The 1 Thing You Learned- Rifles

I think most of us make a mistake over and over again. We go on a hunt, but don’t make the effort to think critically about 1 thing we learned and will do different next time.

Think about it, how often do magazines write about a hunt, but fail to single out an action item to change in the future? Just 1 thing, maybe something you learned about elk behavior, your rifle setup, clothing, camping system. We can consume all the information we want, but if we don’t change anything, did it really do us any good?

I’d like to start the series of discussions to get us in the habit of reviewing our hunt, and share highlights about the 1 thing we learned on a particular topic. To start, 1 thing I learned about my rifle setup on a recent hunt was exposed turrets don’t work well in the field for me. The point of the trip was to test the new 6 oz Javelin Pro Hunt bipod, but I ended up learning a valuable lesson about my optics. Last year I replaced my scope with a Leupold VX-3i that they installed a custom reticle in to match my rifle’s ballistics. Now I don’t have to worry about a turret getting accidently moved, or trying to crank it with gloves on. With my limited hand function as a quadriplegic, it’s even faster in the field because I don’t have to add in the step of turning dials. 1 thing learned, then changed per hunt, and I am a better hunter for it.

So how about you, what is one thing you have learned about your rifle setup? (include pictures if possible)

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Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Welcome to the forum.

First, I reload for everything except rimfire. I also hunt with all bolt actions, I have 6 of them . I learned a long time ago that no two guns are alike, even tho they are from the same mfgr and exactly the same model and caliber. They all shoot different and if you are like me and want the tightest groups, you will have to find out what that particular rifle likes best. I am a retired aerospace engineer and know nothing can be built to the nominal designed dimension. Everything has =/- tolerances on all it's metallic parts, which is why each gun is different.

The most difficult caliber/rifle I developed a great load for was a custom .300 Wby. Weatherby designs all their rifles with lots of freebore, that where they get their real high velocities. My custom (commercial mauser action, Shilen SS match barrel, timney trigger & B&C composite stock) .300 I ordered with less freebore than factory, so I had to start from scratch. The big variable is powder type. I tried 10 or 12 before I finally found a load that my rifle liked.

My advice to all of you that are looking for the most accurate, performing reloads....be patient and don't get in a hurry. You will find it eventually.
 
Welcome to the forum.

First, I reload for everything except rimfire. I also hunt with all bolt actions, I have 6 of them . I learned a long time ago that no two guns are alike, even tho they are from the same mfgr and exactly the same model and caliber. They all shoot different and if you are like me and want the tightest groups, you will have to find out what that particular rifle likes best. I am a retired aerospace engineer and know nothing can be built to the nominal designed dimension. Everything has =/- tolerances on all it's metallic parts, which is why each gun is different.

The most difficult caliber/rifle I developed a great load for was a custom .300 Wby. Weatherby designs all their rifles with lots of freebore, that where they get their real high velocities. My custom (commercial mauser action, Shilen SS match barrel, timney trigger & B&C composite stock) .300 I ordered with less freebore than factory, so I had to start from scratch. The big variable is powder type. I tried 10 or 12 before I finally found a load that my rifle liked.

My advice to all of you that are looking for the most accurate, performing reloads....be patient and don't get in a hurry. You will find it eventually.
Thanks for sharing your terrific advice! I spent years driving myself crazy, trying to find the absolute best load. Then a new bullet or powder would come out, and I'd convince myself I had to try it. Today I have just stuck with one good load, and have more fun shooting the heck out of it than obsessing over perfection.
 
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Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
Thanks for sharing your terrific advice! I spent years driving myself crazy, trying to find the absolute best load. Then a new bullet or powder would come out, and I'd convince myself I had to try it. Today I have just stuck with one good load, and have more fun shooting the heck out of it than obsessing over perfection.
.....and if your loads shoot well enough for you to kill an animal with good shot placement out to your own self imposed max distance...that good enough.
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
2,789
1,499
Welcome to the forum.

What is one thing you have learned about your rifle setup?

Personally, I like knowing when the trigger breaks on all of my rifles.

Some people want a gun to surprise them. I dont like surprises. Never have, especially when shooting a high power.
 

jmwyoming

Active Member
Feb 28, 2013
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I learned the proper way to load my M-1 Garand to avoid getting the " M-1 thumb". A WW2 paratrooper taught me.
 
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dan maule

Very Active Member
Jan 3, 2015
712
668
Upper Michigan
Welcome to the forum.

First, I reload for everything except rimfire. I also hunt with all bolt actions, I have 6 of them . I learned a long time ago that no two guns are alike, even tho they are from the same mfgr and exactly the same model and caliber. They all shoot different and if you are like me and want the tightest groups, you will have to find out what that particular rifle likes best. I am a retired aerospace engineer and know nothing can be built to the nominal designed dimension. Everything has =/- tolerances on all it's metallic parts, which is why each gun is different.

The most difficult caliber/rifle I developed a great load for was a custom .300 Wby. Weatherby designs all their rifles with lots of freebore, that where they get their real high velocities. My custom (commercial mauser action, Shilen SS match barrel, timney trigger & B&C composite stock) .300 I ordered with less freebore than factory, so I had to start from scratch. The big variable is powder type. I tried 10 or 12 before I finally found a load that my rifle liked.

My advice to all of you that are looking for the most accurate, performing reloads....be patient and don't get in a hurry. You will find it eventually.
I have two 300 WBYs, both are the same manufacturer and action and they both shoot totally different. What the one likes the other hates, you couldn't be more correct in your statements!
 
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.....and if your loads shoot well enough for you to kill an animal with good shot placement out to your own self imposed max distance...that good enough.
I would echo your advice with one exception. Sometimes experimenting with loads can be fun in a part of the shooting experience. There's no harm in doing this as long as it's not right before hunting season or you're not making big changes right before game day. It can give you something fun to do in the off season, all the while knowing we always have hurled standby load the count on if our results are what we are looking for
 
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Welcome to the forum.

What is one thing you have learned about your rifle setup?

Personally, I like knowing when the trigger breaks on all of my rifles.

Some people want a gun to surprise them. I dont like surprises. Never have, especially when shooting a high power.
For me, the 1 thing i have learned is the importance of simplicity in a hunting rifle setup. I found that shots opportunities come quite quickly in hunting situations.
Being able to go from seeing the animal to pulling the trigger in a short period of time may be more important then a bunch of fancy gizmos. That being said, I love the fancy gizmos for target practice, varmint hunting, and tactical shooting, just not big game hunting.
 
I have two 300 WBYs, both are the same manufacturer and action and they both shoot totally different. What the one likes the other hates, you couldn't be more correct in your statements!
Perspective is important to. Remember, we get into the shooting and reloading hobby because it's fun. Even though trying to sort out a rifle and find an accurate load can be frustrating, try to approach it with the right mindset and find joy in the process.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
7,040
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Dolores, Colorado
I would echo your advice with one exception. Sometimes experimenting with loads can be fun in a part of the shooting experience. There's no harm in doing this as long as it's not right before hunting season or you're not making big changes right before game day. It can give you something fun to do in the off season, all the while knowing we always have hurled standby load the count on if our results are what we are looking for
I completely agree with you. Now that the weather has warmed up here, I am going to work on another load for my .300 Wby. I has been my elk rifle, but now I am going to work om a lighter bullet load for deer for this fall.
 
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mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,163
166
midwest
I think most of us make a mistake over and over again. We go on a hunt, but don’t make the effort to think critically about 1 thing we learned and will do different next time.

Think about it, how often do magazines write about a hunt, but fail to single out an action item to change in the future? Just 1 thing, maybe something you learned about elk behavior, your rifle setup, clothing, camping system. We can consume all the information we want, but if we don’t change anything, did it really do us any good?

I’d like to start the series of discussions to get us in the habit of reviewing our hunt, and share highlights about the 1 thing we learned on a particular topic. To start, 1 thing I learned about my rifle setup on a recent hunt was exposed turrets don’t work well in the field for me. The point of the trip was to test the new 6 oz Javelin Pro Hunt bipod, but I ended up learning a valuable lesson about my optics. Last year I replaced my scope with a Leupold VX-3i that they installed a custom reticle in to match my rifle’s ballistics. Now I don’t have to worry about a turret getting accidently moved, or trying to crank it with gloves on. With my limited hand function as a quadriplegic, it’s even faster in the field because I don’t have to add in the step of turning dials. 1 thing learned, then changed per hunt, and I am a better hunter for it.

So how about you, what is one thing you have learned about your rifle setup? (include pictures if possible)

View attachment 33953
I agree. I revise all my gear lists after a trip with an AT Revised version. That wayover time I eliminate items I carry but don’t use.

I also do a what I learned section on the trip home in the rite in the rain notebook I use as a journal on each trip.

Even if I don’t reference those later often enough, actually writing it out helps me remember it.
 

kidoggy

Veteran member
Apr 23, 2016
6,416
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idaho
spend whatever you must to keep your feet happy!

cold and/or blistered feet on a hunt sucks.