Summer is quickly fading, making way for Fall with all of its rain, wind and hunting seasons. Now is a great time to get the jump on the calendar and plan ahead for the next couple of seasons.
"Sun's out, guns out" is falling out of opportunity and many of you reading this are preparing for deer/elk/moose hunting. This means the days of hauling half your collection to the range are on hold, while it's time to make sure your go-to hunting rifle is primed and ready. Here's some considerations:
Give your summer guns a thorough cleaning. They're going to be sitting for a while, so make sure all carbon and residue is well removed.
Oil them up for the long sleep through winter. Besides being cleaned, using a good heavy oil that won't evaporate will keep your guns rust free.
For those that favor reusable desiccant packs and boxes, make sure you remove the moisture and recharge them so they're up to the task of drying the inside of your safe. This usually involves baking them in the oven at a low temperature for a couple hours. Otherwise, if you use a Goldenrod or similar product, plug it in!
Next, get your favored hunting rifle out and give it a mechanical once over. Check scope rings/scope base to make sure they're still tight, muzzle device to make sure it isn't loose and check for proper function of the trigger assembly.
Get that gun out to the range and do more than just zero it! While a solid zero at a relevant distance is the bedrock of a good ballistic table, make sure you exercise the meatbag behind the rifle as well. Practice shooting in different positions, such as prone, kneeling or supported against a tree.
Once you're zeroed, stop working with bullseyes! Figure the killzone of the animal you're hunting (deer around 6", moose and elk around 8-10") and practice getting in that zone as quick as you can. Of course in the field if you have the time for a "perfect" shot, you take that time. If you only have a short moment to take the shot on an animal that's about to bolt, are you ready to take that shot?