September 25th, 2021

Twenty Tips for Hunters to Have a Safe and Successful Hunt

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day. To help the avid hunters among our readers, here are Twenty Tips that can help ensure a safe and successful hunt. These tips have been compiled from our AccurateShooter Hunting Forum, with help from Hunting Editor Colton Reid (who has already been out hunting this month). Some items are preparatory — such as working with maps, sighting in the rifle, and improving physical fitness. We also talk about equipment — having the right gear, from proper boots to a GPS for multi-day hunts.

Of course there are entire volumes written on hunting, but these 20 Tips can benefit all hunters. Follow these suggestions and you should have a safer hunting experience with greater likelihood of success. If you liked these pointers, you’ll find two dozen more helpful hints on the NSSF Website.

hunting fishing day Hunting guide

Preparations Before The Hunt

1. Map Your Hunt and Notify Others — Before your hunt, make a plan and notify friends and family members about WHERE you are going and your intended return date and time. Print out a Google Satellite map and locate landmarks and trailheads. Mark where you plan to park your vehicle and give a copy of this map to friend and/or family members. A hunter may injure himself by falling off a rock, or tumbling in a creek-bed. After that kind of injury the hunter may be confused or unable to walk. If you get stranded in the wilderness, you want trusted persons to know where you are. So, before you leave on a trip, provide a map to a friend or family member. Show them where you will leave your vehicle, and where you expect to be every day of your hunting adventure.

2. Licenses and Permits — Make sure you have a valid hunting licenses and all the necessary tags. Begin this process with ample time before your intended hunt(s). The NSSF adds: “If you are crossing state or national borders, find out about any special considerations you must take care of. Border crossings can mean knowing about firearm transport laws or Chronic Wasting Disease-related regulations.”

3. Work on Your Fitness — On a multi-day hunt you may be trekking many miles. You need to be in good shape. If you are out of shape you may be putting yourself in a precarious situation, particularly if you underestimate the terrain difficulty. As the NSSF says: “Not being able to handle the conditions lessens your chances of success, can turn a great experience into an agonizing one and can endanger your health.”

4. Do Your Homework — Study the area you will be hunting. Talk to other hunters. Look at satellite photos. Get a real sense of the walking and terrain challenges. For a multi-day hunt, MAKE a PLAN. The NSSF states: “Eliminate surprises. Learn as much about where you will be staying, the area you will be hunting, what the weather might be like and what you need to bring[.]”

5. Rifle and Ammo — Make sure your rifle is sighted-in and your ammo is tested. Sight-in your rifle with the ammo you plan to use on your hunt. CLICK HERE for 4-Shot Sight-in Method. After sighting-in from the bench, confirm your zero by shooting from typical hunting positions (kneeling and with forearm supported on a rock or post).

hunting rifle sighting in target

6. Shooting Positions — Practice the shooting positions you will use in the field. Practice sitting, kneeling, and prone positions. You should also practice with shooting sticks, using your day pack as a rest, and with a bipod. Try to have a rock-steady rest before taking your shot.

Hunting Positions

7. Back-Up Irons — If possible, select a rifle with back-up iron sights. While modern scopes are very durable, they can and do fail (glass can crack). If you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your hunt, back-up iron sights can keep you in the game even if your riflescope fails.

8. Communications and GPS — Bring a GPS if you are in a wilderness area far from civilization. It’s a good idea to bring a cell phone, but you may not have coverage if you’re quite a distance from populated areas. A smart-phone also doubles as a digital camera to record your trophies. For navigation and safety, consider getting Garmin inReach Explorer+. This high-tech handheld unit features interactive SOS, connecting you to the GEOS 24/7 search-and-rescue monitoring center. They also allow you to send and receive text messages, no matter where you are, via advanced inReach satellite technology. Yes you can communicate even if you are miles from the nearest cell tower.

9. Select Good Gear — Make sure you have GOOD BOOTS that are comfortable — you’ll spend a lot of time on your feet. You may want a pack with harness for your rifle so you have both hands free. On a multi-day trip, make sure you can carry enough water, and that you will stay warm enough at night. Good practices for backpacking apply to multi-day hunts.

10. Make a Gear Checklist — Create a complete checklist of the gear and supplies you need. That includes arms, ammunition, rangefinder, binoculars, proper clothing (including spare clothes), hunting accessories, sleeping gear (on multi-day hunts), toiletries, medications. Don’t forget a good first aid kit — lots of bad things can happen during any wilderness trip. You can cut a hand, break an ankle or worse.

During The Hunt

11. Have a Plan — know where you plan to go and when. Try to be where you want in the early morning and early evening hours when deer are likely most active.

12. Take Your Time — If you spot a deer and get too excited and don’t take your time you may spook him. Go slow and glass. If possible, wait for the animals to bed down and relax. Then work out the best way to approach your prey. Remember, “You get so few opportunities, don’t screw it up!”

13. Glass More, Walk Less — Let your eyes do the walking — get good binoculars and use them. With their heightened senses of smell and hearing, deer/elk are able to spot you way better than you can spot them. If you are walking around a lot, chances are you are getting spotted by your prey.

14. Riflescopes Are Not Binoculars — Never use a riflescope as a substitute for binoculars. The temptation to do so is real, but when one does this, one is by definition pointing the muzzle of the gun at unknown targets. We like binoculars with built-in rangefinders. When glassing at long range, try supporting your binoculars on your pack.

hunting scopes binoculars Zeiss Colton Reid

15. Be Sure of Your Target before Shooting — Every year during whitetail season, farmers are forced to spray-paint their cattle or risk having them “harvested” by hunters who don’t bother confirming the species in their sights. Hunters with “buck fever” can make mistakes. When in doubt, don’t shoot.

hunting scope deer rifle

16. Know When to Unload — When finished hunting, unload your firearm before returning to camp. You should also unload your gun before attempting to climb a steep bank or travel across slippery ground.

17. Bring Hearing Protection — While pursuing and stalking your prey you’ll want full sensory use of your ears. But when you’re finally ready to take the shot, slip in hearing protection. A shot from a large-caliber hunting rifle can exceed 170 decibels. Unprotected exposure to noise from a SINGLE 170+ dB shot can cause permanent hearing damage. (Source: ASHA.org). If you make a follow-up shot, you double that noise hazard. Therefore a hunter with a non-suppressed rifle should have hearing protection available.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

You can keep a pair of quick-insert plugs on a cord around your neck. Or, get a lightweight neck band with earbuds, such as Howard Leight Quiet Band QB2HYG, 3M Safety Band, or Sellstrom Band, all with a good 25 dB Noise Reduction Rating. You can keep these lightweight bands around your neck, for quick deployment before you shoot.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

“Once a hunter is successful, the REAL work begins.” — Colton Reid

18. Harvesting the Animal — When dressing your animal, be careful with the meat. You’ll want very sharp knives. Some hunters prefer knives with replaceable, razor-sharp blades. Don’t rush the task. Make sure you don’t get moisture or dirt on meat. The three spoilers of meat are heat, moisture, and dirt.

19. Pace Yourself When Packing Out — If you DO succeed, and bring down a big buck, will you be able to dress the animal and carry out the meat? Always be prepared to hike out with extra weight. If you are successful, make sure not to waste the meat you worked so hard for. Choose a pack that can help you carry a heavy load. Remember, this is not an insignificant challenge — you may be carrying 60 to 100 extra pounds in addition to your other gear. Again, take your time. Rest as needed. Don’t hurt yourself.

20. Remember to Enjoy the Experience — Our Hunting Editor, Colton Reid, offers this sage advice to all hunters, but particularly to novices: “Have fun, and appreciate your hunt, whether you bag a buck or not. It is a privilege to experience the wilderness and to get away from the city. Enjoy it while you’re out there. And keep your spirits up. You may get tired, but remember that ‘comes with the territory’. At the end of the day, yes you may be exhausted. And you may want to quit and go home. But stay positive, stay focused. Be patient, the experience is worth it.”

hunting fishing day Hunting guide
CLICK HERE for Hunter Training/Mentoring Programs State-by-State.

Prepare For Your Hunt — Get Fit and Practice Positions

As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.

Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”

Visit WhereToHunt.org

There’s a great online resource for hunters that will help you find game locations in your state and ensure you have all the proper permits and game tags. WheretoHunt.org features an interactive map of the country. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms.

Click Map to Get State-by-State Hunting INFO
Where to Hunt hunting license game location

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September 23rd, 2021

Safari Club Int’l Convention — January 2022 in Las Vegas

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

SCI Convention Returns to Las Vegas in 2022
Safari Club International celebrates 50 years of defending the freedom to hunt. The International Hunters’ Convention returns to Las Vegas in 2022. The Convention will run January 19-22, 2022 at the Mandalay Hotel complex. This is the world’s largest hunting convention, and should attract thousands of visitors. Convention seminars will cover the full spectrum of hunting, fishing, shooting and outdoor adventure.

The SCI Convention has 320+ exhibitors registered currently. These will include gun-makers, optics companies, gear manufacturers, outfitters, and top hunting resorts. Outdoor industry companies will showcase the latest products — from firearms and accessories to optics, ammunition, archery, gear and equipment. Other offerings include furs, jewelry, furnishings, and outdoor clothing.

CLICK HERE for MORE SCI 2022 CONVENTION INFO »

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

SCI auctions offer exclusive firearms, once-in-a-lifetime hunts and adventures, and fine artwork. Proceeds from SCI’s auctions support SCI Foundation’s conservation and education programs.

Established in 1971, SCI will mark its 50th year at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, January 19-22, 2022. Exhibits and daytime activities will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The host hotel will be Mandalay Bay, a 43-story luxury resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

This year’s lineup of guest speakers includes top pro-hunting political voices Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump Jr.; other special guests include Craig Morgan, Edward Byers, and Jim Shockey.

SCI Safari Club International 2022 Convention Mandalay Bay hotel las vegas

“We are pleased to be able to bring the SCI Convention back to Las Vegas in 2022,” said W. Laird Hamberlin, SCI CEO. “We know our exhibitors and members will look forward to being a part of this special event[.] This year we will be celebrating 50 years of SCI defending the freedom to hunt with the convention of a lifetime. From our lineup of special guests to our top-drawer exhibitors from around the world, the 2022 SCI Convention will be one for the record books.”

This video shows highlights from Past SCI Conventions

About Safari Club International
For 50 years, Safari Club International (SCI) has been the leading defender of the freedom to hunt and supporter of wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI is the only hunting rights organization with a Washington, D.C.-based international advocacy team and an all-species focus. SCI mobilizes our 152 chapters and affiliate network representing 7.2 million hunters around the world. SCI’s sister organization, the SCI Foundation, supports research, management, and rural communities in North America, Africa, and Central Asia.

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September 22nd, 2021

Build a Better Barrel Cooler for under $15 — DIY Project

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

In this article we cover a better barrel cooler you can build yourself for under $15. This uses a high-speed inflator fan sold on Amazon, along with a piece of temp-stable tubing. Forum member (and popular YouTube host) F-Class John devised this system. He found it cools his barrels in less than half the time of some other products. And the system can also serve as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI).

Barrel coolers perform an important function — reducing barrel operating temperatures. This can definitely help preserve barrel life and help maintain good accuracy in competition. In addition, keeping barrels cool can reduce the chances of excess chamber pressure, an important safety concern.

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

There are a variety of commercially-available barrel cooling systems. There are external fans, as well as internal, slip-in systems than can do double duty as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI). You can get the original yellow $39.99 BarrelCool or the red $59.99 RifleKuhl from Magnetospeeed. Both are good products. But F-Class John came up with a system that works even better — one you can build for a fraction of the cost of those yellow or red fans.

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

Build Your Own Barrel Cooler for Under $15
This system is easy to put together. Order a $11.99 YIVAR pump from Amazon. This is a small, high-output pump designed to inflate air mattresses. Then get some high-temp-rated tubing from a local supply shop. Then trim the case-head off an old piece of brass. Taper the end of the tube a bit and fit it in the case. NOTE: Use of the fitted case is optional. Having the case provides a nice fit in your chamber. But the system works pretty well just with the tubing and Yivar air pump.

In his .284 Win barrel, the Yivar pump system blows air at 10+ mph out the muzzle. F-Class John says that is “about three times the velocity of other systems”. The Yivar pump “holds about 45 minutes of charge” so he can use it for 15 minutes after each of three strings in a match. And then it can be recharged from a USB-compatible battery pack at the range. John notes the fan continues to blow about the same speed for the full 45-minute charge duration.

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECIKey Benefits of this system

1. Faster Cooling
2. Low Cost (under $15)
3. Longer run time on battery
4. Fan battery is USB rechargeable
5. Finally a use for that worn-out brass

John confirmed the effectiveness of his barrel cooler using a stick-on temperature tape placed on the barrel. This showed that his fan system cooled the barreled in less than HALF the time as the plastic commercial fan systems. In addition, his run time was excellent, and the Yivar’s built-in Lithium-Ion battery is fully rechargeable so he never has to buy expensive batteries.

What are the downsides? Not many. The fan IS somewhat noisy — watch video at 4:04-4:28 time mark to hear the fan. F-Class John notes, however, that the Yivar fan is about 4 decibels (dB) quieter than a Magnetospeed RifleKuhl, so the Yivar’s noise is not that bad.

Here are comments from YouTube viewers who like F-Class John’s invention:

Finally something affordable! It’s compact and can be recharged at the range. I have room for this but not all the other gadgets you show. And a poor pensioner like my self can afford it! Thanks for the tip.

Ingenious and awesome idea! I bought one as soon as I saw this. I’ve been thinking about getting a cooler when I’m testing my loads. Thanks!

Brilliant… Brilliant… Brilliant! I have been deferring buying a barrel cooler for years now on account of wanting to spend my toy fund budget on other things. Considering how cheap it is to build, there is no excuse to not make one now.

Fan with Plain Hose Also Works Well (No Brass Case Cutting/Fitting Required)
F-Class John likes the custom fit he achieves with the hose inserted into a piece of modified brass. However he notes that the system also works well with no brass at all — i.e. just hose and fan. If you have a small diameter chamber, this may actually work better. Simply put the hose on the fan, trim/taper the forward hose end to fit and you are good to go.

F-Class John explains: “The heavy duty tubing and the motor works just fine without a brass case. The hose can sit in the chamber by itself. Obviously not every brass case will easily allow for you to put it on the end of the tube. For many people simply using the tube (without brass) may be the simpler option.”

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

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September 22nd, 2021

Ten Ways to Win — Lessons for Competitive Shooters

SSG Amanda Elsenboss high power national championship
SSG Amanda Elsenboss, now with the Pennsylvania National Guard, is the 2021 NRA National High Power Champion. And Amanda also won the NRA Long Range National Championship in 2019. These two major titles place Amanda among the greatest American shooters and one of only three women in U.S. history to win the High Power title. Amanda combines a superb “mental game” with outstanding gun-handling and wind-reading skills.

DCM CMP Gary AndersonIn the archives of On The Mark magazine, DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson, an Olympic Gold medal-winning shooter in his younger years, offers sage advice for competitive shooters.

In his article Ten Lessons I Wished I Had Learned as a Young Shooter, Anderson provides ten important guidelines for everyone involved in competitive shooting. Here are the Ten Lessons, but you should read the full article. Anderson provides detailed explanations of each topic with examples from his shooting career.

READ Full Article by Gary Anderson in On the Mark.

LESSON 1 – NATURAL ABILITY WILL NOT MAKE YOU A SHOOTING CHAMPION.
(You also need hard work, training effort and perseverance.)

LESSON 2 – ANGER IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD SHOOTING.
(The key to recovering from a bad shot is to stay cool, no matter what happens.)

LESSON 3 – BAD SHOTS CAN TEACH YOU MORE THAN GOOD SHOTS.
(Today, error analysis is one of the most powerful tools for improving scores.)

LESSON 4 – NEVER GO WITHOUT A SHOT PLAN.
(A shot plan is a detailed breakdown of each of the steps involved in firing a shot.)

LESSON 5 – PRACTICE IN BAD CONDITIONS AS WELL AS GOOD CONDITIONS.
(Most competitions are fired in windy conditions or where there are plenty of distractions.)

LESSON 6 – CHAMPIONS ARE POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC PEOPLE.
(Negative shooters expect bad results; positive shooters expect to train hard to change bad results.)

LESSON 7 – IT’S NOT ABOUT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE.
(It’s about how hard you try to win.)

LESSON 8 – YOUR DOG WON’T BITE YOU AFTER SHOOTING A BAD SCORE.
(Hopefully your coach, parents and friends won’t bite you either.)

LESSON 9 – YOUR PRESS CLIPPINGS CAN HURT YOU OR HELP YOU.
(Winning can go to our heads. We start thinking we are so good we don’t have to work hard any more.)

LESSON 10 — YOU NEVER SHOT YOUR BEST SCORE.
(Great champions are always looking for ways to improve.)

USAMU shooters on the firing line at the Wa-Ke’-De outdoor range in Bristol, IN.
smallbore national championships Wa-ke-de
Photo courtesy USAMU.

About Gary Anderson
DCM CMP Gary AndersonGary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009, and is now DCM Emeritus. As a Nebraska farmboy, Gary grew up hunting and shooting. Dreams of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in shooting led Gary to the U.S. Army. In 1959, he joined the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Just two years later, he won his first national championship.

At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Egypt, Anderson stunned the shooting world by winning four individual titles and setting three new world records. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Gary won the 300m free-rifle Gold Medal, setting a new world record in the process. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Germany, Anderson won three additional world titles. At the 1968 Olympics, Gary won a second gold medal in the 300m free-rifle event.

After his “retirement” from international competition, Gary competed in the National High Power Championships, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. Over his competitive career, Anderson won two Olympic Gold Medals, seven World Championships, and sixteen National Championships. He is unquestionably one of the greatest American marksmen ever.

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September 21st, 2021

In Memoriam — Walt Berger, Founder of Berger Bullets

Walt Berger bullets RIP memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

Walt Berger bullets RIP memorial Benchrest Range Ben AveryA legend in the shooting community has passed. And we are all diminished. Walt Berger passed away on September 19, 2021. A great innovator, a great benchrest competitor (with many Hall of Fame points), and a great friend to countless shooters, Walt will be truly missed.

Berger Bullets announced yesterday: “It is with our deepest regrets that we announce the passing of Berger Bullets & Ammunition founder, Walter Berger. Walt passed peacefully on Sunday afternoon September 19th, 2021, surrounded by friends and family at the age of 92.

‘If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right’, were words that Walt lived by. One could see it in how he treated friends and family, and in his impact on the shooting world. Walt’s legacy and dedication to quality is carried on by his grandson, David Hamilton, the Plant Manager of the Berger manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona. Walt’s philosophies and business practices are the guiding principles in our mission to ensure that products bearing the Berger name continue to be something Walt would be proud of. We celebrate his life and will do our best to live up to his example.”

Walt was a remarkable man who loved the sport of benchrest shooting. He was still competing at age 90+. Here he is in 2016 at the Cactus Classic in Arizona.
Walt Berger bullets RIP memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

Many of our readers and Forum members knew Walt and shot with him at matches over the decades. Here are some of the expressions of sadness at his passing:

“Great man, he had a long run, and touched many lives.” — Boyd Allen

“A real gentleman and always there to help anyone that needed it. I’m blessed to have known him many years. RIP old Friend.” — Bill Shehane

“Now there is a man for ya! I remember talking to him and Eunice on the phone back in the 80s ordering some of their benchrest bullets. May God bless his family. Thank you Walt for the great bullets — I’ve watched them do some amazing things!” — Don Mild

“Walt was an iconic figure in accurate shooting for many many years. A gentleman in the game who traveled worldwide including Australia. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family. Rest assured men like Walt aren’t made any more. Thanks for everything Walt — your Australian friends will never forget you.” — Brad Ward

“When I first started chasing accuracy I used to buy bullets from Walt at his little shop on Camelback Road in Phoenix. He always had time to share his expertise and to help me. He and Eunice are together again, shooting at the big range in the sky where the weather is perfect with no wind.” — Doug Whitson

“My prayers go to David, Stacey, Eric, and the girls.
Walt was a truly special man and friend.” — Nancy Tompkins

“He was a Man of Legend. And Legends live forever.” — Ivan Lukashevych

Walt in 2015 at the dedication of the 100/200-yard Ben Avery range named in his honor.
Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery
Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

About Walt Berger and Berger Bullets
Walt Berger shot competitive benchrest most of his adult life. Seeing that the bullets he could buy off-the-shelf were not up to his quality expectations, Walt decided that he could make better precision bullets than he could purchase. Walt started making his own bullets and proved their quality by winning competitions and eventually even earning his place in the Benchrest Shooters Hall of Fame. Other benchrest shooters saw his success and solicited him to make their bullets as well.

Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

After years of crafting bullets by hand in his garage, Walt’s wife, Eunice, who was also a legend in benchrest competition, encouraged him to expand his hobby into a business. Together, they grew Berger into a large-scale precision bullet operation with exceptionally high quality standards.

Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

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September 21st, 2021

Stabilize Your Shooting Positions — Techniques for Hunters

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand
For hunters in a tree stand, SFC McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestandTeam USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In a USAMU video, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

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September 20th, 2021

Wind-Reading Skills for Hunters — Lessons from Haugland

National Hunting Day wind reading Thomas haugland
September 25, 2021 is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Working on your wind reading skills can improve your odds of a successful hunt. Image from NHFDay.org.

Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:

.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph

How to Gauge Wind Speed and Hold Off Using Reticles

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

This field video shows how to observe natural indicators — trees and vegetation — to estimate wind velocity. Then it shows how to calculate hold-offs using the reticle hash-marks. Thomas shoots a fast-cycling Blaser R93 rifle with Norma 6XC ammunition.

More Interesting Videos from Norway
There are many other interesting videos on Haugland’s YouTube Channel, including Game Stalking, Precision Reloading, Shooting Fundamentals and Tips on how to use a Mildot Reticle on a scope with MOA-based clicks.

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September 19th, 2021

Resources for Hunters — Safety Info, Where to Hunt, Best Books

hunting safety 2019 checklist hunter license
Hunting Season has already started in some states, and is right around the corner in other locations. For readers who plan to hunt game this fall, we recommend you brush up on hunter safety and learn the laws in your jurisdiction. Here are some helpful resources for hunters: Safety Tips, Hunter Eduction, License Requirements, and Where-to-Hunt interactive map. Top photo courtesy Horn Fork Guides, Ltd., in Colorado.

Hunter Safety Tips
NRAFamily.org has a good article listing seven salient safety tips for hunters. Anyone preparing for a fall hunt should read this article before heading into the field. Here are three key bits of advice:

1. Be Positive of Your Target before Shooting
This might sound overly simplistic, but the fact remains that, every year during whitetail season, farmers everywhere are forced to spray-paint their cattle or risk having them “harvested” by hunters who don’t bother confirming the species of the large ungulate in their sights. Why does this happen? The most likely explanation is “buck fever,” meaning that the hunter wants so badly to see a nice big buck that sometimes his eyes deceive him into thinking that there’s one there. When in doubt, don’t shoot.

2. Scopes Are Not Binoculars
Never use a riflescope as a substitute for binoculars. The temptation to do so is real, but when one does this, one is by definition pointing the muzzle of the gun at unknown targets.

3. Know When to Unload
When finished hunting, unload your firearm before returning to camp. You should also unload your gun before attempting to climb a steep bank or travel across slippery ground.

Where to hunt hunting license state information NSSF

Visit WhereToHunt.org

There’s a great online resource for hunters that will help you find game locations in your state and ensure you have all the proper permits and game tags. WheretoHunt.org features an interactive map of the country. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms.

Click Map to Get State-by-State Hunting INFO
Where to Hunt hunting license game location

Hunting Affiliation Groups
There are many good organizations dedicated to promoting hunting and preserving our hunting habitats. These groups all offer valuable information for hunters:

Ducks Unlimited
Mule Deer Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
Pheasants Forever
Quail Forever
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Safari Club International
Whitetails Unlimited

Recommended Books about Hunting

There’s no shortage of hunting hunting-related reading material. Here are some of the best books written about hunting.

Hemingway on Hunting by Ernest Hemingway

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Meditations on Hunting by Jose Ortega y Gasset

It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It by Bill Heavey

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food by Jackson Landers

Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck by Peter Bodo

Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz

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September 17th, 2021

Color Your Bullet Tips to Define Shot Groups at Long Range

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

When shooting groups at long range on paper it can be difficult to distinguish which bullet holes belong to a particular sequence of shots. If, for example, you shot three 5-shot groups at 600+ yards on a paper target, you would have 15 bullet holes on the target (assuming no misses). But at that distance it would be difficult to see the holes on target (even with a spotting scope). Accordingly, when you inspected the target up close, it would be hard to tell which shots belonged to which group. You might have a vague idea, but couldn’t be sure, without a target camera recording the shot sequence.

Here is a method to separate multiple shots into specific groups so you can better evaluate your load and shooting skills. The trick is pretty simple — mark your bullets with a color from a Sharpie or other felt marking pen. If you are shooting three 5-shot groups, mark five with red, five with green, and five with blue (or purple). Then, when you inspect the target, you can identify the group placements by the colors that appear on the paper.

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

Round Robin: Using colors you can shoot “Round-Robin” to evaluate seating depths, neck tension, or other variables without having the shot order (and barrel heating) affect group sizes unequally. For example you might have three different neck tensions, each marked with a different color on the bullets. Then shoot Red, Blue, Green in that sequence for five total shots per color.

Smart Tip to Show Colors More Vividly

If the bullet inks are not showing up on your target paper clearly, here is a simple trick that can make the colors “bleed” to be more visible. In your range kit, bring some alcohol solution along with some Q-tips. Then dab the shots on the paper target lightly with wet Q-Tips. Here is the front of a target before and after application of alcohol:

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

Forum Member NewbieShooter explains: “Dabbing a bit of alcohol on the bullet holes with Q-Tips makes the color pop a bit… especially on the back side.” See below:

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

In short order you will see the colors spread into the paper, clearly marking the shot holes by distinguishing colors. If you were shooting a dark bullseye, view the the BACK side of the target to see the colors on a light background.

Credits: Bullet Tips photo by Forum Member Dave Way; Target photos by Forum Member NewbieShooter; Story tip from Boyd Allen.

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September 16th, 2021

NRL22 & NRL22X — Fun and Challenging Rimfire Tactical Series

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

The National Rifle League (NRL) started off sponsoring major centerfire tactical matches, similar to PRS competitions. That proved successful so the NRL added a .22 LR Rimfire series, called NRL22. The NRL22 rimfire discipline has been a major success, as rimfire guns are fun to shoot and ammo is very affordable. The most popular NRL22 matches have drawn up to 200 rimfire competitors. And now there is a companion rimfire long-range series, NRL22X. Learn more about NRL22 and NRL22X at NRL22.org.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangersNRL22 is a great way to get into competition shooting with minimal expense. There are five (5) classes: Open, Base, Ladies, Young Guns (8-16) and Air Rifle. Base Class is for the budget-minded shooter — the combined MSRP of Rifle and Optic may not exceed $1200.00 (so you could spend $700 on a rifle and $500 on a scope for example). That keeps the sport affordable. Open, Youth, and Ladies Classes have no price limits on Rifle and Optic. Visit NRL22.org to find an NRL22 match near you.

The NRL also sponsors NRL22X matches. These involve significantly longer distances for greater challenge. The latest NRL22X match is the XLR Rimfire Rumble, to be held in Grand Junction, Colorado this Saturday, September 18, 2021.

The two videos above from Long Range Shooters of Utah feature footage from the January 2019 course of fire from the NRL22 Rimfire Competition Series. Note the snow-capped hills in the lower video. Useful commentary explains how competitors establish their shooting positions.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangersHow to Participate in NRL22 and/or NRL22X
If you want to get started in NRL22 or NRL22X competition, you’ll need an NRL22 annual membership. These run from $25-$85 depending on class and discipline. CLICK HERE for annual membership information.

NRL22 Membership Benefits Include:
– Eligibility to participate in all NRL22 matches
– Eligibility to participate in all NRL22X matches
– Welcome gift (not all welcome gifts are the same)
– Scoring and Ranking for all events
– Newsletters and updates
– Eligibility for special NRL22 raffles and giveaways
– Access to special NRL discounts from participating sponsors

NRL22 Publishes Monthly Courses of Fire
This video from a Utah NRL22 Match features shooters from each of the four rimfire classes. With the NRL22 program, scores from from local matches like this are ranked against scores from other matches nationwide. In advance of match dates, NRL22.org publishes 5 courses of fire to be used in that month. Each course of fire will always include 2 prone stages, 1 positional, 1 barricade, and a fifth that can be any of those. Details of the course of fire, including target distances, target sizes, time limits, and barricade profiles, are listed at NRL22.org.

Official NRL22 Rimfire Steel Target Package
To facilitate consistent NRL22 match scoring, there is an official NRL22 Rimfire Steel Target Kit. Crafted by JC Steel Targets from AR500 steel, this kit from JC Steel Targets includes 8 hanging targets, 4 KYL (Know Your Limits) targets, plus all needed hangers. That’s lot of steel and hardware for $394.99. There is also an official 2020/2021 Expansion Target Package with 5 more hanging targets for $79.95.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

About NRL22 Tactical/Practical Competition
NRL22 tactical precision Airgun Air rifle classThe goal of NRL 22 is to make Precision Rifle competitions more available to every community. However, nearly all localities have access to 100-yard ranges and most shooters own a .22 LR rifle. The NRL22 program is designed so any facility with a 100-yard range can host matches. Participants at local NRL22 events can then attend a National Championship. NRL22 started with four classifications: Open, Base, Ladies, and Young Guns (8-18 age). Air Rifle is the new fifth class. For the 2018/2019 Competition Season, over 700 shooters attended NRL22 matches. In the 2019/2020 Competition Season, the NRL22 expects significant growth and is excited to welcome new members and clubs.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

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September 16th, 2021

Pyramyd Air Resource for Hunting with Air Rifles

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission

In recent years, airgun manufacturers have come out with increasingly potent air rifles capable of shooting hefty projectiles at serious velocities. Some of these new air rifles pack serious punch, making them viable for certain game hunting purposes. Did you know that hunting with an airgun is legal in most states?

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission
Ataman M2R Tact Carbine Type 1 Air Rifle can launch a .357-caliber projectile at 900 fps MV with 144 ft-lbs of Muzzle Energy.

This Video Shows Squirrel Hunting with Air Rifles in the UK

Interactive Airgun Hunting Map from Pyramyd Air

In conjunction with the Airgun Sporting Association (ASA), Pyramyd Air has compiled state-specific rules and regulations for airgun hunting. These are displayed on an interactive map. The Airgun Hunting Map allows users to choose a type of game they want to hunt, or select a state and get complete and up-to-date information on the local airgun hunting laws. This map shows the states where it is legal to hunt with airguns, and also lists state restrictions on huntable species (each state is different). The resource lists 100+ species — everything from squirrels to elk and everything in between.

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permissionAirgun hunting by state: Simply click on the state, and it will list all the species that are allowed to be hunted in that state.
Airgun hunting by specific game: Choose any state, and click on the species name you want, and it will highlight all the states where that particular species can be legally hunted.

The interactive map has 8 categories: Big Game, Small Game, Furbearers, Nuisance Species, Exotic Species, Upland Bird, Predator Species, Waterfowl. To see the states which approve a particular category, click the applicable category on the Pyramyd Air Hunting Map.

Shown below are the results for Big Game and Small Game Species.

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission

IMPORTANT: You MUST click on the state where you are planning to hunt, and see the specific species allowed for airgun hunting. Just because a state shows RED for “Big Game” does NOT necessarily mean you can hunt deer or elk or even groundhogs!

Read this again!! Each state has a specific list of game animals permitted to be hunted with an Air Rifle. You absolutely MUST look at the individual list for the particular State! For example, though California appears as a Big Game-approved red state, you may NOT hunt deer or feral hogs there with an air rifle. Only these species may be hunted with airguns in CA: Aoudad Sheep, Coyote, Jackrabbit, Opossum, Pigeons, Quail, Rabbit, Skunk, Squirrel, Sparrow, Starlings, Turkey, Weasel.

In other states, the list of allowed species is VERY different. So, you MUST check the list for the state where you will hunt!! To access the list, go to the Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Page and click on the particular STATE.

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission

IMPORTANT: Because of the ever changing laws, use the Pyramyd Interactive Hunting Map as a guide, but always consult with your local state authorities to be sure there are no recent state changes impacting hunting laws and regulations in that particular state!

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September 14th, 2021

Yes You Need to Clean Muzzle Brakes — Here’s How to Do It

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

Many hunters and precision rifle competitors use muzzle brakes because these ported devices reduce felt recoil significantly. That make s real difference getting back on target for quick follow-up shots. While many rifle owners appreciate the benefits of muzzle brakes, they may also neglect their brakes, allowing hard carbon and powder residue to build up. Not good. You should regularly clean your muzzle brake to remove fouling and carbon build-up.

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

As Mark Edgreen posted: “Carbon build up on the crown and in the brake is a recipe for poor accuracy.” And another gunsmith reported that customers complained about guns that “shot out way too early” but they only needed to have the brakes cleaned.

Gunsmith and PRS/NRL competitor Jim See recently reminded his Facebook Fans about the importance of cleaning muzzle brakes: “How many times do I have to say it? You need to maintain your rifles. Clean your muzzle brakes people!”. Jim, who runs Elite Accuracy LLC, notes that hard carbon build-up in brakes can definitely harm accuracy. Look at this example:

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

Muzzle Brake Cleaning Methods
There are various methods for cleaning a brake, we list a variety of techniques, but we would start with NON-corrosive ultrasound. You’ll want to remove the muzzle device before doing these tasks.

1. Use Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine with cleaning solution. This may be the most efficient method: “I place my brake in the ultrasonic cleaner. Shiney as new.” (Jim Moseley).

2. Spray with commercial Carb Cleaner and brush. Then apply anti-corrosion coating.

3. Soak in half hydrogen peroxide and half vinegar. Suggestion: “Let sit over night and carbon melts off. Brush remaining carbon off, rinse and put the brake back on.” Apply anti-corrosive before mounting.

4. Soak in 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar and brush. (Be sure to apply anti-corrosion coating, such as Eezox, after soaking).

5. Tumble in liquid solution with stainless pins. Comment: “Comes out slightly faded, but perfectly clean on stainless, non-painted brakes though.” Warning — do NOT do this with threaded brakes — tumbling could affect threads of screw-on brakes. Also, tumbling can harm painted or Cerakote finishes.

Gunsmithing Tip: By fitting the muzzle brake so that the barrel crown is slightly forward, it is easier to wipe carbon fouling off the end of the barrel. See photo:

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

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September 14th, 2021

Mobile Power Sources for SmartPhones, Tablets, & LabRadars

LabRadar FosPower USB Battery pack charnging LED

Today’s precision shooter is connected. He or she is likely to bring a number of electronic items to the range, such as a smartphone, tablet computer, Kestrel, LabRadar chronograph, and more. These digital devices all require electricity to operate. Unfortunately, most ranges don’t include convenient charging stations for your gadgets. Therefore you need to bring battery back-up. Here are three good options, with storage capacities from 10200 mAh to 42000 mAh. The first unit is fully weather-proof, so it is good for hunters and tactical shooters exposed to the elements. The largest power pack, with AC outlet, is quite versatile and works well on car-camping trips.

1. FosPower 10200 mAh Waterproof Charger, $29.99

FosPower USB Battery pack waterproof shockproof LED

When you’re at the range or on a hunt, it’s smart to have a USB-output battery pack for smart phone, target-cam monitor, even a LabRadar. There are many battery packs available, but most are fairly fragile, with exposed ports. This “ruggedized” FosPower 10200 mAh charger is different. It is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof. (IP67 certified: dust and water resistance for up to 3ft/1m for 30 minutes under water.) It can handle all that a PRS competitor or hunter can dish out. It even has a handy LED light. Right now it’s priced at $29.99 with FREE Shipping for Prime members.

2. EasyAcc 20000 mAh Battery Pack with Fast Charging, $42.99

USB

If you want to charge multiple devices, such as a tablet and a LabRadar, you need serious capacity. The EasyAcc 20000 mAh battery pack can charge up to four devices simultaneously. Notably, this $42.99 Battery Pack charges faster than most other 20K packs. It has two power input ports, allowing it to fully charge in 6-7 hours. (We have another 20000 mAh battery unit that takes over 16 hours to fully charge!). This unit will charge an iPhone 7 six times, a Samsung S8 four times or an iPad Mini two times. Note, 78% of Amazon purchasers rated this unit Five Stars (with 13% Four-Star reviews).

3. Jackery 240Wh USB, 110v AC, 12v DC Power Station, $199.99

USB

Many folks have asked us “How can I use a laptop, chronograph, or electronic powder dispenser that requires 110 volt AC power when I’m at the range?” Sure you can take power from your car’s 12 volt cigarette lighter jack, but you’ll still need a very long cable and a 12 volt to 110 volt step-up transformer. If you run a cable from the parking lot to the bench or shooting bay you’ll have to leave a window open in your vehicle and fellow shooters can trip over the long cord.

A better solution is to get a portable, combo USB + 110 volt + 12 volt power unit. This versatile 240Wh Jackery Power Station will drive a 110v device, 12v units, PLUS charge a USB tablet and cellphone, all at the same time. You can run a LabRadar for DAYS with this advanced Lithium Ion power-pack. It will also power CPAP machines and other 12v devices. One nice feature is rapid charging. Before your range session or camping trip, plug this into the wall. It will get fully charged in about 3.5 hours from a 110v outlet. Also this unit can recharge from a paired Jackery solar panel ($179.99 sold separately, see below). By itself (without solar panel) the Jackery portable power source is $199.99 on Amazon. See Jackery Product Store.

USB

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September 13th, 2021

Smith & Wesson Model 648 — Impressive .22 WMR Wheelgun

smith wesson S&W model 648 revolver wheelgun .22 WMR Winchester magnum rimfire 6

We love Smith & Wesson rimfire revolvers. We have put thousands of rounds through S&W Model 617 revolvers, with 4″ and 6″ barrels. These stainless .22 LR handguns are accurate, superbly reliable, and they hold their value. In general we’ve found that Smith & Wesson rimfire revolvers may be less fussy with ammo, and more trouble-free than typical semi-auto rimfires. Bottom line, we feel that everyone should have an S&W rimfire wheelgun in their collection.

Along with its .22 LR wheelguns, S&W now offers another very impressive Rimfire Revolver option — the “revived” Model 648 in .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire). This stainless Model 648 brings a more powerful cartridge to S&W rimfire revolver fans.

smith wesson S&W model 648 revolver wheelgun .22 WMR Winchester magnum rimfire 6Built on S&W’s medium K-frame, the 8-round Model 648 is designed for small game hunting and target shooting. The .22 WMR is definitely a much more potent varmint cartridge than the .22 LR. You have more downrange energy plus a flatter trajectory. While the 648 does not come with an integral scope rail, it is not difficult to mount red dot or optical sights to this wheelgun.

The Model 648 revolver is built on a stainless steel medium K-frame and includes black synthetic finger groove grips, a black patridge front sight, and adjustable rear sight. This impressive revolver features a full underlug six-inch barrel, eight-round capacity, and is available with an MSRP of $749.

Model 648 History and Features

According to Guns.com: “The K-frame .22 WMR-caliber Model 648 first appeared in Big Blue’s lineup in 1989 sporting a full-lug barrel and stainless steel construction. Retired since 2005, the newest generation of the Model still brings a 6-inch barrel to the party, which translates to a very commanding 11.1-inch overall length. Weight is 46.2-ounces in the eight-shot .22 Mag, making the gun attractive for both those looking to fill pots and smoke targets.” Shown below is a vintage Model 648.

smith wesson S&W model 648 revolver wheelgun .22 WMR Winchester magnum rimfire 6

Jan Mladek, General Manager of Smith & Wesson General Manager Jan Mladek reports: “The Model 648 is back in production to satisfy the needs of handgun owners who are looking to achieve greater distance while hunting or target shooting. With a full underlug, six-inch barrel and a patridge front sight, the Model 648 has been designed … to boost accuracy at longer distances. While we currently offer .22 Magnum revolvers in both our J-frame and Classics line, we are excited to add this new .22 Magnum revolver to the modern K-frame lineup.”

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September 12th, 2021

Efficient 4-Shot Sight-in Procedure for Hunting Rifles

hunting zero zeroing sight-in easy NSSF boresighting
Photo courtesy Vortex Optics.

Hunting season is starting soon. We know many readers have acquired a new hunting rifles, or perhaps are using new ammo or a new optic. If you’ve got new gear, you’ll want to sight-in and zero your hunting rig properly. Here’s how…

Here’s a simple procedure that lets you get a solid zero in just four shots. Of course you probably want to fire a few more rounds to confirm your zero before you head off to your hunting grounds, but this will let you get on-target with a minimum amount of time and ammo expended. (This assumes your scope is securely mounted, and the bases are not drastically out of alignment.)

QUICK-TIP: The Key to this procedure is Dialing to Shot One Point of Impact (POI). Re-aim at center of target after SHOT ONE. Then with the rifle motionless, use the turrets to put the middle of the cross-hair (reticle) on the first shot location. Be sure NOT to move your rifle while clicking.

1. First, remove the bolt and boresight the rifle. Adjust the position of the rifle so that, looking through the bore, you can see the center of the target with your eyes. Secure the rifle in the rests to maintain its position as boresighted. Then, without moving the rifle, center the reticle. That should get you on paper. With the rifle solidly secured in front and rear rests or sandbags, aim at the center of a target placed at your zeroing distance (50 or 100 yards). Confirm there are no obstructions in the barrel! Then load and fire SHOT ONE. Then, return the gun to the exact position it was when you pulled the trigger, with the cross-hair centered on the target as before.

2. Locate, in the scope, where your first bullet landed on the target. Now, while you grip the rifle firmly so it doesn’t move, have a friend adjust the turrets on your scope. While you look through the scope, have your friend turn the windage and elevation turrets until the cross-hairs, as viewed through the scope, bisect the first bullet hole on the target. Use the turrets to move the center of the reticle to the actual position of shot number one. IMPORTANT: Dial the crosshairs to the hole — don’t move the rifle.

Watch NSSF Zeroing Video showing method of moving reticle to Shot 1 Point of Impact.

3. After you’ve adjusted the turrets, now re-aim the rifle so the cross-hairs are, once again, positioned on the target center. Keep the rifle firmly supported by your rest or sandbag. Take the SECOND SHOT. You should find that the bullet now strikes in the center of the target.

3-Shot Zero

4. Take a THIRD SHOT with the cross-hairs aligned in the center of the target to confirm your zero. Make minor modifications to the windage and elevation as necessary.

5. Finally, shoot the rifle from a field rest (shooting sticks, bipod, or rucksack) as you would use when actually hunting. Confirm, with SHOT FOUR, that your zero is unchanged. You may need to make slight adjustments. Some rifles, particularly those with flexy fore-arms, exhibit a different POI (point of impact) when fired from a bipod or ruck vs. a sandbag rest.

Don’t Rush the Process
One more important point comes from reader Bruce: “DO NOT rush the procedure. Hunting rifles need a cold zero. When you go for a walk in the weeds for that freezer-filler with a hat-rack your FIRST (and likely ONLY) shot will be from a COLD barrel. Bambi is not going to hang around while you fire warming shots”.

This Video Shows the Process Described Above:

Fouling Shots and Cold Bore Condition
If you recently cleaned your rifle, you may want to fire two or three fouling shots before you start this procedure. But keep in mind that you want to duplicate the typical cold bore conditions that you’ll experience during the hunt. If you set your zero after three fouling shots, then make sure the bore is in a similar condition when you actually go out hunting.

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September 12th, 2021

The Rifle Patriarch — 48 Years of Service to Youth Shooting

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg

CMP Report submitted by George Kuhne, Everett Junior Rifle Club
Norris Diefenderfer, a long-time coach with the Antietam Junior Rifle Club from Hagerstown, Maryland, is retiring after coaching junior athletes for nearly 50 years. Diefenderfer, now 85 years of age, started his coaching career in May of 1973 when the leader of the Washington County, Maryland, 4-H rifle club became ill and was unable to find a replacement. Norris stepped in to fill the role. Now, 48 years later, after coaching hundreds of talented young shooters, Norris is retiring.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
Norris delivering instruction to his shooters on the standing position. Norris was adamant about teaching a standing shooting position that does not put unnecessary stress on the spine.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
Norris (left, seated) with his team members at the 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry. Norris brought his first group of juniors to the National Matches at Camp Perry in 1982, starting a tradition that has continued since.

77 of Diefenderfer’s Shooters Have Received Division 1 College Scholarships
This summer, at the 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry, Norris decided to retire after 48 years of coaching. He leaves a legacy of dedication to hundreds of young athletes, including 77 who have gone on to receive Division 1 college shooting scholarships. These scholarships total in the millions of dollars and have made education possible for a number of individuals who may not have attended college without them. Several of his athletes have also gone on to All-American honors at the collegiate level.

Initially, the 4-H rifle club only met through the summer months, with their season culminating at the annual 4-H rifle match. As time passed, Norris became interested in getting his juniors involved in additional matches. He acquired the ability to use the nearby Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club range in Pennsylvania and held weekly practices, alternating between smallbore and air rifle. Once a month, the young athletes would shoot a college-format match consisting of a course of fire of 60-shot 3P (three position) smallbore along with 60-shot standing air rifle.

During the summer months Norris moved his practices to the North American Rod & Gun Club in Hagerstown, Maryland, for outdoor shooting at 50 yards — maintaining a personal philosophy that shooting outdoors helped make for better indoor results. Norris also directed week-long smallbore summer camps at the Hagerstown Club.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
This photo is from a report on 2013 Antietam summer smallbore camp lead by Norris Diefenderfer and rifle Coach Kelley of the U.S. Naval Academy. CLICK HERE for a full report with more photos.

Upon his retirement from employment in 1996, Norris renamed the club the Antietam Junior Rifle Club. His junior athletes began traveling to several matches outside of their club like the state Junior Olympic Rifle Competition (JORC), the National Rifle Association (NRA) sectionals, the Palmyra Invitational and some open collegiate matches.

Diefenderfer’s successful teaching methods have been shared with coaches for many other training programs. He stresses shooting positions that are fundamentally sound and safe for the juniors, avoiding the all-too-often occurring back and spine issues that can occur from poor training. His sense of humor and warm, encouraging demeanor with his athletes will be greatly missed.

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September 11th, 2021

Remembering the 9/11 Attack after Twenty Years

Remembrance 9/11 attack world trade center
Image from Creedmoor Sports

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” — Ronald Reagan

Today marks the 20th anniversary of a tragic day in American history. Much like December 7th, 9/11 remains a “date which will live in infamy”. On this 11th day of September 2021, we think it is good for Americans to honor the sacrifice of the first responders who went to the World Trade Center (WTC) and who lost their lives. And we must remember all those who died as the towers collapsed. It is also a good time to remember those key values for which this nation stands — freedom, liberty, and justice for all. In a modern world where media sources and politicians seek to divide Americans and create hostility, the shared memory of 9/11 can perhaps serve to unite us.

Forum member Charlie NC posted: “Everybody remembers where they were when the attacks happened, and the emotions they felt. God bless the victims who died that day, and those who followed in the pursuit of justice. But at a terrible time our country was more united than at any other point in my lifetime. Hopefully may we regain that harmony again under better circumstances.”

Remembrance from 20 Years Ago — Days Before the Attack
Forum member David Joe was in New York City in September 20 years ago. David had actually been in the World Trade Center with his family just a few days before the attack. Here is his perspective on how the tragedy of 9/11 has changed life in America…

Twenty Years Ago at the World Trade Center…
Twenty years and a week ago, my wife, son, and unborn daughter spent five hours at the World Trade Center. We ate, took pictures everywhere, watched the tilting platform movie, pressed souvenir pennies, went to the top, talked to the employees and watched birthday flowers being delivered up the escalator to one of them. And that’s what we first thought about on the morning of 9/11…

Remembrance 9/11 attack world trade center

By the evening of 9/11, I knew the world was different, and always would be. In all the years that have gone by, families like mine eventually travelled again, grew up and recognized at least once a year, the magnitude of the events of that day. Some think about it all the time and became more vigilant, and that is certainly, I hope, good.

Other families were directly involved daily in preventing terrorism from coming home again. Thousands of families lost relatives that day, and many more in the years after.

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September 11th, 2021

Do You REALLY Know MilliRadians? Intro to Mils and Mildots

mildot ranging milliradian Milrad

We first ran this article in 2012, and it was very well received. Since then, many Forum members have requested an explanation of MILS and mildots, so we decided to run this feature again…

1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian | 1 Milliradian = 0.0573 degrees.

Mildot scope reticleIn this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, defines the term “MilliRadian” (Milrad) and explains how you can use a mildot-type scope to range the distance to your target. It’s pretty simple, once you understand the angular subtension for the reticle stadia dots/lines. Cleckner also explains how you can use the milrad-based reticle markings in your scope for elevation hold-overs and windage hold-offs.

Even if you normally shoot at known distances, the hold-off capability of milrad-reticle scopes can help you shoot more accurately in rapidly-changing wind conditions. And, when you must engage multiple targets quickly, you can use the reticle’s mil markings to move quickly from one target distance to another without having to spin your elevation turrets up and down.

WEB RESOURCES: If you want to learn more about using Milliradians and Mildot scopes, we suggest the excellent Mil-dot.com User Guide. This covers the basics you need to know, with clear illustrations. Also informative is The Truth about Mil Dots by Michael Haugen. Mr. Haugen begins with basic definitions: 360 degrees = 2 x Pi (symbol π) Radians. That means 1 Radian is about 57.3 degrees. 1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian. Thus 1 Milliradian = .0573 degrees.

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September 10th, 2021

David Chipman Withdrawn as Nominee for ATF Director

ATF David Chipman Nomination BATFE Second Amendment Foundation

Recognizing that a confirmation vote was likely to fail, the Biden White House has retracted the nomination of David Chipman to head the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). An aggressive anti-gunner, Chipman has advocated the banning of AR-15s and other popular semi-auto rifles. There were concerns about the handling of his own, issued firearms when he worked for the ATF, and his statements as a paid anti-gun activist were extreme and worrisome. Chipman is currently a paid gun control lobbyist who has worked for Bloomberg’s Everytown, as well as the gun control groups Brady United and Giffords Law Center.

Sen. Mitch McConnell was pleased that the Biden Administration retracted the “terrible nomination of David Chipman”. McConnell noted that it was “absurd that a vocal opponent of Americans’ Constitutional rights was ever picked to run ATF. This is a win for the Second Amendment and law-abiding American citizens.”

Sen. Steve Daines concurred: “I’ve been opposed to David Chipman leading the ATF from the start. He’s an anti-Second Amendment, gun-grabbing radical that should not lead the agency that regulates firearms.”

“The defeat of David Chipman is a victory for all Americans who value the right of self-defense,” said Young Americans for Liberty spokesman Eric Brakey, who added: “Chipman has called for a total ban on private ownership of commonly-owned firearms — like the AR-15[.] President Biden should have never nominated this rabid activist on the payroll of Bloomberg-funded anti-gun groups to lead the ATF in the first place.” And the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb stated: “This is a great grassroots victory for the Second Amendment.”

Immediately following Chipman’s nomination, Gottlieb said it had the smell of political patronage to the Giffords Law Center gun control lobbying group. He also accurately portrayed the nomination as a declaration of war on gun owners’ rights. “We predicted Joe Biden’s pick would ignite a political firestorm, and it did”, Gottlieb recalled. “The President has been so wrong on so many issues, and the Chipman nomination ranks right up there[.]”

Gottlieb continued: “We’re proud of the grassroots effort to defeat this foolish Biden scheme to put an acknowledged extremist gun ban advocate in charge of ATF[.] This is a major defeat for the billionaire elitists who bankroll the gun prohibition movement.”

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms declared that the withdrawal of anti-gun lobbyist David Chipman’s nomination to head the ATF is “a much-deserved defeat for the gun prohibition lobby and Joe Biden”.

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September 9th, 2021

Top Shooters Teach Marksmanship at Camp Perry Nat’l Matches

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

This article recognizes the efforts of military men and women who teach others shooting skills and preserve the proud traditions of American marksmanship.

The National Matches at Camp Perry, a staple in the marksmanship world for over 100 years, include many excellent training clinics taught by military teams as well as CMP instructors. The CMP offers an entire lineup of educational courses for those new to the sport and those eager to develop their skills. The types of rifle and pistol courses span from junior to adult, competitive to maintenance and everything in between. Along with classes taught by CMP staffers, other courses are taught by military personnel, including many past and current National Champions and record-holders.

Small Arms Firing School Led by 3-Time Nat’l HP Champion SSG Brandon Green
This year, the Small Arms Firing School was directed by many top-flight marksmen from a number of military teams. The rifle classroom portion was led by the USAMU’s SFC Brandon Green (shown below), a 3-Time National High Power Champion who holds multiple national records including a perfect score in the President’s Rifle event.

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training
The 2021 Rifle Small Arms Firing School helped train over 250 individuals on the range.

Out on the line, world-class shooters such as SSG Amanda Elsenboss and MAJ Samuel Freeman, the 2021 winner of the President’s Rifle Match, brought their knowledge and experience into one-on-one training with participants. Elsenboss is one of America’s greatest shooters. She recently won the 2021 National High Power Championship at Camp Atterbury, after winning the National Long-Range Championship in 2019.

“Having those world-class shooters serve as instructors is an honor and one the students should remember always”, Cooper added.

U.S. Marine Corps Junior Clinic
The Marine Corps junior clinic, guided by MAJ Martinez (USMC Shooting Team Officer), is always a big hit with up-and-coming young rifle shooters. CMP Training Manager Steve Cooper noted: “It was great to see so many enthusiastic young people, who revere the Marine Corps Shooting Team, come out and take advantage of the instruction at this year’s clinic.”

The 3-day clinic includes more advanced training beyond fundamentals, including weather conditions, how to read wind, equipment use, shooting positions, and rulebook standards. Juniors in the clinic spend one day in the classroom, followed by two days of live-fire on the range at 200, 300, and 600 yards.

Marine corps junior clinic CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

“We talk to them and try to understand them, what they struggle with as individuals and their process,” Cooper said of the USMC’s training technique. “We try to give them tiny, little fixes to what they already have going on.”

GySgt Daniel Rhodes, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Marine Corps Rifle Team, helped lead instruction on the firing line in 2021. Rhodes was pleased with the turnout of around 80 juniors. Rhodes explained that around 25 percent of the juniors in the clinic were first-timers.

Team CMP Advanced High Power Clinic:
Led by members of Team CMP (the organization’s own competitive High Power squad) the Advanced High Power Clinic offers more complex instruction in service rifle competition techniques using classroom and range discussion. Though the class traditionally only utilizes dry-fire training on the range, in 2021, a 600-yard live-fire portion was added.

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training
The Advanced High Power Clinic, led by Team CMP members including Bob Gil (above), provides advanced training on wind reading, mental management and more.

With 65 individuals signed up, the course was broken into groups headed by Sara Rozanski, James Fox, Nick Till, Danny Arnold, Robert Taylor and Bob Gil — all experienced and award-winning marksmen. Each focused on a specific area, such as wind reading, mental management and positioning.

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