Shoot Like A Pro

You and your guns will be more accurate if you follow these shooting and gun-care tips.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

**121. Slick Up Your Shotgun Mount **
If the butt pad of your shotgun snags on your clothing as you mount it, attach a strip of duct tape over the pad; it will make the pad slide more easily.

122. No-Brainer Scope Alignment
A rule of thumb that has worked well over the ages is to align the rear of a scope's eyepiece with the rear tip of the tang of bolt-action rifles such as Mausers, M-70s, M-700s, etc.

123. Weatherproof Your Muzzle
To keep water, snow or mud out of the muzzle of your gun, simply cover it with a strip of waterproof tape. The tape will be blown away when you fire and won't interfere with the flight of the bullet or shot charge. Another way to protect the muzzle is with waterproof rubber finger guards, available at drug stores.

124. Use the Right Targets
If you're sighting-in a scope-equipped firearm, the best aiming point is a white square within a black box. The black reticle of a scope against a square white target background assures the most precise aiming and target definition. Avoid blaze orange and other colored targets, especially gimmicky ones or the confusing diamondshaped targets.

125. Resizing Cases
When you reload ammunition for hunting, it's a good idea to full-length resize the cases to ensure smooth and easy fit into the rifle's chamber. Also, when you load ammunition for hunting, be sure that the overall cartridge length fits into the magazine box and feeds smoothly. Cycle hunting ammunition through the magazine and chamber to ensure free operation.

126. Estimating Range
A quick way to estimate the range of a game animal is to visualize the number of football fields between you and the target.

127. Hold Your Mount
learn to keep your rifle mounted when cycling the action for a follow-up shot. Don't make the mistake of lowering the gun to admire the shot. It is also a good idea to practice shooting while wearing the gear you plan to hunt with afield.

128. reticle focus
When you're focusing the eyepiece to make the reticle sharp and clear, look at a neutral background such as the sky.

**129. de-gunking a trigger If your **
trigger mechanism has become stiff and gummy because of accumulated grease, grit and fouling, clean it by dousing it with lighter fluid.

[pagebreak] 130. proper scope position
Scopes mounted too far rearward on high-power rifles sometimes result in a bloody condition known as "Magnum Eye."

This can be avoided by mounting the scope about an inch farther forward than you initially think it should be. We tend to lean farther into the rifle when we actually shoot than we do when we casually look through the scope in a comfortable, head-erect position.

131. ID Problem Bedding
Accuracy problems with bolt-action rifles might be caused by improper bedding of the action in the stock. To be sure:

1. Tighten the front guard screw only.

2. With the tips of your fingers pressed against the barrel and top of the stock, you can detect movement of the barrel as the rear guard screw is alternately tightened and loosened.

3. Repeat with rear screw tightened first. A bit of movement is normal, but excessive motion indicates a bedding problem.

**132. secure your magazine **
The foreplates and magazine boxes of some heavy-caliber rifles have the habit of coming loose when fired, dumping cartridges on the ground at the worst possible moment. To avoid this, tape the foreplate or magazine closed with duct tape at the beginning of your hunt.

133. use smaller swabs and patches
If your cleaning patch or swab fits too tightly in the bore, it squeezes out the cleaning solvent, making a mess in the action and not getting engh solvent into the barrel. Avoid this by using three or four loose patches to wet the barrel, followed by a snug patch to wipe it dry.

**134. Jelly up your double gun **
White petroleum jelly is an excellent preservative and lubricant for the hinge and water table areas of break-action shotguns and rifles. Lay on a heavy coating and wipe off the excess that squeezes out when the action is closed. This trick comes from Holland & Holland, and who could be more particular about gun care?

135. Use a ballistic 'cheat sheet'
To help get your bullet on target at different ranges, print a trajectory table of your caliber and ammo and tape it to the stock of your rifle for quick reference.

**136. leather pad protection **
To avoid damaging gun parts when you hold them in a vise, pad the vise jaws with pieces of thick leather before clamping the parts. The leather will conform to the shape of the work piece, allowing it to be held firmly without being marred.

137. PVC Rod holders
A strong protective case for storing cleaning rods and other such items can be made from PVC pipe.

Simply cut the pipe to the desired length, glue threaded adapters to either end and use threaded PVC caps for lids. The project will take no more than a half hour to complete.

[pagebreak] 138. Rack 'em up
Amateur gunsmithing requires a large variety of screwdrivers. Make finding the right size simple by building a rack that keeps screwdrivers off the bench and out of the way, yet visible for quick selection. The rack can be as elaborate as you like, or as simple as a two-by-four with holes drilled for the handles so that the screwdriver's blades are easily seen.

139. Get Organized
For positive identification of your reloads and a professional, personalized look, make your own stick-on box labels using the label makers available at office supply stores.

** 140. Protect Your stock**
To protect the butt stock of a rifle from harmful solvents or rod abrasion damage, cover the comb with a soft and tough hood made from the tanned hide of your elk or moose.

**141. the best cleaning kit **
A tackle box also makes a great storage kit for gun-cleaning supplies. The dividers in the lure trays neatly separate different sizes of bore brushes, swabs and patches. Be sure to get one with plenty of room for bottles of solvents and other necessary cleaning gear.

142. Use Your Reticle as a Range Finder
If you use duplex-type reticles, learn the MOA subtension between the crosshair and the top of the lower duplex post. This can be extremely handy when judging the necessary elevation, or holdover, for long shots.

143. front sight touch-up
Handgun sights that have worn bright or are otherwise difficult to see clearly may cause aiming errors because of the glare.

Front and rear sights can be darkened temporarily with the soot from a match. Be sure, however, that the sights are metal and not plastic or some other meltable material. **

144. waterproofing wooden stocks**
Wooden rifle stocks that aren't completely waterproofed may absorb moisture and swell, causing a change in the rifle's point of impact.

For a quick cure, apply a heavy coat of soft paste wax to the barrel channel. Swab it in thick enough that it squishes out around the barrel when the action is replaced and the guard screws are tightened. This ensures that no water will enter the barrel channel, even during a heavy downpour.

145. Front screw first
When you tighten the guard screws of bolt-action rifles, tighten the front screw first.

[pagebreak] 146. Bedding bugs
Accuracy problems can develop when the recoil lug of bolt-action rifles is too tightly bedded into the mortise of the stock, as frequently follows a glass bedding job. The cure is to cut a small clearance in front and under the recoil lug.

147. scoping up for lefties
Scopes are almost always mounted in a "right-handed" position. There's no rule that says southpaws can't rotate the scope 90 degrees to the left for more convenient adjusting and general use.

Just remember that the adjustment for "R" (right) becomes up and "U" (up) now becomes left.

148. two rods for cleaning
A smart idea for shooters who do a lot of gun cleaning is to buy two cleaning rods, one for brushes and the other for patches. This saves a lot of time and mess.

149. denim sandbag
You can make an inexpensive but quite good sandbag by cutting a section from the leg of an old pair of jeans and sewing or tying an end closed. Fill the leg with sand and seal it up.

150. barrel restoration
It's possible to restore barrels and chambers that are long neglected, heavily fouled or even rusted. Wrap fine steel wool around a bronze brush and apply elbow grease. Sometimes this treatment miraculously restores barrels that appeared beyond saving. Small exterior rust patches can often be removed by a judicious application of fine steel wool and oil.

151. unlocking screws
Screws that have been locked in place by red Loctite or another permanent-type thread locker are tough to remove, but they can sometimes be loosened by applying heat. The tip of a hot soldering iron is ideal for this.

152. Find a Scope's Center
Some models of telescopic sights offer maximum definition and brightness when the reticle is in the "optical center" of the optical system. The optical center of the scope can be found by rotating the scope in a simple cradle made by cutting v-notches in a cardboard box.

If the reticle is out of the optical center it will appear to circle around a target as the scope is rotated. Make adjustments until the crosshairs remain fixed on the target as the scope turns.

Mount the scope using shims and windage adjustment bases so the reticle remains near the optical center when the rifle is zeroed.

[pagebreak] 153. Where to Put Lefties and Righties
When two or more shooters hunt upland game, put the right-handed shooters on the left side of the party and lefties to the right. Right-handed shooters swing more easily to the left, and left-handed shooters swing best to the right, making the party more efficient.

**154. which eye is dominant? **
Wing-shooting problems can often be traced to eye cross dominance.

You can check your eye dominance simply by pointing a forefinger at a spot on the wall several feet away and alternately closing your right and left eyes. ortise of the stock, as frequently follows a glass bedding job. The cure is to cut a small clearance in front and under the recoil lug.

147. scoping up for lefties
Scopes are almost always mounted in a "right-handed" position. There's no rule that says southpaws can't rotate the scope 90 degrees to the left for more convenient adjusting and general use.

Just remember that the adjustment for "R" (right) becomes up and "U" (up) now becomes left.

148. two rods for cleaning
A smart idea for shooters who do a lot of gun cleaning is to buy two cleaning rods, one for brushes and the other for patches. This saves a lot of time and mess.

149. denim sandbag
You can make an inexpensive but quite good sandbag by cutting a section from the leg of an old pair of jeans and sewing or tying an end closed. Fill the leg with sand and seal it up.

150. barrel restoration
It's possible to restore barrels and chambers that are long neglected, heavily fouled or even rusted. Wrap fine steel wool around a bronze brush and apply elbow grease. Sometimes this treatment miraculously restores barrels that appeared beyond saving. Small exterior rust patches can often be removed by a judicious application of fine steel wool and oil.

151. unlocking screws
Screws that have been locked in place by red Loctite or another permanent-type thread locker are tough to remove, but they can sometimes be loosened by applying heat. The tip of a hot soldering iron is ideal for this.

152. Find a Scope's Center
Some models of telescopic sights offer maximum definition and brightness when the reticle is in the "optical center" of the optical system. The optical center of the scope can be found by rotating the scope in a simple cradle made by cutting v-notches in a cardboard box.

If the reticle is out of the optical center it will appear to circle around a target as the scope is rotated. Make adjustments until the crosshairs remain fixed on the target as the scope turns.

Mount the scope using shims and windage adjustment bases so the reticle remains near the optical center when the rifle is zeroed.

[pagebreak] 153. Where to Put Lefties and Righties
When two or more shooters hunt upland game, put the right-handed shooters on the left side of the party and lefties to the right. Right-handed shooters swing more easily to the left, and left-handed shooters swing best to the right, making the party more efficient.

**154. which eye is dominant? **
Wing-shooting problems can often be traced to eye cross dominance.

You can check your eye dominance simply by pointing a forefinger at a spot on the wall several feet away and alternately closing your right and left eyes.