Equipment failure

September 28, 2010

Faith Outdoors

Before each hunting season, I always make it a point to test my firearms and make sure they are operating smoothly and firing accurately. I also do it for others, like my kids and, this year, my brother, Paul.

I took his 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun to my gun club to sight it in over the weekend. The previous time, we couldn’t get it zeroed in, so I went back to try again. I had the same problem, so I took it to a gunsmith.

In a matter of seconds, he  had the problem diagnosed. There was a piece loose that attaches to the barrel and serves as the scope mount. It’s called a cantilever and the gunsmith was able to wiggle it from side to side. That explains the problem because it was the left/right adjustment (called the “windage”) that was off. The up/down adjustment (called “elevation”) was fine. In fact, I had that adjusted just where I wanted it.

The gunsmith said it’s an easy fix, and he’ll have it ready by the end of this week. So, when we take it out to the range over the weekend, we should get it zeroed, and Paul will be ready for the November firearms deer opener.

I also was able to sight in my son’s .308 caliber rifle. It was shooting about an inch low at 100 yards, and I brought it up to about an inch high. That should make it good out to about 200 yards before the bullet starts dropping below the bullseye.

This is the gun I’m hoping to have my son, William, use for his youth deer hunt in Wisconsin Oct. 9 and 10. It’s the lightest caliber rifle we have, beyond a .22. Hopefully, the recoil won’t bother him. Ideally, I’d like to have a .223 or .243 caliber. When he goes out to Montana in late November, Grandpa Bob Guditis should have one of these waiting for him to use.

Another important task was continuing to help my dad get ready for his disabled veterans deer hunt at Camp Ripley, which starts next Wednesday. I took him out to the range as well, and had him shoot a .22 at a cutout deer target with the vital areas (heart, lungs, liver) marked. I think that is a good step up from just a standard target because it helps people learn where to aim at a deer, then see if their shots hit the vital area.

My dad took five shots with a .22 and one each with my 12-gauge and my son’s 20-gauge, which he will use as a backup to my 12-gauge. All of his shots hit the vital area, which tells me dad is ready to hunt. He has been practicing aiming at the target at home, and it shows. I’m confident he’ll be able to make a kill shot on a deer.

If he is successful, he will tag his first deer ever at age 89. I’ll bet there aren’t too many hunters who bag their first deer at that age. Maybe, he’ll be the first.

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

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