T’was the Month Before Deer Season

Written by Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz

The phone rang and my wife answered, I could tell from the way she was talking it was a friend, then she handed me the phone and said “Jimmy.”  Sure enough, it was my old friend Jimmy.

We visited for a while and he said “I’ve got to do some shooting you interested?”

I said “Sure, what day?” and Sunday suited him the best, so we set a time.

These can be the best of times.  Two friends getting together to enjoy a day and do some shooting.   Jimmy is just getting over double by-pass surgery, so I’ll get to do most of the shooting but under his supervision of course.  While we’ve done this many times before, it never gets old.   There will be lots of good natured ribbing that is for sure.

shooting range
We’ll start at 100 yards to verify where the guns are shooting by shooting 3 shot groups.  Yup, 3 shots.  Let’s face it, if you can’t get three shots to group five shots sure won’t look any better.

Then we’ll move to 200 and set the scope to print dead-on at 200 yards, again with 3 shot groups.  If we have time, we’ll shot at 150 and 100 yards again, and maybe even 50 yards just to make sure we know where the point of impact will be at those ranges as well.  But we won’t make any scope corrections after we have zeroed at 200.   What I will be looking for in the form of group sizes with these rifles is an inch at 100 and two inches at 200 or MOA accuracy.

If I take my old M94 Winchester with open sights, my expectations will be much different.  My old eyes aren’t as good as they once were, so open sights can present quite a challenge.  My maximum effective range with open sights under perfect conditions would be 150 yards max and realistically 100 to 125 yards is much more honest.  I’m happy with a 2 inch group at 100 yards with my old lever gun and minute of whitetail is much more generous than that.  So I’ll keep the range in my comfort zone and I should be able make a humane harvest with one well placed shot.

Actually, we could zero at 100 or 200 and I can plot the trajectory at the other ranges with Sierra’s Infinity V6 Exterior Ballistics Program and print out a handy Field Print strip (found under trajectory then click ‘tactical’) to put in with our ammo or tape to the stock.

Sierra Bullets .284 dia. 140 gr. at 2750 fps, 830 ft elev and a crosswind of 10 mph
I like to shoot, especially someone else’s ammo, and particularly if I don’t have to clean the guns.  I sure hope Jimmy has lots of ammo loaded.  Practice makes perfect!

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