Before You Pull the Trigger

Out for my weekly practice yesterday with a friend and we ended up being retaught lessons we have already learned. More often than not the troubles we are having are our own damn fault, and if we had just taken a little more time copious amounts of time and money would have been saved. Here's what happens when you don't blame yourself...

Here's the situation: A new rifle was purchased, and it's a beauty, it was taken out with the iron sights and a few rounds put through it to make sure it fires and we could hit stuff. Then over the course of the next couple months, a scope was added and many rounds were passed through the barrel in an effort to zero the scope in such a way to make hunting with it viable. After a solid 14 hours of work and over a hundred rounds later the rifle seemed to be all over the map, sometimes 2 inch groups at 100yds in random places on the paper and sometimes hitting all four corners with only 3 shots it seemed, just spraying everywhere. We swore up and down that would shooting technique was great, the crosshairs were where we needed them to be and still nothing was working. We were certain it was rifle for various reasons like the barrel being too hot, we were certain it was the scope because the clicks on windage and elevation adjustments were clearly mislabelled. But one question kept coming up; how could a gun that 10s of millions of people own without problems and a scope that hundreds of thousands own perform so poorly, is it a lemon or what? 

Humans are ridiculous, we all do it, all the time. And no matter how much we tell ourselves that is the general public that is the worst for it we fail to recognize it in ourselves. Passing the blame. Passing the blame to people, to timing, to inanimate objects, but never to user error.

My pre-shooting checklist includes things like double and triple checking I have the right ammo for the gun I'm shooting, verifying the safety and action and everything is in good working order, making sure there is no rust in the barrel. And the list goes on but it never included double and triple checking that the scope is still mounted very securely. Well it does now. My CZ550 has the mounting rail built in to the barrel and receiver so I've never had to think about that component being loose, this is no excuse for not checking my scope but it has made me complacent in this area. So clearly, the lesson is check everything, especially your own work. With screws tightened and a renewed confidence in the equipment we marched forth and put some holes on paper. All functionality was as it should have been weeks earlier. Luckily for us the misses were only at paper targets and not big fleshy grey/brown targets later in the season, that would suck much more!

Check your work!