Understandably, elk hunters want a bullet that goes where they aim—every time. The more you shoot, the more you find that not every bullet performs the same way in a particular rifle. Once you find a factory round that works well for you, stick with it. Hopefully, it won’t be discontinued. If you’re trying new rounds, a new rifle or zeroing in for the start of the season, here are some things to keep in mind.
Copper Comes Around
Lead bullets work well by expanding and disintegrating throughout an animal’s body, inflicting massive damage. Copper bullets are able to expand like lead, yet they retain nearly all of their weight.
1. Crush It
Never “pull” a trigger. Instead, apply slow, even pressure; think about crushing it gently. Our Rifles & Cartridges columnist Wayne van Zwoll devoted an entire column in the May-June 2009 issue to this technique. You can read the full article here.
2. Finger Focus
Ever think about where the trigger touches your finger? Is it in the finger joint? How about the pad, just opposite the white bed of the nail? Either way, think about it next time at the range. Practice being consistent every time you shoot. On this topic, I must invoke our gun-guru again. Wayne says: “As with other aspects of shooting, variation in form is the unavoidable result of different bodies adapting to rifles made by the thousands to one template.”
Five-Bullet Hero Zero
- Place your rifle in a Lead Sled or otherwise steady cradle. Take two or three shots while aiming at a bull’s-eye at 100 or 200 yards, whichever your preferred zero.
- If your bullets group somewhere off the bull’s-eye, leave your rifle in the cradle still aimed at the bull’s-eye and manually adjust your scope, placing the reticle over your group.
- Let the rifle cool, take aim at the bull’s-eye again and shoot two more rounds. You should be zeroed.