Hunting season is just around the corner. You have your favorite grounds picked up and you have your registration all settled, but do you have the most important part of your trip, your hunting rifle, prepared?
Follow these six essential hunting rifle preparation tips to experience a hunting season that is safe, thrilling and without trouble.
Step #1: Set Your Sights
It doesn’t matter if you’re using iron sights or a scope; an improperly set sight will always be off the mark of where it should be. This issue can lead to the big one that got away or the reason that your rifle accidentally shot a hunting partner. Ensure your rifle is sighted in between 1.5 and 3 inches at the distance of 100 yards. Straying from this could lead to over or under compensating.
Step #2: Follow General Ammunition Guidelines
You shouldn’t skip out on bullets just because you found a cheaper cartridge or bolt. Use premium bullets that will produce the right power with the accuracy you need. Bring at least 20 rounds, or one box, of ammunition. Try not to take more than two boxes since excess bullets will most likely become dead weight.
Step #3: Get Rid of the Muzzle Brake If You Can
Dirt, grime and mud all tend to work their way into any place they can. If your rifle can shoot without a muzzle brake, be sure to leave it off. The small holes are prone to jamming and tend to produce more problems than they’re worth. In the event that the holes do become plugged, they can also cause inner ear damage to people near the muzzle.
Step #4: Bring the Right Scopes
While you should limit yourself on the amount of ammunition you take, it is always a good idea to bring extra scopes. Variable scopes are preferred by some, but 4x and 8x magnification scopes will do just as well. Some of the best lightweight scopes tend to be made by Leupold, Nikon, Bushnell, Leica, Swarosvski and Zeiss.
Step #5: Fortify Your Rifle Against the Weather
Rust is the greatest threat to any hunting rifle. Remove your stock and cover your rifle’s stationary parts in wax or grease. The barrel, action and receiver should be coated in a spray-on rust preventative made of Teflon. You should tape the end of your barrel with electrical tape to further reduce wear and tear from use. If you bring extra rolls of tape, you can quickly add more on the end of your rifle as needed.
Step #6: Protect Your Rifle with the Right Case
If you haven’t already, you will want to pack your hunting rifle in a high-quality aluminum or hard plastic case to prevent dirt and unnecessary wear while you’re moving about to set up. Starlight, Browning, Pelican and Tuff Packs all make for durable cases that will keep water away from your rifle.
If you’re using custom firearms, ensure that the cases you plan to use will fit. Cases will generally provide you with the dimensions you need, which makes going to your local hunting store to purchase a case without your rifle possible.