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How to Stay Sharp for When the Shot Counts

By Jesse Bible
I would like to share a method for honing shooting skills. Here in Northern California, the odds are that you will be taking a close shot at a deer that has more than likely seen you first. Once you have determined the deer in question is a legal buck, you very well might not have the opportunity to find a suitable rest. You may not have time to kneel for steadying a shot. The only option you may have is to shoulder your rifle; take aim and squeeze the trigger before that buck bolts.

Brisk target acquisition through a scoped gun and shooting accurately from a standing position is very important in our region. A way to increase these two skills is simply to shoot more. The problem with that nowadays is who in the heck can afford ammo to shoot a couple thousand rounds before the 2014 season opens?

The way that you can shoot a lot is to acquire a break-barrel, single shot pellet rifle. A .22 rimfire is a good way to get a lot of shooting in but even that is expensive now, so I am going to focus on the pellet rifle avenue.

There are many pellet rifles available today in the .177 caliber. Most break-barrel rifles will be around 1000 feet per second. You can purchase one of these rifles for around $100. Many of the guns come with a matching scope in 4 power; sometimes you can find them with a matching 3-9x40 scope. It is important to note a basic rifle scope is not a good choice for a break-barrel pellet rifle because it has a "double recoil" (the plunger release, creating air pressure to launch the pellet makes a separate recoil from the pellet moving forward and out the barrel), which will only allow you to take a few accurate shots before the crosshairs are off. It will be in your best interest to purchase a pellet rifle that has a factory matching scope.

Daisy Pellet Rifle, Powerline 1000S
Daisy 1000S Powerline Pellet Rife. Photo courtesy of Daisy Manufacturing Co.

I have shot many of these rifles and I have found my favorite to be the Daisy 1000S, made in America at the Winchester factory, which is very consistent in air pressure, which translates to great groups at distance.

Crossman Premier Pellets, .177 caliber

One side note that I would like to mention is that lead pellets for these rifles are by far your best option. There are alloy pellets out there that claim a higher velocity by about 200fps, but that is simply a muzzle velocity increase. Alloy pellets are lighter, less accurate and do not carry much of an impact. Crossman makes very good pellets and they are available at a variety of stores.

<< A tin of 500 pellets is less than $10! Photo courtesy of Crossman Manufacturing

Now that you have a pellet rifle, what do you do with it to increase those skills? Shooting from a rest can be fun, but it is not often applicable in a real hunting scenario, other than taking away your flinch reflex or sighting in the gun.

Shooting live targets is the best way to get good at shooting live targets. Find some public land that has a high ground squirrel population. These rodents are considered vermin and with a basic hunting license, they can be taken year round. I like to find a trail to walk and look for squirrels, focusing on taking standing shots only; in fact, standing or kneeling shots are the most accurate way to shoot a break-barrel pellet rifle because of the double recoil.

This scenario will allow you to shoot many times an outing. It will allow you to shoot at live targets. Because you are shooting so often, you will find that your target acquisition speed through a scope will increase up to ten-fold. You will also steady your aim during standing shots. You will get good at scope adjustments in the field. These are all basic skills that can be obtained or increased during the off season that will certainly roll over into deer season. It is an awesome way for kids to learn under adult supervision how to shoot without much recoil or noise as well.

When you are walking along a skidder road next season and see a nice buck, pull up quickly behind his shoulder and squeeze off before he can flinch, you will be glad you had that pellet rifle to shoot!

More Hunting News

Conservation Key to Future of Hunting

11/14/16 -- At its core, conservation seeks sustainability of wildlife and wild places. Ethical hunters want wild animals to flourish in their natural habitat as much as possible, and will act on their behalf in order to protect and conserve... Full Story

​I Was an Indoor (Outdoor) Slave

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
04/07/16 -- I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all those kind folks who sent me "get well" cards and flowers during my recent, self-imposed stay at the Broken Antlers Rehabilitation Clinic. I'm especially indebted... Full Story

Nash Buckingham

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Theophilus Nash Buckingham (1880-1971) was an American author and conservationist from Tennessee. He is known for being an avid shotgunner and wingshot, and a best-loved outdoor writer of his time... Full Story

How much venison do hunters harvest?

Venison Bourguignon (Venison Stew), photo by Daniel Bledsoe, Food.com
06/17/15 -- The Dallas Safari Club (DSC) intends to find out. A study launching in 2015 will measure the actual amounts of venison and other wild protein harvested annually in North America. Researchers will assess the nutritional... Full Story

Pups & Partridges on the Calapooia Prairie

Liesl, 11 month old pudelpointer, photo by Gary Lewis
By Gary Lewis
02/18/15 -- They say a great pointing dog only comes along once or twice in a hunter's lifetime. Some dogs don't have the heart or the desire. Others don't seem to have the nose or the brain. We brought home our pudelpointer in... Full Story

DSC convention goers raise $1M in 1 minute

01/19/15 -- Responding to a heartfelt appeal for youth outdoor education, DSC convention goers on Saturday night raised $1 million in about 60 seconds. The fast flurry of fundraising was a highlight of the 2015 DSC convention and expo... Full Story

It’s Not over Till the Lady Sings

mountain lion on rocky edge, photo courtesy of UDWR and Carrie Wilson, CA DFW
By Gary Lewis
01/19/15 -- If you want to avoid being attacked by a mountain lion, conventional wisdom says, you should travel in groups. If you encounter a mountain lion by yourself or with children, stop and make yourself look as big as possible... Full Story

The buck we didn’t get and two we did

Tyler Low with his 3x4 buck shot at 100 yards with a Weatherby Vanguard .300 Winchester Magnum. Photo by Kyler Olson
By Tyler Low
08/10/14 -- “Can you see him? He is just below the sky line to the left of the big live oak.” The respectable three-point stood only 500 yards away, but my hunting partner, Kyler Olson, couldn’t quite get an eye on him... Full Story

Where Are All the Pheasants?

Sacramento Valley Pheasant, Steven T. Callan, Where Have All the Pheasants Gone
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
The other day a neighbor stopped by my house after two days of hunting pheasants in the Orland area. He said that he and his golden retriever, Milo, had probably walked ten miles and only flushed three birds. Knowingthat I had grown up... Full Story

Ham on the Hoof

Article and photos by Gary Lewis
12/17/13 -- We were climbing a steep gravel ranch road in Charlie’s Toyota when we saw it, as big as a full-grown bear and on a dead run. Charlie hit the brakes and switched off the engine. There was no time to load the rifle. The shaggy, gray... Full Story

Never say never

Never say never, rifle buk, Francisco Garcia, MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
Most of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue, and I would say persistence is a virtue. If you want to fill your deer tag each season you have to put your time in. If you don’t give in and hunt hard you should be... Full Story

Hunting trip gone bad

Deer holding tight in cover during times of heavy hunting pressure as I was about to find out. Francisco Garcia hunting story. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
If you asked me what I’d rather be doing, most of the time I would emphatically say, deer hunting. For me nothing gets the juices flowing and the imagination spinning like the arrival of bow or rifle season for deer. When... Full Story

 

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