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Tips for Sighting in Your Deer Rifle or Shotgun

Tips for Sighting in Your Deer Rifle or Shotgun

When you're headed into the field or woods on the hunt for that beautiful buck, you never know what type of conditions you will be dealing with. You might have low light, a fast-moving deer or other challenges to contend with, making it mission-critical that your rifle or shotgun is well-sighted, so your bullet flies straight and true. It's a good idea to hit the range before you go out for the first time with your rifle to be sure it's not pulling in a specific direction. Here are some expert tips for sighting in your deer rifle or shotgun.

Maintaining Accuracy Over Distance

Depending on the weight of the bullet and assuming you are zeroed in at 100 yards, rifle bullets and shotgun slugs that are legal for hunting in Ohio drop an average of 5-9 inches at 200 yards and up to 30 or more inches at 300 yards. Even 2-3 inches can be enough to throw your aim off the relatively small area that is the kill zone on a full-sized deer. If you're dealing with limited visibility or shooting at a distance, having an accurate shotgun or rifle becomes even more critical. There are some great tools online that can help you calculate range and ballistics for your shotgun or rifle

Here's how to get started:

  • Look for a ballistic calculator online
  • Enter the specifics for your rifle or shotgun and bullets
  • Determine bullet effectiveness in overcoming air resistance by looking at wind velocity and direction

One of the best ways to check your result from the calculations is to head to a shooting range to see if your calculations are accurate. 

Depending on the weight of the bullet, rifle bullets drop an average of 3.5 inches at 200 yards and up to 30 inches at 400 yards. Even 2-3 inches can be enough to throw your aim off the relatively small area that is the kill zone on a full-sized deer.

Zero Your Deer Rifle or Shotgun Scope

Sighting-in, also known as zeroing, your shotgun or rifle allows you to align the sights on your scope or sights to ensure that your bullet is accurate when it hits its final destination. 100 yards is a great range to sight a rifle or shotgun for deer hunting in Ohio. Before you get started at the range make sure you have a solid rest to keep your gun steady, plenty of ammo, hearing protection, and targets with inch markers that are highly visible. You can also use a laser boresighting tool to adjust your scope before you head to the range to save time. It’s a good idea to start at a close range, such as 50 yards, to make sure you are relatively close to the center of your target before you start fine tuning at 100 yards. Typically it is best to shoot 3 shot groups and then assess your target after each group. Be patient and adjust your optics or sights in small increments until you have a group which is centered on the bullseye.

Don't wait for deer season to start — head to Norton Sporting Goods now for the best selection of guns, ammunition, and accessories to make your next hunting trip fun and successful. When you have questions about specific gear, visit us anytime in Waldo, OH or fill out our quick online contact form. Our friendly and knowledgeable professionals will be happy to help you get the most out of your next hunting or range trip. 

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