Shooting Range vs Hunting

Shooting Range vs Hunting

Shooting Range vs Hunting A Big Difference

Lots of quality practice at the shooting range can be extremely beneficial hunting afield. However, techniques and gear that work really well at the shooting range don’t always translate into success afield.

Like I’ve mentioned a few times this week, my grandfather went to great lengths to build a custom hunting rifle back in the 1960s. Among other things, that rifle had double set triggers. If you’re not familiar with them, the shooter will squeeze one of the triggers (usually the rear trigger) to “set” the other one so that it will fire with very little pressure.

The exact amount of pressure necessary varies, but the rear trigger normally requires several pounds of force and the front trigger only requires a few ounces after it’s “set.”

This is the sort of thing people are referring to when they talk about a “hair trigger”. A hair-trigger works really well at the range, especially at long distances. However, it’s easy for things to go wrong with double-set triggers. If the shooter gets a little excited.

For instance, my grandfather encountered a really big buck during one of the first deer seasons he hunted with that rifle. He spent a lot of time at the range that spring and summer fine-tuning things with his rifle and was extremely pleased with how it was performing.

Standing almost perfectly broadside just 50 yards away, that shot should have been a slam dunk opportunity for him to take his first deer with that rifle. Unfortunately, my grandfather got excited at the prospect of taking that deer home with him.

Taking aim at the deer, he flipped the safety off and started applying pressure to the trigger. But things weren’t working right and that trigger was requiring much more force to “set” than he was used to. As he applied even more pressure, his crosshairs dipped lower and lower on the deer’s body before dropping down to the ground below the deer. The rifle suddenly and unexpectedly fired, kicking dirt and rocks up into the belly of that buck, who ran off unharmed.

As it turned out, my grandfather had been squeezing the front trigger instead of the rear trigger. He learned then that it’s possible to fire a rifle with a double set trigger without setting the rear trigger. Doing so just requires more force. A calm and collected shooter can make full use of all sorts of cool toys. Like double set triggers at the range. Things are different in the field.

Some people handle buck fever better than others. It affects everyone to one degree or another and can turn your mind to mush and your hands into wooden blocks. This is why a simple and easy-to-use set-up is ideal for use when hunting.

That’s not to say that double-set triggers are bad or you shouldn’t use them while hunting. It’s just that they make things a little more complicated. They require more practice to use effectively, shooting range vs hunting, than a traditional trigger. This is especially true if you have several different rifles with a single trigger. Especially if you shoot them regularly in addition to the rifle with double triggers.

The good news is that rifles these days have some fantastic triggers that are easy and simple to use and you don’t have to resort to using a more complicated double set trigger like my grandfather did unless you just want to.

Like I’ve said before, we’re living in a literal golden age of firearms development. The average hunter has access to rifles, optics, and ammunition that are significantly better than what was available even 20-30 years ago. I’d wager that a stock trigger today is much better than was the case a couple of decades ago. Replacing the stock trigger with one from Timney or TriggerTech just takes things to the next level.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that there are even more cool and flashy toys on the market these days that work great at the range. However, they can actually make life harder for you on a hunt. When you’re talking about potentially spending upwards of a thousand dollars on your hunting rifle set-up, you want to do it correctly from the beginning. No one wants to spend big money on a rifle that works great at the range but not in the field. Or costs them a chance at the buck or bull of a lifetime. Missing that deer was not a fun experience for my grandfather.

The Hunting Guns 101 training will help you avoid making those costly mistakes.

That training reveals the exact method you should use to select the appropriate rifle, cartridge, sighting system, and ammunition ideal for hunting any species of game. From whitetail deer to cape buffalo.

Among other things, you’ll learn how bullets actually kill animals. Also, the various factors that affect bullet penetration and expansion. You will also learn a couple of different methods of choosing the ideal cartridge/bullet combination for a hunt. The combination will deliver ideal terminal performance. On whatever game you’re hunting.

You’ll also learn a few other valuable lessons. Lessons about hunting, firearms, and ballistics. All passed onto me from mentors like my father and grandfather. As well as a few I’ve picked up over the years from doing things the hard way.

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Like what you see? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on the Big Game Hunting Blog.

Happy Hunting

John McAdams

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