Just got back from the range and checking these 2 rigs that I’ll hunt with this fall as we film Big Deer TV Season 13 on Sportsman Channel: CZ-USA Model 600 Alpha bolt-action rifle in 6.5 PRC topped with Trijicon Accupoint 4X-16X scope, and CZ 600 in .30-06 topped w/Trijicon 3X-9X Huron.

Here are 4 observations and tips I have from that range session.

  1. The 6.5 PRC rifle was dead-on last January in Texas, where I killed a nice buck and a huge boar hog with one bullet each. My first shot at the range today was 4 inches high and 3 inches left. I was not shocked. I traveled 2,000 miles back home with the rifle. That might or might not have something to do with the shift in point of impact. Many of my rifles have mysteriously shifted POI over the years, even though I clean the barrels and have all my scopes professionally installed and re-checked. That’s why you need to shoot and check your rifles a lot more often than you probably do.
  2. When I need to bring my shots back to zero, I like to adjust the windage and elevation separately rather than turning both scope knobs at once. In this case, I was 3 left, so I clicked the windage 12 times right. The second bullet printed right over the target’s bulls-eye but still 4 inches high. I lowered the windage dial 12 clicks and fired a third bullet. Presto, dead-on and one-inch high 100 yards, right where I like it. If your rifle is shooting off when you check it—say 2 inches left and 3 inches high or whatever–rather than turning both the windage and elevation dials a bunch of clicks at once, adjust each dial separately until you get back on zero. It should only take you 3, maybe 4 shots to do so.

3. My CZ .30-06 has been sighted-in one-inch high at 100 yards with the Hornady Superformance 150-grain STT load, and POI of impact has not changed a ¼-inch in 3 years, in spite of tens of thousands of miles of travel and hundreds of hours of banging it around in boats and trucks, on UTVs, etc. That CZ 600 is a solid shooter, and I have always been loathe to run a new load. through it. With the .30-06, the 150-grain bullet is your go-to for deer, but I’m going to be hunting some heavier South African antelope in a couple weeks. My professional hunter told me to shoot a 180-grain soft-point bullet, so I got a box of .30-06 Hornady American Whitetail 180-grain Interlock. I clicked 3 rounds into the CZ’s detachable box, loaded up, put on my ears, declared “range hot,” and fired. Bingo, dead-on bulls-eye at 100 yards! Not one inch high like I prefer it, but PERFECT bulls-eye! I am not one to press my luck, so I packed up and went home feeling good. You always want to leave a range session on a high note, it gives you confidence.

4. Next week I’ll be deep in the South African bush somewhere, a 9,000-mile flight from home, and another 4-hour bumpy ride by land cruiser. I will not hunt until I go to the camp’s range and check both my rifles and scopes again. Whether you travel 500 miles or 10,000 check your rigs before you hunt. Travel, changes in elevation and humidity, thick to thin air… All sorts of mysterious things can change a rifle’s POI, it’s your duty to shoot and check.