Before you start to sight in your rifle, be sure that it’s in safe working condition. Check the bore before firing to make sure there isn’t a cleaning patch or debris in the barrel. Check the safety of your unloaded firearm and always be sure to check your firearm’s safety by the manufacturer’s instructions.  

To sighth your gun, start at 25 yards. Normally the bullet impact at 25 yards will be close to what it will be at 100 yards. Use a bench rest if one is available. If not, find a stable shooting platform. Rest the rifle’s forearm on a padded surface or sandbags if possible. Make certain that you have the correct ammunition for the firearm that you are using.

Also make sure that you sight in using the same type ammunition with which you’ll hunt. Often changing bullet weights or even brands of ammunition will change the point of impact. Fire a three-shot group. Is the group where you want it?  If not, you’ll need to adjust the sights. If you have a telescopic sight, simply move the scope’s windage or elevation knobs in the direction needed. If you have iron sights, you’ll need to move the rear sight in the direction that you want the group to move. Some rear sights may be adjusted with a screwdriver. Other sight types might require adjusting for windage by moving the sight either right or left in a dovetail. Elevation will be corrected by raising or lowering the sight with a step-like elevator at the base of the sight.

After you adjust the sight, fire another group to make sure the point of impact is where you want. You may need to adjust the sights more than once. When you’re satisfied with the grouping, move the target back to 100 yards. Fire a group at this range. If the group is not where you want, you may need to adjust the windage and elevation. When you finish shooting, clean and oil your rifle so it’s ready for the next time.

Best Practices

  • Always follow the posted range rules at our public wildlife management area ranges.
  • Keep the muzzle of the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always be sure of your target and what is beyond before discharging your firearm.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you have decided to fire.
  • Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting your firearms.
  • Firearms should be unloaded when not in use. Keep ammunition and firearms stored in a separate, locked location.