important as the hunting rifle and ammunition. Some hunters spend as much for a rifle scope as they do for the rifle itself.
Many hunting rifles come with iron sights. To aim, center a post at the end of the barrel in a notch or peephole in the rear sight. Iron sights are inexpensive, lightweight, durable and best-suited for short-range shooting.
For more accurate, precise shooting or for shots at longer distances, hunters prefer telescopic sights or scopes. A scope consists of a metal tube containing a system of lenses that magnify the target. The reticule, a network of lines or crosshairs inside the scope, enables you to aim precisely. The optics allow you to focus your eye on the reticule and target at the same time, so you can aim quickly. Scopes are not as durable as iron sights and are easier to knock out of adjustment.
Rifle Scopes vary in magnification power, from 1x, which magnifies the target 1 time, to 12x or more. Fixed power scopes have one magnification power. Variable power scopes allow you to change the magnification with the twist of an adjustment ring. Most hunters use scopes ranging in power from 2x to 9x. Low-power scopes work best for close-range shooting. They have a larger field of view, making it easy to find your target. High-power scopes narrow the field of view but help you see a distant animal.
A Riflescope is attached to the gun using mounts or bases and rings. Whatever the mounting system, it must fit the scope, attach solidly to the air gun and be adjusted to provide enough distance between the rifle scope and your eye. Scopes should be at least 3 inches away from your eye, when the air gun is shouldered, to allow for clearance when the gun recoils.
Most manufacturers offer a selection of special-purpose scopes designed specifically for shotguns and muzzleloaders.
Every season, hunters miss their chance at a trophy because their rifles were not sighted in. Many people think that bore-sighting is sufficient. It is not. A bore sighted hunting rifle may shoot 20 inches or more from point of aim. Before hunting, take several practice sessions with your hunting ammunition.
You can sight in most easily at a shooting range. Most ranges have bench rests and sandbags to provide a steady rest and minimize human error. If sighting in your rifle in the field, make sure you shoot into a solid backstop.
To shoot accurately, take a deep breath, exhale halfway, and then hold your breath as you squeeze the trigger. Do not jerk the trigger as you shoot.
Sights on a new hunting rifle may be so far out of adjustment that you miss the target completely. To solve this problem, bore sight your rifle. Look directly through the bore of the bolt or falling block action. You cannot look directly through the bore of most other actions, so you must use a bore-sighting tool.
You can also rough-sight your hunting rifle by simply aiming at a close target through the sights, firing, then make any adjustments needed to hit the bulls-eye.
Once you have rough-sighted at 25 yards (23 m), back off to 100 yards (91 m). Continue to fine-tune the sights until you can center the shot group on the bulls-eye. If you plan to shoot at longer ranges, sight in a few inches (cm) high at 100 yards. Then try a few long-range shots and make any necessary adjustments. Always hunt with the same type of ammunition you used to sight in. Changing brands or bullet weights often makes it necessary to realign your sights.
Some Hunting Rifle Tips and Tricks From Shooting Experts:
How to Rough-Sight a Hunting Rifle:
Move the rifle barrel until the center of the bore lines up with the bulls-eye of a target 25 yards (23 m) away. Fix the rifle’s position so it cannot move, then adjust the sights to aim at the bulls-eye.
Fire a 3-shot group. The center of the group is the average point of impact. If the center is not in the bulls-eye, adjust the sights. With a scope, you should strive to get a group size of 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide at 100 yards (91 m).
Adjust iron sights by moving the rear sight in the direction you want the rifle to shoot. To make the rifle shoot higher, raise the rear sight. To make it shoot to the left, move the rear sight to the left.
Move rifle scope sights by turning elevation (up-down) and windage (right-left) screws the way you want the bullet impact to move. Read the instruction manual to see how much each click or mark changes the sight at 100 yards (91 m).