There is probably nothing more frustrating than sitting in the cold and wet snow for hours on end, waiting for the moment only to have it pass you by. That moment is something many, many hunters know all too well. They hike into the spot they scouted earlier and wait in anticipation for a doe or big buck to waltz by. They are ready.
The scope is focused and they are just waiting for the right moment to take the shot and land a nice doe to bring home. The meat will feed the family for the following year.
In today’s world, when that moment comes and goes and the doe or buck runs off whole and hearty, it is a blow to the hunter. It seems impossible a clear shot was missed. It is disheartening and frustrating, but it isn’t the end of the world. There may be another day of hunting. If that fails, there is always the grocery store. Your family won’t starve and you will have another story of the one that got away.
Unfortunately, if that same scenario plays out in a post SHTF situation, it is a lot more than hurt feelings the hunter will be contending with. The family will be hungry. The hunter will have wasted time and energy on nothing.
It isn’t just dangerous, it could be life-altering if the only food to put on the table was that doe that got away.
If said hunter knows they are a crack shot and there was nothing in the way, one must look to the rifle. Something isn’t right with the rifle and the accuracy is off. How do you know where to start?
The following are some of the things that could have thrown off the accuracy of the rifle.
Start with one and work your way through until you find the problem.
This is probably the most common problem. Even if you sighted the scope in a couple of weeks ago, it may have gotten off by a hair. In long distance shooting, that hair might as well be a mile. A big, fancy, complex scope is not always the best choice. There is a lot that can make the fancy scopes get off. If you are not familiar with the scope on your rifle, start there.
Learn how to use it and sight it in. Spend some time at the range finding the zero. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to sight in a long-distance scope when you don’t have the space. It tends to be one of those things you find out after the fact. If your scope is too complex, try something a little easier to work with and improve your accuracy.
It is nice and easy to blame the ammo. It isn’t just an excuse. Different or substandard ammunition is a very legitimate reason for accuracy to be off. A lot of people will visit the gun range with a different kind of ammo than they take out for hunting. The gun is sighted in with one ammo and expected to perform the exact same with another.
This is just never going to work out. There is a reason gun owners have a preference for a particular brand or type of ammunition over another. There is a difference in weight, which will absolutely effect the accuracy.
You are probably a good gun owner and clean your rifle religiously, but maybe you forgot to or maybe your rifle wasn’t stored in the best conditions. It only takes an itty bitty amount of debris in the barrel to throw off your accuracy. A little rust or copper fouling can completely destroy any accuracy you once had.
Proper gun maintenance is critical to having perfect aim all the time. Give the barrel a thorough cleaning with some solvent. Use a brush that is long enough to reach the end of the barrel. Never assume that inch or so you couldn’t reach will be okay. Use a gun oil to lube the barrel to help prevent further build up.
You probably already guessed it and have blamed the weather for the missed shot, but it is truly another valid reason. A little wind can go a long way to knocking a bullet off its course, especially when you are shooting long distances.
You need to practice in various conditions to learn how to compensate for the breeze that is sure to be blowing on any given day. It may only need to be adjusted the slightest bit up, down, right or left. That tiny adjustment can mean the difference between hitting your target or just missing.
Lack of Use
Hunting is a seasonal sport with a very short window of time allowed. If you are only taking that rifle out once a year and getting the chance to fire off one or two shots a season, there is no wonder why you missed. You have to use the rifle and get familiar with it. You need the practice.
Every gun will shoot differently and if you are used to shooting your hand gun, the rifle is going to feel like a bazooka in your hands. You have to make an effort to pull that rifle out every month or at least every couple of months and practice. It is good for the gun and it is critical to your ability to fire an accurate shot.
After SHTF, you won’t have the luxury of shooting and missing. A missed shot could mean you don’t have dinner or it could mean the bad guy you were trying to keep from entering your property got through.
The only real answer to rifle problems is practice and experience. You won’t know something is off until you fire the weapon. Don’t let that moment happen when you are depending on your rifle’s accuracy.