A bad day at the range is still better than the worst day at work, but improve your odds with a little gear and make each range trip an extraordinary one. For hunters and shooters tiring of shooting holes in paper, consider spicing things up with a few products that will add some sizzle to sight-in day. Best of all, they could be had for not a lot of dough.
A quality rest
Proper sight-in of any hunting is best done from a stable shooting rest. While there are many versions on the market, the Champion Enhanced Rifle Rest has a solid cast and steel build with an ambidextrous design and offers quick elevation adjustments. MSRP is $148, but most retailers list it at or under $100.
The Lead Sled name is synonymous with sight-in as well, but beware adding too much weight and damaging your stock in an attempt to negate recoil. There’s no need to clamp, secure, or otherwise restrain the firearm in order to properly zero and get on target for the big hunt.
Splattering paper targets
Sure, you can use a piece of freezer paper with holes covered in masking tape, but don’t be that guy. When get to spend a day on the range spring a few bucks for some quality paper targets that won’t require running downrange every few minutes to view the impacts.
A popular sight-in-specific target is Hornady’s Lock-N-Load adhesive version with five aiming points and a subtle grid pattern for measuring groups and scope adjustments. When you’re ready to move to a game target, check out Birchwood Casey’s PreGame that cover everything from waterfowl to big game to varmints. Champion offers similar VisiColor Real Life targets in deer, bear, and antelope combo packs.
Tools that travel
You can empty out drawers of your tool chest every time you go to the range, but there’s a better and much more packable option. Birchwood Casey recently introduced a Weekender Tool Kit. The double-headed nylon/brass hammer doubles as the handle for the included common bits, with plenty of punches as well. With a retail price of $29.99 and lower prices online, this 27-piece set will cover most needs on the range from scope adjustments to minor repairs, and the kit is small enough to keep in the truck on hunting trips.
Mobile cleaning gear
While there are plenty of options on the market for packable cleaning kits, when we want a quick bore job on the range, we always grab for one of the pull-throughs. Both Hoppe’s Bore Snake and Outer’s Barrel Badger tackle the job the same way, by dropping the weighted end of the ultra-packable, caliber-diameter-specific ropes from the breech to the muzzle and simply pulling the fouling through. Both feature bronze cleaning bristles, and best of all real-world prices range from only $5.99-$12.99.
Reactive, realistic targets
Once you’ve put in your time on paper, nothing amps up range time like some reactive or more realistic targets. Luckily for hunters, there’s no shortage of great options. For steel and pop-ups, opt for Champion’s Center Mass AR500, which is both durable and affordable.
Birchwood Casey offers some cool self-healing and springy Ground Strike targets, with the Prairie Chuck being our fave. Also from Birchwood Casey, budget hunters will love the new cardboard Freedom Targets. We got way more than $6.99 MSRP worth of fun from the coyote silhouette, and hope they introduce more critters to the lineup soon. Whitetail hunters will love practicing with Caldwell’s The Natural Series Deer, which is 48×36-inch heavy cardboard backed, reactive front target with included replaceable vital stickers and a retail price of only $10.99.
Once the gun is sighted in and confidence from the bench is running high, the best thing for hunters is to shoot from the position they plan to fire in the field. For many, that involves shooting sticks or bipods, and we always take some real-life shots before heading to the woods.
Our hands-down favorites are the Primos Trigger Stick and BOG Pod. Trigger Sticks are certainly the fastest to get in position given the namesake trigger mechanism, but BOG offers their products in mono, bi, and tripods as well. Both are built to last under hardcore hunting conditions, and both offer 360-degree rotating interchangeable top mounts as well.
Time to go to the range
These products will not only up your enjoyment on the range, but ultimately, make you more prepared, confident, and capable when the moment counts in the field. Regardless of your choice of range gear and hunting accessories, make the most of your time spent preparing for the hunt.