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Old 05-19-2004, 11:15 AM   #1
Typical Buck
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SE Wisc
Posts: 674
Default Questions about properly sighting my rifles

Well, i have been trying to site in my rifles lately and just can't seem to get a real good grasp on doing it effectively. I am not using any type of vice at the moment, just a front rest that they have at the range (wood grooves).. I have not been getting what i want out of a group. IN fact, when i started out i was about 9+ inches off the center of the target with my model 70. What i did was a 3 shot group, then adjust the scope using the dials. let it cool and another 3 shot group.. still not able to get tight groups.

I know i am moving and getting fatigue. I assume i should be using something to rest the butt/stock of the rifle on so i get no movent. Would you all say this is absolutely necessary to get these 1" groups? I think that's the problem. I just want to confirm this. Remember, i am new to rifles for hunting so i can use any help i can get to properly sight my guns in.
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Old 05-19-2004, 11:50 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 37
Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

" life is too long to go through it with an ugly gun"

To sight in your rifle first I will assume you had the scope boresighted to the rifle if you are using a scope.
Next start at the 25 yard line. Adjust the rifle to hit near dead center at 25 yards.
Next move to the hundred yard line . IN all cases remember to have your rifle resting on the front rest and under the stock on sandbags or some sort of stable rest.
Sand bags work well because they can be molded to your rifle. Adjusting the rear rest will determine a great deal on your rifle position in relation to the target.
Once you have done this sit down and position the rifle so that the cross hairs are directly on the target.( it helps to put a blaze orange sticker on the bulls eye for quick sighting).
Now relax and draw in a breath. As you slowly let the breath out gently squeeze( not pull) the trigger. The actual firing of the gun should come as a surprise to you.
Shoot a three shot group and let the barrel cool between rounds otherwise your shots will walk with a hot barrel.
Bring a few different brands of ammo. Your rifle will like one better than the others and then you have found your ammo.
I sight my rifles in to hit two inches high at a hundred yards, this will cover most hunting situations. Take a spotting scope to the range if you have one to check your groups.
Try these tips and see if they help.
Good luck and putem in the bull
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Old 05-19-2004, 11:57 AM   #3
Typical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

My suggestion is to get someting under your buttstock to start with.
Start your shooting at a target 25 yards away. Once you develope groups, work out to farther ranges.
You don't mention the gun or caliber so I suggest going here and download this free balistics program.
It will help you determine where your bullet should be hitting the target at different distances, etc.
Best of luck!
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Old 05-19-2004, 12:09 PM   #4
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Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

First off 1" groups are not required for hunting and quite frankly while many might claim to get them on a regular basis they aren't as easy as may appear. Personally I can get 1" groups most of the time, still there are days I can't and just don't let it bother me anymore. While I goto the range to assure my accuracy I also use the time to get acustom to the mechanics of shooting the particular rifles I may use, so if I am pulling a duper day I will simply go back to basics and pack up prior to frustration setting fully in! The worst thing one can do is chase the bullseye by adjusting your scope, get your scope reasonably dialed in and leave it until you have confidence in your groupings, then make your fine tuning adjustments for hunting. When sighting in a rifle with a new scope I suggest starting off at 25 yards, this will be much easier to hit the paper than say 100 yards, try and get it hitting close to centre and bulls. Once this is done move to 100 yards and continue to fine tune. As for rest sand bags are a good cheap rest, in fact I use legs off of coveralls and jeans then fill with sand of various amounts so I can either add or reduce dependant on the bench or shooter. In bench shooting I like to have both the forearm and butt braced by a sand bag, it just allows you to concentrate on the trigger pull and crosshairs. Don't forget to breath and slow down, if you get off 1 or 2 good shots to other 5 who really cares. I usually shoot 3 shot groups, each time I shoot I look for my bullet hole then reset, after 3 shots i walk down to the target and use a piece of masking tape to cover the bullet holes. If you feel fatigued quit or at the very least take a good break, chating with the other guys at the range can pass time. Ammo selection can be a cause for poor groups, so it is always good to buy a couple different stlyes/brands that you would use for your hunting purposes. The last thing I would suggest is having a good gunsmith look at your trigger pull weight, quite often they come at 6-7lbs from the factory and this can result in opening up ones groups. I would say reduce it to 4-3.5lbs to start and if you need more take it to 3 lbs once use to a lighter trigger. Keeping with the trigger it is important to tell yourself to squeeze not pull or punch the trigger, you want it to be smooth, effortless and come as a suprise really when the gun goes off - this is easier accomplished with a lighter trigger vs heavier, but some who are used to the heavy pull can accomplish the feat as well.

Remember like anything else you will get better with practice, so keep positive and keep at it! It never hurst if possible to enlist a friend who is a shooter to watch you while you shoot, can help point out things you are doing that you can't determine yourself (like flinching, punching the trigger, peeking, not breathing, etc)

Best of luck
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Old 05-19-2004, 12:42 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 52
Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

I understand your problem. Yes, it would help to immobilize the rifle as much as possible. It
is not necessary to go and spend piles of money to do this. I do not know the exact situation/
setup where you shoot, but I can make several suggestions.
First of all, be sure to check for obvious problems. Are the scope mounts tight ? (I assume that you are using a scope.) Was threadlocker used when the scope was installed ? Is the ammo
you are using suitable for sighting in ? (For instance, if you are using mil-surp ammo.... or a
bullet weight which does not properly match the rifling of your barrel.... then you should switch to
a good, commercial brand - preferably the type & bullet weight with which you intend to hunt.)
Again, no need to spend great wads of money.... It is possible that your particular rifle does not
"like" the particular brand/type of ammo that you are using. It is NOT necessary that you go to
the most expensive ammo.... sometimes just a switch to a similar type, of a different brand, will
do the trick.
Next (and BEFORE you worry about the ammo)....was the rifle boresighted... before shooting?
This most often will move your shots "onto the paper"..... and fairly close to the final point of
impact (if done carefully). If not, don't worry.
Now, as to the setup. If your problem is holding the rifle steady, then let's work on that. Depending on the exact setup/geometry of the rest you are using.... you may be able to simply
add a support under the buttstock. A small backpack (stuffed full of soft material, like cloth) -
works very well. If the rest you are using is too high above the bench, you may not be able to
stabilize the buttstock of the rifle with something like this. If that IS the case, I would suggest
removing the rifle from the "benchrest".... and using only the backpack. Lay the stuffed backpack
down flat - then rest the entire forestock area of the rifle on this. If the bag (backpack or whatever)
is properly stuffed, you should be able to nestle the rifle into it, such that the rifle will sit, fully
supported in this "rest". If the existing benchrest is NOT too high above the bench surface, you
could try using your closed fist (your non-shooting hand) jambed under the buttstock - to support
it. In any case, under NO circumstances should you rest the BARREL of the rifle on anything -
benchrest, backpack, or anything else. If you are, that is guaranteed to throw off your groups.
ONLY the stock of the rifle should be supported or held.
Now, let's move on to the shooting. Your basic procedure of 3-shot groups, followed by adjustment and cool-down, is fine. I must ask, since you are new, are you certain that you are
turning the adjustment dials on your scope in the proper direction ? Absolutely NO disrespect intended.... but, some people have a bit of difficulty with understanding how the adjustment dials
actually change point-of-impact. I will assume that such is NOT the case.
Here is a simple procedure, which should get you close. First, carefully set-up, aim and fire
ONE shot. This shot, obviously, MUST be "on paper". It doesn't matter whether this shot is
anywhere near the bull. When you do this, be VERY careful to note exactly where you were AIMING.... as this will be important in the next step. Next, while carefully aiming the rifle at the
same point as before, (and holding the rifle steady), adjust the scope dials, so that the crosshairs line up with the ACTUAL point-of-impact made by your first shot. I neglected to mention before, that it is sometimes necessary to do this from a shorter distance than 100 yds. Get close enough so that you can clearly see (through your scope) both your original aiming point AND the actual point-of-impact (of your first shot). If you do all of this carefully, you should be very close.
Finally, go back to aiming for the bull (or centre of the target, or whatever)... and continue to
shoot, slowly and carefully.... while fine-tuning the scope settings. If there are no other issues
or problems, then you should be able to get sighted-in.
Achieving 1" (or smaller) groups - especially on a regular basis - will require PRACTICE. If
you are not already an experienced shooter, don't expect that to happen immediately. You must
get very comfortable with your rifle and all aspects of precision shooting.... and I would recommend
that you use EXACTLY the same setup and shooting routine, until you become proficient. At that point, you can begin to try other shooting positions, etc.
Finally, as I alluded to before, if you still cannot get good groups, which improve with further
practice, I would suspect a problem with the rifle, ammo, or perhaps, that you are not taking your
time (or are not comfortable while shooting). These issues can be addressed, when the time comes
(hopefully, you will begin to see success).
I hope that this post will be helpful for you. Please let us know how it all works out.
Best regards.
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Old 05-19-2004, 02:40 PM   #6
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Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

Sightin a gun in, and getting bad groups are two totally different things. What I do is center up my scope when off the rifle. to do this, I turn the adjustments to their maximums and find out the range I have. So if I got 30MOA range, I go to a extreme and then back off 15MOA to put the adjustment dead center. I do this for both elevation and windage so the crosshairs are centered. A scope will move more accurately if they are centered. In other words, you move your crosshairs 1MOA, you point of impact at 100 yards should be 1.07" over. The closer you get to the extremes, the more erratic they become. I seen burris black diamonds, move actual 2" when moved 1MOA on the crosshairs.

I then mount the scope and use burris signature series rings to align the scope with my bore or collimater (bore sight). I then fine tune at the range. I shoot 3 rounds, and move the center of the group the right amount that I should be on the bullseye. With Leupolds, I have no problem. With other, I have had troubles. When your POI is hitting the bullseye, you can now work on your groups.

If you see your scope acting erraticly to changing windage or elevation or not moving what it should, then start looking at your scope as the culprit.
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Old 05-19-2004, 08:45 PM   #7
Typical Buck
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SE Wisc
Posts: 674
Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

ABSOLUTELY GREAT ANSWERS..thanks alot for the suggestions. I do have to get a sand bag to rest the butt stock on.. i also was letting the barrel rest on the wood stand and not the stock. This will help i am sure. Again, thanks for all the great answers i really appreciate it. I look forward to getting better groups.. I am using scopes on both my rifles (albeit cheap Simmons scopes) Plus i was getting a little fatigued and frustrated so i am sure that didn't do me any wonders. I don't think that i flinch in fact i love the kick of a heavier caliber like the 06. A rifle should kick a bit so you know it's not a toy.

my guns are a 30.06 Model 70 and a Savage model 10gxp in 7mm-08. Both brand new.. i am shooting Rem corelokts in 150 gr thru the 30,06 and Winchester XP2's in the 7mm (140 gr)..
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Old 05-19-2004, 09:05 PM   #8
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Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

.. i also was letting the barrel rest on the wood stand and not the stock. This will help i am sure.
This is probably your entire problem. No rifle will shoot worth a flip if the barrel is resting on something. This is because as the bullet travels down the barrel the barrel vibrates and whips.

When you rest the barrel on something you never, never, never apply the exact same ammount of pressure on the barrel. This changes the harmonics of the barrel every single time thus affecting how the barrel vibrates and whips about and where the barrel is in its movement when the bullet leaves the barrel. Idealy you want the barrel in the exact same spot in its movement every time the bullet leaves the barrel.

Until you stop resting the rifle on the barrel you are literally wasting your time and money trying to shoot grouops.
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Old 05-19-2004, 10:03 PM   #9
Giant Nontypical
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Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

i also was letting the barrel rest on the wood stand and not the stock
Rest the stock on sandbags.Never rest the barrel on anything and never rest the stock on any hard material such as wood.
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Old 05-20-2004, 11:14 PM   #10
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 37
Default RE: Questions about properly sighting my rifles

you may want to try Winchester Supreme Ballistic Silvertips they work great in two of my rifles.
130 grain in my .270 for deer
180 grain in my .300 mag for larger animals ( either silvertips or failsafe for the bigger animals)
I also use their partition gold slugs here in the midwest in my slug gun, they just seem to work, but I guarantee ya someone out there will say they shot terrible in their rifle.
A rifle or slug gun likes what it likes and they can be the same make and model and still like different ammo. Find what they like and you are half way there.
If you suspect a flinch, have a buddy load your rifle, and leave one round out. WHen the empty chamber comes up and you think it is loaded if you flinch when you pull the trigger it will be plain as day to you and your buddy.
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