Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sighting In Rifles with an Overlooked Component

A few weeks ago, my friends and I went to the shooting range to sight in our rifles and plink a bit. I had just installed three new Vortex Optics scopes and needed to get the three rifles sighted in for hunting. I had taken the time to properly level and mount each scope, so I was ready...or so I thought.

Three rifles accompanied me on this trip; my Remington 700 chambered in .300 Win Mag, my Remington 710 chambered in .270, and my AR-15 chambered in 5.56. I also brought along my Bullseye Camera System for tracking my shots on paper. If you don't have one of these you are working too hard. These not only save time, but they save frustration and get you dialed in quickly.

Back at home, I had set up my .300 WM with a Vortex Viper HS LR rifle scope for long range hunting. At the range, I set up my Bullseye Camera System and target at 100 yards to dial in on. Changing things up this time, I opted to bore sight my rifle and then adjust the scope to get on the paper faster. This works incredibly well and I highly recommend it. The ammunition of choice were hand loads with 180 gr Barnes TTSX bullets. In nine shots I had three touching in the bullseye. No brag, just fact.

I moved on to my AR-15 because I really wanted to get it set properly for coyote hunting. Without the ability to bore sight, I guesstimated where I'd hit and I will be honest, it took a few more shots to get on paper. Even still, the combo of the Bullseye system, Vortex scope, and handloads allowed me to dial in quickly and make accurate shots out to 100 yards.

On to the Remington .270, which happens to be one of my favorite rifles. It was willed to me from my uncle a couple years back and I fell in love with the accuracy of this weapon, plus I am a bit sentimental and love the fact that he hunted with it. All of my scopes were properly set up at home and the rings torqued properly. I checked everything over and bore sighted it in. After a few shots, I made some adjustments and fired another group. This one was way off and I was now 9" away from where I was initially! I checked the scope, chamber, barrel, and didn't see anything wrong, so I sent another group down range. This time it was much closer. It fluctuated back and forth between being accurate and then way off. I took a much closer look at the rifle and felt a movement I hadn't felt before. On closer inspection, I noticed the actual picatinny rail base was loose! Not just a little either. It was very loose, but I hadn't noticed that on the bench. I packed it up for a closer look back home.

At home, I removed the scope rings and scope. The rail was loose, so I also removed that. That is when I discovered the problem. The screws were covered in so much dirt and crud that they weren't gripping when installed. It was amazing to see, but also a reminder that I should have taken things apart when I first received the rifle, cleaned it up, and reassembled everything. I cleaned up the screws with my Dremmel tool, cleaned the screw holes with Q-tips and alcohol many times, and then allowed it to dry. This time I used blue Lok-tite on the screw threads, too. After torquing everything down, the scope is now anchored properly and is ready to be sighted in again.

Let this be a lesson to everyone. It sure was to me. I consider myself very careful and safety conscious, but this was one time that slipped through the cracks. We are human and mistakes happen. I have learned much from this and hope you have, too. Now it is time to head back to the range and get this sighted in properly!