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Get To Know Your Rifle

There are many important things to remember when preparing yourself for hunting your South Carolina hunting land this season.  Possibly the most important is that you remember to practice shooting your rifle before you are actually in your tree stand staring at a trophy buck!  Sighting your rifle at the bench is simply not enough.  This only proves that your rifle is shooting straight and does nothing to show the readiness of the hunter.  Get to know your rifle in the pre-season.  You won’t regret it.

Start by focusing your scope.  Remember that when you focus your scope at the bench that you are probably focusing it for 100 yards, which may or may not be okay.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s focus instructions as they tend to differ.

Another thing you should practice is shooting your rifle with both of your eyes open instead of just one, which happens far too often.  There is a reason we have two eyes and it is because it gives us depth perception.  It might seem awkward at first, but shooting with both eyes open will give you an advantage in the field.  There are advantages to learning to keep both eyes open.  Keeping one eye shut can make that eye blurry when opened, keeping the eye that is not on the scope open will allow you to focus on the animal with that eye and switch to focus on the eye on the scope when it’s time to shoot, and you can use your non-scope eye to better follow the buck after your shot.

Next, it is important to understand point blank range.  Point blank range is the distance between the rifle and your target where the bullet is expected to hit the target without adjusting the elevation of the rifle.  In other words, point blank range is the distance in which you can aim and the bullet will never hit more than 3 inches away from your target.  Fortunately, most newer rifle cartridges’ point blank range falls within what most hunters actually need to shoot.  If you know your rifle’s point blank range, all you need to know is if the buck is within that range and then make a center chest shot.  It’s important to know the muzzle velocity, the ballistic co-efficient of the bullet, and to adjust the distance to zero to effectively use this strategy and to determine your maximum point blank range.

Be sure you’re using the best rifle for you.  Everyone’s opinion is different, but most hunters tend to shoot better when recoil and muzzle blast are lowest.  Most hunters will find it more comfortable to shoot a less intense type of caliber.

Of course, at the end of the day, the most important thing to do to get to know your rifle is to practice!  Be sure to practice in situations and positions you’ll likely find yourself in out on your South Carolina hunting property this season.  Figure out what distances and positions you’re comfortable with, practice shooting your rifle standing as well as sitting, or even lying down.  Come opening day, you’ll be glad you did!