Sighting in Your Rifle

15.02.2019 / Views

When it comes to guns, calibers, and scopes, the debate is never ending with many people taking an unwavering stance.  This article is not trying to prove anyone wrong in their belief, it is simply giving you some knowledge that might help for the next time you are in the field.  That being said, it is safe to say that the majority of rifle scopes used for hunting are not properly sighted in and just as many people have no justification for why they sight their rifle in the way that they do.  The following article regarding optimum rifle sight in applies to the vast majority of hunters – those who use a standard duplex reticle scope.  This is for normal hunting ranges (under 400 yards) and for either factory or hand loads. 


  While there is nothing wrong with sighting your rifle in at 100 yards or 200 yards, doing this fails to maximize your rifle’s dead-on hold.  The dead-on hold is where your reticle crosshairs are held on the center mass of the animal.  The proper way to make the most of your rifle’s dead center hold is to sight it in 3 inches high at 100 yds.  This gives the longest possible dead-on hold without shooting too high at close ranges and never adjusting your hold.  

  For example, look at a 7 MM Remington Magnum shooting a 150 grain Nosler Partition at 3100 fps, which is a very common factory load.  Sighted in 3 inches high at 100 yards and held dead-on, the bullet will be 4.4 inches high at 200 yards, almost dead center at 300 yards, and only 3.5 inches low at 350 yards.  By holding center mass on the vitals of any elk or deer, a hunter can be certain that the bullet will land directly in the vitals without ever raising the crosshairs up or down.  If you want to shoot at 400 yards, where the bullet drop is 9 inches, simply hold on the back.  Another common hunting setup is a 30-06 shooting a 165 Nosler AccuBond at 2850 fps.  With this configuration sighted in 3 inches high with a dead-on hold, the bullet will be 3.6 inches high at 200 yards, 1.9 inches low at 300 yards, and 7 inches low at 350 yards.  Again, this will allow a hunter using a straight duplex reticle to hit well within the vitals of any common big game species, specifically, whitetail deer, mule deer, and elk.   Shooting at 400 yards with the 30-06 yields a bullet drop of 14 inches, which will still result in a vital kill shot with a backbone hold.  

  Conversely, if the 7 MM set up was sighted in at 100 yards the bullet would land about 3 inches low at 200 yards, 10 inches low at 300 yards and over 24 inches low at 400 yards, with the 30-06 having even larger drops.  Using this method makes the hunter have to think about scope hold adjustments past 225 yards, losing vital time when a shot opportunity is presented. 

  Now obviously there are situations where this technique does not apply, such as always hunting very thick cover with close shots, using scopes with BDC hash marks or mil-dots, or when using scopes where you dial to your range.  But for the vast majority of hunters utilizing this system will allow them safely and confidently extend their hunting range and make for simpler and quicker shots on game at close to extended ranges.  Regardless if you use this method or not, practice with your weapon as much as possible until you are confident in your shooting and know what your bullet is going to do at all distances.  

Hunt hard, hunt often and be out in it.

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