Sightin’ In For Deer Season

With the Minnesota firearms deer season now less than 20 days away it was critical that I get my gun sighted in this weekend.   I bore sighted it last weekend, but the wind has been so bad during the past week that finding a day to hit the range has been nearly impossible.   I set up yesterday morning thinking this was going to work out fine…but 20 minutes into the shooting the winds were quickly starting to become a problem once again.

The point is if you want to find out how true your gun is sighted in you just don’t want wind to be a factor during this process.   Oh, sure, under most hunting conditions you’ll need to deal with the wind…but that’s entirely different.   If you don’t know how your gun shoots under ideal conditions (no wind, etc.) then you can never take into account how you might have to correct for, let’s say, a strong cross wind under less-than-ideal hunting conditions.

TargetAs was quite typical for me, after mounting a new scope on a gun, I had some difficulty finding the paper with my first several shots.   I had hoped that laser bore sighter that I had talked about a few posts ago would have worked better…but sorry to report this time around it wasn’t even close.   Best I could tell the first several shots were at least two feet below the target.   Gosh, I hate when that happens.

To make matters even worse…a strong cross wind picked up blowing left to right on the range that certainly could have been disrupting my windage.   I came to the conclusion that I would not get the gun completely sighted-in even this weekend, but get it close enough to tweak it on some better day.

Eventually I put the last six shots (out of 15 total) into a respectable grouping at 100 yards.   I ended my range session figuring that I would wait until a calm day to fine-tune the windage since a decent cross-wind could easily be pushing the projectile slightly off-center.

All in all I was impressed.   Understand that this deer season I will be using my new Thompson/Center Omega .50 caliber muzzleloader shooting a 250 grain T/C Shock Wave spire-pointed sabot bullet.   Punching this projectile at the paper I was using 3 Pyrodex .50 caliber, 50–grain pellets which, as you can see, produce a nice, consistent result.

I should point out that during the regular firearms season (the first two weekends in November for the zones where I hunt here in MN) it is legal to have a scope on a muzzleloader and use this outfitted combination as your firearm package.   Later, when the traditional muzzleloader season rolls around in late November…scopes are then not allowed so then I must resort to the gun’s open sights.   In the more highly populated, agricultural zone where I hunt…the only other firearm option that is allowed is a shotgun shooting slugs.

On my T/C I equipped it with the new Nikon Omega Muzzleloading Riflescope with the BDC (bullet drop compensating) reticle.   It’s really a sweet scope.   By being zeroed at 100 yards the small compensating rings allows the hunter to take shots at up to 250 yards with accuracy.   Now mind you I’m not planning to take shots at those extreme distances with a muzzleloader, but the gun is most certainly capable of handling that range.

Indeed, hunting with a new firearm this deer season is just one of the many reasons I am excited about the hunt to begin on November 4th.   A few of the other reasons you will learn as the season draws much closer.   In the meantime, I’m hoping you have your guns sighted in for this year’s hunt or are planning to do so very soon.   Don’t wait until the last minute.   So far this year I have already had two hunting partners who discovered they have serious gun issues that probably require the services of a gunsmith.   Time to expect any repairs to get done is all but running out for those who have procrastinated.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.