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Hunting Rifles | From the Shooting Range to the Field

The Overall Process for New Hunting Rifles

With various hunting seasons upon us, a lot of people have been heading to the woods lately to see what they can put in the freezer. Many hunters have owned and used the same hunting rifles, shotguns, or muzzleloaders for years. But there are many new hunters who have just bought their first gun to use this year. If you’re not quite at that stage yet, but are considering it soon, there will be a lot of decisions to make. Which animals are you targeting, how much money do you want to spend, and what kind of gun are you thinking of getting? For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you’re looking at hunting rifles since it is prime deer season time across the country.

Hunting rifles, where legal to use, are excellent weapons for big game animals. You can shoot very accurately and reliably at long distances, provided you have a quality set of optics with it. The ammunition types are very customizable, depending on what animal you’re chasing. You can find many different types of rifles that are either very lightweight for spot and stalk hunts or heavy duty for tree stand hunting. There are plenty of accurate actions to choose from as well.

What You Need for Hunting Rifles 

If this all sounds like a good fit for your hunting preferences, it’s time to consider buying one. It might get confusing when you’re just starting out, especially when you look at the long rows of gun accessories on the store shelves. It can seem like you’re going to have to break the bank to possibly buy everything. But you don’t need every last accessory to get out hunting. Instead, you only need a few basic items.

Hunting Rifle

The hunting gun you choose should really depend on your personality and hunting goals. For example, if you’re not likely to hunt anything larger than a whitetail and you’re smaller-framed, buying a high-powered .338 is just asking for regrets. Similarly, buying a .243 is insufficient if you’re a larger person who wants to take on a moose head to head. Take time to read about the best caliber and cartridge for various North American game animals to see which one might be right for you and your situation. The best deer rifle caliber is often debated as the .270 or .30-06, but it really depends on your preference. You can usually find a quality brand and model of guns for sale cheaper than you think, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t find anything right away.

The Ruger® American .270 Winchester is about the best all around hunting rifle for most wild game species and body shapes, but many people prefer the .270 for deer hunting. Its sleek synthetic stock reduces the overall weight of the rifle, and the rubber buttpad helps absorb and reduce the recoil force. Additionally, the bolt action is considered a very dependable style, which is always a bonus for new hunters. Hunting guns need to be dependable above all other things. Ruger® rifles are also known for their high quality, along with Remington® rifles or Winchester® rifles.

hunting rifles from the shooting range to the field | Whittaker Guns

Scope/Optics

Sure, you can shoot hunting rifles without a scope, but that really takes the advantage away from using a rifle in the first place. Plus, you don’t need a crazy, high-end version to extend your ethical shooting range by a significant amount. A simple 3-9×40 mm scope will set you up for hunting at close and far distances alike. They’re relatively cheap and pretty easy to mount and sight in too, which we’ll discuss below.

Sling

Having a sling to carry your firearm is definitely a nice item to have; especially if you have to walk a good distance to your tree stand. They’re cheap too, so there’s really no reason to not have one for all of your deer hunting rifles.

Cleaning Kit

As with any firearm you own, you should have a corresponding kit or various gun care tools to clean it thoroughly. This should include a rod/brush attachment or bore snake to clean the inside of the barrel, some solvent and lubricating oil, and a rag to wipe down the exterior. If you have just these three items, you can do a very good job at cleaning your hunting rifles.

Hunting Rifles Out of the Box 

When you finally purchase your firearm, the fun can really begin. Before heading to the woods, you need to unbox it, assemble it, and sight it in. Just about any gun you buy from a reputable source will contains simple instructions to assemble and operate a firearm. Many people get intimidated at this stage, thinking they don’t know enough about guns to do it themselves. But it really is a piece of cake.

hunting rifles from the shooting range to the field | Whittaker Guns

Ammunition for Rifles

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the operating manual and the anatomy of the gun, you can go pick up some ammunition. Again, this will depend on the animal you intend on hunting. Explain to an associate what you will be hunting, if that makes you feel more at ease, so that they can help guide you to the right ammo for sale. For deer hunting with the Ruger .270 example above, a 100 to 150 grain cartridge is more than enough to ethically and quickly kill a deer. It always helps to use the same ammunition you would use for hunting at the shooting range, so you know exactly how it performs and you can get comfortable using it.

Sighting in Hunting Rifles

Now that you have a box of cartridges to shoot, it’s time to find a shooting range near you. It’s even nicer if you know somebody who owns some land where you can practice in privacy. But many new hunters are more likely to use a shooting range for the initial sighting in process. If you have a brand new scope set up on the rifle and you’ve never shot it before, the first few steps will take a while.

A bore-mounted laser is the easiest way to sight a new scope in. You simply insert the bore sight into the muzzle of the rifle, mount the gun to your shoulder (a shooting sled is better), and look through the scope. Adjust the windage and elevation of the scope slowly until your crosshairs are roughly lined up with the laser dot on the target downrange. A bore sight is meant to get you shooting on paper, but the final adjustments need to be done through shooting practice. You can remove the bore sight and take a few shots, adjusting the scope further after each one. It really helps to shoot at grid paper, so you know exactly how far you should adjust the scope each time. Once you’re happy with how it’s shooting, take a few shots that will simulate a hunting scenario. For example, set up at a distance that you anticipate to shoot from and take your time to really visualize a hunting situation.

After squeezing the trigger, focus on keeping the rifle in place for 3 to 5 seconds, which will feel like an eternity. But doing this in practice sessions will get your body used to focusing on holding it steady. Most people tend to quickly look up from the scope sights after shooting, especially when their adrenaline is pumping from a wild encounter with a big deer. Unfortunately, this could cause you to bump your gun in anticipation and interfere with long shots. The steadier you remain throughout the shooting process, the more accurate you will be and the better hunter you will be. If your rifle is still shooting accurately in this hunting simulation, it’s time to move on to a real hunt.

Into the Woods 

Assuming you’ve gone through the steps above to get your hunting firearm ready, you need to reflect back on the questions you initially asked yourself. What type of hunting are you going to do? Would you prefer to ambush wild game animals from a tree stand or ground blind, or stalk them on foot? The answers to these questions will influence how you approach a hunt.

For the Ruger .270 example above, you could either hunt from a stationary point or stalk animals, since the gun is fairly lightweight, yet heavy-duty enough to easily kill a whitetail. Hunting rifles for deer can be very variable. Regardless of which method you choose to hunt, the actual shooting process will go about the same way. When you see a target game animal, very slowly move your rifle into position. A mature whitetail is certain to spook if you move very quickly. Settle the crosshairs on their vital area and slowly let them circle around. Most people try to quickly pull the trigger as soon as the crosshairs slip behind the front shoulder, but this can cause you to jerk the gun and make a poor shot. By letting the crosshairs make circles around the general vital area and slowly squeezing the trigger, you get way more accurate and consistent shot groupings. It’s important that you don’t intentionally try to circle the target area, but that you merely think about it circling. You’ll start to notice it moving on its own. If you practiced before the season, you should have developed some muscle memory that will hold you steady for a few seconds, ensuring a better shot. Then it’s time to get on the blood trail and collect your prize.

It’s Action Time 

If you’re a new hunter or haven’t bought your own hunting weapon before, hopefully this post explains the process for you. Hunting rifles really are a valuable piece of anyone’s hunting equipment. Looking for hunting rifles for sale in Kentucky? Visit Whittaker guns for all your gun needs.

Gun Accessories for Turkey Season | Fully Loaded Turkey Shotgun

Turkey Shotgun Accessories to Get You through the Season

Plenty of gobblers have been taken over the years looking down the bead of an old wooden stock pump action 12-gauge shotgun. There is nothing wrong with that and many hunters today still bag a bird each spring with nothing more than a standard Remington 870 or Mossberg 500. Others rely on a turkey specific gun for spring gobbler season that is completely loaded with gun accessories to increase your advantage as that turkey makes his way into range. No matter which turkey hunter you are, you can take advantage of accessories for shotguns that can be added to your trusted all-season gun or go all in with a shotgun that is specifically designed to help you land more birds throughout the season.

Gun Accessories for Your All-Purpose Shotgun

Most turkey hunters cringe at the thought of buying a dedicated gun to hunt turkeys for a few days each year. If you are like most hunters that walk the woods each spring, you can’t afford a species specific gun when you already have a perfectly good shotgun capable of harvesting a bird with the right gun accessories.

All-purpose shotguns like the Remington 870s and Mossberg 500s have taken countless game from squirrels to ducks and yes, many turkeys throughout the years. These old pump turkey shotguns are deadly in their own right but by adding a few accessories for shotguns like these, they can easily turn into high preforming turkey guns. After the season ends, the added 12-gauge turkey shotgun accessories can simply be removed returning your gun back to its all-purpose glory.

Choke Tubes 

Choke tubes matter when it comes to accessories for shotguns, especially when trying to reach out and touch birds at a distance. A tight pattern will increase your ability to land the majority of your shot in the kill zone. Decide on how far you are comfortable shooting at a bird and choose a choke tube to reflect that distance. Chokes that are .600 and tighter controls your shot pattern out further than chokes that are .500 and less, which are designed for shorter distances. For the basic turkey hunter, a full or extra full choke will perform well out to 30 yards. Switch over to a turkey-specific choke tube for tighter patterns at longer distances. Test multiple chokes with different shells as much as possible until the shot pattern matches your planned shooting distance. Include the right turkey choke tube as one of your first shotgun accessories to your all-purpose shotgun.

Slings 

Whether you are hunting turkeys from a blind or on the ground, you have to get to your spot with your gun. Shotguns are heavy. A good sling is a required accessory for shotguns. Rubber based slings keep your gun shouldered no matter your movements or weather conditions. Quick detach slings are ideal gun accessories for shotguns because they allow you to quickly remove the sling while setting up. Turkeys can pick out even the slightest movement. Having your sling on your gun while trying to position for a shot risks getting it caught on nearby brush or swinging back and forth as you move to make the shot, ultimately getting you busted by the approaching gobbler.

Sights 

Turkey hunting or not, one of your gun accessories should be a set of fiber optic sights. Fiber optic front and back sights quickly align on a bird or anything else you may be hunting. Choose a more turkey specific sight if you are fine with switching it out after the season and re-sighting in your gun. Gun supplies and accessories like sights come in various styles and options so choose the one that is comfortable with your eyes shooting.

Camo 

Movement is your worse enemy while working a bird, but you don’t always have to move to be spotted by an incoming gobbler. More than likely your all-purpose turkey shotgun doesn’t feature factor standard camouflage as one of its gun accessories. Conceal your black synthetic or wood clad shotgun with a quick wrap of camo tape to blend your gun into the surrounding environment. Choose a tape that won’t leave any sticky residues that can lead to fouling on your barrel.

Go All in with a Fully Loaded Shotgun  

Modern turkey shotguns come fully loaded and are designed for one purpose and one purpose only ̶ to shoot turkeys. Accessories for shotguns that you would normally have to add to your all-purpose gun are standard on turkey guns. These shotguns are drilled and tapped for scope mounts, come with pre-installed fiber optic sights and are completely camouflaged for maximum concealment in the woods.

Full loaded turkey shotgun gun accessories | Whittaker Guns

Optics 

Unlike traditional beads or fiber optic sights, enhanced optics give you more field of view and better shot placement on a gobbler. The two choices for turkey gun accessories for shotguns like optics are red dot sights and a full shotgun scope. Red dot sights fall somewhere between the classic bead and a full shotgun scope. These optics increase your ability to speed target birds with fast sight recognition and are effective out to mid-ranges. Scopes allow for full field of view without blocking the lower portion of a bird as you line up to take a shot. The added magnification is distinctly brighter and clearer than sighting through a red dot lens. However, hybrid red dot optics are combining the benefits of a traditional red dot sight with the addition of magnification in a scope tube to give you the maximum optic advantage and is quickly becoming one of the more popular 12-gauge shotgun accessories.

Stocks 

Gun stocks in turkey shotguns vary from thumbhole, standard and pistol grip options. Make sure the stock choice works well when the gun is shouldered and is comfortable enough to hold shouldered for long periods of time. Pistol grip stocks are popular on new turkey guns because they provide a more natural hold position while waiting for a shot on a closing bird. Even if your chosen turkey gun comes with a standard stock, replacement shotgun stocks like thumbhole and pistol grip stocks are readily available and easy to change if so desired.

Turkey Loads 

You can’t kill one if you don’t shoot. Well you can’t shoot unless you have a shell. Turkey loads have evolved into high performance ammunition with technology that rivals most other gun supplies and accessories. Shells like the Winchester Long Beard XR and the Hevishot Magnum Blend offer high velocity and pattern technology that just can’t be achieved from standard shotgun loads. These innovative loads are designed specifically for turkey guns. The key is to pick a shotgun shell that shoots well out of your gun. Find a choke and shell combination that pattern at various distances from 10 to 50 yards. Pattern a few different brands and carry the ones that give you the best pattern.

Full loaded turkey shotgun gun accessories | Whittaker Guns

Just because you are not touting a new turkey shotgun doesn’t mean you can’t add gun accessories to improve your chances in spring gobbler season. Accessories for shotguns can take your all-purpose gun to turkey level performance or go all in with a fully loaded turkey shotgun that is specifically designed to help you put more gobblers on the ground.