This letter in Buckmasters provides an excellent example of why it’s imperative that you check and maintain the weapons you use.
I raised my rifle, took a shot and the buck just stood motionless. I reloaded and took another shot. The buck jumped and ran into the trees.
After sitting there for some time, I decided to start looking for the buck. I raised my rifle to place it onto my shoulder and then I heard a clank. My scope was loose in the rings and had slid back about a half an inch.
Now, this story does have a happy ending (turns out he didn’t miss), but it is an excellent illustration as to why it’s important to check and maintain your gear. This applies to more than hunters as well; obviously to the military, but even to the CCW holder.
I’m not talking about press-checking your Glock in bathroom stalls or anything like that. What I’m more referring to is making sure that your iron works and shoots where you want the bullets to go. The easiest way to do that is to shoot your carry gun, with your carry ammo. The purpose of that is to make sure that the gun functions, and that it shoots to point of aim with the ammo you’ve chosen to stuff into your blaster of choice.
I’m not saying that you should ignore expenses and burn ammo like there’s no tomorrow. But you can ask the guy with the buck, or anyone who has ever had a gun go “click” when it should have gone “bang” how important it is to maintain your equipment.
You know, I would think this kind of quick checkup, especially for something that contains small explosions and slings bits of metal at insane speeds, would be standard operating procedure for firearm owners. I mean, complacency does eventually set in, unless you are careful, but still… *shrugs* I do an idiot check of the firearm every time I go to the range – operate all the moving parts, ensure everything fits, and off I go. Just always seemed like a good idea.
Oh, I could tell you that would make you fall out of your chair laughing or drop your jaw in shock. My favorites hunting stories are, when my dad forgot to put the firing pin back in his rifle, which he used the next day for deer hunting. Could hear him cursing from 200 yards away. My personal as a young teenage shooter/hunter f-up was grabbing the wrong ammo for a rifle.The rifle was a .22-250 rifle and I took .223 ammo, which slide down the barrel after cycling one into the chamber. My hunting party got a laugh and the deer got a pardon from Murphy.
Firearms deer season is a month-and-a-half away here in Minnesnowta, and yet our range is still largely empty, even on weekends. Typically it won’t fill up until the weekend just before the season starts…and then it’s jammed.
My wife and I were out last weekend (I took a Friday off work for it) just to go to the range. Among all the other things we did, we put three rounds each from the .30-06’s downrange, just to check that they’ve kept their zero since the last time we shot. They were fine, printing (with cleany, shiny bores) about an inch high at 100 yards. Put ’em back in their cases, and we know with ripe dead certainty that they’ll shoot where we point them when the season starts.
It just kind of amazes me that everybody that hunts doesn’t do this. The idea that a scope would be so loose that it would slide around in the mounts, and that he didn’t notice it before he started shooting, is just kind of jaw-dropping.
That’s why I hunt with iron sights.
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